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PC tower cases by year

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First post, by arncht

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Hi

I would like to create a topic about the old pc cases and we could use some "collective memory" to recognize the old pc cases.
I mean if you remember - "I saw somewhere same/similar case from this year, with this configuration" - you can share this information with us.
That helps to build more authentic retro computers.

If you looking for an old case, get a photo, and I will mark as "wanted".

Be honest, I am a big fan of the "authentic" configurations, so if I build something, I try to collect every part which was available at the specified age.
I created a big table for it: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Ra5Jv … dit?usp=sharing

1992
rWaFtYm.jpg

1993
mGIoVdp.jpg

1994
gpBm1fc.jpg

July 1994
KGJ36YE.jpg

January 1995
jrXBF2x.jpg

***

4m29OjYm.jpg
"Lanny" ca 1992-1993

  • This is the closest picture I could find that matches my first *real* PC back in 1998. It originally started it's life as a custom Point-Of-Sales computer in my dad's store, around 1992-93. I'll put this one around the early 90s.

ZVtLGMsm.png
"Palmer" ca 1993
wanted by: arncht

  • I had same case in May of 1993. That was my first pc, a 386DX-40.

dG7FbMYm.jpg
"Norman" 1994-1996

  • That was originally a budget 486 configuration from 1996, but I friend of mine had a DX2-66 config with similar case from 1994. The difference, it had a black inside and the manufacturing quality looked less cheap. So the case is from ca 1994-1996.
  • I think those started appearing in 1996 or so, and were somewhat common in low-end builds until the end of the 90s.
  • July of 1996 - PC Mag 6x86 advertisement
  • Apr of 1994 - Hungarian Chip magazine

1lbnsmPm.jpg
"Howard" ca 1996-1997

  • It as was the case for a very late 486 rig from end of 1996 or early 1997.
  • I have the mid-tower version of this case, but it does not have the MHz displayer or turbo switch. It's pretty sturdy, and plenty of room for cable management.
  • Although the plastic bezel has an attractive design, the chassis itself is pure garbage. I can confidently say it was the worst case I ever owned.

rJ1Rggxm.jpg
"Dominick" ca 1992-1999 (sleep button instead of turbo from 1995-1996)

  • It came with an MMX233 in it but it was likely upgraded, the turbo display is 2 digits. I used to see this very case from small computer businesses for years, but I really can't say much about it. I've been looking to find where these came from because I know for a fact they are extremely ubiquitous. Later versions of it came with 3 digit displays.
  • My father had a 386SX-25 in a case with this bezel, given to him new by his work, that was around mid-1992.
  • I have two cases with really similar look. One had a 486SX with VLB and the case has a turbo button, the other was a Pentium 133 and the cas has a sleep button. Looks like they got produced for quite some time. Also the 486 has a big plastic feet. The pentium has none, but it have been removed I think because the bare metal is toutching the ground instead ...
  • I would bet 386 machines circa 1992 would have been the earliest showing of it. I've never seen one with a sleep button, only the same case with turbo and a triple digit display instead of double. Though I'm not sure if the 3 digit ones were a later iteration or just 3rd party swaps of the display.

0nZH2cpm.jpg
"Carson" ca 1997

  • The first small case (on the photo) was used in a 1997 build from Russian company Formoza: Lucky Star 5I-VX1F, ceramic Pentium MMX-200 @ 166 MHz (I don't know why the CPU was underclocked), 2x32 MB PC66 SDRAM, 3dfx Banshee 16MB, SB AWE64 Gold, other parts (HDD, CD-ROM and FDD) were already lost when the PC had been found by me. Now the VX-motherboard is replaced with a LS 5MVP3, as it is better than the 5I-VX1F.

xHGfSXvm.jpg
In Win IW-A500 1996-2000

  • I found some web pages from September of 1998.
  • I just looked at the 440LX motherboard that came with my copy of this case. I found a few date codes, the latest was 9807 on the PCB itself. So at least my copy of the case was probably sold in 1998.
  • Not sure exactly when those first showed up, but my friend's father had one with an ATX P!66 classic inside. I am pretty certain it was assembled in 1996.
  • I had a P2 and later a P3 system in this case and want one in good condition badly.
  • December 1997 PC Mag (Nova PII-266XC)
  • September 1996 PC Mag (DirectWave)

83m8JuGm.jpg
"Silvester" ca 1999

  • very late AT case with low cost Celeron 366 config, looks very similar to "Dominick"
Last edited by arncht on 2019-05-02, 20:23. Edited 30 times in total.

