A few months ago, my MAME cabinet died; it was either a motherboard or CPU problem (I suspect a motherboard issue, since it was a cheap + cheerful Asrock board) … but once I’d diagnosed the fault to that degree, the exact cause was a bit immaterial, since I’d decided major surgery was going to be involved.
This is the fix: an all-in-one AMD E-350D board from Gigabyte. It’s very compact, supposedly stands up to all kinds of heat/humidity/power abuse (probably a good thing, when you live in a 1980s arcade cabinet) and comes with the CPU and cooler pre-installed, so it’s a doddle to set up. Pop in some memory, connect up the PSU, and you have a working computer. It almost seems too easy. It only costs £45 too!
Now I need to decide whether to stick with my existing software config (which is windows XP based, on a very old IDE drive… so I’ll need to grab a cheap IDE to SATA converter to get it attached to the board, and then jump through whatever hoops Microsoft decide to throw my way to re-activate my totally-valid-and-totally-legal XP license on an entirely different hardware platform), or switch to running linux off a USB stick instead. At the moment — for test purposes — I’m booting linux/GroovyArcade from a USB stick, and I kind of like the idea of dispensing with the hard drive and Windows altogether. But I did invest a lot of time and effort in my old software configuration (hiding the boot process and all obvious traces of the operating system, and completely re-skinning the front end with my own graphics), and I’m reluctant to start from scratch on a different platform.
Decisions decisions… I guess I’ll get the drive adaptor (they’re only a couple of quid!) and see if the XP route is even a viable option first.