Kent’s very own Einstein

Caitlin Restelli

Hanging out with friends playing the “Halo” series or taking a break between 17 credit hours, Mike Marvin is your average freshman getting acquainted with Kent.

Over his last spring break, however, he accomplished a task many would think impossible. Buying computers is one task, but building a computer is a whole new level and Marvin, a chemistry major, makes it look like it’s a piece of cake.

Within the past year, Marvin began having an interest in learning about building projects or making ideas turn into reality. A dreamer would describe him best.

“I’ll look stuff up on the Internet and read about stuff and I just kind of have thoughts pop into my head,” Marvin said. “Like, if there’s something I want to learn about, I’ll see if someone else has done something similar and copy that, but with my own personal spin.”

The computer he created is not your average computer. Although it can do anything a computer can do, it can also play Blu-ray DVDs, music, store pictures and videos, record TV and play live TV.

“I didn’t have a DVD player and I wanted to be able to watch Blu-rays,” Marvin said. “So I decided, hey why not just build a media center PC, then it could do everything I wanted it to.”

Soon after the idea arose, Marvin began to research. He stumbled upon someone who accomplished a similar task in 2003. Using the pictures from the website as a guide, Marvin began his work.

“The one he built and the one I built are very different. Instead of having it play just SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) games, I wanted it to be a full media center.”

Money played a big part in this project.

“I tried to have it as powerful as possible while still trying to be somewhat cheap and small.”

Marvin utilized websites such as and, which are websites that sell electronics and electronic parts for cheap.

Marvin accomplished keeping the project on the cheaper side. The cost of a decent computer, according to Marvin, is between $500 and $1000. The total cost of the project was a little over $500 and this computer is more advanced than a regular computer bought at Best Buy.

Marvin decided to create this computer in the form of an original Xbox. The Xbox controller is used as the mouse and if he wants to browse the Internet and needs to type, he uses the onscreen keyboard.

Dropping the ‘x’ from Xbox, Marvin inserted an ‘m.’ The ‘m’ in Mbox can stand for a variety of things.

“My name is Mike. It could also stand for movies, or media, or music, so it just kind of seemed like there was a lot it encompasses.”

After only a couple of months of diligent work, Mike had his very own media center to take with him to college.

A couple other projects have made their way into Marvin’s head. Last March or April, he decided to see if he could run a calculator off of AA batteries. He split it up into five stages and is currently working on the fifth.

He also built a file server by putting four old hard drives into his friend’s old computer. The file server uses only a power cable and Ethernet cable, while running an operating system called FreeNAS.

“I use it for backups of all my data,” Marvin said. “I can access it through anywhere.”

Residing in the basement of his home, the file server can be reached from his dorm.

Using it as a storage unit for files, he can copy them to his laptop or he can save files to the server.

Mike Marvin is a man with an eye for creation. Keeping this talent as a hobby, Marvin wants to get into the research field and make renewable energy less expensive and more efficient.

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