Windows, Mac, DOS, and all those-other personal computing platforms
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:08 pm

Pretty rad, noise.

I have a Win 98 machine myself, but sadly it doesn't work. Maybe the tech geniuses here can help. I'll attempt to boot it up.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by ExedExes Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:15 pm

We'll try and help!

But dat floppy disc ribbon cable with the little orientation twist -- THAT takes me back. That 2004 desktop I updated still has a 3.5 drive, great for my old 90s DOS backups and original Apogee titles that I have to move to more accessible storage one of these days. I've got nearly all of them on an external HDD now.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by Ziggy587 Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:18 pm

I'm thinking about maybe building a Core 2 Duo PC as a dedicated XP gaming machine. I really wanted a C2D when I was in high school, but couldn't afford it. I was envious of my friends that had one. I was barely able to run some of the games I wanted to. And some of the games I did run, I had to turn settings down. But these days, C2D CPUs are like sub $10 on eBay. Shit, I could probably build one with a $50 budget.

I got an Intel 775 socket PC when I was a senior in high school, but it's a bad story. I didn't have enough money to build my own, and gaming on my custom P4 that I mentioned earlier (the one I dubbed "Custom1") was challenging, but Dell had this sweet 12 months no interest thing going on. So I talked my mom into using her to finance a PC. I was still on a budget, but I figured I'd upgrade parts one by one after I paid it off. It was a P4 3Ghz CPU (I planned to upgrade to a C2D), 512MB of RAM (which wasn't horrible at the time), and some middle of the road ATI card. It blew away my Custom1 with gaming, and I was very happy to have it.

A little more than a year after I got it, shortly after the 1-year warranty expired, the computer started acting up. Long story short, I had to ditch it. That was the last time I ever bought a pre-made PC. I was screwed out of my C2D dreams. I had to revert to my Custom1 PC, and I was forced to do bullshit upgrades to it just to squeak by. I had a CPU socket converter and doubled my clock speed, 1GB of very expensive RDRAM, and a middle of the road GeForce 7600 that threw out heat like a blow dryer. I love that PC now, but I hated it then.

I used Custom1 as my main PC right up until I built my i7 rig in 2009. When I got the i7, I was like, "Pshhh, fuck the Core 2 Duo!" But IDK, just the name "Core 2 Duo" does something for me. I was drooling over them in high school. I'd see commercial for them and wish that I could have one. Well, now I can. Fuck it, I'm gonna do it. Building PCs is fun, especially when it's dirt cheap!
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by noiseredux Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:55 pm

Learning that I was capable of building my own was life changing.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by Ziggy587 Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:55 pm

noiseredux wrote:Learning that I was capable of building my own was life changing.


:lol: Thinking back, "learning" to build my own is exactly why I had such a shitty computer.

Custom1 was a socket 423 motherboard. This was Intel's first Pentium 4 socket, and it was very short lived as apparently 2Ghz was the max due to power limitations. So, 2Ghz max clock speed but also low cache and slow FSB. I originally had a 1.5Ghz CPU, and I had to shell out some where around $100 to get the 2Ghz. We're talking pre multi core, so that extra 500Mhz made a difference.

On top of all this, the 423 socket used this weird ATX revision that had an AUX power connection, in addition to the 20-pin main power connector. These were only used with the 423 socket, and when I was building Custom1, decent PSUs of this type were hard to come by since it was so short lived.

That's why I bought a Powerleap PL-P4/n. It was an adapter that let you use a 478 socket CPU on a 423 socket motherboard. As expensive as it was, along with the 3Ghz CPU I was lucky enough to score (apparently the 3Ghz 400Mhz FSB 478 is extremely rare and never even had a retail release), it was still cheaper than building a new computer. I was able to sell that 2Ghz CPU and get most of my money back, and that's how I funded the Powerleap adapter. It was worth it because that extra 1Ghz made a HUGE difference, even with the slow FSB.

Then there was RAMBUS memory, which was just about the worst thing ever. I never understood why it held its value for so long. Even after it was out dated, used eBay prices stayed high. I bought a 512MB kit for a decent price, but I had to pay a lot of money for a 1GB kit. Again, it was worth it because I couldn't afford a new build and that extra RAM got the job done.

The video card... I can't even recall how I ended up with the GeForce 7600. It must have been a good price or something. I was able to play the games I wanted, though I had to turn the graphics down on the newer games, but that card was such a pain in the ass. It was a fanless design, which seemed awesome when I was buying it. No fan, but a GIANT heatsink that wraps around to the bottom of the card. The card runs fine, but that heatsink throws off heat like nothing I've ever seen. It heated up the inside of my PC case significantly. I had to cut a hole and mount a fan on the side panel, which did the trick.

