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Is a vintage PC worth it these days?


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#1 coleco82 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:22 AM

I ask because there are some games that are glitch, skippy, or slow on Dosbox. Examples of which include NBA JAM Tournament Edition, excessive flickering, FX Fighter, glitchy and slowwww.
Also, the lack of a really good Windows 95/98 emulator. As hokey as it is, I miss some of those Windows 95 games, Crime Patrol 1 and 2, Virtua Fighter 2, Double Switch etc.
If a Vintage PC is worth it, what price ranges are reasonable (sub 100 dollars) and what brands, types of PC's should I be looking at?
Thanks in advance

#2 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:32 AM

NBA Jam TE is an arcade game first and foremost. You should play that one in MAME, as the PC port is going to be cut down in some ways, just like the console ports. I see there's an easy setup version if you're dead set on the PC version for some reason. 

 

FX Fighter was a showcase for certain video cards and it might be tough to get the exact package to make that look good. Personally, I'd move on to newer and better games, it's not like that one was anything special

 

Virtua Fighter 2 just went backwards compatible on Xbox One (meaning it works on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One) and is based on the PC version, but has better graphics, compatibility, controls, and features.

 

The FMV games you miss will run on a modern PC with a little work, which for some people is half the fun. For me, it would be all the fun, because those games, pee-yew.  :razz:

 

In my personal opinion, a "vintage" (I think obsolete is a better term) PC is not worth the time, space, or hassle. You're going to be fighting against aging hardware and difficult to find software drivers. 

 

Since you're going to do it anyway, my advice is to choose a manufacturer that is still in business, and might still have device drivers for easy download. Dell computers should be easy to find, and Creative SoundBlaster hardware was the de facto standard from that time period. 3D support will depend on whether you go with Glide or DirectX graphics. 3DFX cards were nice but they're long gone now. If you have more time than money, scrounging should give you what you think you want. If you run into difficulty, Vogons is a better place to ask about this kind of thing, they've got lots of people doing what you want to do. 



#3 Metal Jesus OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:47 AM

I would think the number one thing you want in a vintage PC is a 3DFX Voodoo 2 video card for maximum performance and compatibility. And from what I've seen... getting a working computer with a 3DFX card is becoming more and more expensive...



#4 coleco82 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:55 AM

Thanks for your replys Flojomojo and Metal Jesus. It was an idea I entertained. I can't really afford a Packard bell, or dell, or hp Vectra, unless its really cheap, like 30 dollars etc. However, you would think getting a old pc just to play Windows 95/98 games shouldn't be 100 to 200 dollars.
I guess I will have to see if there are used computer stores in my area
Or I'll just stick with DOSBOX and GOG.com, since most of what I play are DOS games

#5 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:09 AM

MJ is right, old 3DFX stuff is getting expensive. I think it's silly for a dead-end technology, but we're seeing the same thing with Atari Jaguar, too -- it's just supply and demand. 

 

You can try software Glide wrappers to run the 3dfx-only stuff on modern equipment. I've been meaning to do this with the GOG versions of Jedi Knight and X-Wing vs TIE Fighter to make them as pretty as I remember. It's a bit more fiddly than I would like, but doesn't look terribly difficult. I've got little enough time to play, so farting around with settings takes a back seat. 

 

"Used computer stores" are going to have nasty markups, I would avoid them if they even exist. Instead, look in thrift stores, rummage sales, and freecycle.

 

This is going to be a test of your computer chops, making weird old things work together. If you're holding out for someone to hand you something pre-made, to make it easier, I would say that you're missing a big part of early 1990s PC gaming.  ;-)



#6 coleco82 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:24 AM

When I lived in Syracuse, NY there was a used computer repair shop that also sold used computers. If I had a full time job way back then I could have easily picked up a decent win95/98 rig.

I guess I miss my silly Windows 95/98 games, the Sonic collection, virtua squad, Myst, Oregon Trail 2 and so on.
I am just surprised that there is not a full featured Windows 95/98 emulator that I can use, I tried VirtualPC but it was a wash, I guess I can try PCem but, I don't know if that is a waste of time as well.

