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Craptiva - Aging my every-day PC by 30 years...

Discussion in 'PC Build Logs' started by Mistikal, Mar 24, 2022.

  1. Mistikal

    Mistikal Member

    Jan 18, 2002
    The Forgotten West
    Hello lads and ladettes,

    Let me start with the backstory and where this whole saga began (skip ahead past the first photo if you CBF reading my historic ramblings).

    Back in the late 90s, when teenage kids (myself included) would froth over the latest and greatest PC game titles such as Quake, Diablo, Duke Nukem 3D, Need for Speed and so on, many of my peers had "straight from the newspaper" or the local big-furniture outlets the more mainstream "pre-built" machines - brands such as Acer, Dell, Gateway, Compaq and IBM were massive for the mums and dads who had no idea that a taylor-made PC from the dedicated corner store was often a better and cheaper solution than sending off a mail-order to their TV guide magazine for a plain-jane beige combo with mediocre specs.

    There was however, one thing that these prebuilts had over their custom-built counterparts - style. Quite often, the styling of the plastic front panel of the beige box would match that of the CRT monitor, and sometimes even flow down to the included speaker combo, the keyboard and sometimes even the mouse. The custom-built PCs of the era would take a few more years yet to catch up to the trend of these prebuilts.

    I never owned a prebuilt, and if I even uttered the words to my father "I want a store-bought system", hell hath no fury, given that he ran his own corner store computer shop through the early 90s and past the "dot com bubble". Many of my friends also had custom-built systems (a handful having obtained theirs through my fathers store), however there were a couple who had prebuilt machines, one of which was an IBM Aptiva complete with matching screen, keyboard, mouse and speakers, very similar to the below:


    My own PC at the time eclipsed this thing spec-for-spec, was like comparing a horse and cart to the space shuttle, even though both were bought/built at roughly the same time... except his looked coooooooool !!

    Since then, I've always had a fond attachment to the lowly little IBM Aptivas of the mid to late 90s, with their edgy styling and cues, lines here and humps there, looking sleek and sharp yet sedate all at once - nice job IBM.

    In late 2021, sitting around home with very little to do and a tad influenced by adult beverages, I hammered "ibm aptiva" into eBay and stumbled upon this gem. As it was local to me, I took a punt and won it "yayyy *hic* its mine" before falling asleep and forgetting the entire transaction.


    Now, I purchased this thing with the sole intention of rehousing my main PC into it, and discarding the original innards and carrying on with life. About a week passes and I collect the machine from the seller, and all is dandy. Get it home, didn't touch it for about a week (infact it stayed in the car), and carried on with life.

    Eventually I recall having purchased this old gem, and set to unravelling my prize. Once I had it on the workbench, I was curious to see if I could make it live - alas, board is dead. Stripped it bare, and gave it a clean, and fitted my intended hardware.

    PXL_20220111_120637408.jpg PXL_20220111_120655730.jpg PXL_20220111_120740417.jpg PXL_20220115_115558476.jpg PXL_20220115_115607572.jpg PXL_20220116_083014007.NIGHT.jpg

    The system is running, working a treat, however I need to fix a few things:

    - I need an SFX PSU, with the ATX adapter plate. The ATX PSU in it that I have been using for a while is too deep for a number of reasons; it hits a motherboard tray pop-rivet, it covers the cabling duct for power cables to get down inside the case, I cannot fit a 5.25" drive at the top behind the CDROM door, and the intake fan is also pointing the wrong way.
    - The case HDD LED is a three-PIN plug, need to work out which two wires I actually need and mod the connector.
    - 80mm fan I have fitted to the front grill is hitting something on the chassis, haven't bothered to see what, unplugged for now.

    As for "mods":

    - Strip it down, light sanding of the chassis where surface rust has appeared, then hit it with an etch primer and a matt-finish navy grey paint on the outside and a matt-black finish on the inside.
    - Sand down the clam-shell lid and repaint it beige, as it has some deep scratches.
    - The original CDROM still functions however it is an IDE drive. I have purchased a SATA>IDE converter for it, need to fit it after the PSU issue has been rectified.
    - I am on the hunt for "Y2K" bug stickers for the front of it, as well as a new "Designed for Windows 98" case sticker that it would have come with, I really want this to appear period-correct.

    The system inside is getting a little long in the tooth now, but it still works. Eventually I will upgrade it but for now, it does what I need it to do.

    - Intel i5 7400, left stock with stock cooler
    - 16GB DDR4
    - Asus GTX 970 4GB, still works fine
    - 512GB m.2 SSD
    - Gigabyte H110M motherboard

    If Mr Taxman is nice to me this year, I may just go on a spending spree - I have seen a "short but tall" RTX3070 which would fit in this case nicely.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2022
  2. OP

    Mistikal Member

    Jan 18, 2002
    The Forgotten West
    Bit of an update.

    Bought a Cooler Master 750w SFX PSU today, just finished fitting it - fits really well with no need to modify anything. The screws that hold the PSU to the adapter plate clash with the chassis, but it is good enough.

    I've fitted a IDE-SATA converter to the rear of the original beige IDE CDROM, so it can connect to a SATA port on the motherboard. I've got blaaaaaack SATA cables at work, so I will connect that once I get the right cable.

    Also redid a little bit of cable management, and shifted the 80mm intake fan so it no longer rubs on anything. All in all, a good hour or so spent on it and I am happy with the outcome. Have also fitted 2x 16GB DDR4 modules, a nice boost.

    Next update will be to strip the thing entirely, and begin painting the chassis. Inside will be flat black, the outside will be battleship grey. I am going to leave the paint alone on the beige lid and I am not going to retrobright the fascia, it adds to the "shitness" appeal.

    PXL_20220402_071830403.jpg PXL_20220402_071914695.jpg PXL_20220402_071814006.jpg PXL_20220402_071839338.jpg
    PXL_20220402_071858521.jpg PXL_20220402_071850619.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2022

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