View Full Version : 2 new (sort of) toys

March 9th, 2017, 03:30 PM
One of these I bought in December, before my income shrank. The latter I picked up in January at the local thrift store.

First up is an XT clone I got off of eBay. Starting price $40 + $32 shipping. I figured the case, p/s, and any working parts was worth that. Won at the minimum bid. Got it pretty quickly.

Has a badge on the front "PC II Personal Computer by Triex Technology." Cards included hd controller, fd controller, multi-function card , mono + printer adapter. I guessed correctly on the video, worked a treat with my spare IBM 5151. Got a boot error: "512K RAMERROR 201 RAM80000 5500" plus a 1701 error.

Apparently there's a bad chip on the multi function card. I pulled that and the memory error went away. Best I can tell is there are 4 available banks on the motherboard and one has 256k (150ns) chips, hence it boots to 256k without the card. It has a single ROM chip with a label that says "PC II XT40."
...And I apparently can't upload photos right now...

Anyway. The hard drive & controller turned out to be an Adaptec 2070a + ST238 which I got working under Compaq dos 3.31. Pretty much a bog-standard floppy controller along with two half-height 360k floppies. The big surprise was the display card. I thought it was a bog-standard mono clone until I loaded a Turbo Pascal graphics demo that happened to on a boot disk, just for laughs. It's a herc clone and the demo recognized it! Huzza!

The mainboard itself is plebeian. Not a turbo as best I can tell, even though the cpu is a Siemens SAB8088-2-P, which from my reading is capable of 10Mz. I tried the usual keyboard combinations such as ctl-alt-plus and ctl-alt-backslash to no effect. I'm wondering if it's possible to replace the BIOS chip with something else. I expect (if I can score a turbo BIOS) I would also need a new timing crystal. Where the heck is that? Never had to worry about that one before. Alternatively I'm thinking of picking up a turbo XT board, or perhaps baby-AT 386 or 486 instead.

Not a killer deal, but I'm not too unhappy with it, except the motherboard itself. Not sure if the power supply is 100% or not. Can't find a durn thing on the web except for a link to that eBay deal and Wiki references to the Commodore PC II.

The second one I found at a local thrift shop, looking for a pasta pot, since mine was tossed. Scored a nice 1-gallon stainless steel pot with copper bottom & lid for $3. :) While perusing their "computer section -mostly ps-2 keyboard & mice- I came across an HP Pavilion xt978, tower only, for $5.99. I couldn't resist.

Took it home and it booted right up. The motherboard is a modified Asus p4b-mx called a p4b-la. Biggest difference seems to be the -la can only take 512mb sticks instead of 1gb. This particular model evidently had the hard drive swapped as it's only 12Gb. It has 512Mb (sd133) ram, an is running WinXP SP3. Rather a bit of disk-swapping going on there. It has a very nice sound card, built-in networking, plus a nice nvidia GeForce2 mx200 agp card and firewire card I haven't had a chance to test yet, since I don't have any firewire stuff here. Cpu is an Intel Pentium 4 running @2Gz.

It came with a cdrw and a dvd-rom, neither of which worked. I'm guessing it was in a closet for a long time (newest file I could find was from 2011) and they dumped it. They didn't do a very good job of wiping the drive. :-/

The case has a Windows XP Home COD on it, and 2 256Mb sticks of ram. Not a bad little machine, except that XP Pro with SP3 does NOT like running in 512Mb. A single 512Mb stick runs ~$8.99 on eBay with free shipping. Very tempted to drop more memory in and see if I can score a used PATA dvd-rom or dvdrw as well.

March 12th, 2017, 07:04 PM
finding any computer at a thrift store here is basically impossible now, let alone one with a hard drive!