Vintage Amstrad NC100 Becomes Modern Cyberdeck

Nerdbude got his hands on a vintage Amstrad NC100 and replaced almost every part to create this gorgeous and functional cyberdeck.

Cameron Coward
3 months agoRetro Tech / 3D Printing / Displays

Most of the cyberdecks that we feature have custom 3D-printed cases, which give the creators complete freedom over their cyberdeck’s design. But some people choose to utilize existing devices, converting them into unique cyberdecks. Nerdbude got his hands on a vintage Amstrad NC100 and replaced almost every part to create this gorgeous and functional cyberdeck.

While Alan Sugar founded Amstrad in 1968, the company didn’t become well-known until the launch of the Amstrad CPC (Colour Personal Computer) range in 1984. Amstrad’s primary competitors were Commodore and fellow UK company Sinclair. In 1986, Amstrad bought the rights to all Sinclair computers and all of their current stock. They took advantage of those rights to sell the popular ZX Spectrum +2 and then the less popular ZX Spectrum +3. By the ‘90s, Amstrad was struggling to keep up with market and one of their last notable computers was the NC100.

The Amstrad NC100 was a “portable” computer similar to the Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 and the Epson HX-20, though it hit the market in 1992 — a decade after those models. It contained an already outdated 4MHz Z80 processor and a mere 64KB of RAM. The same year, IBM released the ThinkPad 700 with a 20MHz Intel processor and 4MB of RAM. The Amstrad NC100 may not have had the performance to compete in the ‘90s, but it did look cool and that is what mattered for this project.

Nerdbude gutted his Amstrad NC100 and removed all of the original electronic components, keeping only the plastic case. The new components included a Raspberry Pi single-board computer (exact model not specified), an 8.8” 1920 x 480 super wide aspect LCD screen with driver board, and a unique CRKBD keyboard. That is a split ergonomic keyboard, with each half driven by an Arduino Pro Micro board. The keyboard got Kailh Choc Brown low-profile key switches and simple unlabeled key switches.

To make those components fit, Nerdbude had to hack apart the Amstrad NC100 case and 3D-print a couple of face plates for the Raspberry Pi’s ports. The case also got some nice purple paint accents to improve the styling. With the installation of NixOS, Nerdbude had a unique and beautiful cyberdeck that benefits from modern hardware.

Cameron Coward
Writer for Hackster News. Maker, retrocomputing and 3D printing enthusiast, author of books, dog dad, motorcyclist, and nature lover.
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