The Rise of Retrocomputing

Lumpus

Limp Gawd
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About 20 years ago, I gave away three big boxes of all of my gear from the 1980/90's... an Apple II+, Amiga 500, and a bunch of Commodore 64 & 128 stuff.
Kind of wish I had it all back now :/
 

DukenukemX

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I think my Voodoo 3 3500 TV is going for $200 on Ebay. I have two Sega CD's as well. Hmm....
 

Red Falcon

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having lived through a tonne of this "retro" stuff, i say they can have at 'er and experience all the PITAs that come with it. id rather not deal with dips and jumpers and irqs and all that...
The journey is half the fun!
I learned how to set IRQs, memory addresses, and port IDs on this unit from 1985 (found it at work a few years back, and they said 'take it', haha); this unit was around well before Plug-n-Play was even a thing in the 16-bit ISA era in late 1980s.

LCJhdWQiOlsidXJuOnNlcnZpY2U6ZmlsZS5kb3dubG9hZCJdfQ.png

It is now being used with solid state storage, upgraded the AMD 8086 to an NEC V30, and today is being used as an FTP server. (y)
Upgrading the CPU allowed the transfer rates to improve from around 25KB/s to 33KB/s at the same clock speed; NEC ftw.
 
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Red Falcon

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Except you had to build the Portal Gun yourself, and then figfure-out how to turn on the GlaDOS playback

Portal Gun preassembled on a pedestal presented by GlaDOS is equivalent to using Memmaker :D
Then you find out your software or game won't run without installing an add-on FPU, and the cake is a lie. :ROFLMAO:
 

Starfalcon

Limp Gawd
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I don't, that crap takes up space and I don't have room for a museum in my house.

Yeah it does take up a lot of room, sadly my place is full of retro computing history. Although at least when I retire I can sell this stuff for a big pile of cash. Plus a lot of it I got for free or very little, as I was the crazy guy that takes old hardware.
 

Red Falcon

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Anyone want to buy a Sega Saturn?

XD
I think my Voodoo 3 3500 TV is going for $200 on Ebay. I have two Sega CD's as well. Hmm....
You both might find this to be an interesting read about the SuperH CPU used in the Sega Saturn (and 32X and Dreamcast as well):
https://www.sega-16.com/forum/showthread.php?33527-The-Story-of-the-Hitachi-SH-2-and-the-Sega-Saturn

This also explains the reasoning for the dual-CPU architecture in the Sega Saturn and why it was required.
From the story:
In the summer of 1993, a slight incident occurred. Sega stated that the performance of the SH-2 (25 MIPS) was insufficient for a next-generation home console (this was right around the time when Sega’s biggest rival Nintendo announced that they were including a 64-bit CPU as well as a graphics processor jointly developed with Silicon Graphics, Inc. in their next console, the Nintendo 64). They wanted to increase the performance of the SH-2 by raising the frequency. However, to do that, it would be necessary to re-examine the chip design, and the SH development group did not have the time remaining to do that.

The decision of what to do was left for the top-level meeting between Hitachi and Sega executives that took place in Hakone in September 1993. The SH group had prepared a secret plan to resolve the “performance improvement problem.” Their solution was stated as follows: “If we use the multiprocessor function that is included in the SH-2, we can operate two SH-2s linked together. This should satisfy the request for higher performance.” Nobody had expected that the multiprocessor function, which they had been reluctant to include, would prove to be this useful.

In this way, Sega’s next console, the Sega Saturn, came to be equipped with two SH-2s.
 

Red Falcon

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Yeah it does take up a lot of room, sadly my place is full of retro computing history. Although at least when I retire I can sell this stuff for a big pile of cash. Plus a lot of it I got for free or very little, as I was the crazy guy that takes old hardware.
I see you are a man of culture who has invested wisely. :pompous:
 

defaultluser

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Then you find out your software or game won't run without installing an add-on FPU, and the cake is a lie. :ROFLMAO:


Yeah, I'm forever gratefulthat my family couldn't afford a computer until to 486 /. Dos 6 Win 3 era. all you had to do was tweak your memmaker scripts to create a batch file fr each game (because the fpu was integrated, and 4mb ram was plenty). I remember one game being such a hog you had to disable smartdrv (so had a custom script fr that one shitty game)

I didn't eve have to worry about IRQs until we tried installing a CDROM drive and sound card!
 
