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Is it amazing that a 25 year old computer still works?


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#26 OLD CS1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:53 AM

I run an internal server on a Super Socket 7 motherboard and an AMD K6-III+.  I figure this machine is roughly 20 years old, though I am currently attempting to virtualize it as it is one of the biggest producers of heat in my home office.



#27 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:59 AM

And don't forget about power consumption. The computer on my desk is about 14 years old but it's costing me in electricity.

#28 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:29 AM

I run an internal server on a Super Socket 7 motherboard and an AMD K6-III+.  I figure this machine is roughly 20 years old, though I am currently attempting to virtualize it as it is one of the biggest producers of heat in my home office.

Aww man, just hearing those words again takes me back. I used to build computers like that for friends. 

 

You could probably move the function to a Raspberry Pi. 



#29 OLD CS1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:09 AM

Aww man, just hearing those words again takes me back. I used to build computers like that for friends. 

 

You could probably move the function to a Raspberry Pi. 

 

I probably could.  My original intention was to run the machine until it died but it refuses.  I have replaced the power supply once in the past tens years, though I have replaced its fan several times.  But since I have a small i7 machine here running some VMs I thought I might just go ahead and give it a try, if only for the experience of attempting a P2V move for Solaris 8 x86 to Hyper-V.



#30 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:17 AM

With cloud computing and smart speakers and stuff, I'm finding I don't really need to run a computer 24x7 at home anymore. What's the server doing, anyway?



#31 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:02 PM

I run an internal server on a Super Socket 7 motherboard and an AMD K6-III+.  I figure this machine is roughly 20 years old, though I am currently attempting to virtualize it as it is one of the biggest producers of heat in my home office.

 

Around 2003-2004 intel came out with the low-power Dothan. It was getting 2.8GHz P4 performance while running at 1.7GHz and consuming between 5 and 10 watts power. It was about then I gave up doing homebrew rigs. I never really achieved anything low-noise, low-heat, not till recently. Always seemed a destination out of reach.

 

Today we find it cost-effective to upgrade whenever the IPC/watt ratio changes to our benefit. And old bulky computers are useful only as nostalgia.triggers or for sentimental value. That's it.

 

All these how-to's about repurposing old rigs seem to be makework.for someone looking for a reason to write an article.



#32 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:22 PM

Today we find it cost-effective to upgrade whenever the IPC/watt ratio changes to our benefit. And old bulky computers are useful only as nostalgia.triggers or for sentimental value. That's it.

 

All these how-to's about repurposing old rigs seem to be makework.for someone looking for a reason to write an article.

 

I am deeply conflicted about the "retro battle stations" subredditA large portion of them are legitimately interesting old machines, painstakingly restored or modded to do cool things. 

 

Then there's a whole bunch of mid-1990s trash that is neither historic nor funky nor cool, just old and dorky and power-hungry. Not elegant or beautiful, just old. Maybe it's what some kid (anyone younger than me) grew up with, but that doesn't make it any more interesting than mainstream American cars from the 1970s. 



#33 OLD CS1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:47 PM

With cloud computing and smart speakers and stuff, I'm finding I don't really need to run a computer 24x7 at home anymore. What's the server doing, anyway?

 

Internal DHCP, multi-view DNS, syslog-ng, internal SMTP, and primary command/control for my clusters. I maintained it in physical form mostly because I was still making third-tier backups to tape, but also because I really wanted to see when it would just upchuck and die.

 

Not gonna lie... I had to look up what a "smart speaker" is.  I am old enough to remember when these were called "home assistants" or "voice assistants."  Now I am aware I am behind in the snappy marketing terms, and I am sad.


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#34 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:17 PM

All magnetic media is ANALOG including a 4tb hard drive manufactured today

 

Okay, maybe I should have been a little bit more precise, how about ANALOG as in carried on an AUDIO CARRIER.  For instance even as late as the 1980's home computers (like the TI-99/4A) used an audio carrier.  I even remember using ANALOG audio to carry digital media over AX.25 radio transmissions.   The only time I had trouble was with the ISS and  Doppler shift.



