We've seen lots of people who have built pretty cool custom PCs, but usually they're just putting off the shelf parts in an artsy-fartsy homemade case. That wasn't enough of a challenge for Steve Chamberlin, who was determined to build the CPU for his computer from scratch.
When you consider that a modern CPU has millions if not billions of transistors, you'll understand why wiring a CPU by hand isn't exactly the same as building a Heathkit clock radio over the weekend.
The CPU in Steve's Big Mess O' Wires (BMOW) computer uses dozens of hand wired logic chips, so he didn't go all the way by using discreet components. To do that, it would probably have filled his house. Still, what he built involved a massive amount of work that took years to complete. The resulting CPU won't exactly win a performance test against an Intel Core i7, but his 8-bit creation can run all sorts of real programs in Basic.
I think there's a certain simple elegance to this design, that's kind of a throwback to those old Atari and Commodore computers from the early 1980s.