What retro activity did you get up to today?

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2019-6-10 @ 04:16

ERMAHGERD WERNDERS CRERSHERD!
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Systems from C64 to FX-6300.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby oeuvre » 2019-6-10 @ 14:03

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Not sure how many people have attempted to reuse those early 2000s Dell clamshell cases... but I don't blame them for giving up. This was a bit of a pain.

Dell Dimension 4300 case
Antec EarthWatts EA-380 380W power supply
Lenovo ThinkCentre M91p motherboard
Intel Core i5 2400 3.1GHz quad core processor
8GB RAM (4x2GB)
Intel HD3000 onboard graphics (FirePro V5800 is on the way)
DVDRW drive
320GB 7200RPM hard drive
128GB SanDisk X110 SSD
Windows XP Professional on HD
Windows 7 Professional on SSD

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Windows Me COA sticker

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The rear... had to cut out a space for the power cable with a dremel.

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CLAMSHELL MASTER RACE!

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A closer look... The original specs was a P4 with 512MB RAM. Mounting the motherboard proved interesting... had to dremel out the I/O shield which is attached to the motherboard tray. Used a PCIe card and the original PCI network card to ensure the motherboard would be mounted properly. Drilled a single hole and put a standoff + screwed motherboard to it. Added another one after this picture was taken.

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This was a little tricky... the front panel wiring! I decided not to even bother with the front panel USB ports and audio. That 45 degree angle pissed me off when I was a teenager.

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Found this pinout via archive.org and hope it's handy to someone else.

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BIOS screen

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System summary

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Speccy

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Windows 7 desktop

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Even the LEDs work!
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby McBierle » 2019-6-10 @ 17:52

Removed the rust of this very small at-case and replaced the psu. Finally i have a space for my 5x86-133. The motherboard is a UM8810P AIO Rev 2.1.

WP_20190610_102.jpg

WP_20190610_103.jpg

WP_20190610_101.jpg


Still have to decide details like the graphics- and soundcard.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2019-6-10 @ 20:55

Nice.

I installed my newly acquired VooDoo2 card that's almost similar to my not so functioning one in my Windows 98SE machine and DirectX Diagnostics software finally detected the card. I tested it to see if it works by inserting my Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius game in and it works. Time to repair the other one and get an SLI cable to connect the two. Life is good, ain't it?
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby xjas » 2019-6-10 @ 20:57

Threw this "build" together suuuuper quick to see if my office-grade Matrox G550 could run the official G400 (yep) & G200 (nope) tech demos. Basically I found this PC in the trash as-is and just stuffed in an old Thermaltake PSU, the G550, a 40GB HDD, and a fresh CR2032 battery from my stash. Done.

CameraZOOM-20190610125225976.jpg

I didn't even rip it apart & vacuum it out, but it was already pretty clean on the inside.

Incidentally the I/O bracket from a low-rent Sound Blaster PCI makes a perfect full-length bracket for a G550 with a DMS-59 connector:

CameraZOOM-20190605125618224.jpg

Anyway once the system was up & running I decided to throw my usual suite of benchmarks at it. The low-clocked Matrox card actually doesn't perform that bad for what it is. Unfortunately I can't figure out how to disable Vsync for 3DMark series, even though it worked fine on Final Reality & GLExcess; there's no option in the drivers & doing it in PowerStrip actually soft locks it with a black screen. But the CPU benchmarks I use got me some interesting results too.

So what's inside?

CameraZOOM-20190610125804534.jpg

How about no cable management, no floppy bay, an ASUS PC-DL Deluxe, and four threads of Netburst awww yeah:

CameraZOOM-20190610125913107.jpg
CameraZOOM-20190610130039699.jpg

Surprisingly it doesn't run that hot but man is it loud. Two big case fans & two high-RPM always-on CPU coolers make a bit of a symphony. I've had one of these boards before & distinctly remember it making exactly the same noise.

So was the whole exercise worth doing? Well, the G400 tech demo runs great... but it also does on my GeForce 3 box & needed the same workaround to bypass G400 detection. The G200 demo still won't run but it turns out it's nothing special anyway (nice music though!) Oh well, at least I finally know my G550 works... two years after I bought it.

Edit: I just noticed that by sheer luck, this is page 604 of this thread. Hah!
Last edited by xjas on 2019-6-11 @ 01:48, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby wirerogue » 2019-6-10 @ 21:15

xjas wrote:How about no cable management, no floppy bay, an ASUS PC-DL Deluxe, and four threads of Netburst awww yeah:

i just bought a new pc-dl deluxe. are you running xp on it?
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby xjas » 2019-6-10 @ 21:17

^^ yeah, XP SP3 with the classic theme. I would have gone for Win2K Pro but I didn't feel like digging out a floppy drive to go through the bootstrap process.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2019-6-10 @ 21:22

Currently re-installing my Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 Platinum drivers and software since I had an error that said: The Creative Software Synth cannot load MIDI wavesets. MIDI playback has been disabled.

