VOGONS


First post, by OSkar000

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Many years ago I got an old Dell XPS R400 when I upgraded one of my cousins computer. Not the most exciting computer in its original form but a well built standard PC in a nice white box. Nothing fancy at all but stable and reliable.

I have used it for a few different things but most of the time it has been waiting for a real purpose. And since last week it got a new life as my main retro Windows 98SE workstation.
This computer is not ment to be a gaming PC as its used now but a few games will probably find its way onto it. The primary use will be playing MP3s, sharing files to other retro PCs, making floppys different uses and some lighter work in office, like keeping a database (excel-file probably..) of my collection of old hardware and making nice diagrams of benchmarks.

Hardware
CPU: Intel Pentium II 400MHz
RAM: 256mb (upgraded from 128mb)
GPU: Matrox G400, 16mb (upgraded from ATI Rage Pro 8mb)
Harddrives: 2x40gb Western Digital (upgraded from Maxtor 12gb)
NIC: 3Com 905B
Soundcard: Turtle Beach Monteago 2, Aureal Vortex II

At the moment I have an old 20" Samsung lcd monitor connected to it. Being able to run Windows 98SE in 1600x1200 is a nice user experience and makes it a really good workstation for working in MS Office and file management.

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Original dustbunnys and period correct cable management 😀

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Upgraded with two 40gb hard drives. I was a bit worried that the combination of Intel 440BX and hard drives over 32gb would cause problems but it seems to work good.
There is still some more space left for upgrades, another hard drive, a 5,25" floppy or a CD-RW could be useful in the future.
The case is quite user friendly and adding more hardware is not a problem.

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Its still white... no signs of yellowing after 22 years and almost free from scratches and other marks.

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Yes, its running what it is designed for 😀
It was probably shipped with the first edition of Windows 98

So.. not the most exciting build, but it serves it purpose quite well and will make my work with other retro hardware much easier.

Reply 1 of 8, by Joseph_Joestar

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The Montego II is an excellent card. Connect it to a good pair of headphones and fire up some A3D 2.0 games for maximum enjoyment.

I plan on replaying Half-Life with mine, when time permits.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 2 of 8, by Errius

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I believe the Dimension XPS R-series (1998) were the same as the T-series (1999) except that the former had Pentium II CPUs and the latter Pentium III. They both used the Dell SE440BX-3 motherboard, which was a proprietary version of the Intel SE440BX-2 with support for the non-standard PSUs that Dell was using at the time.

“Your mission is to attack and destroy the Apple Computer manufacturing plant. You are allotted 35 bombs and 60 lasers."

Reply 3 of 8, by Standard Def Steve

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I like it! Those old BX based Dell machines are fantastic retro gaming machines. They just work, and are very upgradeable.

My own 98SE machine is a heavily upgraded XPS T550 (uses the same chassis as your R400), with a Celeron-1400, Voodoo3 3500, Aureal Vortex SQ2500, and 512MB of RAM.

Standard Def Rigs
Super P3: PIII-S @ 1.63 GHz/FSB155 | 2GB DDR-310 | 6800GT AGP | 500GB 7200 RPM
Super G4: 2x PowerPC 7455 @ 1.5 GHz | 2GB DDR-333 | 7800GS AGP | 300GB 10k RPM
Super G5: 4x PowerPC 970 @ 2.5 GHz | 16GB DDR2-533 | x1950XT PCIe | 512GB SSD

Reply 4 of 8, by texterted

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I like it too! 😀

Cheers

Ted

98se:- Asus A8v Dlx. A-64 3000+, 512 mb ddr, nVidia 4400Ti, SB Live.
XP Pro:- Asus P5 Q SE Plus, C2D E8400, 4 Gig DDR2, Radeon HD4870, SB Audigy 2ZS.
Windows Home Server v1 :- Gigabyte GA-EP43, c2D E8400, Bunch of SATA HDD's.

Reply 5 of 8, by OSkar000

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-10-10, 20:23:

The Montego II is an excellent card. Connect it to a good pair of headphones and fire up some A3D 2.0 games for maximum enjoyment.

I plan on replaying Half-Life with mine, when time permits.

I never really thought about other sound cards than Creative Sound Blaster when I built computers around year 2000 so i should give it a try and see what its capable of. At the moment its mostly playing mp3s 😀

Errius wrote on 2020-10-10, 21:28:

I believe the Dimension XPS R-series (1998) were the same as the T-series (1999) except that the former had Pentium II CPUs and the latter Pentium III. They both used the Dell SE440BX-3 motherboard, which was a proprietary version of the Intel SE440BX-2 with support for the non-standard PSUs that Dell was using at the time.

The PSUs can be a problem if you mix it up with a standard ATX. I haven't checked but I think its best to not try connecting a ATX PSU to these motherboards. The pinout is totally different from ATX but the connector seems to be the same.

The T-series also came as Socket 370 . They were named TxxxR.

Standard Def Steve wrote on 2020-10-10, 22:04:

I like it! Those old BX based Dell machines are fantastic retro gaming machines. They just work, and are very upgradeable.

My own 98SE machine is a heavily upgraded XPS T550 (uses the same chassis as your R400), with a Celeron-1400, Voodoo3 3500, Aureal Vortex SQ2500, and 512MB of RAM.

I have another Dell XPS R450 that has some upgrades that makes it a quite nice gaming rig. I have not decided exactly what to put in it for its final form, but I have a Voodoo 4 4500 without better plans....Finding a faster Slot 1 cpu is also on the todo-list, but its upgraded with a P3 500 now so it's a bit faster than original now.

Reply 6 of 8, by Errius

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The TxxxR machines used Coppermine P3's while the original models used Katmai. I think the motherboard was the same for all of these machines. (Some variants had integrated sound though.)

They used to sell PSU cable adaptors on eBay. I got a couple back when these machines were popular. This enabled you to use a regular PSU with them.

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“Your mission is to attack and destroy the Apple Computer manufacturing plant. You are allotted 35 bombs and 60 lasers."

Reply 7 of 8, by chinny22

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OSkar000 wrote on 2020-10-11, 20:10:

The PSUs can be a problem if you mix it up with a standard ATX. I haven't checked but I think its best to not try connecting a ATX PSU to these motherboards. The pinout is totally different from ATX but the connector seems to be the same.

Or more accurately, the pinout is ATX shifted to the side! Dell were dodgy and lazy.
A Permanent Solution to the Dell 'Fake ATX' Power Supply Problem?
So at least it's easy to convert back now 😀 I'll do mine once the the original PSU goes, at least they were good quality units.

but a true Intel BX motherboard and a Vortex 2, this thing isn't boring at all!