Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

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Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-6-29 @ 14:04

Table of Contents

1. Introduction (scroll down, original post)
2. Systems
    2.1. Retro 1
      2.1.1. Revision 1 (Pentium Pro 200 1M) - Failed/Superseded
        2.1.1.2. Software (Dual boot via PowerQuest BootMagic)
          - MS-DOS 6.22
          - Windows 95c
      2.1.2. Revision 2 (Pentium MMX 233) - Failed/Superseded
        2.1.2.2. Software (Dual boot via PowerQuest BootMagic)
          - MS-DOS 6.22
          - Windows 95c
      2.1.3. Revision 3 (Pentium III 1.1)
    2.2. Retro 2
      2.2.1. Revision 1 (Pentium III-S 1.4)
    2.3. Retro 3
      2.3.1. Revision 1 (Pentium 4 3.4EE)
    2.4. Retro 4
      2.4.1. Revision 1 (Xeon X5470)
3. Milestones
    3.1. Initial hardware setup completed (Rev. 1 for all systems): Summary

Introduction
<<< Original Post >>>

Hello all,

A while ago I have briefly presented my four retro machines that are currently assembled (links below). Four machines is basically the upper limit I have (in terms of space consumption and KVM capacity). Although everything is working, I came to the conclusion that I am not entirely happy with the system landscape in general…

Brief current overview:

Retro 1:
    Hardware: Intel Pentium Pro 200MHz 1M, Intel VS440FX, 64MB Kingston EDO, S3 Virge/DX, 3Dfx Voodoo Graphics, Keropi’s Music Quest PC-MIDI Clone (connects to Roland CM-32L and SC-55), Creative Labs Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, Transcend 32GB SSD, Asus DVD drive, Alps Floppy drive

    OS: MS DOS 6.22 / Windows 95c dual boot

Retro 2:
    Hardware: Intel Pentium II 450MHz (2x), Asus P2B-DS (last revision supporting 133MHz FSB), 512MB Micron SDR PC100, Matrox Millenium G200, 3Dfx Voodoo2 12MB (2x, SLI), Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live! Player 1024, Corsair 60GB SSD, Plextor DVD drive

    OS: Windows 98SE / Windows 2000 Pro SP4 dual boot

Retro 3:
    Hardware: Intel Pentium III-S 1.4GHz, Asus CUSL2-C, 512MB Micron SDR PC133, 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 AGP, Sound Blaster Audigy2, SanDisk 64GB SSD, Asus DVD drive

    OS: Windows 98SE / Windows 2000 Pro SP4 dual boot

Retro 4:
    Hardware: Intel Pentium III-S 1.4GHz, Intel D815EEA2, 512MB Micron SDR PC133, 3dfx Voodoo5 6000 AGP, Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS, Corsair 60GB SSD, HP DVD drive

    OS: Windows 98SE

Retro 1 is basically fine, but Retro 2 and 3 are more or less redundant. The Pentium II SMP and Voodoo2 SLI configuration is definitely something nice, but it cannot do anything in terms of Windows based Glide games that the Voodoo5 couldn’t do. And then there is Voodoo5’s unmatched FSAA… And the Pentium III-S is way more powerful than the dual Pentium II setup. Retro 4 is still without a finalized case (I currently don’t have much time and motivation to work on that). Thinking about it, the sole purpose of Retro 4 is to “present” the Voodoo5 6000. Being totally realistic, I have at least two machine slots that could be used for something else…

So, what to do about that? The plan I came up with is the following.

Retro 1:
    Although basically fine, I don’t need a somewhat period-correct and general purpose late DOS/early Windows machine. What I want is a single machine that will run all my favorite adventure games in the best way possible. These games are solely the Lucasfilm/LucasArts adventures. Hence, I need DOS and at least Windows 95. OK. I need Roland MIDI support. OK. Furthermore, I need 3dfx Voodoo5 for FSAA (for Grim Fandango and Escape from Monkey Island). OK. Hence, I will remove S3 Virge/DX and 3Dfx Voodoo Graphics, and install 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 PCI.

    New configuration: Intel Pentium Pro 200MHz 1M, Intel VS440FX, 64MB Kingston EDO, 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 PCI, Keropi’s Music Quest PC-MIDI Clone (connects to Roland CM-32L and SC-55; maybe I'll use the MPU-401AT I aquired a while back on Amibay), Creative Labs Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, Transcend 32GB SSD, Asus DVD drive, Alps Floppy drive

    OS: MS DOS 6.22 / Windows 95c dual boot

Retro 2:
    Disassemble everything. Replace with components of Retro 3 and 4. 3dfx Voodoo5 6000 will be installed whenever needed. Usually, 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 will be used for gaming. This machine is obviously focused on 3dfx Glide games (for Windows).

