Updates and acquistionsAdam L April 27, 2023
Over the past few months, I've accomplished a lot of upgrades and repairs on the various machines, from replacing CD-ROM drives to repairing power buttons, and replacing motherboards.
One of the major quality of life changes is that I now have two KVMs set up that give me full access to all but two of the machines here.
Now that I have this, switching between each machine is as simple as two button presses. The machines are divided into two banks of 4, ones with VGA output and the others with HDMI/DVI. This will make diagnosing, config and general usage of the machine a million times easier now that I don't have to constantly swap which ones are connected on the bench.
Structure and style
As you have no doubt noticed, the site looks rather different compared to a week ago.
There are now two views of the site, one which uses far simpler HTML and CSS and one that uses modern HTML and CSS.
The reason behind this is two fold
- I saw people trying to visit the site using retro machines but of course, with the previous theme, it would've looked horrendous due to all the broken HTML and CSS
- I saw that some visitors had slow connections and when I saw that the CSS+JS code was over 2MB (due to the search index) that was going to take some time to download.
The low bandwith version of this site is here to fix those problems with mostly HTML4 compliance, minimal CSS and zero JS.
The new CPU page is now available and is located on the menu bar above or you can visit here but stay and read this first!
I replaced the CD-ROM drive in the AST Advantage, the drive used (a Mitsumi CRMC-FX400B) is an alternate model that was also factory fitted.
I've also installed a Seagate Medalist ST32122AB in there so now the AST can boot without any assistance from the Promise IDE Controller which has now been removed to make room a network card.
While I had the lid off, I replaced the failed Sunon KDE1208PTS3-6 with a Noctua NF-R8 redux-1800 which has a nearly idential rated CFM but at a fraction of the noise. To make absolutely sure I also added Gelid Solutions Silent 50mm fan to the CPU heatsink, belt and braces.
This machine got some additional cooling as well, a Noctua 60mm fan was added as a rear exhaust and I installed an Artic P12 120mm fan on a PCI bracket directly blowing on to the Voodoo2.
In addition to this work, I removed the Vibra-16 and installed an Audigy, this seems to have solved a few stuttering issues some games were having.
The OS was also upgraded to Windows 98 SE as it's more in keeping with the time period. Oh and I also fixed the sticky power/reset buttons on the case.
Danger of Death
This machine is now assembled and fully operational, except for an appropriate CD/DVD drive, it got a fresh install of Windows XP Professional and is fully upgraded to SP3. I've had some minor issues with it not wanting to POST every single time, it warrants further investigation, it could be a failing capacitor or a perhaps some RAM is acting up. Either way, it's earmarked for some bench time.
Since the last news post in Dec 2022, CF is now fully operational and has an installation of Kubuntu Intrepid Ibex (2006). It's mostly working fine, there's clearly some work to be done around the NVidia drivers and the X screen configuration as it always starts X with the wrong resolution and refresh rate, which is more an irritation than a problem. I'm sure I can get it working eventually.
That is, however, on the backburner for the time being as I've recently purchased another new Windows 7 Professional and I plan to install it on CF. I feel that without Windows, CF would be missing out on some fantastic titles that it could easily run with the specifications that it has.
With the final addition of some 120mm fans to the front and rear to improve flow, this machine is all done.
And to celebrate, my Daughter and I sat down and played some Minecraft 1.0 on it, getting a buttery smooth 56 fps at 1920x1080.
It's amazing to see how much stress a game with such a simple concept was able to put on a top-spec machine in 2012 and it still couldn't achieve a perfect frame to refresh rate ratio. I'm glad Mojang was eventually able to optimise the game loop and rendering.
Items marked with a "+" are "brand new, in box"
- Intel Pentium 3 933MHz
- Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
- AMD Phenom II X4 965
- AMD Athlon XP 1600+ Palomino AX1600DMT3C
- AMD Athlon 1000 A1000AMT3C
- Adaptec ASC-39160 U160 SCSI PCI card
- LSI SAS9200-16E PCI-e x8 Quad Port card
- + Unbranded SATA PCI card, VIA VT6421a chipset
- + Replacement drive belt for AOpen
- 2x IBM IDE CD-ROM drive, black
- Liteon LTN-486S IDE CD-ROM drive, black
- Mitsumi CD-RW IDE, white
- Seagate Cheetah ST318452LC 3.5" 18.2GB 15K SCSI
- Seagate Barracuda ST310220A 3.5" 10GB 7.2K IDE
- Fujitsu MAS3184NC 3.5" 18GB 15K U320 SCSI
- + 2x HP branded 3.5" 18.2GB 15K U320 SCSI
- Seagate Medalist ST32122A 3.5" 2.11 GB IDE
- 2x256MB AMC32V64T8S4GAS 168-Pin PC-133 SDRAM Non-ECC
- Nvidia Geforce GTX 260
- Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live! SB0100 PCI
- Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy SB0090 PCI
- Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS SB0350 PCI
- + Windows 7 Professional x64 System Builder Pack
- + Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
- + Genius 56k v92/v90 External Modem GM56EX
- + Logitech M-S61 Mouse PS2 with Scroll Wheel, RM Branded
- + Q-Tec CPU Cooler / Heatsink for Socket A
- + 5.25" 4 Pin Molex To 3.5" Floppy Drive
- Extron RGB-HDMI 300-A Scaler
- + Creative Sound Blaster Case Badge
- + 3Dfx Voodoo 2 Case Badge
- + 2x Intel Core 2 Case Badge
- + 3x CD-ROM to Sound Card Audio Cable
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