Too many Retro PCs? Let's build a 4 in 1 Retro Gaming PC! 386, 486, Pentium...

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by philscomputerlab, Jul 20, 2015.

  1. philscomputerlab

    philscomputerlab Member

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    :wired: This video was a lot of work. But it was heaps of fun and some you might find it interesting :)


    Video: Building a 4 in 1 Retro Gaming PC


    The finished PC:

    [​IMG]


    The goal of this project is to have a single computer that can play 386, 486, Pentium and faster era games. Using a special processor with unique features, this can mostly be done through software while the machine is running. The video begins with a showcase of games from 1986 up to 2000. Then I am showing you how to build it and finally how to use it and some benchmarks at the end.

    The PC has a sound card with Yamaha OPL3 chipset, a General MIDI wavetable module and 44.1 KHz 16 bit CD audio quality in DOS and Windows.

    So go make a tea, or coffee, enjoy the build and let me know what you think :)

    I've had zero issues with this machine, it is extremely compatible with a very wide range of games and lots of fun. Capturing all the gaming footage was awesome, but also lots of work, installing everything and so on.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2015
  2. gambo

    gambo Member

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    Great project! Means I never have to use a 386 or 486 motherboard, something I was never very keen to do. To much hastle...

    Funny thing is that I have all the exact parts you used sitting here waiting to be be made into a copy of this system. Definitely on the cards for me soon.

    Awesome.
     
  3. OP
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    philscomputerlab

    philscomputerlab Member

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    Nice!

    That's exactly the idea :) I know many are into having an authentic 386 with floppy and authentic sounding hard drive. But I prefer hybrid machines, mixing old with new, and having a lot of the benefits and conveniences of modern technology.
     
  4. mr626

    mr626 Member

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    For a minute there I thought you were serious about the power supply :lol:

    Great video / build, thanks for posting.

    Edit: so if a person wanted to build a similar machine, are there any parts that are particularly hard / expensive to get a hold of?
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2015
  5. JidaiGeki

    JidaiGeki Member

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    Nice video, those opening clips were awesome, nice capture and great memories :thumbup:

    From the vids Comanche and Deus Ex looked like they struggled a bit under their respective settings, did you try them in the next mode up? Or, is there a way to tweak the 386, 486 & Pentium modes to make them slightly faster? (Sorry if I missed it in the vid, was doing a couple of things at once while watching :wired:)
     
  6. Cannula

    Cannula Member

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    Love the video Phil! I'm glad to see you come over to the dark side at the end too.
    I too love V3s for SS7 it's as if they were made for each other and I'm glad you pointed out why in the video. Glad to see you insert all the front panel headers before installation in this video, so much easier that way. I cracked up at the PSU comment too which followed with a nice sprite based explosion. Although I would still use a better PSU, just don't trust cheapo PSUs.
    All round awesome video, even though I'm at work getting my run ready I still watched the whole thing.
    Mr626; the most expensive thing is the MB, then the Voodoo 3, CPU, and floppy emulator. After those items everything is pretty stock since most SS7s are ATX based, just depends on your HDD choice etc.
     
  7. OP
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    philscomputerlab

    philscomputerlab Member

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    The most expensive part is likely the Super Socket board + CPU. The rest can be had fairly cheap, or there are alternatives. Like using a TNT2 instead of a Voodoo.

    Yes there are options, but not with this processor. Now I've done LOTS of testing, so this is just the gist, and every board and system will benchmark slightly different but in short:

    - AMD K6: Slowest CPU with caches disable. Gets you a 386DX-33 and 486DX-33
    - Intel Pentium: A tiny bit faster
    - Intel MMX and Cyrix: Fastests CPUs with caches disabled. The MMX will give you a 386DX-40 and 486DX2-50

    I've got plans to cover this in another video. Maybe the 3 in 1 PC :)

    Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. I try to get a bit of humor going, it's not my strong side, I'm quite the mellow character :lol: But no shame in trying.
     
  8. mr626

    mr626 Member

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    Thanks for the reply Phil. I think I'd enjoy building a similar machine myself. Before I go crazy and buy things on ebay I need to check my existing stash and see what parts I've already got :)

    Regarding the soundcard, it looks like some ebay sellers still stock these brand new!
     
  9. OP
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    philscomputerlab

    philscomputerlab Member

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    Yes the Audician 32 Plus is being sold new :)

    Agreed, use what you have first.
     
  10. monaro327

    monaro327 Member

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    Looks like you were right on the limit of some of the late 90's 2000 titles at 400mhz (6x66). But the 550mhz OC took them to playable levels?

    Rooughly what does the k6 cpu run like at 200mhz with all caches disabled? Will space quest and wing commander behave or no? More interested in Wing commander myself.
     
  11. jmannik

    jmannik Member

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    The title of this thread is misleading... you can never have too many retro pcs :p
     
  12. BuuBox

    BuuBox Member

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    Great video Phil.

    Downloading the utilities for my SS7 machine. Nice to have flexibility. :)
     
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    philscomputerlab

    philscomputerlab Member

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    Yes it struggles a bit. I did do some OC benchmarks at the end. 30% boost is what you get :)

    386 mode, the clock speed doesn't matter. Changes bugger all. But some games won't work because the clock is to high.

    386 mode, the clock speed does matter. You can get it a bit faster, not much.

    True that :) Wish I had more space.

    Awesome! Let us know how you go.
     
  14. monaro327

    monaro327 Member

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    Back in my ss7 days I use to use a programming called spftfsb to change the fsb in windows.

    I had almost this exactt setup in the late 90s. A ga5aa a k6.2+ clocked at 600mhz and a voodoo 32000.
    I actually played through the first Max Payne on it. Lol.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2015
  15. broox

    broox Member

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    It made me feel things.

    Good memories for sure!
     
  16. OP
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    philscomputerlab

    philscomputerlab Member

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    Nice!

    Good to know! Got to practice my non existing "arty" skills :)
     
  17. Flamin Joe

    Flamin Joe Member

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    It's not misleading, its damn right blasphemy around these parts! :p

    Looks like a great project but nothing beats playing around with the hardware of that era in my book. :)
     
  18. XD 351 Ute

    XD 351 Ute Member

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    Hi Phil, great video, some of those games brought good memories flooding back.
    I'd love to get mine out again and give them a run, but all my old machines have long since died and gone to PC heaven.
    Would you be interested in building one of these for me at all if I covered all costs and paid for your time?
    The main reason is I got a bit lost when you were showing how to find and upload all the drivers etc...

    If you could message me either way, it would be appreciated.

    Thanks, Ed :)
     

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