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Old 23-06-2006, 04:33 AM   #1
dr_doom_man
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Well, i didn't know where else in the forums to put this, but this weekend i am going to see if i can get me a brand new old computer. I am not sure whether or not i will get all of the necessary parts, but i am going to try my hardest.

I call it Dumpster Diving. You see, the dump near my house has a computer section, that has a "absolutely no salvaging" sign over it, so me and a good friend figure that we might as well lighten their load of old computer parts. we will have to sneak into the dump at night, hop a fence or two and "break into" the computer section. I have already done this once before, and i made out with some old processors, a harddrive, and a bucketload of ram, although last time I had no intention of building a completely new computer. well, considering my last success, I decided that I would go back with the intention of building a completely old-game compatible computer.

out of anticipation I have already rounded up my dos 6.22 and windows 3.11 install disks, and my windows entertainment pack cd. I should have an update on sunday as to what i find, so cross your fingers. if you have any last minute suggestions (ie parts to look for, etc.) then reply away. if not..... reply away!
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Old 23-06-2006, 07:20 AM   #2
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Sneaking into a dump sounds like my idea of fun. But are you sure its not breaking and entering.
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Old 23-06-2006, 07:54 AM   #3
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Try to get hold of an actual Soudblaster 16. That's one of the best early 16-bit soundcards there it (imho). It's also much better supported than the later AWE32 and much more 16-bit than the earlier SB Pro!
And, try to get a 3Com NIC (prefreable the 509). It's well supported in DOS and very reliable. Also, you should take any memory-bar you come across... Have fun
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Old 23-06-2006, 09:48 AM   #4
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I'd rather advise using one of ESS sound cards, for exampkle ESS 1887. Reliable and fairly compatibile.

For your RAM, hunt down some EDO bars. You can recognize them by two features:
1. chips only on one side of PCB
2. less, but larger chips
EDO modules are much more efficient then normal SIMMs, so even if you get a bunch of 4-MB EDOs they will still be better.

I also advise a good 486 board and CPU rather then a Pentium class, for compatibility. Also, where Pentiums need paired RAM modules, 486's do not. The best one possible here would be - IMO - Shuttle HOT-433. Had one myself and I still regret causing it to burn (after 3 years now, and with a "new" oldschool machine just built). You rarely see machines as powerful and versatile as that.

For your graphics card, a 1 MB card will work, but an 8-Meg one would be much better for some Windows games.

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Old 25-06-2006, 07:35 PM   #5
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Ok, the dump was addmitedly a complete and utter failure. after sneaking out of the house at 11:30, it began pouring down rain, and only got worse over the 2.5 mile walk that ensued. Well, when we got there we started getting all excited because we thought we had some good finds (a friend wanted to see if he could get a vista capable out of the junk, and i wanted a dos machine). Soo, we then walked home the 2.5 miles carrying 3 whole computers and some random parts. After this, we plugged them in and none of the freakin things worked. The random spare parts we grabbed we forgot (for some odd reason) to check if they were compatible. wich of course they werent. so then i was left with three broken computers in my small enough as it is room, and i still dont have a dos machine. But i did learn from the experience: computers at the dump generally dont work. Perhaps they were being thrown out for a reason?? Although i cant say that it was a total waste, because afterwards we went out side and beat the broken pc's senselessly with a big metal pole. Now that was fun.....

Well, i am not going to give up on the idea of a good dos machine. I figure the only way now is to buy one, so here is what am looking at so far:

Sound Blaster 16 - this was mentioned and it was easy to find, so i figure i should get this
DiabloTek ATI Rage - an 8mb graphics pci card, would this work?
16 MB's EDO ram - to much or to little? or just right...

Thats all i got so far, now does anyone know of a website that carries older computer parts? because trying to find an old cpu on amazon or tigerdirect is impossible. If at all possible please keep it ebay free.... although i know that may be tough. also, once i find a site like this, do you thin you could suggest a mobo, cpu, psu, and hdd combination that is not to costly yet will work like a charm for dos/W3.11? I hope its not too much to ask, but i suppose there is no harm in trying, right?
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Old 26-06-2006, 10:17 AM   #6
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Try using Google, you can find many stores out there. Personally, I found a site selling 32 and 64 MB EDO chips for SIMM slots.

Don't ignore the machines from the dump. While most of the parts might not be functional, there will always be one or two that do work. Some people don't know anything about their machines, and could throw out a perfectly good unit because of a broken graphics card. Still suitable for a Frankenstein-style rig.

So, just have some patience. Start with a motherboard and a CPU. Make sure the jumpers are set correctly. Install a stick of RAM - even if RAM is a bit malfunctioning, the motherboard should start up and give an error beepcode. If it does - it's not dead (well not completely at least).
Then, add the graphics card. Check if the machine starts up properly (remember to attach the keyboard and monitor). Should give you an error about not being able to boot from the selected device (no drives attached at this point, remember!). If it does, you can proceed with other stuff.

Particularly, Memtest86 is first priority to find out if your RAM works properly.
Install the HDD in another machine and delete all of its partitions. Paragon Partition Manager is a recommendable tool for that purpose, as it can also scan the HDD for any badsectors (if it's got even one or two - look for another one).
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Old 01-07-2006, 02:36 AM   #7
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Ok, this is the third edit i have freakin made! I made a couple changes to the only one i hadnt trashed, popped in the dos floppy and now it works. the only thing is that this was a newer one, so i doubt it will do anything right. i will reply back later with the results!
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Old 01-07-2006, 09:35 AM   #8
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i have 8MB ram from my old 486. and 16 MB ATI Rage. aside form that i also have 400Mhz P2. trying to sell all this stuff.

wait a sec.... 486 don't need RAM in pairs????
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Old 03-07-2006, 12:30 PM   #9
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You can use odd counts of RAM sticks in 486 machines, true. However, when installing multiple sticks, make sure they are paired together or you can face serious compatibility problems.
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Old 07-07-2006, 01:30 AM   #10
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I am perhaps willing to buy the Graphics card, but first I must ask where I could (if possible these days??) find a compatible Win 3.11 driver for it. If that is out of the question, what graphics card should i hunt down that would be good for abandonware and windows 3.11, and i would easily be able to find a driver for it?

Thanks for all the help! Oh, and gregor, do you have a compatible Mobo? If so i will buy all of your stuff at once, but a without a compatible mobo the ram and cpu is useless, and i know i dont have one. So, to sum up those last few sentances..... do ya have a motherboard ?
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