VOGONS


First post, by Pajeroking

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Hello,

Short introduction:

My name is Andi, i am from Romania, nice meeting you all.
In ~95 i remember playing old games at my cousin's house on a gorgeous 386, windows 3.11 . Games like Dukem Nukem, Grand Prix 2 etc.
Immediately after that i received a Gameboy as a present so my "first" PC wasn't until ~2005, therefore skipping the whole Windows 95/98 era.
Lately i have the growing itch of buying/building a retro PC.
Objective: Playing 90's DOS Games, with a bit of late 90's Windows Games (AOE1, Roller Coaster Tycoon, K&M, Populous: The beginning) and if possible some early 90 DOS games (Another World, Stunts, Dune II).
So , after eating LGR and other useful YT videos, articles for the last weeks, i started looking for stuff on my local Ebay ( in the future i would love to try a Flea Market as well) and i Found this :
- I think it's a Compaq DeskPro 4000 : https://www.cnet.com/products/compaq-deskpro- … or-none-series/
- Pentium MMX - 233 mHz;
- Genius Sound Card ISA ;
- 2 mb GPU.
- Price :~ 20$.

What do you guys think? I've read that this build/setup is backwards compatible with most '90s DOS Games, i think i will need to upgrade the GPU in the future if i want to run Duke Nukem or other video demanding games.
And another question for you, was the MOBO format the same for both Mid Tower and the small compact cases (with the monitor on top of them)? I want to know what drawbacks those small cases have,beside lack of space, i think you cannot fit a big GPU in there...
Apparently i cannot add pics, it says unable to determine the size of the photo.

Reply 1 of 11, by GL1zdA

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It's a nice setup to start retro gaming without spending a lot of cash. 2 MB graphics is enough to play games at 800x600 in hi-color with double buffering, so I wouldn't worry about that much. Knowing the graphics chip would be more important, since various chips have compatibility issues with some DOS games. The sound card is very basic, but it's enough for a start, to make sure retro gaming is actually what you like to do. The CPU might be too fast for some older games, but it will be adequate for Windows games.

getquake.gif | InfoWorld/PC Magazine Indices

Reply 2 of 11, by Pajeroking

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I am not sure, but according to this site the MMX 4000 had an Integrated S3 Trio64V2/GX.
https://www.cnet.com/products/compaq-deskpro- … or-none-series/

Reply 3 of 11, by chinny22

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The Deskpro 4000 is a great PC, really well built, but is OEM.
The PC doesn't have doesn't have a standard BIOS chip. Instead you have to install it on the Hard drive or run it off a boot disk. You can still download it, it's just something to be aware of.
Onboard video wont have 3D support but really good dos compatibility and fine for 2d Win98 gaming like AOE.
But for $20 I'd get it. It'll make a great Dos SVGA/early Win9x PC

Re desktop cases you have 2 form factors, Easiest way to tell is look at the back of the PC and if the cards mount vertical or horizontal
Cards that mount horizontal are a generic design, really its just a tower on its side. So generic parts will fit
Cards that mount vertical are classified LPX and mostly used by OEM's but not an official standard so swapping motherboards in these systems usually require case modding for keyboard, serial, etc ports to fit.
Also the motherboard only has 1 I/O connector for the raiser which other ISA/PCI cards then plug into. They do accept standard sound, video, etc PCI/ISA cards though.

Reply 4 of 11, by Cyberdyne

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I have few Deskpro 4000 MMX, verry nice pc, well built, RTC battery is lithium, so no corrosion, but the original battery is soldered to the motherboard, so if it is emty, then you have to replace with a socket. Also i have never successfuly used a Sound Blaster AWE32/64 in it, it will say in the BIOS setup, that all resources are allocated and not conflicting. But the AWEUTIL just does not find it. Sound Blaster 16 functionality is untouched by it.

I am aroused about any X86 motherboard that has full functional ISA slot. I think i have problem. Not really into that original (Turbo) XT,286,386 and CGA/EGA stuff. So just a DOS nut.

Reply 6 of 11, by RaverX

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kixs wrote on 2020-10-08, 13:33:

Buy everything with a good price 😉 You can always decide later what best suits your needs and keep or dump it 🤣

Good advice. If you have space, buy it, it's worth it.

Andi, from what city are you?

Reply 7 of 11, by waterbeesje

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kixs wrote on 2020-10-08, 13:33:

Buy everything with a good price 😉 You can always decide later what best suits your needs and keep or dump it 🤣

Be aware, I used to do this too. All of them except for a few became keepers... Now I've got over 30 computers and my wife says it's too much (I don't agree ofc).

Back to your rig: as said: for DOS fanning it's reasonably fast. Playing games at 800x600 should be doable.
In case you want more power for 3D games you could look into a PCI TNT or Voodoo1 card, but that definitely is no musthave for DOS gaming and basic Windows gaming.
For example: need for speed 2 also runs fine on my ALG2301 graphics card, which is definitely low end without any 3D support.

If you eventually want to go faster you may want a P3 with decent AGP 3D graphics card any way.

Stuck at 10MHz...

Reply 8 of 11, by Pajeroking

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Thank you for your advice people.
I just returned home with the beauty. I will create a Journal/Diary and let you know what happens with my new project.
I will probably buy more stuff, but only what benefits the system i already have. I won't buy 386 components if i only have a Pentium MMX project.

RaverX wrote on 2020-10-08, 13:39:
kixs wrote on 2020-10-08, 13:33:

Buy everything with a good price 😉 You can always decide later what best suits your needs and keep or dump it 🤣

Good advice. If you have space, buy it, it's worth it.

Andi, from what city are you?

@RaverX, I am from Bucharest, Romania ( Eastern Europe). Old stuff is very rare here, and overpriced. That's why i went for this build, for 20$ even if it's junk i will not feel sorry.

Reply 9 of 11, by RaverX

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Pajeroking wrote on 2020-10-08, 18:26:

@RaverX, I am from Bucharest, Romania ( Eastern Europe). Old stuff is very rare here, and overpriced. That's why i went for this build, for 20$ even if it's junk i will not feel sorry.

I know, I'm also from Romania, in the last years prices of old computer components have gone insane 🙁 Almost anything older than 2005 (AGP, PCI, ISA stuff) are sold as "vintage"/"retro" with high prices, even if they are common/junk. So, if you have space buy it, if you get something better in the future and you don't want it anymore, you can sell it easily.

Reply 10 of 11, by bearking

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RaverX wrote on 2020-10-08, 19:29:
Pajeroking wrote on 2020-10-08, 18:26:

@RaverX, I am from Bucharest, Romania ( Eastern Europe). Old stuff is very rare here, and overpriced. That's why i went for this build, for 20$ even if it's junk i will not feel sorry.

I know, I'm also from Romania, in the last years prices of old computer components have gone insane 🙁 Almost anything older than 2005 (AGP, PCI, ISA stuff) are sold as "vintage"/"retro" with high prices, even if they are common/junk. So, if you have space buy it, if you get something better in the future and you don't want it anymore, you can sell it easily.

Today, a guy from Bucharest sold on olx a system with a K6-2+ @500 Mhz, S3 video card, some ISA sound card for, like 20 euros(100 ron). So, if you are patient enough, you can still find good deals...