The sleeper PC project: one ugly duckling

The sleeper PC project: one ugly duckling

Kevin Hofer
Zurich, on 27.06.2019
Translation: Patrik Stainbrook
90s PC towers are ugly. At least, that's what I thought 5 years ago. These days they fill me with a nostalgic yearning for this long-lost romanticised IT world. This gave me an idea: to build a sleeper PC.

I beg your pardon... sleeper? Is that a PC that causes your face to fall asleep on start-up? Or does it have a dedicated button to enable the sleep function? That's already getting closer to the truth. Personally, I think Urban Dictionary perfectly defines it:

An incredibly fast computer disguised as a Windows 98 piece of crap. It will most likely look the same on the outside but be brand new on the inside. It has the latest processor, RAM and videocard built into a crappy shell.

So, in essence, it's brand new components stuffed inside an ancient 90s era beige box. A Ferrari disguised as a Fiat 500. And I'm going to build one.

Looking for parts

Retro is all the rage. And I'm more than willing to follow the trends. I took a page out of my colleague Martin Jud's book. His «Feed the Nerd» retro series is all the inspiration I need. My version is simply better. As I don't just stick to old stuff but combine it with modern advancements.

As the case is the most essential element of any sleeper PC, I got right down to looking for a suitable candidate. Since I didn't know any better, I started my search at a Swiss used goods dealer. After five minutes of searching I noticed something: the choice of cases is rather bare, all of them costing over 100 francs on top of that. There must be cheaper options.

Apparently I still wasn't as good as Martin at all this. So I asked him where he gets his retro items. He always buys them through small ads. Most of these parts are almost exclusively from Germany, but sellers usually also send to Switzerland on request.

What a selection. An abundance of different cases from the various computer epochs confronted me. I was sure I'd find what I was looking for there. After a short search, sending some messages back and forth, the perfect deal was mine. I got my dream case for 30 Euros up front plus CHF 49.99 shipping. Okay, almost 50 francs for shipping is a lot. But I certainly would have paid at least 15 francs in Switzerland too. On top of a mediocre 100-franc case I wasn't happy with. I'm really looking forward to my tower with its 90s retro charm.

A lucky winner will receive the sleeper.

I'm not just building the sleeper for myself, of course. Our Category Management is looking for sponsors for the components. We want to raffle this beautiful machine after completion.

You can win like this: Over the coming weeks you can read about the sleeper PC project on Tuesdays and Thursdays. At the end of the articles I'll ask you a question with three possible answers. You can find the correct answer in the article itself. You get one point for every correct answer. Answer as many of the questions as possible correctly and you will make it into the final draw. The draw will decide who wins the PC.

What's next?

I'll tell you which case I chose next time. To make sure you don't miss anything, keep your eye on me – by clicking on my author profile.

You can win like this: Over the coming weeks you can read about the sleeper PC project on Tuesdays and Thursdays. At the end of the articles I'll ask you a question with three possible answers. You can find the correct answer in the article itself. You get one point for every correct answer. Answer as many of the questions as possible correctly and you will make it into the final draw. The draw will decide who wins the PC.

What is a sleeper PC?

The competition has ended.

192 people like this article


Kevin Hofer
Kevin Hofer
Editor, Zurich
From big data to big brother, Cyborgs to Sci-Fi. All aspects of technology and society fascinate me.

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