What's the most advanced motherboard that someone can build themselves?

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I am writing a story about an obsessive compulsive teenage girl that would like to build a computer the way someone like Steve Wozniak would (largely from scratch). I know that modern motherboards are way to complicated to build by hand, but what would be the most recent Apple Computer that could still be replicated that way?
 
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Your question dives into a grey area for this forum.. As its practice is to not talk about building any machine that could run OSX.. That said, other then BIOS changes, a Mac is just another Computer or Personal Computer. Except Apple designs the system, out sources many of the parts to companies like Foxconn who make standard computer parts like motherboards your mentioned.

Now if we go by your heading questions: "What's The most advanced motherboard that someone can build themselves?" Technically speaking, what ever is out today. ASUS ROG series is pretty cutting edge motherboards, technically anyone can make a board that runs like those. However if one where to make it say from scratch by stopping by a 1980's Radio Shack. It would look pretty hideous and huge. Most modern motherboards have about 8 layers of circuitry smashed into that board, cutting down on size and any wiring. But yea, you can make one, but it may look like a fire hazard waiting to happen.

Motherboards are not some magical item, they are simply a circuit board with a BIOS, Northbridge controller, south bridge controller, hand full of voltage regulators and resisters, plus all your accessories that are controlled by your south bridge controller chip, like USB, built in sound, PCI, etc, and so on.. Then slap on a few RAM slots, CPU, AGP or PCI-X slots that are handled by the north bridge and bam.. Got yourself a motherboard..

That said, technically anyone could make a modern motherboard. But it takes practice and loads of testing to ensure its stable and not cook anything you plug into it. This is why everyone just buys them.
 

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I'm not sure what being Obsessive Compulsive has to do with building a computer..

But as member Exodist correctly pointed out, we don't allow discussion of running OS X on non-Apple hardware since that violates the EULA..

However, if the exercise here is to create a GENERIC computer just to see what it takes to put it all together, that's a different story and no way will what you build run any of the current OS' or anything.

There are just too many complicated things in place, plus building a Motherboard requires a lot of knowledge that someone with an Electrical Engineering degree gets after 4 years of college and many more years of in-field experience. Just thinking about the power rails itself makes my head spin.

So, I would suggest that you are going about this entirely wrong. You really should go down the route of Arduino and similar tiny systems that allow you to cobble through a lot of different components to perform quite interesting things. Arduino, for example, has quite a following behind it and there are many instructions already and also many ways of interfacing it to cameras, IR sensors, and so on..
 
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I just wanted an idea.

I'm not wanting to build one myself. I just wanted to know if someone could build a computer equivalent to a Power Mac G4 or any computer from the early 2000's (Windows Included) in six months using their own design. I'm sorry if I violated any rules - I first thought of Apple because I use a macbook air and knew Steve Wozniak built the Apple 1 and 2 pretty much by himself.
 

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Yes, Mr. Wozniak built Apple I in 1976 and it didn't run OS X..:)

You are not going to build any modern (even from the early 2000's) by hand without having all the necessary knowledge..

As I said in my previous post, you and your friend are going about this the wrong way and focusing on the wrong thing. The idea is to use an existing SOC and then cobble together other components to create something that solve an interesting problem..

One example would be a system that could track visitors to a home using magnets, IR, motion and other sensors placed at specific points and then catalog that information.

Another TOTALLY cool idea is this Ball Throwing Machine (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PcL6-mjRNk) for a dog..
 

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I'm not wanting to build one myself. I just wanted to know if someone could build a computer equivalent to a Power Mac G4 or any computer from the early 2000's (Windows Included) in six months using their own design. I'm sorry if I violated any rules - I first thought of Apple because I use a macbook air and knew Steve Wozniak built the Apple 1 and 2 pretty much by himself.

The deal is...to build a motherboard at home with off the shelf parts...you got to be able to handle the individual parts that will be soldered onto the motherboard (resisters, transistors, capacitors, etc.). When I say "handle" I mean the best a human can do with micro tweezers, magnifying glasses, micro soldering equipment, etc.

I just looked inside of one of my Powermac G4's...and there's some pretty small stuff in there & fairly closely spaced (soldering would be difficult). May need to go older.

- Nick
 
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.....
I just looked inside of one of my Powermac G4's...and there's some pretty small stuff in there & fairly closely spaced (soldering would be difficult). May need to go older.

- Nick

Yea when I worked for ThyssenKrupp about 6 years or so ago. We did make many circuit boards and we had a few machines that placed the resisters and other components on the boards electronically like a CNC machine, then when in place it was sent into a oven to melt the solder. These boards looked like something I would have seen in my old Tandy 1000HX.

Now I have an engineering degree and over 25 years computer hardware experience, plus R&D experience. Its technically doable. Just testing and fine tuning alone would take over a year.. So its extremely not practical.

Lets talk about something else alone the lines of this. Building a Linux OS from scratch is doable, I did this just to say I did this.. That said. Its not practical and before I even think of doing it again. I had much rather head over to debian and download their latest build and then customize the kernel and apps to my needs.
 

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