Animal Crackers

The "Animal Crackers" PC, Summer 2004

The custom build starts with a motherboard & CPU that were just not up to snuff enough to frag imps and other doggedly scary creatures in the latest DOOM chapter. What's left over after an upgrade sometimes ends up in an upgrade down the line in this crazy home where computers are in every room. This time, there was nothing needing an upgrade, so it was set aside as spare parts. While browsing in Surplus Computers I saw a neat Enermax steel case with acrylic panels on the face and a precut daisy pattern window for only $30 What the heck, buy a case on sale and fill it with spare parts.

Motherboard is an ASUS A7A266. Features USB, UltraDMA/100, Ali M1647 chipset and PC2100/PC1600 DDR or PC133 SDR SDRAM slots.. CPU is a AMD Athlon XP1600+. This is the foundation for a great Internet station, MP3 factory, solitaire console, mild games and letter writer.Animal Crackers interior

This is a Compu-Nurse dual temperature display. It's powered by a battery. Upper temp is the CPU, lower temp is the video card.
Animal Crackers Compu Nurse Thermometer

Here's the temperature while running. It's visible through the window with the cover on.
Animal Crackers running temp

Model : AMD Athlon(TM) XP1600+
Speed : 1.06GHz
Performance Rating : PR1537 (estimated)
L2 On-board Cache : 256kB ECC Synchronous Write-Back (16-way, 64 byte line size)
Animal Crackers CPU. Really all you see is the fan

512 MB of RAM.
Animal Crackers Stick of RAM

Video Card - ATI Radeon 9200 with 128 MB of video RAM. Dual outputs (VGA and DVI) and S-video output.
Sound Card is Soundblaster Live! MP3. Features digital out.
Animal Crackers AGP & PCI Cards

No messy wires flinging around in a Barovelli Computer!
Animal Crackers Neat Wiring

More tidy wiring. Note the folded IDE ribbon cables.
Animal Crackers Tight Wires

The hard disk Western Digital Caviar 40 gigabytes.
Animal Crackers WD 40Gig HDD

Here's a unique twist - an internal floppy drive. I like the looks of the case with the acrylic panels so much that I either had to mod the floppy to match or go without. Facing the fact that floppies are a dying feature and hardly ever are used and that they provide an air path into the case, they tend to collect dust from the air sucking into the case. This fills the drive with dust and first time you put a disk in after not using the drive for a few months, the heads are messed up with dust, and the floppy may get scratched by the dust.
Animal Crackers Internal floppy drive

This puts the floppy within reach, out of the way. The case has knurled screws holding the cover on for quick access.
Animal Crackers Internal Floppy with disk

Cooler Master blower gives added air circulation. It is adjustable by a variable control on the back panel.
Animal Crackers Coolermaster squirrel cage

Back Panel. Visible is the keyboard & mouse ports, 2 USB ports, 2 DB9 serial ports, DB25 printer port, 2 fan grilles (one has the blower fan) the fan speed control, Radeon 9200 video card, and a peek of the sound card.
Animal Crackers Rear panel

A Silver/Aluminum DVD drive would top it off better. I'm going to explore the hobby shop for some kind of adhesive foil that model makers use to make chrome or aluminum looking parts on plastic.
Animal Crackers Front panel
UPDATE: Replaced with a black panel DVD. See update pictures at bottom. Same brand.

Power switch in the middle of the ring. Bottom edge of ring is reset. A power on LED, disk activity LED and the case model badge - V770
Animal Crackers Power switch

The Bling Blue cold cathode.
Animal Crackers Bloo Light Spectical

Cover on. Power supply cable is covered by the esophagus hose
Animal Crackers Wattage digesting

Front panel USB. The headphone jack is re-wired to use as an audio input - plug a patch cable from the Walkman or stereo and record & sample audio.
Animal Crackers Front USB & Audio

The obvious was since the CPU was situated above the video card, the temperatures were self explanatory. Ahh, what do I know when others saw it and always asked what temp was what. I used Excel, an inkjet printer and some packaging tape to label the temp gauge.
Animal Crackers, I Labled the thermometer

Internal USB. Just another different feature. Using the computer while the case is open? Adding a panel or other peripheral that would snake a USB cable out the back? This keeps it cleaner. The motherboard supports 6 USB ports, we have the two in the back I/O panel, two in the front accessory panel, and more interesting than putting this in an expansion slot.
Animal Crackers Internal USB

Replaced beige DVD drive with a black one. Blame the flash for the different tint. Looks better in real life. Sat and watched Office Space on it.
Animal Crackers Black DVD Drive

SiSoftware Sandra Summary Report:


User : Admin

Model : AMD Athlon(TM) XP1600+
Speed : 1.06GHz
Model Number : 1600 (estimated)
Performance Rating : PR1537 (estimated)
Type : Standard
L2 On-board Cache : 256kB ECC Synchronous Write-Back (16-way, 64 byte line size)

Bus(es) : AGP PCI USB
MP Support : No
System BIOS : Award Software, Inc. ASUS A7A266 ACPI BIOS Revision 1012
Mainboard : ASUSTeK Computer INC. A7A266
Total Memory : 511MB
Chipset 1
Model : Acer Labs Incorporated (ALi) ALI M1647 ALiMAGiK 1 AGP System Controller
Front Side Bus Speed : 2x 101MHz (202MHz data rate)

Video System
Monitor/Panel : MAG DX-700T
Adapter : RADEON 9200 SE
Adapter : RADEON 9200 SE Secondary

Physical Storage Devices
Removable Drive : Floppy disk drive
Hard Disk : WDC WD400BB-34DEA0 (37.3GB)

Logical Storage Devices
1.44MB 3.5" (A:) : N/A
Hard Disk (C:) : 37.3GB (35.2GB, 95% Free) (NTFS)

USB Controller/Hub : ALi PCI to USB Open Host Controller
USB Controller/Hub : ALi PCI to USB Open Host Controller
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub

Keyboard : Standard 101/102-Key or Microsoft Natural PS/2 Keyboard
Mouse : PS/2 Compatible Mouse

MultiMedia Device(s)
Device : Creative SB Live! (WDM)
Device : Creative SBLive! Gameport

Power Management
AC Line Status : On-Line
Operating System(s)


Footnote: This page was originally made to sell the computer. I did try some new things with the build like cable neatness and metal cutting. Traded for 2 iMacs.