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Omega-TI

Ever give up on a computer hobby?

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Oh, if you want a computer chasis for that, look into an IBM Aptiva E3N.

 

It is fully ATX ready, before ATX was a standard.  You might need to source an LS120 to stick behind the floppy drive door though. The cutout in the back is exactly the right size and position for a form card/plate that comes with modern motherboards.

 

I had such a chasis floating around, but I used it to make an i5 system for a nurse friend of mine who needed a computer built on the cheap.

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7 minutes ago, DragonGrafx-16 said:

No you misread me... I already have a DOS machine... my AT tower... I was thinking it would be cool to stick in a modern motherboard and have a modern Gateway 2000 (but in a classic case).  Currently the Gateway 2000 is just sitting gutted.

With SOME sheet-metal cutting/modification I could guess you could fit an ITX or mini-ITX board in there. Something of that size. But putting an ATX in there? You'd have a LOT of modding to do. There's always the idea of doing an R-PI + MiSTer - but of course then it's not really a PC as we know it.

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10 hours ago, The Usotsuki said:

I've heard of the 486DX/50. Also of 386s clocked as high as 40 MHz.

If I were to do a 486 again, though, I'd go for 486DX5/133 (yes, THAT existed too, and I had one).

When I got my DX2-50 I had the option of getting the DX-50 with EISA motherboard. When I talked to the Gateway guy he didn't recommend it for what I was doing with it at the time. Word Processing and some minor science stuff and schoolwork. Said that EISA was for things that needed high throughput on network cards and SCSI cards. He also said that some graphics drivers were less stable than what was available on the pure ISA DX2-50 setup. And even the 50MHz bus, could, again, be less stable. It would have cost me about $400-$500 more for that system anyways.

 

And today I'm quite happy I went the DX2-50 outfit I got back than. It's been a good system.

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I think like a lot of folks I go through fits and starts.  Right now because of the business of life with a small child, it's mostly on hold, because when I am home, he's home, and when I am around, he wants me to play with him.  He will only be young once, and I want to maximize that time as much as possible; and if I ignore him and get on one of my retro machines, then HE will want to do that, and he's a little too young for it and I don't want to have to fight with him about gentle treatment of old equipment or worry that he might break something.

 

I have collected for essentially five systems: the Commodore 64/128 (main), the Commodore Plus/4, the ColecoVision/ADAM, the Atari 800XL, and the TI-99/4A.  The latter two were from curiosity as an adult about what these alternate systems were about.  I actually sold off the TI-99/4A at one point to finance another project, since I hardly used it, but found it kinda bothered me I didn't have it, and so re-acquired everything.  And I'm right back to not really using it.

 

But I really enjoy old computers and as hobbies go it is relatively inoffensive I think.  It doesn't cost too much, especially now, since I have most everything I really want and just need to maintain, and if I let it sit for a while and only use it occasionally, it is still fun.

 

I think it's a phase for you "Omega" - wouldn't do anything rash!

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Space is the problem for me.

Between my current PC workstation, my classic video game collection, and my reptile collection (menagerie) I don't have enough room for another PC setup.

I had a 486 DX/50 with Win 95 in a nice slimline case and tons of vintage software but I was using it less and less and then sold it on Craigslist.

It's all great stuff but there are limits by space and time (which is a great title for a classic game by the way 😄). 

 

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On 10/9/2019 at 11:10 AM, mozartpc27 said:

I think it's a phase for you "Omega" - wouldn't do anything rash!

I dunno, it's been coming for a while, If I go down that path, I'll probably keep my main system but sell everything else off.  It's getting harder and harder to come here every day.

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1 hour ago, --- Ω --- said:

I dunno, it's been coming for a while, If I go down that path, I'll probably keep my main system but sell everything else off. 

I'm doing exactly that with all my stuff. I said I'd give myself about a year or so before I start dumping the stuff. And a year has come and gone and I still feel exactly like that. And my keeper material is going to be exactly what I had as a kid, stuffage from 1976 through about 1990.

 

It was after 1990 that I loaded up on ebay stuff, of which has very little sentimental value. Sure there are a few bits and pieces I've added that I'm going to keep. But over 90% of that crap is going.

