VOGONS


First post, by T.J

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Was massively into PC's during the early 90's > early 2000s and have many a memory as a teen earning some extra cash after school doing repairs / upgrades for neighbours, friends etc.

Recently found a few systems lurking about and picked up some stuff cheap, none of it is really vintage as such and given the mad prices for some of the period correct bits I cant really afford to go down that path but to be honest I enjoy messing with the hardware / getting things working probably more than actually using the systems so its not the end of the world.

Some advice on what OS to run and suitable but very budget parts to complete / upgrade this rather random assortment of systems would be great 😀

Biostar N68S3+ v6.1 Micro-ATX (PCI-E / IDE / SATA)
Athlon II X2 250
4Gb DDR3
250GB SATA HDD
SATA DVD
Onboard video (GeForce 7025 GPU)

ASROCK 939A8X-M (AGP / IDE)
Athlon 64 3000+
1GB DDR
160GB SATA
IDE CD ROM
On board sound not working - was ok at some point so maybe drivers but running out of ones to try...

ASROCK K7VT4A+ (AGP / IDE / SATA)
AMD Sempron 2400+
512mb DDR
80GB IDE (Seagate 7200rpm)
IDE DVD ROM
3.5" FDD

MSI 7061 (AGP / IDE / SATA)
Athlon XP 2400+
512mb DDR
40GB IDE
IDE CDROM
3.5" FDD

Gigabyte GA7IX (AGP / IDE)
Slot A Athlon 700mhz
3.5" FDD
40GB IDE

Also have the following video, sound and misc cards

ATI X1650 Pro AGP (256mb GDDR3)
ATI 9600se AGP (128gm)
ATI 9200se AGP (64mb?)
S3 Trio64v2/DX PCI (2mb)

Sound Blaster 16 (CT1740)
Sound Blaster Audigy (SB0090)

PCI Wi-FI card (RT2500)
2x PCI USB card, one with front 3.5" bay ports.
2x USB Wi-Fi

Spare 3.5" FDD
320GB SATA HDD
Mix of IDE HDD from 800mb up to 200GB, most are around 8 > 40gb

Was hoping to run a mix of XP, Windows 2k, 98SE and maybe Windows 3.11 but open to any and all ideas!

Reply 1 of 15, by imi

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T.J wrote:
Gigabyte GA7IX (AGP / IDE) Slot A Athlon 700mhz 3.5" FDD 40GB IDE […]
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Gigabyte GA7IX (AGP / IDE)
Slot A Athlon 700mhz
3.5" FDD
40GB IDE

that is a superb system 😀 and a prime candidate for win98SE

Reply 2 of 15, by Half-Saint

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Most of those will happily run Windows XP. The exception would be that dual core Athlon X2 which will run Windows 7 no problem. Win98 for that slot A, as imi suggests 😀

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Reply 3 of 15, by PTherapist

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The Athlon II system could run all the way up to Windows 10 (with an upgrade to a supported PCI-e graphics card).

The others (except the Slot A) are all XP candidates.

The Slot A I'd go with 98 SE.

But as you have a variety of systems, you could always mess around with various Linux distributions, though Graphics support would be the thorn in your side there, with regards to running a Linux desktop environment.

You could always try out some alternative retro OS like BeOS or OS/2. Either of those would run nicely on any of those systems. If you go for BeOS, you can opt for "Haiku" instead which is still actively maintained.

Reply 4 of 15, by T.J

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Cheers for the replies. The Athlon 700 was one of those rare eBay gems at around £7 for the case, motherboard, CPU, HDD, and 128MB of ram - if only i could find things like that more often or kept some of the stuff I had as a teen...

How does this rough plan sound?

Athlon II
Windows XP and look out for a cheap PCI-E video card

Athlon 64
Windows 2000, add another GB of RAM, stick the X1650 Pro in it and if the on-board audio is dead then pick up a £5 eBay special PCI sound card.

Sempron / Athlon XP - Really like the idea of "messing" about with other OS', many years ago I did play around with OS/2 warp on a K6-2 and always fancied a go with BeOS. The XP 2400+ has onboard S3 Chrome graphics but guess the ATI 9600SE is the way to go for compatibility?

