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Old 28th January 2014, 9:50 AM   #1
adz Thread Starter
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Default What retro activity did you get up to today?

Hoping this will become a bit of a banter thread about everyday retro activities.

Given the weather in Melbourne lately, I've been tearing down all my retro boxes, giving them a clean and tidying up the internals. Yesterday was a tad warm and being a public holiday I really had no intentions of venturing outside so decided it was time to give my DOS box a clean up. I've had this box for quite some time, so long in fact I can't even recall how it came into my possession. All I know is that it's served as my DOS gaming rig during this time and has done an awesome job at it. Let's start with some specs and a before pic:

Specs:

Pentium 200MMX
Abit AP5T Motherboard
64MB RAM (2 x 32MB)
Tseng Labs ET6000 4MB
SB16
WD Caviar 850MB HDD
Panasonic 8x CD-ROM
AT Desktop Case
DOS 6.22 and Win 3.1

Before pic:


Click to view full size!


It was pretty clean inside and a quick brush of the guts yielded a nice clean machine. My biggest bugbear by far was the awful cabling so I set about trying to clean it up a tad, here are the results:


Click to view full size!


Not a great improvement, but certainly better than what it was. TBH, I'd forgotten how awful it used to be working on AT gear, I guess it shows just how far motherboard and case design has come.

I don't really know what's next for this box, I know I could just run DOS box or something like that but IMO, emulation is no where near as fun as real hardware. I guess the next thing will be when the HDD packs up or the caps decide to start leaking, both will be easy to fix and until then, I'll just keep enjoying it for what it is. For now, the next thing on my list is my 486DX4-100 box, it's not seen the light of day for quite some time...
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Old 28th January 2014, 11:40 AM   #2
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Nice thread! One of the many things I like about this retro computing hobby is that there's always something to do - my 'to-do' list seems to hover around 3 projects. May it never run dry!

Nice Pentium, I have a P166MMX and it's a very useful DOS machine. I need to do a cable tidy too.

If you're looking for a future project with yours then I'd suggest changing out the Tseng for a Matrox card - just as fast but a nicer image. And do you have some way of playing General Midi with that thing?

My recent projects include researching and buying myself a better speaker setup (I went with Audioengine 2's) for my retro machines, and making myself a comfortable setup for retro flight sims - hunching over the desk to use a joystick wasn't doing my old back any favours. I made this 'ironing board' kinda thing to rest my arm on and it's been great so far after a few hours of Red Baron:

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Old 28th January 2014, 11:55 AM   #3
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Good idea for a thread. Playing around with a Asus SP97-V Socket 7 motherboard this morning.


Click to view full size!


Put in a AMD K6-2 500MHz. Currently running at 6 x 66MHz at 2.1 volts thanks to only having a small HSF and my skepticism at the PCI bus handling being overclocked.


Click to view full size!


Seems to be running quite well, although I only have 8MB of 72 pin RAM. Sticking with Windows 3.11 - just setting up a network card.


Click to view full size!


Not quite retro, but also sorted out my Socket A stuff yesterday. Glad to see my poor storage solution hasn't damaged anything, apart from a few bent pins on a fairly ordinary 1600+ CPU.
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Old 28th January 2014, 4:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badmofo View Post
Nice thread! One of the many things I like about this retro computing hobby is that there's always something to do - my 'to-do' list seems to hover around 3 projects. May it never run dry!

Nice Pentium, I have a P166MMX and it's a very useful DOS machine. I need to do a cable tidy too.
Thanks and thanks!

Quote:
If you're looking for a future project with yours then I'd suggest changing out the Tseng for a Matrox card - just as fast but a nicer image. And do you have some way of playing General Midi with that thing?
Pretty sure I've got a Matrox card sitting there doing nothing, might put it in and see how it goes. Not sure about General Midi as I don't have the exact specs on the sound card, I know I have an AWE32 sitting there doing nothing.

