First post, by xjas
No long-form build thread this time, I don't think anyone was reading those anyway. This machine is already done. I'd call it a "quick & dirty" build, but naturally I vacuumed and dusted everything that went inside & it's pretty tidy. "Quick & clean" has a nice ring to it.
Current hardware loadout: (mostly things I had lying around)
K6-2/500 on an ASUS P5A-B
384MB PC133 (@100) SDRAM
20GB Seagate Barracuda
Voodoo3 3000 AGP
Turtle Beach Montego II
NEC PCI USB2
Special features of this build:
Way oversized ATX case
WAY too new PSU
Wrong-colored DVD drive (was out of beige ones, and I really wanted DVD+/-RW instead of a DVD-ROM or CD-RW)
What cable management?!
Shiny metallic "Powered by ASUS" sticker, just because
So how about that backstory?
In 1998-2000 I did a lot of the 'big' competitive LAN party events that were springing up all around the east coast of North America (Toronto, Atlanta, Windsor, Chicago, Indianapolis, Niagara Falls, etc... honestly I've forgotten all the events I managed to hit.) The config I lugged to those (in a huge full-size AT minitower no less!) varied over those years, but the backbone was always a K6-2/400, overclocked to 450, on an Asus P5A-B. Initially I was using a Rendition Verite but quickly upgraded to a Voodoo Banshee.
(IIRC when I started the "hot" config was already a Celeron 300A @ 450 and TNT2 + Voodoo2 SLI, so I was always a step or two down from the high-end players.)
I never scored all that well in the rankings, and my system went from decently capable to severely underpowered in very short order. I made one attempt to upgrade to a Duron 850 on an ECS K7VMA and keep playing, but my skills got outclassed just as quickly. My once-flagship K6-2 setup (re-housed in a more pedestrian minitower) went to my mum to replace her 386SX/25 & she used that as her word processor and email sender for several years. Eventually it retired altogether and made its way into my storage room of old family PCs.
So what's inside this thing and how does it relate?
There it is! Earlier this week, I rescued the old PC this was in out of the storage room. I couldn't bring the whole thing home, but I took the board & expansion cards to have some fun with. I have no idea when the 400MHz CPU got upgraded to a 500 (I might have done that myself and just forgot??), but this is my P5A-B, which has probably travelled more than a lot of the humans who live on my current island.
Incidentally I've had this cool case sitting empty for a while (& posted about it a few times.) Neither of the projects I'd planned for it managed to gain any traction, but this seems like a suitable use too. I find it hilarious how much the tiny AT board is dwarfed in there.
Here's the support hardware. I actually have a specific purpose for this build, and I want Glide & A3D for it, so we have a Voodoo3 3000, Turtle Beach Montego II, and a super-convenient NEC USB2 card (these work great on Win98 with the generic USB Mass Storage driver. The P5A-B actually has onboard USB, but I don't have the header bracket, and USB2 is so much nicer anyway.)
That's all that's going in for now. 😜 No SCSI, no ethernet... well, maybe later.
BTW I could have used my original Banshee; I still have it! But I figured the extra oomph from the V3 would be worth it, and the Banshee is installed in something else. I would've loved a V3 back in the day.
"Fully built" on the inside. Honestly not too messy. I hate the way the ribbon cables have to stretch all the way across like that though, wish they'd put the IDE/FDD ports on the other side.
Closed up. Runs great, fairly quiet, fairly quick. Actually I'm pretty impressed how fast Win98SE boots & shuts down on such an early platform. I'm used to running it on things like Athlon XPs and P3s but this one chugs along really well.
Unfortunately I'm having driver trouble with the Montego II, so I stuck an old ESS card in to get sound just to try the thing out. I'll sort that out in good time though.
Anyway that's it for now! I had fun putting this together; it's pretty cool to have my old competitive rig back, at least in a way.