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 Mister Xiado » 2019-7-01 @ 00:46

Investigated making OS/2 icons, but at that rate, I may as well go back to making skins for Nintendo DS flash cards for all the good it would do. That, or paint the underside of public trash cans.
Pulled the clock capacitor from a 1.0 Xbox, drastically underlining my need for a desoldering gun to do this kind of work. I spent almost 20 minutes trying to wick the solder out of the through-hole before giving up.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby PC Hoarder Patrol » 2019-7-01 @ 01:20

Been cycling my stored socket 754 kit thru some visual inspections and benchmark runs just to check for signs of degradation - thankfully nothing obvious so back to storage.

S754Boards.jpg

ASRock K8N68PV-GLAN (Nvidia 7050/630A), Abit KV-85 V2.0 (VIA K8M800 ), Foxconn 760GXK8MC (SiS 760GX/964 )

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Biostar iDEQ N1 sff (NVIDIA 6100/410)

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

Postby Jed118 » 2019-7-01 @ 02:32

Caluser2000 wrote:
Jed118 wrote:LOL how can I do that on a fresh system install?
Now you are being silly. .



No, I didn't read your post, because you're being an asshole, mate.

Want these disks, I'll ship them to you, maybe you can school me on what's what.
Visit my channel on Youtube - Tinkering, 386s, electric powered vehicles:

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

Postby Caluser2000 » 2019-7-01 @ 05:02

Thank you for the kind offer but shipping over 3000 miles just wouldn't be worth it. I'm sure a quick c:>dir a:\ on your 386DX40 would be quicker than packing, labeling and popping down to the post office. As I mentioned previously it's really quite easy to recreate the disks using the images on winworldpc.com Of course you could just make image of that first disk, upload it here as an attachment and we can all have a peak at its contents. Just change the extention from img to zip though or the site will not accept it.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby appiah4 » 2019-7-01 @ 06:53

Tested my Adlib clone project, and the results were:

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A500:+512K|ACA500+|C1084S
i386:Am386SX-25|4M|TVGA9000B|ES688
i486:U5S-33|8M|GD5428|CT2290/MUNT-Pi
i586:P133|32M|S3T64+/MX2|V1|CT3980/32M
i686:K6-2/400|64M|V2/SLI|CT4500/32M
S370:P3-1200|384M|GF4Ti4200|MX300
S754:A3700+|2G|X1950PRO|SB0350
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2019-7-01 @ 08:57

Nice.

I installed and configured my new Reveal SC400 (Aztech Sound Galaxy NX Pro 16) in my Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus along with the CD-ROM driver and it works. Going to install the Windows 95 drivers soon and I hope I don't need to run the CD controller driver again.

I also readjusted the left headlight lens on my dad's Malibu Maxx as the headlight was lower than the right side. Cannot believe how much brighter the lights are compared to the old, hazy, electrical issue assemblies.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby bakemono » 2019-7-01 @ 10:52

Got a cardbus 802.11n wireless adaptor for $5. It turns out that my belkin router setup as an access point IS capable of N speed. But I had never connected using N before, the win7 laptop with the bum fan has a built-in Intel chip which is supposed to support N but it refused to ever go above G. The older laptops were all limited to G anyway, and then my Gateway Pentium MMX laptop just has an 802.11b PCMCIA card.

This WinXP laptop has a mini-PCI card that I installed ages ago. But I never could be bothered to disassemble it to the extent necessary to run the antenna wires up into the screen as intended, I left them coiled up inside the base. It worked OK like this, but I usually favored the 100mb wired ethernet over the wireless because the mini-PCI card would heat up the bottom of the laptop and make the CPU fan come on. Not to mention that G is not very impressive for speed, they call it 54mbps but in practice the throughput never seems to go above half of that. (At least with B it could consistently reach 60% of the rated 11mbps.)

This is where I installed the new N card. The indicated speed bounces all over, from 65mbps to 130mbps in 20MHz mode. It works fine, however it too runs warm and heats up the rest of the laptop. I guess wireless communication is just a power-hungry endeavor? Or maybe switching it to a lower speed would cool it off? I saw a "power save mode" setting which is enabled, and a "transmit power" which I didn't try changing yet.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby dionb » 2019-7-01 @ 12:21

Which band are you operating in? 2.4GHz or 5GHz.

