Luggable Cyberdeck Can Still Be A Luggable PC

In the 80s and early 90s, there existed a class of personal computers that are no longer around today — the luggable. Planted firmly between a desktop and a laptop, these machines were lovingly called so because they were portable, but just barely. Think Kaypro, Osborne, or the Compaq Portable.

First things first — this lovely 1990-era industrial luggable has not been gutted according to [D1g1t4l_G33k]. The chassis, CRT, power supply, and ISA backplane are original and still intact, and they still have all the parts to restore it to its original DOS 3.1 form.

What [D1g1t4l_G33k] did do is replace the 386x-based ISA SBC with a 2005 AMD LX-600 Geode at 366 MHz. Gone are the ISA data acquisition cards and 80 MB SCSI hard drive, replaced with a 32 GB compact flash drive. The floppy drive is functional, too. Now it sits on a cart next to the workbench running AntiX Core 19.5, functioning happily as an AVR development workstation.

Having an old luggable to mess with in the first place isn’t a requirement. We’ve seen a modern take on the luggable, and here’s one with three monitors.

This CRT Luggable Makes Sense

There was a time when portable computing meant not a svelte laptop but a suitcase-sized machine that was really a slimmed-down desktop with a small CRT incorporated int he same box. They were heavy and unwieldy, but the computing compromises of using one at the time were less than with what served for more portable machinery. It’s a form factor which understandably has long ago disappeared, but that hasn’t stopped [Sdomi] from reviving it with a machine that packs plenty of modern computing power.

It’s a project that started with a monitor, a diminutive green-screen model which had previously adorned a CNC machine. It’s a composite model, so it’s driven from a VGA-to-composite converter. The computing power comes from a thin-client board that packs an up-to-date AMD Ryzen processor and 32 GB of memory, and the case is manufactured from oriented strand chipboard.

The result is a chunky but definitely practical and usable take on a portable cyberdeck, with the caveat that a composite monitor will not deliver the resolution some of us might be used to. We have to admit rather liking it, there’s nothing like the curved glass of a CRT.

It’s by no means the only up to date luggable we’ve seen, though more often now they feature an LCD.

A "portable" computer in a grey enclosure. There is a small CRT on the left hand side of the face of the enclosure and a disk drive and a couple ports exposed on the right hand side. The keyboard is attached with a purple cable. A black cartridge with a grey and red label sticks out of the top of the enclosure.

Portable MSX2 Brings The Fun On The Go

Something of a rarity in the US, the MSX computer standard was rather popular in other parts of the world but mostly existed in the computer-in-a-keyboard format popular in the 80s. [Aron Hoekstra aka “nullvalue”] wanted to build an MSX2 of their own, but decided to build it in a period-appropriate luggable form factor.

This build really tries to make the computer as plausibly vintage as possible including an actual CRT for the display instead of using an easier to obtain and package LCD. Computing is accomplished with an Omega Home Computer MSX2 SBC by [Sergey Kiselev] which uses components that could have been found when the MSX computers were in production. While 3D printing wasn’t widespread in the 80s, we can assume any of the plastic parts like the internal mounts would have been injection molded instead.

An impressive number of different techniques were used to bring this computer to life including PCB design, 3D printing, CNC, and plenty of soldering. After some troubleshooting on the 50 pin cartridge connector and all the assembly, [Hoekstra]’s Mega Omega MSX2 Portable Computer makes for a very impressive reimagining of the MSX platform that feels like a product that might have actually existed at the time.

If you want more MSX hacks, checkout how to add a Wii Nunchuck or PS2 or USB keyboards to your MSX.

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Toteable PC Is Inspired By Macs Of Days Gone By

Back in the 1980s, the personal computer was a hip new thing, and the form this new technology would take was still up for debate. Back then, all kinds of weird clamshells, breadbins, and all-in-one designs hit the market, with the Apple Macintosh proving to be a successful example of the latter. Inspired by the Macintosh 128K that served as their first computer, [Arnov Sharma] decided to whip up a modern all-in-one of their very own.

It’s nicknamed the LATTEintosh, as it’s built around the Latte Panda 3 Delta. This is a single-board computer with an Intel Celeron N5105 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage on board. It’s capable of running full-fat x86 operating systems, and here, it’s running Windows 10.

The enclosure is a custom 3D-printed design of [Arnov]’s own creation. It sports a 7-inch HD monitor, fans for cooling, and speakers integrated into the case. Naturally, it’s got a handle on top to make it easy to carry, just like the Macintosh all-in-ones all those years ago.

There’s something to be said for a computer you can just pick up and carry away, and we love the boxy form factor. Sometimes a laptop simply won’t do, and we can imagine many engineers and technicians out there appreciating a build like this. We’ve seen some great all-in-ones before, too. Video after the break.

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