VOGONS


My set of rules for perfection

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Reply 20 of 53, by LewisRaz

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My main rule that I try to stick to is that I want my hardware setups to be a believable config from the 90s. I am not anal about having the same date codes printed on hardware but just believable setups from back when. The exception to this is cdrom drives and CF for storage.

I also hate having empty bays and will fill them with an unplugged cd/dvd drive if no covers are available.

I agree with cleaning. All of my cases get stripped down and cleaned and any dirty hardware gets an IPA rinse.

I agree with the socket7 post too. I have ~4 486 setup that, although fulfill considerable nostalgia, are not good enough for what I want. Socket 7 (non super) is much better for my use case here (late dos early 95 stuff.)

Reply 21 of 53, by Joseph_Joestar

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chinny22 wrote on 2020-09-21, 09:17:
Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-09-21, 00:17:

Look into slowdown utilities. If your CPU and motherboard are supported, SetMul and Throttle can do wonders for speed sensitive games

Thats cheating in my rule book.

How so? You could always turn off L1 and L2 caches in the BIOS, using SetMul just makes it easier. And some motherboard/CPU configurations allow you to change the multiplier in the BIOS as well.

The Throttle utility is based on ACPI throttling, a function that is normally used as a power saving measure by contemporary laptops. Don't confuse it with artificial slowdown utilities which "eat" CPU cycles and generally don't work as reliably.

Last edited by Joseph_Joestar on 2020-09-21, 09:33. Edited 1 time in total.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 22 of 53, by Vynix

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I have two major rules with old builds:

1) I try to use a CRT monitor if possible.

Why? It's mostly because all of my older *somewhat* period correct LCDs either are dropping like dead flies or suffer from various problems such as poor upscaling. LCDs unlike CRTs need to upscale any resolution lower than their native res. unfortunately, not all LCDs are created equal, so some will do a great job at upscaling and others might poorly scale the picture and massacre the image quality. (my Fujitsu B17-2 falls into the "piss poor scaling" category, while my NEC MultiSync LCD isn't too bad when it comes to scaling. Probably in the same league as my Eizo L557).

2) Try to use original storage medium, again if possible.

Why? Mostly for the true retro experience, though if truly there isn't any alternative, I'm open to trying modern solutions (even though I'm a bit reluctant on this). Network storage, however, is the sole exception. Truly it's a godsend when you're tight on data storage space you just offload the big files to a network drive and call it a day.

Other guidelines in no particular order:

-Use a dedicated controller with its own BIOS if the on-board controller is fussy or have limitations (such as AwardBIOS' 32gb limit or the CMD640 controller's bug)

-Network card is always a plus (see #2), bonus kudos if it can do network booting (PxE or NBP)

-Try to find and use alternative BIOSes if wanted (such as Microid Research's MR-BIOS)

-Prefer ISA soundcards instead of PCI ones if your mobo doesn't have a PC/PCI (SB-Link) header and that your mobo has a ISA slot.

Proud owner of a Shuttle HOT-555A 430VX motherboard and two wonderful retro laptops, namely a Compaq Armada 1700 [nonfunctional] and a HP Omnibook XE3-GC [fully working :p]

Reply 23 of 53, by debs3759

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Horun wrote on 2020-09-20, 23:34:

Because I am a slob I have no rules 😀

haha, sounds like we would get on great. I just pile everything up and hope for the best 😀

Reply 24 of 53, by gerry

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debs3759 wrote on 2020-09-21, 10:59:
Horun wrote on 2020-09-20, 23:34:

Because I am a slob I have no rules 😀

haha, sounds like we would get on great. I just pile everything up and hope for the best 😀

me too!

I'm looking at a PC of mine; beige case, black cd reader.... oh dear! 😀

Reply 26 of 53, by debs3759

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I look for authenticity of high end systems from different eras. Only thing I'm not so worried about is cases and drives (eg I'll use faster optical drives, and AT cases are harder to be period correct). I'll probably soon be using front loading CF drives, so I can have then set up for different OS and different graphics drivers.

Reply 27 of 53, by chinny22

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-09-21, 09:32:
chinny22 wrote on 2020-09-21, 09:17:
Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-09-21, 00:17:

Look into slowdown utilities. If your CPU and motherboard are supported, SetMul and Throttle can do wonders for speed sensitive games

Thats cheating in my rule book.

