VOGONS


My set of rules for perfection

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Reply 41 of 53, by gex85

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Interesting thread, really. Here are some of my rules:

- I don't overpay for retro hardware. If something rare or expensive is on my whishlist, I wait until I can get it for a somewhat reasonable price, which usually means far below eBay prices.
- I keep my hardware clean, i.e. at least remove dust.
- I pay attention to cable management.
- If a case is missing front panels for drive bays, I populate the bays with drives, no matter If I need them or not.
- I try to use high quality PSUs.
- I (mostly) keep my builds period correct, including OS.
- I don't go below 486 because I am not drawn to older platforms at all.
- I try to sell stuff from time to time to keep the size of my collection on an acceptable level (hard to stick with this one).
- I try to silence my builds, just can't stand the noise any more. That involves at least silent fans, good heatsinks, sometimes fan controllers.

1992 - i486DX2-66 // 1997 - P1-233 MMX // 1998 - P2-350 // 2000 - P3-650 // 2001 - Athlon 1400 // 2003 - Athlon XP 3200+ // 2008 - Xeon E5450 // 2015 - Xeon E3-1240v5

Reply 42 of 53, by SpectriaForce

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alfer wrote on 2020-09-20, 22:09:

- I don't buy hardware from unfriendly sellers

Yes and no. Sometimes you have no choice. I also don't like buying on ebay or Amazon and paying with Paypal for fundamental reasons, but it's hard to ignore the great deals on those platforms.

alfer wrote on 2020-09-20, 22:09:

- Got rid off everything with SMD electrolytic capacitors and would never purchase or allow it to be gifted an item with such quality regardless of it's price and rarity

Do you mean old Apple Macintosh and such?

alfer wrote on 2020-09-20, 22:09:

- Only play games and install software from the original CD-Roms , CDR copies or floppies (no emulation!!!)

I don't really care, but emulators are out of the question for me as well. I like using period correct hardware.

kolderman wrote on 2020-09-20, 22:34:

Well that is a bugbear for me....but the problem is not the lack or presence of headers or ports, but the fact most new cases have a USB3 header cable. I have not found a converted for that yet, although if the case is USB2, I do use adapters to plug them into the USB1 header on the mobo.

That's not a problem (for me), because you can buy USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 adaptor cables. The USB 2.0 plug is the same as for USB 1.x, so it fits on most old motherboards with USB 1.x header. I do this all the time. They only cost a couple euro's each.

What I don't like are enclosures with USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports. That makes things more complicated, but you can even find cables that allow you to route the USB header plug to the back USB ports of the motherboard.

kolderman wrote on 2020-09-20, 22:34:

If you want to run a Athlon XP you need a PSU with a high 5V rail. New PSUs don't. I have never had any issues with PSUs from the early 2000s, apart from a couple that simply stopped working but did not damage anything.

With a bit of effort you should be able to find new (so not new old stock) ATX power supplies with up to 28A on +5V. What you need to look for are the older ATX12V revisions. Usually those power supplies are very cheap, but you can't find them everywhere anymore.

I've seen many old power supplies with visibly leaking caps (including the highly praised AOpen units) that still worked ok (but usually slightly out of tolerance) and others died after a couple times of use. I've also had power supplies, including new old stock, that would instantly blow up a capacitor at power up.

kolderman wrote on 2020-09-20, 22:34:

The ones with bad caps will have aready died, so if you find a working one for sale on Ebay it almost certainly had good caps. I run several boards from that era without recapping (yet) and no issues. I run boards from the mid-90s and ISA cards from the early 90s without recapping and everything is still working fine.

That's not necessarily always the case. Many boards with high ESR and/or visibly leaking capacitors can still boot, but when running a benchmark or playing a game it can freeze. This may be more common with early 2000 motherboards.

kolderman wrote on 2020-09-20, 22:34:

Unless it's for your WinXP rig? But obviously cards need drivers.

I don't use XP anymore.

kolderman wrote on 2020-09-20, 22:34:

WinXP didn't require activation (as in there were corporate versions that didn't, unlike 7).

I haven't tried all versions, but the OEM home version in my language that I have does.

kolderman wrote on 2020-09-20, 22:34:

- Don't go below Socket7, to much a PITA.