#35 thetick1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:06 PM

 

I am deeply conflicted about the "retro battle stations" subredditA large portion of them are legitimately interesting old machines, painstakingly restored or modded to do cool things. 

 

Then there's a whole bunch of mid-1990s trash that is neither historic nor funky nor cool, just old and dorky and power-hungry. Not elegant or beautiful, just old. Maybe it's what some kid (anyone younger than me) grew up with, but that doesn't make it any more interesting than mainstream American cars from the 1970s. 

 

Oh that is so cool.  Oh how I want a Solaris/Sparc Tadpole laptop to go next to my AIX/PowerPC Thinkpad !

 

Yea too many Blueberry iMacs and Pentium beige boxes in the mix.


Edited by thetick1, Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:08 PM.


#36 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:23 AM

I am deeply conflicted about the "retro battle stations" subredditA large portion of them are legitimately interesting old machines, painstakingly restored or modded to do cool things. 

 

Then there's a whole bunch of mid-1990s trash that is neither historic nor funky nor cool, just old and dorky and power-hungry. Not elegant or beautiful, just old. Maybe it's what some kid (anyone younger than me) grew up with, but that doesn't make it any more interesting than mainstream American cars from the 1970s. 

 

Oh sure it does. Those boring mid-90's clones are what some kids grew up with when they were coming of age. "Historic" is in the eye of the beholder. And to them kids, it was THE BOMB!

 

I just spent the winter (off and on) restoring, cleaning, and testing my 486 from 1992/1993. A nondescript PC for certain. And now I'm final-testing everything and grabbing some golden moments full of sentiment and nostalgia. And it was - is - completely exciting! As much as an 8-bit machine like the Apple II. It's almost, jjjuuussstt almost, possible to understand the machine in it's entirety, like an 8-bit machine. If not that, then at least several of the sub-systems.

 

Next up is my late 90's Pentium III. It needs new connectors and new cables and a damned good cleaning. Maybe a drive re-arrangement and transfer to a bigger case. But I expect it to be just as thrilling and exciting as working on the 486.



#37 RodLightning OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:41 AM

Wow, my 90s pc hardware experience was a lot different, more of a shred fest from around 94 to 2000.  Parts pulled out, inherited by next machine, motherboard replacement, pieces sold or traded away and cases picked up at trade shows.  I would love to have my original 486 DX66 with Cardinal DSP sound card and S3 Virge video, but it was all replaced piece-by-piece in what seems like an endless carousel of parts.

 

I would have to put one together again from scratch.  Other than bad caps and those famous exploding Varta batteries, I don't recall too many hardware failures from even 20 years ago, unless the machine belonged to a mad overclocker.  Gamers have been turning cpus to slag since the earliest days of Pentium 2.



#38 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:42 AM

Not gonna lie... I had to look up what a "smart speaker" is.  I am old enough to remember when these were called "home assistants" or "voice assistants."  Now I am aware I am behind in the snappy marketing terms, and I am sad.

 

Don't be sad about not fully grasping the snappy marketing terms. Though "smart speaker" isn't the best example, it's a rather good term for "home assistants" or "voice assistants". Both those imply your home or your voce are getting assisted in some what, which isn't quite true.

 

A smart speaker is more apt, and it rolls off the tongue better. It's a speaker that seems to know a lot of facts and answers and can place online orders.
 

What I don't remember or completely bother to understand are all these new social media platforms. Oh I understand them alright, but I don't fully get the incessant need for kids to be on them 24/7. There's so much more happening around in the real world than groupies mindlessly following rock stars. I mean how shallow and one-way can you get?

 

I'm going to go polish my Iomega ZipDrive now.