How so? You could always turn off L1 and L2 caches in the BIOS, using SetMul just makes it easier. And some motherboard/CPU configurations allow you to change the multiplier in the BIOS as well.

The Throttle utility is based on ACPI throttling, a function that is normally used as a power saving measure by contemporary laptops. Don't confuse it with artificial slowdown utilities which "eat" CPU cycles and generally don't work as reliably.

I don't know, it just feels wrong for me. I guess it's the flipside of my overclocking rule? Run the CPU at its specified speed or move to another PC.
I think I'm ok with using a turbo switch which is basically the same thing (never given it much thought till just then) but only have a 486 with this and never had a need to slow it down.
Like all the rules here though, its just personal. If your rule book allows it I'm defiantly not saying you need to change it just to match mine!

Reply 28 of 53, by alfer

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gerry wrote on 2020-09-21, 12:07:

this thread makes me appreciate those of you who want authenticity above functionality, true reproductions of the past. It takes some more effort to achieve that.

I believe that some of us (me included) achieve the lost functionality with "a few extra machines", thus negating all the cons.

Glad too see this thread took off! Makes me feel ever so slighly less of a nutter 1f601.png?223_1577471122.

Reply 29 of 53, by wiretap

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Regarding retrobrite, I'll really only do it if I'm trying to restore the machine's natural/original color. If retrobrite absolutely does not work, I'll attempt to find the closest paint code possible. However, I would not paint a machine if it cannot be done to look professional and perfect. (i.e. no hack jobs, drips, overspray, ruin the original texture or sheen, etc) To have an original looking machine is always the goal, no matter how it is accomplished. This is always what I would want to do, and it is done in many other restoration activities, not only with computers. It applies to cars, trucks, antiques, toys, etc. People usually want to see (or buy) what they remember, not a cheese yellow/brown version of it that looks like it wasn't taken care of.

Edit: There may be a few exceptions to the rule, but I don't really know if we are in that point of history yet -- i.e. leaving an old civil war era gun in it's natural patina state. Maybe for computers it would apply to a super rare/exotic machine that there are only a few in the world of.

Last edited by wiretap on 2020-09-21, 13:34. Edited 3 times in total.

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Reply 30 of 53, by PC-Engineer

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For me it's neither logical nor plausible but it should - feel right for me

I am with chinny, if i need 286er speed, then i use a 286 or 386 or a 486 with turbo button and not a K6, C3, Pentium I/II/III/4, ... with a lot of possible BIOS modifications and CPU-tools to "emulate" a 386. Where is is limit of emulation? So i get my legitimation for another project ... 😉

In addition to many other posts my builds always have a personal reference. So i only build systems/components which i owned (with good memories) or which I really wanted to have, but hadn't the money.
As a result: i (mostly) don't use budget intended components like GeforceMX, SB Value, Celeron, Am5x86, ... even if it's are very good and compatible components
Another result: i max out the platforms - mostly max RAM, max CPU, max time correct GPU, SCSI instead of IDE, ...

1994/1995 - Socket3 - ASUS SV2GX4 / POD 100MHz / 64MB / SCSI - Windows 95

Reply 31 of 53, by Bruninho

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My rule is simple. It's just one rule.

"if you do it, do it right or not at all."

"Design isn't just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
JOBS, Steve.

Reply 32 of 53, by imi

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Bruninho wrote on 2020-09-21, 13:33:

My rule is simple. It's just one rule.

"if you do it, do it right or not at all."

I counter with my rule:

"I do what I can, if I fail that's fine too, that means I tried"

^^

Reply 33 of 53, by aha2940

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I think I do not have specific rules, but I try to keep the machines with more or less time-period hardware (except for trying to replace HDD with CF-cards where possible). I have a Pentium MMX inside a "modern" (2006) black ATX case, with a beige DVD reader and a voodoo3 card. Period correct? nope. Matching colors? haha. Unplugged front USB ports? you bet. Does it work well? yes, even the voodoo behaves nicely. Maybe the single rule I have is: I do not give a damn about soundcards. Stereo is fine for me, I do not need x.1 surround, EAX or anything like that. It's nice if I have it, but will not cry over it. Integrated audio would be perfect for me on all boards if it wasn't for lack of gameport on many of them.

