My retro computer collection keeps growing

Hey guys and dolls,

So I’m sure you were all wondering if the Vista telephone product activation service is still running … it is.

Somebody gave my coworker a Dell OptiPlex 360, so he gave it to me. Other than needing some cleaning, it was in real good shape.

Core 2 Duo, 2 GB of RAM, 150 GB hard drive.

I was expecting Vista to be on it because of the sticker on the front, but when I fired it up, I was greeted with XP.

I almost considered keeping it that way, but it was so full of stuff that was slowing it down it wasn’t even funny. I kid you not, it took about three minutes for the mouse pointer to start working.

Anyway, I still have my bona fide retail copy of Vista Ultimate that I purchased in 2007. Went ahead and installed that pretty much without issue.

But since I like to use my retro PCs for gaming, I ordered a GeForce 8600 GT from eBay. Sealed box, never opened.

When I installed it, the PC wouldn’t boot. Turns out the 250 watt PSU in there just couldn’t cut it.

Bought a 450-watt EVGA power supply from Best Buy, and now everything works like a charm.

Installed Doom 3, runs nice and smooth. Remember when game installs were under 2 GB?

Conversation 18 comments

  • angusmatheson

    26 May, 2021 - 10:02 am

    <p>All I want is an Atari 800 – it is my childhood in a case. Someday. Or maybe all just do retro pi. To teach my kids about packman with a joy stick and Ball Blazer. </p>

    • ronmcmahon

      Premium Member
      26 May, 2021 - 10:46 am

      <p>Before I approved a gaming console for my sons, I had each of them write a program in LOGO on a classic Atari 800. They both conquered the challenge and learned a lot about programming in the process. My oldest now develops machine learning models in Python and C. The very direct and immediate interaction between an 8-bit computer’s BASIC or LOGO code and actions on the screen are far more instructive to a beginner’s mind than the horrible mess that the current state of coding is in.</p>

    • erichk

      Premium Member
      26 May, 2021 - 12:54 pm

      <p>I have Retro Pie as well. A great emulation option.</p>

    • arnstarr

      28 May, 2021 - 1:23 am

      <p>Have you seen the Raspberry Pi 400 devices? It’s a keyboard with a Pi 4 inside. Great for 8 and 16 bit computer emulation.</p>

  • waethorn

    26 May, 2021 - 12:10 pm

    <p>Doom 3 on consoles costs less than that power supply.</p>

  • waethorn

    26 May, 2021 - 12:11 pm

    <p>It’s not retro enough until you have a real DOS computer with every Sierra SCI game and a real MT-32.</p>

    • erichk

      Premium Member
      26 May, 2021 - 12:55 pm

      <p>For whatever reason I’ve never felt compelled to get a MIDI module for DOS gaming. I feel like the cheesiness of the SB16 and/or AWE32/64 is good enough for me. :)</p>

  • epsjrno

    Premium Member
    26 May, 2021 - 12:19 pm

    <p>Your post reminds me that one of these days, I have to unpack my TI-99/4a to play some Parsec and my Commodore 64 to play Summer Games, Beach Head, Project Space Station, and Phantasy.</p>

    • beckoningeagle

      Premium Member
      26 May, 2021 - 2:59 pm

      <p>Caveman Ughlympics!!! Good times</p><p><br></p>

  • erichk

    Premium Member
    26 May, 2021 - 12:56 pm

    <p>I bought a C64 Mini a while back. I actually think it’s a great substitute for people who want the C64 experience but don’t want to buy the actual vintage hardware.</p>

    • epsjrno

      Premium Member
      26 May, 2021 - 2:28 pm

      <p>Been really thinking about pulling the trigger on the big "The C64" released last year. </p>

      • erichk

        Premium Member
        26 May, 2021 - 3:28 pm

        <p>Wanted one of those at first too, but seemed like they weren’t in stock anywhere. Picked up the mini at my local Micro Center.</p>

        • epsjrno

          Premium Member
          26 May, 2021 - 4:51 pm

          <p>Worked with loading games through the USB yet? Any advice?</p>

          • erichk

            Premium Member
            26 May, 2021 - 7:46 pm

            <p>Yes, I put some disk image files on a USB stick, and loading them into the system is a piece of cake.</p><p><br></p><p>You can connect a USB keyboard as well. Once you have a keyboard, a USB stick, and then the included joystick, though, it requires that you use a hub, but that was trivial as I just happened to have one in my box o’ stuff.</p><p><br></p><p>You can browse through all the included games via an on-screen carousel, program in BASIC, it’s great stuff.</p>

  • jimchamplin

    Premium Member
    27 May, 2021 - 1:15 pm

    <p>I’ve been using Combian 64 on my RPi 4. It uses VICE, so I can do things like change the system ROMs letting me use JiffyDOS, Epyx FastLoad cart images, et cetera. Also works great alongside running VICE on my PCs and Mac.</p><p><br></p><p>Lately I’ve been enjoying going through back issues of Loadstar 64 and Loadstar 128. There’s a lot of great stuff in there, and a lot more 128-centric software than I had imagined existed.</p>

  • ringofvoid

    27 May, 2021 - 5:20 pm

    <p>I received several <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Dell OptiPlex 360s that were destined for the trash bin six years back just like yours. I combined the RAM into one box and used it regularly it with Ubuntu &amp; PopOS! until last year. I only added a cheap boot SSD and a lesser fanless graphics card. I’m still impressed at just how zippy &amp; useful it was. A bit more RAM &amp; a cheap SSD would transform your Vista box into a retro dream machine.</span></p>

    • erichk

      Premium Member
      27 May, 2021 - 6:51 pm

      <p>The thought of putting an SSD in there crossed my mind, but the performance as it is with the fresh Vista install is actually not bad (which was a pleasant surprise).</p>

  • myself

    06 July, 2021 - 12:14 pm



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