First post, by Spiffles
Hello guys! I've been lurking these forums for a while now and gotta say, love the place and how much valuable info on retro hardware one can learn here. I'm going through a phase of fascination with retro hardware, but even more than that, I'm fascinated by obscure data storage media. So I came up with this idea - build a relatively modern computer capable of performing most of today's tasks like
- accepting modern LTE internet connection for browsing the web, watching YouTube etc
- era-appropriate gaming
- an HDD of at least around 80 GB capacity
- access to at least USB 1.1 for ease of moving data onto newer devices
- an overall "relatively modern" experience, so preferably WinXP compatible. Even better if later!
- primary role: reading and recording data storage media: both rather obscure and popular but obsolete ones: so CD/DVD, 5.25 floppy, 3.5 floppy, 750MB Zip, 2.3GB MO, multi card.
I've seen some of those retro, tall tower cases with like six front panel outlets for drives, and it would be amazing to see the entire front panel occupied, kinda like this one:
Or this one:
Only with all slots occupied, preferably 😁 There's something really rewarding about that. I've always dreamed of having a case like this and filling up the entire front panel with stuff. So if I were able to get my hands on a case like this, it would go something like this:
- Traditional 3,5'' floppy
- a 750MB IDE 3,5'' ZIP drive
- A DVD-RW drive - a single one for all purposes. IDE or SATA - doesn't matter. Doesn't need to be era-appropriate, just needs to work
- A 5,25'' floppy drive
- A HDD caddy
- An internal multi-card reader (so the mobo will probably need a USB socket on it)
- A 2.3 GB internal magneto-optical diskette drive, 3,5''
That would be enough, meaning I'd require a full tower case with 2 external 3,5'' bays and 5 5,25'' bays or one with a single 3,5'' bay and six 5,25'' bays. I don't have an idea what to use for the sixth 5,25'' slot if I were to get a 6-2 case. Not really interested in a 5,25'' magnetooptical drive, since those are very expensive (especially the 9,1GB drive), the medium itself is too large and cumberson to move around easily, and the drives themselves are SCSI anyway. I don't think a second CD drive would be needed either, since copying CDs is no longer something anyone has any reason to do, though it is an obvious choice if no better option is available. However, it'd probably be best aesthetics-wise to get a case with four 5,25'' bays and three 3,5'' bays to accomodate this setup, though I doubt there are even such cases in existence. Anyway, any idea what else could I use to fill out the remaining panel if I were to get a case like that? I've also noticed that most 6-2 full towers were AT, so I'd definitely need an ATX case there. Any suggestions as to a particular model?
My main question here though is: is there even a way to have all of these things work on a somewhat modern system? Is there a mobo that supports 5,25x floppy but also has USB on it to plug in the multicard reader? What sorts of extensions would I need to accomodate all those IDE cables for the extra drives? Are there even post-486 era motherboards with enough connectors for all that stuff? Also, if such a system is possible, what era would be the latest feasible? Something like Pentium 4, maybe? I would imagine the motherboard should primarily feature PCI slots for all those expansion cards this build would probably need, like SATA/IDE controllers etc.
Could you advise what sort of hardware is the latest that could accomodate all of this stuff, what sorts of extensions/adapters would be needed and help me plan outall the hardware I'd have to get? Thanks in advance!