Wednesday, August 14, 2013
posted by John Van Horn 5:02 PM

After motherboard failure of Aurora, and the discovery that finding a suitable replacement would be near-impossible, I decided the time had come to build a new PC for myself…


Tuesday, May 17, 2011
posted by John Van Horn 2:51 PM

Time had come to replace Cobalt, which after 5 years of service had a motherboard failure. My good friend EJ wanted to go bleeding-edge, top-of-the-line. Who am I to say no to such an opportunity?

Jill’s PC

Saturday, May 29, 2010
posted by John Van Horn 12:07 PM

My friend Jill needed a new PC, and she wasn’t happy with previous Dell and HP experiences, so she decided to have me build her new budget PC.


Saturday, December 19, 2009
posted by John Van Horn 9:47 AM

The time had arrived to replace Red Racer, my brother-in-law’s old PC. The motherboard in his old rig was shot. Steve wanted more power (insert Tim Allen grunts). With that in mind, and a well-defined budget, project Blackbird began.

Area 51a

Sunday, November 22, 2009
posted by John Van Horn 10:50 AM

With the addition of Aurora, my old PC had been relegated to use as a backup computer. Recently, for my business I purchased an HP TouchSmart 600 PC, so Area 51 was no longer needed. Knowing that my brother-in-law Mike has a very slow old Dell machine, I offered this PC to him. The problem was it wouldn’t fit in his desk, SO…


Sunday, November 22, 2009
posted by John Van Horn 9:58 AM

The replacement for Area 51 as my work/play PC is Aurora.  This workhorse was built on a budget, and is based on the large, well-built Antec p190 +1200 case. Website Online

Tuesday, September 8, 2009
posted by John Van Horn 3:47 PM

A new website featuring Simulation-Based Training technology created by myself is now online. Give it a try and let me know what you think!  This application has been completely re-written, and is now fully cross-browser compatible (tested in Internet Explorer 6/7/8, Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera).  It also features a complete learning management system with quizzes, exams, certificates and an administrative login.  The 3D rendering used in the sample simulaton was created by my associate and good friend Mr. Gary Gilbert.

Click here to visit

Insane Router Mod

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
posted by John Van Horn 9:39 AM

In the past year, I have had my D-Link DGL-4300 gaming router lock up many times… a few weeks ago, it got to the point where it would go out several times a day.
When touching the top of the router, the plastic was extremely hot… so I figured it was overheating. That would explain why I had to unplug it for 10 minutes and then do a reset to factory settings when plugging it back in to get it to work.
Read the full article to see more about this mod…

Blue Dell

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
posted by John Van Horn 9:34 AM

This Dell PC was donated to me. Although missing some critical parts, I placed spare parts in it, and got the machine to run nicely. It replaced my youngest daughter’s PC that was on its’ last leg. This machine was a Pentium III 733MHz machine with 256MB of memory, no hard-drive, no LAN or modem card, no sound card, no drives at all.
My goal was to upgrade the CPU to 1GHz, max out the memory, upgrade the graphics, and really make this system purr. Of course, this is another opportunity to mod a case as well.

Hell's Gateway

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
posted by John Van Horn 9:24 AM

Since I have become more knowledgeable about building PC’s and Case-modding, I wanted to create a heavily modded PC with a mean look to it.
This opportunity came along when I was given an old Pentium 2 Gateway system. Obviously it couldn’t be upgraded, so the case was gutted and a new project began.
Read the full article to find out more…


Wednesday, August 12, 2009
posted by John Van Horn 9:11 AM

Plasma was my first attempt at a “budget” PC. The stock case is made of a thin steel. The case is also small in size, accepting only MicroATX motherboards, and only weighs 5.5 pounds.
My goal was to stay budget-concsious, yet create a very different-looking PC. The case features a sliding and retracting door as well as a unique large orb for the power and hard-drive activity LED’s.
It looked quite futuristic as it came from the manufacturer, and for the price of $35, it’s an excellent value, but of course, I couldn’t leave it like this… Time to mod!

Red Racer

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
posted by John Van Horn 8:31 AM

This project was to build a moderately priced gaming system for my Brother in-law, who is a racing fan.
A flashy bright-red case with racing stickers/logos was the goal.
Fortunately a case fitting the bill was already available on the market. The question was… would the case provide good airflow, and still be quiet?
Of coure not! Read on to see how this case was modded…


Wednesday, August 12, 2009
posted by John Van Horn 7:57 AM

This computer was built for my best friend EJ. He wanted a gaming machine with the ability to capture video and burn DVD’s.

The case is an Antec Super LanBoy. A light-weight aluminum case with large fans at the front and rear of the case for good air flow. The side of the case came with a window already installed. Since this case is designed for gamers that attend LAN parties, it even came with a carrying harness.

My goals in this project were to deliver high-end capabilities without costing too much as well as provide cooling and a little “flash”.

Area 51

Wednesday, July 29, 2009
posted by John Van Horn 6:28 AM

My first self-built PC, named Area 51, as well as my first modified (or modded) PC case. Area 51 has since been
replaced, but is still in use. Look for an updated article as I plan to eventually enhance this machine…

The case is a Yeoung Yang Black Cube server case. Made of steel. The case side had already been modified to have a
window and fan on it. The excellent window work was done by for
a very reasonable price. The case had very poor air flow. Since many components ran hot, cooling was a priority.
Especially the graphics card and CPU. The system was running with too many noisy small fans, and not in the right locations.

My goals were:

  • Improved air-flow using better placed, larger fans that can move more air at lower speeds (thus producing less noise).
  • Quieter operation. Hard drive noise and fan noise were issues.
  • Front USB ports needed to be added.