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What to do with a Pentium 4 computer?

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I'm a fan of Gateway 2000.  Don't ask me why....I guess it's the cow logo.

 

I'm not sure if this qualifies as "Classic Computing" but a while back I was at a thrift store and saw a Gateway computer (after they dropped the "2000") that was a Pentium 4, 256 MiB RAM and 1.5 Ghz CPU.  It has two DVD drives and a floppy drive.  It was dirty but it cleaned up nice and works great.  It's a small tower model and I already had a PS/2 Gateway keyboard.

 

Oh, and it only cost $4.99.

 

So, one of the first things I'm using it for is to read many of my old IDE hard drives since my modern computer is SATA only.

 

But when I'm done with that, I'm looking for suggestions.  I thought about making it a bench computer for random work but that seems a little boring.

 

I already have a 486 for DOS gaming (which I prefer) and I'm not into modern shooters.

 

Another idea was to put some form of BSD on there (which I am a fan of) and use it for a small server.  But that seems boring too (especially since I have better computers for this).

 

I guess I could make it another DOS gaming PC since it's physically smaller than my 486.  But I would have to drastically slow it down somehow.

 

Suggestions?

 

Thanks!

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Perhaps there are some Windows 98 or XP games that are not modern shooters you would like to play? How about other software that doesn't exist for newer operating systems? There used to be a lot of tools for disk manipulation, early emulators, hardware interfaces to various EPROM programmers, scanners and more that no longer are supported on recent systems. It doesn't say if you already have a good working XP class system for such purposes, otherwise it would kind of make sense, in particular if you can fit a 5.25" drive into it and perhaps have some older computers using MFM formats which you could write with Omniflop/Omnidisk/something in Linux.

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Windows 95/98 games are usually the problem on a modern computer.  Dosbox handles dos games quite well.  Like Carlsson suggests make it a 2000 era gaming computer.

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Make it a utility/experiment computer.

 

By conventional wisdom it doesn't qualify for classic status yet. But it will. We still have to get past the original Pentium, and then the PII and PIII.

Edited by Keatah

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5 hours ago, Keatah said:

Make it a utility/experiment computer.

 

By conventional wisdom it doesn't qualify for classic status yet. But it will. We still have to get past the original Pentium, and then the PII and PIII.

 

I have an AMD K6-III+ running as a Solaris server. Does that count as a classic?

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I have a 2.4GHz IBM P4 and it would be great for Win 95/98 and XP games. It's only lacking in graphics atm. It can handle anything released for 95/98 but it's not going to be able to play any games like Doom 3 without a better GPU. It's only got a 64MB Geforce card.

5 hours ago, Keatah said:

Make it a utility/experiment computer.

 

By conventional wisdom it doesn't qualify for classic status yet. But it will. We still have to get past the original Pentium, and then the PII and PIII.

I have an AMD K6 200MHz (first generation K6) and I consider that system classic as it only has MS-DOS 6.22 installed (no Windows). Oldest game I've played on it without speed issues was the 1985 DOS port of Ms. Pacman.

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Also I've ran DOS (via Win 98) on a 2GHz dual core system before... the only issue was sound since the board was PCI/PCIe only there as no way to use an ISA Sound Blaster (Sound Blaster Live (PCI) FM emulation would be set to an IRQ that I could not access in DOS mode). Doom did run fine (without sound though).

Edited by DragonGrafx-16

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A 1.6GHz P4 w/2GB of RAM and WinXP was used in my MAME cabinet for several years.  I'd probably still be using it if one of the DIMM sockets on the motherboard didn't stop working.

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Windows 95 would require a special Patch to make it work, but i managed to get it to work. Fire up Age of Empires and call it a day!

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If you are leaning towards using it as a gaming rig, then I'd recommend Windows 98 SE. You can still use your 486 machine for many DOS titles, but then use the '98 machine for running later era DOS games with faster load times and higher resolutions. You obviously also get the benefit of being able to play Windows-based titles. Since Windows '98 is a 16/32-bit hybrid, you can run a larger amount of Windows titles than you would be able to with just '95. There is also USB support and you can use some more modern game controllers on it, not to mention be able to transfer data to it via a USB thumb drive. It's quite the flexible setup once you get it up and running.

 

I have close to an equivalent system running Windows 98 SE (Athlon XP, 2.1ghz) and it's my favorite system out of the various older rigs I have built (the other two being a Windows 95 machine with a Pentium 200 and a Windows XP/7 with a decade old Phenom II quad core). It covers such a wide gamut of titles, from early '90s DOS games to some mid 2000's titles (Painkiller from 2004 runs fantastic on it, for instance). I did add a Radeon 9550 256mb GPU which helps considerably on the Windows side, and if you wanted to do something similar to yours, GPUs from the mid 2000's aren't in big demand at the moment and are pretty cheap (like, $15 - $25 for a really solid card).

Edited by Austin
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On 7/2/2019 at 11:36 PM, Austin said:

If you are leaning towards using it as a gaming rig, then I'd recommend Windows 98 SE. You can still use your 486 machine for many DOS titles, but then use the '98 machine for running later era DOS games with faster load times and higher resolutions. You obviously also get the benefit of being able to play Windows-based titles. Since Windows '98 is a 16/32-bit hybrid, you can run a larger amount of Windows titles than you would be able to with just '95. There is also USB support and you can use some more modern game controllers on it, not to mention be able to transfer data to it via a USB thumb drive. It's quite the flexible setup once you get it up and running.

 

I'd also recommend dual booting 98 SE & XP since XP is recommended for playing early-to-mid 2000's games that won't run on Win 98 (artifical check) or even modern PC's that are 64-bit.  With both OS's, you'll have the best of all the 32-bit Windows games.

 

 

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Most Windows 98 games run just as well or better in XP. The exceptions are those games that require hardware with no XP drivers such as Aureal Vortex sound cards.

 

Windows 98 is a versatile OS because of it can play DOS games.

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gut it and put a modern system in the retro case, suprised the boat anchor actually still works pentium 4's were in that magical time where all the capacitors were made out of lead and snot and had a 3 year lifespan just sitting in the box 

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9 hours ago, MrMaddog said:

 

I'd also recommend dual booting 98 SE & XP since XP is recommended for playing early-to-mid 2000's games that won't run on Win 98 (artifical check) or even modern PC's that are 64-bit.  With both OS's, you'll have the best of all the 32-bit Windows games.

 

 

I'd say dual booting can be worth the trouble, absolutely, if the system is strong enough to handle the XP era of games well. In this case I'd probably pass on it. With a 1.5ghz P4 most if not all of those games that won't function in Windows '98 aren't going to run well on this system anyway, so dual booting isn't worth the trouble. (Doom 3 is one of those games that won't play on Windows 98, but it needs a much heftier setup to be worth the hassle).

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