Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

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Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby furan » 2017-11-29 @ 05:51

This is my second build. It was the fall of 1997 to the summer of 1998, my senior year of high school. I was big into programming and playing 3D games. Final Fantasy VII in particular. I lusted after exotic workstations with amazing graphics and displays. I'd plot out what kind of systems I could build if I could really afford them. And I'd be jealous of magazines that had "ultimate PC" builds I felt I could never afford. I had a p55c. I want to get my mind off of other things, and have some fun. So this is my build. Attempting to be (almost completely) period-correct, and only use the things I knew/heard about. The end goal is to have a machine that functions both like an Windows NT workstation, and a kickin' dos/Win98 games machine. So far here's what I'm planning for my build. Feel free to shout if you think I'm missing something cool. I like photos for communication so here are some pics of the parts I'm including in my build. Some are of the actual parts, some are the best image I could find for a part on order. I didn't slowly collect these parts over time, or find the best deals on all of them. I hope this is still in the spirit of things.

Monitor:
Image
I bought a Sun Microsystems Trinitron GDM-5010PT - 21" new in box. From what I could find, it is multisync. If that does not turn out to be the case, I'm a hardware wiz and will figure something out.

Chassis:
Image
This design is built around a Dell Precision Workstation 610 and motherboard. 1 AGP slot, 5 PCI slots (one shared with an ISA slot).

Keyboard:
Image
Image
Intergraph ConcertMaster Multimedia Keyboard. When I first saw a photo of John Carmack using this keyboard next to his gigantic 28" 1080p CRT I got machine envy.. I asked on twitter recently and he said he kept the keyboard longer than the Intergraph system it came with. I found one NOS so I bought it.

Mouse:
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Logitech Trackman. NOS. I just use trackballs everywhere.

CPU:
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Dual Pentium II Xeon 450 . On the original motherboard.

RAM:
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Four 256MB sticks.

Video card:
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Diamond V330 (Riva 128zx, 8 meg).

3D acceleration (commodity):
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It's almost the late 90's. You saw this coming. SLI.

Network:
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3Com 3C905-B. I always thought the naming was hilarious, because they flipped the name of an old ISA model - 3C509-B, which turned out to be a great gaming card to have for deathmatch get-togethers. It turns out this is integrated on the motherboard in the chassis I finally settled on.

Sound:
PCI:
Image
Diamond Monster MX200
WaveBlaster MIDI:
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I bought the DreamBlaster S1 before I found the Yamaha DB50XG (below) so I've got to use it somewhere.

ISA:
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Sound Blaster CT2940, with the YMF262 still present. Found it, bought it. Image stolen from another Vogons post, sorry.

WaveBlaster MIDI:
Image
I pinched for a DB50XG to stay more period correct.

Cheats, horrible cheats:
Storage:
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I'm worried about hard drive mechanical failure, especially after putting so much work into it. If I use SSDs I can easily swap them out to keep disk images. I plan to split them up into (roughly) 128 gig partitions. Some FAT32, some NTFS. I will be using a SATA PCIX storage controller. I don't expect to get any real throughput here, however I am saying goodbye to spinning platter noise. I will be using VCOM System Commander to boot DOS, Win98SE, and Windows 2000 partitions. I plan on using EtherDFS to get files off of and onto the dos partitions. http://etherdfs.sourceforge.net/

Storage controller:
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LSI MegaRaid 8-Port SATA II RAID Controller (PCI-X). I had a PCI-X slot, and I wanted something that'd make the SSDs easy and allow them to work better with MS-DOS.

Fans:
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If it's still too loud, I will be replacing all of the fans with quieter ones.

Please let me know what you think of my build - I'll be updating this thread with progress. Thank you!
Last edited by furan on 2017-11-30 @ 19:32, edited 12 times in total.
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby greasemonkey90s » 2017-11-29 @ 09:34

Awesome stuff !

