A Modern Gaming PC Inside An Old 386 Case

Images: Tylinol
Images: Tylinol

The outside of this PC screams 1991. The inside, however, is very much from 2018.

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A self-confessed “beige-aholic”, Tylinol wanted to try something different with his latest PC build, and so did what anyone with fond memories of Wolfenstein 3D would do: put a relatively modern gaming PC inside the yellowing old case.

The case, pre-clean-up. Image: Tylinol
The case, pre-clean-up. Image: Tylinol
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There’s actually a nice story behind the old PC. Tylinol writes that he got it a few years back from an old man “hauling it to the end of his driveway”.

“Someone who wants this old computer walks by just as I’m throwing it out?”, he remembers the man saying. “That’s serendipity for you!”. Tylinol kept the old 386 around, playing old DOS games on it until the 2010 Nashville floods destroyed the components.

He couldn’t part with it, however, and recently moved a bunch of parts he bought in 2015 into it, calling the new PC “Serendipity”.

The specs included an i5-6500, GTX 970, 8GB DDR4 RAM and an SSD. To give you an idea of the advances in computing power since the release of the case and the parts inside it, and as Tylinol writes in this Reddit post, the LED on the front of the case now has more processing power inside it than the original 386 PC itself.

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The rust was removed with Naval Jelly and sandpaper. Images: Tylinol
The rust was removed with Naval Jelly and sandpaper. Images: Tylinol

The story behind the PC is a nice one, but there’s a bit more to it than just cramming the new parts in: the old case had quite a bit of damage from the floods, so there was a restoration project involved in getting it presentable as well. He also put some work into removing the old, artificial processing speed LED and replacing it with an accurate CPU temp readout.

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You can see more shots from the build here.

Gif by Tylinol

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

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DISCUSSION

Ah yes the 90s era PC back when RAM and Hard drives were still measured in the megabytes. 8mb of RAM use to run you about $400 bucks but there was a big difference between a 4mb and a 8mb system. Back then I remember IBM sold 1 GB hard drives but they were expensive just over $3000. I had a 80 megabyte drive and that thing cost me $300.

I hear people complain that build a PC is expensive and I laugh because I remember back then a top of the line Dell would cost you $4,400, a Dell computer, a fucking Dell! For the same money now you could buy a top of the line gaming system from Falcon Northwest, with a custom fancy paint job for that amount of money.