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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Wed Feb 07, 2024 9:53 am

In December of 1983, Commodore released the first full-color portable computer: the Executive 64, or more commonly the SX-64. It retailed for $995 US, which today would be equivalent to around 3 grand.

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I'm extremely fortunate to own a nearly museum-quality SX-64 built in April of 1984. Note the original double-boxed packaging (take note, Ebay!) as well as original SX-64-stamped styrofoam. There is also a yellow sticker of "Philadelphia" on the outer box that suggests it came from the West Chester headquarters.

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The "SX" apparently stood for "Single-Drive Executive" as there were plans for a DX (dual drive) machine that never came to pass.

Weighing in at an arm-stretching 23 pounds, the luggable SX-64 was from a class of computer that was a direct ancestor to the laptop.

Photo © AmigaLove

Photo © AmigaLove

While marketed to business customers the SX at its core was a Commodore 64 - a machine not generally perceived to have an extensive business software library compared to its CP/M and MS-DOS competitors of the day. And the truth is the SX’s 5” screen is pretty terrible for reading text but it can handle most game graphics pretty nicely. Take that, Game Boy!

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The tiny Game Boy Advance screen is only 2" smaller than the SX-64s!

And hey, if you want a pure Commodore experience on-the-go and emulation isn’t your game, the SX-64 would like to help you break a sweat.

While kind of hilarious by today’s standards for serious computing, the SX-64 sports a design language that is similar to the Plus/4 and other early-days black-cased Commodore machines, but it is unique and very cool in its own way.

Most importantly it brought a two-tone color palette to the case, with interesting tertiary electric blue highlights.

Photo © AmigaLove

I decided to retire my cool-looking but terribly fragile see-through acrylic Plexilaser case that houses my awesome Ultimate 64 computer and migrate things over to a brand new SX-64 inspired case. I also gave the keyboard a big-time upgrade and used my spare Mechboard (mechanical keyboard) with Cherry MX yellow switches.


By the time I was done, the entire computer consisted of 100% entirely new components.

The Build

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In an homage to the SX-64, I purchased one of the SX-styled new cases from, which is reselling the case designs originally produced by Pixel Wizard.

When you do a build with one of these reproduction 64C cases (warning: the site is slow) you need to get keyboard stands if you aren’t using parts from an original 64C computer. You can either 3D print your own or buy pre-made ones.

I also picked up a very cool dual-color LED light from Corei64. One color is for power and the other for disk activity. You get to even pick the colors you want. I went with a red/green combo since all of my original Commodore computers have red power lights, and many of the disk drives use green lights. I can see you nodding along to my amazing logic. ;)

I decided to also use some keycaps from Jim Drew’s keycap campaigns . And while the SX-64 had white and gray keycaps, I personally wanted to go darker.

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Man, those 3d printed keycap adapters can make your thumbs sore during the install. A small price to pay, though!

Finally, let’s not forget to put the sticker on the bottom to cover one of the case’s less attractive extrusion points. Stop looking at all of the weird streaking in the plastic. It’s fine it’s fine!

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The bottom shell, which you almost never look at, is covered in streaks in the plastic. The top shell is much better looking overall.

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And there we have it: a 100% brand new Ultimate Elite Commodore 64 in the SeXy style of the SX-64.

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Posted Wed Feb 07, 2024 11:20 am

Awesome! Thank for this beautiful visual journey. <3

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Posted Mon Mar 18, 2024 4:03 am

Very nice! :)

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Sat Apr 27, 2024 8:33 am

I decided to take this machine apart and give it some internal structural upgrades. I started with the iCore64 "installation kit". The truth is this was an unnecessary upgrade for the most part. But the 3D printed parts are FAR better (mainly thicker and smoother) than what I found and printed for myself. Also, there were some cool aesthetic options I'll discuss in more detail below.

First up, the parts. The set consists of seven components.

  1. Left keyboard bracket with installed heatset, screw and stainless steel washer
  2. Right keyboard bracket with installed heatset, screw and stainless steel washer
  3. Center PCB support bracket
  4. Power connector/Power button plate
  5. "Alternate design" separate power plate and power button
  6. Userport plate
  7. Small bag containing 5 washers used to fasten down the parts set (you supply the screws).
I love how all of the fasteners in these parts use metal components. Previously most of my stuff was just the printed plastic.

I'd used a metal bracket from iComp for my left keyboard bracket before and printed my own right keyboard bracket. But my prints were pretty minimal and janky. This affordable set beefs everything up 2-3x thicker than before.
I like big brackets and I can not lie.

This set does a nice job of filling in the gaps around ports. These gap fillers give the overall presentation a more legit professional look.

I have a feeling that some of these stabilizers are "borrowed" from other designs and then remixed a little bit. And honestly of all the brackets that are included this one feels the most... ineffectual. The motherboard is screwed into the case already as it is. But I put it in there anyway.

The area around the power port and on/off switch are a place where you get to make a choice. You can either use 1 full bracket that goes around the gaps of the power port + the switch (I'd printed my own version of this last time) or you can use a bracket that only goes around the power port and for the power switch use a large press-to-fit black button that goes over the skinny little spring-loaded on-switch. I went for this option, as the Ultimate Elite's power switch is the only thing about the amazing device that I really don't like. So, this at least makes it easier for my fingers to find and hold the damn thing when I need to turn it off, reboot, etc.
Check out that fantastic button upgrade! No more fumbling for a skinny little stick anymore.

That's it for the installation kit.

Next up I got an LED light bracket so I could install a case-wide LED strip. Why? Because, that's why. (And for playing SIDs at SEA-CCC; now we can have some club lighting!)
It's so long, presumably wider than iCore64's printer, that it comes in 2 parts.

Note the metallic fastener for joining the two halves together.

You're encouraged to use a little double-sided tape to hold the bracket onto the top of the metal cartridge port housing, which I did. I also bundled up the LED light's wiring. Note: the 5V power line goes on the pin on the right.
Almost done - mechboard back in place.

And there we have it! Now I need to go figure out how to use the LED light strip. I've never looked into that feature before. Jack the bass!

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Posted Sat Apr 27, 2024 1:18 pm

Awesome, simply awesome !!

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Sat Apr 27, 2024 8:48 pm

OK, so... this is just so bad ass. Why did I wait so long to try this??

LED Light Strip FTW!!!!

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