First post, by enaiel
In June I decided to use my quarantine-time to make my first retro DOS PC out of a mATX Compaq Deskpro EXD P866 and parts I had accumulated over the years. My goal was to build a pure DOS multimedia PC that would play games from 1987 to 1997, but the 866 MHz Pentium III Coppermine CPU, i815 chipset, Audigy sound card and Radeon 9600XT video card were great for late DOS games, but not good for much else:
- Audio players like OpenCP, MPXPlay and others would crash or be terribly distorted.
- Audigy only worked in Protected Mode, so no sound in Real Mode.
- Strange hang-on-exits and other memory issues fixed by using HimemX+Jemm386 (thanks @keenmaster486) but led to complicated startup menu for different memory options.
- Only slowdown option was via THROTTLE.EXE but this caused stuttering video and sound, and frequent hangs.
- A few games completely refused to run.
So I decided to start over. I wanted to keep the mATX case and was trying to decide between a Slot 1 and a Super Socket 7 motherboard when @kolderman convinced me to go in for a Socket 370 motherboard with a VIA C3 CPU instead. Trying to keep costs to a tight budget, I purchased a few components with a focus on compatibility vs price, and built the new retro DOS PC with the following specs:
- Motherboard: MSI MS-6368 mATX Socket 370
- Chipset: VIA PLE133T
- CPU: VIA C3-1.0AGHz CPU Ezra 1000MHz 1GHz 100x10 1.45V
- PSU: FSP300-60GHS 300W
- RAM: SDRAM 133 MHz 64 MB
- Video: Trident Blade 2D/3D IGP (Onboard)
- Video: Gainward CardExpert S3
- Audio: Sound Blaster Pro (Onboard)
- Audio: PC Speaker (Onboard)
- Audio: AOpen Cobra AW744L II [YMF744]
- Audio: Sound Blaster AWE64 [CT4520]
- MIDI: Roland SC-7
- FDD: 3.5" 1.44 MB
- CDROM: DVD-RW LITE-ON LDW-811S 8x
- HDD: Syba CF to IDE Adapter + CF to SDCARD Adapter + 64GB MicroSD
- ZIP: Iomega Zip 100
- NIC: Realtek 8100 Fast Ethernet Controller [RTL8100] (Onboard)
- Keyboard: Logitech Y-BE22
- Mouse: Logitech M-BE58
- Joy: Gravis Gamepad x 2
So far it has been completely rock solid. I have an abundance of highly compatible sound and video options, and the ability to slowdown the CPU to 386 and 486 levels. Everything I've thrown at it works so far. The only drawback of this build is that late DOS 3D games like Quake and Tomb Raider are much slower than on the P3, and FASTVID and MTRRLFBE have no discernable effect. I ended up spending around
$250 $320 instead of my original budget of $100, but I'm super happy with the results. Thanks to everyone at Vogons for all their invaluable help! I will post in more detail about different aspects of this build.