So much interesting stuff older than socket 7. I'm a fan of really old OEM systems, but not IBM PS/2.

Deksor wrote on 2020-09-20, 22:41:

- everything easily fixable shall be fixed

Hmm, if it's worth anything to me, then yes.

Deksor wrote on 2020-09-20, 22:41:

- things that are not worth being fixed (except winmodems, these go to trash instantly) or are just too busted shall have their bits and pieces desoldered to be reused on fixable parts (like a motherboard having a busted ram slot > salvage a good one from a sol board instead of trying to find a nos one and wasting the planet's resources in the process). Capacitors are out of this tho.

I don't have time for this and don't like soldering at home.

Deksor wrote on 2020-09-20, 22:41:

- take leaky components off asap when they get in your hands.

Leaking NiCad barrel batteries will be immediately removed here!

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

no PS2 mouse and no USB ports is a dealbreaker for me.

No problem for me. I have a serial mouse and DIN keyboard adaptor. USB ports can be substituted with CD-R or CF, but I don't use Gotek USB.

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

Avoid sound cards that use software emulation for FM synth and EAX (e.g. SB128 PCI)

I don't know the difference, so I don't hear it 😀

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

Use a CRT monitor if you have the space and can find one at a reasonable price. Your DOS and Win9x retro games will look much nicer

Definitely. All I need is a huge man cave 😉 Only for >year 2000 systems LCD is acceptable, but only 4:3.

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

I don't use them, but I've seen at philscomputerlab that they are handy.

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

Avoid tiny, low-quality fans on graphics cards and motherboards if possible. After a few years of use, they start to produce a very unpleasant whirring sound

I like my jet engines 🤣

pete8475 wrote on 2020-09-21, 02:05:

Funny that you should mention that, I ran into the online activation not working just moments ago.

Phone activation works just fine.

I did this moments ago. Legit product key = no problem, even in 2020.

I have tried that, but didn't work for me.

The Serpent Rider wrote on 2020-09-21, 02:20:

AFAIK both XP and Vista can't be activated online now. Automated phone activation will work, but it may depend on country you're living.

I did have luck with Vista Pro 64-bit a few years ago.

The Serpent Rider wrote on 2020-09-21, 02:20:

Socket 478 is very safe to mount large coolers if you use backplate.

Maybe I've had bad luck with my NOS Asus board. I now have NOS Gigabyte S478 board on which I will install an Intel stock cooler.

Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-09-21, 06:44:

The main thing that bothers me about the lack of PS2 ports is not being able to use an optical mouse. I just can't go back to a mechanical ball-mouse. Hated them in the '90s, still hate them today. They get dirty way too often and lack precision.

I use NOS PS/2 and serial ball mice and they work fine for me.

computerguy08 wrote on 2020-09-21, 07:09:

I have no issues with uncovered slots and non-USB boards put in USB enclosure.

That's just outright sacrilege 🤣

dr_st wrote on 2020-09-21, 08:33:

I guess my most personal "rule", which as far as I know I'm rather unique about, and I can see how it would be viewed as a weird one is - I use contemporary operating systems on contemporary hardware, and I never reinstall/upgrade an OS to a newer version down the road.

Same here.

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

the front audio ports aren't connected on half my systems.

That's still an unsolved problem for me. Old motherboards have various front audio headers.

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

Agree, Kinda. It's why I don't stockpile PSU's But I also like modular PSU's so I can remove useless SATA and PCI-E cables in my builds so I only buy them when needed.

I love modular PSU's for that reason.

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

Personally I use the Volume License copy so no need to activate. XP is a great OS but glad to see Win2K wetting some love as well

That's a great idea. I might try that out in the future.

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

My #1 rule is no overclocking. Time to give the hardware a break. If I need a faster system I'll just build it.

I love slightly overclocking CPU and RAM, but only with air cooling. I don't go to the extremes.

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

If a motherboard only has IDE then adding a SATA card is cheating. I am allowed to use a IDE-Sata adapter.
Likewise if bios support maxes out at 8GB then thats as far as I'll go. I have just rewritting this rule for a 486 with 500MB limit, DDO is now allowed 😉

Same! 🤣

I sell 'ridiculously expensive' retro hardware to people like you. I feel sorry for that.

