4 years ago now My NeXT Cube Mod Project finally documented

Started by misterx1969, April 22, 2007, 11:16:11 AM

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misterx1969

The NeXT Cube Project:



The Finished Cube!! How did we get here?

Well 1st you need a next Cube computer.... $10,000 USD in 1988....

This IS the computer that Tim Berners Lee created Http, and thusly the WEB, on..

Lookup Tim Berners lee if you want to see some screenshots of the first web pages ever made.

So lucky me, my boss' dad was cool enough to donate an old one to me!

http://img95.imageshack.us/img95/5356/photo0021cubelogopz8.jpg

after HOURS with a screwdriver and a dremel tool and about 50 of those tiny cutting discs we have a case that we can put something into... Every internal screw stud, mounty thing had to be ground off (there were a ton)- Grinding and Magnesium--
not an exceptional combination... anyway heres the case... empty there were 2 other plastic rails on top which were removed.

http://img226.imageshack.us/img226/5373/photo0022casecleanoutew7.jpg

A visit to home depot and i devised a material for the custom internal enclosure
(Its Angled and bar 1/8" aluminum)

http://img161.imageshack.us/img161/1379/photo003enclosurebuiltxe3.jpg

I didnt feel i was up to actually tapping the MOBO tray myself so in my fixit work i found a worthy victim...

http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/4259/photo27sorryatxtowerxb3.jpg

Hacksaw and dremel..... more cutting discs..... buying them in the cylinder now instead of the package...

http://img371.imageshack.us/img371/4739/photo0026mobotraywm4.jpg

One Sorry Mobo tray... Hey... thats not a bad cut for a dremel tool!!

http://img407.imageshack.us/img407/5965/photo004emptycaseya2.jpg

OK! one custom enclosure with proper matx standoffs... the black fan in back is from a vantec stealth PSU i bought for the project. The PSU was far too large to fit inside, but the cover once flattened out made a nice air INTAKE... 80 MM Vantec stealth fan used.

http://img182.imageshack.us/img182/8718/photo005conceptmw8.jpg

the concept was to have a modern computer in the old case, without ANY modification to the look of the case , wheras others had mirrored theirs or installed lights and windows, and knobs or whatever, MY build was going to feature no additional cutting or drilling to the enclosure itself, AND i wasn't going to chintz out by making the DVD burner external, like MR mirror finish did. This was the concept for the original hole in the front of the next cube, remarkably putting the dvd on top ther was just enough room for 4 3.5bays plus a lil extra room in the center!-- This design actually worked although given the length of the agp and pci cards the position of the 3.5 bays had to be reversed.

The solution was a long time in coming... and without any tools besides a dremel and a 6" hacksaw and a drill, i came up with my U bracket.....
The U portion of the U bracket actually came from the inside of the next cube and used to house the disc drive and the optical drive. it was 5&1/4 inches wide and cutting it down really made sense, otherwise i would have had to bend a sheet of metal this way, recycling from the next cube orig parts really paid off.

http://img523.imageshack.us/img523/3897/photo0085ubrackeorthotb6.jpg

here is a bottom view

http://img523.imageshack.us/img523/1834/photo009ubracketupsideddy1.jpg

More to come


misterx1969

Heres the whole front

http://img118.imageshack.us/img118/4792/photo023closeup1frontii7.jpg

Ready to install

http://img166.imageshack.us/img166/9418/tallshotsn0.jpg

From the top:

http://img170.imageshack.us/img170/275/photo252finaltopbv5.jpg

Here you can see the thermaltake ducting mod installed on the rear intake fan.

Intake? shouldent it be an EXHAUST fan?... Conventional thinking would assume so

however, having a constant supply of cool air blowing IN is actually far superior to exhausting hot air. the entire bottom is vented as well as the front vent and many areas across the back to escape hot air, not including the PSU fAN which is always blowing out. Actually this case outperforms my Antec Performance II Tower case for sound and thermal properties. My store bought case is Louder and runs hotter than this lil next cube, even though the NeXT cube is a Athlon 2600 and the Antec Box is a Tbird 1400, w 2 exhaust fan 80mm.... (Yes i turned them around and they are now intake fans too)...{Totally resolved heating issue BTW} lol they shoulda thought of that w Xbox360 teehee

