21 July 2014

Old School Gaming PC Build Update: Part 2

New Beginnings

This is an old system, It's also and old off the shelf system and not a particularly featured packed one at that, No on board Ethernet or even PCI network card, No AGP slot either.

Initial photos from seller:

So why did I even bother with this system? Two main Reasons:

1. It was cheap, paid the postage for it and that was it.
2. Initially all i wanted was the Power Supply Unit from it.

This was initially meant to be a donor machine for my windows 98 era "Old School Gaming PC", but the PSU in this system is a small form factor ATX PSU so is not mountable in the intended case. It will now become at least one of my old school gaming PCs as it works really well and has no bad capacitors etc, this makes things easier although the other system I was going to use is better spec, It's becoming too much of a pain in the arse to find it a decent power supply, without of course spending what i consider too much money on it, and the specs were overkill for intended purpose anyway.

So, here are the specs:

  • Model: emachines 320
  • CPU: Intel Celeron 900mhz
  • RAM: 128mb PC100 SDRAM
  • PSU: 150w ATX
  • Hard Drive: Seagate 30GB IDE
  • Floppy Disk Drive
  • Optical Drive: LG 8x Dual Layer IDE DVD writer (picked this up for £4 locally as was missing an optical drive)
  • Motherboard: Intel 810 Cognac+( 115661 Cognac 20000731 Rev. G )
  • OS: Windows ME
  • Case: Small Tower with front USB and Game/midi Port

What I Plan to Do:

  • Fit PCI graphics card which i have a spare ATI Radeon 9000 64mb
  • Upgrade RAM from 128mb to 512mb(max supported)
  • Update bios to support 512mb of ram
  • Fit Sound Card, Have a Soundblaster Audigy card
  • Fit USB 2.0 Card
  • Add USB network adapter of some kind, unsure on this yet
  • Add extra Hard drive / hard drives
  • Replace heatsink compound and clean up fans
  • Maybe change CPU fan.
  • Install windows 98se and Linux
  • Considering a CPU upgrade to a 1ghz Pentium III 

As a bonus, this system also has some software preinstalled, including Jazz Jackrabbit 2, which is pretty cool, so i think i'll keep the Windows ME install, + it brings back some nostalgia.

Achieved so far:

  • Installed Radeon 9000 64mb PCI graphics card
  • Installed Soundblaster Live 5.1 Digital sound card
  • Installed LG DVD writer drive
  • Ordered 512mb RAM
  • Ordered USB 2.0 card
  • Cleaned everything up
  • Flashed BIOS - Will be seperate post on this. 
I Played some games on it to test things out, and all works great I'm actually surprised the Radeon 9000 and the Soundblaster card still work, the only issue was that the Soundblaster drivers for windows 98se/ME were a pain in the ass to find as the drivers on the creative website do not work, the XP ones may work with 2000/XP but their files for the 98se/ME do not work. If i can i will share a ZIP file with the working drivers (unsure of legality issues)

Soundblaster Live 5.1 Digital SB0220 Drivers
SB0220 Drivers RAR file (15.3MB) Windows 98 / ME / 2000 / XP
For Windows 9x / ME install via Control Panel > System > Device Manager

ATI Radeon 9000 drivers are easily obtained from the amd driver / support website so that was not an issue. Also this card is passive cooled with just a heatsink, no fan so it's nice and quiet, My one concern is heat buildup with this case only having 2 fans (CPU 40mm, and PSU 80mm)especially when I add two more hard drives. 

AMD / ATI drivers

The system boots nice and quick which is also a bonus, Just need to Tidy things up on the Windows ME side, It is a 30GB drive with only 20GB Available so I assume there is also a restore partition, I may look into either opening that up or doing a complete system restore if possible.

Once the RAM arrives and possibly a new CPU fan I will get to work adding the other HDDs from the old build 2x 40GB drives, mounting them may be tricky as this case was designed for 1 3.5" hard drive.

So Onward to Part 3: The BIOS Update!

Build Part 1 

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