Reply 43 of 53, by SpectriaForce

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LewisRaz wrote on 2020-09-21, 09:21:

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

Best rule ever haha, but I do connect them.

Vynix wrote on 2020-09-21, 09:32:

-Network card is always a plus

Not for me.

gerry wrote on 2020-09-21, 12:05:

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

Just @#$%^&! 🤣

If you're all about software and only want something that's functional, then yes it will work, but as a hardware enthusiast I can't stand it. However, for me white (so not beige!) optical drives in a black enclosure is acceptable 😀

PC-Engineer wrote on 2020-09-21, 13:29:

i (mostly) don't use budget intended components like GeforceMX, SB Value, Celeron, Am5x86, ... even if it's are very good and compatible components

I love GeForce MX series and Celerons. They used to be everywhere (and still are for sale everywhere..).

PC-Engineer wrote on 2020-09-21, 13:29:

Another result: i max out the platforms - mostly max RAM, max CPU, max time correct GPU, SCSI instead of IDE, ...

I don't do that. Usually it's a waste of resources (technically and financially) and lacks the authenticity for me. Nobody had the best of everything. I do understand the experimental value of maxing out a system.

I sell 'ridiculously expensive' retro hardware to people like you. I feel sorry for that.

Reply 44 of 53, by kolderman

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SpectriaForce wrote on 2020-09-21, 20:15:
kolderman wrote on 2020-09-20, 22:34:

Well that is a bugbear for me....but the problem is not the lack or presence of headers or ports, but the fact most new cases have a USB3 header cable. I have not found a converted for that yet, although if the case is USB2, I do use adapters to plug them into the USB1 header on the mobo.

That's not a problem (for me), because you can buy USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 adaptor cables. The USB 2.0 plug is the same as for USB 1.x, so it fits on most old motherboards with USB 1.x header. I do this all the time. They only cost a couple euro's each.

What I don't like are enclosures with USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports. That makes things more complicated, but you can even find cables that allow you to route the USB header plug to the back USB ports of the motherboard.

Is there a different kind of USB3 front panel connector then? Because I have used of these (see image) before, but they do not work with a recent new case I bought, that had USB3 front panel ports.

SpectriaForce wrote on 2020-09-21, 20:15:
kolderman wrote on 2020-09-20, 22:34:

If you want to run a Athlon XP you need a PSU with a high 5V rail. New PSUs don't. I have never had any issues with PSUs from the early 2000s, apart from a couple that simply stopped working but did not damage anything.

With a bit of effort you should be able to find new (so not new old stock) ATX power supplies with up to 28A on +5V. What you need to look for are the older ATX12V revisions. Usually those power supplies are very cheap, but you can't find them everywhere anymore.

Do you have any links to such PSUs?

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Reply 45 of 53, by Vynix

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kolderman wrote on 2020-09-21, 21:42:

Do you have any links to such PSUs?

There's some industrial ATX PSUs that are still made with a strong 5V rail and a -5V rail, however they aren't cheap.

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 46 of 53, by radiounix

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I don't have too many standards, per say, but my bugbears are preferring to use a traditional ball mouse, a CD-ROM with a proper spin rate like 2X or 4X, and a hard disk no bigger than a plausible upgrade for a machine. E.g, a 340MB drive in a 386SX, or a 1.6GB drive in a later 486.

If I had unlimited funds and an ability to obtain the obtainable, I'd set up perfectly period dream machines with full AT micronics IC graveyards, full height hard disks and CAD-style monitors of the era. Housed in PC Power and Cooling cases, of course.

Reply 47 of 53, by radiounix

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Vynix wrote on 2020-09-22, 01:36:
kolderman wrote on 2020-09-21, 21:42:

Do you have any links to such PSUs?

There's some industrial ATX PSUs that are still made with a strong 5V rail and a -5V rail, however they aren't cheap.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Seasonic-SS-200PS-Po … 872.m2749.l2649
I just bought one. These have been sitting for more than twenty years, so no guarantees, but they are Seasonics and are ATX 1.0. Price is right. The OEM supplies like Astecs and Deltas rarely included the -5v, and the typical other early ATX supply was a Deer, Linkworld, Powmax, or whatever. Those were known for introducing system stability and damaging hardware even when they were new.