OK Going in......

http://img100.imageshack.us/img100/3619/photo0255goinginbb4.jpg

and from the back...... (I never said it was gonna be pretty)

http://img250.imageshack.us/img250/1142/photo026backhs1.jpg

ANND its complete...... 1TB for less than $1000....

http://img357.imageshack.us/img357/8119/frontfinal2sq3.jpg

Parts:

Shuttle MN31N Motherboard
AMD AthlonXP 2600+ (Barton) 333 MHZ
512 MB Corsair PC3200 (400Mhz) 2x 256MB Dual Channel
NVIDIA Geforce FX 5200 AGP 8x w 128 MB DDR SDRAM
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 24 Bit w Firewire, etc
Maxtor ATA 133 PCI IDE controller
Pioneer 16X DVD Burner-- Black
Vantec Nexus 4 channel fan controller (Really helps w noise BTW)-- Black
Bay One AVI 6-1 card reader with 2 front USB and 2 front firewire, Cmos reset
Teac 1.44 MB floppy diskette--Black
IOMEGA 250 MB ZIP drive -- Black...

And this was 3 Years ago.......

misterx1969

I still have the Motherboard untouched.....
looking for a good home





I may even have 3 of those original slot covers laying around

(Also looking for a good home)

So, I know that you all may be "mad" or "depressed" that i gutted a cube....

So im willing to make any spare parts i have available to members of this forum as long as i am not "Crucified" by purists.

One question I do have is..., Out of all the 1000 screws i pulled out of this thing on dissambly, I misplaced the screws that hold the black backplate
on.  I am looking for black thumbscrews, similar to the mirror finish cube has used.  Can anyone tell me the specification for such a screw? i think its metric, as no screws ive tried have worked correctly... I have a black backplane i am going to use to make the back look pretty and i need the proper screws to hold it in place.

Any Help would be appreciated!

misterx1969

Well Northbridge fans Do die out.....
4 years and this one decided to become the god of noise

this early photo also shows 2 thermaltake ducting mods with a vantec tornado in the center... this cooling idea was way overkill as the fan was the loudest i have ever heard.... cfm beyond imagining.  an 80 MM case fan turned all the way down on the nexus controller is sufficient for barton cpu.  (new cpu x2 3800+ uses factory fan {still turned all the way down on nexus controller} {i hate noise}) Case runs quieter and cooler than my antec perfoemance II case w thunderbird 1400.



I buy a solid copper replacement from vantec the "Icberq" kit (nice kit too)



But just to spiteme, the gods decided that the motherboard regardless of AGP card in it or using built in video, no longer wanted to function after the fan replacement.  :(

So now that there is not a Single AMD Athlon XP Matx mobo for sale anymore, I had to nix the still working AGP and RAM and buy a new

CPU= AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+
MOBO = ECS Geforce 6100SM-M
RAM 2x 512 Mb PC 6400 OCZ, Dual Channel (800 mhz)
VIDEO= Evga Geforce 7600gs

The surviving Barton CPU, agp video, audigy sound card and 512 ram made it into another machine ive built with another 1Tb of disc storage in an ultra micro fly enclosure (very well built case btw)

and the dead shuttle MOBO was replaced with a jetway mobo found here
http://www.weirdstuff.com/

a deal at 17.99--
they have a better one w 8x agp and 133 mhz ata for 19.99

a good deal if youre trying to replace a athlonxp mobo that died

anyway contact me about parts, the NeXT Mobo and rails is about all i have left.

Forgive me also for not having thumnails on 1st 3 posts, the photos dont copy between forums so doing this in multiple forums is way time consuming.

P.S. Looking for those Screw Specs for the back cover... can anyone help?

MacG4

nice work..im sure it took some time. but i must say..poor cube  :cry:
"keeping the NeXT legacy alive one day at a time"
-NeXTStation Mono, NeXTStation Turbo Mono, NeXTStation Turbo Color-

helf

After an apparent 15ish year hiatus... I'm baaaaack! :D (12/12/2023)

MacG4

i would be interested in ur left over orginal cube mobo
"keeping the NeXT legacy alive one day at a time"
-NeXTStation Mono, NeXTStation Turbo Mono, NeXTStation Turbo Color-

scarecrow

My NeXTs: NeXTcube 040@25Mhz, NeXTstation Turbo Color 128Mb, NeXTstation @25Mhz

nextchef

To each his own, I guess.