 

I'm enjoying occasionally reading about the old "stuff" AND new projects, especially software projects like the new ProDOS and emulator updates and preservation efforts. Among other philosophical stuff. I'm not interested in the "trenches" like getting hi-scores or going after exact factory serial numbers. Or even having to finish a game or a series of games. Those are pointless rabbit holes.

 

1 hour ago, --- Ω --- said:

It's getting harder and harder to come here every day.

Well you don't have to come here everyday. I too don't place much importance on AA like I used to. I leave a window or three open and read and reply when I'm doing boring things like taking a shit, or waiting in a long line or something.

 

A lot of the better and finer members (of the Apple II community) have already left or are in lurking mode so to speak. And then there are the weirdo shits which keep lingering. So that doesn't add incentive.

 

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On 9/29/2019 at 7:26 PM, AtariLeaf said:

I was like that with the Tandy coco, a computer I was nostalgic for but didn't actually play too much since I found 90 to 95% of the library of games didn't hold up very well today

Really? 

I felt the opposite about that amazing machine - the semigraphics modes and this Defender clone alone are worth having the original model for:

 

The sheer number of interesting ports of the classics over and over again on this system is captivating, ditto for the ability to switch the palettes to select a different colorset much like the BW switch on the Atari 2600 by clicking reset a few times, work for all the hi-res games. 

 

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I have one 16k coco 2 left, more as a display piece of my youth. I may get doubleback again some day. That's the one game that makes the coco worth owning

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36 minutes ago, Mr SQL said:

...and this Defender clone alone are worth having the original model for:

I mean, I can appreciate what programmers were trying to eek out of a system like this BITD... but c'mon. Those pancaked space invaders, how most of your lasers just skip right through 'em and the action screeching to a halt when a few of said pancaked space invader looking sprites are on the screen at once? *This* has aged well?  :grin:

 

Screen Shot 2019-10-15 at 5.41.27 PM.png

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The TI-99/4A Version looks okay (I suck playing it, so I'm posting someone else's video). 😉

 

 

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9 hours ago, save2600 said:

I mean, I can appreciate what programmers were trying to eek out of a system like this BITD... but c'mon. Those pancaked space invaders, how most of your lasers just skip right through 'em and the action screeching to a halt when a few of said pancaked space invader looking sprites are on the screen at once? *This* has aged well?  :grin:

 

Screen Shot 2019-10-15 at 5.41.27 PM.png

 

I think you haven't actually played this version. There are only intentional pixelation delays timed to optimize gameplay and to generate spectacular explosions; this game is using the 64x96 semigraphics mode which has no overhead.

 

There are plenty of hi-res games on the system you may prefer if aging well means hi-res, I like the classic semigraphics modes.

 

8 hours ago, --- Ω --- said:

The TI-99/4A Version looks okay (I suck playing it, so I'm posting someone else's video). 😉

 

 

I liked the TI version a lot too. It was hard, played with a friend who had a TI bitd.

 

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To get back to the topic of this thread:

 

I've given up....a few times. Figured I was done and I don't need this stuff. But, then I come back because I miss it. And each time I do I have a harder and harder time getting good clean working equipment at a reasonable price.

 

My advice to you after so many years of doing this is simple. Do not get rid of any of it. Package it up nicely and put it in storage in a clean dry space with a normal climate. Out of sight out of mind. It will re-enter your mind again and you will break it out again and enjoy it. And, you will be SO glad you did not part with it when you do. Trust me on that one.

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As long as the stuff doesn't overrun the allocated space. A closet's worth of stuff is all I think I need compared to the previous 3 garages full I had a few years back. But don't go renting a warehouse or a even a small storage space. You'll end up paying $50-$100 to start and it only goes up from there as you accumulate.

 

The best thing is to find a balance of manageable material vs available space and call it a day.

 

 

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I did sell up all of my old gear - as I got this newer system and had to look back.

I only got back a Atari 800XL - given to me for testing purposes (for the graphics I do sometimes), which I use for that, when I need to.  I would like to get a Atari 400 (never had one) and a 800 sometime - when I can find a suitable affordable one.  I like to get my house in order - it's a mess.  Get it back like in the 80s' - and have some old Atari's up and running.  Just for my own satisfaction - and keep it that way.  I don't really fancy get the old disk drives - and would prefer to use flashcarts for convenience.  Just like to have the old original hardware up and running.

 

I don't really play the old games anymore.  Games burnout from playing so many 1000s? of games over the years on computers and consoles.  Nor new ones.  I only play Shanghai on Mame emulation.