If the link rate (not the same as speed!) keeps bouncing around it indicates something's not stable. In 2.4GHz the RF itself is the prime suspect, as that band is heavily and fluctuatingly polluted as a rule. In the 5GHz it's theoretically also possible, but I'd sooner suspect driver or hardware issues as 5GHz tends to be quieter and more stable.

65Mbps and 130Mbps are interesting as that's the same modulation (64QAM with 5/6 coding) and long guard intervals but 1x1 SISO vs 2x2 MIMO. It's *possible* that the rate algorithm in the card's WiFi controller switches from 2x2 to 1x1 in response to challenging RF, but I'd consider that odd. I'd normally expect a device doing 2x2 at 64QAM 5/6 to drop back to 64QAM 3/4 and 2/3 ("117Mbps" and" 104Mbps"), then to 16QAM 3/4 ("78Mbps") without dropping the MIMO. So this sounds more like flakey drivers/hardware.

As for running hot - is WMM Power save aka U-APSD enabled in your AP? If not, try enabling it, and try increasing the DTIM from 1 to 2 or 3, and increase beacon interval from 100ms to 300ms. This also reduces overhead from beacons by 2/3, so is good practice anyway. You might also have to enable WMM Power Save/U-APSD in the card drivers as well.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby bakemono » 2019-7-01 @ 13:42

dionb wrote:Which band are you operating in? 2.4GHz or 5GHz.

2.4GHz. In fact this router (F5D8233) doesn't appear to be capable of 5GHz. And its configuration page is extremely limited, sadly none of the settings you mentioned are available.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby dionb » 2019-7-01 @ 13:59

bakemono wrote:
dionb wrote:Which band are you operating in? 2.4GHz or 5GHz.

2.4GHz. In fact this router (F5D8233) doesn't appear to be capable of 5GHz. And its configuration page is extremely limited, sadly none of the settings you mentioned are available.

Not even the beacon interval? Sure there's not an 'advanced' tab in there somewhere? If not you're stuck, as there is no support for this device in the various xWRT alternate firmware projects.

In any event, that device is old enough to be on-topic here, a 2007 design. Its specs aren't too bad for a draft-802.11n device two years older than the standard it claims to support.

Simple test for where the problem is with those link rates: connect with a modern device with 2x2 MIMO support (most laptops) and check the link rate. If it's stable at 2x2 rates (see here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802. ... Data_rates ) your Cardbus NIC is the problem. If a known-good device shows exact same flip-flopping between 1 and 2 spatial streams, it's probably the Belkin. Unless you're specifically attached to it I'd recommend binning it and replacing it with something that's either decent out of the box, or is supported by DD-WRT or OpenWRT so you do get all the good stuff which will let you actually manage power usage of clients.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby wiretap » 2019-7-02 @ 03:07

Got my 486DX2-66 SX955 / Biostar MB-1433 / ATI Mach64 ISA / SB Pro 2 fully setup with proper software and drivers.. DTC VLB I/O card, ATI Mach64 ISA, and Sound Blaster Pro 2 CT1600. The DTC I/O card confused me at first because the CD-ROM wasn't showing up on Port #2, or Port #1 -- I finally loaded the DOS CD-ROM drivers and it started working as normal, but the card's boot ROM still doesn't show it for some reason. (oh well, no big deal) It was also a pain to find the right drivers for the Mach64 that would work under Windows 3.1. I must have tried 5 or 6 different downloads before I found the right ones. I finally found the right OEM full set of 3, but I had to create floppy images for them using WinImage. Anyhow, it looks great now. The Sound Blaster Pro 2 drivers were kind of in the same boat -- I had to use WinImage to create the floppy image, and image Disk #1 the proper name. (SBPRO_DISK1) But I'm now fully satisfied since everything looks like a clean OEM install. Also, I got the turbo button wired properly, so I can run at rated MHz and derated properly, with HI/LO displayed correctly. I may change that to the right MHz display later on. (but I made the turbo LED light up when at the higher speed -- I believe it is supposed to be the opposite way, but more LED's on = cooler)

Still trying to source a more appropriate CD-ROM, but for now at least this one fully works and matches in color.

