The “New” XP Gaming PC

xpgamingpc-1As I regularly do, I went for a walk at lunch time to get out of the office. Around the corner was a computer store who left a basket beside their front door with items to give away. Usually there wasn’t much of interest, however on one occasion there were three identical motherboards wrapped up. They weren’t in their original boxes but appeared complete with CDs, cabling, and back plate. Not giving it much thought I decided to take a chance with them and took two. None of them appeared used but considering they looked to have been over ten years old they could have been complete duds.

When I got the motherboards home, a more thorough inspection indicated they were Socket 775 motherboards, though older than expected. They were the Intel D945GTP dating back to 2005 supporting the Pentium 4 ‘Prescott’ and Pentium D ‘Presler’ processors. The later Core 2 processor family were not supported. Nevertheless, for what they were I decided these could be the basis for a Windows XP-era gaming machine.

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Windows for Pen Computing 1.0

mspencomputing-1The notion of using some form of stylus or pen for interaction has been around since the earliest days of computing. Rewind back to 1957, there was the Styalator using a stylus for hand writing recognition. In 1964 the IBM 2250 was provided with a pen for vector graphics that was sensitive to light against a CRT monitor.

By 1987 Go Corporation was founded with a focus on pen computing, and consequently developed an operating system named PenPoint OS with this in mind. Intel invested in Go, causing angst at Microsoft for supporting a competing product.

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eBay Purchase #21 – Apple Macintosh G3 M3979

apple-g3desktop-1eBay Purchase Price: $150 AUD

Country of Origin: Australia

Condition: Excellent

The Power Macintosh G3 marked the end of an era – the end of beige computers and rainbow coloured logos at Apple. The G3 came about at a challenging time; demand slumped and profits nosedived to the point bankruptcy was in their sights. By the end of 1997, Steve Jobs returned and warmed up to Bill Gates seeking solutions. Consequently Microsoft invested $150 million USD in stocks and remained committed to developing a new version of Microsoft Office for the Mac. From the G3, the concept of what a computer should look like has arguably not been the same since.

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Sandy Bridge Renaissance

SandyBridgePC-PCbuildAfter selling off some computer components from previous systems owned which I somewhat regret, I later decided to keep what was leftover. Before my current AMD Ryzen 7 PC, I had a Sandy Bridge (second generation) Intel i5-2500K-based PC that served me well for several years. It lasted me so long as I never was at the forefront with gaming. When timing allowed for it, I’d end up playing a title that was already a few years old. Blending old and new I ended up assembling this PC for a modest sum of $520 AUD; aiming for cheap without skimping too much given this isn’t my main PC at home.

Whilst I enjoy assembling PCs, I tend to like being able to re-purpose older hardware that may otherwise be taken down for e-waste recycling. I’m rather dubious given the recent crisis on recycling programs globally, where it had only been shipped over to China. At a later date, I’ll be posting on assembling Socket 775 systems which are great for Windows XP to 7 gaming. For now, it’s this PC running Windows 10 viewing the components, getting it running, and finally some benchmarking. Prices mentioned are from early 2019, and new components were purchased from Scorptec Computers in Melbourne, Australia.

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eBay Purchase #20 – Apple Adjustable Keyboard M1242

appleadjkb-1eBay Purchase Price: $230.50 AUD

Country of Origin: Australia

Condition: Excellent

A recent purchase that happened to be from the same seller I bought my Macintosh LC II. I don’t see too many of these around, and even more so complete with box and no missing items. This keyboard dates back to 1992 when it was priced at $219 US, a couple of years before Microsoft released their Natural Keyboard, both aimed at improving ergonomics for touch typists.

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Introduction to PCem (Version 14)

pecem14-ibmxtpcIt has been a couple of years since my introductory guide to PCem, which took a look at Version 11. As of now, it’s up to Version 14 with enough changes to warrant a refreshed guide. Some of the numerous improvements since then include supporting Voodoo 2 3D graphics, Iomega ZIP drive, and network card emulation, and IDE drives up to 127 GB. PCem also has had a visual makeover so it’s more intuitive to navigate.

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eBay Purchase #19 – Onkyo DX1015A4 Netbook

onkyonetbook-2eBay Purchase Price: $143.77 AUD

Country of Origin: Australia

Condition: Very Good

Although not the first time small form-factor laptops have come about, the years between 2007 through to about 2012 became prime time for netbooks. Touted as being ultra portable and inexpensive, most netbooks were rather much alike with their specifications and offered little point of difference. In the end, there lacklustre performance contributed to their demise, and were largely replaced with tablets.

This is where the Onkyo gets more interesting, released only for the Japanese market originally for a fairly pricey sum of over 70,000 yen (~$650 USD, ~$850 AUD). Many netbooks were only half that price. It is effectively a re-badged Kojinsha DZ.

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Windows Home Server

winhomeserver-2In 2007, Microsoft announced and later released Windows Home Server as a way to improve data management around the home. Whilst the 1990s was a time when households may have purchased their first computer, the following decade saw an increase in multiple computers potentially leading to having your data all over the place, such as on USB memory sticks.

By 2010, I decided to have a home server. It was driven by storing internet downloads mostly, and so I built a rather modest Intel i3-based (1st-gen Westmere) PC for this task. My logic was that it would be a more useful and neater solution than purchasing several external USB hard disks over time. Among the parts to piece this PC together, was a copy of Windows Home Server purchased for under $100 AUD.

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eBay Purchase #18 – Microsoft Word for Windows 1.1a

mswinword11-7eBay Purchase Price: Unknown

Country of Origin: Australia & United States

Condition: Good & Brand New (2 x copies, Academic & Retail)

Word processing software has been with us since the earliest days of the PC. Electric Pencil and WordStar were such pioneers before Microsoft Word came about. Microsoft jumped in with Word 1.0 for MS-DOS in 1983, followed by the Macintosh in 1985. Windows and OS/2 releases didn’t materialise until 1989.¬†The original Windows version was designed for Windows 2.x. As Windows 3.0 hit the store shelves in 1990, Word 1.1 soon followed as a maintenance release.

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