Brawndo wrote on 2021-11-04, 04:12:
One of my recent thrift store pickups was a tower with an ASUS P4P800-E socket 478 motherboard and a 2.80 GHz Pentium 4 CPU. I have a few other P4 towers laying around not being used, as I never had a plan to build a P4 system for any retro reason. I never had a P4 system back in the day either as I was exclusively AMD until Intel released the Core2Duo chips, so I don't really have any experience with P4 systems. I'm just wondering if there's a good reason I should consider building a P4 system around this board for retro gaming purposes. I currently have 2 Windows XP systems already, one an AMD Tbird 1.4 GHz for early XP duty and the other a Core2Duo E6850 for late XP fun. I also have several Windows 98 era PCs so I'm not really lacking anything as far as period correct builds for gaming. Maybe the socket 478 P4 fills a niche I'm not aware of? I also have at least one socket 775 P4 system though I'm not using it either. If I can't find a good use for this board and CPU I'll just offload them.
Early Pentium 4's were often slower or equal in performance to late Pentium 3 hardware that have more appeal to retro enthusiasts. Later Pentium 4 stuff w. PCIe was pretty soundly outclassed by C2Duo hardware that basically sells for scrap prices today, and are less likely to have capacitor problems. Everything in the middle was prime "capacitor plague" timeframe which makes them a lot messier to inspect, test and potentially refurbish... perhaps P4's will be popular down the road as their availability dwindles for all of these reasons, but they are hard to recommend for anything but a very specific high powered AGP retro build.
At Free Geek Twin Cities we have a very small retro volunteer staff and workspace, so we have to prioritize which old machines get upcycled vs scrapped. For the most part we don't consider anything post-AGP to be a "retro" system, and being at the tail end of what retro collectors are looking for that fits that criteria, P4 systems are not good sellers in our retail store (and usually sell for less than their raw scrap value). We tend to save nice examples of later "C" variant processor based systems, and early examples with RDRAM as a novelty... but a lot of these end up with capacitor issues so good/desirable examples are relatively few and far between.