The Allsop metal art large display stand #33306 is a useful ergonomic accessory for modern computers, especially laptops. But it also makes an excellent monitor riser or platform for using and displaying vintage and retro computers. Here’s a review with some tips.
As a laptop stand or monitor platform/riser
The Allsop metal art large display stand works well for its intended use. When you place it on a flat desk with no built-in monitor platform, it raises your monitor or your laptop about five or five and a half inches, significantly reducing neck strain. Simply place the laptop on the stand, then connect a USB keyboard and mouse. It accommodates laptops of any size, and holes in the top provide ventilation, and the metal construction provides thermal mass that readily absorbs heat.
If you have problems with your laptop shutting down due to overheating, the increased air flow from placing it on the stand could be enough to make a significant difference in your laptop reliability.
For that matter, since CPUs made within the last decade or so throttle themselves based on temperature, the improved circulation and thermal mass could allow the CPU to run at higher speeds for longer periods of time, improving performance in addition to improving reliability for aging laptops.
Use with vintage systems
The Allsop metal art large display stand 33306 has also become popular with retro computer enthusiasts. It is large enough and strong enough to support a 13-in CRT display, and by raising the display a little over 5 inches, it makes early home computers more convenient to set up, use, and move around. And the open sides mean side-mounted disk drives and I/O ports remain accessible when you need.
The holes in the top are intended for ventilation but you can use them for cable management. Simply slip a black wire tie through the top, then tie a cable into place. This is helpful for displays that have composite inputs in the front. You can route the cable along the platform and wrap it around the front to plug it in, but otherwise keep it out of the way.
I find the design readily accommodates a cable management box either behind it or even underneath it. These are black plastic boxes with openings on all four sides to help you route cables more effectively and keep your cable bundles organized yet out of sight. It also protects your vintage systems from cable burn.
Tandy 1000 EX and HX: the alternative to the 26-210 Monitor Platform
The Metal Art Large display stand gained popularity among Tandy 1000 fans because it is very close in size to the monitor platform, catalog# 26-210, that Radio Shack sold in the 1980s for the Tandy 1000EX and Tandy 1000HX. And it’s much more readily available.
The integrated system unit of the EX or HX fits neatly under the stand, and then you can place a monitor on top, with or without a power center underneath. The internal disk drive, power switch , and joystick port remain accessible, and if you have external drives, you can place the external drives to the side. The color isn’t the same as the Tandy original, but the Tandy badge was black, and the slightly off white color looks fine with black. If you wish, you could paint the stand to better match the white that Tandy used, but I think the combination looks fine unmodified.
Commodore 64 and VIC-20
The Alsop Metal Art Large 33306 readily accommodates a Commodore 64 setup just as nicely as it does a Tandy. You can place a Commodore 1702 or other suitable display on top, along with a power center. The Commodore 64 itself can sit partially under the stand, providing plenty of room for the video and IEC cables. There is plenty of room to stash the power supply underneath, and if you use disk drives, you can place the drives to the side of the stand.
The black color doesn’t match much that Commodore used, other than the drive mechanism in the 1541 and the bezel on the 1702, but the beige color was designed to go with everything, so the overall setup looks good.
The VIC-20 was more of an antique white color, so it looks rather good with a black monitor riser. A Plus/4 or Commodore 16 would also look good with it.
A monitor riser is less essential for an original Apple II, II+, or IIe, unless you are sharing a display with another vintage computer, in which case it would certainly make swapping the computer in and out much easier.
I think it is most useful with an Apple IIc, especially if you don’t have the original matching Apple monitor and stand. This allows you to place a compatible monitor up above the system unit, and enough room to raise the IIc up at an angle for better typing. As with other machines, there is enough room underneath to stash the power supply and run the cables you need, and the internal 5 and 1/4-in drive is accessible through the side.
There’s enough room underneath to wedge in a second 5.25 inch drive under the stand with a IIc, but then the keyboard sits off to the side, and that will be awkward for typing. So I don’t recommend that.
As a monitor platform, the Alsop Metal Art 30336 provides just enough clearance underneath to accommodate an Atari 400 or 800, but you may find you want to stick rubber feet onto the existing rubber feet to get another eighth of an inch or so of clearance. As with other machines, you’ll need to put your disk drives to one side. There probably isn’t going to be enough room on the platform for both a display and your drives.
Since the power switch and the I/O ports are on the side, the open sides are extremely useful. When you use cartridges, you will need to slide the system out from under to open the lid, but there is enough clearance to do that easily, and then you can slide the unit back underneath.
The color is a better match for an Atari XE or XL system than the original units, but the color isn’t jarring. I don’t have an XL or an XE to try it with, but given the similar size to a Commodore home computer from the same era, I expect it to look and work very nicely with it.