Haven't posted anything in awhile, did some minor stuff today for a few different computers.
First up, I had the itch to build a late 2004 system floating around in the back of my mind, with early Socket 775 and first gen PCIe.
While doing some extensive physical media backups (scans and CD/Floppy dumps) in the last couple of weeks, I re-discovered the advertisement inserts inside the original World of Warcraft Collector's Edition box, singing the virtues of the well-loved Pentium 4, the cherished Intel 925X Chipset platform, and absolutely adored Nvidia 6000 Series cards. So I thought "hey, why not just build a system using whatever these advertisements tell me to?"
Got my hands on some good parts for it - Asus P5AD2 Premium (as seen in the Maximum PC Dream PC 2004) complete with all accessories, a Pentium 4 640 that I permanently borrowed from some Dell office machine will eventually replaced with a P4 560 or 570 when I can get one at a good price, 2GB of 533MHz DDR2 that I had laying around, an Audigy2 ZS Platinum for sound, an Antec P160W for the chassis, two NOS 2008-dated 250GB SATA HDDs, and a Corsair RM550X for power. There's also a Thermaltake Pipe 101 CPU cooler that I'm not going to install until I get the right CPU.
For the graphics I wanted a 6800GT PCIe since 6800 Ultra is unrealistically priced and scarce. It turned out that the 6800 GT PCIe aren't easy or cheap to come by either, since people are asking 6800 AGP prices for the PCIe cards. I compromised and picked up a Quadro FX 3450 for next to nothing - they're cheaper than no-brand S3 ViRGE cards these days which I can't complain about. Building for a period that is not in fashion at all has its upsides after all!
It is equivalent to a 6800GS, and performs near identical to a 6800GT at stock. It overclocks like a beast too, but I'm only keeping minor overclocking on it. If I can get some more cheap ones I will push it a bit further. Seems like the perfect stop-gap card until I find the real deal at a price I'd be willing to pay.
However, the Quadro fan shroud was bothering me even though I couldn't see it. The mere presence of that ugly, plastic, cheap black corporate soul-sucking, fun destroying shroud was ruining my uber l33t 2004 gamer rig.
To remedy this I ordered some new old stock Nvidia Reference design 6800 fan & accompanying shrouds (feat. Nalu) to put onto the Quadro.
I know it's still a Quadro as etched onto the chip, but just having "6 Series" on the shroud instead of the Quadro logo makes me feel better until I can get the real thing. With RivaTuner & some BIOS modding, the cosmetic appearance both physically and in-software is there.
I went ahead and set up XP Pro SP2 without issues, installed all the drivers and went back to the good ol' days of community modded ForceWare drivers. I figured it's right in the perfect hardware time period to play with them once again. After tossing up between DriverHeaven Zer0point, Omega and NGO, I settled on the DH drivers for now.
A few more important pieces of software later - SpeedFan, X-Setup, NVHardPage, some era appropriate games and other miscellaneous tweaks, the system is ready to go. There's no cable management done yet since I want to wait for everything to be finalised other than the GPU - so two more hard drives, a non-Noctua rear fan, the CPU and so forth before I go to the effort as it'd all have to be undone to add any of those after the fact.
Secondly, some minor work on the long-neglected ABIT TH7II-RAID.
While ordering the aforementioned 6 Series shroud & fan, I picked up some Socket 478 retention clips to mount my old Australian Made Silverprop socket 478 CPU water block to the board (I've been hunting this for about 10 years and finally got one about 6 months ago!), so I installed that today. Luckily it was spot on and it holds very securely! I still have to recap the board and do a whole lot of other stuff, but it's a very low priority project. Baby steps.
Finally, some blank EPROMs for XTIDE BIOS for my main project at the moment. Only verified they work and aren't fake. Was able to successfully blank check, write to one and read it back, so it's all good!
Picked a 27C128 series to use the larger version with menus and whatnot after padding.