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What retro computer activity did you get up to today?

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by adz, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    Voodoo/Win95 adventures on the P200. It was my first time playing GLQuake yesterday, which was cool. I'll add a playthrough to the queue. I installed Half Life too, just to see how well the Voodoo would carry it. It has some pretty serious stability issues (can't even launch a campaign), but I was able to run around in a local MP server at more than playable framerates. It felt pretty surreal on this hardware.

    I want to try Interstate 76, and the original Spec Ops and Rainbow Six entries. But I started hitting some problems. Large FTP transfers were falling over, and CD installs were throwing BSODs with a VXD - VFAT(01) error. That may point to an IDE resource conflict, so as a first step I'll see if pulling some cards helps. Or perhaps just moving to 98SE would be a good idea.
     
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  2. DonutKing

    DonutKing Member

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    Was cleaning out my dropbox that has accumulated over a decade of cruft, and stumbled upon a folder full of photos of my old 286 build.
    Went looking for the build thread here and found the image links were all broken, so I spent a bit of time fixing it all up.

    Had a great trip down memory lane, unfortunately that rig is long gone :( I cleaned out a heap of retro PC and console gear when I bought my first house with my now wife, sold it for a fraction of what it's worth now! Past me was a dick.
     
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  3. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    That was a great read. Glad you found those pics and updated the thread. Don't kick yourself too hard about things you didn't keep. We've all done it!

    No luck with the above issues in W95, so I went to a fresh 98SE install. And things got much worse! I'll skip the details - everyone knows the hell when it's not going well. I think trying another HDD is the next step, but I don't have one that's a good fit for this system (8GB BIOS limit) so I'll pick up a CF card.

    But I need to step away from that machine for a bit and do something else dumb. So I might follow through on my half-joke from earlier, and put the Voodoo in the PIII box.
     
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  4. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    good read that, thanks, and i stumbled over a name i havent seen or heard of in ages.. red hatter.... is he still around? He ended up with one of my 4 SGI blue toasters, picked it up from my house way back when.. Stew if i remember right..
     
  5. DonutKing

    DonutKing Member

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    Havent heard from him in forever. I knew him from the now defunct AtomicMPC forums, I don't think i ever interacted with him here.
     
  6. GumbyNoTalent

    GumbyNoTalent Member

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    Some really cool software available.
    https://github.com/mwenge?tab=repositories

    My old favorite Defender along with Joust was my most played arcade games spending $$$.
    https://github.com/mwenge/defender
    125094574-4aa14d00-e0cb-11eb-9cf9-6dec489585f4.gif
    This is the source code for the Williams arcade game Defender.

    The source code can be assembled into an executable that you can then run in Windows or Linux. You can also assemble it into the 11 rom files that would have been loaded onto the arcade cabinet's ROM board. Today, these rom files can be used to play the game in an emulator such as MAME.
     
  7. sammy_b0i

    sammy_b0i Laugh it up, fuzzball!

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    Found an Intel 80GB SSD to put into the Shuttle SN95G5 v3 I picked up recently.

    I've got an Opty 170 and 2GB of DDR500 on the way from an OCAU member here to go in as well.

    An IDE DVD from another member is on the way soon as well.

    I've got a Ti4200 128MB here looking for a purpose, so I ordered a NoS Thermaltake copper cooler (still three left in stock) for it, coming from the US.

    Then there's a PCI slot empty looking for a nice soundcard, so talking to another member about an Audigy 2 that might slot in there to give a good experience.

    Thinking it's a Windows XP machine for era-appropriate gaming. Jedi Knight, Unreal + Tournament, Morrowind, etc.

    Specifically happy with the SFF size as it'll pair well with the Dell P1130 21" Trinitron I've got here also looking for a purpose.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2021
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  8. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    Yep, that case & monitor are going to make for a sweet looking black retro setup. My eventual XP build will have a Dell 2007FP. It's no CRT but should be pretty nice - as long as I've got the grunt to run everything at 1600x1200.
     
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  9. power

    power Member

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    nforce based shuttle? what could possibly go wrong?
     
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  10. sammy_b0i

    sammy_b0i Laugh it up, fuzzball!

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  11. power

    power Member

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    add an ATi GPU for maximum enjoyment. be sure to install the nforce drivers to ensure it stops booting.

    eh, have fun i'm just having flashbacks to 'nam.
     
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  12. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    Lolol.. you guys... Lolol..

