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Jul 24, 2019 - 4 minute read - Comments

gBox Resurrected

The Geek Love

Back around 2002, I was sitting in my company lunch room, browsing the ads section of an InfoWorld when I saw this barebones kit they were calling the “gBox”. I remember instantly digging the acrylic wrapped aluminum look, similar to the Power Mac G4 Cube that got a lot of press back then.

Old School References

I’ve gathered some Internet Archive (aka “Wayback Machine”) links to the reviews and marketing of this case from various distributors.

New Components

Highlights

  • Handle - The “LAN box” handle makes it fairly rare even to this day. I am also drawn to the minimalist efficiency of Small Form Factor (SFF) but those are fairly plentiful on their own. Somehow handles just aren’t that popular… I love being able to grab that sturdy handle and chuck it somewhere… I threw it in my backpack and took it to work one day.

  • The original layout of this kit was based on a short lived standard called “FlexATX”. Flex is a little bit longer and wider than the plentiful mini-ITX boards available these days. This meant some work to add new mount post positions in the bottom of the case.

    • The extra Flex depth wound up being a real blessing - providing just enough headroom for the giant cooling radiator and fansto squeeze in behind the front face. Then the ITX mobo eats up all the remaining floor space (see photos). The fans are in push + pull configuration to get as much cooling as possible. But it’s true, the i9-9900k CPU can still easily overwhelm this small of a cooler with overclocking.

  • Carving out the I/O plate area in the back - they did a noble design of marrying the kit’s I/O ports to customized punchouts in the back face aluminum… but this turned into the fun work of dremmeling out that whole section to be an open mouth for modern I/O plate.

  • Very pleased to finally discover the SFX form factor PSUs were where I should be shopping for power (wild this has been a standard since 1997!?)

    • This case absolutely requires the short 100mm depth of more recently defined “PS3” sub species of SFX… any deeper and the power cable bundle would run into the optical drive bay. So this got me into the right depth, but the stock SFX height didn’t fill out the entire opening on the back of this case :...
    • Fortunately I then noticed these can be fitted with an extension plate that covers the standard ATX PSU opening, exactly what I needed! The ATX face plate combined with the SFX short depth is an absolute dream fit for this case.
    • The horsepower these vendors are cramming into such a small box is pretty amazing when you look at a full size ATX PSU next to it.
    • My previous PSU is an absolute dog compared to these specs. It’s so nice we get a strong selection of high end supplies to choose from mainstream manufacturers like Corsair these days: up to 750 watts, gold and even platinum level 80 plus certification, powder coated paint jobs and loving the modular cables, of course including the extra 12v lines modern multicore boards require.

It all came together in a super pleasing DIY blend of modern components wrapped in retro =)

The ITX retrofitting puts it back on the beaten upgrade path for years to come.

Current State (2019)

IMG_2942 IMG_2940 IMG_2950 IMG_2954

Mod’ing

IMG_2531 img_2538 IMG_2543 IMG_2541

Tags: Hardware

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