Athlon 700
Will put Win98SE on this for sure 😀 Possible snags being the only video cards that will fit are the PCI S3 Trio or the 3.3/1.5v AGP 9200SE, same kind of extreme with the sound, is either the ISA SB 16 or the PCI Audigy although a SB Live seems to be around a tenner on eBay so that's an option. Just for a laugh I may put the Trio and SB 16 and see how Win 3.11 runs whilst I track down video / sound a bit more fitting for Win98SE, cant see it ending well but will keep me out of trouble for a bit 🤣.

Reply 5 of 15, by imi

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the S3 and SB16 will probably be fine for dos games ^^

but yeah, sounds like a solid plan, SB live can usually be found even cheaper if you look around a bit.

you could try and find a cheap TNT2/geforce/MX for the slot A, any of the cards that are available in masses.

Reply 6 of 15, by Jo22

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+1

for saying "vintage" instead of retro. 😉

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 7 of 15, by Caluser2000

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Stick a linux distro on it just for laughs. Modern distros these days are very simple to install and set up. Well in reality they were 17 years ago. I'm running a variant of Debian Sarge in my P166MMX test rig with 256megs of ram.

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Looks nicer than win9x don't ya think?

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 8 of 15, by T.J

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BeOS is certainly interesting to say the least... Have no real ideal how any of it works yet and had a mare getting it start on the Athlon XP machine but it runs really well on the Athlon II 😀 Had a result and found a Gainward 4850 512mb Golden Sample PCI-E video card that I'd long forgotten about in a box so it looks like the Athlon II will be getting properly build up as a dual boot XP / BeOs machine.

Still need to look into the sound issues on the Athlon 64 but next mission is to sort the Athlon 700 out, already started on the eBay shopping list 🤣

Reply 9 of 15, by Tetrium

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The Athlon II X2 250 set seems like a good base for a Windows 7 rig. I've used a system with very similar configuration before (though larger harddrive), but I would advice you to get a fitting graphics card for it, and a decent PSU that (in case you end up using an older mid-range card) doesn't even need that much power.

The s939 system seems like a good base for an XP rig. Again would be very similar to systems I have used myself and I got good experiences with them.
The ATI X1650 Pro seems like it would be a good match, provided you can get it to work as later Ati AGP cards seemed to be finicky to get to work.
The 9600SE cards seem a bit underpowered for it, but they would work.

The sA rigs are very simular. They have relatively little RAM and HDD space.
I'd say these could use either (a slimmed down) XP or even ME, though for ME these systems are a bit on the modern side but I reckon it would work 😜

The SlotA would be fitting for 98SE, but ME would also work if you would feel inclined to use that.

Be wary of older hardware having aged by now, so keep an eye on things like leaking/bulging caps and try to get the hardware in a stable state as it would help you prevent wasting hours (or maybe even days) trying to fix a hardware problem with software 😜

Whats missing in your collections?
My retro rigs (old topic)
Interesting Vogons threads (links to Vogonswiki)
Report spammers here!

Reply 11 of 15, by SPBHM

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Caluser2000 wrote:

Stick a linux distro on it just for laughs. Modern distros these days are very simple to install and set up. Well in reality they were 17 years ago. I'm running a variant of Debian Sarge in my P166MMX test rig with 256megs of ram.

snapshot22.png

Looks nicer than win9x don't ya think?

is there any linux distro for 256MB of ram and slow CPU that can run a web browser newer than what XP does?
XP with 256MB is a pain but with some patience you can run most sites with firefox 52 or whatever it is

Reply 12 of 15, by Caluser2000

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SPBHM wrote:
Caluser2000 wrote:

Stick a linux distro on it just for laughs. Modern distros these days are very simple to install and set up. Well in reality they were 17 years ago. I'm running a variant of Debian Sarge in my P166MMX test rig with 256megs of ram.

The attachment snapshot22.png is no longer available

Looks nicer than win9x don't ya think?

is there any linux distro for 256MB of ram and slow CPU that can run a web browser newer than what XP does? XP with 256MB is a pain but with some patience you can run most sites with firefox 52 or whatever it is

Have a look at this thread http://kmeleonbrowser.org/forum/read.php?12,142494,page=1 Some web browsers there you may be interested in.

