Reply 40 of 56, by kool kitty89
I've ended up with a lot more stuff since last year. I missed out on exploiting Weirdstuff Warehouse when they were still around (and in hindsight I think I missed out on asking for deals on buying larger lots of stuff rather than one or two things here and there over many months ... and didn't think of setting up an ebay store or something back then for testing/reparing as-is stuff well beyond my own wants/needs).
Aaand I missed out on someone local who's here on vogons who lost storage space and offered to give away a chunk of their collection. (I was distracted by life-stuff at the time, and wasn't active on the forums)
So I've been getting into ebay hunting and might go beyond that at some point (maybe road-trips to recyclers/warehouses elsewhere, but ... maybe not) and did the scrap-lot buying thing for a while, but I've got more than I can currently work through testing and repairing, and haven't gotten organized enough to sell yet, so it's somewehre between junk-investment and collection/toys and ... mess I need to organize and store properly rather than in stacked boxes.
Actually, electronics/CB radio oriented fleamarkets and swapmeets would probably be a better target (more realistic/sane) in the Santa Clara valley region than recyclers, I think. (I don't think there's any weirdstuff style recyclers with as-is/junk sale stuff around anymore)
And since I'm planning on eventually selling off most of that stuff, I probably shouldn't count it as a collection. There's a few things in there that I'll likely keep and a lot I bought with the intention of getting some neat experience and benchmark results out of before parting with them.
In any case, I went from previously having 1 286-20 board (an PCChips M205, but Triple D branded BIOS and no markings on the board, plus non-remarked Citygate D60 chipset) and otherwise all Super 7, 370, Slot 1, and newer stuff (and most of that old family hardware we'd kept in storage: including retired AthlonXP boards). Also all mostly in non-system (just boards/parts in storage or rotated into use, or on test bench-ish set-ups) as, even with our old systems, we'd re-used cases through upgrade after upgrade, including one baby AT case and one full AT clone/workstation tower. (sadly the latter got recycled/junked back when it wasn't worth much or collectable ... early 2000s)
Oh and the most exotic/old thing being a complete, functional TRS-80 model 16 with single integrated 8" drive and a huge library of old software. (Dad had used it for a small business in the early 80s and probably for some other things shortly after, when he started working for Metacomco ... he was doing both Z80 and 68000 work with them, back in the early Amiga, ST, and Sinclair Z80 and 68008 days, so it might've come in handy there, but I know he also typically had work-computers on loan for most of his work, some of which he kept ... wish I still had his Integrated Solutions marked keyboard, but at least I've got a really nice Silitek one with white alps switches and a few others)
I picked up 4 1998-2001 era pre-built ATX and micro ATX Slot 1 and socket 370 machines at a garage sale 'for free' bundled with an LGA1155 (or 56, I forget) based Lenovo all-in-one Dad wanted. (not free since he made me go 50/50 on that buy-in) But that was around 2014, and right before I got too distracted by things to do much with, so there're still mostly as-is, aside from the video cards I've borrowed (Rage XL and S3 Savage, both AGP) and used in my P5A-B for a while.
But I've got a few dozen Socket 7, 5, 3, 4 (all non-working, 2 possibly repairable) Batman Returns boards, mostly AT, but a few ATX and micro ATX. And several 286 boards in various stages of disrepair (or fully intact, but non-posting currently), and 3 Turbo XT clone boards, all baby XT sized late gen stuff and I need to burn a new BIOS as 2 nearly identical Acer based boards are sharing one right now. (or would, but one had a tantalum cap explode when I powered it on, so I need to fix that ... and yes, I'm positive I had the AT power connectors in the right order, I've gotten really paranoid about that and started taping the cables together to make it really difficult to mis-connect)
The third is also working, but is a really tiny Hedaka Turbo XT board that apparently uses 4-bit RAM (allows RAM expansion in individual 256kx4-bit increments and/or via 4 1Mx1-bit chips, and appears to have one or two 8-bit bus latches for the CPU to work with that ... it came with FPM CMOS DRAM too, so might do something weird like page-mode burst reads to keep wait-states reasonable for such an odd arrangement)
HED-918, Citygate D20 chipset, 640kB. (supports a max of 5x 256kx4-bit DRAMs or 4x 1Mx1-bit + 1x 256kx4-bit DRAMs, so no UMA support, just straight 640k base memory)
I put 16 MHz NEC V20s in the two working boards (given they're cheap and readily available from a few chinese sellers, though often by the parts number and not with V20 mentioned), and all seem to be fine with the CMOS chip. I believe some older boards with lots of TTL chips onboard don't like CMOS CPUs and/or CMOS RAM. It's apparently a problem on some Atari ST models/revisions too, though isn't always age-consistent. (depends on the specific TTL chip models/variants/vendors used among other things ... annoying for folks trying to do overclocks and upgrade mods, though: weirder, CMOS 68ks 'fix' the 'buggy' DMA chips on some STF or STE models on top of potentially causing other problems ... it's a confusing mess for tweaking, or a craps-shoot if you don't sort through the confusion)
I'm planning on trying overclocking at some point, but not until after getting useable hard drives or flash drives on the XT bus. (be it XTIDE bsed or SCSI or MFM ... I have a fair bit of old SCSI stuff around that was Dad's, including some XT clone era stuff: also a loose 8 MHz V20 and AMD 8086 he pulled from something at some point ... and a box full of 286 chipset socket pulls and some BIOSs, but no boards he saved ... but I think a full set of C&T chips with 20 MHz ratings stamped on them, if I ever find a compatible board)
Oh and among other things, I did get a working, fairly nicely bundled FIC VA503+ late last year which I'm planning to keep. (typical 1MB cache variation) It might end up my main retro rig, possibly displacing my P5A-B, but not sure yet, it's not currently installed in a system though.