Another reason why is because I was about to play MIDI files and my system blue screened and went to Windows Protection mode error. Hopefully this fixes the issue and that's what I get for testing a sound card that wasn't meant to be installed in the system in the first place.

Edit: reinstalling the drivers didn't work at all. I had a similar issue with a Sound Blaster 16 card that did the same thing and I found another piece of drivers from the Aztech card that was still lingering on my system's registry and the multimedia control panel applet.

Has anyone know how I can fix this permanently without re-installing Windows?

Fixed it by removing the lingering driver and it's working again. What a relief.
Last edited by bjwil1991 on 2019-6-10 @ 23:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby wirerogue » 2019-6-10 @ 22:20

oeuvre wrote:Image

those things used to be the bane of my existence and they were everywhere. i am going to have to take extra sleep medication tonight to block out the nightmares. :wink:
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby looking4awayout » 2019-6-11 @ 01:26

I just found out that my Tualatin RDD is no longer stable with the FSB set at 149.14MHz, either freezing randomly or spitting 0x00000D1 BSODs. So, I've increased the core voltage to 1.675v and put heatspreaders on my RAM modules (which they get quite hot to the touch).
I've tested them with MemTest86+ and I got no errors, both before and after putting the heatspreaders, so I can rule out bad RAM as the cause of the instability.

Unfortunately, even after doing these things, the system was still unstable, so I had no other chance than reducing the FSB back to the last stable frequency I used for a long time: 147.30MHz. The system now is rock solid as it used to be, but even the slightest increase of the frequency will make the system freeze or BSOD in 3DMark 2003. The bright side is that even with the slower frequency I'm using now, the system runs as good as it did when I used to run it faster, so I haven't got any substantial loss in performance, but quite the opposite, since it seems to be smoother than before, but it could be the increased core voltage that smooths things out, I don't know.
My Retro Daily Driver: Pentium !!!-S 1.5GHz | 1.5GB PC133 SDRAM | Gecube Radeon X1950 Pro 256MB OC | 500GB WD Blue SSD + 300GB WD Velociraptor | Sound Blaster AWE64 Value | Windows XP Professional SP3
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby TheAbandonwareGuy » 2019-6-11 @ 04:15

I've been archiving my CD ROM's to an external HDD using Alchohol 120%. I mostly want them easily accesible for DOSBOX/Virtual Machines/Machines I can't be arsed to install a CD Drive in but there are some I'd like to have backups of to use as I don't always want to open the box of a rare $60 boxed DOS game (and risk adding more creases, etc to the box) and then risk damaging that disk somehow.

I've noticed something about the progression of game size.

Around 1993 we see FMV show up on the scene and games go from being a maximum of 30 or so megabytes without redbook audio, or one whole disc (rarely, more often 2/3rds CD capacity) with redbook audio to being 2 to 6 discs. That whole thing starts to fade 1997-ish and we start to see games go back to being 1 CD usually due to the advent of useful real-time 3D graphics in consumer grade PCs. Eventually around 1999 we see 3D games expand to having multiple discs, usually between 2 and 4, and this continues until the mid 2000's when we move over entirely to DVDs. The two mediums (multi-CD and DVD) co-exist roughly between 2002 to 2005. Multidisc games tend to load data on the fly from discs until around 1998ish, with them usually having optional full installation between then and 2000. After that they usually request a full install.

As far as invasive DRM. SecuROM shows up in late 1999, SafeDisc around that same time with both having heavy revisions around once a year until 2002 when they start using false sectors and other trickery which makes imaging them (even with modern hardware) extremely annoying. Imaging my copy of Neverwinter Nights which uses Securom 4 took around 2 hours for 3 discs. After this things get even more convoluted and they start to use both false sectors AND data position checking to protect discs. Discs using this tech combo usually take around an hour to image. I haven't imaged any DVD's with that tech yet but that's going to be.... fun...... Very annoying. This is due to it having to skip the false bad sectors AND run a maximum accuracy Data Position Measurement run against the disc. This is also problamatic because it makes it impossible to tell a true bad sector from a fake DRM bad sector. The worst offenders are Electronic Arts and Ubisoft.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby oeuvre » 2019-6-11 @ 16:46

wirerogue wrote:
oeuvre wrote:Image

those things used to be the bane of my existence and they were everywhere. i am going to have to take extra sleep medication tonight to block out the nightmares. :wink:


Image

Now that I've figured out how to reuse these cases, they will continue to haunt you for the rest of eternity.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Caluser2000 » 2019-6-12 @ 04:19

Going through my old hdds to see if they still function. 2 to around 6gig. Taken over the kitchen table. Using a P1 166 testing mobo which picks them quite nicely and has cd boot function.