    New configuration: Intel Pentium III-S 1.4GHz, Intel D815EEA2, Micron 512MB SDR PC133, 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 AGP / 3dfx Voodoo5 6000 AGP, Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS, SanDisk 64GB SSD, HP DVD drive

    OS: Windows 98SE / Windows 2000 Pro SP4 dual boot

Retro 3:
    Disassemble everything. I will build a new system from my other parts, Pentium 4 based, for early Windows XP titles. It will use my GeForce FX 5900 Ultra (because the GeForce FX series is the last AGP GeForce that has close to perfect AF, GeForce 6 and 7 cheat like ATI and have angle-dependent AF which is a no-go). For Splinter Cell and its special shadows, I will use my GeForce4 Ti 4600 whenever needed (Thanks Phil for making all those great videos and comparisons about that).

    New configuration: Intel Pentium 4 3.4GHz Extreme Edition, Asus P4C800-E Deluxe, 4GB Kingston DDR 400 PC-3200, GeForce FX 5900 Ultra AGP / GeForce4 Ti 4600 AGP, Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty Pro. Series, SanDisk 120GB SSD, Samsung DVD drive

    OS: Windows XP Pro SP2

Retro 4:
    Disassemble everything. Because I really loved the socket 775 and always wanted to reuse it again, I decided to permanently configure a system for late Windows XP titles that is also capable of running the first DX10 titles (Windows Vista 64-bit).

    New configuration: Intel Xeon X5470 3.33GHz, Asus P5Q-E, 8GB Corsair DDR2 800 PC2-6400, GeForce GTX 580 3GB, Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty Professional, Kingston 240GB SSD, Samsung DVD drive

    OS: Windows XP Pro SP3 / Windows Vista Business 64-bit SP2 dual boot

This will result in again four machines, this time without redundancy, spanning DOS 6.22/Win95 (mainly for my adventure games, everything else that might run is a bonus), Win98SE/2000Pro (mainly for 3dfx Glide games, but I could always install my GeForce 3 or 4 to have DX8), WinXP (early games), and WinXP (late games)/WinVista(DX10). I have installed an additional switch behind my pfSense firewall, so everything will be networked to access my home server (disc images, drivers, savegames etc.). All four machines are connected to a single CRT, keyboard, mouse, speaker set via KVM+Audio switch like before.

I don’t know when to do all of this, but at least I have a plan now. I know there could be plenty of discussion whether or not Retro 4 is really needed or should even being considered “retro” at all, but everything that I don’t do on my main rig is “retro” for me ;-) And of course there could be even more discussion about my approach for Retro 1. Because of this I made a very precise intended use statement. The primary task of that machine is running my Lucasfilm/LucasArts adventures in the best possible way on a single machine. This makes the configuration look somewhat “off”, especially the usage of a 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 PCI. But like I said, I want FSAA for Grim Fandango and Escape from Monkey Island. And no one does a better job on that than the 3dfx Voodoo5.

Updates will follow whenever something major is accomplished, but currently, I have close to zero spare time left and can't do much, unfortunately.

Important note: The entire approach described above does rely on hardware and software I have readily available in storage. Hence, no additional cost is generated by its execution. Well, except for time of course ;-) So, there may of course be better solutions for some details...

PS: Sorry for the quite lengthy post, but I had to get this off my chest ;-)

<<< End of Original Post >>>
Edit:
- Added ToC for easier navigation through the thread
- Updated ToC
Last edited by voodoo5_6k on 2017-12-01 @ 08:42, edited 4 times in total.
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby matcarfer » 2017-6-29 @ 14:50

Wow, this is a very complicated post. I would do the following: Keep it simple.

I would assemble the lowest and the highest performance parts so you can get to play the oldest games on period correct hardware and try to avoid problems with new hardware, and assemble the best retro pc you can do with the best parts so you can max out every game. Of course, this is everything up to debate :)
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby GeorgeMan » 2017-6-29 @ 17:09

I had a similar reconfiguration that went this way:

1. Pentium MMX 233 / 32MB RAM / SB PRO2 ISA / 2MB VGA | DOS 6.22 / Windows 95C
2. Tualeron 1400 / 512MB SDR / SB Live! PCI / GF2 GTS 32MB + VoodooII SLI | Windows 98SE
3. E6500K (unlocked) / 2GB DDR dual channel / SB Audigy 2 ZS / Radeon HD3850 AGP [MOTHERBOARD officially supports Win98SE!] | Windows XP SP3 / Windows Vista SP2

So basically with PC3 I can play pretty much everything from DOSBOX, PS1/PS2, GBA/GBC/DS, NES/SNES etc etc emulation, to Glide games using wrapper, all DX8/9 games, most DX7, some even older that have workarounds, some DX10 in Vista. It also has some retro feeling to it, because of the official 98 support, but also due to being a DDR1/AGP based system.