My little retro computer world
Bought this retro hardware

Reply 1 of 102, by arncht

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There is another one:
It as was the case for a very late 486 rig from end of 1996 or early 1997.
For me it looks more "486" style than the previous case.

My little retro computer world
Bought this retro hardware

Reply 2 of 102, by arncht

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I had same case in May of 1993. That was my first pc, a 386DX-40.
If you have one, I would like to buy it 😁

Last edited by arncht on 2018-05-20, 10:58. Edited 2 times in total.

My little retro computer world
Bought this retro hardware

Reply 3 of 102, by arncht

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In Win IW-A500
I found some web pages from September of 1998.

My little retro computer world
Bought this retro hardware

Reply 4 of 102, by feipoa

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arncht wrote:
There is another one: It as was the case for a very late 486 rig from end of 1996 or early 1997. For me it looks more "486" sty […]
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IMG_20160822_221652.jpg

There is another one:
It as was the case for a very late 486 rig from end of 1996 or early 1997.
For me it looks more "486" style than the previous case.

I find this case the most attractive. Where did you get it? Are there more? Does the right-most button look strange in this image?

Ultimate 486 Benchmark | Ultimate 686 Benchmark | Cyrix 5x86 Enhancements | 486 Overkill Graphics | Worlds Fastest 486

Reply 5 of 102, by shamino

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arncht wrote:
In Win IW-A500 I found some web pages from September of 1998. […]
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IMG_20170715_120452.jpg
IMG_20170715_120525.jpg

In Win IW-A500
I found some web pages from September of 1998.

A relative bought one of these a long time ago from a friend's family. It had a 440LX motherboard with a P2-233MHz in it. It was apparently built by a shop - it has a shop sticker on the front.
Nowadays I have it, so I checked and it looks like an exact match.

Reply 6 of 102, by arncht

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feipoa wrote:
arncht wrote:
There is another one: It as was the case for a very late 486 rig from end of 1996 or early 1997. For me it looks more "486" sty […]
Show full quote
IMG_20160822_221652.jpg

There is another one:
It as was the case for a very late 486 rig from end of 1996 or early 1997.
For me it looks more "486" style than the previous case.

I find this case the most attractive. Where did you get it? Are there more? Does the right-most button look strange in this image?

No, i dont have more. I also like it, i want to renovate it later.

I think the right button is the reset button. It is harder to press it.

My little retro computer world
Bought this retro hardware

Reply 7 of 102, by arncht

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shamino wrote:
arncht wrote:
In Win IW-A500 I found some web pages from September of 1998. […]
Show full quote
IMG_20170715_120452.jpg
IMG_20170715_120525.jpg

In Win IW-A500
I found some web pages from September of 1998.

A relative bought one of these a long time ago from a friend's family. It had a 440LX motherboard with a P2-233MHz in it. It was apparently built by a shop - it has a shop sticker on the front.
Nowadays I have it, so I checked and it looks like an exact match.

OK, thx. The 1998 looks correct (maybe late 97). the inside is the typical "BX age", with the rotated PSU.

My little retro computer world
Bought this retro hardware

Reply 8 of 102, by krcroft

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dell-dimension-xps-p90-pentium-90mhz-1.3gb-hdd-32mb-ram-tower-pc-1.39__20968.1490152666.jpg
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Dell Dimension XPS P90, circa June 1994
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Parents gave me one as my HS graduation gift, which blew me away. More photos here:
https://www.recycledgoods.com/dell-dimension- … b-ram-tower-pc/

Last edited by krcroft on 2018-05-21, 14:31. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 9 of 102, by BeginnerGuy

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How about if I can't place the year>?

Can anybody place a year on this case I recently obtained? It came with an MMX233 in it but it was likely upgraded, the turbo display is 2 digits. I used to see this very case from small computer businesses for years, but I really can't say much about it. I've been looking to find where these came from because I know for a fact they are extremely ubiquitous. Later versions of it came with 3 digit displays.