    Haha, yeah nforce2 was prob Thier best, and hughly dropped the ball for nf3.
    I too picked up a shuttle last year sometime here from some russian dude in Sharjah..
    Prima XPC SX48P2-Deluxe.
    Came with no GPU, or hard drive, but with 3 CPUs.. lolol..
    Great little box.. a few pics inside yours please Sammy. :)

    I use it for when I need a desktop at a mates joint.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2021
  13. Matthew kane

    Matthew kane Member

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    Ah man pencil mod on the nf4 SLi to ultras man that brings back a whole heap of memories.
     
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  14. Matthew kane

    Matthew kane Member

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    You know now that I've got some old AGP graphics cards and a matching Pentium 4 478 cpu and mobo combo I might build a retro PC to play old games that I never finished. NFS Underground 2, Soldier of Fortune 2 (the one with instant gib effects). Etc
     
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  15. elvis

    elvis OCAU's most famous and arrogant know-it-all

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    Was bored shitless in a meeting today, and came up with a wild idea that I wanted to make an iPXE+iSCSI retro OS boot system available from my website when I got home.

    Plan was to get people to write a small (~400KB) iPXE boot disk image to a floppy (or Gotek device), and as long as they had an Ethernet capable NIC, they could pull a retro OS from my site.

    So, starting off with Win98SE.
    * CD-ROM image is incompatible with iSCSI CD mode. Fine, I'll try iPXE HTTP CD boot
    * Nope, iPXE HTTP CD boot doesn't work either. Fine, I'll make a VHD and boot that
    * VHD works, but won't boot as D: drive, only as C: drive. Windows 98 SE FDISK won't allow the second disk to have partition marked as active, so a manual fdisk / "format /s" / reboot doesn't work.

    Well poo. OK, let's verify with a modern WinPE from Windows 10. Yup, everything works - iSCSI CD boot and iPXE HTTP CD boot. OK, so maybe Win98 is too old. Let's try WinXP.

    Nope, same again. iSCSI CD boot and iPXE HTTP CD boot both fail.

    Well that was 4 hours of my life wasted. Still no idea why these older ISO images all boot find either burned to a real CD-R or used in VMs, but refuse to boot over iSCSI when modern ISOs (Linux, Win10, etc) all work fine. LIkewise a VHD that Win98 fdisks and formats boots fine over iSCSI (I could run a whole Win98SE OS live over iSCSI with iPXE even without the need for a SCSI driver, as iPXE emulates the BIOS/IDE stuff), yet the CD won't. So odd.

    I'd love to crack this one day. I've got a pretty comprehensive iPXE menu going on at home for all my OSes, but ISO installs are all done via memdisk currently. Downside is you need enough RAM to fully cache the ISO in memory and then have enough space for the installer to run, which is impractical for older machines with low RAM (nobody's installing Win98SE on 640MB+ RAM machines). Doing it via iSCSI over the Internet I think would be totally doable, and be a great way to deploy old OSes on demand to real hardware and VMs.

    [edit]

    Here it is:
    https://github.com/ipxe/ipxe/discussions/283

    So newer live systems are fine because they're clever and the kernels are less reliant on BIOS calls. DOS through to Windows XP are all heavily reliant on the BIOS for real access of devices, and they can't see the mapped iSCSI device via the BIOS (rather than what's in memory via iPXE). That explains quite a lot (and sucks a lot too, because you can boot a whole OS happily, just not a CDROM based installer).

    Ok, so the focus here then is getting a VHD booting as device 0x81 (second IDE) rather than 0x80 (first IDE), so that the local hard disk can remain as the primary device and allow DOS/Win98/WinXP fdisk.exe the ability to mark it as active (for the record, Linux fdisk can... hrm... maybe I could just bundle FreeDOS fdisk and see if that works???).

    At least I have more steps to try!

    [edit2]

    Sheeeiiit. Can't iPXE boot 0x81 (second disk), can't set partition active on any drive not "C:\" with Microsoft FDISK, and FreeDOS FDISK doesn't seem to play well with the Microsoft DOS7/Win98 kernel (says it sets partition as active, but doesn't).

    Rapidly running out of ideas. Next attempt is all-FreeDOS boot system with folders of individual Microsoft stuff to copy, reboot into FreeDOS to then install Windows.

    Old computers, man. So inflexible.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2021
  16. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

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  17. cdtoaster

    cdtoaster Member

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    I picked up my x-fi fatal1ty card today, need to decide what PC to put it in. I have a EX38 s775 build I've put to the side a bit after some setbacks. I had a core 2 quad extreme CPU that ended up being defective so I tried a modded 771 xeon that also didn't work meaning I'm back to the C2Q 8200. it's currently running Win10 Pro with a GTX970. I could put Win XP on and use the driver hack for the 970 but I quite like it as is so I might keep my eye out of a faster CPU and more 800MHz or 1066MHz RAM.
    The other 2 motherboards i have are a socket A DFI LanParty board and Intel desktop board. The LanParty is pretty cool but i think i need an IDE drive for that and it might be a bit harder to find drivers.
    The intel board has a SATA port which you can run as IDE, fortuitously I download all of the drivers for Win98SE/Me and XP before they discontinued them in late 2019. I ran Me on it earlier and it was quite a poor experience even fully patched. Due to the ease I might use this one with 98SE, are there any downsides to 98SE vs regular 98? I have an old 128GB SSD which would be more than enough in the era of 20gb HDDs

    edit: i guess the x-fi is much newer than i remembered, it should work fine on windows 10. i don't know how i missed that it's a pcie card lol. i'll still set that intel board up again anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2021
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  18. elvis

    elvis OCAU's most famous and arrogant know-it-all

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    Cheers for that. I've got everything there already it seems:
    * Traditional legacy BIOS/PXE to iPXE chainload
    * 32bit and 64bit UEFI PXE to iPXE chainload
    * Modern http-only-boot to iPXE chainload
    * Multi-stage iPXE menu with OS installs for both legacy (BIOS) modes (Linux netboot and Windows WinPE ISO environments) and modern (UEFI) modes (Linux efi-net boot and Windows WIMboot)
    * iPXE based iSCSI boot for iSCSI hosted installed OSes

    All of that was many years of stuff I added incrementally (most of it mucking about at home for hobby stuff, but also later on deploying in businesses to automate installs in places that were a mess of multiple OSes).

    That gist has pretty much the same thing. The problem I'm tripping over is there's no way to have a legacy (pre-Vista, where WinPE was introduced) ISO image boot over iSCSI due to the assumption that the CD-ROM is always physical and BIOS attached, or alternatively without copying the entire ISO into system RAM and running it from there (which works fine, but I want this accessible to people with era-accurate hardware and much less than 1GB of memory).

    So my alternative was to create a VHD from Win98 DOS mode and boot that over iSCSI. Works fine to boot Windows98/DOS7 itself, except the next step of FDISKing and FORMATing the target install disk didn't work, again due to limitations in the Win98/DOS7 kernel and those mentioned tools. Ditto for WinXP (and I assume MS-DOS6, Win95, Win2K, etc).

    Next step when I get a chance is to attempt all of this again with FreeDOS. Their tools and kernel are much more modern, and I'm hoping work on non-primary disks. That'll be used just for the initial iSCSI boot, fdisk and format, and then touch wood I can boot back in to a local disk with a proper active partition and begin the Win98/WinXP install from there, which will ultimately blow away the temporary FreeDOS kernel and bootloader.

    If I can get it all working, then it's going up on my site with an iPXE boot menu, and some instructions for folks to test.

    [edit]

    According to a post on the iPXE discussion threads, one of the developers mentioned "sanboot is always read-only". I assume that means it has no way of allowing writes to any devices, iSCSI or local, and that's what I'm seeing in my tests - you can go through the motions of FDISKing a blank hard disk, and FDISK reports success, but on reboot the disk is still blank (and inspecting the VHD with command line tools confirms this).

    I've seen people use memdisk to load a 1.44MB DOS floppy into memory, and that allows read/write to then install an OS. But generally from there they're pulling the data via SMB or HTTP, which means complex packet drivers in DOS (the example I saw was a PXE menu item per NIC, as you can only just fit the necessary drivers on a single floppy with a handful of tools like the SMB client, so multiple drivers are too much). I was hoping for the universal simplicity of iPXE's approach instead.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2021
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  19. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

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    Complexity screws us once again.
    I haven't tried the DOS port of DD for this type of job. Might be an option?
     
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  20. Draxx

    Draxx Member

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    I have spent the last few days trying to get a Voodoo 2 card to work in Windows 2000 on my Epox EP-BX3 slot 1 mainboard. Took me a while to figure out it didn't like the 2d video card in the first PCI slot. Once I moved it to slot 3, was all good.

    Current specs of the setup:
    • Epox EP-BX3 Mainboard
    • Intel PIII 1.4Ghz Tualatin in Upgradeware Slot-T adapter
    • 768MB Infineon PC-133
    • Cirrus Logic 5434 PCI VGA card
    • 2x Maxi Gamer 3D2 Voodoo 2 8MB cards
    • Windows 2000 Pro
    • Samsung Spinpoint PL40 40GB IDE 7200RPM
    • Pioneer DVR107D DVD-RW
    • Iomega ZIP-250 IDE

    This wont be the final configuration, I just needed to have a stable baseline and known working config so I can begin going through testing a whole stack of this era hardware. Nailing SLI Voodoo 2 means I can test a few other Voodoo 2's I have :)
     
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