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61

The socket (or rather inlet) is most definitely standard, it’s a IEC 60320 C14 inlet. The standard was published in 1970. C6 and C8 are commonly used for laptop power supplies and smaller audio equipment. There are a number of reasons to use this arrangement on computer power supplies, monitors, audio equipment etc., including: using a standard inlet with ...


48

Same as today - beige and light gray goes with every style, no matter if a business desk or your living room. They are a simple non-statement, the least offensive colours to most people, thus not keeping anyone from buying. There have been endless attempts to sell stylish machinery thru all times, but looking back will reveal that the most stylish are ...


33

The choice of beige for the plastic cases used on popular 1980s retrocomputers was not arbitrary. As a color for a popular, mass-market, personal computer, it originated with the Apple ][, where it was specifically chosen by the designer, Jerry Manock. In 1977, Steve Jobs hired Manock, a professional designer, to create the Apple II around Wozniak's ...


32

Cost, both in manufacturing and design. The basic metal cases are simply that -- basic. Even modern PC cases are pretty simplistic being a metal box, with a plastic facade. For home computers of the time, they're essentially self contained unit with "no user serviceable parts inside". They were not designed to be opened by the consumer, instead having ...


24

According to the "Beige box" entry of Wikipedia, many early personal computers and dedicated word processors [...] were usually beige or similar colors like off white or ecru. These colors were presumably chosen to allow the machines to blend inconspicuously into a variety of settings, especially among similarly colored cubicles and office equipment.


22

Injection molding has a costly tooling cost but very low per-unit costs. This makes it cheaper to build a large number of cases. Metal cases have a lower tooling cost but higher per-unit cost. This makes it cheaper to build a small number of cases.


15

(This is about motivation (the why) of defining and adding a standard socket to devices and ment as an addition to Stephen Kitt's great explanation of the technical side - at some point a merge might be useful) Most home electrical appliances use a fixed power cord and have a on/off switch near the front. That's due the fact that for appliances sold in ...


15

Nostalgia Nerd produced a video on this very subject very recently. Most of the reasons he cites are already answered here. But one interesting find was that Germany and some other European countries went as far as to write it into their health and safety workplace laws that 'light-value' colors must be used in office computing equipment (7:00 into the video)...


12

I was designing computer housings back in "the day". Plastic cases were comparatively cheap in volume, but challenging to bring to market. The technology of choice was structural foam. It was strong but thick, up to about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. In the basic form, it required painting, but there was a co-extrusion process that would inject at the ...


11

Amigas work fine without their metal shields, and even the big-box machines' innards can be taken out of their case and run open on the desk. I never noticed any instability on my old A500 with the shield removed, although I might have done were I a radio amateur running a powerful transmitter nearby. As to the Amiga's emissions, FCC rules forbade Commodore ...


8

Early PC towers often used such a design, if only because they were basically desktop PCs on their side. Some systems even had a rotatable drive bay (a bay containing two full-height 5.25” emplacements is as high as it is wide). There were some systems specifically designed along the lines you mention; Apple’s Quadra 950 and PowerMac 8100 spring to mind, ...


8

The case of the Amiga 3000T was actually modified from the Commodore PC-60 III (their top-range PC). I doubt, however, that this makes it an easier find. Those monsters are sought after as well, apparently. Commodore was still fully functional when the PC-60 and 3000T were produced, so it is very unlikely a generic stock item from a third-party supplier.


8

Measurements of my IBM Model 5150 indicate the badge itself is 1 in. square, equivalent to 25 mm. But there is an additional approximately 1/32 in. added for the indent area, thus allowing the badge to completely reside within the indent. For "clones", I suppose the ones deemed "100% PC Compatible" would need to match this size, precisely.


7

There is very little information online about this, so I have scraped around and put this together: The screws on the Amiga 500 and 500+ were often Phillips (requiring a #2 Phillips head screwdriver[1]), but hex-socket (Allen key) screws were also used[4]. trall measured the external case screws on an A500 case that appear to be original. They are Torx T9, ...


6

The tower is neither an invention of the 90s nor was it done by IBM. For example NCR sold their PC8 series in tower form factor since (at least) 1986 with 286 CPUs. IBM hat the PS/2 Model 60 in 1988 Many companies put x86 PCs into tower cases, already with 8088 CPUs Not to mention stands that where available to turn an IBM PC into a tower I bet with some ...


