Projects

Retro PC

During the last couple of months I’ve been playing around with the idea of building a DOS based retro PC. Now I’ve finally gone and made a start.

My aim is to have a good, fast, DOS/Win98 compatible PC for games. Nothing too fast or fancy. I also wanted to keep the price down. Unlike some other projects, this should be cheap.

I settled on a board, CPU and memory combo from eBay. The motherboard is a Lucky Star 5I-VX2B. CPU is a Pentium 100mhz without mmx, and it came with 32Mb of 72pin SIMM RAM.

I was tempted to go with a highend 486 biuld, but this was a good speed/value price-point. The motherboard chipset is also new enough to work with large drives (by that I mean over 8Gb) so no worries about fitting a large game collection on the HDD. 60Gb should be fine. Win98/DOS7.1 allows for FAT32 and removes the old 2gb partition restrictions. DOS7.1 is actually just as good as the older versions when setup correctly. Windows 98SE is just for a few Widows only games that need it.

I’ll upload more pics, videos and info as this project progresses.

Upgrades on Upgrades

I’ve taken a little timeout this weekend to play with my Amiga 1200 Tower. Recently I got a very cool Apollo 1260 Accelerator card with a 80Mhz clocked Freescale 68060 CPU. One downside to the A1260 over the Blizzard line of cards was that they only shipped with a single RAM socket, limiting memory to just 32mb. This is still fine for most setups, but I always like to extract the max potential when possible.

The reason for this limitation was to allow the card to fit correctly in the original A1200 wedge case. A mounting point is present on the card for an additional 72 pin SIMM socket. After I tracked one down with the help of a fellow Amibay member, it was very easy to install. Now I have 64mb of ram with a pair of matching 32mb simms.

I also got to install the Elbox FastATA MkV controller that arrived recently. Replacing my original MK1 16bit version gives a big speed increase to HDD access. I’ll do some benchmarks later..
More to come soon.

USB-GDROM board

I’ve managed to get more time to play with my USB-GDRom. Its a great device and well worth the cost at the moment. Its replaced my Dreamshell setup as by default Dreamcast system.

Click here, or the images above to read my full findings. Now i’m just hoping for a bit of time to enjoy this before my PSIO arrives.

PS2 HDD IDE to SATA Upgrade

And now for something a bit different. After finding a few problems with the old IDE HDD in my PS2, I decided to install and new SATA drive. To do this I upgraded the existing IDE+LAN adapter with a SATA controller kit from eBay.

Click here or on the images above to see how it went. I’ve also included information on how to format and prep a blank drive for installing games with OPL.