First post, by GrafWasili
I have been registered at this forum for some time now for reading and downloading stuff.
Now I just completed my first retro PC build (with a lot of help from existing threads in this forum) and figured why not say hello and share some impressions 😀
Since I worked a lot on this build and wanted to include some picture I will split this into several posts.
I always played old games on my modern PC with the help of emulation (dosbox, wine, scummvm, VMs). I also added as much backwards compatibility as possible to it, with a bootable PCI-e IDE controller card and a LS-120 drive, PC-speaker, OPL2LPT module, Joystick adapters, installing Free-DOS, you name it...
But all this only gets you so far. I often spend more time trying to get games to work than actually playing them. Which is fine but sometimes I didn't even have success with that. Especially games from the Windows 95 era seem almost impossible to run nicely on a modern computer.
So it was time to assemble some real old hardware with a focus on this era, good backwards compatibility for DOS games and support for classic hardware like 3dfx graphics and OPL as well as Roland MIDI sound.
I was looking for mainboards that gave me lots of options and found a Chaintech 6BTM0 (Intel 440BX chipset) which has three ISA, four PCI and an AGP slot as well as an onboard USB controller. I didn't know about the Slot 1 architecture before but found it quite charming - being able to switch CPUs without going through the trouble of applying thermal paste and mounting fans. With the overclocking options available in the BIOS (which has all the features one could wish for) it's possible to run CPUs with clock speeds between 133Mhz and > 1Ghz.
The Mainboard came with a Pentium II 300Mhz CPU with a weak, but noisy fan and some 128mb PC-133 SDRAM.
After ordering the mainboard it was time to look for a suitable case - what turned out to not be that easy. New PC cases are either ugly (seems like everyone wants a Death Star with Christmas lights as a computer these days), didn't have enough external drive bays or were sold out. Used cases were mostly ugly in another way (having "this computer runs Windows XP" written all over it), too old (supporting only AT mainboards) or way too expensive.
Finally I came across a good deal for an old server case. Was it too big? Maybe.... But it had swinging doors, two 3.5" external drive bays, eight 5.25" external drive bays, lots of non-blue LEDs, an important looking lock mechanism and *wheels*!
So I just could not resist....
It came with an ATX power supply that had enough juice and was silent enough for me (no -5V but I have no need for this as of now). It also came with a beefy PC speaker and 3 fans powered by Molex HDD-Connectors that could chop off your fingers... I put those into the spare bin. Finally an assortment of drive rails and brackets was included.