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Ziggy587
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by Ziggy587 Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:24 pm

5.25" FDD ALERT!

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R ... 8&_sacat=0

$25 or best offer, USPS Priority Mail medium flat rate box shipping, and the seller claims all drives have been tested with Kryoflux.

This is the best BIN I've seen recently for 5.25" PC floppy drives that are listed in good working condition. The FD-55GFR drives are 1.2MB capacity, which is a must in my book. There's two black faced drives in the picture. I didn't bother with a best offer, I used the BIN and included a message to the seller requesting a black faced drive if one is still available.

Anyway, there's 18 drives in the picture (who knows if the seller has more than that though) and 7 are sold already. So if you're looking for a 5.25" FDD, I'd suggest snatching one of these up before they're gone!
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samsonlonghair
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by samsonlonghair Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:17 pm

Ziggy587 wrote: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.

Groovy finds, Ziggy. I remember that Noise was talking about how much he loved that Gravis pad some time ago. I can't say that I ever loved it personally; even back when it was new, I considered it inferior to a SNES or Genesis controller. On the other hand, who am I to criticize someone for making a decision based on nostalgia? :lol:

I think that sound blaster is neat. I seem to recall that sometime around 2007~ish that I was "downgrading" someone's operating system from Windows Vista to XP in a brand new computer. XP didn't support the drivers for on-board sound in that motherboard, so I went out and purchased a Sound blaster card on the cheap. It worked perfect for that customer. She was so happy to be rid of Windows Vista! :lol:
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by Sarge Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:03 pm

Bringing back the memories there.

I was poking around at work, and found a Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 that I had saved from the dumpster when they were getting rid of stuff. Maybe I should throw that into my retro rig instead of using that onboard sound... but I also hate to chew up another PCI slot.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by isiolia Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:48 pm

I think I have an old Sound Blaster card or two around as well.

For a retro rig you do probably want to use a sound card over integrated.

The big reason is that - prior to Vista - the Windows sound stack was not exactly standardized. Instead, you had low level device drivers with very direct hardware access. So, feature support and control was still very tied to particular vendors and cards. While Creative wasn't the only game in town, if you're going to the trouble of having a dedicated machine for 98/XP era gaming, then having EAX and such would be preferable. Especially given that the switch to Universal Audio Architecture in Vista pretty much broke most of it (there were some attempts at fixing it I know). So, that plus an appropriate speaker setup would likely be part of seeing those games at their best.

In addition, the quality of integrated audio back then tended to be middling, and/or it used more system resources than a dedicated card (pretty irrelevant once you hit decent enough base system specs).

It's kind of the opposite end of the spectrum from modern PC gaming, where you're more likely to get better results (with regard to surround sound/etc) just passing the audio stream out over HDMI or USB than using internal decoding.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by Ziggy587 Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:36 pm

samsonlonghair wrote:Groovy finds, Ziggy. I remember that Noise was talking about how much he loved that Gravis pad some time ago. I can't say that I ever loved it personally; even back when it was new, I considered it inferior to a SNES or Genesis controller. On the other hand, who am I to criticize someone for making a decision based on nostalgia? :lol:


This is actually my first time owning one. I've always been aware of it, but I never owned one until now. I got it more or less because it was the PC gamepad of the 90's, and I happened to find one NOS for cheap. I never used a PC gamepad back in the 90's, as I was mostly playing DOOM and SimCity. So I guess I'm looking to get "the experience," if you know what I mean.

Sarge wrote:I was poking around at work, and found a Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 that I had saved from the dumpster when they were getting rid of stuff. Maybe I should throw that into my retro rig instead of using that onboard sound... but I also hate to chew up another PCI slot.


I have serious doubts about the SB Live! card that I scored since it's a Dell version. It's supposedly an inferior version of the card, I'm gonna have to research more to figure out if I should get a retail (real) SB Live! or not.

As for using a PCI slot... I always wanted to leave as many things "free" as possible when this was my current PC, and I still have that mindset with my new current PC. But now that it's a retro PC for fun, I wanna deck it out. The more PCI slots I can fill, the better. And for that matter, I'm gonna fill every external drive bay too!

isiolia wrote:For a retro rig you do probably want to use a sound card over integrated.


And I've read that integrated audio can eat up CPU cycles, especially in those early days. Back with single core and single threaded processors, it mattered a lot more too. If anyone has read my post in this thread about my XP machine that I dubbed "Custom 1," I had to squeeze every little bit of performance out of that thing. Who knows if it made a perceivable difference, but I got a Sound Blaster Audigy SE (pretty sure it was this one).
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by Sarge Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:54 pm

Yeah, the older onboard cards sucked up CPU cycles, they did a lot in software. They also did the same thing with a lot of modems.
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marurun
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by marurun Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:06 pm

Integrated hardware still uses a lot of software routines, but CPUs are so much faster they just don't drag the CPU down much at all, really.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by samsonlonghair Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:19 pm

That reminds me, there was a time when dial-up modem cards had dedicated physical tone generator hardware. I think they all switched to virtual tone generators some time around 1998~ish or thereabouts.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by marurun Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:11 pm

I suspect all external, hardware modems probably kept the physical tone generator (though I don't know for sure). They kept getting harder and harder to find but they were made into the early 2000s at least.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by CRTGAMER Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:01 pm

samsonlonghair wrote:That reminds me, there was a time when dial-up modem cards had dedicated physical tone generator hardware. I think they all switched to virtual tone generators some time around 1998~ish or thereabouts.

Oh man, the BBS days with Commodore and Westridge 300 baud modem. Or how about my 486DX66 (a screamer in its day) and external box U.S. Robotics Dial Up with (cringe) AOL. Okay, how many here have mocked the hiss bong bong sounds of connecting up? :lol:

I am now tempted to make that my ring tone! Then again that awful hiss, maybe not.
https://www.soundjay.com/dial-up-modem-sound-effect.html

Concerning the sound card, maybe the on board audio could go either way as far as robbing CPU speed. Probably depends if a game really pulls audio such as an FPS with a lot of voices kicking in that needs the plug in more powerful sound card handling all the channels.
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