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Let's see your PC's

Chad13762

Ready to race!
So - my wife wants a desktop PC for her home office. This will be a simple mITX build, probably a Ryzen 5 3600 using a GTX750 card that's currently sitting in a drawer. Plenty of horsepower for Excel, Word and Google Docs.

After looking at cases, everything starts to look the same. There's a few really cool boutique mITX cases that are nice, but not $300-$500 nice.

So, after some head scratching and a couple beers - a case-moded "something" was the only viable solution. I thought about trying to fit a system in an old IBM Selectric, but that would be tough. Then, wandering around the kitchen, it clicked. I could build a PC in a toaster - a vintage Toastmaster 4-slice toaster! Here's what I just bought off of eBay. It's got a few decades of cool patina.



It'll be a slow-burn build - who's interested in more?
 

dosjockey

Go Kart Champion
So - my wife wants a desktop PC for her home office. This will be a simple mITX build, probably a Ryzen 5 3600 using a GTX750 card that's currently sitting in a drawer. Plenty of horsepower for Excel, Word and Google Docs.

After looking at cases, everything starts to look the same. There's a few really cool boutique mITX cases that are nice, but not $300-$500 nice.

So, after some head scratching and a couple beers - a case-moded "something" was the only viable solution. I thought about trying to fit a system in an old IBM Selectric, but that would be tough. Then, wandering around the kitchen, it clicked. I could build a PC in a toaster - a vintage Toastmaster 4-slice toaster! Here's what I just bought off of eBay. It's got a few decades of cool patina.



It'll be a slow-burn build - who's interested in more?
Oh, my god...

"Slow burn" toaster build... I'm now missing more brain cells. ?

I expect you to fit an LCD in the side and play Doom on that. ;)
 

Chad13762

Ready to race!
I honestly wish optical drives were still an essential component. Having the drive tray eject up through one of the bread openings would be epic. It would be a lot of work for a feature that would rarely be used though. Not sure if I'd have room for it anyway....

I want to see to what extent I can use the existing knobs though. Maybe one for a power switch, another for volume. It'll definitely have orange LED lighting that glows through the openings. Not sure if I can re-purpose the bread levers for something, or if they'll just be decoration. I'll need to get everything in front of me to see what I can do with it.
 

dosjockey

Go Kart Champion
I honestly wish optical drives were still an essential component. Having the drive tray eject up through one of the bread openings would be epic. It would be a lot of work for a feature that would rarely be used though. Not sure if I'd have room for it anyway....

I want to see to what extent I can use the existing knobs though. Maybe one for a power switch, another for volume. It'll definitely have orange LED lighting that glows through the openings. Not sure if I can re-purpose the bread levers for something, or if they'll just be decoration. I'll need to get everything in front of me to see what I can do with it.
Just use a slot-loading drive from a shelf model or laptop. They'll be able to handle it. A drive out of a failed Xbox One may work, as well. I've got some caddy CD ROM drives that would work, but obviously they'll only handle CDs... Might be a DVD in the collection somewhere, but I'll have to check through hundreds of the things. ?

If you want the... "Push down lever things" to work as power or reset switches, just sticking a momentary switch at the bottom of their travel would work. I haven't used a toaster in a while, but I think there's some extra travel before they lock. The knob for volume can be scavenged from any old computer speaker and just swapped on the pot for one of the toaster knobs.

One of the levers could be used to hit a relocated momentary button for the slot-loading drive.
 

Chad13762

Ready to race!
You have me thinking...
A thin USB drive - like this "might" work. I'll need to get the toaster in-hand and measure the slots. I don't want to cut any sheet metal, except at the back, to make it work though.


A goal, if I have the room, is to use a standard ATX power supply. Between that, and a video card, there might not be room left for much else. I like the momentary switch idea for the big levers. Supporting the sliders could be a challenge, since a toaster has some large mechanical levers inside. I'd need to create something compact.

