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Sarge
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by Sarge Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:30 pm

Yeah, I remember finding a U.S. Robotics 56k modem in a thrift store that I used for quite some time. Even after most people were starting to get DSL. Heck, I still can't get DSL where I'm at. Ironically, in my tiny, tiny hometown, my parents have DSL.
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Ziggy587
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by Ziggy587 Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:28 pm

Ziggy587 wrote: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!


I received my FDD in the mail today, and I love this seller. The FDD was packed in the perfect middle of a USPS Priority medium flat rate box, with packaging material all around it. The FDD would have survived Jim Carey from the opening of Ace Ventura! He even locked in a random floppy disk to protect the drive during shipping. With so many sellers that just throw stuff in a box and ship it, it's really nice to find a seller that gives a shit about what they're doing. I even got a black face drive! I know it wasn't coincidence. I can tell the amount of care this seller has by the way he packed the item.

Anyway, only 6 drives left at the time of this posting. If you need a 5.25" FDD, grab one of these before they're gone!
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by marurun Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:30 am

If your workplace has a fax machine, you can still experience the thrill of the analog connection experience! Hear the hiss, the honking, the static scream!
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samsonlonghair
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by samsonlonghair Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:39 pm

I eagerly await the day that all fax service is permanently shut down. That is one technology I will never miss.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by Ziggy587 Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:32 pm

Ziggy587 wrote:
Ziggy587 wrote: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!


I received my FDD in the mail today, and I love this seller. The FDD was packed in the perfect middle of a USPS Priority medium flat rate box, with packaging material all around it. The FDD would have survived Jim Carey from the opening of Ace Ventura! He even locked in a random floppy disk to protect the drive during shipping. With so many sellers that just throw stuff in a box and ship it, it's really nice to find a seller that gives a shit about what they're doing. I even got a black face drive! I know it wasn't coincidence. I can tell the amount of care this seller has by the way he packed the item.

Anyway, only 6 drives left at the time of this posting. If you need a 5.25" FDD, grab one of these before they're gone!


Only one drive left at the time of this posting! All gone!
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by isiolia Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:49 pm

Since I had started feeling like putting together a retro PC or two, and would be visiting family for the holidays anyway, I asked my brothers if they had any old machines taking up space. They did, and I returned home with three towers...and an empty case left we didn't use when building one of them a new PC last year. One of them was a shoe-in to "restore" first...mostly because it wasn't a Core2 era or newer machine :lol:

At one point, I had several older machines hanging around...but while I don't like selling things, I have a tendency to give hardware away rather than see it languish in my basement/closet/whatever. Some stuff, for one reason or another, does manage to stick around.

One of those things was an old 19" Dell branded Trinitron (P991, very common at the time). It didn't start out as mine, and really wasn't until it was effectively abandoned in my basement when (if I recall) my youngest brother was vacating his relatively nearby apartment and moving a few hours away. I'd tried using it before, but Trinitrons from around 2000 have common issues, namely, that they get really really bright. This one also was very blue:

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I'd looked up solutions at the time, aaaand...proceeded to put it back in the basement. One way to tackle the issue is to replace a resistor (similar to this). The more appealing thing is to utilize the service port to change settings in the EEPROM. Doing that requires software, and while it's now only on archived sites, instructions are still out there, with a mirror for the software to boot. Plus, at this point, the necessary hardware is on Amazon for a few bucks...

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Protip: If the chip starts getting really really hot, you have the wires in the wrong order. *cough*

So even prior to travelling, I'd messed with it a little. After futzing with the software install and wire order, I backed up the .dat file, edited...and it failed to upload it entirely. Happily, the serial interface is a direct control of the monitor, still allowing me to power it on and all that and try again. Another protip: the .dat files expect the exact same number of characters, so if you change, say, 110 to 85, you need to put a space in there too.

Simply lowering the G2 voltage netted a better image, albeit one that was still way too blue:

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However, that's where I left off before heading up north.

I came back with, again if I recall, the original machine that the monitor was purchased with. A Dell Dimension XPS T700r. A nice candidate for a 98SE machine, since that's what it shipped with in the first place. It's built around a slot-based Pentium III 700Mhz.

This had some additions since then, but key components were still original (video, sound, etc), save for the lack of a hard drive.
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I wound up taking it as apart as I could to clean it up and make sure of the little things (it had no screw in the motherboard, for instance).
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On reassembling it, I left out some of the expansion cards - modem because no need, and a USB card since one of the ports was crushed. What I left in (at least for now):
nVidia RIVA TNT2 m64 AGP card - part of nVidia's last round of cards before the GeForce line started, the TNT2 in general was one of the cards to beat at the time. Of course, while there were higher end variants (Ultra), there was also the cheap version, which is what the m64 model is. 64-bit memory interface instead of 128, choking the performance.

