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Anyone else miss the old days, before prefab enthusiast hardware?

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the garynator

Chief folding_monkey
Joined
Nov 16, 2002
Location
Neenah, WI
Anyone else miss the old days, before computer specific water cooling kits, phase change systems, and pre-modded cases?

So I was trying to figure out why I no longer have much motivation to do things like water cooling, phase change, or case modding. When I was in high school and even for a couple of years afterward, I did case mods frequently, I also built water cooling systems. Heck, I once built a water cooling system completely from parts I bought at Menards, custom copper cap waterblock with a pvc mount, coils of copper tubing for a radiator, a pond pump, and a car wash bucket for a res.

My case for most of this period of time was an old AT form factor server tower that I had converted to ATX and was in a constant “project state”. I used this case until about 3-4 years ago when I decided that I was going to rebuild it/finish it. I tore it apart, cutting out the AT form factor motherboard tray and removing most of the rear of the case with plans on using a removable motherboard tray from an ATX case and redoing the entire rear of the case with a solid sheet of aluminum.

I never did finish this, and to this day, the disassembled case sits in my basement, waiting patiently for me to ‘get around to’ finishing it. Unfortunately I don’t think that day will ever come. I have no motivation to do it, because since then, I bought a Lian Li V2000B. I cannot see a point in finishing my old project, because even if I did finish it, it wouldn’t have the room to support my current computer, and probably not any future computers (I run A LOT of hard drives and the v2000B doesn’t even have quite enough room for me to do water cooling the way I want to).

If I wanted a window in the past, I had to dremel a hole in the side of my case, cut Plexiglass to the correct size, mount it, etc. Now days, if I want one, I’ll just buy a panel with a window already in it. It looks better, is cheap, and requires little to no effort. Heck, every other case you can buy these days has a window in it stock. Plus the fact that since it’s so easy to get these mods, pretty much anyone can get them, so unless you’re Chuck Norris with fiberglass or metal working, there’s nothing to set you apart from little Johnny down the street who used his paper route money to buy a $40 case on newegg that has windows, blowholes, lights, etc.

I used to LOVE water cooling, it was a challenge. To find a radiator that would work (here’s lookin’ at you ’77 Bonneville heatercore), building a res, finding a pump that would work, etc. I also always wanted to build a crazy water cooling setup using an old refrigerator or to build a phase change system using an old A/C unit. At this time, I didn’t have the money for half of the stuff, so most of it was out of my reach. I usually just hobbled together whatever I could scrounge up. It used to be that building a water cooling system or phase change was kinda a status symbol, but now anyone with a bit of cash can buy one.

I remember reading about someone building a water cooling setup inside a mini-fridge, building a “rad box” that mounted to the bottom of his case and had all of the w/c components inside. Things like the bee-hive water block, home-made radiator shrouds for automotive heater cores and many more that I can’t remember off the top of my head and can’t seem to find [the articles] on the new overclockers.com website. Things like this were awesome but they’re worthless now since you can buy a waterblock off the shelf that kills a homemade one, or a Prometeia/Vapochill that will completely dominate a refridgerator build or a homemade phase change system using junkyard parts.

I now have the money to do just about anything I want to my computer, yet every time I consider doing something like water cooling, or phase change, or even case modding, I realize that I could just go out and buy something that would work better. Not only would it work better, it would save the headaches of building it myself, look better, and last longer. It’s pretty much pointless to build my own w/c setup from scratch.

So I consider buying the components to build a nice w/c setup. I look at the price tag and decide, hey, having water cooling isn’t worth the price. I’d rather sell my current cpu, use the cash from it as well as what I would spend on w/c and buy a processor that is as fast, or faster than what I could get out of my current one using w/c. Same thing goes with phase change.

I used to be happy when someone like Aqua Joe, Danger Den, etc. came out with a new radiator or waterblock. I always thought these things would do nothing but good for the community, but now I’m not so sure.

Have pre-fabbed, commercially available enthusiast hardware ruined some of the appeal and fun for the DIY crowd, or is it just me? Am I the only one who misses the old days a bit?

