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Vintage Computer Thread

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Ben333

Folding for Team 32!
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
There's a similar thread, but specifically towards OC gear. So I think there's room for this, although I don't know if there is any interest. :chair:

I've been taking free computers my whole life, and have had hundreds of various desktops over the years. This I know I'm not alone at. lol

Lately I appreciate well configured, of the time, builds. This doesn't mean any random box gets taken, I max the ram out, and try and run windows 7. That's not the point. For me it's about starting with something you can appreciate, say a certain chipset / platform... or a high end CPU, and then building around it with the appropriate parts. I tend to avoid prebuilt OEM systems, and generic boards, unless the cool-factor lifts those rules.

Maybe I'm just crazy.... But, here's my systems. Maybe you'll get the idea.

Desktop - Style Baby AT system /w an Intel i486 DX2 @ 66 MHz, 4 MB RAM, 100 MB SCSI drive, MS DOS (forget which version)
This system I appreciated because it was built in the early 90s by a small company in my state. It's a plane jane beige box, and uses all standard parts because it's not an OEM system. I took the SCSI HDD out of an old apple computer, and replaced the original SX 33 MHz with the DX2 66MHz. This box only runs DOS, and has no sound or Ethernet cards installed (which I'd originally wanted to do) Long story short, I'll keep it, but I never use it, and it is boring!

Tower Baby AT system /w Intel Celeron @ 366 MHz. 256 MB of SDRAM, 10 GB IDE drive, Windows 98 SE, Basic ATI card /w VooDoo 2 PCI and a Creative SoundBlaster AWE 64 Gold.
Lots of fun. Plays Unreal, UT 99, Quake 3, etc very well. Runs fast! My only gripes on this one were the limiting 440LX chipset (66 MHz FSB), and lack of Pentium 3 support. But, I don't consider this a low end P3 system, but more of a HIGH end Pentium system lol. I'll keep this one forever.

Of course, if you assemble a Windows 98 system on low end Pentium 2 / 3 hardware, you're going to want to know what the high end feels like. So I threw together a system with a board from a gateway computer. I needed something more worthy of the VooDoo 5 5500 64 MB AGP card I scored for $10. Has a Pentium 3 850 or 1000 MHz, and of course a totally different chipset that really takes advantage of the PC133 SDRAM. This box is probably twice as fast & twice as capable as the one above. But doesn't feel nearly as old / cool. Again, I'll probably keep it.


So this past week, I've been looking on eBay using "Price + Shipping, lowest first" and "time ending soonest"... and sometimes that will lead to a chain reaction!

I found a dual socket 462 motherboard for $30, and I'm sure you already know what that means...

Line up for the new retro machine:

MSI K7D Master, Dual Socket A, DDR 266 RAM, AGP Pro, two PCI X slots, onboard LAN $30 Shipped
Athlon MP 2200+ CPUs (Pair) for $50 Buy it now, mind you, NEW IN BOX. Offered $35 shipped, and offer was accepted
4 GB (4x 1 GB of PC266 Registered ECC Memory) for $16, made offer of $12 shipped, accepted
Dell PERC 4 SCSI 320 RAID Controller (128 MB) for $8.50 shipped

To finish that off, I'm thinking a pair of 36 GB 15k RPM drives... for RAID 0. Then some other drives for storage of more important stuff. Also a nice soundblaster and maybe something along the lines of a 6800 Ultra.

Does anyone else share the same excitement?
 

Daleon

Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2004
Pretty nice, should post some pics.

For the first DOS machine I'd look for a SB or SB 16 isa board. Has a working floppy drive I take it? Look for some old DOS games or load Win 3.1 on it and blow someones mind. If you have a land line get a modem to and really freak them out. Not sure if there are any dial up boards anymore though but the feel of a real bbs is nothing like the net.

Celery system. To bad its not a 300a with an Abit 440BX, I still miss mine. I'd look for a TNT2 and second V2. Get Q2RA2 and CTF.

For new systems, I'd look for a Slot A Thunderbird with Golden Fingers. I never cared for any of my Athlon systems. They just didn't perform like I wanted. Maybe a dual core Opteron setup. Want to go really obscure a quad DEC Alpha server. A first gen Geforce, that card really changed the world just like the first VooDoo. An ATI All in Wonder would be interesting.

I still have a close full of old parts but I think the only stuff that would work only goes back as far as a P3.
 

JLK03F150

What have I done! Member
Joined
May 17, 2005
Location
Georgia
I had gotten hold of an old P2 slot (~450MHz) Toshiba years ago. I managed to get a slocket & a 1.4GHz Celeron tualatin core CPU. Maxed the memory out to 512MB & stuck in and old AGP ATI 9600. Installed Win98SE & had a great mid-range vintage gamer.

I ran it overclocked at 1.6GHz for many years earning points the hard way for [email protected]

It ended up on a job that needed an old machine to run their software. I quit the job & never got my PC back. :(

I still have some old stuff in the basement which I need to go through. Most of it is P4 S478 stuff.
 

JLK03F150

What have I done! Member
Joined
May 17, 2005
Location
Georgia
I think I still have a TI99/4A somewhere in the basement. lol I don't think it has been turned on since I bought my first PC - a 286 packard bell.
 

