The Dolch Demigod (The reincarnation of an old PC into a God like system.)

The Dolch Demigod

This is the beginning of a huge project...
I have always considered building a desktop system into an old luggable PC, but just never got around to it...
Fast forward a few years, I fell into some 10Gb NICs, built an 8.2TB (in usable capacity) NAS (Build log on that eventually), and want to use the NICs to un-bottle neck that.
Problem? I have an Asus Maximus VI Impact, a mini ITX board with no x4/x8 slot to spare...
So now I see my-self looking to buy a riser board that will not easily work in my current case and looking back on a previous project I wanted to do.
Then I got one of these from work:

For all those unfamiliar, this is a Dolch Pac 64. A system from the 90s built by Dolch, but mainly purchased by other companies who put their expansion cards inside for say network analyzing, then reselling them as 'portable network analyzers'. The original board inside had a Pentium 100Mhz. That won't do...

Oh by the way, did I mention the keyboard on the front of the dolch is a genuine Cherry MX Blue switch keyboard ;) Lovely keyboard.

The goal is to get an SFX power supply, a new water cooler to better suit the small form factor build, and a PCI-e active riser that will HOPEFULLY work :)


The motherboard is just coming from my current desktop, an Asus Maximus VI Impact.
I will be


The processor in the board is an i7-4770K, theoretically with a bios update I can upgrade to an i7-4790K but its not really worth the time, money or effort.


Just a 16GB kit, nothing interesting here.


Corsair SF600

AIO Water Cooler

Corsair H5 SF

PCIe Riser Card

Supermicro RSC-R2UG-A2E16-A


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As long as the mobo fits.... Do it sexy.

The main thing as far as I see is how to put that 980 ti ref card to use.
maybe this a roll up monitor?

Not really. I purchased the 1080p 13in display for this project like 2 years ago... I have literally not posted here on this forum like ever, so I just saw your project right before posting mine. I figured I'd document my project here.
I've seen builds like yours and while they're awesome and I love those builds.
I personally hate the 'suitcase' style of luggables like yours...
It forces your monitor to be so far of the desk by default, you have to pull the keyboard out of the case to use it. I prefer the older designs that worked well.
They are also quite big and bulky... Not cheap or easy to say ship somewhere or bring on a plane in I wanted.. Or was allowed haha.

There are two... One like the Kaypro:

Then there's the 'lunchbox' style I am using. I just love all I have to do is plug in power, fold down the keyboard, and pull out a mouse and I'm up and working.
3 steps. Simple.
These companies in the day had tough competition and had to make the systems as simple and easy to use because computers were 'new'.

But seriously that is my preference. Your project is awesome and I wish you much luck with it!

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Yea. That and the SFX could conflict. But I'll figure it out ;)
I'm going to block it all out and take photos.
Not sure how the roll up screen would help... There's plenty of room to put my 13" 1080p laptop screen with adapter inside where the old monitor is...

That sounds cool, and involved as heck. Collecting old PC's is a great hobby, Drove my wife nuts. Finally got rid of most except those that could be easily stacked in the garage from the PS/2 line. Probably my favorite line. Only 2 work now, a 486sx value point and a model 30 286 with the 287.
There used to be companies like PLBM that made arcade games for older PC's. That was years ago.

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Hah I'm 19 so I don't have wife problems yet... But I am starting a non-profit to open a museum so whoever I (hopefully LOL) end up with will have to deal with it.
I have quite a few PS/2s a 55SX, 25, P70 (fun fact, this is what I ORIGINALLY planned to build this luggable powerhouse into but I couldn't bring myself to destroying that old of a machine).
But that's NOTHING in my collection, I have an IBM 026 keypunch and 082 card sorter from the 50s, punched card technology. I have a Data General Nova 4, an 80s minicomputer in its original rack with a 5MB 15" Disk pack drive, yes 5MB...
I have a PDP 11/23 in a rack with a 9-track tape drive...
I have a Commodore PET, TRS-80 Model 3 and 4, IBM PC and a PC AT...
And much more...
Also I have a Mainframe ;)

So I think with the realization that the Xeons available for my price range will be too slow or a quad core like I already have I am going to instead buy an expensive active riser for my current desktop board and transplant it into the Dolch.
It turns out cheaper than the Xeon build anyway so this is fine.
I just bought a Corsair SF600 for it, wow is this thing TINY!
I also bought a Corsair H5 SF to replace the H100i I have since it would have been a challenge fitting that in without modifying the hell out of it for airflow.
Question is, should I edit the original post removing all the old info or should I just post the new parts list in a reply, or start a new thread?

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Keep this thread, but please start a vintage computer thread. You have a collection that could keep that alive for a year.

