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Hardware you wish you'd never bought.

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Reply 140 of 158, by Unknown_K

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When Quake came out, I decided to upgrade my 486/160 to Pentium class and purchased a motherboard with HX chipset and a Cyrix 166 rated chip. That CPU ran hot as hell (first revision) so I took it back and purchased an Intel P133 which ran cool and stable plus was just as fast in Quake anyway.

While I still love my Cyrix 387 FPUs and 486 chips I regret that 166 and only have a few Pentium class Cyrix chips all of which are in a box unused.

Collector of old computers, hardware, and software

Reply 143 of 158, by bjwil1991

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ASUS X570-E. POS doesn't work and I filed an RMA.

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Systems from the Compaq Portable 1 to Ryzen 9 5950X
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Reply 144 of 158, by lepidotós

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I'm starting to think the cooler I just bought for my Athlon may be SEPP. If so, that's a major oopsie on my part, to say the least. I thought I was getting a good deal but a cooler labeled as being for Athlon and a fan wasn't much more... I'll give it a quick shot when I get it but if it gives me a problem it's getting promptly re-listed.

Last edited by lepidotós on 2022-12-06, 04:40. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 145 of 158, by BitWrangler

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Gigabyte GA-7VRX motherboard, huge POS, AGP flaky, not stable using anything but 133 FSB, 266DDR, no point in it being a KT333 board. Guess it would have been an okay buy for an office machine with a TNT2 for basic graphics but an enthusiast board it was not.

MSI Starforce Geforce3 Ti200 128MB... it was okay as a GF3 Ti200, but my mistake really was spending extra for the 128MB version for "futureproofing" it really didn't, by the time 128MB became useful, the GPU was too slow. ~$50 wasted I think vs 64MB... I guess GF3 didn't last long really either, I might have been better off skipping that gen, using a GF2MX400 and jumping in with a 9600 or something later. ... though a used pickup of a ti4200 that ran 4600+ speeds kept me going a few years.

K6-266... slightly questionable buy.. it proved a TX board capable of running AMD extended multis and right volts and paved the way for a K6-2 upgrade only months later... but then I wouldn't have known/risked that board taking a K6-2 if I hadn't had it.

Those were as new hardware back in the day mistakes, vintage pickups of recent years...

"Boca" boxed serial card, high speed, except it wasn't it was the boring old take out 8250 serial port from a random machine... dissappoinTED! .. maybe it will come in useful at some point, maybe not.

ATI 9600 All-In-Wonder... it taunts me, has that high density, like double stack DVI but square, dongle connector and no dongle. IDK if I'm super regretting it, wasn't too spendy, just wish it had come with the cable.... it was boxed too not loose.... eventually I might rig something up and see it output something. Got an 8500DVI which came with same connector but only analog RCA ports on it, don't know whether to try it to see if it spouts composite through that, but might need to have it turned on in windoze thru driver. Might also burn card or cable if it's not wired sympatico between card models.

GF GTX560 TI.. slight regrets, was cheap but I've got nowhere I want to use it. Too thirsty for it's ooomph really. Anything that can handle the watts and space requirements I've got better or more interesting cards for. So it's shelved asking "What is my purpose" every time my eyes move over it, ima lose my patience one day and yell "YOU PASS THE BUTTER" or something.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 146 of 158, by Jaron

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I'm usually very careful in what I buy, so I don't have many things come to mind. I've bought a lot of stuff as part of tech experiments for work that were awful, but since that wasn't my own money, I don't count them. I got a Lenovo Tab M8 last year to replace an older LG tablet that died off. I've used many Lenovo laptops over the years and almost always had good experience with them. This particular M8 tablet is also the revised second-gen version with an updated CPU, so you would expect it to have the bugs worked out. I have no idea why it's so slow and unresponsive most the time. It's okay for watching streaming video, but not much else.

ratfink wrote on 2022-11-27, 12:34:

Nostromo keypad N50 - really could not get on with it
Microsoft Strategic Commander - likewise

