VOGONS


First post, by Pingaloka

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Back when I was younger, a 486 Packard Bell was my first computer. My parents bought it because our bank offered it with a discount here in Spain. Hence the reason why I own one and why I just love old Packard Bells!!!
So, this is my beauty! Love PB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Packard Bell Pulsar 16.

Here are the Specs:

Motherboard: Packard Bell 685 M/Board / Bus Architecture : PCI 2.1/ISA based system bus.66MHz maximum bus speed / Cache : 16K level 1 cache.May have 256KB Pipelined Burst Cache soldered on board
Chipset : Intel 82437VX PCI set
CPU : Intel MMX Pentium 166 MHz
Sound Card: Orpheus
Keyboard: Packard Bell 5131C
Mouse: PS2 Mitsumi Optic Mouse
PCI Chipset : Intel Triton 82430VX PCI chipset
RAM : 16MB EDO
Video: S3 Trio64V+ motherboards have 1MB expandable to 2MB.S
CD-ROM: Hemlett Packard CD-Writer Plus 8200 Series
Extra: Compact Flash to IDE adapter with 1GB CF card

PB1.jpg

The insides of the computer:

PB5.jpg

An Intel MMX Pentium 166Mhz is perfect for playing mid-late 90s DOS games such as Blood or Duke Nukem while also being able to play 386 era DOS games. For such task I just disable Cache in the BIOS options and the Packard Bell transforms into a fast 386. More than enough for my needs!

I use solely MS-DOS 6.22. For rapid data copying from my main PC to the Packard Bell I use a 1GB Compact Flash as I have installed a CF to IDE adapter in the back of the computer. This is one of the easiest ways to copy games or programs into the system.

PB2.jpg

As for the sound, this computer had an Aztech Sound Blaster 16 compatible card. I swaped it for an Orpheus Sound Card. What a difference! Amazing sound card with great quality sound and 0 noise.
I bought the standard version as I'm only interested in using the OPL3 FM. Sorry, I'm not that fan of MIDI music!!!! Yes I know.....😬
I would like to comment that the purchase of the card went perfectly! Leo really made everything super easy for me. I ordered the Sound Card and received it in less than a month. Really impressed with the service. Top Quality!

Here's the sound card installed in the Packard Bell in all its beauty:

PB3.jpg

For typing I also use a Packard Bell branded keyboard model 5131C. I just love this keyboard! It is not a mechanical keyboard but it feels really nice when typing with it. Really, really nice.
I bought it second hand, it was quite yellowy. I disassembled it, cleaned it and used Hydrogen peroxide to whiten it.

PB4.jpg

I bought a new PS2 Optic Mouse in white colour to much the rest of the components. "Mitsumi" Anybody knows this brand???? 🤷‍♂️

PB9.jpg

I also bought some stickers to "decorate" the case. In the following picture we can see a Sound Blaster logo, and MS-DOS logo and a Intel Inside MMX logo as well.

PB10.jpg

In regards to the MOBO, I couldn't find much info about it so here are some pictures at least:

PB7.jpg

PB8.jpg

So that's about it! The computer runs flawlesly and I'm very happy with it! This is the only retro computer I use at the moment. Hope you enjoy the post!

Reply 1 of 16, by Joakim

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Nice system. You seem to have put s lot of effort into it.

Regarding Mitsumi, I just recently bought a NOS keyboard manufactured by them which is also rubber dome but it is pretty nice. There is a pamphlet in there with some product information I could post later.

Reply 2 of 16, by Joseph_Joestar

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Pingaloka wrote on 2021-11-25, 10:27:

"Mitsumi" Anybody knows this brand???? 🤷‍♂️

They were farly popular in the 80s and 90s, mostly known for PC and Apple peripherals. But they made console accessories too, such as SNES and PlayStation controllers. It's a good, reputable brand.