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

Postby bjwil1991 » 2019-7-02 @ 04:00

I believe the Sound Blaster Pro 2 card supports a Panasonic/Creative Labs CR-563-B CD-ROM drive. However, the price for those things are a bit high. I have one in my 486 DX5-133 setup (Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus fully upgraded) and it works with my Aztech Sound Galaxy NX Pro 16 card easily.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby appiah4 » 2019-7-02 @ 06:07

Well, after trying long and hard to get my 386SX-40 motherboard with cache to boot, I’ve finally come to accept that it will not happen any time soon so I replaced it with the Unknown 386SX-25 motherboard I had lying about:

IMG_1100.JPG

After removing the battery and installing it into the case, the first boot was clean and that was a welcome change of pace from all the headache the previous board proved to be.

IMG_1134.JPG

So I went ahead and assembled the computer completely, and found out that the BIOS had no autodetect features for hard drives. Using a GOTEK drive I copied IDEINFO onto a floppy image and ran it.

IMG_1137.JPG

After punching these values into the BIOS it was smooth sailing from there on. Booted an MS-DOS 5.0 install floppy image, and everything went fine.

IMG_1141.JPG

Until I tried to boot from the CF-IDE, that is. It would lock up at this point no matter what I did all night, so I went to bed admitting defeat. Only to jump back up a few minutes later – I had this problem before! Booted back to the MS-DOS 5.0 floppy image, did an FDISK /MBR and voila:

IMG_1142.JPG

Next up: Transfar drivers, games, apps and Windows 3.0 installation files on to the compact flash and have fun!
A500:+512K|ACA500+|C1084S
i386:Am386SX-25|4M|TVGA9000B|ES688
i486:U5S-33|8M|GD5428|CT2290/MUNT-Pi
i586:P133|32M|S3T64+/MX2|V1|CT3980/32M
i686:K6-2/400|64M|V2/SLI|CT4500/32M
S370:P3-1200|384M|GF4Ti4200|MX300
S754:A3700+|2G|X1950PRO|SB0350
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby mothergoose729 » 2019-7-02 @ 15:49

wiretap wrote:Image


Great picture :). I love these retro-glamorous shots.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby xjas » 2019-7-02 @ 17:40

wiretap wrote:Got my 486DX2-66 SX955 / Biostar MB-1433 / ATI Mach64 ISA / SB Pro 2 fully setup with proper software and drivers...


I love that case. It's a total product of its time but somehow still manages to look fresh. The ATX era really killed these little compact towers too. Great system!

At pretty much the exact opposite of the scale... yesterday night, at probably way later than I should have been doing it, I threw together this test bench out of old case parts and set up the monster system I got the other day:

DSCN1557.JPG
DSCN1546.JPG
^^ it came with the two 8800GTs and I had an 8500GT already, so in it went. Because why not?

I set the RAM timings and a slight overclock (5-4-4-15 @ 853 MHz using a 5:4 FSB divider), booted off the previous owner's HDD, waited for the extra cards to be picked up by the driver, set up the SLI configuration, AND...

DSCN1559.JPG
DSCN1553.JPG

I got to experience SLI for the first time, EVER*! Woooooo!

(* at least, on one of my own machines where i get to mess around and tweak it.)

And... I was actually really impressed. It "just worked", I didn't see any frame stuttering that other people harp on about, and it scaled up smoothly and made a big, solid, performance gain - at least in this one specific benchmark I tried. For a personal introduction to the technology, not bad!

DSCN1563.JPG
^^ the same machine scored 17.3 FPS & 741 'points' with SLI disabled and PhysX confined to the display GPU.