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Red Falcon

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Yeah, I'm forever gratefulthat my family couldn't afford a computer until to 486 /. Dos 6 Win 3 era. all you had to do was tweak your memmaker scripts to create a batch file fr each game (because the fpu was integrated, and 4mb ram was plenty). I remember one game being such a hog you had to disable smartdrv (so had a custom script fr that one shitty game)

I didn't eve have to worry about IRQs until we tried installing a CDROM drive and sound card!
Ah, 1990, and the Intel 80486 and Motorola 68040 - both with integrated FPUs at long last!
That really was the beginning of mainstream building and customization of modern microcomputers, with an additional ease of use when PCI became widely available by the mid-1990s, thus killing off older proprietary/licensed buses like MCA and NuBus.

Heh, I remember having to do the same with games on my family's 386 desktop back in the early 1990s, and specifically needing to run games from MS-DOS, rather than Windows 3.0, since the desktop didn't have enough memory to both run Windows 3.0 and the games simultaneously.
Those were good times. :)



For those who would like a semi-modern system running both 32-bit PCI and 16-bit ISA, look no further!
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Interloper...therboard-with-support-for-2-IS-/254499929184

IHD620-H81-3.jpg
 

Extra-Titanian

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Anyone know where someone might get a vintage Apple II+ recapped and rechipped? At the very least I'd be shocked if the belts in the Disk][ Drives are still good, figure I plug it in, it starts to make that familiar boot-up sound...........and explodes, releasing the all-powerful Blue Smoke that we, in the know, understand is the magic that computers run on........

So long as I don't plug it in and try to get it to work, it still works in my mind.
Try shooting a message over to the guy running badcaps.net. I know he's been doing motherboards for almost 20 years, he might be able to help.
 

sc5mu93

Limp Gawd
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I get the nostalgia for this stuff. But I've had so much stuff go through my hands that I would have no place to sleep if I held onto it all. Good for all those that do.
 

HeadRusch

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Nah, it is similar to old cars being sold at Barrett Jackson. People want a working example of something, not a rusted out chassis that is un-usable.

Meanwhile, sitting next to me from the article..
View attachment 317171
NY Warriors, It Came From The Desert......good keeper............wait is that an A500?
 

HeadRusch

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Kids these days have it too easy, I wonder how many of them would still be "gamers" if they had to learn about using "loadhigh" and "himem.sys" before they could play their games.
I dunno man, we found a way...... ;)
 

IndyColtsFan

Limp Gawd
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I get the nostalgia for this stuff. But I've had so much stuff go through my hands that I would have no place to sleep if I held onto it all. Good for all those that do.

Well, it depends on what you call “retro.” I personally don’t care about any PC compatible products regardless of age. I kept every Commodore computer I’ve ever owned, dating back to my 1981 VIC 20. So that means I have a VIC 20, C64, C128, Amiga 2000, and an Amiga 3000 I bought just a few years ago for a bargain price. Now, I didn’t keep all of the printers and monitors - my Amigas can connect to a PC monitor and my Commodores can connect to a TV. So really, it’s not a lot of stuff and I store most of it and periodically bring a machine out to play with.
 

THRESHIN

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Bragging about your free lowmem was a thing for a long time!

I remember having a few different boot profiles, each for a different case. Max lowmem gaming, EMS based gaming, word processing (had to load a print spooler TSR!), etc.

I think of it fondly, but... I don't want to go back really.

I'm in the same boat. I still play the odd old game with dosbox, emulators, etc. But I really don't need more junk around the house.
 

sfsuphysics

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Yeah two of my favorite games, Master of Orion and Master of Magic... I remember both of them had slightly different tweaks to get them to work. I hate to say this but Windows saved PCs future in gaming, because no way the masses would be the type to screw around with that sort of thing.
 

erek

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could we get to 8-bit from two 4-bit microprocessors using bank switching or interleaving between registers on the processors?






Message #👾-8bit-era
 

painintheworld

Limp Gawd
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Jun 5, 2007
Messages
128
We have been cleaning up our storage room (12'x16' or so)...and there are 13 Atari 800XL,5 Atari 600XL, 2 Atari 1200XL, 4 Atari 130XE, 1 Atari XEGS, 7 Apple IIe, 11 C64, 2 C128, 3 CoCo 3, 2 CoCo 2, 2 TI 99/4A, 2 Atari Mega ST4, 1 TRS80 Model 3, and associated storage devices. I have a number of these working in my studio/computer/office room, in addition. I did also find a pair of Voodoo II. That is my style of retro.
 

harmattan

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Kids these days have it too easy, I wonder how many of them would still be "gamers" if they had to learn about using "loadhigh" and "himem.sys" before they could play their games.
Only way I could get Ultima 7 to boot on my 386 system with only 4mb RAM.
 