-Gary
 

Bobnova

Senior Member
Joined
May 10, 2009
You'd like my water cooling system then:
attachment.php


That's a nissan truck radiator, a five gallon bucket, a magdrive3 pond pump, an Enzotech waterblock, and a $7 ebay peltier. Got my cpu well below freezing with that setup :D

I've used two new cases, they're decent, but i can't afford anything that does what i want airflow wise, so i currently have both my computers in ~2002 vintage cases, a mATX and an ATX. Both allow for extremely quiet operation at good temps with high overclocks, because i have carefully set up the airflow in both via mods.
The mATX had intakes for the cpu and gpu coolers cut into the side panel and ducted in, they also acted as the intake fans.


You just have too much money, that's all. Try the same routine again with a $450 budget, while the result won't be as fast as a $2000 budget, if you work it just right you can beat out 600-1000 buck rigs, especially the rigs of people who don't OC, or who only use basic software "auto" OC stuff. My sig box ran me about $450 all told, and coughed up a 14151 in 3dmark06. Gotta love that :D
 

ezcharlie

Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2003
Location
Philippines
I share your sentiments.

I miss the good old days when o'cing was mainly targeted at the community
that did'nt have the finances to upgrade or get the best newest hw around,
hence the need to overclock.
you didn't have pre-fab parts to just put together. you first had to find parts
that "might" work, modify them a bit to make them work then cross your fingers
when you tested them and prayed you wouldn't fry your parts.
i remember all the times i'd ask a store clerk for a certain item w/ certain
characteristics and them looking at me like i was insane. hehehe...
i also remember one time i brought a solid copper block to a machine shop and
asked them to drills holes through it, they kept asking me what it was for and
no matter how i tried to explain, they just gave me blank expressions and i finally gave up and had a relative that was taking up a machine shop course to try to do it instead :)

even w/ unlimited finances, you'd still have to really think about how to
make this stuff since they don't come off the shelf unlike today.
a 100-200mhz o'c was crazy at the time.
the thrill nowadays of overclocking is minimal to non existent.
nowadays, it's a question of how far you can oc and not if you can oc at all.
also the newer generation does not appreciate the benefits and rewards of oc'ing.
i can remember before, o'cing would make the difference of being able to
multitask or not :)

i guess the good old days are gone but it at least paved the way for the newer generation
to not have to go through the headaches, risks and frustrations that we did.
unfortunately they also don't appreciate it that much but thats what it's all about :)
 

boucher91

Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2009
Location
Guthrie
heck i still have my dual vectra w/2x 200pros oced to 333 on both procs....bout 12years running 24/7 folding...
 

Scoobert

New Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2005
Location
Nebraska
Things have gotten quieter as well. I remember the days of an old Addtronics 7890 server case with like 11 fans in it. Even with a digidoc in it to control all the fans the thing sounded like an airplane starting up.
 
OP
the garynator

the garynator

Chief folding_monkey
Joined
Nov 16, 2002
Location
Neenah, WI
heck i still have my dual vectra w/2x 200pros oced to 333 on both procs....bout 12years running 24/7 folding...

agreed! +1 for the digidoc reference...Another thing I thought of was 5 1/4 bay LCDs...now you can just buy a plug and play one.
 

I.M.O.G.

Glorious Leader
Joined
Nov 12, 2002
Location
Rootstown, OH
I agree, and a lot of other people do too... The topic would actually make a nice frontpage article if you wanted to input your first post into the wordpress backend and clean it up a bit. PM me your email address and I'll create your account if your interested.
 
OP
the garynator

the garynator

Chief folding_monkey
Joined
Nov 16, 2002
Location
Neenah, WI
I agree, and a lot of other people do too... The topic would actually make a nice frontpage article if you wanted to input your first post into the wordpress backend and clean it up a bit. PM me your email address and I'll create your account if your interested.

I would love to. PM sent.

-Gary
 

Bobnova

Senior Member
Joined
May 10, 2009
I may just be bitter due to running a computer building/repair business from 96 to 99, but i've seen quite enough old hardware, and fiddled more then enough with the old days of dubious drivers, IRQs, and windows that might stay vaguely stable (sort of) for ten months.
 

Wicked Klown

Hard *** Southern Boy Senior
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Location
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
I miss the old days to Gary. I built some sick rigs, watercooled, one with a pelt, also did direct die water cooling with a 800MHz celeron. I remember making shrouds to fit my Bonneville HC along with the Chevette HC, Getting bored and breaking out the dremel to see what I could do. Making my PSU a modular one.
 