 

Computers are so much part of our lives today - unimaginable back in the 80s' of how much we'll make use of them.  You can have massive video collections of anything you want in them.  I was into Daniken's 'Chariots of the Gods' thinking - nowadays the evidence for Daniken can be found anywhere you want it to be.  There are artefacts just lying around - unnoticed before - as people start noticing it more and more - the oddities that are just there.

 

To think you can have a video collection on a memory card, the size of your little finger nail - for $50.  I currently have 2 laptops working - one is near to dying out?  And two tablets - and about a half dozen hard drives.

 

Harvey

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I got a Coleco Adam expansion for the Colecovision once. Found it somewhere local cheap but it didn't have the printer which is where the power supply was located. I tried to look up getting it working sans printer but couldn't find anything really difinitive on what I needed to power it without the printer so I said f*ck it and sold it off instead.

 

But as to anything I really got heavily into? No. I'm too much of a pack rat to do that.

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On 10/5/2019 at 5:04 AM, wierd_w said:

You will find that modern motherboards are no good for retrogaming under DOS, because the adapter rom region has strange things in it, (So poor ability to get UMBs), modern processors do strange things with v86 mode and real mode (Since they are optimized for 64bit flat mode), in addition to being just too fast for most old games without using something like MoSlow, and if you use something like UMBPCI to give yourself hardware UMBs, you will find strange behaviors concerning lack of DMA (because the systems are not made for realmode use.)

 

A REAL period board will be a much better experience.  For real.  (But if you want to do a 486, Get a DX-50.  Yes-- They DID exist. I will NOT be pulled into this argument. They were real, I have owned one in the past. [So many times when I mention this chip, people assume I mean a DX2-50, No, I mean DX-50. As in, no internal clock multiplier, native bus of 50mhz-- then they argue with me. Similar story with 386 DX-33. I have seen that hardware in person, and used one. It existed.])

My friend had a DX-50, and when I was building my first PC, he insisted I should get one as well- because it had the fastest 486 bus.   I did actually pick one up with MOBO,  but I could not get it to boot, so I swapped it and ended up with a DX4-100 because the DX50s were rare.

 

From what I hear now,  running the 486 bus at 50mhz caused lots of trouble and that's why the clock-doubled and tripled DX2's and DX4's replaced them so quickly.

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On 10/5/2019 at 6:28 AM, The Usotsuki said:

If I were to do a 486 again, though, I'd go for 486DX5/133 (yes, THAT existed too, and I had one).

Is this the same chip as the AMD 5x86-133?  I had one of those as well. 

 

They put the 5 there to make people think it was Pentium class, because it did perform about as well as the lowest-end Pentium,  but it was really just a clock-quadrupled 486 chip.

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In the 80s I used to drool over all the cool tech that it seemed like I would never be able to afford.   Then in the 90s when I got my own income, I started acquiring a lot of older hardware,  stuff that used to be out of my reach..  old hard drives because I'll find a use for it some day.

 

Then I got married and most of this stuff ended up in storage in the basement and never used.  Didn't feel like pulling it out most of the time.  Eventually I decided to just sell it.    Now I just use emulators and flashback compilations to get a fix of old games.

 

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47 minutes ago, zzip said:

Is this the same chip as the AMD 5x86-133?  I had one of those as well. 

 

They put the 5 there to make people think it was Pentium class, because it did perform about as well as the lowest-end Pentium,  but it was really just a clock-quadrupled 486 chip.

It is.  Some AMD 5x86s are marked "X5" and some are marked "486DX5".

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4 hours ago, zzip said:

From what I hear now,  running the 486 bus at 50mhz caused lots of trouble and that's why the clock-doubled and tripled DX2's and DX4's replaced them so quickly.

I was, for a moment, considering a DX-50 EISA board. But the guy at Gateway told me there were stability issues and it was overpriced. And overspec'd in the wrong area for gamers and home users.

 

4 hours ago, zzip said:

In the 80s I used to drool over all the cool tech that it seemed like I would never be able to afford.   Then in the 90s when I got my own income, I started acquiring a lot of older hardware,  stuff that used to be out of my reach..  old hard drives because I'll find a use for it some day.