#7 accousticguitar OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:25 AM

I tried to sell a pentium 1 computer on AA and nobody wanted it. I finally gave it away for the price of shipping which turned out to be right at $30. I didn't want to just throw it away even though it was a pain to ship when I didn't make any money off it.

#8 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:45 AM

I guess I miss my silly Windows 95/98 games, the Sonic collection, virtua squad, Myst, Oregon Trail 2 and so on.
I am just surprised that there is not a full featured Windows 95/98 emulator that I can use, I tried VirtualPC but it was a wash, I guess I can try PCem but, I don't know if that is a waste of time as well.

What do you want to run them on? Do you have a Windows PC from the past 6 years or so? The limiting factor is going to be your hardware, as the virtualization software all pretty much does the same thing. Windows 8/10 can run the old games in compatibility mode. 

 



#9 Tanooki OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:14 AM

Might I make an off the wall suggestion here.  If you want something that'll really run DOS and Win95 stuff absolutely well and doesn't eat up a hell of a lot of space.

 

Look into a Toshiba Libretto

https://en.wikipedia...oshiba_Libretto

 

I've considered it over the years, never pulled the trigger on it, but I know of a lot of stories of people who have and the little thing is fantastic and runs those classics like a charm.  Downside I guess would be the 10-12" screen size on them roughly, but they're all low tier Pentium1 computers on the 75-266mhz range, earliest two models were actually 486 dx 75 and 100 boxes.  That would fit what era you're looking into and not be a space pig.



#10 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:02 AM

I tried to sell a pentium 1 computer on AA and nobody wanted it. I finally gave it away for the price of shipping which turned out to be right at $30. I didn't want to just throw it away even though it was a pain to ship when I didn't make any money off it.


And I just sold a fairly decked out one on eBay for 100

#11 boxpressed OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:31 AM

Building and collecting vintage PCs have been very fun for me. It can get expensive if you don't have a plan, however.

 

For Windows 98-era builds, the only pricey stuff is 3DFX cards and ISA sound cards with wavetable (or external MIDI modules). The latter is just to play DOS games. You don't need either of those to play most games, however. Getting those things made the hobby more fun for me because I never had that high-end equipment back in the day.

 

The first thing to do is decide which games you want to play the most, which it seems you've already done. Go for a system that has Windows 98SE. It will play all your Windows 95 games without a problem. There's no reason to go with Windows 95 unless you want a period-specific build.

 

Then, do a little research and find out what the recommended specs are for those games and then aim a little higher than that.

 

The most affordable, most compatible route you can go is a Intel 440BX board for Pentium 2 or 3. You should be able to find a nice OEM with that mobo and CPU for less than $100 shipped, maybe even a lot less. Many of these will have a basic video card in them, but they usually do the trick. A Geforce 2 MX is a compatible, cheap card that will play most non-demanding games. I would recommend getting a Voodoo 3 3000 instead of a Voodoo 2. The V3 performs about as well as two V2s in SLI and will be cheaper. They're great DOS cards too. But they sell for between $30-$50 loose these days.



#12 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:48 AM

Amazing (and confounding) how hard it is to sell any vintage PC hardware. Yet when you want to go buy it, the price is always at a premium.



#13 boxpressed OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:38 PM

Amazing (and confounding) how hard it is to sell any vintage PC hardware. Yet when you want to go buy it, the price is always at a premium.

 

True. I've sold two systems over the past year.

 

One was a modest HP Pavilion system with a 466MHz Celeron. However, I knew it wouldn't sell with just the stock equipment. I added a Voodoo 3, a Yamaha sound card with OPL3, and the original 98SE setup CD/COA. The listing made it very clear that I knew what I was doing and that the system was tuned for best performance. I sold it for $130.

 

The other was a really clean Sony VAIO with a fast P3. It was pretty much stock. It sold for $70.

 

So, you're not going to make much money selling vintage PCs, but it can be done. The first buyer got a nice little system that will play most DOS and Windows games up to about 2000-01 for $160 shipped. That's about the going rate for pre-builts with quality components.