I still have my MS SC from 20ish years ago, and got a Razer Orbweaver a few years back. Devices like these can have a very steep learning curve, depending on how you use it. The easiest way I found was to not think in terms of keys ( ok, this button is W key, this one is E key, ... ) but instead treat the keys as functions ( this key is to open my map, this one opens quest log, this one crouches, ... ). Then I'd try to use similar mapping schemes on multiple games and just remap keys/profiles to match as best I could. The SC's biggest drawback was too few buttons. It really needed at least two more for your pinky, and preferably a third button row for 8-12 top buttons instead of only 6. And having the whole top half shift around was rather useless. I know it was supposed to be for moving the map, but it was way too easy to accidentally move. A hat switch for the thumb would've been much better. I tried using the SC for first-person action games, but with only two rows of buttons, it wasn't enough.

My StarCraft profile went something like this:
Top button profile, using no thumb shift, was for most used keys. Keyboard shortcuts for attack, patrol, stop, shift and ctrl keys for selection modification.
The shift profiles were mostly for making units and buildings ( top row units, bottom row buildings ). First shift was infantry ( marine, firebat, medic ) and most common buildings ( supply depot, bunker, turret ). Middle shift was for land mech units ( vulture, goliath, siege tank ) and resource buildings ( CC, refinery, ). Bottom shift made air units ( wraith, dropship, valkyrie ) and unit production buildings ( barracks, factory, starport ).

The Orbweaver was a big challange to learn how to use because having so many more buttons and controls was daunting. But once I got it down I couldn't play games any other way. You learn tricks like keeping movement keys on every level of a profile's shift levels so you can shift to a different keymap without needing to stand still in game. A few games I played allowed mapping key combos, like ctrl or shift plus another key. I started mapping the shift, ctrl, and alt keys to mouse thumb buttons so I could do ad-hoc key combos in game. For example, if a game used to 1-0 number keys for switching weapons or using abilities, I'd change the 6-0 keys to shift+1-5. Then, since I always had 1-5 keys mapped to the top row of the Orbweaver, I could use the 6-0 keys faster. Works great for reassigning number groups in Homeworld and StarCraft as well.

Reply 147 of 158, by Ensign Nemo

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Jaron wrote on 2022-12-06, 07:34:
I'm usually very careful in what I buy, so I don't have many things come to mind. I've bought a lot of stuff as part of tech ex […]
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I'm usually very careful in what I buy, so I don't have many things come to mind. I've bought a lot of stuff as part of tech experiments for work that were awful, but since that wasn't my own money, I don't count them. I got a Lenovo Tab M8 last year to replace an older LG tablet that died off. I've used many Lenovo laptops over the years and almost always had good experience with them. This particular M8 tablet is also the revised second-gen version with an updated CPU, so you would expect it to have the bugs worked out. I have no idea why it's so slow and unresponsive most the time. It's okay for watching streaming video, but not much else.

ratfink wrote on 2022-11-27, 12:34:

Nostromo keypad N50 - really could not get on with it
Microsoft Strategic Commander - likewise

I still have my MS SC from 20ish years ago, and got a Razer Orbweaver a few years back. Devices like these can have a very steep learning curve, depending on how you use it. The easiest way I found was to not think in terms of keys ( ok, this button is W key, this one is E key, ... ) but instead treat the keys as functions ( this key is to open my map, this one opens quest log, this one crouches, ... ). Then I'd try to use similar mapping schemes on multiple games and just remap keys/profiles to match as best I could. The SC's biggest drawback was too few buttons. It really needed at least two more for your pinky, and preferably a third button row for 8-12 top buttons instead of only 6. And having the whole top half shift around was rather useless. I know it was supposed to be for moving the map, but it was way too easy to accidentally move. A hat switch for the thumb would've been much better. I tried using the SC for first-person action games, but with only two rows of buttons, it wasn't enough.

My StarCraft profile went something like this:
Top button profile, using no thumb shift, was for most used keys. Keyboard shortcuts for attack, patrol, stop, shift and ctrl keys for selection modification.
The shift profiles were mostly for making units and buildings ( top row units, bottom row buildings ). First shift was infantry ( marine, firebat, medic ) and most common buildings ( supply depot, bunker, turret ). Middle shift was for land mech units ( vulture, goliath, siege tank ) and resource buildings ( CC, refinery, ). Bottom shift made air units ( wraith, dropship, valkyrie ) and unit production buildings ( barracks, factory, starport ).