Very nice system btw! Maybe add a bit more RAM for a total of 32 MB. It could help with later DOS games such as Tomb Raider and Quake.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 3 of 16, by Pingaloka

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-11-25, 10:44:
Pingaloka wrote on 2021-11-25, 10:27:

"Mitsumi" Anybody knows this brand???? 🤷‍♂️

They were farly popular in the 80s and 90s, mostly known for PC and Apple peripherals. But they made console accessories too, such as SNES and PlayStation controllers. It's a good, reputable brand.

Very nice system btw! Maybe add a bit more RAM for a total of 32 MB. It could help with later DOS games such as Tomb Raider and Quake.

Thanks!!! Glad you like it!

Maybe I will but as I don't play any 3d games or use a 3DFX voodoo card I think there is no real advantage that I know of for the rest of DOS games to have 32mb over 16mb.

Reply 4 of 16, by Pingaloka

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Joakim wrote on 2021-11-25, 10:35:

Nice system. You seem to have put s lot of effort into it.

Regarding Mitsumi, I just recently bought a NOS keyboard manufactured by them which is also rubber dome but it is pretty nice. There is a pamphlet in there with some product information I could post later.

Thanks Joakim. Glad you like it! I'm really happy with the system yes!

Reply 6 of 16, by shawnhell

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I totally remember Mitsumi from the many 3.5 floppy drives I've encountered over the years (especially round the time Windows Vista came out. Everyone seemed to be literally tossing their older rigs in the trash so they could upgrade. Goodwill didn't accept computers nor did most donation sites. Their loss, was my gain 😁) They seem to be a popular choice in the floppy drive business, and a very reliable one! Beautiful shape everything... Beige is a difficult rebuild and everything looks golden. A vintage Beige mouse in good condition is getting hard to find especially.

Reply 7 of 16, by chinny22

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When I think Mitsumi I think of the early Non IDE CD-ROMs and connector you find on sound cards.
I also have a stockpile of their FDD's which do seem to be decent quality.

PB have some nice cases but admit I'm not a fan of the curved front of this one, but that's just personal choice and means nothing.
Hardware wise fully agree this makes for a great late dos rig, 486's are very nostalgic but cant really recommend them as they do lack the speed for later titles like you mentioned.
Good honest build, nothing to fancy or extreme, accept the sound card which is probably the most important part of a dos rig build so where you want it most.

Reply 9 of 16, by keropi

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nice read! thanks for sharing!
and yeah - the MMX platform is great for DOS gaming, it's my main DOS platform 20 years now
you might want to search for ICACHE.EXE though that is able to enable/disable L1 cache on the fly on a p1 system - that way you don't have to worry about going to BIOS each time you need this slowdown

🎵 PCMIDI mpu
🎧 Orpheus soundcard
Action Rewind
MegaCard
💻 WTB Amstrad PC7486SLC-33

Reply 10 of 16, by Pingaloka

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keropi wrote on 2021-11-26, 16:42:

nice read! thanks for sharing!
and yeah - the MMX platform is great for DOS gaming, it's my main DOS platform 20 years now
you might want to search for ICACHE.EXE though that is able to enable/disable L1 cache on the fly on a p1 system - that way you don't have to worry about going to BIOS each time you need this slowdown

Thanks for the tip Keropi. I Will definitely try It!

Reply 11 of 16, by Hezus

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Very nice system!

Although, how can you not like MIDI? Get yourself a Sound Canvas 55 or 88, plug it in and load up one of the many supported games. Then come back back tell me it doesn't sound better 😉

Visit my YT Channel!

Reply 12 of 16, by Pingaloka

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Hezus wrote on 2021-11-27, 08:47:

Very nice system!

Although, how can you not like MIDI? Get yourself a Sound Canvas 55 or 88, plug it in and load up one of the many supported games. Then come back back tell me it doesn't sound better 😉

I don't know! It just sounds cheap to me. Fake. Sorry to say that. Never liked Midi. I think it is because when younger I used to produce music and always avoided the "artificial" sound of MIDI instruments.
I must admit that Monkey Island sounds very nice with the MT-32 but I just prefer FM synthesizer sounds and music. It appeals more to me. I know this is an unpopular opinion but...it just does.