Last edited by aha2940 on 2020-09-21, 15:40. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 34 of 53, by Joseph_Joestar

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aha2940 wrote on 2020-09-21, 14:25:

Stereo is fine for me, I do not need x.1 surround, EAX or anything like that. It's nice if I have it, but will not cry over it. Integrated audio would be perfect for me on all boards if it wasn't for lack of gameport on many of them.

The importance of EAX, A3D and positional audio in general depends on the games that you play. I find it very helpful in stealth games like Thief and Splinter Cell. It's also great for competitive FPS games like Unreal Tournament and Quake3 where it can help you determine the location of your opponent.

For other game genres, EAX may be nice to have, but it's not as relevant to the gameplay.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 35 of 53, by Jo22

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imi wrote on 2020-09-21, 13:58:
I counter with my rule: […]
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Bruninho wrote on 2020-09-21, 13:33:

My rule is simple. It's just one rule.

"if you do it, do it right or not at all."

I counter with my rule:

"I do what I can, if I fail that's fine too, that means I tried"

^^

That stuff sounds familiar.
Reminds me of the tagline of a certain Japanese MegaDrive game that I got years ago.

"Don't just sit there and waste your precious time. When you want to do something, do it right away. Do it when you can. It's the only way to live a life without regrets."

Source : https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Quotes … onicTheHedgehog

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 36 of 53, by aha2940

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-09-21, 15:03:
aha2940 wrote on 2020-09-21, 14:25:

Stereo is fine for me, I do not need x.1 surround, EAX or anything like that. It's nice if I have it, but will not cry over it. Integrated audio would be perfect for me on all boards if it wasn't for lack of gameport on many of them.

The importance of EAX, A3D and positional audio in general depends on the games that you play. I find it very helpful in stealth games like Thief and Splinter Cell. It's also great for competitive FPS games like Unreal Tournament and Quake3 where it can help you determine the location of your opponent.

For other game genres, EAX may be nice to have, but it's not as relevant to the gameplay.

Well, I do play a lot of FPS games, but have never used anything more advanced than stereo with them, I just got used to it. Maybe that's why I'm not better at playing, haha. Perhaps I'll try EAX, since I think the SB live I have on my WinME build has support for it.

Reply 37 of 53, by Joseph_Joestar

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aha2940 wrote on 2020-09-21, 15:42:

Well, I do play a lot of FPS games, but have never used anything more advanced than stereo with them, I just got used to it. Maybe that's why I'm not better at playing, haha. Perhaps I'll try EAX, since I think the SB live I have on my WinME build has support for it.

For Win9x gaming, I find A3D to be better than EAX in terms of positional audio accuracy. Using EAX is still nice, but it really started to shine after the Audigy introduced EAX3 later on.

In any case, you want a pair of good headphones to get the most out of positional audio. The Half-Life intro sequence is the perfect showcase of how good it can sound.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 38 of 53, by OSkar000

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1. Have fun!
2. Use hardware for things it not intended to do, like building a gaming rig out of an old server or workstation
3. Upgrade everything as much as possible.
4. Overclock everything 😀

I like computers that are far from standard and has lots of personality. Wierd and unlogical upgrades, computers that has been around for to long and used for thing noone could think of when it was built.

One of my future projects is a 486 in a xt-clone case. Probably with mfm harddrives or a pile of old ide disk. It is supposed to be a "upgraded thru the years with parts from the scrap pile". Not the easiest build or most useful, but a fun challange a cool computer 😀

Reply 39 of 53, by aha2940

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-09-21, 16:00:
aha2940 wrote on 2020-09-21, 15:42:

Well, I do play a lot of FPS games, but have never used anything more advanced than stereo with them, I just got used to it. Maybe that's why I'm not better at playing, haha. Perhaps I'll try EAX, since I think the SB live I have on my WinME build has support for it.

For Win9x gaming, I find A3D to be better than EAX in terms of positional audio accuracy. Using EAX is still nice, but it really started to shine after the Audigy introduced EAX3 later on.

In any case, you want a pair of good headphones to get the most out of positional audio. The Half-Life intro sequence is the perfect showcase of how good it can sound.

Good info, thanks, will see what I get using my SB Live!.

Getting back on topic: I just remembered another rule I have for my machines: Do not use hacked/unofficial drivers. I always use the official ones, even if better ones are available from some other source, for instance the voodoo 3 I have.