The Orbweaver was a big challange to learn how to use because having so many more buttons and controls was daunting. But once I got it down I couldn't play games any other way. You learn tricks like keeping movement keys on every level of a profile's shift levels so you can shift to a different keymap without needing to stand still in game. A few games I played allowed mapping key combos, like ctrl or shift plus another key. I started mapping the shift, ctrl, and alt keys to mouse thumb buttons so I could do ad-hoc key combos in game. For example, if a game used to 1-0 number keys for switching weapons or using abilities, I'd change the 6-0 keys to shift+1-5. Then, since I always had 1-5 keys mapped to the top row of the Orbweaver, I could use the 6-0 keys faster. Works great for reassigning number groups in Homeworld and StarCraft as well.

Is that one of the Lenovos that doesn't support HD streaming? I had picked up one on sale, but returned it immediately after I tried to watch some shows on it. Otherwise, I would have been happy with it.

Reply 148 of 158, by Ensign Nemo

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Speaking of tablets, I picked up an Asus Vivotab because I wanted one with an active stylus for note taking. It was the only one in my price range, but it was a disappointment. It has a lot of driver issues, which caused it to stop recognizing the stylus. I had to repeatedly reinstall the drivers. Some people recommended turning off Windows updates but that didn't work for me. The tablet also had trouble recognizing the stylus on the edges of the screen. For a 7 inch tablet, this reduced the usable area further. Also, when you have a pdf opened, this prevents you from taking notes in the margins.

I had had other issues with Asus hardware, such as a motherboard failing and a Chromebox with a bad HDMI port. I used to swear by Asus hardware, but now I try to avoid it.

Reply 149 of 158, by Jaron

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Ensign Nemo wrote on 2022-12-06, 08:24:

Is that one of the Lenovos that doesn't support HD streaming? I had picked up one on sale, but returned it immediately after I tried to watch some shows on it. Otherwise, I would have been happy with it.

It's the Tab M8 FHD, and I've never had a problem with its streaming quality. Virtual keyboard not appearing on the screen and taking 30s to load a website, yes.

Reply 150 of 158, by BitWrangler

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Jaron wrote on 2022-12-06, 07:34:

I got a Lenovo Tab M8 last year to replace an older LG tablet that died off. I've used many Lenovo laptops over the years and almost always had good experience with them. This particular M8 tablet is also the revised second-gen version with an updated CPU, so you would expect it to have the bugs worked out. I have no idea why it's so slow and unresponsive most the time. It's okay for watching streaming video, but not much else.

On two or three android devices I have investigated more deeply with issues like that, it seems to boil down to one of the system applications or functions either stock android or manufacturer, that wasn't properly linked to local or remote resources, and it's running panicky loops trying to connect, either locally, or across a non existent network that was on the development box, or across the internet to an unresponsive site. Possibly one can root the device and fix things, but it usually indicates a rushed and crappy build that has more than just that problem.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 151 of 158, by Jaron

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Ensign Nemo wrote on 2022-12-06, 08:31:

I had had other issues with Asus hardware, such as a motherboard failing and a Chromebox with a bad HDMI port. I used to swear by Asus hardware, but now I try to avoid it.

Similar. I wouldn't buy anything but an Asus board from the 90s through 2010 ( P2B and two nForce boards ). I started avoiding Asus' stuff the past few years when their GPUs had lots of reported problems ( bad power circuitry design, IIRC ).

BitWrangler wrote on 2022-12-06, 15:09:

On two or three android devices I have investigated more deeply with issues like that, it seems to boil down to one of the system applications or functions either stock android or manufacturer, that wasn't properly linked to local or remote resources, and it's running panicky loops trying to connect, either locally, or across a non existent network that was on the development box, or across the internet to an unresponsive site. Possibly one can root the device and fix things, but it usually indicates a rushed and crappy build that has more than just that problem.

