Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

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Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby Smack2k » 2018-1-29 @ 10:56

I am looking to consolidate down from the number of retro and kind of retro machines I have setup, but want to still be able to play games from all eras. In your experienced opinions:

1. How many machines would you need to be able to play at full settings, games from late 80s - 2009? Both DOS and Windows Games.
2. What Processors and Video Cards would you go with for each build and how much Memory?

My goal is to make sure I can still all this but cut the number of running machines down, and break down the other machines and store the parts...
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby dionb » 2018-1-29 @ 11:04

It would help to know what you already have, then we can recommend which of those you could best use, possibly mixing up compontents a bit.
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby clueless1 » 2018-1-29 @ 11:46

On the low end, you can probably get away with starting with a 486 with DOS and Win3. With caches and turbo disabled it can slow down enough to play most games from the late 80s. On the upper end, my Core2 Quad / 750Ti system plays Crisis quite well, and that is a 2007 game. You could stick with XP or dual boot Win7. Those could be your bookend systems.

Next slowest could be a K6-2 or K6-III in the 450-550Mhz range. Put 98SE on here and it could run fast DOS games too.

Above that...maybe a very fast P3 or low-end P4 with WinME and Win2k?

That might work...4 systems. Any holes in my suggestions?
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby derSammler » 2018-1-29 @ 11:51

Really depends on the actual games you are wanting to play. But three systems are required at minimum. I'd say a 486 DX2/66 running DOS, a P2/P3 450 MHz running 98SE, and for the stuff up to 2009 a Core2Duo running XP.
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby Auzner » 2018-1-29 @ 12:28

Smack2k wrote:I am looking to consolidate down from the number

Alright, here's my opinion for doing this with just two systems.

Skip proprietary graphics APIs and HW Glide as well as "era-accurate" max-outs. The most modern system you can build will also be for DOSBox. Emulation is how you're best going to consolidate. 286, 486DX, K6-2, are all nice milestone old-systems but that's a lot of hardware. As long as you stick with single core processors for Win98se and XP, that should be just like the K6-2 target era.

1. Modern Sandy Bridge / Ivy Bridge system is enough for 2004-2018 (DX8-DX12) & 1980-1995 DOSBox emulation. GTX 1050 Ti doesn't seem scalped by miners.

2. Dual boot Win98SE & WinXP system with a fast single core Conroe (Celeron 450) or Athlon 64 (FX-55/FX-57) with AGP for 90s-2004. Use a GF FX 5800/5900 series or Quadro FX 3000. 2x256MB DDR is best for Win98 and XP gaming won't need more either. A WinXP game that runs better with 1GB or 2GB of ram will already work in system #1 then. There are newer gen parts and tweaks for more memory, cores, graphics, but these specs are simpler to deal with.
Last edited by Auzner on 2018-1-30 @ 10:36, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-1-29 @ 13:56

Athlon 64 is nice on an AGP platform as it can be trivially downclocked for any >2 Ghz intolerant Win9x titles. Plus, with the right sound card, it can function as an ultimate performance DOS system.
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby Smack2k » 2018-1-29 @ 15:25

dionb wrote:It would help to know what you already have, then we can recommend which of those you could best use, possibly mixing up compontents a bit.


Right Now, the Following. Way to many....

(There is some stuff I dont know off the top of my head and I am typing this at work so I can fill in the blanks later if needed. Mostly RAM numbers but I know they are all sufficient for the machine.

386DX-33, 8 MB RAM, TSENG ET4000 ISA
486DX2-66, 32 MB RAM, TSENG ET4000 VLB
Pentium 166, 64 MB RAM, Voodoo1 / S3 Virge DX
Pentium 2 - 300, 128 or 256 MB RAM, Voodoo2 / Matrox G100 AGP
Pentium 2 - 500, 256 MB RAM, Voodoo2 SLI / NVIDIA TNT
Athlon 700 - 512 MB RAM - Voodoo3
Pentium 3 - 1 GHZ - 768 MB RAM - GeForce2 Ultra
Pentium 4 - 2.X GHZ - 2 GB RAM - Radeon 9700 Pro
Athlon XP 3200+ - 2.5 GB RAM - Radeon 9800XT 256
Athlon XP 5600+ - 4 GB RAM - GeForce4 Ti4600
Athlon FX-60 - 4 GB RAM - GeForce 6600 GT SLI
Core 2 Quad 6700 - 2.66 GHZ - 6 GB RAM - GeForce 9800 GT (1 GB) SLI

The Procs I think are right, but a couple of the newer builds may be different as I know I upgraded a couple, just dont remember which!! As you can see, way to many machines. There are 2 Tandy 1000's (SL and TL) not listed as well....