I might be able to gut and re-purpose a USB volume control for one of the knobs - to control O/S volume. I hate having any analog audio stuff in a PC, though, since it's an electrically noisy environment.

 

dosjockey

Go Kart Champion
You have me thinking...
A thin USB drive - like this "might" work. I'll need to get the toaster in-hand and measure the slots. I don't want to cut any sheet metal, except at the back, to make it work though.


A goal, if I have the room, is to use a standard ATX power supply. Between that, and a video card, there might not be room left for much else. I like the momentary switch idea for the big levers. Supporting the sliders could be a challenge, since a toaster has some large mechanical levers inside. I'd need to create something compact.

I might be able to gut and re-purpose a USB volume control for one of the knobs - to control O/S volume. I hate having any analog audio stuff in a PC, though, since it's an electrically noisy environment.

Indeed, such a drive may work quite well. I'd suggest considering the Lenovo products as well, as they've got the old Thinkpad designs and can be found on Ebay.

There are compact video cards that would do pretty well, actually; and you've got a very good venting solution; straight out the top through one of the slots. A solid, ducted 120mm solution could handle the overall cooling; but a blower fan reference card can also be ducted easily; and with a PCIE extension, you can have it wherever you like.

Audio solutions can survive just fine in a PC, if they're built properly. I'm remastering a film with this card right now; plugged into studio monitors. It'll blow the doors off many external DACs:


EMfthlPWkAYKn7B.jpg


PSU fitment is always going to be rough in small form factors, but there are some solid options. I generally stick with Seasonic on the whole, as they're the best in the business, and their Focus SFX line will give you solid performance in a smaller form factor.
 

torga

Autocross Newbie
I've been dragging my feet so long on buying a 2070 Super (and I won't be able to buy one for at least a few more months), that I may now have to wait until Nvidia's 3000 series gets released to compare. My 1060 has been a champ lately, with minimal frame drops. But that'll be a different story once Cyberpunk 2077 comes out.
 

dosjockey

Go Kart Champion
I've been dragging my feet so long on buying a 2070 Super (and I won't be able to buy one for at least a few more months), that I may now have to wait until Nvidia's 3000 series gets released to compare. My 1060 has been a champ lately, with minimal frame drops. But that'll be a different story once Cyberpunk 2077 comes out.
I'd love to have RTX for Doom Eternal when it's released next month, but that ain't gonna happen. The 1080 will have to do, as I just built a whole new rig. I'm not dropping another grand or so in it.
 

torga

Autocross Newbie
I'd love to have RTX for Doom Eternal when it's released next month, but that ain't gonna happen. The 1080 will have to do, as I just built a whole new rig. I'm not dropping another grand or so in it.
The 1060 was supposed to just hold me over for a few months until I saved up a bit to buy a better card, since I snagged it for $130 "new" (EVGA B-stock), but it's been a champ with some older games I've been playing (Borderlands 2, Witcher 3, various indie games). But I don't expect to enjoy the same image and FPS quality once I start playing some newer AAA games (Fallen Order and soon, Cyberpunk).
 

KevinC

Autocross Newbie
27" late 2015 iMac. I was a PC guy until 2008, building my own rig every other year or so, then passing the old one down to some family member. Decided to try Mac and figured if I hated it, I'd just return it within the 30-day return window. Took about 2 weeks to realize I should have made the switch years earlier. The rest is history.

I'll finally upgrade when the next round of updates comes out, hopefully with some cosmetic changes - the current design is great but has been around forever.

 

Chad13762

Ready to race!
I appreciate the Mac aesthetics - but they are a PITA to work on. In case you want to get in there to do any work, here's the key to unlock the mysteries beneath that glass. ;)
 

dosjockey

Go Kart Champion
I appreciate the Mac aesthetics - but they are a PITA to work on. In case you want to get in there to do any work, here's the key to unlock the mysteries beneath that glass. ;)
Eh. They're just PCs that are a couple of years out of date running a different operating system in a closed ecosystem.

