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Top 5 hardest retro builds

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Reply 40 of 61, by Chewhacca

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Can't think of my own list for top 5 hardest, but the one I had the most trouble with was a K6-III+. Had to turn on BIOS shadowing, pry the flash chip out with the power on, insert the new chip and flash with the new BIOS. It was a genuine brown trousers moment for me.

Reply 41 of 61, by RacoonRider

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alexanrs wrote:

3- AT2XT convertrers are easy to make. The PIC you need is very cheap, and I already had a programmer anyway. Made it quickly in a single afternoon and now my regular AT keyboards work. For period correctness any AT keyboard from the XT era would have a switch so one would not need that.

Could you please link the instructions? 😀

Reply 42 of 61, by Unknown_K

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Chewhacca wrote:

Can't think of my own list for top 5 hardest, but the one I had the most trouble with was a K6-III+. Had to turn on BIOS shadowing, pry the flash chip out with the power on, insert the new chip and flash with the new BIOS. It was a genuine brown trousers moment for me.

You can buy cheap USB programmers for newer BIOS chips from a couple bucks to $15 shipped.

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Reply 43 of 61, by PCBONEZ

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RoyBatty wrote:

but finding a slotket is almost impossible now.

They have been easy enough to find on ebay for as far back as I can remember. ->> Ebay Slotkets
I don't check THAT often but I don't remember ever finding none at all available.
I dunno which side of which pond you are on so ebay may not be helpful to you.

Last edited by PCBONEZ on 2016-02-10, 06:09. Edited 3 times in total.

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Reply 44 of 61, by alexanrs

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RacoonRider wrote:

Could you please link the instructions? 😀

Here you go: http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showt … board-converter
Of course this shows a nice custom PCB on the picture... mine was done on a cheap perfboard following the schematics, but works just fine.

Reply 45 of 61, by RacoonRider

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alexanrs wrote:
RacoonRider wrote:

Could you please link the instructions? 😀

Here you go: http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showt … board-converter
Of course this shows a nice custom PCB on the picture... mine was done on a cheap perfboard following the schematics, but works just fine.

Thanks! I've been looking for this thingy for quite some time 😀

Reply 46 of 61, by brassicGamer

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Thought I'd throw into the mix trying to build a socket 3 system when your CPU is 3.3v and your mobo only does 5v. Good luck a) realising you need a voltage regulator adaptor and not murdering your 486DX/4 and b) good luck finding a regulator anywhere.

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Reply 47 of 61, by matze79

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You did forget about MCA Systems...

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Reply 48 of 61, by Skyscraper

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RoyBatty wrote:

I'll toss in PIII-S systems, getting a later stepping CPU like the SL6BY to even post on a taiwan capacitor era board is often a challenge and requires flashing a new bios with a regular PIII or celeron, in addition to replacing all the caps on the board before you do anything. Even then getting it stable and not freezing up requires using a period video card with the proper driver. Tossing an Apollo Pro chipset in and getting all the features to work like memory interleaving is also difficult, as usually this has to be done after boot via software because VIA screwed up the basic bios they sent to vendors. In my case I had to add the stepping revision microcode to the BIOS by hand. I think they probably perform better on a 440BX slot 1 board, but finding a slotket is almost impossible now. I don't really like the pin mods, it kind of defeats the purpose of the CPU and makes it so you can't use it on a real Tully board.

I see no reason for a Tualatin pin mod hindering the the CPUs function in a real Tualatin board as long as it also supports Coppermine CPUs as the mod changes the CPU interface from FC-PGA2 to FC-PGA.

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Reply 49 of 61, by brostenen

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PhilsComputerLab wrote:

My pick for hardest build is nothing special, but purely based on the number of "support" threads and issues people have.

It's building a Windows 98 SE machine with MS-Mode. We see it all the time: Someone installing Windows 98 SE, everything works fine, retro gaming is awesome. Then they want to try out MS-DOS mode and things fall apart 😵

True.... And why I allways run that stuff in MS-Dos-6.22.
For me it is easier and more smooth than doing Dos-stuff from within Windows.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

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Reply 50 of 61, by brostenen

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For me, the hardest thing is non-pc stuff. (x86/dos/win pc stuff)
If I had to move to something like old Unix systems and motorola based stuff, it would be quite difficult for me.
As I really do not know a lot about these systems. You can find info on 486 based stuff online, no big deal.

Else... Well... Everything past 2010 is really hard for me to sort out. As I have not used, nor build stuff past 2010.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

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Reply 51 of 61, by NJRoadfan

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Rodoko wrote:

I personally agree with the last thing about the SS7

Every time that I decide to put a SiS 6326 8M AGP video card. the goddamn thing never works (Does start from PCI cards but if I take it out and put the AGP one only, the board makes the beep code for no video u.u )

Funny, I have a PC Chips (strike 1) motherboard with onboard SiS 6326 AGP video (strike 2) that somehow works fine. I also managed to run an Intel i740 AGP card (the chip is knew to extensively use all AGP features) on a Aladdin V SS7 board without a problem.... so maybe its luck?

Reply 52 of 61, by gdjacobs

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Didn't Unisys have some x86 based systems which were even more proprietary and incompatible than IBM?

Edit: Found two extreme examples, Unisys Icon or Unisys B series
http://www.oocities.org/siliconvalley/pines/4 … c-doc/Intro.htm
http://www.poprewind.com/it-came-from-canada- … -icon-computer/

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Reply 53 of 61, by brostenen

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gdjacobs wrote:
Didn't Unisys have some x86 based systems which were even more proprietary and incompatible than IBM? […]
Show full quote

Didn't Unisys have some x86 based systems which were even more proprietary and incompatible than IBM?

