Many of you have asked me for details of this mysterious project and are expecting to be astonished. I’m thrilled to introduce you to the smallest 486 computer, built by Eric Mackrodt, a passionate trick guy, with his own hands, along with a custom mini case and a mini-screen, both printed in 3D.
As an antique computer enthusiast, I am convinced that the retro aspect and the experience that can be had on old equipment provide a great opportunity to travel back in time.
Eric spent more than two years collecting components and gathering information to make this project possible. He uploaded a video on YouTube where he explains the design of this wonder. In the video, he details the components used and presents the design plans of the case and the 3D printed screen.
He explains that his computer is based on a small SBC (Single Board Computer) card featuring an Intel 486DX4 processor running at approximately 100 MHz. In addition to the SBC card, it utilizes a four-slot ISA backplane that includes channels for connecting various expansion cards along with the SBC card. For video display, he chose a Tseng ET4000 video card, and for audio support, he connected an Audiodrive ESS card.
The mini-screen is custom-made, utilizing an 800 x 600 pixel LCD panel for video display. The design of the display case is inspired by Intel 486-era monitor designs. The front of the PC includes functional buttons and an LED to indicate power-up.
Once the computer is assembled, Eric demonstrates how he runs several operating systems and games from that era. His system utilizes an SD card for storing software and data. The demonstration begins with Windows 95, including a brief gameplay of Solitaire. He then launches Windows 3.11, demonstrating its ability to handle Sim Tower. Finally, he installs MS-DOS, which he considers to be the best choice for an “antique” (almost) object like this.
Perhaps Eric’s project will inspire you to follow in his footsteps and embark on a similar endeavor at home.