Pentium MMX Retro-PC

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Pentium MMX Retro-PC

Postby beniwtv » 2018-8-11 @ 18:27

Hello fellow vogoners!

I have been reading this awesome forum for quite some time now; and inspired by all this talk and the great retro content on YouTube from the likes of LGR, Nostalgia Nerd, Metal Jesus Rocks, 8-bit guy, .... I decided to get a retro PC build of my own going. I had been emulating old PCs with the software I got, but it just didn't feel nostalgic enough. :-P

I originally envisioned getting my first PC ever, an IBM PS/1 2121 (or I think at least that was the number), but it's very hard to get one in the configuration I want without paying an arm and a leg for it :lol:, so i settled on something more generic, and also more hackable and upgradeable. This is when I saw a lovely small (midi?) tower on Ebay which didn't have much information attached with it, but from the photos had some nice hardware in it. The seller sold it as broken because of the CMOS warning it displayed when booting, so it was a nice deal as well.

These are the specs it arrived at my home with:

    - Pentium 150 MHX MMX
    - Abit AB-PX5 motherboard
    - 10 whopping MB of RAM (8+2)
    - HIPRO power supply (never heard of them)
    - A broken 2 GB HDD
    - Some kind of TEAC CDROM (NSSI estimates it at 52x)
    - ATI 3D RAGE 2+DVD
    - An ISDN fax modem card
    - A 3Com Etherlink 3 with no RJ45...
    - Sound Blaster Vibra 16 XV

Apparently, this PC was once used at one of my countries' TV stations, as I found an inventory sticker with their logo on it. :lol: The company that put this system together was called SicOs, and there's not much info about them other than their website at the way back machine:
https://web.archive.org/web/19980702020 ... cos.de:80/

I have since added / upgraded some parts:

    - Replaced old and non-working CMOS battery
    - Replaced RAM with two 128 MB sticks (motherboard supports 256 MB max)
    - Took out the ISDN card, this is of no use anymore now since ISDN is gone
    - Replaced the 3Com with another 3Com Etherlink 3, but which has the RJ45 port :lol:
    - Added my old Voodoo 2 card I had back in the days and saved 20 years though multiple house movings, since I was curious if it still worked
    - Added an IDE-to-CF adapter + 2GB Transcend CF card

So far I'm pretty happy, and have documented my journey on my Twitch channel.

1st video isn't strictly about the PC, as it was before it arrived. It shows some of the software and games I got, which I wanted to emulate:
https://www.twitch.tv/beniwtv/video/285005644

2nd video is getting some more games, a cable to convert VGA to HDMI for capturing the retro PC, and the retro PC itself:
https://www.twitch.tv/beniwtv/video/295199324

And a live stream with more retro-PC hardware upgrades/swaps and installing DOS + WIN3.1 and trying to play a game:
https://www.twitch.tv/beniwtv/video/295913561

Things still TODO:
    - Replace IDE cable for the CF adapter, since I just noticed the one it cam with has one wire exposed (luckily I have a bunch of cables, as I never throw ANY cables away :lol:)
    - Test MIDI under DOS
    - Enhance/free some DOS conventional memory
    - Figure out why MIDI doesn't work under 3.11; and while at it, figure out why the Creative installer only installed a mixer for 3.11 that doesn't even work
    - Get more CF cards so I can install W95, more games, Linux distros, exotic OSes...
    - Get a nice mouse (or fix the one it came with)
    - Get networking to work at least under WIN 3.11/WIN 95

That's about everything for now, I'll make sure to post here with more progress soon. :wink:

Take care and have a great day!
beniwtv
Last edited by beniwtv on 2018-8-12 @ 13:21, edited 1 time in total.
My Twitch where I sometimes post retro videos/do retro PC streams:
https://www.twitch.tv/beniwtv/
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Re: Pentium MMX Retro-PC

Postby SW-SSG » 2018-8-11 @ 19:11

P150 with 1/4 GB of RAM... I don't want to know what that would have cost at the time :lol:

I also hope you'll upload photos for those of us who prefer eyeballing still images.
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Re: Pentium MMX Retro-PC

Postby beniwtv » 2018-8-11 @ 19:36

SW-SSG wrote:I also hope you'll upload photos for those of us who prefer eyeballing still images.


