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 BSA Starfire » 2018-2-03 @ 13:56

Finally got around to installing the OAK OTI 077 1mb VGA card in my 386 sx33 instead of the Trident 9000B, much better image quality and windows 3.1 is now far more usable,in Word 5 documents scroll fine, windows draw quickly and afterdark 2.0 aquatic realm doesn't keep pausing for 5-10 second periods as it did on both the trident cards(9000B 512K & 8900B 1MB). How much of this is due to the windows drivers between OAK & Trident I don't know, but the OAK wins hands down for windows performance despite being pretty similar(just slightly quicker) to the 8900B in DOS performance.
So I'm happy with that little job, of course the OAK is no rocket compared to the Western Digital 90C30 in the 386 DX, but it's fine for the SX33.
386SX 33MHz,4MB Ram,ALi M1217 motherboard,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A.
386DX 25MHz,IIT 387,8MB RAM,Opti,32K cache,WDC90C30 512K.Conner CF170A.
IDT Winchip C6 200MHz,DFi P5BTX/L,Number Nine S3 ViRGE 2MB,SoundBlasterCT2260,1.2Gb Fujitsu.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2018-2-03 @ 15:11

Jed118 wrote:
bjwil1991 wrote:Wow. That's an amazing rig you got there.


I was just telling my wife how I found it, as she watched me (loosely, no wife watches a mid 30s man reassemble a decrepit machine with too much interest) put it together so as to clean the kitchen table of its presence.

It was about 20 years ago that I was dropping off my then GF to her house, and about a block away from her street I sighted it. These days, I would just unabashedly pull over and acquire it. Then though, I was 18, and could not do such a thing. Fortunately after my spirited driving and a very quick (mobile) goodnight kiss and a california-stop at her house, I smelled the ceramic smell of burnt clutch back and thankfully found it there.

This, as far as I know, is the original power supply that was installed when I found it that night on the side of the road. There was some sort of Intel 386 in the guts of it, which even then I managed to sell off on eBay (this was circa 2001) but the soul remains pure: What I ever wanted out of a 386. Now it is 2018, and this masterful (in need of retrobrighting) assemblage of quarter-century tech is quite alive. I relish it. I adore it. It is a time piece to what I had, and what I wish I had.

And also quite apparently, what I have now.

This is why I have chosen this particular one to be my gateway, my cyborg, into the new wave of portable digital media. Basically taking 1992 and running with it. Or at least extending the platform well beyond what it should have been.

If you enjoyed this, then you shroud see what i do in the modern era with carburetted cars!

For a system in that shape is amazing. I have a rusty bucket computer case from the early 90s that has a little bit of threads left for the expansion cards, and no threads left for the HDD/FDD bay, some expansion card mounts, and the exterior of the case. I got the case painted a couple of years ago, my dog destroyed the HDD I had installed by peeing on it (luckily, I had backups on a CF card and sacrificed a 200GB Maxtor HDD and set the limit to 32GB due to BIOS limitations). Now my case is rusting again (outer shell).

Also, it's my 800th post! xD
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby derSammler » 2018-2-03 @ 15:40

derSammler wrote:I don't know yet. I just removed all socketed parts, jumpers, etc. and looked at the damage. It's not as worse as I first thought. Only the KBC socket and the two ISA slots are affected, everything else is fine. I've now put the whole board into a vinegar solution to neutralize the remains of the leakage. After that, I'll decide if replacing the affected parts is needed or if they are fine after cleaning.

Looks good after neutralizing the leakage. :)
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Almoststew1990 » 2018-2-03 @ 16:23

I got a Nvidia Geforce 4 MX 440 in my latest haul of junk. I had a little heatsink on it, with a place for a fan. I thought the heatsink by itself probably isn't up to cooling the card so I had a rummage around my collection of "bits and bobs", and surfaced with a motherboard chipset heatsink which had the same mounting hole spacing. Using my screw mount things from a cheap and nasty Chinese GPU cooler thing (which wouldn't fit this card, if you're wondering!) I got the chipset heatsink mounted. Hopefully this will be sufficient, as it would be a nice bridge between my TNT2 and vanilla 6800.

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

Postby Jed118 » 2018-2-03 @ 16:54

derSammler wrote:I don't know yet. I just removed all socketed parts, jumpers, etc. and looked at the damage. It's not as worse as I first thought. Only the KBC socket and the two ISA slots are affected, everything else is fine. I've now put the whole board into a vinegar solution to neutralize the remains of the leakage. After that, I'll decide if replacing the affected parts is needed or if they are fine after cleaning.


I was going to say, pull the chips out and look under them. I did this to a 286 board, which lasted about 6 months before I got the "keyboard not found" error. I think I'll have to investigate the traces on the board to get it back to life.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Jed118 » 2018-2-03 @ 16:57

derSammler wrote:
derSammler wrote:I don't know yet. I just removed all socketed parts, jumpers, etc. and looked at the damage. It's not as worse as I first thought. Only the KBC socket and the two ISA slots are affected, everything else is fine. I've now put the whole board into a vinegar solution to neutralize the remains of the leakage. After that, I'll decide if replacing the affected parts is needed or if they are fine after cleaning.

