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Looking for information on large AT/XT cases

markyb86

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When I was in high school, a friend of mine had a computer that I re-installed windows 95/98 for a few times. The machine didn't have a brand that I remember, but the case is all I'm interested in. It was 2.5' to 3' tall, had probably 5-7 5.25" drive bays in the front, was no wider than a normal tower of that age, but really tall. Classic beige.

Just curious if anyone has any idea what kind of case or brand of computer that might be. I have a feeling gateway 2000 had some that big, but they don't look like I remember. Would be cool to migrate my i5 into something like that.
 

Unknown_K

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Dozens and dozens of companies made cases like that. Do a google search for full tower under pictures and see if you find a match.
 

SpidersWeb

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Gateway certainly did large cases, I use a case from a Gateway Pentium III to house my Pentium 166 tweener - but still that's only 4x5.25" bays (but very roomy inside).
Bad video but you can see one of them here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12HCMwK-qnE It'll only just fit under a desk (that doesn't have a keyboard tray).

4 bays is the largest I've been able to find (as silly as it sounds, I could really use a 5th in that machine). But I remember reading PC World in the 90's and seeing larger cases and drooling at the adverts for the big server towers.
 

Lutiana

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I had a few full tower cases back in the day. Lots and lots and lots of space inside. I also seem to recall one actually had wheels.

Your descriptions sounds like a fairly generic full tower case from that era.
 

Lutiana

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Dozens and dozens of companies made cases like that. Do a google search for full tower under pictures and see if you find a match.

Actually since full tower now has a slightly different meaning then it did back then you'll want to google "vintage full tower case" You should see hundreds of examples of what your looking for.
 

luvit

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As a BBS owner i was ALWAYS watching for cases which supported Five External 5.25 bays and Two External 3.5" bays (and safely assume minimum of Two Internal 3.5" bays).
This meant that I could max-out a SCSI Host card with internal devices.
The cases I looked at were generic. Your friend may have had something close in size and it could have been generic.
FWIW, Gateway 2000 probably had the most memorable styling for the time for all of their cases.
 

markyb86

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I also seem to recall one actually had wheels.
This sounds like something familliar too. I wonder if his had wheels. If not something in one of my schools must have.

I could really use a 5th in that machine
I had that same sort of feeling back then, when all I could get were mini towers. Had random drives in a wood box on the side even at one point.



I searched for the "vintage full tower pc case" and came across this
that's basically the size I thought of.

Full tower is pretty much showing 4x5.25"/1x3.5" modern PC cases more than likely in image search.

I did find a gateway 2000 tower that would fit the bill, after searching better. That one is huge. It's not what I had in mind, but I had a different friend, had one of these in the family office or whatever they called it. Saw "mega race" played on it once, never saw that machine again and always had in the back of my mind, that mega race was the coolest racing game ever, until I found the cd-rom at goodwill and brought it home, heh. Guess it was cool for it's time.
 

Chuck(G)

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Chinese 80s-era full tower cases usually meant 6 5.25" external bays and occasionally an internal 5.25" full-height bay for a hard disk. I've got one here with 5 x 3.5" floppies and 1 360K 5.25" floppy and a full-height internal CDC SCSI drive. I use SyDupe on the internal drives so I can have 3 copies going simultaneously--all driven from a 486 motherboard and 3 floppy controllers.
 

Wormetti

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I have one large case. It could fit 6 x 5.25" drives. I think at the moment it has a 386 board, 720KB 3.5" drive and two full height SCSI hard drives.

large-case-nes-tower.jpg
 
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krebizfan

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I have multiple old (486 and Pentium) towers with lots of external bays. The problem is not all the bays can be used because cables or other impediments get in the way. With multiple internal bays, multiple SCSI cards are needed since no SCSI cable can handle the bends needed to reach all the bays. A nicely designed mini-tower often has more usable bays.