6

There are several revisions of the C-64 board (see, e.g., here , or here), with two major form factors: the old "long board" and the new "short board". The long board (which I happen to have on my bench right now) is approximately 39cm wide and 18cm long, the short board is just as wide, but a little, well, shorter. If you need exact dimensions and drill ...


6

I believe you are referring to one of these: This one is actually an 11-piece. But same basic stuff. I've used & lost quite a few of these over the years. According to the specs: Includes Nut driver 1/4 inch / Nut driver 3/16 inch Which sounds about right. I was sure one was 1/4". And I was sure they were US sizes rather than metric sizes. The ...


5

The tower form factor was well known in the 1980's, even IBM was using it at that time (the IBM RT 6150 was available in both desktop and tower cabinets, and IBM even had a tower stand option for the PC AT 5170). And it wasn't unusual to stand a desktop cabinet on its side; this practice was common in office environments when the system unit and monitor ...


4

Anecdotally, I would advise against removing it. My Amiga 500 started crashing when I did large movements in front of it (standing up from a sitting position or walking by) after having the shield removed. Putting it back in stopped the behaviour.


4

A lot of valid considerations before me, and here is another one: Computers, and especially servers are usually installed in racks or spaces where it is easier to first install/mount the server and then connect the power cable to it. Also a lot of people liked to tinker with their computers (it was common thing 15 years ago, but nowadays probably not so much)...


4

The original PC was made by IBM The first device I ever saw with this style of power cord was an IBM Selectric typewriter. The "I" in "IBM" stands for "International", and this allowed them to make the same typewriter work with different countries' power cords. So, when they got around to making what was widely considered the next generation of typewriter ...


3

One inch square, I think (at least, the insets on my old, beige, midi-tower cases are).


3

Smaller home appliances don't use such a socked to save on the price. Many don't even require grounding, so they get a cheaper two-wire power cord, for which such a socket would be an overkill. Yet other, bigger home appliances have strict safety standards, which exclude the use of the above power cord socket. Kitchen and bathroom appliances in particular ...


3

The original Apple II case was designed before the FCC started enforcing Part-15 consumer product RFI emission rules. Atari used a metal shell inside a plastic case for the 400/800 because they thought the FCC rules would be enforced more strongly. Apple instead switched to plastic with a conductive coating inside and lots of gaskets instead so the Apple ...


3

Another reason: Simple home computers used relatively slow (both in risetime and in clock frequency) circuitry which was also contained in a relatively small area (making the wiring a less effective antenna), so the chance of becoming an EMI nuisance due to a a partially-shielded/unshielded plastic case was smaller. Also, some home computer systems were ...


3

Quote from Stephen Craimer who worked at Los Gatos before and after the Amiga Launch when he saw this question. "I also worked with on the FCC issues, both for the Amiga and after. unless the law has changed, the interference you cause by removing a shield opens you up to a Law Suite in a residential context. The AMIGA was a noisy beast, it used ...


3

Back in 1986, I was using an ICL Perq on a computing project when I was a student. As you can see from the photo, not only the computer, but also the monitor was in tower format. As you can also see, the tower itself was massive by today's standards. For reference, it was wide enough for an 8 inch floppy drive to be installed horizontally.


2

PC specific, ignoring non-PC systems here. Remembering early-90s systems, 286 machines were mostly built in the "Baby-AT" form factor. Sometimes you still saw new 286/rarely 386 builds in the full-width AT form factor, which is surprisingly huge :). 386/486 machines were a common sight in both Baby-AT and minitower/full tower form factors. One likely ...


2

This answer is not quite about retrocomputing, but anyway... They are making them, though it is a bit of a niche market. One of the newer ones (designed by the original Psion designer!) is the Gemini PDA, running Android (and some rudimentary Linux support), trying to spiritually continue the Psion experience (at least from their PR standpoint), and the ...


2

On the issue of qwerty keyboards on handhelds, I sympathise with you entirely (as the owner of a Nokia N900 and a Blackberry KeyOne). Looking at a modern smartphone as the nearest equivalent of a handheld PC, a physical keyboard competes with the screen for space on the front of the device. If one generalises that most people consume more media on their ...


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