Looks good after neutralizing the leakage. :)


You used just vinegar for it? How does that compare to bathing it in isopropyl and using a paint brush to get it off?
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby derSammler » 2018-2-03 @ 17:02

Isopropyl won't stop the leakage from eating traces. Vinegar (or any other acid) will neutralize the battery leakage (which is an alkaline solution), so it's completely harmless afterwards. You have to do another bath in clean water, though, to get the vinegar from the board.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Jed118 » 2018-2-03 @ 17:18

Shit. That's what killed off the 286's traces then. Into the vinegar it goes at once! Danke!
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby derSammler » 2018-2-03 @ 17:54

Be careful, however. If you take too much vinegar, all metal parts will start to oxidize. It's probably a good idea to do a test with some old, bad ISA card or something like that first, so you get some practice. Start with something like 1 part vinegar on 20 parts water. This should be safe for at least one hour befor any oxidation occurs.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Skyscraper » 2018-2-03 @ 20:57

Todays retro activity.


06:30: *beep beep beep*
06:35 Coffy!
06:55: Go out to the little pickup truck and notice that there is 25cm (~10 inches) of snow covering it.
07:06 Snow cleared! Start driving south in the worst blizzard I ever seen around here.
09:00 Still Driving
11:00 Still driving.
11:41 Stopping for a quick burger.
12:01 Driving again.
12:45: At the destination. Start loading the truck with beige desktops and mini towers from the eighth floor (floor 9 the way we count here). Stacking everything as good as possible, managed to fit about 40, (vs 37 last trip).
15:07 Start driving north. Down in southernmost Sweden the weather is somewhat better.
17:00 There is the blizzard again, it's moving south.
19:00 Still driving... It's more like the blizzard is spreading south, not moving south...
20:14 Stopping to fill up diesel as I couldnt make it all the way home with what little was left. (My pickup gets about 47 mpg on avarage)
20:53 Home again. Time to start unloading...
21:10. Deciding that the rest can wait until tomorrow as the flat bed is covered by a full height mostly weather tight cover.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby luckybob » 2018-2-03 @ 23:52

Last week I blew out the speakers of my Apple powered speakers from 1993. ( https://computers.popcorn.cx/apple/peri ... ers-01.jpg ) Shame really. But I got off amazon a pair of Kicker DSC350's for a good price. There wasn't a lot of thought that went into the decision. I just recognised the name, and they were the correct size and impedance. Long story short, they fit ok. But it's obvious now the little pissant amp isn't up to the task. Alas, once I blow that, I'll have some fun replacing that.

Meshuggah did fine, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qc98u-eGzlc
mastodon did better, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEubrZV04b0
Grendel suffered a lot, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGQoB1bYsuA
I could go on.


Yea, anything over 50% volume now clips like garden shears. The amp doesn't get hot, so It's likely just starved for power. I think.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby derSammler » 2018-2-04 @ 19:31

Tested the PC Chips M321 today after having it let dry on the heater for 24h. Seems like the board survived the vinegar bath, cleaning, etc. Now have to add some provision for an external battery.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Tetrium » 2018-2-04 @ 22:42

Skyscraper wrote:Todays retro activity.


06:30: *beep beep beep*
06:35 Coffy!
06:55: Go out to the little pickup truck and notice that there is 25cm (~10 inches) of snow covering it.
07:06 Snow cleared! Start driving south in the worst blizzard I ever seen around here.
09:00 Still Driving
11:00 Still driving.
11:41 Stopping for a quick burger.
12:01 Driving again.
12:45: At the destination. Start loading the truck with beige desktops and mini towers from the eighth floor (floor 9 the way we count here). Stacking everything as good as possible, managed to fit about 40, (vs 37 last trip).
15:07 Start driving north. Down in southernmost Sweden the weather is somewhat better.
17:00 There is the blizzard again, it's moving south.
19:00 Still driving... It's more like the blizzard is spreading south, not moving south...
20:14 Stopping to fill up diesel as I couldnt make it all the way home with what little was left. (My pickup gets about 47 mpg on avarage)
20:53 Home again. Time to start unloading...
21:10. Deciding that the rest can wait until tomorrow as the flat bed is covered by a full height mostly weather tight cover.

This won't be a picture thread...this will be an art gallery lol!
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby nforce4max » 2018-2-04 @ 22:44

Started another 9x laptop project and it arrived a bit worse than what the pictures suggested so had to use the lower body from a slightly newer model which meant I had to do a little body work to get it all done. Period correct 9x laptops leave a lot to be desired when it comes to screen size, resolution, speaker quality, performance, and ergonomics so another 17inch beast added to the collection.
On a far away planet reading your posts in the year 10,191.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2018-2-05 @ 01:03

I've been testing a bunch of later\high end AGP cards this afternoon.