I'll shot some tomorrow, though the camera on my mobile isn't the greatest.
My Twitch where I sometimes post retro videos/do retro PC streams:
https://www.twitch.tv/beniwtv/
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Re: Pentium MMX Retro-PC

Postby beniwtv » 2018-8-12 @ 13:16

Here are some photos now:

IMG_20180812_135643.jpg

IMG_20180812_135731.jpg

IMG_20180812_140607.jpg
My Twitch where I sometimes post retro videos/do retro PC streams:
https://www.twitch.tv/beniwtv/
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Re: Pentium MMX Retro-PC

Postby beniwtv » 2018-8-12 @ 13:18

And the inside:

IMG_20180812_140807.jpg

IMG_20180812_141221.jpg

IMG_20180812_145620.jpg

IMG_20180812_145636.jpg
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https://www.twitch.tv/beniwtv/
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Re: Pentium MMX Retro-PC

Postby RetroBoogie » 2018-8-12 @ 15:52

Well, you're not going to get far with MIDI in DOS with that CT4170 unless you have an external module as it has no onboard synthesizer. I would get a real/better ISA card for that. Also I'd be on the lookout for a replacement for that Rage card for something that's a bit more DOS compatible depending on the games you wish to play. Otherwise nice rig!
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Re: Pentium MMX Retro-PC

Postby chinny22 » 2018-8-14 @ 12:12

Haven't watched the videos yet (at work) but looks like your off to a good start.
As you say your been watching the reto channels on you tube I'm guessing you already have things like external midi devices, different sound and video cards and OS's already planned.
Sounds like your using the wrong drivers for your sound card or the ones you have are corrupt. Every SB16 should have working Midi and mixer from within Windows.
You can find lots of drivers here
http://www.vogonsdrivers.com/index.php?catid=7
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Re: Pentium MMX Retro-PC

Postby beniwtv » 2018-8-14 @ 20:37

RetroBoogie wrote:Well, you're not going to get far with MIDI in DOS with that CT4170 unless you have an external module as it has no onboard synthesizer. I would get a real/better ISA card for that. Also I'd be on the lookout for a replacement for that Rage card for something that's a bit more DOS compatible depending on the games you wish to play. Otherwise nice rig!


That would explain a lot, though I am not sure yet I need MIDI in DOS games, and hey maybe I get some external stuff later (assuming that even works with this card...).
I quite like having an ATI Rage, for now it's been working fine, so I'm holding off replacing that until I need it.

chinny22 wrote:As you say your been watching the reto channels on you tube I'm guessing you already have things like external midi devices, different sound and video cards and OS's already planned.
Sounds like your using the wrong drivers for your sound card or the ones you have are corrupt. Every SB16 should have working Midi and mixer from within Windows.


Indeed, I have some things planned, but I'm gonna go light on purchases for now and enjoy what I have now first. :lol:
That is with the exception of a VGA splitter and a HDMI 4x2 Matrix (splitter/switch) which I need for recording videos / streaming.

I'll probably try to reinstall/fix the Windows drivers, as I've seen elsewhere too that MIDI works under Windows with that model. Hmm...
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https://www.twitch.tv/beniwtv/
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Re: Pentium MMX Retro-PC

Postby meljor » 2018-8-16 @ 08:48

That board has the Intel 430TX chipset. You do know it can only cache up to 64mb ram?
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Re: Pentium MMX Retro-PC

Postby Tetrium » 2018-8-17 @ 10:38

beniwtv wrote:Here are some photos now:

IMG_20180812_135643.jpg

IMG_20180812_135731.jpg

IMG_20180812_140607.jpg

That looks like a (very) late AT case. The front of the case is very reminiscing of early ATX cases, perhaps even early P3/Athlon era.
Does the case have any mention as to when it was assembled by any chance? Like stickers on the bottom or something :P
I think it's nice your case has 3 5.25in external bays instead of the usual 2 5.25in ones that the vast majority of the AT towers seemed to have :)

It should be quite sturdy. Could probably derail a train with it lol

As others have mentioned, 430TX can cache a max of 64MB. Use any more and it will probably slow down your system provided your system doesn't require an extensive amount of memory. 64MB should be fine :)

I haven't watched the videos yet, so I can't comment on those.
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