But probably not the best forum to post this sort of "work" on.

MacG4

Quote from: "nextchef"To each his own, I guess.

But probably not the best forum to post this sort of "work" on.
yeah i would agree. he had to think before he posted this that we would take some heat for it
"keeping the NeXT legacy alive one day at a time"
-NeXTStation Mono, NeXTStation Turbo Mono, NeXTStation Turbo Color-

nextchef

Quote from: "MacG4"
Quote from: "nextchef"To each his own, I guess.

But probably not the best forum to post this sort of "work" on.
yeah i would agree. he had to think before he posted this that we would take some heat for it

Especially since I think this is the guy pentium was trying to get the motherboard from, and he did not like the negative view pentium had on this "creation"

Chef

MacG4

Quote from: "nextchef"
Quote from: "MacG4"
Quote from: "nextchef"To each his own, I guess.

But probably not the best forum to post this sort of "work" on.
yeah i would agree. he had to think before he posted this that we would take some heat for it

Especially since I think this is the guy pentium was trying to get the motherboard from, and he did not like the negative view pentium had on this "creation"

Chef
yup i know exactly what guy u are talking about. now i fully understand
"keeping the NeXT legacy alive one day at a time"
-NeXTStation Mono, NeXTStation Turbo Mono, NeXTStation Turbo Color-

misterx1969

Quote from: "scarecrow"What is wrong with You? :/


http://www.blackholeinc.com/specials/blackhardware.shtml#NC

check the price on the motherboard i am giving away to a member of this forum... at no cost to them mind you.

I ground off some internal studs and cut the aluminum cage in half
(this is also sold and only $25-40 DOLLARS)

I didnt change the finish or drill holes or put a gaudy LED display in it or put useless knobs on the outside.

Need i remind you that these were built in a factory by machine?
manufactured in the thousands?

Every city that is hip enough to have a technology museum already HAS one of these in their displays.  It is not a stradivarius violin, or a numbers matching 1957 corvette.

Treating it as such is lying. to yourself and everyone else.

I have a Atari 2600 and a Playstation II. I was alive and happy to get the Atari when i was 8 years old.  That dosen't make it a better game system than a PS2.

There's plenty of people who take classic cars and put modern engines in them because they do not want to deal with the hassle of finding expensive old parts and deal with old systems / bottlenecks.

Let me ask you.. is every computer you use on a daily basis 25Mhz or less? and if so Why? Do you have the same reverence for a 8088, 286 or Apple II or Macintosh II you see?  Do you still use 12", 8" OR 5&1/4" floppy discs just because they are old?  Do you have the same reverence for DoS as you do OpenStep?

You all talk like im crazy to want a NeXT cube with modern components.
its 2x 2Ghz, 1Gb of Ram and 1Tb of Hard disc space. With average noise of less than 22 Db.  This is just ALOT more useful to me than an old 25mhz unix machine

Im sorry if my Frankenstein experiment offended you purists. I actually like to have a computer that is useful.  I am giving away the Spare parts. I applaud you guys actually.. I myself do not have the patience or the knowledge to deal with a 20 year old unix system. GUI or no, I fund Unix and Linux even , GUI or no to be very white coat like.

I aspire to be a white coat..... but they stuck me in Volcano Science in school. I never went beyond algebra and geometry. In Junior High i got to use a TRS-80 and commodore Pet. I was not rich enough to afford this computer when it came out so I never used it as a daily workhorse or anything else.  There is something to be said for keeping it original i can see your point. Not everyone who is given one of these can make it work
I certainly coulden't. What I could do is make something useful out of what i was given and take something that was going to be junked, and give it new life. "Ideas are useless unless conveyed and transmorgified and amplified. They go begging for attention until another artist takes them up and refurbishes them." - Harlan Ellison

MacG4

These cubes are being rarer and rarer everyday. less and less are still out there everday. not sure if you have seen current market prices for NeXT cubes or NeXT items in general, but they are going up in price everyday now. to each is there own i guess
"keeping the NeXT legacy alive one day at a time"
-NeXTStation Mono, NeXTStation Turbo Mono, NeXTStation Turbo Color-