VOGONS


Halcyon

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First post, by senrew

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Finally got around to building up that last of the "4 for $.99" machines I picked up from ebay. Seeing as I don't have time or room for too many machines and the associated pile of "just in case" parts, I decided to compromise and consolidate two of the builds I wanted to do into a single machine.

(I'll add pictures later)

Halcyon:
M525 v1.2 motherboard (AT)
Pentium 100mhz
64MB EDO (It's what the board came with, I may drop it down if I run into issues with any games)
Matrox Millennium I 4MB
Cardex Dragon 1000 (Voodoo 4MB)
Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold
3Com Etherlink III ISA
4GB HD
DVD-ROM
Floppy, blah blah

This machine is running Windows 95B, and will be used for running later DOS and early Windows 9x games. As it only has a 100mhz Pentium, I'm guessing the cut off would be around 1997 for the more demanding games. The BIOS have L1/L2 cache toggles so I can drop down to lower speeds for sensitive DOS games, though I intend to try and run as many as I can from within Windows 95 as I can, just the way I did it way back when on my original machines.

This machine was a pain in the ass to get working. Had issues with getting both the hard drive and optical seen on boot within the BIOS, and then just getting CD drivers loaded. The Win95 boot disk drivers didn't want to see the optical, etc. Tried a promise ultra 100 tx2 ide card but found it not needed at the end, so that's a spare for later. Also, I'd forgotten how much of a motherfucker AT cases were to work inside of when you have big hands. I've got the cuts and scrapes to remind me next time.

Notes/Questions:

- I am thinking of getting a 200mhz pentium chip to replace the 100mhz. That'll give me a little more oomph for later games within the range I want to work with, but still shouldn't bring the floor of cache-disabling ability up too much.

- I went with the Millennium for primary video as I wanted the glorious picture quality, and I don't expect to have too many issues with compatibility with the selection of games I have in mind. This is all connected to a Dell 17" LCD from about 10 years ago so the picture quality should be as good as I can get it short of a Pro level CRT.

- I have an MT-32 and SC-7 along with the MIDI breakout cables for the AWE64 and for running between the modules so I am all set for MIDI goodness, just don't have the space to setup the machine to actually get it all setup in one shot.

- I'll be doing the normal benchmarks that are popular here, just to have another piece of data for the lists.

My main desire to get this machine built was so I could determine what parts I needed for the actual build, and what minimum of parts I needed to keep around as backup or for functional spares. Everything else in my current inventory will be leaving my possession soon. I just don't have room or time to mess around with too many old parts, so I wanted that one machine that will take care of my needs for the foreseeable future. More than likely, as soon as I have the final testing done, I'll be packing it away into the corner of a closet somewhere until such time as I have the space to do the machine justice and set it up, and the time to actually use it.

Whenever that is, I know it'll be a fun ride reliving those games I loved as a kid and the ones I never got to try.

Halcyon: PC Chips M525, P100, 64MB, Millenium 1, Voodoo1, AWE64, DVD, Win95B

Reply 1 of 5, by senrew

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Still no pictures, but I did some basic benchmarking with Phil's pack. Results as below:

3D Bench 1.0: 00.0
3D Bench 1.0c: 92.8
Chris' 3D Benchmark: 132.0/79.2fps
Chris' 3D Benchmark 640x480: 39.1/23.4fps
PC Player Benchmark: 26.8
PC Player Benchmark 640x480: 12.1
Doom Min Details: 2134/443 (168.6fps)
Doom Max Details: 2134/1525 (48.9fps)
Quake Timedemo: 969f / 37.6s / 25.8fps
Quake Timedemo 360x480: 969f / 82.7s / 11.7fps
Quake TImedemo 640x480: 969f / 102.1s / 9.5fps
System Information 8.0: 317.6
Landmark System Speed Test 6.00: CPU 804.21mhz / FPU 1693.75mhz / Video 14246.96
TOPBENCH 3.8: 203-206
Speedsys 4.78: CPU 74.28

Going to re-run a couple of these next time I get a chance with the caches disabled to see about where this particular setup falls for speed sensitive needs.

Halcyon: PC Chips M525, P100, 64MB, Millenium 1, Voodoo1, AWE64, DVD, Win95B

Reply 2 of 5, by senrew

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Received the last piece I was waiting on, a serial mouse, and went in and installed several games to make sure the sound and voodoo were all working correctly. Installed a Sidewinder 3D Pro (not sure if I'll keep using this guy on this machine), plugged in my Roland SC-7 and went to town. Everything works perfectly. Even games that traditionally always gave me issues like Mech 2 3dfx edition just worked on the first try.

Tried out GLQuake to see what kind of improvement I could get out of it with the Voodoo card doing the heavy lifting. New benchmarks are (640x480): 969f / 41.3s / 23.4fps

I think I'm definitely going to upgrade the CPU to a 200mhz Pentium, just to give the 3D DOS games a little more breathing room, and to give me a new layer of games to play under Windows.

Overall, I'm pretty damn happy with this build so far.

Halcyon: PC Chips M525, P100, 64MB, Millenium 1, Voodoo1, AWE64, DVD, Win95B

Reply 3 of 5, by senrew

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Pictures finally:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/edp943ngx8ympcd/AA … i42qy1SgYa?dl=0

The case needs some serious restoration, but it's functional, that's the important part. I also need to figure out the frequency display jumpers, it's permanently set to 40 at the moment.

Halcyon: PC Chips M525, P100, 64MB, Millenium 1, Voodoo1, AWE64, DVD, Win95B

Reply 4 of 5, by GeorgeMan

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My favorite retro case! Be sure to take good care of it (and do some cable management in there! :p )

Results seem pretty much OK.

Retro1: Athlon XP 3200+ @Arctic cooler | ASUS A7V600 | Radeon 9800XXL 128MB | SB Audigy 2 ZS | 160GB IDE HDD | Win98SE & XP
Retro2: under construction with a PIII 933 or a Tualatin Celeron 1200 and a GF2 GTS 32MB

Reply 5 of 5, by senrew

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I ordered a p200 chip and some rolled IDE/Floppy cables. Once I install the cpu the build itself will be complete and I can call this machine ready for use. The new cables will help me clean up the inside of the case. As for the outside of the case...well, it's rusted to all hell.

Really considering painting the case a nice matte black and swapping the drives to newer black-faceplate versions. I have plenty of those lying around. Would be nice to have all black cases for this and my other builds.

Halcyon: PC Chips M525, P100, 64MB, Millenium 1, Voodoo1, AWE64, DVD, Win95B