Bobnova

Senior Member
Joined
May 10, 2009
I had a pelt cooled 486... Of course, it was a prefabbed pelt+heatsink that you just clipped on and plugged in.
 

JCLW

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2002
Yeah, I miss a lot of that stuff.

When you needed a soldering iron to overclock.
When you'd be cursing because you needed IRQ 7 for both your SoundBlaster Pro and your parallel (printer) port and they wouldn't share.
When computers needed a "turbo" button to slow the computer down to 4mhz because many games used the CPU speed for timing, instead of the real time clock.
When hard drives came on ISA cards, and you ran Stacker to squeeze out every last bit of space (pun intended).
When the LaserJet 2P was THE printer to have and your dad would borrow font cartridges from work on the weekend.
When a video card was considered useless unless it shipped with a driver for WordPerfect 5.1.

For most people (myself included) overclocking is now just pretty much luck, and doesn't really take much skill.

But in a way I'm OK with it. Now that I'm older I have more money and less time so it fits better.
 

I.M.O.G.

Glorious Leader
Joined
Nov 12, 2002
Location
Rootstown, OH
For most people (myself included) overclocking is now just pretty much luck, and doesn't really take much skill.

But in a way I'm OK with it. Now that I'm older I have more money and less time so it fits better.

I think that part accounts for a lot of the people who have moved on from the hobby. Ironically though, there's more people than ever going to extremes for overclocking... In the past, people were going to extremes just in order to overclock. Now you can easily overclock out of the box, but to get serious or in the top-tier of people in the hobby, you have to really know your stuff to set yourself apart from the crowd. Still though, the hardcore tinkerers and engineers who started out blazing the trail have mostly moved on.

The times are always changing however, and there's more people than ever doing interesting things.
 

Jeffery_Paul

Registered
Joined
Oct 3, 2009
Location
Australia
Im new to the world, and still trying with desperation to achieve an overclock at 3.6 that is stable (I don't know jack about overclocking, so it never seems to boot. SOOOO much research and still no luck) but I must say, I like the fact that case windows have become common and that watercooling is so commercial that most PC e-tailers offer prefab parts for it.

I am by no means good at making stuff out of random parts, so its nice to know that I can still have an awesome machine without ripping apart parts of bicycles, pulling plumbing from under the neighbours house, stealing the pump from my brother's fish tank and cramming them into a tight case, only to find I need to borrow dad's cutting tools to make it all fit.

I can see how it would have been exciting, the sense of accomplishment and such, but I am just not that type of person. The furtherest I would go woudl be to paint cool patterns on the case n such, because I am not good at the handiman thing, or fabrication.

I bought an elegant case without windows (ATCS 840). My acrylic res sits in the 4 empty drive bays, iluminated by a blue LED and looks amazing, so to make MY case unique, I am working on making an acrylic window that covers those 4 drive bay slots. Thats something that I CAN do. Further down the track I am going to cut my own window to my own unique shape because I don't want the generic shaped windows.

When I put together my WC setup, I had options of different shaped blocks, different colored tubing, antikink coils or none, UV reactive or not. I chose black tubes, black coils etc. That is not entirely unique, and I didn't make it from parts I found at some store, but its not the same as other people have; ie I have seen black tubing with all colors of coiling around it, I have seen glowing tubes with blue or green or pinky red fluid going through it, I have seen LED fans, UV reactive cable sleaves, Bay res, Cylinder res, NB cooling, GPU cooling. I have seen people use blue tubing going from the rad to the blocks and red frm the blocks back to the rad to indicate hot/cold. its endless!

The old days aren't gone, they're evolved. There is more choice and its more accessible to the people who don't know how to make it themselves! There is infinite combinations to customise how tings look and perform, and if the things aren't exactly how you want them, YOU CAN STILL MOD THEM! that's what makes it unique. I could buy a case with a window, or I can cut my own like I plan to, if I don't like it, I will work at it until I do.
I am willing to work for what I want, but I don't want to have to make it all by myself.

Nowadays, you have more options to base your mods off, you can still mod these cases, but now you have a ton of different cases to mod that will each offer a different end result.

