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Re: The Retro PC Thread

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:06 pm
by Sarge
My first IBM PC was a Pentium 166MHz with a S3 Trio graphics card with a whopping 1MB of VRAM. Had 24MB of RAM, upgraded to 80MB, and an ISA Sound Blaster Pro sound card. That machine was awesome for DOS gaming. It had Windows '95, but I was constantly sending it into DOS mode.

I wouldn't sweat finding a 486, personally. I found that for the most part, a Pentium or Pentium 2 was just fine as well, although you might have to use a slowdown app for really old games that didn't throttle properly. I used to use an app called MoSlo or something like that, which just chews up extra cycles to make things run slower.

I haven't actually booted that machine in some time, but maybe I should! It's in my closet back home with the parents. :) Needs another hard drive in there, though.

Re: The Retro PC Thread

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:27 pm
by samsonlonghair
Neat thread :mrgreen:

My family had an IBM clone back in the day that ran Win3.1 and DOS. My favorite feature was the "TURBO" button... because it was the '90s and the word "turbo" was totally radical.
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And a lock and key, because computer security involved literal keys back in the 90s.

Later on my family had a Gateway 2000 running Windows 98 and office 97. It had 32MB of RAM and a 2GB hard drive.
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It was slightly less ugly than most beige boxes of the 90s.

Re: The Retro PC Thread

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:50 pm
by noiseredux
I had a 486 w/ a turbo switch back in high school too. Though I never noticed any difference, I felt compelled to put it on TURBO when I was gaming. :|

HEY QUESTION for those of us interested in pulling out some of this gaudy beige 90's hardware. What's the best way to clean up the cases/keyboards/mice in general? I mean... warm water and a little dish soap or rubbing alcohol or what?

Re: The Retro PC Thread

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:55 pm
by samsonlonghair
With any good keyboard, you should be able to pop the keys off with a butter knife, clean under them, and clean the keys individually. That's how I clean my thrift store keyboards.

If that sounds like a hassle to you, a can of air duster does an ok (not great) job quick and easy.

Re: The Retro PC Thread

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:59 pm
by noiseredux
butter knife? You cray. I have a legit key-remover-tool-thing.

But I'm talking more about cleaning the plastic stuffs. A lot of this has been in basements and garages for 20 years. Some of it's pretty nasty.

Re: The Retro PC Thread

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 5:38 pm
by Ziggy587
Cleaning stuff, keyboards, etc


Yeah, mechanical keyboards that come with different WASD keys always come with key pullers. I got one with my Corsair K70.

As far as cleaning goes, take it apart so you can take the electronics out. Warm soapy water and a sponge should do the trick. Maybe a toothbrush to get in crevasses. You might not want to use anything too abrasive to scrub with, you might scratch up softer plastics.

For anything that has yellowed, you'll have to use Retr0bright: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retr0bright

Sarge wrote:I wouldn't sweat finding a 486, personally. I found that for the most part, a Pentium or Pentium 2 was just fine as well, although you might have to use a slowdown app for really old games that didn't throttle properly. I used to use an app called MoSlo or something like that, which just chews up extra cycles to make things run slower.


That's exactly why I got rid of the 486 that I had. I haven't yet tried a game that was CPU speed dependent, so I haven't yet needed any of those slow down apps, but I am aware of them.

Getting a 486, or anything that would be a DOS/Win3 box, isn't for compatibility reasons though. In this case, collecting the hardware is as much fun for me as collecting the games.

What's even worse is, the 486 that I got rid of wasn't the only 486 I owned. It was a nice little desktop box, and that's why I saved it. At one time, I had SEVERAL 486 towers, all custom built, that I scored from a side of the road pickup. They all had the CPU and RAM pulled, and some of the HDDs were missing, but other than that they were all complete. I threw them all away at one point, mainly because of space issues. Damn, I could have sold each one of those on eBay these days for like $100 each I bet.

Best I can tell, my family's first computer was a Compaq Presario 4122. It had a Pentium 150Ghz, 16MB of RAM, a 2.5GB HDD, and Windows 95. The monitor had those speakers that attached to the sides, and the power button for the monitor was also the volume control for the speakers. The desktop had multimedia controls as well as this moon button that I never knew what it did. It's so dumb looking, I was thinking about picking one up just for nostalgia. There's one on eBay right now, but it looks kinda nasty.

But anyways, I don't have any nostalgia for the 486's, I just kinda want a machine that I can do a DOS/Win3 setup on just because. I use to use DOS in school and at the library before my family got their first computer, so maybe I have the slightest bit of nostalgia for it.

noiseredux wrote:oh man, I think I want totally ordered this book:


I might have to get one of those. It would be sweet on my shelf with all my big box games. :D

Re: The Retro PC Thread

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 5:53 pm
by ExedExes
A Que Publishing book. I had a couple of those Upgrading and Repairing PCs books when I was in training classes working towards my A+ certification (one edition had a Pentium III image on the cover).

I can offer a couple of stories.

My first PC in 1993 was a 486-25 SX (no math co-CPU!) with 102 MB hard drive, 2 MB of RAM and a 1 MB Trident video card. Later we'd get a 2X CD drive, Sound Blaster Pro card, and 2 more MB of RAM and another 250GB hard drive. Fancy high end material here!

My first PC upgrade work was upgrading a Win XP desktop from 2004, taking out the 512MB of RAM and throwing in 2 GB, putting in a NVIDIA FX 5500 128 MB card, and replacing the old 250 watt PSU with a 310 watt Silencer unit from Amazon. It ran games a lot better. It was the first real overhaul of a PC I did myself.

Re: The Retro PC Thread

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:10 pm
by marurun
I think I have an SB AWE32 with expansion wave memory attached someplace if someone wants it. I do not know if it works, but I'd love for someone to test it and tell me.

Re: The Retro PC Thread

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:03 pm
by noiseredux
so of my two Win98 boxes... one won't boot at all. Just freezes on mobo screen. Can't even get into the BIOS. Which sucks as that was the nicer looking box in general and appeared to be custom built.

The other that I've been messing with tonight is an HP Pavilion 8560C. I can't get Windows to boot, though. Freezing on startup. The BIOS tells me that it's got what is I believe a 10GB HDD, and 96MB RAM. It's got a 3.5" floppy and a 40x CDROM drive. The CD drive won't open unless I do the old paperclip though. So, my thought is that I'll have to replace the CD drive and the HDD with something bigger (I have a bunch of IDE's around... I will probably throw in a 320GB) and just do a fresh 98 install. But not tonight.


EDIT: oh, and as far as big box games go, this arrived tonight:

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Re: The Retro PC Thread

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:24 pm
by marurun
That's, like, 4 horrible Capcom ports for the price of 1!