With PC2 I can play whatever proves problematic in PC1. Older 9x games, some glide games etc.

PC1 stays there, not because there are so many games that cannot be run under DOSBOX or 9x DOS environment, but for the original feeling, noise and slugginesh. :blush:

They are all connected to a 19" CRT flat monitor (Hitachi).
Retro1: K6-2+ 550MHz | FIC PA-2013 ss7 | S3 Savage4LT 8MB AGP | 2x Voodoo2 SLi PCI | SB Pro2 ISA | 83GB HDDs | DOS 6.22 & Win98SE
Retro2: E6500K | AsRock 775i65G | Radeon HD3850 512MB AGP | SB Audigy 2ZS | 1500GB HDDs | WinXP & Vista
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby firage » 2017-6-29 @ 19:17

Sounds like a dream of a setup. Really great stuff.
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby slivercr » 2017-6-30 @ 07:06

That's a lot of really nice hardware! If it were me, I'd do the following with your current setup;
  • Get rid of Retro1, take some parts from it for Retro2
  • Configure Retro2 with a single P2@450, win95 and DOS (and any hardware needed for DOS), and repurpose this PC for all adventure games
  • Keep Retro3, but with the v6k
  • Get rid of Retro4.
Anyway, good luck with this shuffling. Lot of work, but should be worth it!
Outrigger: OR840 / 2x P3-S 1400 / Radeon 8500 / Voodoo2 SLI / Win98SE - WinXPPro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-6-30 @ 08:13

matcarfer wrote:[...] so you can get to play the oldest games on period correct hardware [...]

Although this is what I am basically doing (at a high level), I will definitely not adhere to a strict period correctness policy ;-) For example, the 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 PCI in my Retro 1 is definitely not period correct. But the card provides unmatched FSAA for everything it runs, it is perfect for the specific task I have in mind. Or using SSD in all the builds. I don't really miss all the HDD noise and "speed"... So, in certain areas I will use the advantages of modern or not exactly period correct parts. But that's a decision everybody has to make for him- or herself, like you said.

GeorgeMan wrote:I had a similar reconfiguration that went this way: [...]

Thanks a lot for the very interesting insight :-)

GeorgeMan wrote:PC1 stays there, not because there are so many games that cannot be run under DOSBOX or 9x DOS environment, but for the original feeling, noise and slugginesh. :blush:

Yeah, that's basically the reason for my Retro 1. I have another machine sitting next to my main rig's screen (and using this screen on its second input) that was the initial "retro" build I had (not really "retro" in hardware, but mostly the newest parts that support WinXP and would fit in the small case I wanted to use). Because of the space constraints back then, this single machine had to run everything that wouldn't somehow run on Win7 or seemed like a waste of electronics life span and electricity when being run on current high-end gaming equipment. It is a Pentium G2030 3.0GHz, on an Asrock H61M-VG3 Mini-DTX board, with a Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium and a GeForce 6800 256MB (native PCIe version, had to search for one because the mainboard would not work with those bridge chips). It is running WinXP Pro SP2 and DOSBox, using a Roland USB-MIDI adapter to connect to my MIDI devices. It was great to revisit those old games, but I really wanted to get all the old parts back from storage and see those games running on the old hardware and the original OS... When we later bought some real estate, there was an entire room dedicated as some sort of "office"... Then the retro-madness began... :-D

Regarding the GeForce 6800 I mentioned. I was really struggling with this one. Like I wrote in my original post, the later AGP GeForce cards (6 and 7 series) cheat on AF like ATI does, it is angle-dependent and in most cases only 2x, although the driver claims 8x or 16x. I didn't want to use one, but all GeForce FX cards I tried back then didn't work on that board (because of the AGP-PCIe bridge chip). So I had to go native PCIe. AF on GeForce was restored to its full glory with GeForce 8 series. But my all-time favorite game, Grim Fandango, needed to run on this machine (does not work on 64-bit systems). And only cards up to GeForce 6 series can at least somehow run FSAA on this game without glitches. Luckily for me, it is also the first GeForce series that has native PCIe cards. So I had to decide between flawless AF and no FSAA at all (GeForce 8 and up), or having only 2x AF on most angles and 2x2 SS-FSAA (GeForce 6)... That's how I ended up using the GeForce 6800 in that build, although I don't really like the card ;-)

firage wrote:Sounds like a dream of a setup. Really great stuff.

