About this project
What is it?
The X500 Plus is a computer case I designed as a tribute to the computers of the '80s and '90s and it's overall inspired by the Commodore Amiga 500. It's a wedge styled computer case with inbuilt, full size keyboard.
The X500 Plus has a retro feeling but with modern, clean lines and lots of internal space. It's made of aluminium, plastic and steel and it's designed for modern computer hardware.
The X500 Plus allows you to build your own modern, powerful computer, with your choice of components and Operating System like Windows, Linux, AmigaOS, AROS, MOS etc...you can use it for your mini-itx x86 motherboards, PowerPC boards such as the SAM motherboards by ACube, the Natami and the upcoming FPGAArcade Replay board, basically any board which is mini-itx or flex-atx format with low profile heat sinks (overall internal height is 52mm).
The combination of a PowerPC board (ACube's SAM) and AmigaOS4.1 (the most recent version of the Amiga Operating System by Hyperion Entertainment), the free AROS (Research Operating System) running on a supported x86 board or MorphOS running on supported hardware inside the X500 Plus are ideal for the full, original experience of Amiga inside a retro looking case.
Amiga related items are available from several websites such as:
The case has been designed primarily for low power consumption boards and Solid State Drives, this way one can build a very silent but modern system with classic lines.
I have designed everything (well nearly everything) to be replaceable; LEDs, ON/OFF switch, fans so if things need replacing you can.
What is included:
The fully assembled case (3 plastic parts, cut and machined - one aluminium part, cut and machined)
One custom made DVD-RW and 3.5" card reader bracket
One slim, low profile USB keyboard
One slim SATA DVD-RW with one slim SATA cable
One 3.5" USB card reader (limited availability of white card readers - white version).
One On/Off power switch
Braided and tailed (2 pins) LEDs, colour of your choice (amber, red, white, blue or green)
One 40mm silent fan (2x40mm silent fans for the POWER USER model)
One 50mm silent fan (2x50mm silent fans for the POWER USER model)
What is not included:
Power supply - the case has been designed for a picoPSU, they come in 80-90-120-150-160W, plenty to power up the machine in the video (intel i3 dual core 2.5GHz, Ati Radeon 6570 2GB, two 2.5" HD drives...), they have 20 or 24 pins and some might be slightly higher than others so please check before buying.
picoPSUs are widely available:
Your own components: a mini-itx or flex-atx motherboard, graphics card (if needed), flexible riser card (free with the POWER USER model), Hard Disk Drive or Solid State Drive (I strongly advise the use of SSDs as they are fast, silent and have no moving parts), your choice of Operating System.
Initially I set the task of designing this case as a personal challenge, to see what I could achieve with my limited resources. So in 2005 I started sketching a few ideas out and building the first prototype. Every time I saved some money or sold things on ebay I’d work on it.
I made several prototypes but I kept adding and perfecting it. People asked for features and I'd work on them. Being a one-man project, I designed it, raised the money and worked on it in my spare time in a cold garage (add sad music here).
In May 2012 I finished prototype number seven (the white one), fully working as you can see in the video. In October 2012 prototype number eight, the Black Edition was completed. Again, it's fully working and more or less ready to go. Seven years of on and off development have dried all my funds up so hopefully Kickstarter and you guys will help me raise the required money to add the last adjustments (minor modifications) and start buying the required materials:
Lots of plastic, aluminium and steel
Paying for CNC machining fees
Hundreds of screws, nuts and washers
3.5" USB Card Readers
Lots of glue
Paying for powder coating fees
Any spare cash will be used to speed up the manufacturing process and investigating new materials, possibly new colours and improvements for future versions. So please pledge away! :-)
Limitations: being only 58mm high you’ll need to use processors heatsinks that fit, low profile ones like found on the Intel i3 2100T processor for example. Length and thickness (no dual slot) limit of the expansion card applies, the ATI HD 6570 2GB in the videos is 170mm long for example and it fits nicely. When assembling your computer consider that it is, after all, a small enclosure, choose Solid State Drives over Hard Drives for example (no noise, no heat, less power required). You will have to be well versed in pc building, using your skills to make it nice and tidy inside, routing cables the proper way and allow good airflow.
- Looks and specifications of the final product might differ slightly from the shown prototypes -
Some photos of the "X500 Plus Kickstarter 2013" key rings and key fobs - swivel lobster clasp included.
Some photos of the keyboard and the free adhesives:
White keyboard and a free set of Amiga adhesives
Dual language keyboard layout (English/Italian shown here):
LEDs combinations and replacement:
The X500 Plus Black Edition
X500 Plus specifications
The older prototype - number seven:
Thank you very much and enjoy the retro music remix! :-)
Risks and challenges
I love computers and I have a soft spot for classic machines of the '80s and '90s, especially the Commodore ones (C64 and Amiga).
In my spare time I enjoy designing and producing custom enclosures and cases for boards such as the Minimig by Dennis van Weeren, the 1541 Ultimate by Gideon Zweijtzer, both enclosures were successful and admired by their users as you can see in the videos and links.
But the X500 Plus is a complete different beast, much, much more challenging as a one man project, much more complex so I hope that with your help it can finally become a reality for many to enjoy.
Having funded 100% of the project myself until now and having spent thousands of pounds over seven years the risks are minimal considering that the case is 99% ready, so I am pretty confident it will be delivered as for previous projects.
The main obstacle is raising the money for the parts and components, paying in advance for CNC machining, cutting, punching and powder coating fees.
One other aspect might be assembling them. Once all the parts and components are delivered I'll start building them one by one myself, packing and shipping them and all this will take time, the overall task is gigantic but exciting!
Basically all the common risks and challenges associated with product design are present; you depend on contract manufacturers and third-party suppliers for delivery of parts and components but they are all well established and reliable people in the industry.
Finding couriers to deliver the box has proved challenging as well. Many charge way too much money to deliver from the U.K. to all over the world so hopefully the ones I've chosen will be reliable and not too expensive.
The Minimig case
The 1541U enclosure for the 1541 Ultimate:
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