Like above with Asus, I've had such positive experiences with Lenovo, I'm surprised this particular product was a dud. I specifically got the 2nd gen M8 was because of reports saying the first was a little underpowered. Wouldn't surprise me if it was rushed to market to quell those rumors.

Reply 152 of 158, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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ratfink wrote on 2022-11-27, 12:34:

Nostromo keypad N50 - really could not get on with it
Microsoft Strategic Commander - likewise

Seriously?

I swear by my Belkin Nostromo N50 and Nostromo N52. The N50's wheel throttle works well for "lite" flight sims where I'm too lazy to use "real" throttle like Thrustmaster FLCS or CH Pro Throttle, while the N52's mouse scroll wheel works great for older, mostly DOS flight sims that use + and - buttons for throttle up and throttle down, respectively. F-16 Combat Pilot comes to mind, where increasing throttle is not only determined by how many times you push the + button, but can also be determined by how long do you push the said button, making it PITA to program the + button into my CH Pro Throttle. A mouse wheel-like controller would be better for that case.

Belkin-Nostromo-N52-Belkin-Nostromo-N50.jpg
Almost 20 years and still going strong.

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.

Reply 153 of 158, by ratfink

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Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote on 2022-12-08, 06:55:
ratfink wrote on 2022-11-27, 12:34:

Nostromo keypad N50 - really could not get on with it
Microsoft Strategic Commander - likewise

Seriously?

I swear by my Belkin Nostromo N50 and Nostromo N52. The N50's wheel throttle works well for "lite" flight sims where I'm too lazy to use "real" throttle like Thrustmaster FLCS or CH Pro Throttle, while the N52's mouse scroll wheel works great for older, mostly DOS flight sims that use + and - buttons for throttle up and throttle down, respectively. F-16 Combat Pilot comes to mind, where increasing throttle is not only determined by how many times you push the + button, but can also be determined by how long do you push the said button, making it PITA to program the + button into my CH Pro Throttle. A mouse wheel-like controller would be better for that case.

Ah well that could explain it - I never managed to get on with flight sims either! I think back then I was thinking of using these devices with RTS or FPS games but I just didn't seem able to train my left hand adequately and just ended up frustrated. Maybe I could have tried harder I suppose. Eventually I ended up with a Razer Naga 12-button mouse which was great for WoW (and right handed of course, left hand was happy with the keyboard), but I've never really got round to trying it with other games much (possibly too ingrained as a WoW tool).

Reply 154 of 158, by Errius

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ratfink wrote on 2022-11-27, 12:34:

Nostromo keypad N50 - really could not get on with it

I have one of those. I originally got it to play RTS games. The ability to assign macros to the keys was useful. However eventually the software was no longer updated and this functionality was lost in newer Windows versions. I still use it as a flight simulator throttle quadrant, with the scroll bar as the throttle. (I remember trying a 'proper' Saitek throttle, but not liking it, and going back to the Nostromo.)

ETA: I see Kreshna got there before me, ha

Is this too much voodoo?

Reply 155 of 158, by Demetrio

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My first notebook, bought by my parents in 2007 for like 300€

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It shipped with an Intel Celeron, 1GB of RAM (IIRC) and, unfortunately, Windows Vista Home Basic: needless to say it did not run well, and we had problems even configuring the modem for Internet connection...

Reply 156 of 158, by RandomStranger

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Radeon 9800 PRO

It was an impulse purchase after I got scammed with a faulty Radeon 9700 PRO. The price was at the high end of reasonable at the time... but it was an international purchase from across the Atlantic Ocean and the import costs almost doubled it's price. Two weeks later I got an X800 XT way below it's value so at the end the 9800 didn't see any use beyond 2 testing sessions and I just didn't want to sell it on a deficit. By now Radeon 9800 prices adjusted for inflation caught up to what I've paid it so I'd recover what I've lost if I were to sell it.

sreq.png retrogamer-s.png

Reply 157 of 158, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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ratfink wrote on 2022-12-10, 11:33:
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote on 2022-12-08, 06:55:
Seriously? […]
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ratfink wrote on 2022-11-27, 12:34:

Nostromo keypad N50 - really could not get on with it
Microsoft Strategic Commander - likewise

Seriously?