#14 jce3000gt OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:34 PM

Vintage PCs seem to be wanted only by those who collect them and or have a ton of space to set on up.  I have a Windows 98 machine that I cannot even GIVE away...I just want someone to take it.  I also have an Apple G4 that I'm about to try and sell but will not be surprised if no one wants that either.  :(



#15 wongojack OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:53 PM

Vintage PCs seem to be wanted only by those who collect them and or have a ton of space to set on up.  I have a Windows 98 machine that I cannot even GIVE away...I just want someone to take it.  I also have an Apple G4 that I'm about to try and sell but will not be surprised if no one wants that either.   :(

 

If you are in DFW, send me a PM about your Win '98 machine.



#16 jce3000gt OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:07 PM

 

If you are in DFW, send me a PM about your Win '98 machine.

 

I'm in the Little Elm/Frisco area so PM Sent.



#17 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:46 PM

To answer the OP's thread-title question directly. I would have to say that is for you to evaluate. And you alone. Do you want it or not?

 

From a technical standpoint, we're at the point (have been at several) where period hardware is a good thing, if that's what floats your boat.



#18 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:58 PM

As much as I chased after 3D graphics cards back in the day, I was thoroughly elated to see the passing of 3DFX and the Voodoo boards. While 1 and 2 were near groundbreaking, the format and eco-sphere never really grew beyond geek gaming. I particularly disliked you could only do 3D only, and that the cards had to do passthrough gymnastics to co-exist with your existing graphics solution.

 

When the 2D+3D cards like the Voodoo3 and the Banshee came around, it was too little too late. The company went stagnant. Much of 3DFX would eventually be absorbed into Nvidia.

 

With the arrival of Riva-128 and soon the TNT2 and GeForce, we were well on our way to finally getting a world wide standard that'd be accepted by everyone.

 

TRVIA: The Riva-128 had the fastest and most compatible 2D engine of its time. Eclipsing offerings from Matrox, Permedia, s3, and other contemporaries. The second fastest 2D card would be the GeForce GTS2 Ultra.



#19 boxpressed OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:26 PM

My first foray into 3D graphics back in the day was the Riva 128. Finished Quake II with that card.

A Voodoo 2 would have been a better match for my CPU (AMD K6-2 350). P2s and P3s could compensate for weaker graphics cards, but Glide was the equalizer for weak floating-point CPUs like the K6-2.

#20 jce3000gt OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:36 PM

Wow all those old GPUs, brings back great memories. I had a fondness to 3DFX, Hercules, and the GeForce 2 MX.

#21 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:41 PM

S3 ViRGE, Rendition Verite 1000 and 2200. Surely there's a page that summarizes all the early 3d cards..



#22 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:44 PM

My first foray into 3D graphics back in the day was the Riva 128. Finished Quake II with that card.

A Voodoo 2 would have been a better match for my CPU (AMD K6-2 350). P2s and P3s could compensate for weaker graphics cards, but Glide was the equalizer for weak floating-point CPUs like the K6-2.

 

Still have the Micronics C200 mainboard with AMD K6-2 and 64MB of memory. I loved Micronics' mainboards. Then they got bought out by Diamond Multimedia in attempt to get coverage at BigBox shops.

 

Just like Supra, loved their products. Still have a few NIB MIB CIB 56.6K Flex ISA modems. Real modems, not soft-modem shit.



#23 jce3000gt OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:07 PM

I just tossed my last GeForce 2 MX card. :( My last S3 is long gone.

#24 boxpressed OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:27 PM

Vintage PCs are hard to sell because they require a level of commitment and expertise that consoles don't. They're for the hobbyists like to tweak and tinker with the hardware as much as play games. It can be frustrating to get things working just right, but we have all the information to do so at our fingertips today (compared to, say, 1993). If you just want to sit down and play a game right away, then consoles are your thing. But if the idea of assembling the perfect setup (CPU, video, audio, OS, etc.) to play a particular title appeals to you, then I recommend getting your feet wet with vintage PCs.



#25 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:41 PM

Just imagine having today's information and its ease-of-access back then! A boon for even for simpler activities like cartridge and collection curation. Just the online reference and spreadsheet capability or the file-management tools (for emu buffs).






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