What a beautiful build. Nice and clean. I also love those Creative 5.25 bay audio panels. And in black! Wish I had something like that, but then I'd have to go with PCI sound. All of my PCI slots are already filled.
When I first bought the board for $620 in 1999, I thought about getting a pair of 266Mhz Celerons and overclocking them. It was possible to pin-mod the processors to enable them working in dual configuration, which Celerons can't normally do. But after studying the procedure, which involved precision depth drilling, I gave up on it, and bought a single P2-266. Ran like that for a few years, waiting to find out what the upper limit of the motherboard was. On the box it said P2-233 to P2-450, as those were the only existing CPU's that they could confirm, during the board's manufacture.
Later, P3's were added all the way up to 800Mhz, but I could not find any slot type P3-800's, and went with a pair of socket 370 converters and 800Mhz Coppermines.
Then one day, a friend who worked as IT at IBM had an email server crash. Their servers happened to run on P2B-DS motherboards. He drove to my house late at night to buy my motherboard and was willing to pay anything for it. Gave me a blank cheque, and said the company would cover it. To have email system repaired by 9am was all that he cared about.
I took the money and got myself the next gen equivalent. Asus CUV4X-DLS.
I got to keep CPU's, RAM, SCSI drives and everything from the original system, so I wanted a new one that was better, but still compatible with my parts. That board was superior. Had sockets instead of Slot1, allowing me to dump socket adapters, and supported up to 1GHz dual CPU's without any modding. With a CPU pin mod, it could handle dual 1.4GHz Tualanins, which I also bought. However, I was missing the ISA slots, having a huge collection of ISA peripherals, and a ton of vintage soundcards. CUV4X ran with SB Live at first and then on Audigy1. I don't think I was expecting much from Audigy 2, seeing how progress has gone to a crawl. Creative had no new tricks to offer, and embedded audio chips were killing their market. I started craving nostalgia.
I went and repurchased the beloved P2B-DS. So the build in my photo is the second copy of the original from 1999. It's been recapped. A pair of botch wires soldered to enable 1GHz, and the BIOS had to be custom burned, as the original wouldn't have supported 1Ghz. It's an undocumented setting.
FSB goes to 112Mhz, but I never attempted to overclock it, because it was already much faster than anything else at the time. 12% performance ain't worth it, when AGP port immediately goes out of spec, and reduces the number of videocards, that won't glitch out. Not every 440BX chip remain stable above 100. Watch its temperature. Consider putting a beefier heatsinks onto chipsets whenever possible. They're your weak link. Not caps or VRM's. Keep retro well refrigerated. Slap self-adhesive heatsinks all over Voodoo's. All of them need cooling. Factory version is made to fail. I have a huge collection of hardware in climate controlled storage with no UV light to degrade plastics. Preservation of retro is like having to run a guerilla museum. Everything is priceless, because nothing is being manufactured. Everything goes down in supply and up in price. What you buy things for is probably the cheapest, you'll ever see them, no matter the cost. To find someone old in good condition and cheap, is like winning a lottery. I remember years when I could get multiple computers per day for free, by camping near a recycling center. There was a section for people to dig through overnight, as things got dumped during off hours. I collected dual CPU motherboards there sometimes every day. Pentium 2 and 3 CPU's and RAM I always pulled, and regret not grabbing everything. 100% of all the hardware. I remember not taking PC's that I know sell for $10-20K on ebay. I simply had no idea how rare they were. Those briefcase Compaq's for instance. Lot of corporate stuff in huge quantities. I can guarantee that I let a million dollars of retro just slip though my fingers, because I did not understand that this was going to be so expensive later on. Everyone was getting rid of home PC's and going online. Switching to cellphones. Seemed like the hardware wave was never going to end. Because of it, it felt like stuff was always going to come. Like the supply of free gear is infinite. And then the transition ended. And now all of this stuff is on ebay, costing multiples of what it did originally. A Gravis card I could've had for $35, now is north of $1000 on regular basis. The exact things nobody wanted are most valuable exactly because nobody wanted them, and now they're rare as hell. Makes me wonder if it's worth buying nice products now. Adding them to cold storage, and then selling for millions 20 years later. Anything that doesn't have an internal battery or cloud activation. Something that can be reliably revived when it becomes a nostalgia item. Unwanted items can be bought in bulk for pennies. Eliminated stock. Have to look online to see which products have a small following of people upset about the thing disappearing. Those are your future customers. The premium clients.
Completely drifted off the motheboard topic.
I loved playing Battlefiled 2 on mine, with a fast SCSI drive. There was no pre-game timer. You got into the level as soon as you were able to load, and I was in every game good 15 seconds ahead the next player, always having the best selection of vehicles. That machine was and is a retro gaming monster. I have DOS, various windows installs, up to XP and linux on CF cards. Takes seconds to swap them. Drivers were being released for 8 years after the board's manufacture, covering everything. Even OS/2. It had the longest support cycle of any motherboard I know. ASUS loved their creation, and so did I.
Graphics card-wise. I ran on Matrox Mystique G200 originally, then upgraded to Asus V8200 (Geforce3), and haven't had Voodoo's till a couple of years back when I started running into them at thrift stores. I've got every variety except the 4500 and 6000. Soundblaster Awe64 I had from the very beginning. GUS Classic I found on Craigslist recently for $200, upgraded to 1MB. Even came with a Gravis MIDI breakout box and a 2-way gameport spliter.