First post, by Hamby
I've been investigating vintage cases recently, and I just had a thought.
And, being me, I immediately had to share my thought and give others the chance to tell me how dumb it was.
I never had or even played with an Altair 8800 or Imsai 8080, but I recall seeing them (like in Wargames) and always thought they looked so cool with all their flippy switches and blinkinlights.
Sure, you could build a psuedo-case that looks kinda like them, even with switches and blinkinlights... but what would you do with it?
stick an arduino or raspberry pi inside to control the lights via gpio, maybe. Which itself could be fun.
What I was wondering was if you could build such a case and put an actual PC motherboard in it... anything from an XT to an i7 pentium.
It would preferably run Linux or DOS, but I don't know if you can do what I have in mind with either.
IIRC, and I probably don't, the way the switches worked on the front of those computers was, you flipped the switches to set the address, then you flipped the switches to set the data bits, then you flipped a switch to put the data into that memory address.
If I'm right, I would think it very cool, and very very desirable to use that method to program a linux or DOS based computer. Not that it would be good, easy, efficient or preferable. just very cool and fun to play with from time to time.
It might work better with DOS, since you often directly access the registers/memory anyway when programming in DOS, anyway.
Heck, you could theoretically even stick a C64 or C128 inside and interface via the user port.
if I'm going to have to build custom cases for my vintage PCs anyway, I might as well make them look as cool as possible, but I would like the cool to also be functional. Like if I stick an analog meter in the front, I'd like it to measure something... maybe audio volume.