An All In One Cube PC For A 1990s That Never Quite Happened

When a particular device or appliance is evoked, there comes with it a set of expectations over what it might look like. A toaster, a camera, a washing machine, or a PC, will all have their own accepted form factors, and it’s rare that a manufacturer is adventurous enough to venture outside them. In the world of PCs there was a brief flowering of this type of creativity through the 1990s, and it’s that time which [ikeji]’s cube PC squarely fits in. It’s a 3D printed PC with a built-in display, keyboard, and printer, and while some might categorize it as a cyberdeck we’d say it goes further, we could easily imagine a slightly more polished version being an object of desire back when a powerful machine carried an 80486.

Inside it’s no slouch, packing an AMD Ryzen 7 Pro on a Mini-ITX motherboard, and while the display is a mere 7-incher it fits neatly behind the fold-down keyboard. The thermal printer is maybe more of a toy, but it’s good to find that even a bleeding-edge motherboard still has a serial port on it somewhere that it can talk to.

While the build undoubtedly has a few home-built rough edges we like the idea, echoing as it does those all-in-ones from the CRT era. Unless you have a handy Minitel terminal you won’t find much like it.

12 thoughts on “An All In One Cube PC For A 1990s That Never Quite Happened

  1. I would like a larger keyboard and display with such a build; as well as providing a way to tilt the display for better viewing. Then, maybe a larger printer (if available) could be installed.
    I am not complaining, just surmising.

    1. Depending on the display in use the tilt probably isn’t going to aid in the ergonomics or view from the screen – for that you need a box to stand it on – many screens have rather good viewing angles now…

      Personally am with you on larger keyboard, this little baby one I’m typing on now is only a tiny bit under standard size and I really hate it with my giant hands, but it does the job and fits the space it has to fit in, and having seen some of the smaller handed folks out there handle really tiny keyboards at full speed that really is just a case of the wrong tool for the user…

      Also having gone up to huge display size for the daily driver Pi4 and workstation (its the same monitor) I don’t really want to go back to my 10″ toughbook, its such a crimp in the working style you get used to with more screen real estate, but there is nothing wrong with the smaller display really, its just not as convenient as being able to have 8 (sometimes even more) windows open with decent viewing sizes..

      1. Thanks for comments!

        For display, IPS screen I use has enough viewing angles.
        and screen angle is better than my previous build :)

        For keyboard,
        I use a 16mm keypitch keyboard as daily dirver.
        So I didn’t think the keyboard in this machine small. but it’s highly depends on your hand size.

        When I use this machine in home, I attach external 40inch 4k display.
        Ryzen APU is enough powerful to drive it ;)

  2. It definitely looks like it might have been on display at a CES booth along side some hopeful nerds seeking vc backing in 1993 and trying to convince everyone that Qubes are Qool or somesuch with stickers printed right from the machine itself saying as much. Nicely done.

  3. I can see a fair few uses for having such a small integrated powerhouse with the thermal printer, just having quick printouts right there has value of its own, no getting up to find whichever cupboard you stuffed the network printer in for instance. The whole thing could be called a gimmik, but it could well be exactly what the creator needed for some reason too – which is something only they can know. Certainly seems like a neat and very useable luggable computer, in many ways could be considered more useful than the similarly potent laptop (though of course it will also loose on many factors too – which is pretty much par for the course for any ‘cyberdeck’ or custom build – its that combination of what brings the creator joy and functions as they wish it too that is likely rather unique to them).

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