Thanks :-)

slivercr wrote:That's a lot of really nice hardware! If it were me, I'd do the following with your current setup;
  • Get rid of Retro1, take some parts from it for Retro2
  • Configure Retro2 with a single P2@450, win95 and DOS (and any hardware needed for DOS), and repurpose this PC for all adventure games
  • Keep Retro3, but with the v6k
  • Get rid of Retro4.
Anyway, good luck with this shuffling. Lot of work, but should be worth it!

Thanks :-) Yes, interesting suggestions, thanks! If my plan of using Retro 1 as the adventure game machine somehow does not work out as well as I thought, this could be a nice alternative (maybe with a slower or downclocked Pentium II). Regarding Retro 3 and 4. I have to do it the other way round because of the Voodoo5 6000. The mainboard of Retro 4 is one of the very few that are compatible with this prototype card, the mainboard of Retro 3 is not. That is the reason for doing it this way.
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-7-13 @ 07:43

Hello all,

Here's a first little update on the progress. I've been briefly testing the main parts to check whether they'd still work at all. So far, everything looks OK.

New Retro 3:
    Asus P4C800-E Deluxe with Intel Pentium 4 3.4GHz EE (cooler: Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B) and 4x 1GB Kingston DDR 400 posts fine, CPU and RAM detected correctly. I have replaced the CR2032. Both GeForce cards give video signal (GeForce4 Ti 4600 and GeForce FX 5900 Ultra).

    I have replaced the stock cooler on the GeForce4 (an Asus V8460 Ultra Deluxe). It always worked OK (way better than those GeForce4 standard coolers), but the fan is quite loud nowadays. Disassembling the unit I was kind of surprised to find zero thermal paste/pads on the RAM chips. The card is now fitted with my spare (new in box) Zalman VF700-AlCu and should therefore be properly cooled. The fan is close to inaudible.

    For the GeForce FX I wanted to replace the cooler too. The card is an Asus V9950 Ultra and as such has a dual fan cooler which is quite loud too (at least it feels like this nowadays). This actually isn't the first FX 5900 Ultra I had. The first one (same model) died within the warranty. I got a new one from Asus which I used for a few months until I upgraded to the next model. When I now disassembled the heatsink unit I found it to be poorly installed. The GPU was only partially covered with thermal paste, the lower third of the chip had no thermal paste at all while the center of the chip had a little, the upper third looked OK. Seemed like there were three drops of thermal paste, two in the upper third, one in the center, that's it. But the amount used was not enough to get it spread out over the entire chip by the contact pressure. I'm very happy that this card did not die due to the sloppy heatsink installation. It now has a Zalman VF700-Cu on it (also new in box, I bought it but replaced the card I wanted to use it on before it could install the heatsink), which should provide enough heat dissipation given the stock cooler wasn't even mounted correctly. And the fan noise is also close to inaudible.

New Retro 4:
    Asus P5Q-E with Intel Xeon X5470 3.33GHz (cooler: Thermalright Silver-Arrow) and 4x 2GB Corsair DDR2 800 posts fine. I have modified the P5Q-E's socket to fit the socket 771 Xeon. The Xeon now has a 771-->775 mod sticker on it to flip two pins for socket 775 compatibility. I have modified the latest BIOS (inject socket 771 microcodes) and flashed it. The board posts and the Xeon is detected correctly, without any warnings etc. Great! RAM is detected too.

    The Xeon X5470 is not the fastest socket 771 CPU (on stock clock rate, there is the X5492 3.40GHz model which is slightly faster), but it has a 10x multiplier. The P5Q-E officially supports a 1600MHz PSB. If I ever wanted I could test whether the X5470 just runs with the 1600MHz PSB (what those models usually do). That would result in a 4.0GHz clock rate. However, I do not plan on doing this right away. First, I want to use it on stock settings. It should be fast enough anyway (it is already faster than a QX9770/QX9775). Whatever I'll do, the Silver-Arrow should be up to the task with ease.

    The GeForce GTX 580 (Evga GeForce GTX 580 3G) gives video signal. The plan for this one is to replace the stock cooler with the mighty Raijintek Morpheus. I use one of those on my Evga GeForce GTX Titan X SC together with the Evga ACX 2.0 cooler's base- and backplate and now that card can boost to and hold 1367MHz without increasing the voltage. I have only changed the boost table (more aggressive) and the power table (max. now 300W which is the specified max. of the onboard connectors per PCI-SIG). The GPU now runs with very good 60-65°C under full load (games). The Morpheus should keep Fermi pretty cool too. If everything fits I'll use the stock cooler's base plate for cooling the RAM and VRM. I don't think I'll have to modify this card's BIOS, but I'll see to that when the system is up and running, whenever that'll be ;-)

Overall, some progress has been made. Slow but steady ;-) I haven't found any parts not working anymore (of course I'll have to stress-test everything later on to be sure). Hopefully, it stays this way. I'll add a few pictures when I find the time.
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-7-19 @ 06:50

Hi there,

Another update... This time, I got a little more done. I had some time in the evening and started disassembling the old Retro 2 and Retro 4. Then I installed the parts for the new Retro 2, as per the plan. The configuration is now as follows.