The two 8800GTs were like having a pair of hair dryers pointed at my face though. I guess I'll have to pull them apart to re-do the thermal paste and blow out all the dust. The Q6600, overclocked & overvolted RAM, and passive 8500GT weren't exactly cool to the touch either. You could probably heat a small room by gaming on this thing during the mild winters we have here. :P
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Orkay » 2019-7-02 @ 20:15

Yesterday/today I ran an unattended installation of Windows NT onto an old SCSI Barracuda drive. The ST31250/ST32550 lineup really has a special charm to it, as it sort of bears a resemblance to the 1M Pentium Pro chips. I have a video of the whole process, among several others that I made just for the sake of showing my old hardware because I haven't worked on any serious projects all that much lately: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSLsyNHhEqY

I still have to work out the trouble with trying to get the five *.class files from SP6a installed due to the 8.3 filename restriction involved in copying temporary setup files over the network using MS-DOS, but I'll probably just reconfigure the script to install the service pack from the network since that has less overhead, anyway. One other small detail that went over my head until much later is that I intended to install Windows NT Server, but forgot to update a batch script to point the directories to the new server installation directory.
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Windows NT 4.0 Installation, having trouble installing SP6a
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Seagate Barracuda ST32550W Fast Wide SCSI 68-pin Hard Drive
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby McBierle » 2019-7-02 @ 20:32

Finally had some time to begin working on my ps/2 model 30. It has some indiana jones like layer of dust, so i started to dismantle it. Except cleaning i'm thinking about replacing all the elkos.
What i diddn't realise is that (beeing IBM) the psu is not screwed together but riveted.... *grrrrrrr*
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby dionb » 2019-7-02 @ 20:51

I've decided to teach myself a bit of microelectronics - and what better way to start than with one of the oldest devices I have, an Osborne Variant 1 keyboard:

Image

The Osborne Variant 1 was the desktop version of the famous Osborne 1 luggable CP/M device. I only have the keyboard, so might as well put that to some good use. The interesting thing about this keyboard is that it's entirely passive. Basically the cable contains 8 column and 8 row lines, two NC and two GND and that's it. So what I'm doing here is hooking it up to a Teensy++ 2.0 USB prototyping microcontroller and trying to get it to interpret the scan codes and feed that over USB HID to whatever I hook it up to. This is the 'it's alive' moment when I started getting feedback (for now: lighting that green LED) when I fed +5V over one of the row lines, pressed an appropriate key and had the column (data) line hooked up to the Teensy.

I've now confirmed all keys are working and I have the correct pinout. Now time to wire up all the lines simultaneously and get that Teensy to do what I want with the input.

Btw I know about Soarer's firmware, but I'm not aware of any off-the-shelf version for this old board and I'll learn much more doing the basics myself.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby xjas » 2019-7-03 @ 05:36

^^ don't mention this project on VCF or they'll have your head. :P Interesting keyboard design, can't imagine there are too many out there with that kind of passive matrix switching arrangement. I think the Commodore 64 & its family used something similar. You could also MIDI-fy that with something like a Highly Liquid UMR2.

Here's one for Wiretap. Today I decided I needed to make a hole in my favorite mini PC (I really need to update that thread BTW.)

It started like this:

DSCN1567.JPG
DSCN1569.JPG
OGOD.

DSCN1575.JPG
It just gets worse...

Incidentally this was REALLY slow going. Shuttle actually used thick, high-quality aluminum on these. Also, I stole my metal files from a former employer about three jobs ago and they're dull as rocks.

But, after a LOT of patience and meticulous work, which nobody has ever accused me of being good at, this was the result:

DSCN1586.JPG

But why did I need to make a hole in that specific spot and this exact shape? Well:

DSCN1590.JPG

For the GPU fan, of course. Wasn't sure about the look at first, but it's growing on me. And I'd say it turned out pretty well!
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby xjas » 2019-7-03 @ 05:39

DSCN1598.JPG

Incidentally, yes, that fan is squished right up against the metal side panel. If it were even 1mm deeper I wouldn't be able to close the case. This worked out pretty well - it takes in air from the outside of the panel, cools the GPU, and exhausts it on the inside, making a physical barrier between the "cool" and "hot" air zones. It also helps channel it over the VRAM chips, which don't run super hot but could probably use the extra cooling anyway.
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