Construction quality is high, but so is a PC of the same price built by a similar integrator, such as Falcon or Puget. Comes down to whether or not you want to pick where your files are stored and manage your own data, or if you just want someone like Apple to handle it all for you.

There are ethical concerns, but purely from a hardware/software perspective, Apple is no more than a different business model. If the IBM PS/2 had taken off, they'd have direct competition, in that regard.

Man, that would have been an interesting show to watch.
 

Chad13762

Ready to race!
Eh. They're just PCs that are a couple of years out of date running a different operating system in a closed ecosystem.

Construction quality is high, but so is a PC of the same price built by a similar integrator, such as Falcon or Puget. Comes down to whether or not you want to pick where your files are stored and manage your own data, or if you just want someone like Apple to handle it all for you....
Scroll back a few pages. My iMac is running an open source O/S and software. I also provided the tool to physically open the system that's now open source. :geek:

Now, I just received a hand-me-down Surface RT. That's a closed source demon that cannot be saved. It's probably going straight to the thrift store donation bin.
 

KevinC

Autocross Newbie
I appreciate the Mac aesthetics - but they are a PITA to work on. In case you want to get in there to do any work, here's the key to unlock the mysteries beneath that glass.
Very true. But I'm done screwing around inside of PC's anyways, so it doesn't bother me at all. Super-simple to add RAM, that's all that mattered to me. I just buy 3 years of AppleCare and don't worry about it. Keep it for 3-4 years, sell on Ebay for ridiculously good money, then hit reset with a new one. That plan has served me well for the last 12 years.

The 27" 5k iMacs are an insanely good value. They don't cost much more than the same monitor would cost as a standalone device. And they hold resale value FAR better than any PC could ever hope to.
 

dosjockey

Go Kart Champion
Very true. But I'm done screwing around inside of PC's anyways, so it doesn't bother me at all. Super-simple to add RAM, that's all that mattered to me. I just buy 3 years of AppleCare and don't worry about it. Keep it for 3-4 years, sell on Ebay for ridiculously good money, then hit reset with a new one. That plan has served me well for the last 12 years.

The 27" 5k iMacs are an insanely good value. They don't cost much more than the same monitor would cost as a standalone device. And they hold resale value FAR better than any PC could ever hope to.
I'm not sure about that. I've found the powerful brands in quality really hold their value. Falcon Northwest is among the top contenders, in that regard; and priced similarly spec for spec with a Mac Pro.

You're not going to get a Mach 5 for chump change, no matter how old it is, and the higher horsepower Apple stuff kind of drops like a rock after a few years; but you're selling before that happens, and that's a smart move.

Nobody wants someone's custom build, though. It took quite some time for me to get to the point I could sell a system for ten grand with a ten year unconditional hardware warranty. Tailored integration into workstation, industrial, and secure environments is where the money is; as well as custom laptops because so few will do it, unless you push for consumer brand recognition. Every now and again I get to do an Esports or show rig, but it's not often.

Shame, though... That's what you actually want to do, and not too many enthusiasts will pay for it.
 

Chad13762

Ready to race!
Parts are trickling in....

All Apple bashing aside, Jony Ives cheesegrater design can't hang with the toaster!

 

Chad13762

Ready to race!
Toaster progress...



The PC is running - but just sitting on the table for now:
- Ryzen 5 3600
-16gb ram
-500gb Sata M.2
- GTX 750

There was no-way an ATX power supply is going to fit, so I bought a 450 Watt Modular SFX supply.

The toaster is gutted. The mechanicals were quite elegant, especially given the fact that it was designed well before cad modeling (date stamp on the bottom looks like it was made in 1969) I felt kind of bad tearing it apart.

I need to do some sheet metal fabrication, so the power supply is supported up off the motherboard. The toaster shell will need to simply slip over the whole computer assembly, since the only access would be through the bread slots. I also decided to make the back into the front. It's nicely finished stainless, with no holes. I/O and venting for the power supply will be cut out of the original front. It'll be a few weekends before I'm freed up enough to dive into hacking sheet metal though.
 
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