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  • #2285303

    Custom hardware advice needed

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    by galahad04 ·

    Hi, I was hoping I could please get some advice on a PC hardware-related issue. As a fan of older (mid-90s) PC games, I still use my ’98 HP Vectra VE 6 PC to play these older games. This is largely because a lot of these games will not work with newer PCs, not just because of OS-related issues, but also because they are relying on older hardware. For example, one of my favorite games can only seem to generate sound when using the ISA-based Sound Blaster Pro sound card in my PC — PCI sound cards will not work.

    I anticipate playing these older games for some time to come. The thing is, eventually my PC will inevitably start to age. If the PC capable of running these games breaks down due to old age, will it realistically be repairable, or would you recommend trying to find and purchase an identical “back-up” system if anything happens to it? (The problem with trying to find another identical system is, it is really tough to find an exact match, and the last time I tried, the seller had removed the original ISA sound card and installed a new PCI one, so I had to return it.) Or if the PC did break down, would it be possible to remove the ISA sound card and install it in another newer PC and still expect it to work the same way it did in the old PC?

    Any advice you could provide would be deeply appreciated. Also, if you have any practical tips on how to ensure the PC enjoys the maximum life span possible, these would be welcome as well. Thanks!

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    • #3312792

      Reply To: Custom hardware advice needed

      by galahad04 ·

      In reply to Custom hardware advice needed

      Also one reason I am so fixated on this particular PC is, it’s not just the ISA sound card alone that enables sound on the older games — the PC’s designated audio drivers are equally as important. Theoretically, I could end up with another PC with the same hardware configuration but incomptible drivers, so this is significant as well.

    • #3312724

      Reply To: Custom hardware advice needed

      by ccollins ·

      In reply to Custom hardware advice needed

      Availability of motherboards with ISA slots shouldn’t be a problem – we still have a load of old Dells in the cupboard with the two ISA configuration. I imagine Ebay will have that sort of thing, next to Michael Jackson’s toenail clippings. If the architecture is the same then the only issue will be drivers – make a back up.
      Getting life out of machines is down to keeping them cool and avoiding power spikes. Keep it clear of dust and fag ash and avoid turning it on or off a lot.

    • #3312658

      Reply To: Custom hardware advice needed

      by willcomp ·

      In reply to Custom hardware advice needed

      As for sound drivers: Odds are that you are using Win 98 built-in drivers for SB Pro.

      Many PCI sound cards provide DOS mode SB emulation or you can try a 128 bit SB PCI card.

      If you want to hedge your bets, try to pick up and save a super socket 7 mobo with ISA slots, an AMD K6-2/500 and a stick of PC100 SDRAM. Then when your old box bites the dust, you can build a new “old” system.

      Remember that any direct replacement parts will probably be as old as the ones you are replacing and may have a short life span.

      Dalton

    • #3313155

      Reply To: Custom hardware advice needed

      by rindi1 ·

      In reply to Custom hardware advice needed

      First, I’m sure you’ll still be able to custom build a PC today that would meet those standards.

      Secondly, there may be another, unexpected option. Use a linux System. For linux you get a lot of emulation software, with which you can run a DOS or Atari or Commodore within the Linux System. When you run such an emulator you can run the original games just as if it was an old DOS PC or an atari or Amiga. Often it is like the original. Since linux is free it shouldn’t be a problem financialy for you to get a system up and running and test some of those games.

    • #3313025

      Reply To: Custom hardware advice needed

      by galahad04 ·

      In reply to Custom hardware advice needed

      I have tried using at least 3 sound blaster emulation software packages on newer computers for some of my old games. The emulation software did work OK for a few games, but the sound quality was pretty bad for my favorite game (released 1993 – 1994, pre-Windows 95 although on my games PC, it works fine using up to Windows ME OS). Therefore, I think SB emulators won’t quite fit the bill by themselves.

      Interestingly, my games PC needs to have the HP model-specific audio drivers installed for 100% SB Pro compatibility — the default audio drivers that ship with Windows ME are not fully compatible. (Not sure if this is a significant issue?)

    • #3291182

      Reply To: Custom hardware advice needed

      by mikex ·

      In reply to Custom hardware advice needed

      Try to buy older PC’s (P1 to P200) u can have them for like 2 for 50, so it couldnt be a problem for u

    • #3315762

      Reply To: Custom hardware advice needed

      by trockii ·

      In reply to Custom hardware advice needed

      Try Xp with emulators. ME was a mistake by Microsoft and it’s not surprising it doesn’t do what you want it to do.

      • #3318947

        Reply To: Custom hardware advice needed

        by galahad04 ·

        In reply to Reply To: Custom hardware advice needed

        With minor driver modifications, the games ran on ME with no problems. However, they ran poorly in Windows XP even with commecial emulators. Thanks anyway though.

    • #3318943

      Reply To: Custom hardware advice needed

      by galahad04 ·

      In reply to Custom hardware advice needed

      This question was closed by the author

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