There was a time when building your own computer meant a lot of soldering or wire wrapping. At some point, though, building a PC has come to mean buying a motherboard, a power supply, and just plugging a few wires together. There’s nothing wrong with that, but [Scott Baker] wanted to really build a PC. He put together an Xi 8088, a design from [Sergey] who has many interesting projects on his site. [Scott] did a great build log plus a video, which you can see below.
As the name implies, this isn’t a modern i7 powerhouse. It is a classic 8088 PC with a 16-bit backplane. On the plus side, almost everything is conventional through-hole parts, excepting an optional compact flash socket and part of the VGA card. [Scott] acquired the boards from the Retrobrew forum’s inventory of boards where forum users make PCBs available for projects like this.
If you try to duplicate [Scott’s] project, you can learn a few tips from reading his posts. For example, he learned that the resistor SIPs on the CPU board were a bit taller than the IC sockets. The lesson is to install the sockets first.
Scott didn’t use a normal 8088 chip, but rather a NEC V20 which was a common upgrade back in those days. In addition to the backplane and CPU card, [Scott] also built a floppy controller board, a sound card, a compact flash reader, and a VGA board.
There’s a certain amount of cachet to building a PC, even an old-fashioned one. We could be tempted to build one to hook up to some of the old printer port gear we still have hanging around, too.