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Watercooled NES PC - Scratch Build


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The Intro:

Hey guys my name is Robert and I am from the Metro St.Louis area and I would like to welcome you to my build thread.

I have been wanting to do this case mod ever since I was a kid when a neighborhood friend and I first put a computer inside one of his broken NES's he had sitting around his house. It wasn't anything special and we did a pretty bad job lol, now keep in mind we were just kids doing this and didn't have many resources to get the job done.

Now that I am older, 21, I am ready to tackle this NES PC project I have been humoring myself with the idea about for years. I hope everyone get's as much of a kick out of this project as I will and currently am as I continue to make a childhood dream into reality :).

The Theme:

The Nintendo Entertainment System was the first gaming system I ever got my paws on. Being born in 1990 my dad had already had an NES in the house with a ton of games for me to play at my leisure. I was later introduced to the Nintendo 64 6 years later as a Christmas gift and needless to say I couldn't stop playing my Nintendos!

Nintendo not only had a huge impact on video games but also had a big impact on my life. With that said, I am dedicating this build to Nintendo and all of the Nintendo titles I played religiously while growing up.

The Design:

Art Stuff:

The colors I am wanting to go with are the nintendo colors Red, Black, White, Grey and the occasional carbon fiber touch. The top half of the "console" is going to be a graphic displaying all of the games I used to play growing up. The remainder of the console will be a nice shiny black.


Tech Stuff:

Since the NES PC has been done many times before with many different hardware setups I wanted to go one step further and do something (to my knowledge) that hasn't been done before, The Watercooled NES PC. Here is the current breakdown of what will be under the hood.

  • - ASRock Mini ITX with USB 3.0/Built in Wifi/PCIx/SATA 6Gb
    - i5 2400 3.1ghz quad core (sandy bridge)
    - PNY Optima 8GB DDR3
    - Corsair P128 128GB SSD
    - Saphire HD 5570 1GB
    - TopPower Flex ATX 300 Watt PSU
    - Sony Slot Loading BluRay Drive
    - EK CPU water block
    - 2 baby 40mmx2 radiators
    - Swiftech pump
    - Danger Den brass fill port

The Build:

I started the build by getting dimensions online from multiple sources and researching parts and their sizes. Then I grabbed a donor mini itx board from a buddy at work to make a to scale cardboard nes with cardboard components to make sure everything would fit nicely. After some thinking I decided I would add 2"s of extra case to the NES to make the overall dimensions 10"x10"x3.5".

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Update April Fools Day:

So I got a few things today to start the project off. I bought a dremel from wally world and I got my Carbon fiber vinyl, Watercooling line clamps, and 128 Gig SSD in the mail as well.

I also constructed a to scale cardboard model of the NES to test fit parts/components to make sure they will all fit before I start buying them.

Anyways, here's some pics lol.









Update 4/5/2011:

Woo Hoo, got some stuff in the mail today :)

3 broken NES's


Started on dremeling out the standoffs and indentations on the case! (that **** smelt discusting :P )


Yay for watercooling parts :)




This Radiator is TINY, I will be buying a second one :P


Pump/Res was a bit larger than I expected.



Test fitting parts in the 10"x10" NES box...


Gonna have to figure something out for the reservoir bc it sticks up about .33" to high :x


Thinking I am going to make the spot were the controllers connect flat and put the usb ports in the cartridge bay with the blu ray drive.

Update April 5, 2011:

So got my processor from microcenter today :)


I cut 2"s from another case and epoxied it to my current case.






And now I am using auto body filler to attempt to securely join the huge holes in the bottom of the case.


Carbon fiber


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Update 4/11/2011:

Yay Boxes and McDonalds!!!!!!


PSU, ram, 2nd Baby radiator,and case feet


baby PSU


about 45 minutes of dremeling and flattening......





Back top of the case cut out getting ready for plexy to take its place. (Horray the PSU FITS!)


Epoxing lip on bottom part of case, you can also see my lines I am going to be cutting.





Got alot of progess done today, just need to bondo a couple problem spots and some sanding here and there and I am ready to PAINT! Woo Hoo! :wheee:

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Update 4/19/2011:

SOOOOOOO, I had a long weekend and couldn't get much time to work on the NES but I blasted out some progress last night, here are some updated pics :)

OH what a lovely package to recieve from Germany :)



The pile of "Stuff" keeps growing!! AGHH


The ASRock Mobo with waterbock teaser shots :P



Testing out the Case feet.





Cut out a rough draft back panel, didnt get pics yet with the mobo plate cut out but it is (This part will be CNC'ed)


And Getting some PRIMER ON IT THANK GOD! Im still have some bondoing to do after I sand these first few coats of primer to get it smoother, but Im not to worried about he top of the case because it will look smooth bc I am just adding a graphic over top of it.

and the inside bottom of the case will be Carbon fiber vinyl so again not to worried about making it perfect :P




The motherboard standoff holes are correctly drilled and ready to go.