I was also hoping to try out some 50 ns 32MB EDO SIMMs (4x of them) in it to compare with SDRAM speed at 100 MHz FSB (not BEDO, but should be stable at 100 MHz with 5-2-2-2 timing), but I'm not sure where it made off to. I'd loaned it to apolloboy at some point, and thought I got them back after his HX board died, and I really doubt he accidentially sold them off with a later S7 board he'd been using. (I think that was VX or TX based anyway, and he just used some SDRAM that was on hand)
It was neat IBM branded stuff with holographic shiny mylar style sticker markings, old stuff Dad probably saved from work.
That reminds me, I also have a Compaq workstation from around 2000 that originally came from IBM or Unison Systems (employee dumpster dive find). RDRAM based coppermine 733 slot 1 machine, upgraded to 640 MB (128MB + 512MB) for a build Dad made for my grandpa as XP SP3 was not happy with 256MB. (it replaced a Packard Bell multimedia PC from somewhere in the mid/late 90s, probably pentium 1 based ... maybe K6-2, but I think that just got junked or donated)
And my original Baby AT cased, frankenstein rig that saw many upgrades (originally a 486DX4 with CD-ROM drive and grayscale industrial VGA monitor with a big crack in the vents in the back) from when Dad first built it in 1993/1994. For the last 15-ish years it's been a diagnostic rig in the garage for Dad's race Fiero (or was for the last 5 years he raced, and briefly for my '85, but then sat on the side with increasingly dusty piles of junk around it's cheap rolling desk). It should still work and doesn't seem to have gotten any corrosion or too much overheating in there, and booted up Windows 2000 fine the last few times I tried ... but that was around 7 years ago.
complete machine with both IDE and SCSI drives in an FIC VA-503A motherboard, I believe 512k cache (one empty cache chip spot on the board), probably 256 MB of SDRAM, a K6-2 550 set to 5x100 MHz and 2.3V, presumably for stability.
And uh, right: a PCI 8MB Rage Pro along with a DVD or DVD-R drive and 3.5" floppy drive ... and using the onboard VIA 686A southbridge sound.
I want to say that board replaced a 503+ but may have been a non-super 7 board (Dad got that PCI Rage Pro for some reason, though it might have been for PCI stability or a sale price) and a K6-2/300 along with DVD-ROM drive back in 1998 and had hacked together beta multimedia DVD Video playback drivers and player (no idea what brand that was, but avoided annoying licensing or copy protection issues, and more importantly: just WORKED well with the K6-2 and Rage Pro PCI ... and beta DVD acceleration drivers for the Rage Pro, since ATi only officially supported the AGP version for DVD).
Composite + S-video output model, too, and it got used as an HTPC via some extension A/V cables to our TV/surround sound set-up. (also used for some PC gaming at 480i/scaled to TV out, mostly graphic adventures ... Myst and Return to Zork included, also some Incoming)
Err, but yeah, a bunch of stuff, I'll probably add some pics later ... but uh, probably not of the somewhat shamefull, disorganized mess I've got. (not at risk of damage or such ... or in some damp/leaky or rat-infested shed, but just uh ... not nice or practical)
Not all in ESD bags, but packed with paper other than that for the most part. Some of Dad's stuff is still as he packed it away in Unison Systems doccument envelopes in leu of anti-static bags, and in various boxes semi-organized.
And no way I could ever have room for even the hardware we had up to a year ago (not recent ebay stuff) if it all had cases and complete systems built around it. It's all stuff that's been rotated through upgrade over the years, build after build. Dad just didn't save any of the motherboards prior to Socket 7. (I/O, sound, video, and drive controller boards, yes, and socket pulls, but no boards I've found)
Not counting the TRS-80 of course.
And the TRS-80 Model 2 and Model 16 upgrade of that have next to zero game support, so not so fun for that side of tinkering or retro tech stuff. One or two of the Zork games and some other text adventures were ported to the Model 2 (not compatible with the Model 1, 3, etc) and any games made for or compatible with Xenix could also run on it, but not much beyond that. Granted, it'd need to be on 8" floppy or ... one of the external drive interfaces our machine has. (it might have SCSI ... and we have several old external SCSI drive bays for things)
Oh, and it has the anti-glare screen filter intact on it. The top of the case got a small gash/scrape that took off the silver paint, but otherwise it's fine (and that happened less than 10 years ago when we were closing out a storage unit it was in).
We had a pair of original Radio Shack branded surge protectors, extruded aluminum things, one fused the other with a breaker, but I dontated them to my middle school back in 2001. (we'd been using them, but they freaked out at standby trickle powers on modern-for-the-time systems ... and they'd have been great for wall wort power bricks of game consoles too, but I didn't think of that at the time and didn't have any TV or gaming set up in my bedroom, PC aside ... or uh, did briefly have an Atari VCS in there with a 1966 GE Portacolor, but that's another story)