Retro 2:

System specifications:
    CPU: Intel Pentium III-S 1,40GHz
    Cooler: Thermaltake Volcano 12 + Noctua NF-A8 FLX
    Mainboard: Intel D815EEA2 (BIOS P15)
    RAM: Micron 512MB PC133 CL2 (2x 256MB)
    PSU: Enermax EG465AX-VE(G)FM 460W
    Case: Fractal Design Define R5

Add-in cards:
    AGP: 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 AGP 64MB & 3dfx Voodoo5 6000 AGP 128MB (Rev. 3700A, Full PCI Rework)
    PCI4: Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS

Drives:
    FDD: N/A
    SSD: SanDisk SDSSDP-064G-G25 64GB
    ODD: HP GDR-H30N

Game Controllers:
    Gameport: Microsoft SideWinder Game Pad
    Gameport: Microsoft SideWinder Precision Pro

I/O Devices (via KVM):
    Display: Eizo FlexScan F520
    Keyboard: Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro
    Mouse: Logitech S96
    Speaker: Canton Plus Media 3

A few pictures of the system:
    retro2_mb.JPG
    System Overview
    retro2_cpu+ram.JPG
    Pentium III-S 1.4GHz & 2x 256MB Micron PC133
    retro2_vga.JPG
    Voodoo5 5500 AGP
    retro2_sb.JPG
    Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS

Note: The cable ties on the CPU heat sink are supposed to prevent the latter from crashing down onto the add-in cards in case the socket mounting points for the heat sink clamp should ever break. I did this because this is an all-copper heat sink and as such is a little heavy. And because this is a socket 370 (obviously) there is no option to screw the heat sink to a backplate, there are only the little plastic studs on the socket. Plus, I'm a little paranoid ;) And of course they take part of the heat sink weight off the socket.
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-7-19 @ 06:58

...Continued from above. More pictures:
    retro2_ssd.JPG
    SanDisk SSD behind SATA to IDE converter
    retro2_psu.JPG
    Enermax PSU
    retro2_odd.JPG
    HP DVD drive

I used a black DVD drive to keep the black-white contrast of the Fractal case.

And here's the other graphics card for this system, my most valuable piece of hardware...
    retro2_v5_6k.JPG
    Voodoo5 6000

Tasks left for Retro 2:
    - Install Windows 98 SE & Windows 2000 Pro SP4
    - Install drivers
    - Install games
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-7-20 @ 07:10

And yet another update!

After completing the hardware configuration of Retro 2, I started with Retro 4. Since this is an entirely new system (i.e. no stripping parts and cables cables off a case) I thought it shouldn't take too long.

A few days ago I already had disassembled the stock cooler of the GTX 580. I wanted to use the stock cooler's base plate for memory and VRM cooling, if the Morpheus would fit over that. Annoyingly, the base plate has the fan unit attached via three screws. This means you have to completely remove the base plate from the card in order to reach the screws. Actually, then you still can only reach one of those screws. The other two are covered by thermal pads for the VRM area. After removing the fan and the plastic cover for the power connectors I reinstalled the base plate and checked whether the Morpheus can make contact to the GPU. It can! After applying thermal paste, I installed the Morpheus heat sink and two NB BlackSilent Pro PL-1 120mm fans. Done!

Yesterday, I then started to assemble the entire system. As those parts are all pretty modern (as I wrote in the initial post, Retro 4 is not really that "retro" overall, my personal definition just happens to be "what I cannot do on my main rig anymore is retro") there were no issues at all other than trying to hide most of the cables. Of the four retro machines Retro 4 is the most modern one. Although, all parts have Windows XP support (Retro 4's intended use: Run late WinXP and early WinVista/DX10 games). This can't be done with my main rig where most of the parts never even had Windows XP support to begin with. I had to use a new SanDisk 240GB SSD because the Kingston drive has already been used someplace else. Other than that, no changes to the plan initially outlined.