Also have random other parts / boards I could use if something is missing. I know there is a GeForce GTS250 unused as well as some others
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby derSammler » 2018-1-29 @ 15:40

Smack2k wrote:486DX2-66, 32 MB RAM, TSENG ET4000 VLB
Pentium 2 - 500, 256 MB RAM, Voodoo2 SLI / NVIDIA TNT
Core 2 Quad 6700 - 2.66 GHZ - 6 GB RAM - GeForce 9800 GT (1 GB) SLI

Keep those. ;)
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby dionb » 2018-1-29 @ 15:43

Smack2k wrote:
dionb wrote:It would help to know what you already have, then we can recommend which of those you could best use, possibly mixing up compontents a bit.


Right Now, the Following. Way to many....

(There is some stuff I dont know off the top of my head and I am typing this at work so I can fill in the blanks later if needed. Mostly RAM numbers but I know they are all sufficient for the machine.

386DX-33, 8 MB RAM, TSENG ET4000 ISA
486DX2-66, 32 MB RAM, TSENG ET4000 VLB
Pentium 166, 64 MB RAM, Voodoo1 / S3 Virge DX
Pentium 2 - 300, 128 or 256 MB RAM, Voodoo2 / Matrox G100 AGP
Pentium 2 - 500, 256 MB RAM, Voodoo2 SLI / NVIDIA TNT
Athlon 700 - 512 MB RAM - Voodoo3
Pentium 3 - 1 GHZ - 768 MB RAM - GeForce2 Ultra
Pentium 4 - 2.X GHZ - 2 GB RAM - Radeon 9700 Pro
Athlon XP 3200+ - 2.5 GB RAM - Radeon 9800XT 256
Athlon XP 5600+ - 4 GB RAM - GeForce4 Ti4600
Athlon FX-60 - 4 GB RAM - GeForce 6600 GT SLI
Core 2 Quad 6700 - 2.66 GHZ - 6 GB RAM - GeForce 9800 GT (1 GB) SLI

The Procs I think are right, but a couple of the newer builds may be different as I know I upgraded a couple, just dont remember which!! As you can see, way to many machines. There are 2 Tandy 1000's (SL and TL) not listed as well....

Also have random other parts / boards I could use if something is missing. I know there is a GeForce GTS250 unused as well as some others

Nice list - and I see why you might want to consolidate ;)

Following what clueless1 said, you can probably get away with the 486 for all DOS purposes, then for Win9x head for a late AGP build, and for Win2k/XP something wiht multiple cores.

I'd say:
486DX2-66, 32 MB RAM, TSENG ET4000 VLB
Athlon XP 3200+ - 2.5 GB RAM - Radeon 9800XT 256
Core 2 Quad 6700 - 2.66 GHZ - 6 GB RAM - GeForce 9800 GT (1 GB) SLI

Perhaps you might want one of the P2 builds for something late 1999s intermediate as well.
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-1-29 @ 15:51

Smack2k wrote:386DX-33, 8 MB RAM, TSENG ET4000 ISA
Pentium 166, 64 MB RAM, Voodoo1 / S3 Virge DX
Athlon XP 5600+ - 4 GB RAM - GeForce4 Ti4600


If it's an MMX Pentium and an Athlon 64 chipset compatible with Win98 and DDMA, this combination would allow you to range down into 286 territory and up into WinXP territory with stupidly fast DOS performance to boot.
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby Auzner » 2018-1-29 @ 17:35

Smack2k wrote:386DX-33, 8 MB RAM, TSENG ET4000 ISA
486DX2-66, 32 MB RAM, TSENG ET4000 VLB
Pentium 166, 64 MB RAM, Voodoo1 / S3 Virge DX
Pentium 2 - 300, 128 or 256 MB RAM, Voodoo2 / Matrox G100 AGP
Pentium 2 - 500, 256 MB RAM, Voodoo2 SLI / NVIDIA TNT
Athlon 700 - 512 MB RAM - Voodoo3
Pentium 3 - 1 GHZ - 768 MB RAM - GeForce2 Ultra
Pentium 4 - 2.X GHZ - 2 GB RAM - Radeon 9700 Pro
Athlon XP 3200+ - 2.5 GB RAM - Radeon 9800XT 256
Athlon XP 5600+ - 4 GB RAM - GeForce4 Ti4600
Athlon FX-60 - 4 GB RAM - GeForce 6600 GT SLI
Core 2 Quad 6700 - 2.66 GHZ - 6 GB RAM - GeForce 9800 GT (1 GB) SLI

That's a lot to have already. Keep those 4
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby Smack2k » 2018-1-30 @ 02:08

So the Athlon 700 would handle all DOS games post 386?
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby Auzner » 2018-1-30 @ 10:08

If not, the Q6700 in dosbox would.

