First post, by Keith1212
I found this IBM Aptiva 2144-M51 on Craigslist for $40 from the original owner. He bought it new my 1995 just before Christmas. So for $40 I got the pc running Windows 95, original monitor, speakers, microphone, keyboard, mouse, and the printer. He also at the time bought a power switching unit with the Radio Shack branding that he included. Included as well was ALL the software it came with including the recovery cd and Windows 95 OEM keys. I got the hardware manual, first steps manual, monitor manual, warranty info, and the power switching supply manual. As well as the ad from Radio Shack that he saw it in before he bought it. I have already framed the ad but it is a full 4 page ad with all kinds of 90's goodies. I also got all of the receipts for everything he bought for it.
Here are the pics of the system from the Craigslist ad below as well as the pics I took of the ad and reciepts it came with. (I edited all pics to links since they are WAY too big for forum use. Sorry.)
When I got it home I booted it up and it ran great except for some missing .dlls in windows. So I used the already installed Aptiva Recovery to make a boot disc. Rebooted with the disc inserted and also inserted the included IBM Aptiva Recovery cd. Before you know it I had a perfectly running Windows 95 system with all the correct drivers installed as well as the software and games.
The system came stock with a Pentium 100mhz socket 7 processor, 8mb ram(expandable to 128mb), 1mb Vram(expandable to 2mb), and a 1gb harddrive. The owner had already upgraded the ram to 2x16mb for a total of 32mb ram.
So after playing a few games that ran quite well I decided I wanted to max this thing out.
First I upgraded the Cd Rom from the stock IBM branded Mitsumi A model to the Mitsumi branded B model with the headphone port and volume knob. (Yes it only works for cd media, but hey it was $10 bucks on ebay and now I have a back up cd rom.)
Next I picked up 2 sticks of 32mb EDO ram. EDO ram is much faster than the standard ram and is supported by the motherboard. I just had to switch it in the bios. Since these worked great I ordered two more to max it out at 128mb. 4x32mb
After that I wanted to max out the on board video cards DRAM from 1mb to 2mb. I found two 512kb SOJ DRAM and it got the job down. Now showing 2mb video memory in the bios.
Next on the list was to fill those two empty cache memory slots. I found two sticks of 256kb HP Sync Pipeline Burst Cache Memory. Popped them in and switched the correct jumpers on the motherboard per the hardware manual. I got a 229 memory error in the bios which according to the hardware manual asks me to check and re seat the cache memory. I did this 3 times as well as double checked my jumper settings. After confirming it all the bios did report the correct cache memory at 512kb. It still has the 229 memory error. But I can just exit and still boot to Windows 95 no problem. The cache memory is enable in the bios and I assume it is using it, but have no real way to tell. I'll leave it since it's causing no problem other than a beep when I boot up. Any ideas from anyone?
Next on my list of upgrades will be the processor. I have found a Pentium 200mhz with MMX technology dirt cheap on ebay and ordered it. Then I found out it will also take the Pentium 233mhz with MMZ technology as well. There dirt cheap as well so I will go ahead and order one. I also ordered a heat sink and fan for it since they originally came with one.
Now I wanted a faster way to copy files over than burning cds and writing floppys so I have a compact flash to IDE on the way. Then I can pop it in and out from the back of the case.
Now for the best upgrade of all I have on order a Voodoo 1 graphics card with 4mb vram and a Voodoo 2 with 8mb. Not sure witch one I will keep, but I will see witch works best with the system.
So now I I have an awesome DOS gaming system and will soon have a good 3D gaming system as well! I really love the look of this system!
ONE LAST THING!
It has an AT compatible drive. I wanted to get a back up going for if and when it does fail. Except none of my hard drives from 8-40 gig will work. It finds them in the bios, but when installing Windows 95 it will copy install files to the drive, but cannot install. It says I need to format, When I try to FDISK it cannot find it either. What options do I have? These drives go for WAY too much on ebay and I'm afraid another would fail even soon than my own.
Thanks for reading and checking out my retro rig! Please any and all advice is welcome! I'm new to all of this!!
NEC 8088 Processor - 8087 Math CoPro - 640k Ram - DOS 3.3
IBM Aptiva 2144-M51
Socket 7 Pentium 166MHz MMX - 128MB Ram - Voodoo 1 - Windows 95
Win 98 Desktop
Asus P2b Mobo - Slot 1 Pentium 2 450 MMX - 400mb Ram - Voodoo 3 3000