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Reply 20 of 27, by AppleSauce

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Shponglefan wrote on 2022-11-29, 00:47:
Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2022-11-28, 17:05:

That said, when I first got back into retro PCs, I was trying to make a single rig which would cover more than a decade's worth of gaming. I sort of succeeded, but had to compromise too much for my liking. Eventually, I ended up with four rigs, which cover a span of roughly 4-6 years each, with some minor overlap.

This mirrors my experience. Trying to cover too wide a period and there is always something missing.

Plus, it seems the further back in time, the bigger difference between hardware per year. Trying to build a system to cover 2000 to 2010 seems a lot more doable than a single system to cover 1980 to 1990.

I think 10 years for anything pre 00s would be tricky for any given retro system, we've hit a point of standardization and diminishing returns that its easier now to squeeze compatibility in.

Back then things moved too quickly and were too wild west anything goes to cover every base.

The best I could do was a combo dos + win3.1 + 95 build that covered 1987 to 1997.
And I had to make a separate 98 build just to cover 3 graphic APIs and 2 sound cards for 1998 to 2000.

Reply 21 of 27, by Intel486dx33

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I like to build brand theme based computers based on hardware or Windows version period correct computers.
I find this more interesting and challenging.
I learn something new every time I build a computer this way.
You learn about the era, hardware and software of that time period.

It’s not just about slapping cards into a motherboard and building a Rat Rod Hot Rod.
I like to be more specific and engineer a nice computer with compatible components of that era mainly
For good performance, software and game compatibility.

But now that hardware is becoming more expensive and supply is drying up it just not worth it for me.
So I may have to be back to building NEW computers again. But I have to many computers already and
I don’t need a NEW computer right now.

Reply 22 of 27, by RandomStranger

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I decide which OS I plan to use (or main OS for multiboot).
Then what level of backwards compatibility do I want.
Then how much performance I need.
Then how small can I make it without losing any features.
Then see what parts with the closest specs are available for a reasonable price.
Then hunt for several months for the parts I'm satisfied with because I hate spending more than $15 as much as I hate compromising on the parts I want.

sreq.png retrogamer-s.png

Reply 23 of 27, by theelf

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For me is simple, my wife one day complains there is too much garbage in home

Then i build 2 computers from parts i have lying around, one i sell, one for me

After some time my wife complains... and again

Reply 24 of 27, by Nexxen

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theelf wrote on 2022-11-29, 13:21:

For me is simple, my wife one day complains there is too much garbage in home

Then i build 2 computers from parts i have lying around, one i sell, one for me

After some time my wife complains... and again

Marie Kondo vs Wife 😀
Tough call!

PC#1 Pentium 233 MMX - 98SE
PC#2 PIII-1Ghz - 98SE/W2K

Reply 25 of 27, by creepingnet

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I never plan....it just sorta comes together. Its either feast or famine on the retro front.

So some builds im swimming in a sea of components from an undorseen resource that keeps giving. Sometimes I recoup tge price of the build or profit as a reseller on ebay, and I charge like I dont like money (i do...but i want to keep it accessible).

Other builds Im literally struggling to find affordable parts, leading to some pretty wacko experiments. Next thing you know Im knees deep in a motherboard or adding chips to some proprietary memory module.

~The Creeping Network~
My Youtube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/creepingnet
Creepingnet's World - https://creepingnet.neocities.org/

Reply 26 of 27, by gaffa2002

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Well, since I can't have everything and space is limited, I usually plan any retro build based on it's utility and some kind of "technological milestone" it represents.
That means I try to avoid builds which are redundant and cover too much of the same era, right now I have only two retro builds:

1- A P200MMX: To cover 1990 - 1997 (DOS only), for a period where DOS was the main OS for games and no standards were defined. I.e. DirectX was on it's infancy so many games were developed for DOS even after Win95 was released. It also has an older Sound Card (AZT 2320) which has better OPL3 and it's better suited for older titles. In this machine I use Freedos 1.3, and despite having compatibility issues with very few games, it has a lot of quality of life improvements over regular DOS.
2-Athlon 750mhz: To cover 1995 - 2000 (Windows 98 SE), for a period where DOS died out and Windows and 3D acceleration (OpenGL and Direct3D) became the norm. It also covers those late DOS games with SVGA graphics that run too slow on period correct specs. It has an ISA Sound Blaster AWE64, so it still works very well for most DOS games. In this system I have Win 98 SE installed, with the option of booting directly to DOS 7.1 during startup.

As a bonus, the Athlon 750 also covers the 1980's as it can be throttled down to PC XT speeds thanks to THROTTLE utility (with caches disabled, this CPU can get much slower than the P200 can), games from that era mostly use the PC speaker so no issues with sound. Only thing that prevents it from being a great 1980-2000 PC is achieving 386/486 speeds as it's slowdown doesn't feel very smooth in games from that time (Alone in the Dark and Theme Park are some examples), so the P200 covers that range much better thanks to SETMUL and the older sound card.
A windows XP PC could be cool, but it's not as interesting for me as IMHO there was no huge change from that time. Things evolved a lot since XP, but there was no paradigm change like it was between DOS and Windows 9X. Maybe someday I'll build one as I already have some spare parts from around 2009.

Personally, I'd love to have computers with different architectures like 68K Macintosh, MSX, Amiga, Tandy 1000... but they are very expensive and take to much room and a whole set of monitors and proprietary peripherals. Anything older than that I don't think it's very interesting so I don't bother about those, except maybe the Apple II.

LO-RES, HI-FUN

My DOS/ Win98 PC specs

EP-7KXA Motherboard
Athlon Thunderbird 750mhz
256Mb PC100 RAM
Geforce 4 MX440 64MB AGP (128 bit)
Sound Blaster AWE 64 CT4500 (ISA)
32GB HDD

Reply 27 of 27, by Disruptor

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Well, it's always a question of spare parts I have.
Basically working motherboards are the limiting factor in my arsenal. Next is hard disks.

But nowadays I need to get rid of at least 2 builds. Space gets full.