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Edit: Vogons users place this case around 1992 coming with 386 class machines on the low end, and later models sporting Pentiums without a turbo button probably circa 1995-1996.

Last edited by BeginnerGuy on 2018-05-21, 20:58. Edited 1 time in total.

Sup. I like computers. Are you a computer?

Reply 10 of 102, by Revolter

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feipoa wrote:

Where did you get it? Are there more? Does the right-most button look strange in this image?

Hi,

I have a case of this model, and I don't intend to use it. The chassis itself has seen better days, but I can part with the face panel no problem (it's easier to ship it that way, too). PM me if you're interested.

Celeron 800, 512MB, GeForce2 MX, ES1938S/DB S2, 128GB SD, Windows ME/DOS 6.22

Reply 11 of 102, by Anonymous Coward

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arncht wrote:
There is another one: It as was the case for a very late 486 rig from end of 1996 or early 1997. For me it looks more "486" sty […]
Show full quote
IMG_20160822_221652.jpg

There is another one:
It as was the case for a very late 486 rig from end of 1996 or early 1997.
For me it looks more "486" style than the previous case.

I would avoid this one. Although the plastic bezel has an attractive design, the chassis itself is pure garbage. I can confidently say it was the worst case I ever owned.

The cases with the green power buttons were also pretty good ones to avoid. I think those started appearing in 1996 or so, and were somewhat common in low-end builds until the end of the 90s. Sometimes in the late 80s and early 90s you could luck out with a generic case with decent build quality, but the generic cases of the mid-late 90s were overwhelmingly poor.

The Inwin A500 on the other hand was a real winner. Not sure exactly when those first showed up, but my friend's father had one with an ATX P!66 classic inside. I am pretty certain it was assembled in 1996.

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 12 of 102, by Brickpad

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arncht wrote:
The attachment IMG_20160822_221652.jpg is no longer available

I have the mid-tower version of this case, but it does not have the MHz displayer or turbo switch. It's pretty sturdy, and plenty of room for cable management.

This is the closest picture I could find that matches my first *real* PC back in 1998. It originally started it's life as a custom Point-Of-Sales computer in my dad's store, around 1992-93. I'll put this one around the early 90s.

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Reply 13 of 102, by appiah4

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arncht wrote:
In Win IW-A500 I found some web pages from September of 1998. […]
Show full quote
IMG_20170715_120452.jpg
IMG_20170715_120525.jpg

In Win IW-A500
I found some web pages from September of 1998.

True. I had a P2 and later a P3 system in this case and want one in good condition badly.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 14 of 102, by arncht

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Anonymous Coward wrote:
I would avoid this one. Although the plastic bezel has an attractive design, the chassis itself is pure garbage. I can confident […]
Show full quote
arncht wrote:
There is another one: It as was the case for a very late 486 rig from end of 1996 or early 1997. For me it looks more "486" sty […]
Show full quote
IMG_20160822_221652.jpg

There is another one:
It as was the case for a very late 486 rig from end of 1996 or early 1997.
For me it looks more "486" style than the previous case.

I would avoid this one. Although the plastic bezel has an attractive design, the chassis itself is pure garbage. I can confidently say it was the worst case I ever owned.

The cases with the green power buttons were also pretty good ones to avoid. I think those started appearing in 1996 or so, and were somewhat common in low-end builds until the end of the 90s. Sometimes in the late 80s and early 90s you could luck out with a generic case with decent build quality, but the generic cases of the mid-late 90s were overwhelmingly poor.

The Inwin A500 on the other hand was a real winner. Not sure exactly when those first showed up, but my friend's father had one with an ATX P!66 classic inside. I am pretty certain it was assembled in 1996.

i am from hungary. in the east european countries you could buy just this "garbage", but it was the same for most of the computer parts. an average (i mean in those countries) computer cost more 3-6 months of salary at those time.
so simply no market for "branded" computers and computer parts, they started to be popular just from very end of the 90s. if i want to build an "authentic generic" computer, i have to put to these cases.

the inwin quality is amazing, but the construct itself is horrible.

appiah4 wrote:

True. I had a P2 and later a P3 system in this case and want one in good condition badly.

i have bought two years ago, as a NOS case. since then i realized, the biggest treasure is a good condition case. 😀 they are much rarer than any another computer parts.

