Compaq Presario CDS 524

There’s a long history of all-in-one computers, dating back to the Apple LISA and the Macintosh in the early 80s. Here’s a 1994 version of an all-in-one PC compatible, the Compaq Presario CDS524.

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Historic Overview

It’s in now way a comparison to modern-day AIO computers with the slim designs and flat panel displays, it’s bit, it’s heavy, it’s bulky.

Compaq Presario 524 CDS

Still, as the concept survives to this day, the combination of the main computing unit and the display prooves that there was and still is a demand for all-in-one computers. By integrating the base unit and the 14″ CRT into a single enclosure, the footprint and cabling mess is greatly reduced. This has a drawback however: In contrast to a standalone CRT, there is simply no way to adjust the viewing angle of the display. Also, if the CRT broke you couldn’t simply replace it like an ordinary standalone screen.

The CDS 524 was defintely targeted at space-constrained desks with multimedia-oriented consumers in mind, as it provided builtin audio, speakers, and a CD-ROM drive. There was even an optional TV tuner board available. With the included 320 MiB harddrive and the 486DX2 processor, the CDS524 was a quiet powerful mainstream computer. While it initially came with a meager 4 MiB of RAM, it can be easily upgraded to 64 MiB and was also a great companion for Windows 95.

As I mentioned, one of the drawbacks of such a highly integrated computer, it’s no easy thing to replace the CRT on failure.
Unfortunately, this is what happened to my unit. My bad luck was that I couldn’t get a replacement, or someone with expertise to fix the CRT. So after several months I eventually decided to do a blasphemic thing. I totally yanked out the CRT, and replaced it altogether with a modern TFT display.
I had to do some soldering on the inside to rewire the internal VGA lines and the power supply, also some cutting and glueing on the front bezel to account for the flat panel display.

I know, I ruined a piece of precious vintage technology in order to keep it alive …

Presario CDS524 with TFT

There’s one good thing however: By removing the old CRT I got rid of the noisy fan as well. The CDS524 now runs absolutely silent.


The PHINTAGE Collection currently holds a Compaq Presario CDS524

Vendor Compaq
Model Presario CDS 524
Released 1994
Original Streetprice introductionary price of 1994 unknown,
2173 Deutschmark (1995)
Weight Guestimated 15 Kg
Dimensions 36cm x 37cm x 46.5cm
Builtin Display 14″ CRT (replaced by a 14″ TFT)
Builtin Battery n/a
CPU Intel 486DX2 @66 MHz
RAM 36 MiB (4 MiB onboard, + 2 x 16 MiB upgrade)
  • 320 MiB IDE hard drive
  • 1 GiB CF (IDE2CF adapter, card swappable on backside)
  • 3.5″ 1.44 MiB floppy drive
  • 10x IDE CD-ROM drive
Network Support optional, via 16bit ISA network adapter
USB n/a
Video Output VGA
Other 2 PS/2, 1 RS232, 1 Parallel Port, Audio in/out, Mic in, 1 RJ11,1 proprietary connector (presumed for the TV adapter)
Operating System Windows 95
Overall Condition Good condition, some modding done to accomodate replacement TFT display
Restoration Parts needed none


Coming soon.


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