Testrig.jpg


One dead seagate 4gig and a faulty IDE cable so far. The latest Bigfoot has got OS/2 v3 Connect on it and appears it was setup for Netware, TCPIP, NetBuie over parallel port. Complained on startup so deleted the settings from MPTS which is used to set up networking and such.

Tested out 1.4meg fdds. Four were faulty. One corrupted the boot disk so recreated using a disk image and RawWrite. Nice little program that. It works on win95 up to Win10.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby xjas » 2019-6-13 @ 02:24

Flashed & "tape-modded" (look for it :P ) a Geforce 5 to work in my PowerMac G4. If you think this might be a pain in the butt to do, don't worry, it totally was!

CameraZOOM-20190612180524265.jpg
Picture 4.png

Despite this card's miserable reputation, it's actually not a bad option for this machine. It's supported by CoreImage in hardware, which makes a huge difference swishing around the desktop in Leopard, and this is the "full" 128MB/128-bit version so it's not as awful as it could be. It runs UT2004, which is the newest game I have on the system, it has DVI, and it's passively-cooled & relatively low-power.

I think I might pull it out and cut the traces, as I doubt I'll ever need to use it in an x86 PC again. The tape mod worked as a proof of concept but doesn't sit well with me long-term.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2019-6-13 @ 02:52

Looks pretty good.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby liqmat » 2019-6-13 @ 03:07

xjas wrote:Flashed & "tape-modded" (look for it :P ) a Geforce 5 to work in my PowerMac G4. If you think this might be a pain in the butt to do, don't worry, it totally was!

CameraZOOM-20190612180524265.jpg
Picture 4.png

Despite this card's miserable reputation, it's actually not a bad option for this machine. It's supported by CoreImage in hardware, which makes a huge difference swishing around the desktop in Leopard, and this is the "full" 128MB/128-bit version so it's not as awful as it could be. It runs UT2004, which is the newest game I have on the system, it has DVI, and it's passively-cooled & relatively low-power.

I think I might pull it out and cut the traces, as I doubt I'll ever need to use it in an x86 PC again. The tape mod worked as a proof of concept but doesn't sit well with me long-term.

Dude, I tape mod laptop WiFi cards (Intel AC-7260) all the time (once) to get Bluetooth working and honestly (not lying) I would just leave it and not damage the card.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2019-6-13 @ 03:47

Did that as well with the AC-7260 on my laptop and it works with everything.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby xjas » 2019-6-13 @ 05:09

liqmat wrote:...I tape mod laptop WiFi cards (Intel AC-7260) all the time (once) to get Bluetooth working

What's the story with this? I think I have one of those cards in one of my machines. Don't remember if that one has a problem with Bluetooth.

I'll leave the tape mod until the next time I have to pull the GF5 out. It's working fine right now, but it's hot here and I'm worried about the adhesive turning to goo or the tape peeling off and sticking inside the AGP slot. I'd have to swap video cards back & forth if I want to run OS9 on the thing, but I haven't found a reason to do that yet.

In other news, SimCity 4 runs like hot garbage. The minimum requirements on the box are a G3/700 and a GF2, MX, so I figured a G4 with a substantial CPU upgrade (dual 1.7GHz) and the FX5200 would be able to chew through it. Apparently not; it's like 8FPS MAX on the lowest possible settings. I remember it being pretty sluggish on basically the fastest dual-core G5 ever built (2 x 2.3GHz, DDR2, GF6600), but this is another level of bad.

Something interesting about that: considering the version in the box is not a universal binary (i.e. no x86 support), there are no PCs in existence which can run this game from 2003 well. (Looks like there was an "unsupported beta" universal binary patch released years later.)

Edit: on the other hand, Nanosaur 2 runs great. Because that's a game that got made.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby liqmat » 2019-6-13 @ 11:41

xjas wrote:What's the story with this? I think I have one of those cards in one of my machines. Don't remember if that one has a problem with Bluetooth.

I'll leave the tape mod until the next time I have to pull the GF5 out. It's working fine right now, but it's hot here and I'm worried about the adhesive turning to goo or the tape peeling off and sticking inside the AGP slot. I'd have to swap video cards back & forth if I want to run OS9 on the thing, but I haven't found a reason to do that yet.

I was just being light in that comment, but I don't recall exactly as it's been years. If you taped over pin 20 & 51 IIRC Bluetooth would work on certain laptops with that adapter. It actually worked like a charm for me, but cutting tape that small was no easy task. Plenty of info and videos out there on the subject. Not sure why some laptops worked without the tape and others did not on the AC-7260 concerning Bluetooth. You would think that would be standardized.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby PTherapist » 2019-6-13 @ 18:35

Nothing too productive these past few days, just playing games on old consoles.

I was fooling around earlier on the original Tomb Raider on PS1 and discovered something I didn't realise you could do on the first level - trap the bear's head in the door! I thought I knew that game inside and out, but this amused me. :lol:
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