My little retro computer world
Bought this retro hardware

Reply 15 of 102, by arncht

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i upload the images to the imgur, and link to the first message with the information.
i also give a random name for the cases to recognize them.

done 😀

My little retro computer world
Bought this retro hardware

Reply 16 of 102, by JidaiGeki

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BeginnerGuy wrote:

How about if I can't place the year>?

Can anybody place a year on this case I recently obtained? It came with an MMX233 in it but it was likely upgraded, the turbo display is 2 digits. I used to see this very case from small computer businesses for years, but I really can't say much about it. I've been looking to find where these came from because I know for a fact they are extremely ubiquitous. Later versions of it came with 3 digit displays.

IMG_20180520_162321.jpg

My father had a 386SX-25 in a case with this bezel, given to him new by his work, that was around mid-1992.

Reply 17 of 102, by Deksor

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JidaiGeki wrote:
BeginnerGuy wrote:

How about if I can't place the year>?

Can anybody place a year on this case I recently obtained? It came with an MMX233 in it but it was likely upgraded, the turbo display is 2 digits. I used to see this very case from small computer businesses for years, but I really can't say much about it. I've been looking to find where these came from because I know for a fact they are extremely ubiquitous. Later versions of it came with 3 digit displays.

IMG_20180520_162321.jpg

My father had a 386SX-25 in a case with this bezel, given to him new by his work, that was around mid-1992.

I have two cases with really similar look. One had a 486SX with VLB and the case has a turbo button, the other was a Pentium 133 and the cas has a sleep button. Looks like they got produced for quite some time.

Also the 486 has a big plastic feet. The pentium has none, but it have been removed I think because the bare metal is toutching the ground instead ...

Trying to identify old hardware ? Visit Ultimate Hardware 2019 - Project's thread The Ultimate Hardware 2019 (UH19) project- a stason.org/TH99
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Reply 18 of 102, by BeginnerGuy

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JidaiGeki wrote:
BeginnerGuy wrote:

How about if I can't place the year>?

Can anybody place a year on this case I recently obtained? It came with an MMX233 in it but it was likely upgraded, the turbo display is 2 digits. I used to see this very case from small computer businesses for years, but I really can't say much about it. I've been looking to find where these came from because I know for a fact they are extremely ubiquitous. Later versions of it came with 3 digit displays.

IMG_20180520_162321.jpg

My father had a 386SX-25 in a case with this bezel, given to him new by his work, that was around mid-1992.

Deksor wrote:
JidaiGeki wrote:
BeginnerGuy wrote:

How about if I can't place the year>?

Can anybody place a year on this case I recently obtained? It came with an MMX233 in it but it was likely upgraded, the turbo display is 2 digits. I used to see this very case from small computer businesses for years, but I really can't say much about it. I've been looking to find where these came from because I know for a fact they are extremely ubiquitous. Later versions of it came with 3 digit displays.

IMG_20180520_162321.jpg

My father had a 386SX-25 in a case with this bezel, given to him new by his work, that was around mid-1992.

I have two cases with really similar look. One had a 486SX with VLB and the case has a turbo button, the other was a Pentium 133 and the cas has a sleep button. Looks like they got produced for quite some time.

Also the 486 has a big plastic feet. The pentium has none, but it have been removed I think because the bare metal is toutching the ground instead ...

Thanks for the input guys. So 1992 seems logical, at least for the original. I've seen this case in a lot of business class PCs, so I would bet 386 machines circa 1992 would have been the earliest showing of it. I've never seen one with a sleep button, only the same case with turbo and a triple digit display instead of double. Though I'm not sure if the 3 digit ones were a later iteration or just 3rd party swaps of the display.

It's not my favorite case in the world, primarily because of the ugly round power switch, but it gets the job done 😎

Sup. I like computers. Are you a computer?

Reply 19 of 102, by techweenie

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I have the In Win IW-A500. My high school used it extensively, and as such I'm not willing to part with it. Very nostalgic for me. I have it setup with a PII 450 running Windows NT 4.0. The school had them fitted with PII 266 and upgraded from NT 4 to Windows 2000 the year I left. They weren't very fast even for the time.