Are you in a house or planning to move? Convert all of those systems to rackmount cases and buy a rack. Rack them all and you can have a KVM switch to use any one. It consolidates everything without having to get rid of any of them.
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby Smack2k » 2018-1-30 @ 13:12

I am in a house and would love to do what you say, but that would be quite costly!! I have them hooked up to 2 KVMs right now. Its just too many machines that I have no room for anything else...
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby Skyscraper » 2018-1-30 @ 13:31

Smack2k wrote:I am in a house and would love to do what you say, but that would be quite costly!! I have them hooked up to 2 KVMs right now. Its just too many machines that I have no room for anything else...



Just put the systems you don't need at the moment in a closet. 10 boxes stacked dosn't take up much space.

Much of this will be hard and/or expensive to replace in 10 years time.
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby dionb » 2018-1-30 @ 13:53

Skyscraper wrote:
Smack2k wrote:I am in a house and would love to do what you say, but that would be quite costly!! I have them hooked up to 2 KVMs right now. Its just too many machines that I have no room for anything else...



Just put the systems you don't need at the moment in a closet. 10 boxes stacked dosn't take up much space.

Much of this will be hard and/or expensive to replace in 10 years time.

If you possibly can: this!

I didn't 10 years ago and when I look at it now - just selling stuff I had back then and gave/threw away could make a serious dent in my mortgage today, and the level of drooling some of it would have caused if I didn't sell it might be worth more ;)
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby JidaiGeki » 2018-1-30 @ 14:27

You've got some really nice systems there! It would be hard not to want to keep them all. If forced, or to be able to play as many games as possible with the least fuss, I'd pick the following 5, with tweaks:

386DX-33, 8 MB RAM, TSENG ET4000 ISA
486DX2-66, 32 MB RAM, TSENG ET4000 VLB
Pentium 166, 64 MB RAM, Voodoo1 / S3 Virge DX
Pentium 2 - 300, 128 or 256 MB RAM, Voodoo2 / Matrox G100 AGP (with Voodoo3)
Pentium 2 - 500, 256 MB RAM, Voodoo2 SLI / NVIDIA TNT
Athlon 700 - 512 MB RAM - Voodoo3
Pentium 3 - 1 GHZ - 768 MB RAM - GeForce2 Ultra (with V2 SLI)
Pentium 4 - 2.X GHZ - 2 GB RAM - Radeon 9700 Pro
Athlon XP 3200+ - 2.5 GB RAM - Radeon 9800XT 256
Athlon XP 5600+ - 4 GB RAM - GeForce4 Ti4600
Athlon FX-60 - 4 GB RAM - GeForce 6600 GT SLI
Core 2 Quad 6700 - 2.66 GHZ - 6 GB RAM - GeForce 9800 GT (1 GB) SLI

If you've got Tandy 1000s, then you've got the very early games covered by keeping the 386 and 486 as well. Bit of a toss up between the P166 and PII 300, list of speed sensitive games indicates the PII might be a little fast for some games - http://www.vogonswiki.com/index.php/Lis ... tive_games - but it's not insanely fast.
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby Smack2k » 2018-1-31 @ 01:12

That looks like a good list

I think the P3 would take care of any of the P2 needs so maybe keep the P1 and dump the P2. Otherwise keep the list as is making some of the other changes and take the rest down
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby Smack2k » 2018-1-31 @ 12:48

Skyscraper wrote:
Smack2k wrote:I am in a house and would love to do what you say, but that would be quite costly!! I have them hooked up to 2 KVMs right now. Its just too many machines that I have no room for anything else...



Just put the systems you don't need at the moment in a closet. 10 boxes stacked dosn't take up much space.

Much of this will be hard and/or expensive to replace in 10 years time.


You make a great point.....I think I will do just that....gonna take them apart though and put the cards and boards in static bags before I store them instead of just leaving the PCs built.
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Re: Looking to Consolidate - Opinions

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-1-31 @ 14:48

And if you need the space, discard some of the less interesting cases while keeping the guts.
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