VOGONS


First post, by lawyerpepper

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I'm working on a Deskpro 4000 as retro project for running OS/2 & DOS. Probably mostly games, but I was a big OS/2 guy in the late 90s, so seeing it running on period hardware again is what got the ball rolling. The base Deskpro is a 5166MMX which is similiar, but not quite identical, to one I had on my desk 'back when'. I'm equipping it with:

- Adpatec 2940U2w
- Seagate Barracuda HDD
- no-name IDE CD-ROM
- Imation 3.5" FDD
- Matrox Millenium G200 PCI (8MB)
- Crystal 4236B sound card
- NIC is an on-board TI ThunderLAN

The only non-period part so far is a Dell UltraSharp LCD monitor, and the only part that isn't essentially 'what I had in the 90s' is the G200. I'd prefer a CRT but (a) I don't really have room and (b) haven't found a good one locally. Maybe eventually.

I do also have a Jaton Trident 9865 video card that would be correct, but the Matrox has much better driver support.

All I'm waiting on now is a replacement PSU. The one I have seems flaky, even if I can't figure out just how yet. Unfortunately it won't power on without being connected to the motherboard (no, jumping the ps_on pin to ground doesn't work) which is making troubleshooting painful. It will boot the system and seems to run OK until/unless I physically bump the system, at which point it immediately cuts out and won't power on again until I remove the mains cord and reconnect. Since a replacement PSU is cheap, I'm going to troubleshoot by replacement.

Anyway, no real point to this post other than to say 'hi' and invite thoughts/comments. I'll add some pics once I have the PSU and hopefully have it up and running.

Reply 1 of 7, by gerry

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lawyerpepper wrote on 2021-05-04, 01:07:
I'm working on a Deskpro 4000 as retro project for running OS/2 & DOS. Probably mostly games, but I was a big OS/2 guy in the l […]
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I'm working on a Deskpro 4000 as retro project for running OS/2 & DOS. Probably mostly games, but I was a big OS/2 guy in the late 90s, so seeing it running on period hardware again is what got the ball rolling. The base Deskpro is a 5166MMX which is similiar, but not quite identical, to one I had on my desk 'back when'. I'm equipping it with:

- Adpatec 2940U2w
- Seagate Barracuda HDD
- no-name IDE CD-ROM
- Imation 3.5" FDD
- Matrox Millenium G200 PCI (8MB)
- Crystal 4236B sound card
- NIC is an on-board TI ThunderLAN

The only non-period part so far is a Dell UltraSharp LCD monitor, and the only part that isn't essentially 'what I had in the 90s' is the G200. I'd prefer a CRT but (a) I don't really have room and (b) haven't found a good one locally. Maybe eventually.

I do also have a Jaton Trident 9865 video card that would be correct, but the Matrox has much better driver support.

All I'm waiting on now is a replacement PSU. The one I have seems flaky, even if I can't figure out just how yet. Unfortunately it won't power on without being connected to the motherboard (no, jumping the ps_on pin to ground doesn't work) which is making troubleshooting painful. It will boot the system and seems to run OK until/unless I physically bump the system, at which point it immediately cuts out and won't power on again until I remove the mains cord and reconnect. Since a replacement PSU is cheap, I'm going to troubleshoot by replacement.

Anyway, no real point to this post other than to say 'hi' and invite thoughts/comments. I'll add some pics once I have the PSU and hopefully have it up and running.

welcome and sounds intriguing, a new PSU is often a sensible step if one is being a problem

Reply 2 of 7, by Woody72

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Nice project, I have fond memories of those early Compaq machines - used to see a lot of them when I was a travelling PC engineer back in the day. Interesting that you went the SCSI route. I currently run my Pentium 166 MMX on an Adaptec 2940UW with an 18.2GB Seagate Cheetah HDD. It manages 31MB/s in benchmarks versus 7MB/s with IDE drives so a huge improvement. I also have a 2940U2W I was going to use but it doesn't see the HDD as U2W, only UW, so no speed advantage. I'm currently looking out for a SCSI CDROM drive or burner but they seem to be pretty rare!

Modern PC: i7-9700KF, 16GB memory, RTX 3060. Proper PC: Pentium 200 MMX, 128MB EDO memory, GeForce2 MX(200).

Reply 3 of 7, by lawyerpepper

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Woody72 wrote on 2021-05-04, 09:27:

Nice project, I have fond memories of those early Compaq machines - used to see a lot of them when I was a travelling PC engineer back in the day. Interesting that you went the SCSI route. I currently run my Pentium 166 MMX on an Adaptec 2940UW with an 18.2GB Seagate Cheetah HDD. It manages 31MB/s in benchmarks versus 7MB/s with IDE drives so a huge improvement. I also have a 2940U2W I was going to use but it doesn't see the HDD as U2W, only UW, so no speed advantage. I'm currently looking out for a SCSI CDROM drive or burner but they seem to be pretty rare!

I always ran SCSI back then. My early systems were:

386/25 with an Adaptec 1542
486/50 EISA with an Adaptec 1742
Cyrix 6x86MX with a Buslogic Flashpoint
Cyrix MII-300 (75MHz bus) with a Tekram DC390

...at which point I more or less went away in to laptop-land for quite a while until I built an i5 desktop for VR a couple of years ago with all-SSD. My previous retro adventures have been various SPARC, SGI, Alpha, and other non-x86 systems. This is my first time going back to the DOS days, so I'm going along the 'what I used to own' route to indulge the nostalgia trip.

Reply 4 of 7, by Woody72

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In which case, I'll know who to ask if I have any SCSI-related queries 😁. Talking about SCSI, we're just about to throw away some huge Sun servers at work and I might have just rescued an external Sun Microsystems DLT drive. Would be interesting to take home and test but I don't fancy forking out for a DLT tape (I already have an HP DAT drive).

Modern PC: i7-9700KF, 16GB memory, RTX 3060. Proper PC: Pentium 200 MMX, 128MB EDO memory, GeForce2 MX(200).

Reply 5 of 7, by eisapc

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If you ever want to restore your backuped data go for the DLT and not for the DAT. DAT drives tend to become WOMs (write only memory) especially if you swapped the drive due to a defect.
The Deskpro 4000 is a really nice system, got some 2000/4000/6000 myself, but I prefer the minitower models.

Reply 6 of 7, by chinny22

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Also have fond memories of the Deskpro 2000's /4000's in my first IT job from around 2002.
We had just over 10 of them I think, they were the oldest PC's still in use most had Win98 think a few may have had Win95.
Only had an issue with 1 and that was a dead HDD.

I saved them when they were decommissioned only to ditch them around 2008. A mate took one or 2 to turn into MAME cabinets, not sure if he ever did.
Also no point to this post other then to say long live the Deskpro!

Reply 7 of 7, by chrismeyer6

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My dad had a really nice Deskpro 2000 he got to keep from his job when they upgraded his department. We had that system for a long time. Over time we really maxed it out the best we could. 128megs of ram and a evergreen spectra 400 upgrade cpu. After we got a new family computer my parents let me have it in my room for school work and games. Later on I also installed Suse Linux 7.3 on it that was fun times for sure.