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First post, by andre_6

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Hello everyone,

I'm not asking in the sense of arguing about having more or less hardware, the nuances and the whole spectrum between collecting or hoarding doesn't hold much interest to me.

What I would like to know is, we all like to have our builds / hardware which we try to fix and maintain the best we can. And then what? Do you actually use your older computers daily? Weekly? For games? Benchmarking? Hardware mix and match for testing? Programming? Even something so simple like word processing?

I feel like I'm almost at a point where I'm stabilising in terms of having the builds I wanted and I quickly realised that so far I've actually spent more time building, fixing and configuring them that actually playing with them, although I still did that too. I'm quite at peace with that as it was fun and a good learning experience, but now that I've reached this calmer phase I will very soon start going more and more into enjoying them.

What about you? Do you end up falling to some degree on the "tinkering over using" line of action? Is using them something that you need to "remind yourself of"? Or do you just naturally still use them everyday?

Reply 1 of 26, by TrashPanda

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I have a few builds that I dont tinker with any more as they are "complete" and do exactly what i need from them but I also have a large assortment of other parts that I rotate through making different builds. I figure that if I dont use the parts I have then what was the point of buying them, they wont last forever and as they age the timer is essentially ticking.

Enjoying what you have before it stops working is the best part of this hobby, I never got to mess around with some of this hardware back in the day due to not being able to afford it but now I can and it is fun to tinker with different builds and hardware.

My thing right now is dual Pentium III boards and PCI GPUs, I think I finally have a nice arrangement of parts to make a solid machine for XP/Win2K, I also want to delve into UltaWide SCSI and get to know it better as I have limited experience with it.

Oh noes, the cap let the shmooo out 😁

Reply 2 of 26, by Shponglefan

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I definitely do building and tinkering more than actually using them. Part of it is I'm still searching for my preferred builds. Plus I love experimenting with different hardware, especially when it comes to pushing older systems to the limit.

That said, I do have a number of setups designed for practical use and do use them on a semi-regular basis.

My Windows XP build has the most use, at least weekly (mostly for Battlefield 2). I also have a Pentium 133 / CRT setup where I recently completed a full playthrough of Doom 2, and finally my latest build a Tandy 1000 TL that I have been replaying some classic Sierra games on.

I am really happy with my Win XP and Pentium 133 setups, so I have a feeling those are systems I'll continue to game on for while.

Tandy 1000 TL build
286 Epson build
Ultimate Windows XP build

Reply 3 of 26, by iraito

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Daily whenever possible, i created builds for all major generations and to appease some of my nostalgia since i had those PCs at the time, i play games and upload my longplays for fun and posterity (how did the game run on a period correct PC?) when i was streaming (not too long ago) i actually switched between builds every week almost because i wanted to play on different generations every time i completed a game and when i will go back to it i will keep doing it.

I'm the kind of guy that uses his stuff extensively and mostly for games but from time to time i also run a benchmark for fun and i was thinking to use some old CG software suit like softimage XSI on my dual core because it's what i used at the time.

xjCZpgo.png

If you wanna check a blue ball playing retro PC games

Reply 4 of 26, by gerry

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I used to tinker more and i enjoyed the setting up, installing and os and software process and would then use a PC for the 'role' which i had designed its software and hardware profile, eg games, programming, 'productivity' software

now i have quite a lot of working PCs and actually i find i only use a few with any regularity (aside from a modernish machine for regular things)

for games i have gravitated to a 2010 machine the specs of which are more than enough for almost any 2008 or earlier game (and runs things like dosbox really well etc). gog makes it easy to install anything on this machine.

there are a couple of others i still use now and then for games, development or other software but the majority of my working pcs only get switched on a few times a year at most!

Reply 5 of 26, by Joseph_Joestar

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I have four retro rigs that I consider complete. They get used on a weekly basis at the very least, not all at the same time of course. I also have a separate test PC which I use when I want to check or troubleshoot newly acquired retro hardware.

Other than that, I do have 4-5 cards in storage that I don't use very frequently. Some of those I intend to sell off, others might end up in a new retro rig. Basically, all the unused stuff was either left over from bulk purchases, or it's simply hardware that I had replaced with something better.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 6 of 26, by theelf

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1% or less

I have thousand ofcomponents, i never ever tested if they work. I just like to collect, same with games, hundreds of them in boxed ones i do know, not if floppy read, even i dont have any idea if they have the floppy inside...

