Yesterday and today have been working on setting up my "overkill DOS testbench". I want that for mostly testing hardware and at one time i probably use it to start creating soundcard catalogue, that contains recordings of all kinds of soundcards and you can compare them side-by-side.
But for now, i got it set up. What it is then.
- Chaintech 6AIA2 motherboard. (VIA VT82C693A chipset. Has all kinds of workaround-support for PCI soundcards in DOS, from TDMA and stuff up to SB-Link cable) In addition, it also has built-in ESS SOLO-1 soundcard, which is very good for DOS.
- Intel Celeron 433MHz ("Overkill enough". Though if i get my hands on some older Pentium 3 that works on this board, i'll upgrade)
- 256MB PC133 SDRAM (on 66-83MHz bus, works well with CL2)
- nVidia Vanta 16 (16MB, great DOS compatibility! I tried Radeon 9250 cards, but they are slightly incompatible in high-res dos vesa modes, having artefacts and stuff)
- 512MB CF card as HDD
- A great 420W quiet ATX PSU, which also has negative 5V supply. (I also have ATX -> AT adapter)
- Amazing DELL 2007FPb LCD with 1600x1200 resolution and HUGE amount of video-inputs: DVI/HDMI, VGA, S-Video, Composite. Also has USB hub built in.
On this setup, i can test ISA and PCI soundcards of all kinds. I can also test AGP, PCI and ISA videocards. And it's fast so it saves time every time i need to wait for the computer to do something. My interest really ends with Pentium MMX and this setup here works beautifully as an "overkill approach" for up to Pentium MMX era.
And in general, on this table, i have everything i need for any kind of retro-debugging. On the left, there's floppy drive and under it, in white box, i have some "ready-to-go" ISA super-io card, vga, etc. Monitor has plethora of inputs, PS/2 keyboard (and adapters for DIN5 and USB, if i wish), PSU with all voltages i would ever need and network, sound, whatever more right on the table to use.
I love it, where there's an actual place that is prepared to work with retro hardware!
NB! Fun fact: You can see a small network switch on the table as well. It's a 10Mbps hub, with coaxial network port. For my retro-enjoyment machines (386, 486, P-MMX) i connect them to network over coaxial - just like it is appropriate.
"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - And i intend to get every last bit out of it even after loading every damn driver!