Sound Blaster Live! Value - not sure if this is the Dell reduced feature one or not...but I have another one, or an Audigy around I could swap in if I wanted. Either way, it can act as a SB16 so it's fairly compatible.

3Com ethernet that I didn't bother installing drivers for yet, because it's annoying procedure (wants to create floppies).

It started with 384MB of RAM, but when I started seeing bluescreens I did some RAM testing and found the DIMM put in there as an upgrade was bad. So, it's back down to the 128MB it shipped with, but for my purposes, that's plenty. I didn't see any other issues when doing diagnostics and stress testing.

Replaced the CMOS battery, 'cause that was dead, replaced the CPU fan hoping it'd be quieter (little bit, not by much), and put in one of the 120GB IDE drives I had around. I did buy some IDE to Compact Flash adapters, and some probably-too-large cards (16GB), but haven't tried installing one yet. Much as it does sound like a major downgrade in terms of space, for the time (machine dates back to 2000) that'd be fairly decent.

I also tried to clean the case (and monitor) up a bit, and brought it to a different table because the CRT was too heavy for my plastic folding table :lol:

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As can be seen, the monitor was still much, much too blue. I dredged up a mediocre 2.1 speaker set, and got an appropriately beige, technically-new PS/2 keyboard and mouse set from the local PC shop (I think it has graced their shelves since 2006 or so).

For now, I delved back into WinDAS to tweak more monitor settings, and seem to have at least gotten things into a normal range:
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As is/was typical for CRT monitors, it seems to be nigh impossible to get it all perfect. One of the things I liked about LCDs immediately. However, it does look really nice on the quick gaming tests I've done.

So, more or less restored a machine that...was never mine. :lol: The next "older" one I have plans to mess with actually was though, but I need to actually go buy a video card (at least) to get that working.
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samsonlonghair
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by samsonlonghair Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:36 pm

Neat! I've never seen anyone adjust a CRT computer monitor like that before, isiola. Great job!



Now that you have Win98SE up and running, check out the archive of DOS games on archive(dot)org.
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For that ethernet card, maybe you could use another PC to extract the straight .inf files instead of going through the annoying process of creating floppy disks. On the other hand, the Ethernet port is a gateway to malware, so your probably better off without one. :lol:

Windows 98 Sound cards are neat. I miss dedicated sound cards a lot. Do you have one with a gameport / midi interface? Those are cool. 8)

I'd like to know more about those IDE to CF adapters. I've seen them in Youtube Videos, but I've never used one in real life. one of those might come in handy with my G4 when the time comes to replace the IDE drive. I'd love to know your firsthand thoughts before I cross that particular bridge.
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isiolia
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by isiolia Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:32 pm

samsonlonghair wrote:For that ethernet card, maybe you could use another PC to extract the straight .inf files instead of going through the annoying process of creating floppy disks. On the other hand, the Ethernet port is a gateway to malware, so your probably better off without one. :lol:


I could possibly find something that could mount the disk image files that are bundled with it, but yeah, I have little motivation for Ethernet to work anyway other than maybe a classic LAN party or the like.

Windows 98 Sound cards are neat. I miss dedicated sound cards a lot. Do you have one with a gameport / midi interface? Those are cool. 8)


The SBLive! cards have them, the Audigy (despite being the Gamer packaged version) replaces it with an IEE1394 port. I think the other cards I have around are a USB Soundblaster and a PCIe ASUS Xonar, so those don't.

I'd like to know more about those IDE to CF adapters. I've seen them in Youtube Videos, but I've never used one in real life. one of those might come in handy with my G4 when the time comes to replace the IDE drive. I'd love to know your firsthand thoughts before I cross that particular bridge.


I'll have to try 'em, but I would suspect that their usage in that era might be less attractive - first because they're not usually as durable as flash media made for that sort of storage. So, things like pagefiles would wear them out faster. Second because IDE based ones are relatively slow compared to available speeds. (some of that is detailed here ). Relative to DOS/Win95 era hardware (and in turn, probably a lot of classic MacOS) they're likely good though, and less likely to get murdered by I/O.
For OS X stuff, an IDE to SATA adapter might do better.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by samsonlonghair Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:43 pm

Good read. Thanks for the link.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by Ziggy587 Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:22 am

Nice post, isiolia! Thanks for sharing!
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