About desktop computers, i have XT, 286, 386, 486, Pentium MMX, and P2 Celeron. The only i use is the celeron, and lately the 486 to test fastdoom

About laptops, i have a lot, toshiba from 286 to Pentium, Dell, etc but almost never use, im thiking in sell most of them

Reply 8 of 26, by brostenen

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Not much. Most are left as backup units and spare parts.

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 9 of 26, by kixs

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andre_6 wrote on 2023-01-25, 02:45:

Do you actually use your older computers daily? Weekly? For games? Benchmarking? Hardware mix and match for testing? Programming? Even something so simple like word processing?

Since I've been in this from 2008 or so... I've done most of my tinkering from 2012 to 2016. Now I'm just looking for filling my collection and do some benchmarks from time to time.

I haven't built any of the systems I wanted... it's still on my to-do list 🤣

But looking at some threads on Vogons, I might get the motivation to actually do it 😁

So most of my stuff (99,9%) is not in any use.

Requests also possible

Reply 10 of 26, by acl

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I have a few "completed" systems that i use 2 or 3 times a week

  • 1999 : P3 700 + GF256
  • 2005 : Opteron 64 + GTX7800 SLI

I have "almost ready to use" systems ready if i have specific needs (not filled by the 1999 or 2005 system)
By almost ready, i mean a motherboard with a cpu + cooler and ram. Assembled tested and stored in a display. I just need to install it on my test bench, add sound and graphics boards for my needs.
I have disks and CF cards and system images with already installed systems to avoid wasting time re-installing Windows constantly.

  • ~1997 : S7 MMX233
  • ~1998 : SS7 K6-2 500
  • ~1998 : Slot 1 Celeron 300A
  • ~2000 : Socket A Athlon 1000
  • ~2001 : Socket 423 P4 Willamette 1.7
  • ~2003: Socket A Athlon XP3200+
  • ~2007 : Socket 775 C2Q QX6850
  • ~2008/2009 : Socket 1366 i7-965EE

But... i have things i admit to not use a lot.

  • Sometimes because i have a better alternatives, (Between a Radeon 8500 and a 8500SE i will pick the non SE version if i want to play a DX8 game)
  • or because it's rare/expensive and i don't want to damage it (I use very rarely my Radeon 9700Pro and my Fury Maxx) but it's not a general rule (I use a GeForce 256 and Voodoo2 SLI on a weekly basis)
  • And there are also parts i don't use often because i can't use all of them. My collection is not huge, but i have like 70/80 graphics cards + 70/80 CPUs... and only 10/15 motherboards. So i have to make choices.

But i tested / cleaned all of them. So i played at least a few minutes / hours with all of them to test temperature/stability.

signature.png
My collection (not up to date) | My builds (not up to date)

Reply 11 of 26, by RandomStranger

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There are only two that I use regularly to play games of their era, and one other I use frequently to help me set up project PCs. I want these to be reliable and don't swap out parts just for benchmarking or whatever. I also trying not to use rare and hard to replace parts for these and I'm also trying to build up an inventory of spare parts to keep them running.

Most other parts and the other builds, and especially the more interesting ones mostly just stay in their storage area.

sreq.png retrogamer-s.png

Reply 12 of 26, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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Now?

Not much, at least not as much as I used them in the past. Emulation and compatibility tools are getting better, partially because host CPUs are getting faster. For example, and unlike in the past, now it is easier to run non-accelerated, 3D texture mapped games in 640x480 resolution in DOSBOX. Utilities like DxWnd, DXGL, and dgVoodoo 2 also make it easier to run old Windows games on modern Windows.

A case example: in the past, I stuck to Jane's Fighters Anthology, because host CPUs were too slow to run Jane's ATF in hi resolution in DOSBOX. But now I "revert" to DOS-based Jane's ATF and US Navy Fighters (not USNF 97), because a) host CPUs are now fast enough to run them in 640x480; and b) with DOSBOX you can extrapolate such 640x480 resolution to 1080p or even 4K, while adding various filtering options (like 2xsai and such) to "spice up the graphics".

Last edited by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman on 2023-01-25, 13:37. Edited 1 time in total.

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.

Reply 13 of 26, by flightjunkie

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I build 3 XP machines in hopes that there are people who are looking to play games that do not run on modern systems well(or at all) or who're looking for that authentic retro XPrience, to buy them. They are currently sitting under my desk. I build a proper win98 machine which I am currently troubleshooting, and which you can see in my sig. The rest of my stuff are all in parts in boxes which could build quite a few more computers.