But that's how I learned to build computers to research things first before diving straight into it. If I would have saved a little more and bought a 478 socket mobo that used DDR memory, I would have been in MUCH better shape all things considered. But I wouldn't have had the love/hate relationship with Custom1. That shitty computer makes me smile when I think about it.
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My Sale Thread - I am selling around three quarters of my video game collection as well as some other odds and ends!

I want to buy Universal Game Cases, if you have any spares please PM me! I'm looking to only deal with members that have good BST feedback on this forum.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by dsheinem Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:58 am

out of curiousity, how much old PC software is there that can't be played or emulated well on modern machines? Are there serious emulation limitations in something like DOSBox, for example? I'm trying to understand the appeal of futzing around with old hardware for PCs...

With consoles I feel like it is a very different ball of wax because of emulation limitations (especially with special console-specific controllers/hardware/accessories). What can you do (or do better) with a Windows 95/98 machine that I can't do on my new PC?
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by noiseredux Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:08 am

dsheinem wrote:out of curiousity, how much old PC software is there that can't be played or emulated well on modern machines? Are there serious emulation limitations in something like DOSBox, for example? I'm trying to understand the appeal of futzing around with old hardware for PCs...

With consoles I feel like it is a very different ball of wax because of emulation limitations (especially with special console-specific controllers/hardware/accessories). What can you do (or do better) with a Windows 95/98 machine that I can't do on my new PC?


personally my goal is to be able to easily transfer 5.25" floppies so I can play them on my main rig. Yes, I understand that I could just download stuff like that from abondonware sites or whatever; and yes, I understand this is sort of convoluted. But I like knowing I'm playing MY copy of the game as odd as that sounds.

There's also the fact that it gives me an excuse to learn about and tinker w/ the old hardware, which is just sort of fun as far as the hobbyist thing goes.

That said: Sure, there's definitely stuff that I've gotten to work on a modern system but still didn't work quite right. Uh... Witchaven comes to mind as one. So it's also nice to know that if I run into stuff like that then I've got this box set up as a Plan B.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:02 am

dsheinem wrote:out of curiousity, how much old PC software is there that can't be played or emulated well on modern machines? Are there serious emulation limitations in something like DOSBox, for example? I'm trying to understand the appeal of futzing around with old hardware for PCs...

With consoles I feel like it is a very different ball of wax because of emulation limitations (especially with special console-specific controllers/hardware/accessories). What can you do (or do better) with a Windows 95/98 machine that I can't do on my new PC?


I suppose some appeal can be found in the old hardware itself. Same reason some people keep their PS1 hooked up even though their phat PS3 would play those games just fine.

As for software, you are correct. A modern machine can basically do it all at this point. DOSBox is pretty much perfect and most of the best Win 95/98 stuff I've played is either now on GOG.com or will work off the disk/disc with patches and compatibility mode tinkering. I used to keep an older computer hooked up for these older games, but I no longer do.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by fastbilly1 Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:09 am

Ziggy587 wrote:Then there was RAMBUS memory, which was just about the worst thing ever. I never understood why it held its value for so long. Even after it was out dated, used eBay prices stayed high. I bought a 512MB kit for a decent price, but I had to pay a lot of money for a 1GB kit. Again, it was worth it because I couldn't afford a new build and that extra RAM got the job done.

Do you need more? I have 2 gigs of it in my box of parts that I just cant throw away.

RAMBUS was much faster and stabler than SDram and became a right place right time situation, since Intel started using it on high end motherboards. Sure it was proprietary and had higher latency and heat output, but back in the late 90s it was used in everything from servers to video editing bays - AVID editors required RDram. Thankfully DDR killed it, giving equal speed at lower latency, heat, and price. But if you didnt know, RDram is what is in the N64 & Expansion pack aswell. And I think they made the ram for the PS3.

dsheinem wrote:out of curiousity, how much old PC software
is there that can't be played or emulated well on modern machines? Are there serious emulation limitations in something like DOSBox, for example? I'm trying to understand the appeal of futzing around with old hardware for PCs...

Off the top of my head I can only think of two or three titles that will not work on XP or 7. So its mostly about the hardware.

BoneSnapDeez wrote:I used to keep an older computer hooked up for these older games, but I no longer do.

Same. I have a netbook I do the bulk of my DOS gaming on, but it runs Win7.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by Ack Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:18 am

Heck, I have a category for GOG games called "Repairs Required" for games that will require at least a little work to keep going. Currently I have 8 games marked in that category, though I've had others previously that I managed to either mod or mess around with their config files before I could get working. One of these I had to go to GOG support, and we still haven't gotten it working.

Heck, I'm playing a game right now that I had to mess with, Gothic. And the game that I played before this, Slave Zero, worked but horribly so. It locked itself into a small corner of the screen and wouldn't let me alt+tab out or modify resolution settings.
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