Reply 48 of 53, by Warlord

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dr_st somewhat alluded to cable management so I am glad at least someone besides me thinks this is important.
Thing about cable management is that overshadows everything in the thread. Like no one will care about your build when you open it up and it looks like a trash can 🤣

When I go into system specs and see inside of case of people build I don't even comment if it looks like spaghetti.

Reply 49 of 53, by SpectriaForce

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kolderman wrote on 2020-09-21, 21:42:

Is there a different kind of USB3 front panel connector then? Because I have used of these (see image) before, but they do not work with a recent new case I bought, that had USB3 front panel ports.

It looks like you have tried the right cable (although I use cables from other brands). Maybe your USB header doesn't work?

kolderman wrote on 2020-09-20, 22:34:

Do you have any links to such PSUs?

I don't do that over here. It conflicts with my interests as a business. I sometimes spend hours researching the internet for the right parts and also sometimes spend money on components that turn out not to be compatible with old hardware. If I tell everyone where Abraham gets the mustard, then I sell less.

I sell 'ridiculously expensive' retro hardware to people like you. I feel sorry for that.

Reply 50 of 53, by kolderman

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SpectriaForce wrote on 2020-09-22, 07:52:
kolderman wrote on 2020-09-21, 21:42:

Is there a different kind of USB3 front panel connector then? Because I have used of these (see image) before, but they do not work with a recent new case I bought, that had USB3 front panel ports.

It looks like you have tried the right cable (although I use cables from other brands). Maybe your USB header doesn't work?

I mean it doesn't fit the adapter physically.

Reply 51 of 53, by waterbeesje

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These are my general rules:

- don't overpay. Ever. No voodoo or ATX SS7 board is worth €150+.

- turn everything on every six months at least and let it run a few hours, so stuff won't get jammed/stuck

- dust is the source of all retro evil

- white case for 2002 and down, except it's on purpose. (I am looking into building a 286 in a brand new modern case)

- discolourations are fine, but should match is possible. No retrobright. Black drives only on purpose.

- when keeping it period correct, always add a CF to IDE adapter. Makes life easier. Even if this renders out a CDROM on the single IDE channel: just use a sound card.

- try to keep a maximum of two machines from a certain era, except for "investments".

- mixing hardware is ok: running a BX machine at 1GHz would have been possible in 2000 so why not now? Also having a P3 listed with a Radeon 9800 pro is ok. Unlikely at the time but ok.

- Pentium 4 is dull. Go for socket A or 775 c2d.

- every computer that should be period correct from socket 5 to socket a should have a modem... Except if you can't miss the slot or IRQ or something.

- for period correct build the Hard disk time stamp should be within 2 years from target year for the build. If not period correct: make sure it's lage and fast enough

- for win xp, vista, 7: use a version that does not need activation if you can. Or after install and activation, make a disk image and store it somewhere safe for reinstall. Befor installing extra drivers and software.

- internet on retro rigs: no. Period.

- don't trust old hardware, especially hard disks. They will break eventually. Make sure you have backups and make sure you can put them back in the next ten years.

- something broken? See if it can be fixed. Otherwise try to harvest usable parts.

- mod any Dallas clock you find, put in a cr2032 even if it still works.

- have fun with your stuff!

Stuck at 10MHz...

Reply 52 of 53, by Joseph_Joestar

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waterbeesje wrote on 2020-09-22, 11:17:

- have fun with your stuff!

Probably the most important rule. 😀

I would also add: play the favorite games from your childhood on your retro rigs. Fire up some Duke3D on that Pentium 133. Use your Voodoo3 to bring out the best visuals in Diablo2 and Unreal Tournament. Just don't let your rig sit idly in the corner.

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 53 of 53, by alfer

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-09-22, 11:34:

I would also add: play the favorite games from your childhood on your retro rigs. Fire up some Duke3D on that Pentium 133. Use your Voodoo3 to bring out the best visuals in Diablo2 and Unreal Tournament. Just don't let your rig sit idly in the corner.

^%$@$$# How did I missed this one!
I would add - on the roughly same rig you used to do it in 90s..80s..70s..