The Salvaged parts Rig that cost me nothing.
-QDI advanced 10t
-Pentium III 1000mhz
-3dfx VooDoo3 2000
-SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 CT4830
-WD800 80gb HDD
-TwinMOS 256MB of RAM
-Windows 98 SE

Reply 14 of 26, by Namrok

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I have 6 machines built at this point, which is probably too many. I started with a P233, which evolved into a K6-2+ jack of all trades machine. Then I built a pretty good XP machine to cover games that K6-2+ just couldn't, up until around 2006 or so. So I had those 2 machines, and I thought I was "good". I wasn't. Eventually I rebuilt the P233 because I just had such powerful nostalgia for that CPU, and then lucked out on a PIII machine as well. Now I found that the K6-2+ kind of lost it's use case in my stable between the P233 and the PIII.

Not so however! I started longing to experience multiplayer in some old DOS games where the dialup never quite worked for me back in the day. You know how it goes. You have a buddy who's not a tech savvy as you in middle school, and you try to walk him through setting up the dialup settings on the phone, then hanging up so you can actually do it. After calling, hanging up, trying it, then calling again when it doesn't work for an hour, one of your parents eventually yells at you to get off the damned phone! So I put them on a LAN and had a buddy over for some good old fashioned DOS IPX games. Unfortunately, when we tried playing WarCraft III on the LAN, the PIII choked on some of the more cluttered TD maps we tried, so I built another XP machine out of spare parts I had lying around for him.

So the LAN experience definitely makes me feel like they are being put to good use. I still try to rotate through using them in single player games too though. Takes me a solid month to beat any particular game, so it's a slow rotation.

Win95/DOS 7.1 - P233 MMX (@2.5 x 100 FSB), Diamond Viper V330 AGP, SB16 CT2800
Win98 - K6-2+ 500, GF2 MX, SB AWE 64 CT4500, SBLive CT4780
Win98 - Pentium III 1000, GF2 GTS, SBLive CT4760
WinXP - Athlon 64 3200+, GF 7800 GS, Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 15 of 26, by chinny22

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Alot of us started by wanting to build a PC to play a certain games then discovered building the PC itself was more fun and find excuses to build more.

Right now I have 12 game PC's ready to go. Starting with a 486 running Dos6 though to a Win7 Socket 1366.
All PC's have something unique to them, typically a sound or video card which makes them better suited to a certain game but if I don't play that game for a year or so good chance that PC won't be used either.
but generally I keep going back to the same 3.

My 775 XP rig easily gets the most use as it can play most my 9x games upto the majority of my most recent games (GTA San Andreas) with things like AA enabled and doubles as a management PC, eg its quicker and more stable to unzip on this PC and copy across the network then copy the zip file then unzip on the P3/Win98 box.

My Dual Slot 1, Voodoo 2 SLI build is my favourite 9x PC and will choose this over similar era PC's for late dos or Need for Speed in 9x
My childhood dx2/66 is most used dos PC, even though I also have a 5x86 and POD 83.
Both the 486 and P3 sentimental value from my past where the others were only build in the last 10 years which is why they are my favourites.

Reply 16 of 26, by AppleSauce

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I've squeezed it down to 3 systems on a single table (Pentium 1 , Pentium 3 , Amiga 500) and I've nearly finalized the hardware setup for everything.
It's gotten to the point where I think I've found the best compromise hardware wise to do as many things on few systems as possible on my Pentium 1 and 3 with my amiga still needing a few upgrades.
I usually try to find games that take advantage of most of my expansion options so that little as possible goes to waste and use my systems every couple of days to a week .
I've got to the point where hopefully I can spend less time setting up hardware and use it more instead.
So I'd say I use my hardware for gaming enough with some tinkering here or there that I feel like it was worth all the effort.

Reply 17 of 26, by flightjunkie

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chinny22 wrote on 2023-01-25, 16:42:
Alot of us started by wanting to build a PC to play a certain games then discovered building the PC itself was more fun and find […]
Show full quote

Alot of us started by wanting to build a PC to play a certain games then discovered building the PC itself was more fun and find excuses to build more.

Right now I have 12 game PC's ready to go. Starting with a 486 running Dos6 though to a Win7 Socket 1366.
All PC's have something unique to them, typically a sound or video card which makes them better suited to a certain game but if I don't play that game for a year or so good chance that PC won't be used either.
but generally I keep going back to the same 3.