Jorona

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My IBM P70 Luggable has been steadily going up in value. Especially since it has a drop in 486 upgrade, math coprocessor, and the max on 8mb of ram, and a rare for its time 10/100 MCA Network card. The floppy died in it, so I upgraded it to a 2.88mb drive. I still have the original 386-20 that came in it. Anyone wanna give me a grand for it?
 

GiGaBiTe

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Anyone know where someone might get a vintage Apple II+ recapped and rechipped? At the very least I'd be shocked if the belts in the Disk][ Drives are still good, figure I plug it in, it starts to make that familiar boot-up sound...........and explodes, releasing the all-powerful Blue Smoke that we, in the know, understand is the magic that computers run on........

So long as I don't plug it in and try to get it to work, it still works in my mind.

Old computer gear releasing the magic smoke or having various explosions internally when powered up after 30-40 years is a common issue. RIFA caps in power supplies shorting out and detonating is a common issue, as are exploding tantalum capacitors. When bringing up any old computer gear, it's imperative that the power supply is vetted first, ESPECIALLY external bricks types like Commodore used. Those things are known to fail in such a way they crank high voltage through the logic board and kill everything.

amd licensed 8088 from intel so intel gets the copyright stamp.

Not really correct to say AMD "just" licensed the 8088, it's more complicated than that. AMD had previously reverse engineered the 8080 and built their own unauthorized clone, which gave them leverage in a cross licensing agreement with Intel for the 8080 and some other things. In 1981 when IBM was designing their PC 5150, as per their policy of second sourcing, they needed a second source for the 8088. This resulted in another cross licensing deal with Intel where both companies could use each others IP, which resulted in the AMD 8088. Other companies licensed the 808x design from Intel under similar agreements, like NEC, Fujitsu, Siemens, OKI, etc. There were of course several unauthorized clones, like from the USSR.
I'd rather have something recapped than the caps leak and eat the traces causing it to be unusable which is pretty common with old ass pcbs.


I'd rather have something recapped than the caps leak and eat the traces causing it to be unusable which is pretty common with old ass pcbs.

Capacitors physically leaking is not a widespread problem, it only affects a narrow range of time and only on certain types of equipment. Capacitors from the 1930s right up until the late 1980s rarely leaked physically. The problem with them is electrical leakage caused by the internal deterioration of the electrolyte and paper insulators between the plates. This process effectively makes a capacitor turn into a resistor, and can cause havoc and destruction on old tube type equipment. The equipment could be perfectly fine for the 70 years it was stored, but be completely destroyed by the great grandson who thought the old radio was cool and plugged it in without going through it and verifying all of the components were up to spec. It'd then turn into a smoldering crater because things that didn't want B+ got B+ whether they wanted it or not, sometimes including the chassis and created a death radio. Electrically leaky capacitors can cause problems for more modern low voltage equipment as well.

The first real capacitor plague with physically leaking capacitors started in the late 80s and throughout the 90s with the then new SMD electrolytics. Those failed because the rubber plugs used to seal the bottoms rot and allow the electrolyte to leak out. The general PC market came out mostly unscathed, but Apple machines are notorious for these caps killing logic boards because Apple for whatever reason used them on everything from around 1988-1989 onwards. There were several PC peripheral card vendors that did use SMD electrolytics though and suffered similar problems, 3dfx being one. I've had to recap all of my Voodoo cards because they've all leaked just as bad as all of my Macintosh machines.

The second capacitor plague on the other hand, completely wiped out basically every industry that used capacitors for a span of about a decade from 1999-2009. It's why you don't see a lot of electronics gear from around that time, because most of it died and was tossed. It got worse towards the end of that period due to the compounding 2006 ROHS regulations causing solder failures on an epidemic scale.
 