Retro 4:

System specifications:
    CPU: Intel Xeon X5470 4x 3,33GHz
    Cooler: Thermalright Silver-Arrow
    Mainboard: Asus P5Q-E
    RAM: Corsair 8GB PC2-6400 CL5 DDR2 800 (4x 2GB)
    PSU: Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro (P7) 650W
    Case: Fractal Design Define R5

Add-in cards:
    PCIe x16: Evga GeForce GTX 580 3 GB + Stock cooler base plate + Raijintek Morpheus + 2x Noiseblocker NB-Blacksilent Pro PL-1 120mm
    PCIe x1: Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional

Drives:
    FDD: N/A
    SSD: SanDisk SDSSDA-240G-G26 240GB
    ODD: Samsung SH-224GB/BEBE

I/O Devices (via KVM):
    Display: Eizo FlexScan F520
    Keyboard: Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro
    Mouse: Logitech S96
    Speaker: Canton Plus Media 3

A few pictures of the system:
    retro4_mb.JPG
    System Overview
    retro4_cpu+ram.JPG
    Xeon X5470 + 4x 2GB Corsair PC2-6400
    retro4_vga.JPG
    GeForce GTX 580 3G
    retro4_sb.JPG
    Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-7-20 @ 07:14

...Continued from above. More pictures:
    retro4_ssd.JPG
    SanDisk SSD
    retro4_psu.JPG
    be quiet! Dark Power Pro PSU
    retro4_odd.JPG
    Samsung DVD drive

Again, a black DVD drive because of the black-white contrast of the Factal case.

Tasks left for Retro 4:
    - Install Windows XP Pro SP3 and Windows Vista Business 64-bit SP2
    - Install drivers
    - Install games
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby chinny22 » 2017-7-20 @ 16:50

While I am sad to see retro 2 SMP/SLI system go. I agree with what you are doing.

- While I'm not sure if I agree with the V5 in retro 1, (just doesn't fell right to me) makes more sense to be used then sitting in a box somewhere.
- Making Retro 2 the best possible Win9x 3dfx PC possible.
- You could get a second Win98 PC out of retro 3 if you wanted?
Apart from the X-Fi rest of the hardware can be made to be a Win98 D3D PC. Install a 2nd soundcard for WIn98 and disable it WinXP if you wanted?

- Retro 4 is not up for discussion, you want a 775 system, enough said. and makes a good WinXP gaming rig anyway.

I used to have similar problem so got a 8 port kvm, I've now maxed that out and have daisy chained my 4 port kvm to the 8! lucky most PC's are stackable :P
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-7-21 @ 07:04

chinny22 wrote:While I am sad to see retro 2 SMP/SLI system go. I agree with what you are doing.

Yeah, I'm totally with you there. The whole reason for even building the SMP/SLI system in the first place was to have this cool combination of dual CPU and dual 3D accelerator up and running :-) But I'm barely using it for games, because of the V5 system, it's just faster and adds FSAA. Disassembling the SMP/SLI system gives me one additional machine slot. I will however store the system's parts as an almost ready to go system. If I ever will find a way to fit another machine under or on the desk this will be the one to resurrect :-)

chinny22 wrote:- While I'm not sure if I agree with the V5 in retro 1, (just doesn't fell right to me) makes more sense to be used then sitting in a box somewhere.

I know, it doesn't look right from almost all angles. I agree 100%. It is only my very special intended use that makes it kind of justifiable... This machine is supposed to run my personal all-time favorite game Grim Fandango, in addition to several other DOS and Windows based Lucasfilm/LucasArts adventures. For Grim Fandango (and Escape from Monkey Island) I want to have FSAA, for them being 3D accelerated. To get all these games running on a single machine and to have FSAA, I have to use the V5. I will have to test whether the machine is fast enough to run Escape from Monkey Island though. But it should work, the minimum CPU is a Pentium class 200MHz CPU. The Pentium Pro 200MHz 1M should be faster... If for whatever reason the plan shouldn't work out I can move these two games back to Retro 2 where they were running before and turn Retro 1 back into a general purpose (late) DOS PC.

chinny22 wrote:- You could get a second Win98 PC out of retro 3 if you wanted?
Apart from the X-Fi rest of the hardware can be made to be a Win98 D3D PC. Install a 2nd soundcard for WIn98 and disable it WinXP if you wanted?

