The Retro-friendly Modern PC

Discussion about old PC hardware.

The Retro-friendly Modern PC

Postby popfuture » 2016-1-29 @ 22:57

I know it's been said time and time again that the best hardware on which to run a game is the hardware from the period when it was released. But, I always want to challenge that notion and see if I can make the perfect PC that can do it all. While achieving that goal is pretty close to impossible, I might be able to come close to that ideal and have lot's of fun trying.

In my previous topic,

viewtopic.php?f=46&t=46503

I considered using an industrial motherboard with ISA slots, but all the boards w/ ISA that support Core 2 CPUs seem to lack fully functional DMA with the exception of this Portwell Board: RUBY-9719VG2AR that has an LPC-to-ISA bridge. As many of us know, the Intel 8xx chipsets were the last to allow support of DMA over a PCI-to-ISA bridge. Anything newer and you've got to have an LPC-to-ISA bridge, and even then, it's going to take some hacking to get the board to actually do DMA right. You can read about it in this techtalk.cc thread if you're interested:

https://www.techtalk.cc/viewtopic.php?f ... 0&start=50

To get reliable ISA DMA, an Intel 8xx series chipset coupled with a PCI-to-ISA bridge seems to be a better path to take. The problem is all the industrial ATX boards with ISA seem to ditch the 8xx series as soon as they go Core 2 Duo, so you're stuck with P4. Also as has been mentioned in other threads here, industrial boards don't have overclocking or even underclocking features as far as I know, so you can forget about conveniently adjusting your CPU speed in the BIOS to match era of the game you're about to play.

But I also have another idea. There's the Asrock 775i65g motherboard supporting Core 2 Quad CPUs with full overclocking/underclocking support. What's the catch? No ISA slots! I figured it was a dead end, until I saw this...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlYXbxQneG8

You saw that right! Somebody plugged an AWE64 into a SH72Pv2 PCI-to-ISA bridge card and started playing Doom. He had to do one little hack to get it going though, using a utility called RU.exe by James Wang at AMI. Available here:

http://ruexe.blogspot.com/

Does anybody know if this a viable method to get ISA cards working on a PCI board? The SH72Pv2-el PCI-to-ISA card is available from Costronic for about $202 shipped for the base model and a 3-slot riser with ribbon cable. It's not cheap or anything, but neither are industrial ATX boards.

The ultimate goal would be to make the PC go fast or slow, boot DOS, Win 3.1, Win9x, XP, Win7, etc, even Linux. I could run almost any game, OS, app, or surf any website with ease. For the super-duper old games, I probably couldn't underclock low enough, but I could quite a bit with this machine. If it would work, that is...

Well, that's my dilemma. Am I crazy? Probably. Is that a problem? It's depends your viewpoint I guess. :cool:
User avatar
popfuture
Newbie
 
Posts: 21
Joined: 2012-1-16 @ 08:34
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: The Retro-friendly Modern PC

Postby kanecvr » 2016-1-29 @ 23:13

popfuture wrote:Does anybody know if this a viable method to get ISA cards working on a PCI board? The SH72Pv2-el PCI-to-ISA card is available from Costronic for about $202 shipped for the base model and a 3-slot riser with ribbon cable. It's not cheap or anything, but neither are industrial ATX boards.


I'd never pay that much for something like that. For that money I can buy a Voodoo 5 and a socket 3 POD.

Anyway, good luck with your project.
User avatar
kanecvr
Oldbie
 
Posts: 1957
Joined: 2015-4-22 @ 20:30
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Re: The Retro-friendly Modern PC

Postby brostenen » 2016-1-29 @ 23:50

The issue on how to fit this into a case, would be another thing to consider.
You would probably have to do some serious case-hacking or modding.
I too have considered this thing, and have come to the conclusion that it's not worth the money.
Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

My blog: http://to9xct.blogspot.dk

001100 010010 011110 100001 101101 110011

Jah ich will trynen... Die Leute wie macht scheisse in dem Grünen.
User avatar
brostenen
l33t++
 
Posts: 5337
Joined: 2014-5-07 @ 21:13
Location: Northern Jutland, Denmark.

Re: The Retro-friendly Modern PC

Postby PeterLI » 2016-1-30 @ 00:09

As long as ISA PCs are available for < $100 including shipping this is a non issue IMO.
PeterLI
l33t
 
Posts: 2392
Joined: 2013-10-18 @ 02:30

Re: The Retro-friendly Modern PC

Postby popfuture » 2016-1-30 @ 03:54

brostenen wrote:The issue on how to fit this into a case, would be another thing to consider.
You would probably have to do some serious case-hacking or modding.
I too have considered this thing, and have come to the conclusion that it's not worth the money.


Well it just so happens that the Asrock board is micro atx and the case I want to put it in is a full size ATX. A micro ATX board should mount inside the case just fine. That's the cool thing about micro ATX. It is backwards compatible with full ATX. A micro ATX board has four slots instead of seven usually. This leaves three slots worth of open space for the three-ISA-slot riser. The ISA riser connects to the "host" bridge card with a ribbon cable which allows freedom of placement. Now ideally I would mount the riser somehow, but one could probably get away with not doing so if it was actually plugged into a couple ISA cards that were secured to the case via their respective brackets. I wouldn't want to do that long term though.

As far as cost goes that's a tough one, but optionally, there are kits available from Costronic that allow you to affordably DIY your own bridge card. This could be both error-prone and time-consuming though. I think I would rather pay the money.

In contrast, I do agree that there is a certain amount of excitement from getting vintage hardware for cheap and having hours of fun putting it together and playing with it. I was actually thinking the other day that I probably have about $200 of hardware I don't want any more that I could sell on eBay. Now if I could just get myself to actually list the stuff and turn that thought into cash.
User avatar
popfuture
Newbie
 
Posts: 21
Joined: 2012-1-16 @ 08:34
Location: Seattle, WA


Return to General Old Hardware

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Artex, Google [Bot], r.cade, Señor Ventura, viper32cm, wiretap and 11 guests