Now that we know better and have seen how well v2 sli scales.im starting to loathe seeing all these held back v2 sli setups by the p2 450. Sure its period correct and you still see the increase but theres a bit more potential to be had. I mean anything a p2 can do a p3 can do better. Sure its not period correct but u plan to add a ssd. Then again u could be stuck because of the motherboard so i get it. To each is own either way good stuff im just being jealous cause my diamond monster 12mb v2 is lonely and needs a brother lol.
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby JidaiGeki » 2017-11-29 @ 14:03

Cool plan man, some nice touches including that mega keyboard! Will be awesome to see it set up.

From the looks of it, the Kayak XA 6/400 is based on the BX chipset, so there might be headroom to put in a Katmai 600 maybe? Could stretch its legs a little with the SLI setup, but maybe won't have that much impact. Is this the system you've got?

https://www.ebay.com/p/HP-Kayak-XA-Comp ... /584416641
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby furan » 2017-11-29 @ 16:09

Come on guys. It's 1997/1998!
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby BSA Starfire » 2017-11-29 @ 16:22

Christ, I was using a Cyrix 6x86 166+ at home in 1997 & a Powermac 7100/66 at work!!!
386SX 33MHz,4MB Ram,ALi M1217 motherboard,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A.
386DX 25MHz,IIT 387,8MB RAM,Opti,32K cache,WDC90C30 512K.Conner CF170A.
IDT Winchip C6 200MHz,DFi P5BTX/L,Number Nine S3 ViRGE 2MB,SoundBlasterCT2260,1.2Gb Fujitsu.
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby furan » 2017-11-29 @ 16:25

JidaiGeki wrote: Is this the system you've got?


Yep, still bidding. I like the condition it's in.
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby furan » 2017-11-29 @ 16:26

BSA Starfire wrote:Christ, I was using a Cyrix 6x86 166+ at home in 1997 & a Powermac 7100/66 at work!!!

I think I had a pentium 233 MMX? Might have been a 166.
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby furan » 2017-11-29 @ 17:23

OK to make it more period correct, I bought a Yamaha DB50XG.
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby furan » 2017-11-29 @ 17:44

Changed the ram for 2 256mb sticks. Got outbid on the original chassis, bidding on a dual processor one now.
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby furan » 2017-11-29 @ 19:09

Jade Falcon wrote:Something funky going on here.
Looks like some of the bids were zero feedback bidders and were removed.

Not seeing any Kayak XA dual cpu system on ebay, did not know they had any dual cpu ones. I take it that your looking at something completely different now?
But I did find this one for 70 dollars Kind of beat up but looks to be all their and should clean up.


I thought it was strange that I was outbid, was wondering if the seller did that. It did give me a chance to make an offer on the dual model, but that is too expensive. With the purchases so far, I am not locked into this chassis. Will have to see what I can do here. The one you link looks good, but is Katmai. It wouldn't be in keeping with the time period I'm going for. Not sure if that's worth extra money to be correct, will think about it. (thanks!)

Here's the dual model: https://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-KAYAK-XA-s-6-400DT-D5765T-DUAL-Pentium-II-400Mhz-PC-Workstation-256mb-Ram/172141701895?hash=item281471eb07:g:zTkAAOSwAuNW7~F7
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby furan » 2017-11-29 @ 19:34

I ended up buying this: https://www.ebay.com/itm/DELL-PRECISION ... 2749.l2649
So now I'm going Xeon, and probably dual Xeon. It comes with a PIII Xeon (or two, I can't tell). But I will likely swap them out for PII Xeon.

I am not keeping a public tally of total $ spent - I have a budget for experiences, and this is definitely an experience (or 5). :)
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2017-11-29 @ 20:07

furan wrote:Keyboard:
Image
Image
Intergraph ConcertMaster Multimedia Keyboard. When I first saw a photo of John Carmack using this keyboard next to his gigantic 28" 1080p CRT I got machine envy.. I asked on twitter recently and he said he kept the keyboard longer than the Intergraph system it came with. I found one NOS so I bought it.


