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1998 Compaq Deskpro Help!

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New Member
Oct 30, 2022
Hey everyone!

I need the advice of the Overclockers community on a passion project I am working on with my 10 year old son.

So for a little background on this project...A little over a year ago we lost my grandfather (my sons great-grandfather) to brain and pancreatic cancer. It was a very rough battle and it got really bad at the end as my grandmother refused to take him to a hospice facility and I ended up taking care of him in his final days as the rest of my family bailed. I was very close with my grandfather. My parents worked a lot and he practically raised me and also developed a very close relationship with my son. He was a computer enthusiast and was actually one of the first people at OSU to work on their first computer back in the early days of computing (the mainframes that took up an entire room). He always was tinkering on something and I have very fond memories of helping him assemble computers and tinker around on early machines. After his passing, I was helping clear some things out of my grandparents basement and came across on an old Compaq Deskpro EN from the late 90's (1998 to be exact.). I remember it as being one of the machines he and I used to tinker around on when I was young and decided that it would be a fun project from my son and myself to work on and get it running in memory of him.

My goals are to have it be a decent Windows 98 machine just to play some older games and run some old programs I remember looking at with my grandfather. I have run across two questions/concerns I have and want to get some advice from people that are more familiar working with older machines than I am.

1) I realize there are issues/concerns using old power supplies and I had planned on just installing a new ATX power supply at first but after doing some research, discovered that the current PSU is proprietary to Compaq/HP and isn't a simple swap. The psu is a Compaq Series PS2013 (334112-001). I have spent the better part of a week trying to research to see if there is an adapter I can buy, pins I can switch, etc...but anything I find is not helpful or contradictory at best. I know I could replace the capacitors in the PSU and I think I have the soldering skills to do that, I just really am nervous about using an antiquated PSU that would possibly damage other internal components and would feel more comfortable retrofitting a modern PSU if at all possible.

2) My grandfather was somewhat of an audiophile and was always tinkering around with soundcards, midi equipment, and wav tables. My goal is to have an older ISA card (An Soundblaster Awe64 from what Im researching) and a PCI card (I was thinking a Diamond Monster). I know both of those command a premium right now but I also am reading that those are the better ones to use. Id love some additional input and suggestions...especially with compatibility between the two.

Any insights or advice would be greatly appreciated. I realize this Deskpro EN probably isn't the best machine out there to run a Windows 98 rig but I want to try my best to make this one work as it has so much sentimental value.

If needed, here is some additional information for the build as it currently sits:
Compaq Deskpro En Desktop (unsure of the model, most components say 1998 and the part #'s seem to match up exactly to this manual https://www.manualslib.com/manual/30265/Compaq-En-Series.html#manual)

Main board: 007998-017 / 008123-102
Riser Card: 009663-002
PSU: Compaq Series PS2013 (334112-001) pinout seems to correspond with this https://old.pinouts.ru/Power/compaq_deskpro6000_pinout.shtml

I have installed 384mb of ram, a Pentium II 400mhz @100, a modified Nvidia Geforce2MX, replaced the CMOS, and cleaned and applied new thermal compound to the CPU and heatsink.

THANK YOU for the help!!
I have old AT boxes where I still use the original PSU. I'll inspect and clean them and lubricate the fan's bearing, and replace any capacitors that are visibly failing. If you're really paranoid then go ahead and replace all of the caps.

When it comes to sound cards, there are members on Vogons who have unmatched expertise, so I'd suggest signing up there and asking. Or maybe you'll find an answer just by browsing existing threads. https://www.vogons.org/viewforum.php?f=62
#1 PSUs
I've had my fair share of dead PSUs with my older hardware but i've personally never lost any thing to them.
I think my saving grace is if they are over a certain age i open them up and blow them out. some times they are still bad but i usually get a ton of crap out of them. most times, from my experience, it isnt the components in the psu that kill the hardware its the buildup or nest makers that cause shorts and kill things.

I've seen the aftermath at my old job from a dust packed PSU and that whole system was lost, dont worry it was slated for replacement already when it went up in smoke.

but yea i'd crack it open unplugged of course and inspect caps and try and blow as much crap out as you can, i'm sure like most systems this era it spent most of its life running on the ground sucking up all kinds of bugs and bunnies. replace the caps of course if they are bulgy/leaky. this is right at the beginning of the capacitor plague so theres still a good chance its come just before things started going to ****.

also any replacement your going to get online or where ever is going to be just as old with an unknown history so unless its truly dead and gone i'd try and stick with the one you know a little more about.

#2 Audio Cards
i'm no so sure about what was better than what but i do remember a PCI soundblaster that had some sort of remote EQ thing, i remember one being in one of the 5" bays of the system and the other being a remote on a wire to sit on the desk. always thought it was cool. not so sure if it was better than the diamond one your talking about but maybe?

also tips on getting old cards, sound cards used to be the hot **** when it came to gaming before videocards took that place with their fancy 3d mumbo jumbo...
any way a ton of people bought really nice sound cards for their systems in the day and theres still a chance to get one of those "rare expensive" cards from a system pull. check out craigslist/offerup/local listings for cheap and/or free beige boxes from the era and earlier and i'm sure you'll come across some gems.

old computers are still old computers to most people and not worth any thing in their minds. also some non profit community service companies run e-cycle programs and sell stuff cheap and also tend not to price gouge retro hardware. it can be a good source for bits and bobs