What should you do with an old computer? Create a home router/firewall!

ITX-motherboards can often be found in older computers from garage sales or thrift stores.  What is the practical use for these motherboards or older computers?

Here’s a small project that involves protecting your home.

After finding an ITX motherboard and gathering extra parts from broken laptops and computers, this project will put the software SMOOTHWALL Express onto the computer to make a mini firewall.  Total cost?

  • $22 250watt power supply
  • $5 Gearhead mini keyboard


Base processor
Athlon 64 X2 (B) 5400+ 2.8 GHz (65W)
800 MHz front side bus
Socket AM2

GeForce 9100


  • Manufacturer: Pegatron
  • Motherboard Name: APX78-BN
  • HP/Compaq motherboard name: Nutmeg-GL6E

Power supply

240 Pin DDR2 PC2-6400 MB/sec
Hard drive
120 GB SATA 6G (6.0 Gb/sec)
7200 rpm

Video Graphics

Integrated on motherboard (NVidia 9100)

High Definition 6-channel audio
ALC 888S chipset

Network (LAN)
Integrated 10/100 Base-T networking interface
Added Broadcom wireless to create a wireless router

External I/O ports connections – 6  USB

Expansion slots

PCI Express mini card socket – added Broadcom Wireless
PCI Express x16
PCI Express x1


  • 2″ Fan for Chipset

In the video below, HAK5 shows just how to make a motherboard like this into a nice home router/Firewall.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71S9fek0FKA]

About TCAT Shelbyville IT Department

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology - is one of 46 institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents System, the seventh largest system of higher education in the nation. This system comprises six universities, fourteen community colleges, and twenty-six Applied Technology Colleges.
This entry was posted in Apple, Computer hardware, Computer Security, Computers, Education, freeware, Hacking, Home Networking, Information Technology, Internet, Linux, network, Networking, Software, Technology, Windows, Wireless and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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