Oh yes, that is definitely an option, if a high performance Win9x system would become required!

chinny22 wrote:I used to have similar problem so got a 8 port kvm, I've now maxed that out and have daisy chained my 4 port kvm to the 8! lucky most PC's are stackable :P

Very good, love it :-) Although, if I were to start something like PC stacking at home, this will pretty much be frowned upon :-D I am very happy that I got away with adding an additional desk, the now four retro PC, the CRT with speaker set etc. to our home office... In addition to my main rig, a tiny WinXP/DOSBox PC (Mini-DTX), my office PC, two LCD screens and another speaker set. Not that there's anything wrong with that... :-D (Yes, I love "Seinfeld" :-)) When I'm done with all the reconfiguring (and have cleaned up), I'll add some photos of how that room looks.
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-7-23 @ 12:55

Hello All,

another update, I had some time to continue the reconfiguring... Retro 3 is now done too. Well, the hardware. Everything was executed per plan. The final configuration is below:

Retro 3:

System specifications:
    CPU: Intel Pentium 4 3.4GHz Extreme Edition
    Cooler: Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B
    Mainboard: Asus P4C800-E Deluxe
    RAM: Kingston 4GB PC-3200 CL3 (4x 1GB)
    PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro RS-500-AMDA-D3 500W
    Case: Fractal Design Define R5

Add-in cards:
    AGP: Asus V9950 Ultra 256MB (GeForce FX 5900 Ultra) + Zalman VF700-Cu & Asus V8460 Ultra Deluxe 128MB (GeForce4 Ti 4600) + Zalman VF700-AlCu
    PCI4: Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty Pro. Series

Drives:
    FDD: N/A
    SSD: SanDisk SDSSDA-120G-G26 120GB
    ODD: LG GH24NSD1.AUAA10B

I/O Devices (via KVM):
    Display: Eizo FlexScan F520
    Keyboard: Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro
    Mouse: Logitech S96
    Speaker: Canton Plus Media 3

A few pictures of the system:
    retro3_mb.JPG
    System Overview
    retro3_cpu+ram.JPG
    Pentium 4 3.4GHz Extreme Edition + 4x 1GB Kingston PC-3200
    retro3_vga.JPG
    GeForce FX 5900 Ultra
    retro3_sb.JPG
    Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty Pro.
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-7-23 @ 13:00

...Continued from above. More pictures:
    retro3_ssd.JPG
    SanDisk SSD
    retro3_psu.JPG
    Cooler Master PSU
    retro3_odd.JPG
    LG DVD

Again, I used another black DVD drive to keep the black-white contrast of the Fractal case.

And here the alternate graphics card, could also be used in Retro 2 since it is AGP 4x.
    retro3_vga2.JPG
    GeForce4 Ti 4600

Tasks left for Retro 3:
    - Install Windows XP Pro SP2
    - Install drivers
    - Install games
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-7-23 @ 13:14

But I'm not done yet... A few minutes ago I quickly made the few changes that I had planned for Retro 1 and made some pictures. I exchanged the Asus DVD for the Plextor DVD from the old Retro 2 setup because it looks nicer. And I added an Intel network card.

Retro 1:

System specifications:
    CPU: Intel Pentium Pro 200MHz 1M
    Cooler: Thermaltake Venus 12 (modified to fit & mounted with Socket 8 clamp) + Noctua NF-A8 FLX
    Mainboard: Intel VS440FX (BIOS 1.00.18.CS1)
    RAM: Kingston 128MB EDO 60ns (4x 32MB)
    PSU: Enermax EG301AX-VE(G) 303W
    Case: Compucase CI-7106W ATX

Add-in cards:
    PCI1: 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 PCI 64MB + 2x Noctua NF-A4x20 FLX
    PCI4: Intel PRO/100+ Management Adapter
    ISA2: Roland MPU-401AT
    ISA4: Creative Labs Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold

Drives:
    FDD: Alps Floppy Drive
    SSD: Transcend TS32GPSD330 32GB
    ODD: Plextor PX-740A

I/O Devices (via KVM):
    Display: Eizo FlexScan F520
    Keyboard: Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro
    Mouse: Logitech S96
    Speaker: Canton Plus Media 3

MIDI Devices:
    Roland Edirol UM-550 (5 in/5 out MIDI patcher, provides access to the CM-32L and SC-55 for currently three systems)
    Roland CM-32L
    Roland SC-55

Pictures:
    retro1_mb.JPG
    System Overview
    retro1_cpu+ram.JPG
    Pentium Pro 200MHz 1M + 4x 32MB Kingston EDO
    retro1_vga.JPG
    Voodoo5 5500 PCI
    retro1_mpu-401.JPG
    MPU-401AT
    retro1_sb.JPG
    Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold

Edit:
- Updated Specifications (RAM, VGA)
- Exchanged pictures (Overview, CPU+RAM, VGA)
Last edited by voodoo5_6k on 2017-8-05 @ 13:17, edited 1 time in total.
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-7-23 @ 13:20

...Continued from above. More pictures:
    retro1_ssd.JPG
    Transcend SSD
    retro1_psu.JPG
    Enermax PSU
    retro1_fdd+odd.JPG
    Alps Floppy & Plextor DVD
    retro1_detail.JPG
    Case badge

And the MIDI rack...
    retro1_midi.JPG
    MIDI rack

Edit:
- Task list removed, hardware configuration not working according to requirements
Last edited by voodoo5_6k on 2017-11-20 @ 08:33, edited 1 time in total.
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Posts: 138
Joined: 2016-4-13 @ 06:52

Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-7-24 @ 07:26

Hi,

It is time for a first brief summary of the current state of my reconfiguration project.

