Obsessed with old PC Parts

Today I stare at the screen of one of my old computers wondering what to write about. Behind me there are plastic tubs of PC stuff that I have amassed over the last year or so. I guess that could be worth writing about. Why do I have so much old IT stuff. What do I do with it all? What did I intend to do with it?

I was watching YouTube videos of people who mess around with old computers and it gave me the bug to start playing around with them too. I still had my old PC that I had from 2002. It used to run Windows XP, but not very well in the end. It wasn’t the fastest machine in the world but it was my PC. It had a 1.1 GHz Intel Celeron Processor (from the P3 era), 256 MB of SD Ram, a 40 GB hard Drive, integrated graphics and only PCI slots. It did have driver support for Windows 98 which I discovered actually runs way better.

But I wanted something better. I wanted it to be the best Windows 98 computer that I could make it. I wanted to use my newer PC. My AMD Athlon 64 PC I built in 2007. The first PC I built from parts. My PC I had 4 GB of DDR2 RAM for but could go up to 8 GB if I tried. The motherboard with a PCIe graphics slot that I had a Geforce 8400 in. My PC with SATA so I could use an SSD if I wanted.

That is when I discovered that drivers were a real issue. No chipset drivers. The onboard sound wouldn’t work. PCIe cards wouldn’t work. I couldn’t get more than 16 colours and 640×40. Also that too much RAM won’t let Windows 98 boot. But I had workarounds. I found smaller RAM sticks. I had bought a new PCI GPU and a new sound card to make my other machine work better. It still worked without chipset drivers. But it didn’t seem right.

I had started looking through OP shops for older PC’s. And I found a better candidate. It was a Pentium 4 era machine that had Windows 98 driver support. I had something way more stable even if it lacked AGP slots like all my other PC and STILL had just a Celeron (But a 2 GHz Celeron none the less). It had 256 MB of DDR1 RAM. Perfect! I still had my Audigy 2 ZS sound card I had bought as well as my PCI Geforce FX 5600 card. I had something way better.

But then I got the real tip. Look into the E-waste recycling. People are throwing out their old PC’s just because they’re upgrading or they thing their whole computer is broken when it’s just one part. This is when the collecting became crazy. I was getting hardware from left and right. For next to nothing too! It became a real hobby finding it, finding out what works. Finding out what the best I could do with the hardware. I have the most suitable sound cards, graphics cards, motherboards with AGP support. Sure, it wasn’t always the greatest and there it so much stuff that is hard to find that I haven’t come across. There are things that do need some TLC because of broken stuff. But it’s repairable broken stuff.

I also still get the occasional things on eBay that are new but compatible. I love the IDE to SATA adaptors that let you use modern drives with older computers. Windows 98 on an SSD is a sight to behold. It’s not as blisteringly fast as a modern machine because of the speed limits of IDE. But it’s the fastest that IDE can do which is still better than any old spinning Hard Drive. They have larger capacities too. That was always my limits with using all this older tech back in the day. My drives were always too small.

It has now got to the point where I could have a great machine from many different eras. I have a great PC for Windows 98. A great PC for Windows XP. An excellent DOS PC. I could make a great Windows 2000 machine too.

I really wanted my Windows 98 machine because I wanted to mess around gaming with it. But I’ve spend more time just playing with the different hardware that it’s become the greatest game of all. But I am starting to slow it down. There is only so many times you can see wether or not a CD drive works or a specific motherboard. I want to play around with some stuff that I would need to spend real money on to obtain. A 3dfx VooDoo card. A Gravis Untrasound card. A top of the line Nvidia Geforce 4 or an equivalent Radeon.

I also need to go back to making a setup that is practically usable for what I want so I can enjoy the games I want to play.

But I’m also thinking of selling some of this stuff I have amassed. Especially if I keep collecting it like I am. I know what I’m doing but there a plenty out there that don’t There a plenty of people who might want an old PC like me. Something that runs better than a VM or using Dosbox. I could easily make compatible machines if I can have a more reliable supply of things that are trickier to come across. Stuff like the retail SB Live sound cards or the more decent graphics cards. Reliable storage solutions and the like. I would need to suss out the current eBay market and see if I could make it viable. Not as a fully blown business but at least as a way to finance this hobby of mine.

So Until Next Time,

Have fun and Stay Sexy!

S