I had the trs model 4. Guy I bought it from for 50 bucks in the 90's gave me a huge box of software. He started collecting mechanical calculaters and for an hour showed me his new collection. It was fun playing around with cp/m and TRS-DOS. Had the PC, XT and AT. My Gaming rig i the 90's was an AT with a 5x86 inside, weighed a ton. Also had some apple stuff.
I got into it after coming across

A thread? God no, we would need a whole category...
It could range from really old shit like the 70s all the way up to people recreating or looking back on old builds they had in the 90s or early 2000s.
If something like that got opened up, then it would feel more worth posting about everything I have.
Otherwise, it would become too much of a mess way too fast.
I may post about one or two machines, but yea...

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totally anything with core memory? That stuff is cool
There is even a fan site for the Data General Nova:

I have a PDP 8 clone from a company called Fabritek with 4k of core memory.
Yup, I knew of it, I believe I also personally know some people who run that site as-well.

Ok here is a photo dump of the main chassis out of the Dolch I am working with.

I am currently 3D modeling that chassis in Inventor so I can work on adapters to 3D print.
Going to be fun 3D modeling all of this...

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One piece down... A couple more to go.
Then I can start designing the pieces that will need to be 3D printed :)

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I got the Supermicro riser in the mail and did some testing on my little PCIe 'test bench'.
aka. A laptop running linux with a express slot to PCIe adapter...
Tested my Corsair SF600 too, used it to power the PCIe adapter and the cards I was testing.
Linux shows the PLX bridge chip under LSPCI as a x48 5 port PCIE Gen 3 bridge chip, woot!

Started simple, tried two 10Gb NICs which worked fine.

Then I tried something a little closer to my ideal configuration, my old GTX 770 and a 10Gb NIC.
Unfortunately the GTX 770 didn't show up under LSPCI...

Then I tried my old R9 290 and a 10Gb NIC, and lo and behold both showed up in LSPCI!

So awesome news to anyone who wants to bodge some SLI/Crossfire shenanigans into a min-ITX system, this riser DOES work, in Linux at-least, Windows testing to come soon!
Now it does cost 115 bucks, ouch, but if your going SLI you probably have the money :)

I ordered mine from this site, as another site I tried first, which looked more reputable, said they don't accept anything but paypal for your first purchase... Did not want to deal with that. So I tried this sketchy looking site, but it arrived quickly and was packaged very well.

The cards from this site appear to be brand new, thus the price tag by the way.

More to come soon!
I am going to be adding photos to this post when I get home of the LSPCI readout and what the riser looks like with two graphics cards installed into it to show an SLI/Crossfire config.


that's genius

Currently typing this post on this beautiful monstrosity, while ray-tracing in Inventor maxing out my CPU to test the water cooler :)
Been doing this for about a half hour or so and we are up to 65C, 63C, 61C, 60C on each respective core.
This is on the standard fan setting in the bios for the CPU, will probably set it to 'turbo' since I don't care about the fan noise, its quiet in my opinion, but then again I work on mainframes for a living and god those things have fans that will literally give you hearing damage.

By the way, that motherboard tray is out of a Bitfenix Prodigy.
And yes that fan is just for the PLX chip, it gets HOT without any kind of airflow.
One side is supported by the metal frame itself, the other half by an old Quantum hard drive... heh...

Bonus, GTX 770 and R9 290 in the same riser:

One very very unfortunate thing is the H5 SF isn't really compatible with the Asus Maximus VI Impact, like at all.
The VRM riser gets in the way of letting the tube out.
I used the 2011 risers included to rise it up just enough... But the thing isn't secured, its just resting on those risers.
I will get proper risers to add later.

One problem I am seeing now is that since the H5 SF is offset and not centered on the motherboard, and can't really be because of the PCIe interference. Why is this a problem? Well with just the motherboard, water-cooler, and the riser, we are already at the max width allowance I have. There is enough room for PCIe cable risers to be plugged into the riser card so I can probably make it work... But I still need room for the GPU to be next the board somehow because of length constraints.
I think I can shave a half inch easily, and up to a whole inch depending on how fancy I want to get with mounting the cooler, I could design and 3D print stuff to really go crazy but I am getting lazy haha.
But if I need to do it to make it work, so be it!

I haven't tried the 10Gbe adapter in it yet, but I will probably tomorrow night when I have more time, and try some transfers between my desktop and NAS.

I will end up doing a bunch of benchmarks on the CPU to see if I hit performance at any level.
So without riser, with riser and GPU only, with GPU and 10Gbe doing nothing, with GPU and 10Gbe maxed.
See what happens, mayyybeee I will put the R9 290 in and see what MDA technology can do ;)
I will put all the benchmark info in the original post, but a sneak peak of running with the riser:

Which is worse than I should be getting, although I am running a ref cooler 980 TI...
It hit 80~C when benching... So yeaaa may have to do something about that.
That or its the riser, I guess we will find out tomorrow!
Anyway, signing off for the night!

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I was looking at this thread and my waifu yelled at me and told me to stop looking at porn ;_;