As of now, all hardware changes have been completed. Only a few deviations occurred (Retro 1: Exchanged Asus DVD with Plextor DVD, and installed an Intel network card; Retro 4: Used a new SanDisk 240GB SSD because the Kingston SSD had been used someplace else). All four retro PC have been installed in their respective cases and every system has been powered on to check whether everything still "lives"; no problems have been encountered. However, I still want to perform stress testing to a certain degree on each machine, just to be sure everything works reliably. Prerequisite to the stress testing is OS and driver installation. Additionally, I want to create back ups of the clean installations on the system discs to save a lot of work whenever something goes wrong and I would have to reinstall a system. Subsequently, games are installed whenever there is a time slot available.

Photos have been posted for each system, detailing most of the internals. Photos of the entire setup will follow after the clean-up.

There is one slight uncertainty with Retro 1. I will have to test whether it is fast enough to properly run Escape from Monkey Island (the newest game I want to run on this machine). The minimum requirement is a Pentium class 200MHz CPU. I'd assume that a Pentium Pro 200MHz 1M CPU is well above that, especially under Windows. In case this shouldn't work out, Retro 1 might be changed back to a general purpose (late) DOS & Win95 machine. But I'll wait for the test result rather than thinking too much about solutions for a problem that might not even exist... ;)

All systems are now connected to the KVM+Audio switch. Everything is networked, I had installed all the cables when I started removing the Fractal towers from under my retro PC desk. As I mentioned in the initial post, I had installed an additional switch (HPE 1420-8G). This is a separate subnet in my home network, directly behind the pfSense firewall, on the same level as the main network switch (HPE 1920-8G). All my gaming systems (modern and retro) in the home office are connected to this switch, at least for NTP, network printer and home server access. Some systems may be granted temporary internet access for things like GOG Galaxy, Steam etc. But this is only for downloads. I'm an offline-mode player (storymode is the one and only thing I'm interested in, I don't care for multiplayer at all). No gaming system of mine will ever be online by default. Whatever singleplayer game can't be played offline won't be played by me.

Since the hardware milestone has been reached and only software related activities remain, I'd estimate the project completion to be 33% (related to overall time consumption, excluding stress testing hours and game installations).

Next steps:
    1. Clean up the home office
    2. Install OS and drivers for each system
      2.1. Retro 1: MS DOS 6.22 & Windows 95c
      2.2. Retro 2: Windows 98SE & Windows 2000 Pro SP4
      2.3. Retro 3: Windows XP Pro SP2
      2.4. Retro 4: Windows XP Pro SP3 & Windows Vista Business SP2 64-bit
    3. Back up all system discs
    4. Perform stress testing (e.g. Prime95)
    5. Install games
    6. Done! (Well, what is ever "done" with retro computing, but this project should be ;))
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-7-26 @ 11:30

A little side quest today...

I came in contact with a local seller and he still had a few EDO RAM modules left in his inventory. Of course, I had to browse through the parts... ;-) By coincidence, among those modules was a pair of 32MB Kingston 60ns EDO modules. And these were the same model I already have in Retro 1. These modules even have the exact same memory chips as my modules have. What a lucky find :-)

Retro 1 already has 64MB of RAM and does not really need any more, but I couldn't resist buying those additional modules. Once I have a chance to get working on my retro machines again I will upgrade Retro 1 to 128MB of RAM, then 4x 32MB.

I'll update the respective post accordingly (and exchange the photos showing the RAM banks) when this unplanned upgrade has been completed.
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby Andy1979 » 2017-7-26 @ 15:56

Interesting to see how you've approached this. Starting down a similar path, trying to make best use of the old PCs and spare components I have collected over time, but don't have room for them all. It's like trying to choose the perfect "three car garage".

Good find with the EDO SIMMs.
My Retro systems:
1. AMD 386SX-40, 4mb RAM, AVGA1, DOS 6.2
2. Pentium 133, 48mb RAM, Matrox Millennium 2mb, 3DFX Voodoo 4mb, DOS6.22 / Win95
3. Pentium III 650 (to be constructed)
4. Core2Duo E6600 (to be constructed)
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