TheOne&OnlyZeke

100% Irish
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I have a Sharp PC-5500 sitting beside me./
No power supply yet for it, which is annoying as I believe it works

Also struggling to get Win98 working on and old IBM Thinkpad I found
 

GiGaBiTe

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I have a Sharp PC-5500 sitting beside me./
No power supply yet for it, which is annoying as I believe it works

According to pictures I found on Google, it looks to use 17V at around 2.36A. It wouldn't be terribly difficult to use a boost converter on a sufficiently powerful 12V power supply to get that. You'd just need to rig up a connector, I'm not sure what it uses since none of the pictures I found show the DC jack.
 

painintheworld

Limp Gawd
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Jun 5, 2007
Messages
128
Finally got my A500 with the original monitor plus games and hard drive. (Took awhile but got it o_O)

View attachment 317868
Sorry for the poor pic, was kind of late when i took it.
Those are such wonderful machines. The natural and spiritual successor of the Atari 800 hardware. Jay Miner , Joe Decuir, and crew did such great work. The stuff Joe Decuir and his guys did with Atari's SIO interface was visionary (as it is essentially the first version of USB).

Anyway...want to sell that Amiga setup?
 

Autochthon

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Makes me sad I tossed my old 386 when it finally gave up the ghost. I even had a 387 coprocessor chip in it.
 

HeadRusch

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Old computer gear releasing the magic smoke or having various explosions internally when powered up after 30-40 years is a common issue. RIFA caps in power supplies shorting out and detonating is a common issue, as are exploding tantalum capacitors. When bringing up any old computer gear, it's imperative that the power supply is vetted first, ESPECIALLY external bricks types like Commodore used. Those things are known to fail in such a way they crank high voltage through the logic board and kill everything.
This is one of the reasons I've resisted the urge to fire this stuff up.....I don't need to do it.....I'm not going to routinely game on these things, so for right now its about storing them where its never too hot or too cold. While it would be nostalgia to get into them, I know the thrill would last a few days or a few weeks. And then it's like.....is this worth smoking the whole thing versus take it to an electronics guy to probe first, replace caps as required, etc.....that's above my pay grade.
 

GiGaBiTe

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This is one of the reasons I've resisted the urge to fire this stuff up.....I don't need to do it.....I'm not going to routinely game on these things, so for right now its about storing them where its never too hot or too cold. While it would be nostalgia to get into them, I know the thrill would last a few days or a few weeks. And then it's like.....is this worth smoking the whole thing versus take it to an electronics guy to probe first, replace caps as required, etc.....that's above my pay grade.

You could probably find someone on vcfed.org to help. I'd offer, but I'm backed up with projects for customers right now. I got one Super A'Can and one Macintosh SE that I'm working on and they're both keeping me busy.
 

painintheworld

Limp Gawd
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Messages
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Old computer gear releasing the magic smoke or having various explosions internally when powered up after 30-40 years is a common issue. RIFA caps in power supplies shorting out and detonating is a common issue, as are exploding tantalum capacitors. When bringing up any old computer gear, it's imperative that the power supply is vetted first, ESPECIALLY external bricks types like Commodore used. Those things are known to fail in such a way they crank high voltage through the logic board and kill everything.



e failed because the rubber plugs used to seal the bottoms rot and allow the electrolyte to leak out. The general PC market came out mostly unscathed, but Apple machines are notorious for these caps killing logic boards because Apple for whatever reason used them on everything from around 1988-1989 onwards. There were several PC peripheral card vendors that did use SMD electrolytics though and suffered similar problems, 3dfx being one. I've had to recap all of my Voodoo cards because they've all leaked just as bad as all of my Macintosh machines.

The second capacitor plague on the other hand, completely wiped out basically every industry that used capacitors for a span of about a decade from 1999-2009. It's why you don't see a lot of electronics gear from around that time, because most of it died and was tossed. It got worse towards the end of that period due to the compounding 2006 ROHS regulations causing solder failures on an epidemic scale.

I have a 1981 TI 99-4/A complete with original games and crappy joysticks

trying to find a F18A for it
Grab a V9958 and really bump up the performance :)

I do understand wanting an F18A, though, I'd like to have one, too. Isn't the guy working on a new revision of it?

I have some Atari 8 bit parts coming in that are kind of similar to the F18A. My daughter bought me a new in open box Atari 600XL for Christmas. That machine is getting an Antonia 4MB CPU/RAM upgrade and a Sophia 2 (GTIA replacement that allows a DVI video connection) upgrade. For one of my mint 800XLs, there is a VBXE and Ultimate 1MB coming in. If you play around with any of the old Atari 8 bit machines by chance, please checkout the FujiNet device. It emulates floppy drives, printers, allows network connections via WiFi or Bluetooth, etc.
 
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