First post, by Tali
Hi! During the coming few months, I intend to build a few rigs to cover most periods and OSes the way I remember those.
Now, I did miss out on the original IBM PC era (Speccy was where it was at back then), and for me "DOS times" started with a 286, which is already too fast for time sensitive stuff, so, for now, I don't see what it could bring to the table that 386 does not. Anyway, here goes the list (edited to reflect current plans and existing machines; italic for incomplete - as in "not even in it's own case"):
- "Seer": 80386-25, VGA-AVER-PRO, MS-DOS, Windows 3.11 - for all the slow-requiring stuff, plus it has a video editing card, though I wonder what the purpose of having one on a 386 nowadays is, other than for coolness factor (Mostly done)
- "Bard": Am5x86-P75, VL Bus VGA, MS-DOS, Windows 95 - a VL Bus system for what I consider the golden era of DOS games (Mostly done)
- "Crusader" (ty Joseph_Joestar): Cyrix (IBM) 6x86MX-PR300, Riva 128, GUS Extreme, mostly for late DOS stuff (Missing: case, Shipping: motherboard)
- "Shaman": Dual Pentium II, Dual Voodoo 2, MS-DOS, Windows 98 SE, Windows 2000 - a Voodoo-based system is required in every person's lineup; this one also pairs them with dual P2's(Mostly done)
- (needs a name): P3 Tualatin, S3 Delta Chrome, Aureal Vortex 2, Windows 2000 - an "on steroids" replica of a laptop I used to have and love (Missing: SSD, case)
- (needs a name): Athlon XP, Windows XP, GeForce 5950 Ultra... well, you get my drift. Common at the time (aside from the GPU), and for a good reason. (Missing: SSD, case, Shipping: GPU)
- "Emperor": S775 P4-670, X1800XT in Crossfire, Ageia PhysX, Windows Vista - I actually loved a similar system, and, despite all the bad press, it never failed me. (Mostly done)
- "Assassin": Core 2 Q6600, GTX285 in SLi, Windows 7 - if the former is a Crossfire build, this one is SLI; and the mobo just refuses to work with any other processor after 10 years with this CPU... must be serious love and devotion. (In progress)
- "Sorceress": Dual Xeon, lots of RAM and semi-professional cards for sound and video capture, etc. - my current workstation for both ... er... work from home, and for whatever video editing I'll eventually get to (Complete)
Every build is going to be done in the same Define R6 case, but with different lighting and accents.
But the most interesting ones are the 386 and 486 builds, of which 386 is still being assembled.
Compuadd motherboard (I just couldn't resist this beauty, it looks almost one of a kind, and it has most things I need in a board, including an off-board battery)
80386 DX - 25
80387 DX - 25
4 MB ram (to be eventually expanded to 16MB)
Trident 8900 VGA (two reasons: official - compatibility, real - nostalgia, as that's what I had back in the day)
Some unknown brand IO controller
Gotek Floppy Emu (already works)
PATA SSD via XT-IDE (I've ordered a couple NIC's with free ROM slots, among other things, for this purpose)
ESS 1869 aka Business Wavetable card
(eventually) HardMPU (those aren't cheap, and I need to equip more than one rig with them)
Here is a pic of the board on the workbench, with most things disconnected. Ain't she a beauty?
And the 486:
DECPC LPX+ motherboard (I have this unhealthy fascination with DEC, and a PC by them is something I find quite special, plus, it is VLB/ISA)
The fattest meanest CPU I can put in (the board officially supports DX2-66, but it is a SIS 85C471, so, odds are, it might take something newer, if BIOS allows; will start with AM5x86, and go down if needed)
256 kb external cache (won't accept more, sadly, but it should be enough)
64 MB ram (currently 40; back in the day I used to have 16 and thought it was enough, but W98 tended to disagree with this statement)
ATI Mach32 with 2 Mb
Gotek Floppy Emu (already works)
DVD-RW (not period correct, but I don't care, I just have a couple reliable slim drives I put into all IDE systems, and they work, and generally don't change anything for how the system behaves, as far as software is concerned)
PATA SSD via XT-IDE (same as above)
perhaps, ESS, perhaps, something else for SB-PRO, perhaps, if I get lucky, an actual SB-PRO (I also have a choice of Diamond MF-009, ALS-100 based card, and CMI8330, which I even used to own back in the day, but my memory seems to be painting a better picture than reality, I wasn't as impressed with it now as I was back then)
And here is the pic of the mobo:
Now, I generally don't try to go for 100% authentic hardware, I want it authentic where it counts, which means, from the software perspective. And most software cares about what CPU is in, but certainly not what is at the end of that IDE cable, as long as it still responds the way it should. Also, while my case choice gives me excellent ergonomics when working, ample space to hide all cables, and an outstanding side window, it does have only one 5 inch drive bay. One external drive bay in total, actually. So I use some dark magic to squeeze floppy and CD drives in there, using Dell NR95F caddies. Finally, I do intend to hook all my DOS era machines to MT-32 and SC-55, hence the need for HardMPU boards. Currently I've successfully used both via existing sound card on P2, but it certainly is better to have intelligent mode in hardware.
I will update this thread with new information and pics as projects develop. Also, looking forward to advice on those "undecided" rigs. Thanks in advance!