My 775 XP rig easily gets the most use as it can play most my 9x games upto the majority of my most recent games (GTA San Andreas) with things like AA enabled and doubles as a management PC, eg its quicker and more stable to unzip on this PC and copy across the network then copy the zip file then unzip on the P3/Win98 box.

My Dual Slot 1, Voodoo 2 SLI build is my favourite 9x PC and will choose this over similar era PC's for late dos or Need for Speed in 9x
My childhood dx2/66 is most used dos PC, even though I also have a 5x86 and POD 83.
Both the 486 and P3 sentimental value from my past where the others were only build in the last 10 years which is why they are my favourites.

Id be lying if I said I didn't start out like that. I just wanna play ye olde' games.....HUH where did all these boxes full of old PC parts came from?!

The Salvaged parts Rig that cost me nothing.
-QDI advanced 10t
-Pentium III 1000mhz
-3dfx VooDoo3 2000
-SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 CT4830
-WD800 80gb HDD
-TwinMOS 256MB of RAM
-Windows 98 SE

Reply 18 of 26, by RandomStranger

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flightjunkie wrote on 2023-01-25, 17:12:
chinny22 wrote on 2023-01-25, 16:42:
Alot of us started by wanting to build a PC to play a certain games then discovered building the PC itself was more fun and find […]
Show full quote

Alot of us started by wanting to build a PC to play a certain games then discovered building the PC itself was more fun and find excuses to build more.

Right now I have 12 game PC's ready to go. Starting with a 486 running Dos6 though to a Win7 Socket 1366.
All PC's have something unique to them, typically a sound or video card which makes them better suited to a certain game but if I don't play that game for a year or so good chance that PC won't be used either.
but generally I keep going back to the same 3.

My 775 XP rig easily gets the most use as it can play most my 9x games upto the majority of my most recent games (GTA San Andreas) with things like AA enabled and doubles as a management PC, eg its quicker and more stable to unzip on this PC and copy across the network then copy the zip file then unzip on the P3/Win98 box.

My Dual Slot 1, Voodoo 2 SLI build is my favourite 9x PC and will choose this over similar era PC's for late dos or Need for Speed in 9x
My childhood dx2/66 is most used dos PC, even though I also have a 5x86 and POD 83.
Both the 486 and P3 sentimental value from my past where the others were only build in the last 10 years which is why they are my favourites.

Id be lying if I said I didn't start out like that. I just wanna play ye olde' games.....HUH where did all these boxes full of old PC parts came from?!

The worst part is, at least for me, when you come to the point to say, okay, it's more than enough, yet you can't convince yourself to sell what you don't need because it was so difficult to obtain them.

sreq.png retrogamer-s.png

Reply 19 of 26, by BitWrangler

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I'm as low as about 5% at the moment, been saving older machines from landfill/recycling for over 20 years so have a good stash to work at. 2022 was another write off in terms of getting stuff done with them, real life events and emergencies keep getting in the way, which if I didn't have a bunch of medical concerns could be dealt with in a third the time no doubt, and that was interspersed with about 3 months worth of covid, sinus infections and back screwed up.

Anyway, the plan is to get everything working that will work, and set up and compare using them against using many in one machines and custom flexible builds, then release at least 2/3 of it back into the wild. Hopefully giving me a sustainable, ready to roll (turn on and use), retro PC collection that I can just play around on.

I don't really intend to have a bunch of hardware that I just have around to stare at and imagine the possibilities, I only keep stuff because I think I might use it, but I guess it's all in a default gawp only mode until it gets built into something.

It's weird though, I do like messing around with it, putting things together, making glitchy stuff work again with fixes, but at other times it feels more like a chore... I think there's an ADD component where my enthusiasm blows hot and cold. Though I could use streamlining the workbench so I can have ref/downloader/tweener system for pulling info and drivers etc and machine in final and software config, and a machine in basic testing and component matching, all together, so that when I'm in "the zone" I can be getting a lot done at once, not sitting there grinding my teeth waiting to download, copy, or press okay on installer. (somehow it's that later more softwarey config phase I have very limited patience for) ... hmm maybe on the shelf above I want a "formatting donkey" prepping HDDs etc too. mATX duron or something.

Anyhoooooooooooooo, using a lot less than I'd like to be, own more than I ultimately need, trying to work my way to ideal.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.