#39 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:12 AM

My DX2/50 is very very much original, very few replacement parts (like screws or a bit of soldering) needed if any.  I conducted a highly-skilled repair for the aftermath of those cocksucker Varta Bombs. I had to cut neutralize and clean and then cut through and re-laminate and re-build two traces in a tiny 1-2 mm^2 area of the 4-layer board. Next to a via. I colorized the final epoxy layer to match the original color, sanded and polished to a shine. It was a lengthy repair for such a tiny area. But you'd never notice it unless it was pointed out.

 

But I replaced the Varta battery with a connector so I could move it totally off-board. That took all of a minute and I could (but why) go back to having it onboard. Now if it explodes again it will explode itself in a small container with blotter/absorption material. And the secondary alkaline pack is already set-up off-board from the factory.

 

Overkill? Naw. Never have those problems again ever.

 

One thing I did do back in 1996(IIRC) is that I swapped out the mainboard and memory with a Pentium-90. Despite playing Descent and other games better & faster, the machine never felt quite rite and was now bastardized. Luckily that state of affairs lasted only a few weeks and I put the original stuff back in.

 

It was just "wrong" to have the case say 486 DX2/50 and have it be a Pentium 90 inside.

 

 

Wow, my 90s pc hardware experience was a lot different, more of a shred fest from around 94 to 2000.  Parts pulled out, inherited by next machine, motherboard replacement, pieces sold or traded away and cases picked up at trade shows.  I would love to have my original 486 DX66 with Cardinal DSP sound card and S3 Virge video, but it was all replaced piece-by-piece in what seems like an endless carousel of parts.

 

Now my old Pentium III 1.4 GHz is just like that. And I like it like that. It's ongoing evolution. The only "original" pieces are like the floppy drive (if it hasn't been replaced for failure) and the case and the IDE cables IIRC. Everything else is a borrowed, stolen, cannibalized, bought-new-from-store mishmash of parts and hacks. Though very reliable it looks like it will fly apart at the seams at any moment.

 

I started it in 1997/1998 and finished it in 2006. The final upgrade then was adding in a USB 2.0 card. Since then nothing has changed much on it. I'm ready to put it into the shop once again, today, to clean it, examine it, and replace the burned and melted ATX connector. I intend to keep the rickety hack look to it.

 

When I first started building it I started out with an AL440LX board and a P2-266. However it felt "right" to be changing things out, unlike with the 486. So I had gone to 350, then 450, then 850 MHz, and when the 850 exploded and caught fire, I didn't give up. I went to a 1.4GHz P3/Celeron Slocket. This time properly done.

 

The system has seen about 8 graphics cards, 3 memory upgrades, 7 hard disk upgrades and 2 power supply changes. I remember the 300W Comp-USA generic supply started sagging worse than my grandmother's titties.

 

In the early days of building this P2/P3 rig and getting it running I had just gotten out of school and needed money for parts. Couldn't afford them, so I borrowed from the 486 (GASP!). Luckily that state of affairs didn't last long either. As I became able to afford new proper parts I eventually returned the monitor, SoundBlaster 16, 14.4 Modem, Keyboard, and 1MB ISA Graphics Board to their rightful place - back in the 486, thus maintaining originality. I kinda-sorta planned it that way. But you know how those things can go.

 

---

 

Additionally somewhere around 2003-2004 I took parts from it and tried getting into the P4, which was a hot expensive mess and taught me firm lesson to never push the cutting edge again. A waste of time and effort. Because that cutting edge becomes cheap mainstream a few short years later. And PCs are way overpowered for what over 90% of the general populace needs them for, save professional and supercomputing applications.

 

The 2nd bad-half, the latter part of the dot-com era was coming to an end and so was my interest in baggie-chasing the latest hardware. The

 

So I have zero nostalgia for the P4 now and never will. I'm passed that point where if I was going to get bitten by that bug I already would have. I think I genuinely hate the P4 era and where the industry was trying to go.

