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Sinclair Zx81 Turned Into Pc [Retro Casemod]

by Paul Strauss

Remember the old Sinclair ZX81 computer? You know, the tiny, little 8-bit machine with a huge following, and a horrible flat keyboard?

Sinclair ZX81 PC Casemod EPIA Pico ITX

Thanks to miracle of modern miniaturization, you can now fit a fully-functional Windows or Linux PC inside of one of these. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it – as the ZX81 only measures in at about 6.6″ wide x 6.9″ deep x 1.6″ tall.

Sinclair ZX81 PC Casemod EPIA Pico ITX

Modder Unravelled managed to cram the entire system – including a tiny hard drive – inside the diminutive ZX81 case by using a newfangled VIA EPIA Pico-ITX motherboard. (As small as the Pico-ITX is, I defy anyone to cram a complete system into the even smaller ZX Spectrum).

Sinclair ZX81 PC Casemod EPIA Pico ITX

Pretty impressive, eh? Now all Unravelled needs to do is install a copy of EightyOne or XTender on there to play original ZX81 applications inside of a modern OS, and he’ll be all set.





Comments (10):

  1. nemo says:

    I wonder whether it emulates ram pack wobble? ;-)

  2. Eno says:

    Err… the ZX Spectrum is actually bigger than the ZX81…

  3. technabob says:

    I thought the ZX Spectrum was quite a bit wider, but not nearly as deep. I really don’t think you could fit the MOBO and hard drive in there.

  4. Pipo says:

    It would be especially great with a fully functional original keyboard and TV-out.

  5. technabob says:

    Yeah – it’s a pity there wasn’t a way to use to original crappy membrane keyboard (at least as an option).

    • erzero says:

      I think it would be possible to get the membrane keyboard working, you would have to figure out the keyboard matrix – which row and column make which letter and then wire them into the chip from a usb keyboard – which you had also mapped.

  6. Xavier says:

    Brilliant(Genial), this in sale, we can contact

  7. Valkkeri Stiyul says:

    I’m sure you’ll be glad to know that one of the game companies that developed for the Sinclair called Elite are bringing those games out on the iPhone.

    http://toucharcade.com/2010/09/27/elite-to-bring-zx-spectrum-elite-collection-vol-1-to-the-iphone/

  8. Techno Dave says:

    Excellent piece of kit. I’m looking for parts on eBay!

  9. Htiek says:

    They need one of these at: http://www.ZX81Museum.net

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