I just decided to go with the HD 5570 bc for one its half the price of the GTS 450 and I know there will be alot better DDR5 options available in low profile soon. Also the HD 5570 is literally a 1/3 of the size and uses alot less power and creates ALOT less heat.

Also my Water pump/T-line/and Fill cap are all on the way.

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Update 4/20/2011:

Some progess! Got the DVD drive, mini Sata adapter and Graphics card in the mail today...

Look at the freaking box that NewEgg shipped the Sata adapter in... no joke lol.


Graphics card, misc nuts and bolts, counter sinking drillbit, dvd drive, and lighter for sleeving purposes..


Nice HD 5570, I'm waiting for the DDR5 cards to get this side before I upgrade to one.



First 2 coats of primer, havent sanded and re-bondo'd yet. gonna wait till I get all the case fitment figured out.




testing motherboard bolts



Mounting CPU and Waterblock for test fitment..




Replaced the videos card's bracket and cut the base of it still need to cut the standard screw connector..



Some pny action



Starting to look like a PC!


Thats alot of stuff!



Ooops fudged up a motherboard stand off, oh well refill-n-redrill tomorrow!


It's exciting things are coming together nicely!!!! :)

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Update 4/26/2011:

HOLY CRAP I need some 90 degree angle adapters lol....

I think its inevidable that there will be some tubage sticking out the back of the system but It will look 200 times better with alot of angled adapters.





CD tray mounted and usb aux panel expoxied.


Update 4/28/2011:

Let's try this watercooling thing again with smaller tubing this time :P

Bought some 1/4" ID tubing last night and things are starting to look like we will be 100% internal :) wooo hooo.

I will first see how just one radiator performs with all 4 fans connected to it.




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Update 4/29/2011

And the lord said let there be water for all NES PCs!

But really have the loop running right now perfectly with no leaking what so ever. (It's now running silent that pretty much all the air bubbles are gone)

Yay for first water cooling loop ever :blackeye:

So quiet you could hear a pin drop :)

Update April 30, 2011:

Hand cut out my back panel to test out my measurements before I get it CNC'd.

Assembled the components into the case and I am now running the water loops testing for leaks (so far none :) )

One problem I have ran into though........ Weres the Hardrive gonna go???? LOL. So I decided the HD will be mounted underneath the system in a nice little cutout in the 1/4" black acrylic bottom layer I am adding.

Should turn out nice with the Case feet installed.

Anyways heres some pics :)










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Update May 2, 2011:

Did some more work on the case tonight.

Cut out the bottom panel acrylic and drilled the mounting holes and marked off were I will be mounting the Hardrive.

The current task at hand is figuring out how the heck I am going to close the case and keep it closed. The most obvious method would be to use a screw in every corner on the top of the case, connecting them to the acrylic dowel rods I have. We shall see.




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Looks good. Its good to see an old console like the nes come back to life. I still have my nes and I play it from time to time.. (Yea i know way old school but I love it!!! :D ) Your in for a really tight fit on the comopnents. One word of advice when your filling large gaps in plastic like that it is much better to use a fiberglass reinforced filler as a base and then bondo over that to fill any imperfections.Ive had bondo crack on me before where I didnt use fiberglass first. I like your idea in watercooling the system.Good luck to you!!!

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Looks good. Its good to see an old console like the nes come back to life. I still have my nes and I play it from time to time.. (Yea i know way old school but I love it!!! :D ) Your in for a really tight fit on the components. One word of advice when your filling large gaps in plastic like that it is much better to use a fiberglass reinforced filler as a base and then bondo over that to fill any imperfections.Ive had bondo crack on me before where I didn't use fiberglass first. I like your idea in watercooling the system.Good luck to you!!!

Thanks for the kind words and the advice! Trust me I am very very aware of how much room I am working with and I have nightmares about it :twisted: But I have drawn a bazillion plans and photoshoped many to scale models to see if it's remotely possible and it is remotely possible so Here's to hoping everything works out in the end :D

This is my first ever attempt at filling holes in plastic (let alone my first time doing a scratch case build or using a dremel) and the process I've conjured up for making a solid fill is quite ghetto I can assure you that lol. I first used an epoxy glue to glue the middle sections together and in the spots were reinforcement was needed I threw in some JB Weld lol. (I had initially purchased both because I didn't know if I was going to use the epoxy or the JBw but hey why not use both lol. So most of the side sections are held together with JBw and the bottom/top sections are the epoxy.

After that I taped down a peice of plexy glass to the bottom of the case so the Walmart special autobody filler would spread nice and flat on the opposite side and I began piling that stuff on there like peanut butter, and since it was my first attempt Ever at using the stuff it was a mess. So, an hour of so of hand sanding and 30 minutes the next day with a nice vibrating sander I got it nice and smooth. But the was a small spot were my seal was broken on the autobody filler, So I took a whole glob of epoxy and expoxied that sucker up. Then I threw bondo on the other smaller problem holes, sanded some more and now I am have a nice smoothish bottom. (still more work to be done on the tops and bottoms of the case though.


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