Edit: Found two extreme examples, Unisys Icon or Unisys B series
http://www.oocities.org/siliconvalley/pines/4 … c-doc/Intro.htm
http://www.poprewind.com/it-came-from-canada- … -icon-computer/

My 80286 based PW/2 Series 300 system, run fine with an ET3000 ISA card and have had a 2-port gameport controller installed.
Waiting for the chance to test with IDE, when I can get my hands on a 16-bit IDE ISA controller.
Still not had time to test it with a SCSI-ISA card yet.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

My blog: http://to9xct.blogspot.dk
My YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/brostenen

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Reply 54 of 61, by feipoa

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1. PGA-132 386 system wih a Ti486SXL - L1 properly enabled, DMA SCSI, and Windows 3.11.

2. Stable IBM 5x86-133/2x with 128 MB RAM.

3. Macintosh SE/30. Those damn integrated CRT's always have problems with their analogue board.

4. VLB 486 with SCSI. I do not have problems with Adaptec VLB SCSI with an AMD 5x86-160 in WB mode, however the POD had to be put into L1:WT mode. I don't think the Cyrix 5x86 liked the Adaptec SCSI card either.

5. Dual Tualatin PIII-S-1.4 GHz with native Tualatin motherboard support and AGP. Hard to find, especially if you don't want a VIA Apollo 133 chipset, although the VIA Apollo Pro 266T is an okish compromise.

AllUrBaseRBelong2Us wrote:

I think in general the older the system, the harder it gets. Hardware just seems more particular the further you go back.

I have a 486 VLB system with SCSI HDD and optical, but I've never been able to get the ISA soundcard to work (CT4520) in DOS or WFW, regardless of drivers and configurations tried. And I know the soundcard is good. If I move that soundcard to my Pentium Pro Windows 98 box, it works no problem. I've come to realize I really don't like messing with anything pre-Win98.

I have run into similar problems on 386 systems. There are certain slots that certain cards work in when you have a particular combination of expansion cards.

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Reply 55 of 61, by HighTreason

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Hardest builds for me personally - I mean these are legitimately personal reasons;

AMD Athlon XP
Not a specific system. All of the ones I have built have been temperamental and finding reliable motherboards that actually have the features I want was never easy. I've finally gotten there, but I have to fix an unusually large PSU to make it run at all.

Socket 4 Pentium
Awkward systems. My Abit PS5 one went easier, but it still throws a fit if you do certain things to the hardware and it hates my IDE controller. It's quirky though, so I like it, whereas the Batman system was just a pain in the ass.

Pentium II
For some reason, the hard drives have failed quickly (like within two weeks) on every Pentium II I have ever built. Last time it was my fault, because I used Nikimi branded drives and I knew they were bad. I would move to SCSI but it costs too much, I might just get more modern drives and make lots of small partitions as the Pentium II is new enough to justify this. Nothing over 120GB though, that would just be wrong.

Pentium OverDrive
A bad tempered machine and literally everything has gone wrong, leaving my over a year into the build with no end in sight. The problems with pushing every aspect of a technology to its upper limits are always bound to rear their head and this system is a fine example. I nearly had it working, then AOL broke my Windows install. I've had to learn new skills and how to use tools I've never owned before just to get it off the ground.

VLB 486 System
Not hard as such, but deserves a mention for the sheer difficulty and cost of obtaining VLB cards in the UK.

Yeah, what a pain... And I love every minute of it. If it just worked, I'd probably be bored, it's fun figuring out what works and what doesn't and because I don't just buy the same stuff as everyone else (which a lot of people do) or cheat and use modern hardware to build some ugly abomination, I'm effectively fumbling in the dark with little or no documentation a lot of the time.

Ha, on that note, I feel like posting a thread about my Alphameric card just to see if anyone replies to it.

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Reply 56 of 61, by brassicGamer

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HighTreason wrote:

VLB 486 System
Not hard as such, but deserves a mention for the sheer difficulty and cost of obtaining VLB cards in the UK.

Hear hear. Had to get mine from Italy and nearly got one from NZ!

Check out my blog and YouTube channel for thoughts, articles, system profiles, and tips.

Reply 57 of 61, by brostenen

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I had to get my one and only 486 board from Rumania.... (FIC 486 VIP IO)
Nothing like that is to obtain in Denmark within the last 10 years or even more.
When old stuff is available. It is cheap. Just.... Still 10's of years between.
More easy to obtain Amiga's and yes, they are priced at eBay levels or higher.
Wich sucks 🙁

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

My blog: http://to9xct.blogspot.dk
My YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/brostenen

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Reply 58 of 61, by brostenen

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gdjacobs wrote:
Didn't Unisys have some x86 based systems which were even more proprietary and incompatible than IBM? […]
Show full quote

Didn't Unisys have some x86 based systems which were even more proprietary and incompatible than IBM?

Edit: Found two extreme examples, Unisys Icon or Unisys B series
http://www.oocities.org/siliconvalley/pines/4 … c-doc/Intro.htm
http://www.poprewind.com/it-came-from-canada- … -icon-computer/

Never mind the bulloc.... Uhmm... I mean the incompatibility.
That ICON is looking way more cool than any other all-in-one computer.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

My blog: http://to9xct.blogspot.dk
My YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/brostenen

001100 010010 011110 100001 101101 110011

Reply 59 of 61, by vetz

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brostenen wrote:

When old stuff is available. It is cheap. Just.... Still 10's of years between.
More easy to obtain Amiga's and yes, they are priced at eBay levels or higher.
Wich sucks 🙁

Heh, I have the same experience from Norway. When I get pre-2000 stuff, its generally free or very cheap, but its very hard to find. Amiga and Commandore stuff is more common, but priced accordingly.

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