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Advice on buying a vintage PC for retro gaming

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:49 am
by Fandenivoldsk
Fellow retrogamers, I need some help on what PC to look out for towards retrogaming. I'm not talking about emulation on a PC, but running real DOS and Win95 games on an actual machine. Now, I know most PC's can run DOS if I install Win95 or maybe even DOS on it, but I would like to have a machine with a classic touch and look from the 90's, and not too modern looking (although it should look slick). The perfect machine for me would be a PC with both a 3.5" and a 5 1/4" disk drive inside, but I guess 5 1/4" drives are too old to find in a Win95 era machine? Also, the case design should be black (to match my Sony Multisync monitor). Does anyone know of cool and nice looking PC from the 90's with the above specs?

Re: Advice on buying a vintage PC for retro gaming

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:56 am
by snowkatt
dunno about the 5 inch drives but a a lot of the ibm aptiva's from that time were black
think 486 p1 or depending what you want to run p2

and you wil need drivers for the machine make sure you got them can find them or they come with the machine
because win 95 drivers are these days almost impossible to find
i usually use win 98 because that at least has a driver data base

Re: Advice on buying a vintage PC for retro gaming

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:02 am
by DPrinny
You could try your luck on Freecycle or a local market

Re: Advice on buying a vintage PC for retro gaming

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:04 am
by Rory Milne
I was just going to suggest IBM before Snowkatt beat me to it, some nice Netvistas here, but most '90s IBMs were available in black and they were reliable as hell plus pretty stylish.

Re: Advice on buying a vintage PC for retro gaming

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:05 am
by theantmeister
Black wasn't a very popular case colour back then, you might struggle to find a case from that era in anything other than beige. I had a 5.25" floppy drive on my Win95 PC back in the day - works fine. As long as there is a connector on the motherboard and you have the right cable.

One thing that is a bit of a pain with two floppy drives is that your 3.25" drive becomes drive 'b', which some copy protection and installers gets arsey about.

Re: Advice on buying a vintage PC for retro gaming

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:20 am
by snowkatt
Rory Milne wrote:I was just going to suggest IBM before Snowkatt beat me to it, some nice Netvistas here, but most '90s IBMs were available in black and they were reliable as hell plus pretty stylish.

most of those netvista's are p4 though which is abit over the top for what the op wants them to do
a p2 should do fine
there is very little a p2 450 mhz wouldnt run
or even a p2 233 mhz

Re: Advice on buying a vintage PC for retro gaming

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:39 am
by theantmeister
Oh and make sure whatever you pick up has a decent selection of slots on the motherboard. A mixture of PCI and ISA slots is probably best. PCI for a decent graphics card and ISA for a Sound Blaster. While there are PCI Sound Blasters I think you might struggle to find DOS drivers for them.

Re: Advice on buying a vintage PC for retro gaming

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:15 am
by Rory Milne
snowkatt wrote:most of those netvista's are p4 though which is abit over the top for what the op wants them to do
a p2 should do fine
there is very little a p2 450 mhz wouldnt run
or even a p2 233 mhz
Fair enough, the reason I suggested a Netvista was because I remembered black Aptivas being rarer than hen's teeth from when I looked for one a few years back. There was an exclusive black 'stealth' model that seemed particularly hard to find, there maybe other black models but if so I never came across any. Anyhow, best of luck to Fandenivoldsk, hope she finds what she's after.

Re: Advice on buying a vintage PC for retro gaming

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:25 am
by snowkatt
i am sure there are older netvista's

Re: Advice on buying a vintage PC for retro gaming

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:37 am
by Rory Milne
snowkatt wrote:i am sure there are older netvista's
Well Netvistas were produced from 2000 to 2004 - I didn't check how old the ones in the link are. Aptivas were made from 1994 to 2001 but there aren't any black ones on eBay at the mo which was the case a few years ago when I was after one.

Re: Advice on buying a vintage PC for retro gaming

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:46 am
by snowkatt
i am sure there are other places then ebay
and most of the ebay netvista's in that link are p4's or 1 ghz celerons
not exactly the vintage retro the op is looking for

that would be 486\p1\p2
black does complicate matters though otherwise you can pick them up for free

Re: Advice on buying a vintage PC for retro gaming

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:00 pm
by Rory Milne
snowkatt wrote:black does complicate matters though otherwise you can pick them up for free
Exactly why I didn't suggest an Aptiva. Black 90's Intellivisions are nearly as rare now too. If even the oldest Netvista is too new then maybe IBM isn't the way to go. Shame, as they're some of the most stylish black boxes to come out at the time. As for places other than eBay I wouldn't know so I didn't give advice along those lines.

Re: Advice on buying a vintage PC for retro gaming

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:06 pm
by snowkatt
black intellivisions ?

Re: Advice on buying a vintage PC for retro gaming

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:10 pm
by Rory Milne
snowkatt wrote:black intellivisions ?
Intellistations, long day.

Re: Advice on buying a vintage PC for retro gaming

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:17 pm
by theantmeister
Give in and accept the beige, I say! Cripes, even Macs were beige back then!