I swear by my Belkin Nostromo N50 and Nostromo N52. The N50's wheel throttle works well for "lite" flight sims where I'm too lazy to use "real" throttle like Thrustmaster FLCS or CH Pro Throttle, while the N52's mouse scroll wheel works great for older, mostly DOS flight sims that use + and - buttons for throttle up and throttle down, respectively. F-16 Combat Pilot comes to mind, where increasing throttle is not only determined by how many times you push the + button, but can also be determined by how long do you push the said button, making it PITA to program the + button into my CH Pro Throttle. A mouse wheel-like controller would be better for that case.

Belkin-Nostromo-N52-Belkin-Nostromo-N50.jpg
Almost 20 years and still going strong.

Ah well that could explain it - I never managed to get on with flight sims either! I think back then I was thinking of using these devices with RTS or FPS games but I just didn't seem able to train my left hand adequately and just ended up frustrated. Maybe I could have tried harder I suppose. Eventually I ended up with a Razer Naga 12-button mouse which was great for WoW (and right handed of course, left hand was happy with the keyboard), but I've never really got round to trying it with other games much (possibly too ingrained as a WoW tool).

I see.

Well from my own experience, using either N52 or N50 for WASD is slightly more comfortable than using an actual WASD buttons on a real keyboard, because when using a Nostromo controller, my left hand is more "spread out" to the left, which is more relaxed position compared to using actual WASD buttons.

The difference is not night and day though. Thus, I still use WASD buttons for "quick and dirty" playing. I mainly use N52 for "complex" FPS like Delta Force.

Errius wrote on 2022-12-10, 12:39:
ratfink wrote on 2022-11-27, 12:34:

Nostromo keypad N50 - really could not get on with it

I have one of those. I originally got it to play RTS games. The ability to assign macros to the keys was useful. However eventually the software was no longer updated and this functionality was lost in newer Windows versions. I still use it as a flight simulator throttle quadrant, with the scroll bar as the throttle. (I remember trying a 'proper' Saitek throttle, but not liking it, and going back to the Nostromo.)

ETA: I see Kreshna got there before me, ha

I'm using Windows 7 64 bit with the original manufacturer's drivers, as well as original mapping utilities (Nostromo Editor and Nostromo Loadout Manager). They works. Not sure if they would work with Windows 10. However, there is a third party mapping utility for N50 and N52, I wonder if it works on Windows 10 and above.

For N50, however, I prefer to map it using Joystick Gremlin, since Joystick Gremlin is more flexible. However, N52 buttons are undetected in joystick gremlin, it seems because N52 driver already maps N52 buttons into a standard WASD configuration by default. Thus, in Joystick Gremlin, the N52 buttons will be detected as W, A, S, D, SHIFT, CTL, and what-have-you. As such, I am forced to run both Nostromo Editor (and Nostromo Loadout Manager) and Joystick Gremlin to run both joystick and N52.

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.

Reply 158 of 158, by Anonymous Coward

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Unknown_K wrote on 2022-11-26, 23:50:

When Quake came out, I decided to upgrade my 486/160 to Pentium class and purchased a motherboard with HX chipset and a Cyrix 166 rated chip. That CPU ran hot as hell (first revision) so I took it back and purchased an Intel P133 which ran cool and stable plus was just as fast in Quake anyway.

While I still love my Cyrix 387 FPUs and 486 chips I regret that 166 and only have a few Pentium class Cyrix chips all of which are in a box unused.

The original 6x86-P166+ was kind of an iconic chip. Cyrix's last best hope to challenge Intel. If you wanted a 6x86, the 166 was the one to get because it was the only one that ran on a proper 66MHz bus. They were pretty infamous for using a lot of current, but if you had a motherboard with appropriate VRMs and a good heatsink/fan combo then it should have been all good. At least people who ran a lot of productivity software loved them...Quake users not so much.
The P200+ on the other hand was definitely something to stay away from.

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium