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CRTGAMER
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by CRTGAMER Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:52 am

Retro PC advantage - 4:3 VGA Monitors best for older games and a better vertical view of forum posts
I find that widescreen does not cut it for older games. Either a stretch to fill or put up with black borders on the sides. Forum threads as well, I can see more posts at once on the screen before scrolling down. Even under Mame where retro arcade games tend to be taller vs wide; the widescreen makes the view worse. The Dell 4:3 monitor can even be rotated 90 degrees for Mame SHMUPs, at arcade correct aspect vs a widescreen rotated. Throw in the screensaver which slideshows pictures which are also 4:3 format, no black borders or stretch due to shown on the 4:3 VGA monitor. The family picture view will have less impact since the cell phone "widescreen" is now the norm for taking pictures. Then again, most tend to take pictures and videos in the vertical "retro arcade monitor" tall mode!

Two 4:3 VGA monitors are taller and have less footprint vs two widescreen VGA monitors
The XP tower supports two 4:3 19" VGA LCD Monitors a Dell and a Viewsonic at extended desktop, great for having one showing a game and the other for online browsing. I can also combine both monitors into an extended widescreen as well for spreadsheets; this under the old XP OS. I do have Virtual PC and DOSBox on my Win 7 Laptop, but as Sarge pointed out, the Win 95 games are better on the dedicated Win XP PC. DOS games on the other hand work beautiful in DOSBox; multiple CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT memory configuration boot ups are not needed and various virtual sound cards are supported.

I don't think the security risk a big deal under Win XP as long as malicious sites are avoided. The XP tower is great for older games and just general browsing. We use it for paying monthly bills online and watching cat videos, no issues for years. No crazy sites to reduce the spyware issue. Once in a while I'll run Spybots which supports XP.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by isiolia Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:38 am

Newer OSes work fine with 4:3 if you're really set on it. To me though, it's more an issue of scaling. So, sure, something that can only be 640x480 or something may not look its best scaled up on an LCD versus on a good CRT actually swapping modes.

For things like web browsing though, or games able to run at higher resolutions...it's less logical to me. With regard to pixel dimensions, widescreen monitors tend to just have extra space. For the common 15/17/19" 4:3 LCD monitors, you'd usually be looking at 1024x768 or 1280x1024. Maybe, in some cases, 1600x1200. Common widescreen monitors are XGA (1366x768), 1600x900, 1920x1080, 1920x1200, 2560x1440, etc. So most of them pretty comfortably fit the contents of a similar tier 4:3 display inside them.

For fullscreen content, sure, black borders can be distracting at first, but aren't that hard to adapt to. For browsing or something, just don't fullscreen the browser? I dunno. You can easily fit the same contents vertically.
For LCD to LCD, personally, I'd rather just have more pixels there if I want 'em (and likely as part of an objectively better panel), versus keeping older screens set up.


That said, I think the superior solution for a retro gaming PC, if you have the space, would be a 19-21" (or larger) high end CRT, as that'll be hard to touch for running things at 640x480 or 800x600 and similar.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by samsonlonghair Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:46 am

Heck, if you want to rock a WinXP to run Win95 games on a bench, then more power to you. If you want to build a small home network (that's not connected to the internet) that's perfectly reasonable. On the other hand, connecting to a wider area network is inviting malicious software and identity theft. Consider this anecdote:

I was a Windows XP stalwart for years. The last time I installed WinXP on an old machine was in 2013. I formatted the hard drive and performed a clean installation from scratch. I booted into a virgin installation of Windows, I installed my drivers, and I restarted my machine. I opened windows update to get all my security packs, and... it was already too late. I was hit by virus attacks immediately. I hadn't even browsed the internet yet. I hadn't installed any sketchy software. The only thing I had even tried to do online was to download windows updates directly from Microsoft. Before I could even install my updates, I was already hit. This demonstrates how insecure XP is all the way down to the core. There are known vulnerabilities that MS does not patch anymore, and there are automated bots online constantly looking for vulnerable machines. That was the day I finally had to break up with Windows XP.

Sarge wrote:Yeah, I had it on for a little bit, and then just decided to disable it entirely. About the only thing I'd trust doing is setting up a local FTP or something with my own machine for transferring files instead of via flash drive.
A local network like the one you describe sounds reasonable to me (assuming that all computers on your local FTP are disconnected from the internet at the time). I can't blame you for sending large files over a fast ethernet connection rather than a slower USB connection. I use a similar solution to send large files to a classic G4 iMac that I keep around. I just disable the network connection when I'm not using it. By the way, if you just use FTP, you can block port 80 as an extra security measure during the short time your network card is enabled.

CRTGAMER wrote:4:3 VGA Monitors best for older games and a better vertical view of forum posts.

That's all good, CRT. If you like 4:3 ratio monitors, then more power to you. I have a whole array of 16:10 monitors because I like that form factor. I also have monitors that can turn 90 degrees for that vertical view. All these monitors work just fine in Windows 7 or any other secure operating system. You can keep your monitor preferences AND run a nice, secure OS.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by Sarge Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:06 pm

See, that's what I need, a monitor setup that I can rotate. I've got a buddy of mine that runs like that because he does a ton of coding, but I could also see it working quite well for vertically-scrolling shoot-'em-ups.
“History isn't just the story of bad people doing bad things. It's quite as much a story of people trying to do good things. But somehow, something goes wrong.” -- C.S. Lewis
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by samsonlonghair Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:05 pm

Sarge wrote:See, that's what I need, a monitor setup that I can rotate. I've got a buddy of mine that runs like that because he does a ton of coding, but I could also see it working quite well for vertically-scrolling shoot-'em-ups.

Oftentimes the rotating part is in the stand rather than built right into the monitor itself. These stands are oftentimes intercompatible. If you see a cheap monitor in the thrift store, check to see if it rotates. Even if you don't like the monitor, check to see if the rotating stand might fit a monitor you do enjoy.

This way, you can keep your sharp monitor in whatever resolution and ratio you enjoy best, and you can also enjoy 'tate mode shoot 'em ups. You get the best of both worlds!
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by Sarge Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:19 pm

I will do that. I've got a pretty nice 23" monitor that barely gets used, but it's the best one I have for that sort of thing.
“History isn't just the story of bad people doing bad things. It's quite as much a story of people trying to do good things. But somehow, something goes wrong.” -- C.S. Lewis
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by marurun Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:00 pm

There was a brief period of time there is was pretty common to be able to get a monitor with a rotating stand included, and the system would know when you rotated the monitor and the drivers would automatically switch the screen orientation. But for some reason those fell out of favor.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by isiolia Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:23 pm

marurun wrote:There was a brief period of time there is was pretty common to be able to get a monitor with a rotating stand included, and the system would know when you rotated the monitor and the drivers would automatically switch the screen orientation. But for some reason those fell out of favor.


I haven't seen ones that automatically adjust. It's fairly common for there to be a key combo that'll rotate (often Control + Alt + arrow to where you want the top of the screen to be), though it can depend on driver and options toggled.

There are plenty of options available for VESA compatible monitors, with regard to stands. That's pretty much just a standard orientation for screw holes to be, and many monitors have them, even if the included stand doesn't attach that way.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by CRTGAMER Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:52 pm

samsonlonghair wrote:The last time I installed WinXP on an old machine was in 2013. I formatted the hard drive and performed a clean installation from scratch. I booted into a virgin installation of Windows, I installed my drivers, and I restarted my machine. I opened windows update to get all my security packs, and... it was already too late. I was hit by virus attacks immediately. I hadn't even browsed the internet yet. I hadn't installed any sketchy software. The only thing I had even tried to do online was to download windows updates directly from Microsoft. Before I could even install my updates, I was already hit. This demonstrates how insecure XP is all the way down to the core. There are known vulnerabilities that MS does not patch anymore, and there are automated bots online constantly looking for vulnerable machines. That was the day I finally had to break up with Windows XP.

That is weird, never have an issue my Win XP tower still running fine today for Win 95 gaming and browsing. I do leave all auto updates turned off as well as keeping Microsoft Windows Defender disabled; prefer Spybot. Based on your installation date, maybe Spyware was more predominated on Windows XP back then and malicious coders have moved on to deal with current Operating System firewalls? One thing for a fresh install is using my custom created Win XP Slipstream disc. I transferred the original Win XP Pro disc and streamed in all three Service Packs as one new install onto a new CDR. A fresh install with all Service Packs already setup before going online.

Yes, a newer OS would have the newest drivers, but I keep XP for the older games as Sarge mentioned and for me UB Funkeys the hold over that needs the Portal USB detection under XP.

Sarge wrote:See, that's what I need, a monitor setup that I can rotate. I've got a buddy of mine that runs like that because he does a ton of coding, but I could also see it working quite well for vertically-scrolling shoot-'em-ups.

As marurun mentioned, I think I remember a couple monitors back in the day something about an auto detect of the rotation. My Dell 19" monitor does not detect rotation by itself other then rotating the built in monitor settings menu. I think the video card would have to auto sense the rotation in order to match the video aspect output when rotated. Imagine the 4:3 or a widescreen image rotated if controlled by the monitor alone would result in either stretch or black bars.

As far as rotating the image itself thru the video signal, the standard keyboard shortcut CTRL ALT ARROW does not work for my video card. After rotating my monitor, I right click the Nvidia Icon at the task bar, select monitor with the DVI connection and click the 90 degree view setting.

The stand has a slide for up and down positioning of the monitor to accommodate the new height when rotated. This also has a nice discovered benefit of exact height match to the other 19" Viewsonic Monitor for the ultra widescreen effect with two monitors of the extended desktop. The mechanical rotation portion is built right into the back cover in the Dell so would be tricky to cannibalize.

A rotation bracket can be built possibly using parts from small HDTV wall mounts or a bracket built from a trip to Home Depot. Maybe a Lazy Susan, aluminum angle iron and a small hitch pin?


https://www.amazon.com/Dell-Ultrasharp-1907FP-Panel-Monitor/dp/B0012MBIJ2

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:arrow: I do not use the stand cable slot due to the rotate.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by Ziggy587 Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:52 pm

Scored two more things...

Sound Blaster 16 WavEffects - $22 shipped

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Gravis GamePad - $15 shipped.

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Both NEW IN BOX!

To reiterate what I said a while back... My dedicated Win98 PC has on board sound but no game port. I scored a Dell off the side of the road that came with a Sound Blaster Live! card, but I'm not sure how I feel about the Dell OEM versions of this card after reading some things. The WavEffects card sounds cool, and the price was right for one new in box.
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