 

I still have an assortment of hard drives from back in the day. From time to time they serve as tertiary and quaternary backup devices. Or as conversation pieces. I even took the cover off one and put a clear one in its place. It still works!

 

4 hours ago, zzip said:

Then I got married and most of this stuff ended up in storage in the basement and never used.  Didn't feel like pulling it out most of the time.  Eventually I decided to just sell it.    Now I just use emulators and flashback compilations to get a fix of old games.

If it weren't for emulators I would not be enjoying the likes of gaming on the Atari 400/800, C64, Vic-20, and all the early 8-bit consoles AND even arcades of course.

 

At one time I had tens or hundreds of consoles and thousands of disks tapes and cartridges, not to mention the entourage of wires and cables. So much that I had to eventually rent off-site storage. Having all that stuff was cool as a kid, but, less so later on. It became mentally crowding.

 

 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Keatah said:

I was, for a moment, considering a DX-50 EISA board. But the guy at Gateway told me there were stability issues and it was overpriced. And overspec'd in the wrong area for gamers and home users.

 

Mine would have had VESA Local bus, and I think that was part of the issue.  VLB was a hack, and not designed to run at 50mhz

 

Although my friend never had trouble with his DX50 as far as I know, and I'm pretty sure he had a VLB video and IO card in there.  Also surprised he didn't know about the stability issues if others knew about it at the time.   He was always on top of the latest tech and tech controversies.

Edited by zzip

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1992-1993 was like ages ago and I don't remember all the details. But I might recall the stability issues the salesman said were driver and software related rather than getting the whole of the mainboard running at 50MHz. Or maybe drivers for EISA cards weren't as well tested and updated as frequently as plain'ol ISA cards.

 

It was nice that the DX2-50 was cheap enough for me to afford. IIRC but vaguely it was nearly 200 cheaper than the DX2-66 and some 400 cheaper than a DX50.

 

With price differences like that it was a no-brainer to get what I got.

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On 9/29/2019 at 4:04 PM, --- Ω --- said:

Have you ever woke up one morning wondering why you've been dumping so much time, or effort or money into a specific classic computer?  Has your interest ever vanished over night? 

 

I've woken up many times and wondered why I'm putting so much time and money into collecting.  Then I buy another game or system and feel better about it  :D 

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On 9/29/2019 at 2:04 PM, --- Ω --- said:

Have you ever woke up one morning wondering why you've been dumping so much time, or effort or money into a specific classic computer?  Has your interest ever vanished over night? 

 

For me, it ebbs and flows.  

 

Atari machines are the least interesting to me right now.  I did a ton of stuff I wanted to do.  Some other stuff I wanted to do favored a different machine, and that was the CoCo 3.  Right now, and for a little while now, I've been into the Apple //e and have a GS ROM 1 or 0, can't remember right now, sitting there waiting.  One day, I'll get off my ass and get a keyboard / mouse for it and have some fun on that 65816, which I've always wanted to program some on.

 

The thing is, someone, somewhere will do something interesting on an Atari, and I'll get it out and have some fun.  Or, things will circle back around, and there will be something I want to do that favors a CoCo again...  Or, maybe I finally snag a C128.  

 

One time, early on, I got rid of gear when that happened.  Never again.  Got it back before things got out of hand.  Whew!  I've never collected.  I do get enough gear to do stuff I want to do and play some games.  That's kind of a "reference" system that can run most things people might create.  I really love playing, or otherwise interacting with others retro creations.  

 

I will say, now is the time if you want a couple good CRTs.  I got a PVM and love it.  Amazing how some pro grade circuits make these older machines look so damn good.  Most of us were missing out man!  I should have gotten one sooner.  Well, maybe not.  They were a lot of money.  But, yeah.  If you have any CRT love, now is the time.  Score a good one or two.  Enjoy the tech.  Nothing beats glowing phosphors in a tube.  (says this while watching big ass plasma TV)

 

Old games are great on CRTs and that makes sense as that was what they were created on / for.  Same goes for a lot of SD programming.  The art direction, and lots of little stuff shines on a good to pro grade quality CRT.  It's pretty amazing to look at older DVD productions on a CRT intended to display them.  

 

I probably won't give that up, until some time from now when the CRTs die and it's super hard to get them going again.  Maybe that won't happen for a long time.

 

TL;DR:  Yeah.  It's happened.  No biggie.  

Edited by potatohead
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