Mr.Scott

Beamed Me Up!
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Line up for the new retro machine:

MSI K7D Master, Dual Socket A, DDR 266 RAM, AGP Pro, two PCI X slots, onboard LAN $30 Shipped
Athlon MP 2200+ CPUs (Pair) for $50 Buy it now, mind you, NEW IN BOX. Offered $35 shipped, and offer was accepted
4 GB (4x 1 GB of PC266 Registered ECC Memory) for $16, made offer of $12 shipped, accepted
Dell PERC 4 SCSI 320 RAID Controller (128 MB) for $8.50 shipped

To finish that off, I'm thinking a pair of 36 GB 15k RPM drives... for RAID 0. Then some other drives for storage of more important stuff. Also a nice soundblaster and maybe something along the lines of a 6800 Ultra.

Does anyone else share the same excitement?

:D I do.
K7D Master
x2 2800 XP-M's modded to MP's @ 2.7
2 x 512's of Kingston BH-5
36 gig Raptor
 
OP
Ben333

Ben333

Folding for Team 32!
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Nice! I just bought two 36 GB HP SCSI 320 drives off ebay for $8 and some change shipped each. Looking forward to putting it together. I've done this before with a Thunder K7 board, but never finished the build.
 
OP
Ben333

Ben333

Folding for Team 32!
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Ok, so up and running :)

Tried getting XP on it last night, a vanilla copy apparently doesn't have PERC 4 drivers though. I had a copy of XP that I obtained though, with many added drivers & updates, which I believe does find the card, but BSODs after the text "Setup is starting Windows" (when you boot the CD) :(

Tried a couple adaptec cards too, and those also BSOD at the same spot... So going to need to tinker with that.

Have 2000 running off a CF card though, going to stress test both CPUs and see if it holds up, unfortunately this board has swolen caps. I'll eventually replace them, but I'm eager to get this thing running! I also found an AGP Geforce 7800 GS 256 MB, which is pretty awesome... Now I don't need to buy a card, and I think for AGP this is near top of the line...

Got a new 750W power supply on its way... Might put up a build video or something... Would post a bunch of pics but I don't have a normal digital camera handy.
 
OP
Ben333

Ben333

Folding for Team 32!
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Now running with 3x 1 GB sticks, system seems to like that better than 4 GB. (There's a BIOS update I can do to fix that)

Set the FSB to 150 MHz, and NO ISSUES :)

1.8 to 2 GHz, and 300 MHz DDR effortlessly. Only tested with prime 95 a few minutes, need to replace the northbridge fan.
 
OP
Ben333

Ben333

Folding for Team 32!
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Overclocked, fully loaded... and still snappy! Still no SCSI action, running a couple IDE drives for the time being. The dell controller is giving me issues, and has some kind of conflict when installed in either PCI 64 slot, making my video card run in low color mode.

 

Theocnoob

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2007
Location
Near Toronto Canada
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I've seen a slow hard drive crawl along the edge or a razor blade. The horror. The horror.
 

jasonlylevene

Member
Joined
May 4, 2002
Location
Florida
:D I do.
K7D Master
x2 2800 XP-M's modded to MP's @ 2.7
2 x 512's of Kingston BH-5
36 gig Raptor

Ah, Mr. Scott!

We spoke several times back in the day, not sure you'd recall.

I ran my K7D for many years...the first machine of any kind I could say was completely sufficient for all tasks I required of it. New that board was $200. I started mine off with MP 1.2's (about the fastest AMD made by that time), clocked at 1.5 Ghz. It could do more, but compared to what we find now, those heatsinks were actually quite small.

I found a pair of Semprons a few years later. They already could act as MP's, but the clock speed was off. They weren't really meant for a dual socket board, the MP "enabling" was a byproduct of some other unrelated signals as I recall.

In order to get the speed correct, which I think was 2.5 Ghz or thereabouts, I had to wrap thin wire around CPU pins, in order to select the speed.

Ran it that way another 2 years or so.

It's retired now, but that was THE thing at the time.
 

Mr.Scott

Beamed Me Up!
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Ah, Mr. Scott!

We spoke several times back in the day, not sure you'd recall.

I ran my K7D for many years...the first machine of any kind I could say was completely sufficient for all tasks I required of it. New that board was $200. I started mine off with MP 1.2's (about the fastest AMD made by that time), clocked at 1.5 Ghz. It could do more, but compared to what we find now, those heatsinks were actually quite small.

I found a pair of Semprons a few years later. They already could act as MP's, but the clock speed was off. They weren't really meant for a dual socket board, the MP "enabling" was a byproduct of some other unrelated signals as I recall.

In order to get the speed correct, which I think was 2.5 Ghz or thereabouts, I had to wrap thin wire around CPU pins, in order to select the speed.

Ran it that way another 2 years or so.

It's retired now, but that was THE thing at the time.
I absolutely do remember. :)
 

jasonlylevene

Member
Joined
May 4, 2002
Location
Florida
I absolutely do remember. :)

Glad to run into you here, but a curious thing isn't it? Our join dates?

I actually didn't know I WAS a member on this board for a while...my account is actually the same one from when we met.

BTW, folks, Mr. Scott know his stuff!

I think it was you who suggested a preference for PC Power and Cooling, before the OCZ purchase?

I got one of the last 750's before the OCZ buyout...on a deal. It's now 5 years old, or thereabouts...just had it on the scope a few weeks ago as I moved the machine it runs to CAD duty for my wife.....STILL on spec!

Clean.



Now, more on the subject:

I do want two old machines, for old time's sake, representing my own youth.

A TRS-80 Model 1 with the expansion unit. Infamous Z80 machine, with up to 48K, might have floppies or cassettes, but you could actually store more on the cassettes!


An Ohio Scientific C4P. Solid little machine. Metal case (most of that kind and era were not). 6502 based machine at 1 Mhz, which I overclocked to 4. STATIC RAM!

The monitor on the OSI doubled as a B&W television :p