First post, by CelticDubstep
This evening I completed my "retro" Windows XP system with parts I've had laying around for a good while, and some I've bought used/new recently. The specs are as follow:
Case: Antec VSK4000E-U3
Motherboard: Intel DZ68BC (One of Intel's few gaming motherboards)
CPU: Intel i5-3570K
RAM: 2x 2 GB DDR3 (unsure of specs)
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 500W
Sound: Sound Blaster X-Fi
GPU: GeForce GTX 470
SSD: Mushkin 512 GB
HDD: WD Black 2 TB
DVD1: DVD-ROM (Unknown Brand)
DVD2: DVD-RW Drive/Lightscribe
3.5" Drive Bay Media Card Reader (SD Card, Sony, Compact Flash, etc)
Capture Card: WinTV-PVR-500
Building Process: The case most of these parts were pulled from was an old Antec Sonata III. For the time, they were great cases and the build quality is amazing. However, these days I find them a pain to deal with as they are heavy & large and various other reasons. I have a total of 6 of these cases (retired workstations), I've slowly extracting the parts out of them and putting the empty cases into storage for the time being. I bought the Antec VSK4000E-U3 due to its smaller footprint, minimalist look, no door, plenty of drive bays, and USB 3.0 ports on front. My initial impressions of the case fresh out of the box wasn't good and it was a pain to work with. However, now that it is completed, I honestly couldn't be any happier with it. To my surprise, it's extremely sturdy once it's loaded with parts. There is even a removable plastic bracket thing for long video cards which is a nice touch.
Configuration: The board originally had an i7-2600K on it, but I swapped it out for the i5-3570K because the per core performance is higher, it has a lower TDP, and doesn't have hyper threading which I didn't want. I also disabled two of the four cores, so it's simply a dual core system. The reason I did this is because I've that a few XP games actually have trouble with more than 2 cores and that back in the day, people used to have to disable cores on Core 2 Quads to get some games to run correctly. The board wouldn't boot with the i5-3570K, so I had to track down an updated BIOS which wasn't easy since Intel has removed all drivers and BIOS from their site, but I got it updated and it works perfectly. Snappy Installer was able to install all the missing Intel drivers thankfully. I was unable to use Easy2Boot... tried for hours with multiple ISO's, completely nightmare. I gave up, burned an ISO to a CD, and it installed flawlessly out of the box with no additional drivers needed. The ISO I have was updated in 2015 and includes SATA drivers. I went with two optical drives "just because". I have tons upon tons of them and it will make it easy to copy discs if needed. I threw the memory card reader in there because, well, for one I don't have any other memory card reader and didn't have a floppy drive to put in there so why not? I have the WinTV-PVR-500 Capture Card in there so I can convert VHS tapes (we have hundreds) to digital (aka Plex). A lot of these tapes are home videos, stuff recorded off TV (like news events), and movies that were never released on DVD. I also have like 3 of these cards and have read horrible things about the USB dongle ones so decided to stick with this one, but it only works with Windows XP/7 32 Bit and less than 4 GB Ram. This is also why the 2 TB drive is in the system, plus I have over 10 of them laying around collecting dust. I was going to go with a GeForce GTX 550 Ti because of the power TDP and I feel like it would still have enough power and it had a better selection of video outputs.. VGA, Full HDMI, and DVI. The 470 has Two DVI and a Mini HDMI. I was hoping the 550 Ti would have worked with my 27" 1440P 165Hz monitor since it has HDMI input and aspect ratio settings, but it didn't work out as expected so I tried a DVI to HDMI cable and had same results. This is when I swapped it out with the 470, which is more powerful anyway, and had the exact same results. The 470 was actually able to detect my native monitor resolution but when I attempted to switch to it, black screen. I finally gave up and went to my old monitor which is a 27" 1080P AH-IPS screen with VGA and two HDMI inputs and the monitor came with a DVI to HDMI cable. It has an aspect ratio setting when using HDMI/DVI. I do have two 19" 4:3 (or 5:4) VGA LCD monitors, but they aren't IPS so the colors aren't nearly as good and the response time is slower. I went with X-Fi for EAX obviously 🤣 😀
Summery: All in all, very happy with the build. I've been running various 3DMark's on it and so far has been flawless.
Next Project? Windows 98SE build which I am EXTREMELY torn and confused on that I'll be making another post about later as I really need guidance because right now, because as of now, to do what I want, I feel like I'm going to need to build 3 Windows 98SE systems, so there has to be a more simple way to do this.