My first PC was a 8086 with HGA and supprisingly a sound blaster clone and 10MB hard drive, but most and best memories came with a decent 486DX2 setup and later a Pentium 2 with Voodoo2 card. All that hardware was lost because back then it was good idea to sell old stuff when upgrading, and I guess as usual, I didn't realize they would be of great nostalgic value some day. I've since then made a few builts with second hand parts and this is the current one in the photos.
It's a 500MHz Pentium 3 in ATX case, with 1MB GUS, one AWE32 (older model with real Yamaha OPL), MU-80 and MT-32 (not in photo), Voodoo 3 PCI, the 360kB floppy drive from my first PC (the only part left! a personal treasure.) It ofcourse has some generic stuff also, like few large IDE disks, 512MB memory, 1.44MB floppy and a dvd burner (with CD audio cable to sound card.) The monitor is Apple Studio Display that is actually a 17" Sony Trinitron. It even has the OSD menu buttons and a standard VGA connector! Found it for 5 euros. Mouse is a Microsoft Optical Whell mouse on PS/2 port. I love it because it works great and the ergonomics makes my today's computer's gaming mouse look like it's copied from that. Really good, even though I loved Logitech mice in the old days and Genius 3 button serial mouse was my first mouse. Always disliked cleaning those balls.
I'm in a dilemma of how to improve the setup. The case is something that I simly found. I could go into something smaller and more basic beige, or I could use some modern case that whould match the weird modern looking design of the Apple display. Or I could replace the apple display with an older beige CRT that would match the year and purpose better, but then again, isn't it cool to have such a weird design monitor on an old PC?
Specs wise I'm supprised how compatible the computer is with everything, just like how I remembered from my Pentium 2 days. I can play even old XT/286/386 year games, like Test Drive 3, because it can be slowed down just about right by disabling caches. Voodoo 3's 2D part does very good job as I can watch all sorts of old demoscene demos and play any old games. And it's fast in 3dfx titles! It's great. I had really poor luck with more modern nvidia and radeon cards (AGP), because many old games were scrambled in DOS. The DVD drive is a bit overkill for CD audio games, but it's my first DVD burner and beige, so that's Ok. And more older drives die often to aging. I've thought of replacing AWE32 with SB16 even though it's AWE32 with real yamaha OPL, because, I really don't like the sound of awe32 wavetable, but neither a fan of the GUS actually. I'm happy hooking up the external Yamaha MU-80 or MT-32 for those purposes, so it'd be good to get rid of the AWE32 and have just plain SB16 with MIDI connected (and GUS for some demos and EPIC games.) My SB16 actually doesn't have the hanging note bug, or rather, I never bumped to that even though I have played hours and hours of Doom engine games and some other games through it to MU-80 in an older PC build.
I like the fact how the computer can run both really old XT/286 games with SB sound as well as modern 3DFX games in windows98. But still, the later is not so big deal for me, so I could downgrade down to first AT case pentium or 486DX4 if I just found an amazing looking case.
Last, the speaker is JBL Charge 3, which has quite high quality sound for it's size. It lasts for a very long time with internal battery and LEFT/RIGHT are in single case. That's all a great thing for a cat owner, less wires to chew on! It's connected with 3.5mm aux cable to the AWE32, whose line-in is connected to line-out of the GUS. Why that way? I like the amplified speaker output of AWE32 when I'm using high impedance head phones that don't hiss much on it, so no need for a separate headphone amp. I've thought of going as far as hiding a bluetooth audio transmitter in the case, so I could connect the JBL speakers wirelessly. A good thing for a cat owner. I'm also interested of finding a retro mouse that is wireless but not horrible for playing Doom. Today's wireless gaming mice are not PS/2 compatible. 🙁
Finally, here's the photo. 😁