Holy cow... what a crazy coincidence. I saw one of those on eBay two days ago and it was the first I'd ever seen. It struck me as so unusual I had to show my wife. Now, two days later I see another one on Vogons. This happens WAY too much here. :lol:

By the way, that should be an awesome build!
Time Machine = FIC PA-2013 2.1 - K6-2 500 - 256MB PC-100 - TNT2 Pro 16MB AGP - Labway Yamaha YMF719-E - Midiman MM401
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby furan » 2017-11-29 @ 20:37

Ozzuneoj wrote:
furan wrote:Keyboard:
Image
Image
Intergraph ConcertMaster Multimedia Keyboard. When I first saw a photo of John Carmack using this keyboard next to his gigantic 28" 1080p CRT I got machine envy.. I asked on twitter recently and he said he kept the keyboard longer than the Intergraph system it came with. I found one NOS so I bought it.


Holy cow... what a crazy coincidence. I saw one of those on eBay two days ago and it was the first I'd ever seen. It struck me as so unusual I had to show my wife. Now, two days later I see another one on Vogons. This happens WAY too much here. :lol:

By the way, that should be an awesome build!


That was me. I bought one in decent condition for $50 or so on ebay. But then I saw a new old stock one (but in a beat up box) for $50. To avoid good will grease, I decided to go with the new old stock one. That means I have an extra keyboard - which I may use for parts or may resell for original cost here.
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby chinny22 » 2017-11-30 @ 14:44

SMP, SLI, love it!
Slot 2 as well, that's still pretty rare round these parts. I myself have 2 duel Slot 1 systems but 0 slot 2 and I don't feel complete!
I don't know much about the Visualize FX4, but its what I would go with as its different and guessing it can do 2d just as well as the S3.
Don't really like the keyboard, cant imagine those speakers sound very good, but as your trying to achieve something and John Carmack had one I can see the logic.
the 21" CRT on the other hand is awesome!

My P2 400 I got in late 98 had a SB Live PC64 which may be better for windows gaming? but pretty sure SBLive was out in 98 as well which is what I would go with.

But those Xeons.....
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby furan » 2017-11-30 @ 18:34

chinny22 wrote:SMP, SLI, love it!

Thanks!
chinny22 wrote:But those Xeons.....

Anything I should know about? :) Heat?

I've updated the post - for PCI sound I went with the Diamond Monster MX200.
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby furan » 2017-12-01 @ 02:33

The monitor showed up today. It is multisync and it is my new son/sun.
Image

Used an FPGA to put an NTSC signal on it. Beautiful.
Image
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby chinny22 » 2017-12-01 @ 13:26

furan wrote:Anything I should know about? :) Heat?


Only they are sexy, Doubt you'll have any heat issues, not with 450Mhz, decent fans and you've lost the heat with the SSD.
Nice choice with the sound card, most people skip either stick with creative or go straight over to a vortex 2.
Its nice to see something different
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby furan » 2017-12-01 @ 19:01

Jade Falcon wrote:Looking good! I have a 19" CRT and it takes up half my desk, Can't say Id ever want a 21" CRT. Ok I do, but I'd need a bigger desk and space to put everything.
Can't want to see this dual xeon setup.

Yeah, I am thinking about making a 'retro' area in my closet, the biggest problem is I need a sturdy (but smaller) desk, that the monitor/keyboard/etc can still rest on. The space I have is 28" by 48"
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby CkRtech » 2017-12-01 @ 23:42

Jade Falcon wrote:Looking good! I have a 19" CRT and it takes up half my desk, Can't say Id ever want a 21" CRT. Ok I do, but I'd need a bigger desk and space to put everything.

I kept the last CRT - a 22 inch - that I purchased prior to moving to LCD/LED. It was big and expensive, and I couldn't just throw it away. Glad I didn't as I use it for retro computing now - but man does it dominate the desk. Tough when it comes to using the desk for additional systems/monitors. Still - I don't think I could downsize.

furan - Love it, man. Your system closely resembles mine at the time in some areas, but definitely fills in the gaps of "if I just had some more money for this rig!" for stuff I was missing.

I feel like you should put together a video overview after your system is complete!
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Re: Senior Year: My 1997/1998 dream system (build log)

Postby furan » 2017-12-07 @ 01:08

I'm still waiting on parts for the PC, but I'm using the keyboard/mouse/monitor on a machine that has dosbox right now. The keyboard really ties the room together. Note - I haven't cleaned up the keyboard yet.
Image
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