I'm using my good old Abit NF7-S 2.0 system that I've had since ~2003. It has an Athlon XP 1700+ Tbred-B that has been at 2Ghz for 15 years (same cooling fan too!), 2GB of DDR 400 in dual channel, integrated Soundstorm audio, 80GB Maxtor hard drive, Seasonic HT550 PSU and XP SP3.

Cards I've tested today:
eVGA 6800 Ultra AGP
BFG 6800 GS AGP
BFG Asylum FX 5950 Ultra OC AGP
Radeon X1650 AGP

So far, everything is working extremely well! I even installed Minecraft (1.7.10) on this thing with Forge and Optifine and it runs amazingly well! Who would have thought that an FX 5950 Ultra would still be usable for a popular game 15 years later? ;)
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Wireless » 2018-2-05 @ 01:44

What a faff today has been, changed out what I thought was a duff GA-K8N Mobo, and discovered the replacement wouldn't POST when the SLI Board was put in the Mobo, I'd had it POST and installed Windows before I noted that the Mobo was missing its SLI Board, so switched off and inserted it.

WTH, took it out again and it POSTed again and continued to install Windows, the Gigabyte Manual states that it won't work without the SLI Board fitted??!?

Now the back story to this is I attempted a few weeks ago to Upgrade the BIOS on an Identical Mobo from vF9 to vF10G and the board wouldn't POST afterwards, I felt it was a duff or corrupted BIOS, and re-wrote the old BIOS to the Mobo to get it to POST off either BIOS (Dual BIOS), and left it at vF9.

This week an identical Mobo POSTed without the SLI Card fitted and was showing vF10G BIOS was installed, so I'm thinking yet another identical Mobo I have here might possibly have both Dual BIOS flashed to vF10G, I just need to find a suitable Socket 939 CPU and test if it POSTs without the SLI Board fitted...

So another case of the Manual written by the Manufacturer not being updated with new BIOS releases? I may be able to prove this in the next few weeks.

Anyway, wasted several hours faffing about with this problem, which included the BIOS arguing with Jumper Settings on IDE HDDs, I had to set the Boot Drive in the BIOS as well as with Jumpers, which is an unusual faff for a recent Mobo of around 10 years.

Then installed a genuine copy of Win 7, then attempted to find a driver for a Satellite Network DVB TV Card with no User Guide, and the website all in German, then a faff with setting up an EKU USB Dongle, which I'm going to have to contact Germany about, and the issue with Tellicast Software wanting to dump the raw data on the small drive with the OS installed, when I have a 500GB drive in there for the purpose, and then the inevitable minor virus when you've been connected too fecking long to the Interweb doing updates for Windows.

Then to top it all, Windows declared it wasn't a genuine copy, forcing me to dig out the Registration Key I entered at the very start...again!
Last edited by Wireless on 2018-2-05 @ 07:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby CkRtech » 2018-2-05 @ 03:36

derSammler wrote:Looks good after neutralizing the leakage. :)

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

Postby ElementalChaos » 2018-2-05 @ 03:43

Well... started noticing some missing instruments playing MIDIs on my CT1600, started playing some modules in 2OP mode on AdLib Tracker II to test out all the channels... and almost half of them aren't working. Tried everything, including another PC, and they're dead as a doornail. Turns out the OPL3 on this thing was defective, probably wounded by ESD, and I never realized it because it sounds passable on 4OP. Not a great way to end a night.

Off to eBay to grab one of those YMF-719 cards...
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Baoran » 2018-2-05 @ 12:43

Not sure where to post this, but I guess it could be considered retro activity. Recently I started to get old pc hardware in mail that I had not bought and there was no senders address or anything. I tried to track who was sending it and eventually realised someone who I had bought a graphics card last year was sending them because he had posted online exactly same hardware I was receiving. It basically seems that he is sending me stuff that he wasn't able to sell on online auction sites. He doesn't respond to any of my attempts to contact him. Today I received Gainward Geforce MX4000 in an envelope without much of packaging to protect it. I just think this is just weird, because he is clearly paying for the postage to send me stuff...
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby liqmat » 2018-2-05 @ 15:04

Baoran wrote:Not sure where to post this, but I guess it could be considered retro activity. Recently I started to get old pc hardware in mail that I had not bought and there was no senders address or anything. I tried to track who was sending it and eventually realised someone who I had bought a graphics card last year was sending them because he had posted online exactly same hardware I was receiving. It basically seems that he is sending me stuff that he wasn't able to sell on online auction sites. He doesn't respond to any of my attempts to contact him. Today I received Gainward Geforce MX4000 in an envelope without much of packaging to protect it. I just think this is just weird, because he is clearly paying for the postage to send me stuff...


Not weird. I can't speak for that person, but there are some of us who value the preservation over the money. I know when I visit the Living Computer Museum in downtown Seattle I am grateful someone was crazy enough to think about preserving all those massive mainframes from the 60s and 70s AND keep them running for the museum so visitors can see them in operation. Someone down the timeline will appreciate there was a group of us that kept this stuff going as well. Nothing replaces seeing these artifacts first hand and, if possible, still operational and in motion.
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