Here’s a Retro Desktop Chassis I’d Like to Make

Having recently modified my desk to accommodate my old Compaq Deskpro 4000, I uncovered some unfortunate consequences of the steady march of time. Always something, isn’t it!

1. My nice 15″ Acer CRT no longer works properly, with its screen dramatically pinched on the left and right sides. That’s a bummer, because it looks so nice with the size and shape of the desktop case below. Conversely, neither my 17″ Dell CRT nor my 15″ Dell LCD look appropriate on top of the Deskpro case. I like the LCD better for its size, display quality, and power usage, so that’s what I am using.

2. Both of my Compact Flash cards (1GB, 256MB) have ceased to function with the IDE to CF adapter, so I must use the very loud 10GB IBM hard drive. The issue may be with the adapter itself, I dunno.

3. The Deskpro is my only computer that can use floppy and zip disks and that’s a pain. It does have two USB ports on the rear, which I use in Windows 98 to transfer files to/from the machine, but it’s not so convenient and it’s a bit boring. I like using real disks! FYI: Windows 10 likes to crash if I use either of my PCI ATA controller cards in my main desktop, one being a Promise ATA133 and the other being a VIA based card. Of course they work fine in Linux… Always something!

4. Honestly, there’s little I wish to actually use the Deskpro for…

This got me to thinking about my old desktop PC from 2008, which has been in service as the livingroom/TV/kids desktop since 2013. Its Asus P5K-VM motherboard has a floppy controller and an IDE controller (for the internal Iomega zip drive), while also having handy modern stuff like SATA ports, Ethernet, and a Core 2 Quad CPU. It’s actually an ideal system to setup an emulation themed Linux box, both in terms of hardware I already have kicking around and in being able to easily enjoy the tactile and audible sensations of old disks… I’d probably use Mint 17.3, as it’s still my favorite Linux distro and it’s just so simple to install, configure, and manage…

Anyway, I could simply stick the floppy, zip, and DVD drives in its current boring black Micro ATX tower and use it, and that’s probably what I will end up do doing eventually, but I thought it would be fun to see if I could make a chassis in Blender 2.79b and GIMP 2.8 that’s more retro, while also matching my 15″ Dell LCD. This is what I came up with!

I like shorter desktop cases, ones like the IBM PS/2 and the Lenovo Thinkcenter M52. I also like the big red power switch and the LED panel on my old AT server tower. Finally, for black computers of yore, I like the industrial flair of the Commodore Plus/4. So those were my inspiration when I was putting this (shabby) render together.

Will I make it? Maybe someday, if I can figure out what to make it out of for as close to free as possible. Alas, it’s fun to dream! In the mean time I will continue to use my Lenovo 100e laptop (in Devuan Linux and Windows 10) and my aging AMD FX-8320 desktop, as they suit my needs and the kids are still using the livingroom PC anyway. 🙂