 

TRIVIA: Anyone remember Matrox' Headcasting?


Edited by Keatah, Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:20 AM.


#40 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:09 AM

 

Okay, maybe I should have been a little bit more precise, how about ANALOG as in carried on an AUDIO CARRIER.  For instance even as late as the 1980's home computers (like the TI-99/4A) used an audio carrier.  I even remember using ANALOG audio to carry digital media over AX.25 radio transmissions.   The only time I had trouble was with the ISS and  Doppler shift.

 

that's nice and all but they did have magnetic tape for computers BACK then as well which was what my original reference was to in the first place but thanks for being in left field with you FINGER up your nose 

 

whats with the random words being shouted anyway



#41 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:15 AM

 
but thanks for being in left field with you FINGER up your nose 
 


Nothing like a rude jerk not worthy of a response. Click.

#42 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:16 AM

agreed



#43 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:29 AM

Matrox HeadCasting -- I had to look that up but I do remember it now that you mention it.

https://www.anandtech.com/show/789/3

Yet another of those transitional things that makes zero sense now but was an innovative use of the limited tech of the day.

Re "smart speakers," I used to run music servers in increasingly headless setups, first just plain iTunes on a Mac, then a Linux box with similar setup, then a modified NSLU2 "slug" (low power pre-Pi type thing) with a hard drive attached. Things like Amazon Echo running without disks or fans are awesome, even if it's constantly eavesdropping on me. :D All the music and radio streams with a proper Star Trek voice interface. It can also work like "The Clapper" and turn the lights down, but it's for music first and foremost.

#44 OLD CS1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:56 AM

Things like Amazon Echo running without disks or fans are awesome, even if it's constantly eavesdropping on me. :D

 

Negative, Ghostrider.



#45 atarilovesyou OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 5:02 PM

Keetah, never change. Tv dinners are on me next week!

A dude once told me, even though I didn't believe him at the time, "Just because something is old doesn't mean that it isn't any good".

He was particularly talking about vehicles and tools, but I've never forgotten it and to be honest, the older I get?...the more it proves to be true.

Edited by atarilovesyou, Sun Mar 17, 2019 5:03 PM.


#46 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:43 PM

In thinking with the survivalist mindset: I know my pre-Pentium IV stuff will work decades into the future. And that includes the peripherals. Like my old Epson MX-80 dot-matrix printer. I wonder if Windows 10 would support it? Or if Win10 would even support the necessary interfaces like a parallel cable?

 

1- The BIOS EPROMS and HDD adaptables can be backed up and flashed if they suffer bit-rot.

2- None of the system has to ever go online for anything.



#47 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:07 PM

I know my pre-Pentium IV stuff will work decades into the future

 

 

I just had a 486 board explode like half of its 26 tantalum caps in one shot and took 3 days to repair

 

so yea



#48 phoenixdownita OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:33 PM

...but in the end the question stays the same...

Why do we give two flying fucks about any of it?

 

Yeah, Nostalgia, I know, but then what? Why do we keep on getting high on some old shit?

I mean it! What's the chemical reaction on our brain that makes it feel like we're having an orgasm, when we clearly are not, while restoring some old crap like that?

 

EDIT: I'm guilty as charged just wondering why? How come? Can I make it stop?



#49 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:29 AM

I just had a 486 board explode like half of its 26 tantalum caps in one shot and took 3 days to repair so yea

 

Well wtf? I've seen individuals short, then force more current through them, then explode as expected. But for 26 to go bad in one shot? Why'd that happen?

 

Did someone reverse the polarity or overvoltage a supply rail or something, weaken them, let them sit, then power on = poof?



#50 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:33 AM

EDIT: I'm guilty as charged just wondering why? How come? Can I make it stop?

 

It could be as simple as remembering the satisfaction and reward of having discovering something new. And a double-whammy is the nostalgia (for the old item) mixed with discovering something new all over again today.






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