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Desktop/ Mini-tower AT Cases

ajacocks

VCF MA Committee Member
Staff member
Joined
Jan 21, 2011
Messages
652
Location
Middletown, Maryland USA
All,

It seems that the supply of new-old-stock AT cases has mostly dried up. I have a bunch of motherboards whose cases I never owned, which need homes.

I am aware that you can use early ATX cases with AT motherboards, but that wastes a ton of space. Does anyone have suggestions on what else to do? I’m looking for either desktop or mini-tower AT cases, with 8 slots.

- Alex
 

kc8eyt

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2020
Messages
323
Small ATX cases with 8 slots will be hard to find. A small case such as this ( https://www.ebay.com/itm/381043265882 ) will fit a baby AT board with minor modification, but it only has four slots available. Then there is the issue of using an ATX to AT power cable converter to get the P8/P9 connections ( https://www.ebay.com/itm/163773886606 ). Also, don't forget that most ATX power supplies do not include the -5V supply so you'll need to get a voltage blaster ( https://www.ebay.com/itm/393287819878 ) to supply your motherboard with -5V.

I damn near threw out a Sound Blaster 2.0 8bit card a while back because of this -5v situation. I thought it was defective. Most cards don't use the -5V supply but the Sound Blaster does. I'm glad I caught that.
 

ajacocks

VCF MA Committee Member
Staff member
Joined
Jan 21, 2011
Messages
652
Location
Middletown, Maryland USA
Yep, I have a bunch of ATX-to-AT power adapters. Often, the -5v issue doesn’t cause any problems, as very few cards actually use it. But, I have these, so I can work around that, as well.

I’d definitely prefer real baby AT cases, but they’re becoming really hard to find.

- Alex
 

ajacocks

VCF MA Committee Member
Staff member
Joined
Jan 21, 2011
Messages
652
Location
Middletown, Maryland USA
Contact the seller directly, as he has some left over from the Kickstarter run. Otherwise, you can build your own, as it is open source hardware.

- Alex
 

kc8eyt

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2020
Messages
323
Contact the seller directly, as he has some left over from the Kickstarter run. Otherwise, you can build your own, as it is open source hardware.

- Alex

I just emailed the developer. He encoded his email address in binary, LOL, nice trick to avoid spam.
 

creepingnet

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Messages
1,036
Location
Sparks, NV
Something I'm still toying with, if I ever get a house with a workshop, or the time to do it, would be to start making some small-time PC XT/AT style cases both reproducing old whitebox designs and some designs of my own. Would just need a metal brake for bending the bottom and chassis components, and build some silicon molds of old faceplates to reproduce old ones and mold some custom designs of my own. I'm getting into metalwork anyway.
 

TheDrip

Experienced Member
Joined
May 13, 2019
Messages
344
Location
San Diego CA
I cringe at what the cost of a hand fabricated replica case is going to be. One-off, as a project for yourself it kind of makes sense. Making them for sale in a home shop with a manual brake? Unless you're donating your time, those will be hundreds of dollars.

That said, I would see love to see someone do this, but it's not economically realistic. Maybe if you could decide on a single case design, or something very simple to customize like a case that can be a tower or a desktop by flipping the drive cage 90 degrees, then pre-sell hundreds and have a fab shop stamp them out.
 

creepingnet

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Messages
1,036
Location
Sparks, NV
I cringe at what the cost of a hand fabricated replica case is going to be. One-off, as a project for yourself it kind of makes sense. Making them for sale in a home shop with a manual brake? Unless you're donating your time, those will be hundreds of dollars.

That said, I would see love to see someone do this, but it's not economically realistic. Maybe if you could decide on a single case design, or something very simple to customize like a case that can be a tower or a desktop by flipping the drive cage 90 degrees, then pre-sell hundreds and have a fab shop stamp them out.

Considering I've been thinking about this since 2004 - that explains why I have not done it yet in part - because I know actually BUILDING the thing is going to be harder and more labor than it seems at first. I always think of crazy stuff like this, end up building a couple and stopping at most. The goal would be to eventually either get the idea bought out, or get them mass produced in a factory in the end anyway - allowing for upgrades/further improvements.

The idea, at least initially, would be a single case design that I could apply different face plates to, that, if successful enough, could allow 2 more versions. I was thinking to start with a full AT desktop style case that could masquerade as a slightly larger than normal XT, an AT clone, or a clone of a Compaq Deskpro 8086/286/386 depending on faceplate hardware. Could even make some modern face plates and paint them black as a retro-esque choice for modern systems as well.
 

Al Kossow

Documentation Wizard
Joined
Sep 1, 2006
Messages
2,728
Location
Silicon Valley
I always think of crazy stuff like this

The interest in vintage-looking aluminum and steel enclosures is only going to increase over time.
I was just noticing that the ubiquitous "CTS Mod-U-Line" project enclosures from the 70's and 80's don't even have a scanned catalog on line.
 
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