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Vintage Computers & Moving Plans

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2011 has been a busy, hectic, and stressful year for me, The reasons I have not been here at all, making videos, or anything else are many and actually, quite depressing. However, there might be some opportunity in the near future for VCF people to get their hands on some of my stuff as I'm narrowing down to 3-4 vintage computers now, and focusing on hot-rodding those.

DiLemmas...Dilemmas....Dilemmas......

I've got around 9 computers, most of them IBM Compatibles, the rest old Macs. I've decided to let go of ALL of my Macintosh stuff because I hardly ever use it, and it's no longer that much different of a platform to work on anymore, all of the "cross-platform" issues are obsolete and pretty much dead and gone with modern Macs, and I'm not that much into old Macs anyway because their closed archetecture and software limitations are far worse than the IBM Compatibles I have in my collection of the same age.

So that puts up here
- Power Macintosh 6400/180 - PPC 603e, 48MB of RAM, O/S 8.6, USB, Ethernet
- Macintosh SE FDHD - 680002, ?MB RAM, OS 6.1
- Macintosh SE/30 - 680003, ?MB of RAM, No Hard Disk/Caddy/Operating System
- Various Mac Peripherals including mice, keyboards, documents for the SE/30,

Then there's the IBM compatibles. One is a Compaq Presario 2626 which I'm getting rid of as I just don't need it. I'm going to throw a pair of high capacity hard disks in it, format it, and sell it. Someone could easily use it as a router, file storage device, or something else. Currently it has Windows 98 SE on it and is set up as a quasi-music workstation, but the graphics, sound, and other capabilities are far better suited to basic consumer use work circa 1999.

Clash of the 8088's

I am having a tough time deciding which 8088 I have to let go of, I know I want one, but they both have their Pros and cons to them.....

8088 #1 IBM Industrial PC in an XT Clone Chassis - I assembled this out of a NOS XT Chassis, one of two IBM XT-class-ish (Industrial PC/Portable PC) Motherboards from Terry Yager, an XT-IDE card, and this thing is LOADED! I'm kind of proud of this one because I put so much hard work into getting the indicator lights on the front of the case as well as the reset switch to work with the basically feature-less IBM motherboard (by soldering in my own wires where they go!!). It can do VGA, EGA, CGA, and Mono displays with it's graphics card, somewhere I have an original Microsoft Mouse and card for it. It runs just about anything I throw at it too, and has a SoundBlaster. Now, if only I could find a Tandy DAC card for this thing that would allow the use of PC Jr. sound on earlier computers, the choice would be far more clear-cut...also, I could re-rout the sound through the sound-card, allowing full control over the volume.


8088 #2 1984 Tandy 1000 - I bought this for $10.00 from the thrift shop, and put a stealth 500MB SCSI Hard Disk in it held up by the cables for the floppy drives. It's small, light, but also is very very retro compared to the XT, but also far less standard. It has the ultra-cool 80's 8-bit Tandy DAC sound and Tandy graphics controller, however, it sucks because the DAC has no headphone connection, and the Graphics Controller is 9-pin only, and I just got rid of both of my aging and flaky 9-pin EGA monitors which means I can only run this beast in composite only. Also, it seems to have more problems with networking an internet than the IBM does.

I like the Tandy because it's more of a score and my girlfriend likes it more, but I'm leaning towards the IBM more at this point because it's so much more adaptable in modern times than the Tandy is (DB15/DB9 vs. DB9 video, SoundBlaster vs Tandy DAC, XT-IDE with up to 136GB of Space and SD Card Support vs SCSI & 2nd hand Mac Hard Disk). Also, the IBM fits more of what a future site I'm working on will be about, as it is basically an 8088 with modern-day features "hacked" into it.

Of course, my hot-rodded GEM 286 is staying, it's the only 286 I have, and it's a cool one at that.

My other fight is between the 486 and the AMD K-6

The 486 is a 1994 CAT Computers 486, still with the original board, but everything else has been upgraded to the hilt....DX4 processor, 64MB of RAM, 3GB HDD split into two partitions, I have a Mediavision ProGraphics 1280 card for it that I'm hunting for the needle-in-a-haystack drivers for so I can install that instead of keeping the S3 Trio that it currently has. The computer runs Windows For Workgroups 3.11 but is capable of everything up to Windows 2000 Professional, however, the BIOS is a bit flaky as to what kind of hard drive is connected up to it.....and it really hates anything over 8GB. I adore this machine as it's possibly the coolest and most versitile 486 I've owned, but it's also the biggest PITA due to that MediaVision card I can't find the drivers for anywhere.

The Pentium is my old standby box which has been a 386 SX, a 486 DX-33, 486 DX2-66, and a 486 DX4-100, and several Pentium (75, 133, 233MMX), and now an AMD K-6 300. It's capable of 3.11 for workgroups if I pick the right hardware for the job, but I'm tempted to do option #3....

I may just move all the 486 Guts into the Flight, and move all the Pentium Guts into the CAT. Let go of the CAT, and Keep the Flight as a 486. Pull the media-bay and put in a 5.25" floppy Drive instead. That way then...I can use the multi-drive cage to run multiple O/S on the 486 from various hard disks that I have availible to me, and I can pre-load them (particularly DOS and Windows 3.x drives) with applications from the USB drive connector I have for my main machine. Also, this allows me to do a lot of cool things with the 486 in the future similar to what I used to do by pushing the limits of Minimum system requirements (often BEYOND the limits).

Anything after that, I plan to get rid of, I just want an 8088, a 286, and a 486 to goof off with, the rest goes to other people who want that stuff.

The key thing I'm thinking the most about here is expandability. The XT is my favorite guinea pig for all the VCF part upgrades as they make this thing scary capable of a lot as a machine made of 20-30 year old parts. The 286 is one of my proudest jobbies in my collection as it has graphical internet on something that runs in Real Mode 95% of the time, and the 486 is my favorite processor.....it's got such a wide band of compatability it's just plain sick, I've run everything from DOS 5 to Windows 2000 Professional on a 486 CPU.

So Keep Peeled, I could have some stuff going to the marketplace soon.

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