Well it’s finally here. Took longer than I anticipated, but that’s mostly because of budget constraints. I finally got around to ordering it on 7/20/2012, and it arrived in about 2 weeks. Not at all unreasonable, considering it shipped all the way from Shenzhen China. In my original post,
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I haven’t posted anything on it (yet), but following some work I did on Silvia, I took on the task of rehabilitating my girlfriend’s old Dell Inspiron 1150, which was a mess to say the least: missing keys, a broken headphone jack, dead speakers, and a decapitated display. I did my best to bring it back from the grave but sadly it’s still a mute (speakers still dead). It does run with a tad bit more pep, and sports a few new coats of paint. My biggest triumph was repairing the headphone jack. Out of that project I acquired an extra LCD screen because, as it turned out, all I needed was a new converter cable, hinges, and cosmetic plastic covers to fix the display. The ill fated replacement was also the wrong size at 15″, though somewhat compatible (eBay burn). That extra screen has been sitting in “the workshop” dreaming of a day it would once again have purpose. Welp, it seems that day has finally come. Read the rest of this entry »

Soon after successfully getting Trinity up and running I was already thinking of ways to improve her. One of the things bugging me were those two front facing USB ports.
Plugging-in my keyboard and wireless mouse left me with no open ports up front for say, a quick external hard drive transfer. I noticed that the motherboard had an extra internal USB header and thought adding more ports should be a snap. While I was at it, I could throw in an SD card reader for off-loading my camera or phone. There was one problem: How would I implement it? Most SD card readers on the market come in the form of USB dongles or 3.5″ bay devices designed to fit inside the case. I was already using the one 3.5″ bay I had for the hard drive and I really hate dongles. This needed to be built-in. Read the rest of this entry »

After making such a killing sniping great prices for parts, I was understandably eager to rip the cellophane and get to work. But actually, I was holding off because I intended to do the build with my little nephew. He… had other plans so I was on my own. As I mentioned previously, I was pretty much following the parts list provided in tonymacx86’s CustoMac Mini 2011 post with one small exception, the case.

He listed the Apex MI-008, but I chose the MI-100 instead. I stuck with the same manufacturer because I didn’t want any unforeseen fitting issues and their frames were pretty much identical. I really just found the face of the MI-100 to be more pleasing. The directions that came with the case weren’t exactly crystal clear, but after some trial and error I managed to put the right screws in the right places. I have to say, making all the connections to the motherboard was a little intimidating. Most of my experience so far was with laptops. But I knew enough to ground myself and avoid bending any of the pins on the processor (It seems now they have they pins on the motherboard instead). I also had Gigabyte’s instructions, which where a little easier to follow. The first thing I noticed

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