The resurrection of a dinosaur

Nearly 20 years ago (1997) I was able to afford my first self build PC from brand-new parts all bought by myself.

I wanted it to be something high-class, with recent components and build to last for some years (and especially to last for upcoming games).

I bought a Pentium 200 (not the MMX, that was released later) with a Gigabyte GA-586HX mainboard and 32MB of RAM. The graphics card was a ATI Mach64VT with a PCI interface and I added a Soundblaster AWE64 for the sound. All of that was mixed up with a HDD of some hundreds of MB, a 4x ATAPI CD-ROM, a nice midi tower and Windows 95. Half of the HDD was dedicated to a SUSE Linux.

Later in it’s life it was graced with several updates:

  • A NE2000-clone ethernet card which was later replaced by a 3COM 3C905C.
  • The HDD was first updated to a Quantum Fireball with 1GB and later to a Hitachi 160GB HDD.
  • I added the second TAG-RAM and (in several steps) increased the RAM to 160MB.
  • The Mach64 was replaced by a Diamond Viper 330 (a bad buy in regard to 3D graphics) and backed with a no-name 3dfx Voodoo 1 board.
  • One time or the other the CD-ROM got replaced by a 16x version.

When I replaced it with a newer system around 2000 I still held on to the old box and it was used for several years as a DSL gateway and file server. The Voodoo 1 was sold, Windows 95 and Linux got replaced by FreeBSD, but I never was able to throw that thing away (it even survived a marriage and a divorce which most of my old stuff didn’t).

After spending the last 10 years in several cellars I decided to wake the old box up again and see if I can get it up and running again:

  • I removed all cards and gave it a cleaning with the vacuum.
  • I replaced the old CPU cooler and the fan.
  • I got a Voodoo2 board at eBay.
  • I installed Windows 98SE and did a hunt for drivers on the internet.
  • I ordered a PCI-USB controller card on eBay for joystick support.

Stuff that still needs fixing:

  • The BIOS is to old to cope with a HDD of this size. It only detects 8GB and I want to try a HDD extender later on.
  • Before I can try anything with the HDD I need to fix/replace the CMOS battery which is drained and the BIOS forgets its settings every time I turn off the PC.
  • I was able to get a Pentium 200 MMX at eBay and I want to install that if the mainboard supports it. I need to find the mainboard revision to check that.