Sorry I'm rambling
 
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mxthunder

Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2004
Location
Northeast Ohio
I do miss the old days, but I think there is a nice balance in modding today. You can buy off the shelf parts that will get you close, but still require some light modding, and if you screw up, parts are cheap! Shipping is fast! There are many sources for high end cooling parts that offer many different unique parts. It does kind of suck that the practicality of custom modding is gone, but times change, and there is always the possibility of creating your own case from scratch, etc.
 

DocClock aka MadClocker

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2000
Location
Stockton Cal, USA, Earth
Yea, I remember gluing heatsinks to all the mosfets and on the mem chips on the video cards, ruining a couple of dremel bits to cut my blowhole in my case for the fan mounts and using the tallest cases that we could find so we could get maximum airflow and having the computer sound like a jet engine spooling up with all the fans.
Remember having to add a game card to play games, and an IDE card to use the latest hdd? Or using a video accelerator card along with the main display card?
And if your overclock went to far, the hdd got scrambled, and you had to load windows from floppies again? Man that took forever running memmaker to get access to the high memory...or configuring it manually UGH!
I can only remember about half of the DOS commands we used back then.
Personally, I like playing with the old junk..with what I've learned over the years, what was near impossible then is now do-able today.

It is understandable that you would grow out of overclocking...but just realize you can look back and remember that you, I, and many others here paved the way for the mostly successful overclocks that we see in the current era.
I still have a 486/586 (socket 3?) board that I refuse to let go and have a monster case to go with it.
I am currently looking to replace the caps on a free socket A board and maybe putting a Sempron on it, and am also playing with a couple of Celerons and PIII's that were given to me on slotkets and having a blast with those.
The only old computers that I won't play with are XTs because if you want to overclock those, you need to build your own clock multiplier circuit.
 

3line

Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2004
Yea, I remember gluing heatsinks to all the mosfets and on the mem chips on the video cards, ruining a couple of dremel bits to cut my blowhole in my case for the fan mounts and using the tallest cases that we could find so we could get maximum airflow and having the computer sound like a jet engine spooling up with all the fans.
Remember having to add a game card to play games, and an IDE card to use the latest hdd? Or using a video accelerator card along with the main display card?
Yep and yep. Only thing is that my skills with power tools suck, and I try to stay away from them because I just know I'll ruin a perfectly good case :(

And if your overclock went to far, the hdd got scrambled, and you had to load windows from floppies again? Man that took forever running memmaker to get access to the high memory...or configuring it manually UGH!
Never happened to me, but that's because I took precautions to find controllers which ran at 44mhz pci.

It is understandable that you would grow out of overclocking...but just realize you can look back and remember that you, I, and many others here paved the way for the mostly successful overclocks that we see in the current era.
I still have a 486/586 (socket 3?) board that I refuse to let go and have a monster case to go with it.
I recently did a rebuild on the first computer I ever had to myself. You can read about it here:
http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=616289

I am currently looking to replace the caps on a free socket A board and maybe putting a Sempron on it, and am also playing with a couple of Celerons and PIII's that were given to me on slotkets and having a blast with those.
The only old computers that I won't play with are XTs because if you want to overclock those, you need to build your own clock multiplier circuit.

This summer, I am going to be playing with my dual PPro 200mhz, which I believe I can OC to 233+ via undocumented jumper settings.

These are the "Black Edition" (lol) chips, ie 1mb cache, and the board has 1gb of EDO memory.

Wait for it!
 
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Jeffery_Paul

Registered
Joined
Oct 3, 2009
Location
Australia
I.M.O.G. thanks for the tip. I have been too concerned with learnign about the voltages and what everything does that I never really found out how to translate that into settings. I just finished running 6hrs of prime 95 with 8 threads, full stable at 3.6

Next goal; 3.8

Back on topic, I must say, even though 'oldschool' mods have become moot, it has paved the way for the extravagant mods we see today. From painting (Dragon Case mod) to the A380 mod, take a look at Jolly Swagman's sled!

Take a look at BobbyBubbleHead's rig, and if I remember right, Spawn Inc has a good example of something out of the norm.

Everyone has a different flair when it comes to modding, and now the market caters for EVERYONE