Reply 13 of 16, by Pierre32

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Pingaloka wrote on 2021-11-28, 00:25:
Hezus wrote on 2021-11-27, 08:47:

Very nice system!

Although, how can you not like MIDI? Get yourself a Sound Canvas 55 or 88, plug it in and load up one of the many supported games. Then come back back tell me it doesn't sound better 😉

I don't know! It just sounds cheap to me. Fake. Sorry to say that. Never liked Midi. I think it is because when younger I used to produce music and always avoided the "artificial" sound of MIDI instruments.
I must admit that Monkey Island sounds very nice with the MT-32 but I just prefer FM synthesizer sounds and music. It appeals more to me. I know this is an unpopular opinion but...it just does.

Perfectly valid opinion. I love my MIDI gear, but still choose FM for a lot of things.

Reply 14 of 16, by Hezus

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Pingaloka wrote on 2021-11-28, 00:25:
Hezus wrote on 2021-11-27, 08:47:

Very nice system!

Although, how can you not like MIDI? Get yourself a Sound Canvas 55 or 88, plug it in and load up one of the many supported games. Then come back back tell me it doesn't sound better 😉

I don't know! It just sounds cheap to me. Fake. Sorry to say that. Never liked Midi. I think it is because when younger I used to produce music and always avoided the "artificial" sound of MIDI instruments.
I must admit that Monkey Island sounds very nice with the MT-32 but I just prefer FM synthesizer sounds and music. It appeals more to me. I know this is an unpopular opinion but...it just does.

Yeah, got to admit that sometimes FM Synth sounds better to me too. Although I'm not sure if that is just because it sounds just like I was used to back in the day. Then that feels "right" to you even though the MIDI version might be of higher quality or have more depth.

A good example is Wacky Wheels. The music was composed specifically for OPL3. There is official MIDI for the Sound Canvas, but it just feels like it's "converted" to MIDI rather than composed for it. So it just feels a little off.

But in games where the music was composed specially for the Sound Canvas, I take MIDI over FM Synth every day 😀

Visit my YT Channel!

Reply 15 of 16, by Joseph_Joestar

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Pierre32 wrote on 2021-11-28, 00:34:

I love my MIDI gear, but still choose FM for a lot of things.

Same here.

Maybe it's nostalgia or just my personal preference, but for certain games I simply need that OPL3 sound. Tyrian being the most prominent example. On the other hand, I will happily use my Sound Canvas for Doom and Duke3D.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 16 of 16, by Pingaloka

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Hezus wrote on 2021-11-28, 08:55:
Yeah, got to admit that sometimes FM Synth sounds better to me too. Although I'm not sure if that is just because it sounds just […]
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Pingaloka wrote on 2021-11-28, 00:25:
Hezus wrote on 2021-11-27, 08:47:

Very nice system!

Although, how can you not like MIDI? Get yourself a Sound Canvas 55 or 88, plug it in and load up one of the many supported games. Then come back back tell me it doesn't sound better 😉

I don't know! It just sounds cheap to me. Fake. Sorry to say that. Never liked Midi. I think it is because when younger I used to produce music and always avoided the "artificial" sound of MIDI instruments.
I must admit that Monkey Island sounds very nice with the MT-32 but I just prefer FM synthesizer sounds and music. It appeals more to me. I know this is an unpopular opinion but...it just does.

Yeah, got to admit that sometimes FM Synth sounds better to me too. Although I'm not sure if that is just because it sounds just like I was used to back in the day. Then that feels "right" to you even though the MIDI version might be of higher quality or have more depth.

A good example is Wacky Wheels. The music was composed specifically for OPL3. There is official MIDI for the Sound Canvas, but it just feels like it's "converted" to MIDI rather than composed for it. So it just feels a little off.

But in games where the music was composed specially for the Sound Canvas, I take MIDI over FM Synth every day 😀

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that nostalgia has a lot to do with it. Listening to FM just brings me back to old times. There is no doubt that MIDI is superior musically speaking.