Quote:
My recent projects include researching and buying myself a better speaker setup (I went with Audioengine 2's) for my retro machines, and making myself a comfortable setup for retro flight sims - hunching over the desk to use a joystick wasn't doing my old back any favours. I made this 'ironing board' kinda thing to rest my arm on and it's been great so far after a few hours of Red Baron:
Cool setup there, love the CH FlightStick, shame mine died a few years back, I ended up replacing it with a CH GameStick, not that it feels anywhere near as good.

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Originally Posted by BuuBox View Post
Good idea for a thread. Playing around with a Asus SP97-V Socket 7 motherboard this morning.
Thanks

Quote:
Put in a AMD K6-2 500MHz. Currently running at 6 x 66MHz at 2.1 volts thanks to only having a small HSF and my skepticism at the PCI bus handling being overclocked.
I thought about installing a K6 in my rig, but the P200 is more than fast enough for my needs.

Quote:
Seems to be running quite well, although I only have 8MB of 72 pin RAM. Sticking with Windows 3.11 - just setting up a network card.
Pretty sure I have some 16MB EDO modules if you're interested.

Quote:
Not quite retro, but also sorted out my Socket A stuff yesterday. Glad to see my poor storage solution hasn't damaged anything, apart from a few bent pins on a fairly ordinary 1600+ CPU.
I'd call it retro! I gave away all my Socket A kit recently, fond overclocking memories from those days
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Old 28th January 2014, 4:48 PM   #5
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Recently I got my ReelMagic MPEG decoder card working in my 386DX40 rig. It works by connecting to a standard VGA card using the VESA feature connector, I had to crimp a 26 conductor ribbon cable to connect it.
It's quite strange watching such a slow machine play videos that even a Pentium can struggle with.

I played through the MPEG version of Return to Zork and The Horde. I've been trying to track down the MPEG version of Dragon's Lair but it seems to be incredibly rare.

I did have plans to record the Return to Zork gameplay (as its much better than the standard DOS version) and bought an S/Video capture dongle and VGA-S/Video adapter, but the results aren't really good. I don't want to splash out for a VGA capture card at the moment.
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Old 28th January 2014, 5:22 PM   #6
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Speaking of Pentium MMX's and RealMagic cards, I had a similar setup back in the late ninties and still look back at it with fondness. I had a Pentium 200MMX with a FIC VA-503+ motherboard (CPU was an incremental update until I brought a K6-2 350), Rendition V2100 card along with the Creative PC DVD Encore Dxr2 decoder. Damn that Dxr2 was bloody expensive but it was great fun playing the special Wing Commander 4 DVD version which was included and seeing the gorgeous (for the time) cinematic videos.

Unfortunately all I have left of that system is the Rendition V2100 and the WC4 DVD. When I'm finally finished fixing up my Atari PC3 8088, I think my next project is going to be gathering all those parts and enjoying it all over again!
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Old 28th January 2014, 6:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adz View Post
I thought about installing a K6 in my rig, but the P200 is more than fast enough for my needs.
It was the K6-2 or a P166 so it was an easier option for me. It's interesting to play with the Super Socket 7 processors as I haven't really before. Windows 3.11 at 1280 x 1024 is interesting...

Quote:
Pretty sure I have some 16MB EDO modules if you're interested.
Thanks for the offer, but I managed to get some 8MB modules today. 32MB is heaps.

Quote:
I'd call it retro! I gave away all my Socket A kit recently, fond overclocking memories from those days
Definitely fond memories, including hunting down a XP-M 2500+. Still have it tucked away for a rainy day. Digging through the Socket A stuff came in handy today. A (noisy) solution to cooling the K6 with only a small heatsink.


Click to view full size!


Socket A fan haphazardly attached to the P166 heatsink does the trick, at least temporarily.
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Old 28th January 2014, 10:37 PM   #8
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Thanks for the offer, but I managed to get some 8MB modules today. 32MB is heaps.
No worries

Quote:
Definitely fond memories, including hunting down a XP-M 2500+. Still have it tucked away for a rainy day.
Always wanted a mobile Barton back then, had to make do with a regular old Barton 2500+, still managed to squeeze 2.34GHz out of it which I was rather happy with.