For an I5, look at the full range of current ATX cases. If you insist on having a lot of external 5.25" bays, there are cases with 10 5.25" external bays. Buy some long SATA and power cables and enjoy.
 

markyb86

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An i5's ports won't match up to anything in a case like that. Have you thought about that issue?
Thanks for the heads up, I'm well aware of this. I was given an IBM 5160 that looked like someone sledged it in the rear. Had to cut away the card slots and most of the back. Wound up putting part of the back of a ATX case and a generic 486 board in there. At the time it was a nice machine. IIRC, I traded it for a copy of Windows :/

there are cases with 10 5.25" external bays.
From what i've been able to find, the ones with more than 5 bays have them all the way down to the bottom. Although this is nice, the cases aren't much taller than the others, and I would wind up mounting a fan in the bottom 2 bays. I've probably missed the bigger towers for current machines, but I just cant find them.
 

gronos

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I think I had something very similar to what the OP was looking for, way back. Damn case had to be 24-30" high at least. I believe it had 5 external 5.25" bays and 2 3.5" bays, as well as a couple internal 3.5" bays. Also had an actual rubber handle riveted to the top so that you could carry it. It was really damn heavy, had to weigh at least 50 pounds. I don't know why I was worried about anyone stealing it when I took it away to school, they wouldn't get very far with it if they had to run, lol.
 

Chuck(G)

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I had one around 1992-93 that was a 13-slot box with 8 3.5" drive trays that could slide out. I stuck a Seagate Hawk in each one and hooked the whole thing to an Adaptec 3985 SCSI RAID controller. It was interesting...but I couldn't think of a use for the setup.
 

luvit

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I have multiple old (486 and Pentium) towers with lots of external bays. The problem is not all the bays can be used because cables or other impediments get in the way. With multiple internal bays, multiple SCSI cards are needed since no SCSI cable can handle the bends needed to reach all the bays. A nicely designed mini-tower often has more usable bays.
I frequently worked with full towers with maxed-out bays -- cabling could be a chore. SCSI was typically used to max-out all the bays.
An internal SCSI ribbon cable was typically long enough cable to reach the top and nicely support several consecutive bays and stay quite manageable.
If you mixed some technologies, like proprietary CD-ROM cables, IDE cables, etc, it could affect the physical positions of the drives and fight for your finger space.
For example, Floppies and IDE hard drives would be mounted at the bottom where there would be more space to work with cable management, reduce the number special extra long cables.
I remember many times I would unmount a drive and have it peek-out of the computer a few inches so i could better verify if a connector is plugged-in.
Before SCSI was more available and affordable, maxing-out a full tower was hard.. mixing technologies could include running-out of IRQs prior to filling the bays.-- that's another post.
 

lowen

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I have a couple of fairly large towers in my 'junk' collection.

One is I think an 11-bay case that's on wheels and stands 3 feet or so tall. It is a bit wider than a 'normal' case, and has (as far as I can remember) a 550W AT power supply. It has many drive lights, and I put them to use back in the day with a 386DX25 with a GSI Model 4C 4-channel IDE adpater (yeah, 4 separate channels, 8 drives, and I had 8 27GB Maxtors on the thing for storing a radio station's digital audio library of 5,000+ songs, with IDE cables that pushed the length limits). Here's a pic of the controller:

IMG_20140322_110926_321.jpg

and a link to jumper info http://museum.ttrk.ee/th99/c/E-H/20413.htm

I also have a couple of Evergreen CAPserver chassis, one of which has 12 640MB IDE drives and 12 CAPcard single-board PC's, with a mix of 386SX, 486SLC, 486DX4-100, and Pentium Overdrive 83's on a segmented passive backplane. If there's interest I'll post pics of the AT tower and the Evergreen CAPserver, both of which are pretty impressive cases (they're not where I'm at currently.....).
 

Chuck(G)

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Before SCSI was more available and affordable, maxing-out a full tower was hard.. mixing technologies could include running-out of IRQs prior to filling the bays.-- that's another post.

There were multi-SCSI controllers on a single board, such as the Adaptec 3985 that I've tried unsuccessfully to sell. Essentially 3 2940s on a board with a PCI-PCI bridge chip. Looks just like 3 2940s.
 

luvit

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That's very interesting. My full tower days were 486-based ISA. IRQ sharing could have had poor results compared to PCI IRQ sharing.
I didn't use PCI until I used Pentium. I assume that one PCI SCSI card uses a single IRQ for the "3 emulated" cards?
 
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Chuck(G)

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As far as I can tell, it doesn't appear to use any more resources than a standard 2940. I believe it was intended mostly for Netware servers, as it comes with Netware drivers.
 
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