With old distros like Xandros 3 from 2005 just change the sources.list to a newer repo that contains another web browser. You can hunt down later browsers as well which are usually in compressed format *.tar.gz or similar. Aim for a static or portable builds as you wont have dependencies to deal with. Our compile from source even. Have a look at the *nix thread in the software section. I've been testing various linux distros on a P166MMX test rig with 256 megs of ram. *nix software and systems

Also look at the OSs for retro systems thread. Even some of the later distros will work fine if they support the hardware. Just stick with light weight Desk Top enviroments like Xfce4, MATE etc or a straight Windowing environment such as Window Maker or ICEWM.

Edit-Just installed Ubuntu 4.01 on said P166mmx set up and this is what you get-

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The older browsers usely ask for certificate varification.. If you manage to get are newer browser this doesn't happen. Using Firefox 0.9.3 to post this on Ubuntu 4.01, The first public release of Ubuntu in fact.. Logs in to Vogons and posts fine. The installation on this one took a bout 1.5 hours with a couple of prompts at the beginng, one half way through and one at the end. Once done you could log staight in to the desktop, Gnome 2 in this case (MATE is the current equivilant), and start doing your thing.

Takes a bit of getting use to after you've used MS Windows most of your life. You can create a separate /home partition which can remain consistent over various Linux installs if you wanted saving data across distributions.. One other thing that takes getting use to is the to ralitively long boot up time on older kit. But that's not real big deal. Once booted it's as snappy as any other desktop enviroment.

I'll let you know what is the latest browser I can get it to run.

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 13 of 15, by PTherapist

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T.J wrote:

BeOS is certainly interesting to say the least... Have no real ideal how any of it works yet and had a mare getting it start on the Athlon XP machine but it runs really well on the Athlon II 😀 Had a result and found a Gainward 4850 512mb Golden Sample PCI-E video card that I'd long forgotten about in a box so it looks like the Athlon II will be getting properly build up as a dual boot XP / BeOs machine.

Still need to look into the sound issues on the Athlon 64 but next mission is to sort the Athlon 700 out, already started on the eBay shopping list 🤣

Which version of BeOS did you try? The last official one was R5.1, but there were several unofficial versions after that, followed by "Zeta" and then more recently Haiku. Different versions run better on different configs.

Reply 14 of 15, by Caluser2000

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SPBHM wrote:
Caluser2000 wrote:

Stick a linux distro on it just for laughs. Modern distros these days are very simple to install and set up. Well in reality they were 17 years ago. I'm running a variant of Debian Sarge in my P166MMX test rig with 256megs of ram.

The attachment snapshot22.png is no longer available

Looks nicer than win9x don't ya think?

is there any linux distro for 256MB of ram and slow CPU that can run a web browser newer than what XP does?
XP with 256MB is a pain but with some patience you can run most sites with firefox 52 or whatever it is

As promised. Just installed Debian 8 Jessie released in 2015, still current with LTS EOL mid 2020. Did a base install with no Xorg stuff first. Then added xorg MATE epiphany-browser xfce4 wmaker slim gimp synaptic. All running on this P166mmx/256meg set up fine considering it's specs. Obviously better off with a more powerful set up with more ram. I tried Firefox-esr and it crashed right of the bat. Also tried Arora but that didn't play nice at all. Gnomes Epiphany runs fine albeit on the slow slide. I'm posting with it easy enough.

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Screen shot is XFCE4 runnining xchat, gimp and Epipany web browser. There are lighter enviroments/window managers to use if you want, such as lxde used by lubuntu or Window Maker/ICEWM atc.

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 15 of 15, by T.J

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PTherapist wrote:
T.J wrote:

BeOS is certainly interesting to say the least... Have no real ideal how any of it works yet and had a mare getting it start on the Athlon XP machine but it runs really well on the Athlon II 😀 Had a result and found a Gainward 4850 512mb Golden Sample PCI-E video card that I'd long forgotten about in a box so it looks like the Athlon II will be getting properly build up as a dual boot XP / BeOs machine.

Still need to look into the sound issues on the Athlon 64 but next mission is to sort the Athlon 700 out, already started on the eBay shopping list 🤣

Which version of BeOS did you try? The last official one was R5.1, but there were several unofficial versions after that, followed by "Zeta" and then more recently Haiku. Different versions run better on different configs.

Sorry for the late reply... Tried Haiku but it would just freeze before loading to the desktop or not even get that far, after giving up I opened the case to change the HDD and discovered there was a stick of RAM that wasn't being recognised - oops! Removed that and all was well again, nice easy fix but rather annoying to have wasted lots of time in the process.