Back to the P200MMX, I installed the Matrox Millennium II I have, ran a few tests and all seemed a little faster with the ET6000, also had some strange shadow artifacts with Duke3D, so I'll stick with the ET6000 for the moment. No chance of getting the AWE32 in, about 5mm too tall for the current case, should be able to get it into my 486 case though.
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Old 29th January 2014, 4:27 PM   #9
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Played 45 minutes of Alpha3 on my cab before work after watching the below video.

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Old 29th January 2014, 11:32 PM   #10
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So I opened up my 486 box this evening thinking I'll start to plan it's upgrade and tidy up only to finally do a little research on the motherboard that's in it. No clear manufacturer and no model number, hmmm, this doesn't look good, so I grab the only name I can find on the chipset, "Asaki". A quick search yielded that it's a cheap POS motherboard made in Brazil chock full of fake cache chips So now I'm off looking for a decent socket 3 board so I can get started...Don't suppose anyone has one they want to donate?
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Old 30th January 2014, 7:40 AM   #11
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adz there is a way to find out the model of the board based on the bios string of when the pc first starts up

http://www.biosflash.com/e/bios-id.htm

look at the where it point's to in the image on that page. Normally if you type that area out in google you will be able to find out what model it is
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Old 30th January 2014, 3:27 PM   #12
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Battled with a ISA Sound Blaster. Installed drivers, worked fine until rebooting. Then constant MIDI port errors in Windows 3.11. Changed everything I could on the card (IRQ settings, disable IDE, random jumpers, etc) but nothing worked.

In vein reinstalled using an older driver. Works perfectly.

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So now I'm off looking for a decent socket 3 board so I can get started...Don't suppose anyone has one they want to donate?
It's a bit of a pain finding a decent Socket 3 motherboard. The eBay prices are crazy. It might be worth finding some cache chips for the motherboard you've got if it's otherwise reasonable?
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Old 30th January 2014, 4:37 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by adz View Post
So I opened up my 486 box this evening thinking I'll start to plan it's upgrade and tidy up only to finally do a little research on the motherboard that's in it. No clear manufacturer and no model number, hmmm, this doesn't look good, so I grab the only name I can find on the chipset, "Asaki". A quick search yielded that it's a cheap POS motherboard made in Brazil chock full of fake cache chips So now I'm off looking for a decent socket 3 board so I can get started...Don't suppose anyone has one they want to donate?

I have a few, I could sell one for about 30 bucks plus postage.

Are you sure the cache is fake? Try running this utility to confirm: http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/software/CACHCHK4.zip

If the cache is fake and the chips aren't soldered on the board, and you don't need some propriety COAST module, you could just buy the appropriate SRAM chips.
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Old 30th January 2014, 8:36 PM   #14
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Thanks for the tips guys, I'd done quite a bit of research and could only find a few tidbits of info regarding this motherboard. Seems it was manufactured by a company called Kou Sheng Computer P/L and having run the CACHECHK utility, I can confirm that it is indeed chock full of fake L2 cache. There is some good news however, it would seem that a user on another board has actually been successful in getting cache to work in this board, I guess I just need to find some now...

Another issue I have is that I'd actually like a board that I can find the manual for.
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Old 31st January 2014, 8:36 AM   #15
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Ha, I have one of those Asaki VLB boards here too. Very cheap looking and wafer thin.

I might have a VLB board spare if either of these 2 work (haven't tested them for a while):

http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/motherbo...l#.UYReT7Ww18E

http://www.amoretro.de/2012/01/qdi-p...therboard.html

The only thing is that they have very slight signs of acid damage - I'm fussy so it can't be much or I would have chucked them by now.

Let me know if you're interested and I'll see if they work.
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