About buying computer stuff

At it again?

Looking to buy computer stuff? This page is about some specific searches I had. For more general searches, I tend to turn to:

Some Unorganized/To-do stuff

Put here at the top to get my attention. (That technique doesn't exactly work, though.)


I'd just like to say that at this very moment, my impression is that upgrading to a faster system is getting ridiculously cheap. I have a Pentium that I'm not happy with (due to not supporting a hard drive over 8GB), and so I decided it needed an upgrade, so it was time to get a new computer (and give my current computer to the hard drive that it wouldn't support).

What I've found is that it seems I can get a system decently faster than my current one for $194, with the main downfall being a processor that is only about 1/3 the clock speed of the top-of-the-line chips, and an amount of RAM considered low by today's standards. This is also prices before shipping, but still, such a system would make for a good server. Seeing this, my value of working 486's as servers just dropped numerous notches. Wow.

Some more RAM would cost maybe $160 more for a nice amount, and a better CPU could be perhaps $170-$200 instead of $70. So that's another $260 to get a decent machine. $200 cheapest + $260 for a machine with some more decent specifications is $460.

To think that an Apple 2 cost about $2000, which I think was before the $500 my parents paid for the memory expansion to give it 128KB instead of 64KB of main RAM. My first Intel-platform machine, a 486, cost $2000 and that didn't include a sound card or a CD-ROM or other things common. My next machine, a Celeron, was $1400, when I was trying to get a top-of-the-line machine (except not spending ridiculously, like spending 3 times as much for some parts that would be just 5-10% faster) for about $2,000. Now I'm looking at less than $500.

Now, granted, the Celeron experience may have involved using some parts like a keyboard and a hard drive, but since I was moving from ISA to PCI and AGP this upgrade did include a new sound card and video card. This latest upgrade price isn't counting the price of a video card, and the next upgrade I would do likely would need to be replacing a video card since AGP is on its way out. So some money is being saved just by barely making it within the same hardware interface for a video card. Also, the $1400 Celeron price included shipping, and the $460 upgrade price does not. So, these numbers are flawed. Still, these numbers saying that upgrading is only a third of what it was last time, are just phenominal numbers. And the truth may be what, the upgrade this time being 40% instead of 33%?

Well, I'm not planning to do the $500 upgrade. I do want ISA slots, and so I guess I'm looking at about $400 before tax for getting only the most necessary basics, and some more down the road. But the results of my most recent price hunt are... staggering. I'm amazed.

Overview, what I looked for

I am interested in the ultimate Windows 98/DOS machine. This means:

I chose AGP over PCI Express or VESA Local BUS because AGP was a very widely available standard, and so supporting AGP would enable this machine to run most video cards (probably also including PCI and/or ISA video cards, although I suspect ISA might be unsupported for video cards on newer machines some odd reason).

After a lot of searching for motherboards, I believed I finally decided on a board that looked great before I bought it:
Name Manufacturer CPU# of ISA SlotsMaximum amount of RAMAGP Slot present?# of PCI slotsEthernet (req'd for Gigabit to not saturate PCI bus)?Onboard VGA?# of IDE devicesUSBWireless (Optical)?Misc URLsPriceNeat Motherboard picture?
"WINIP-06046" (or just called "IP-06046") win enterprises Pentium 4 Controller with Intel 865PE Chipset3 4gb (184-pin DDR DIMM sockets) 8X 3 1 Gigabit and 1 100Mbps (2 Serial ATA's listed. Is this same as IDE?) 2 IDE ports. 6 IrDA Tx/Rx News, PRWeb Someone happy Datasheet as PDF "The WINIP-06046 is priced at $310." www.win-ent.com. . "$210 (evaluation price until 01/05); $250 (typical)" Large pic
Medium pic w/ parts labelled

After I bought the IP-06046 and found that it didn't come with what was standardly expected (face plate) or advertised (drivers) or support in the BIOS for RAM speeds advertised, I felt jipped and none of these problems have been rectified as of this writing. (See another page for any updated info, if any, and link to mb700.htm

Probably the best things to look for are, in order:

I suspect the rest may come naturally: A 16X AGP system may be new enough of technology to be likely to have 4GB of RAM. (64-bit chips aren't commonplace yet, as I write this.) Unfotunately 16x may be found as a CD-ROM speed, making it harder to look for 16X AGP. Sigh...

I have not found a machine that fits all of this criteria. I have created an HTML table that lists several that are close. Note that I haven't been able to find a 16x AGP that I know of (on a motherboard with ISA slots). It seems that technology may be too new, and so I may need to just wait a bit for 16x AGP and 4GB of RAM to be more popular (at least among motherboard manufacturers), but I can't wait too long because 64-bit chips are coming and ISA slots are likely to be disappearing even moreso than they have already.

Additional things I would like:

Other things I just expect won't be a problem

16x AGP slot, to handle the NVidia 6800 Ultra when it is released, which looks like may be the most powerful AGP-based graphics card to be made (as future graphics cards will be using the PCI Express architecture).

What I found

Although the IP-06046 motherboard doesn't have onboard VGA, it has pretty much everything else I wanted. (Also no bluetooth support that I know of, but that can be gotten with a USB device I now have. And I'm not so sure anymore that Bluetooth is quite as nice/useful as I previously hoped.)

So, here's what I plan to get:

Pricing Verbose Description
Immediately: $408ish (including a $250 motherboard instead of a $36 motherboard, which would mean $194). (Not counting shipping.)
  • $Unknown. A table or two.
  • Motherboard
  • Case
    • I don't know. Estimated $36 (including 550W power supply). But how can I find one that I really want (which I suppose may be considered specialized/luxurious, if it doesn't have screws, and therefore would cost more, meaning this estimate is low).
  • Power supply $6.95 for 500W.
    • I don't know how many Watts I'd need. I should check that before getting anything. An nVidia 6800 Ultra was speculated to take a lot, and 3 hard drives plus a DVD drive plus two floppies may take a bit too, plus fans.
  • Pentium IV
      • $79 Pentium 4 1.7GHz Sock 478 (just $4 more than the 1.3GHz chip).
      • The goal here is, a cheap one, to be upgraded to the best 32-bit Intel Socket 478 CPU (hopefully Intel's fastest 32-bit chip) in the future once Intel stops making faster ones.
        • This is assuming that the chip doesn't get married to the motherboard, which I think it doesn't. (It's the Heat Sink that, through thermal compound, gets married to a chip.)
        • In fact, I'd use a Pentium 2 chip initially if it works on the system. But I think Socket 478 may mean Pentium 4 only.
      • Motherboard dictates what CPU's it supports. Supports Intel Socket 478 Pentium 4 processor with 400/533/800 MHz system bus.
  • I don't have a good idea of price on this. Is this cheap? $20? Heat Sink, thermal compound, any CPU or other fans that may be needed.
  • RAM
    • I decided that 128MB would be the bare minimum that I might be semi-content with, and then I find that seems to be the lowest size that DDR RAM comes in (at least based on what Pricewatch's RAM page shows).

      One of:

      ( Intel Pentium 4 (Socket-478) processor with 400 / 533 / 800 MHz system bus ) (If I recall correctly, which I might not, the 800MHz system bus = PC 3200 RAM?)
  • $0.00 for the stuff I already have:
    • Chair for guests, obtained from Office Depot.
    • AGP GeForce 3, since I have a TNT2 AGP card for Allower.
    • Modern sound card: MadDog C-Media or "SB Live!"
    • Gravis UltraSound Extreme
    • Some sort of a SB Awe64
    • Some sort of a CD-ROM-reading device. (I have CDRW's around.)
    • 1.44MB 3.5" drive, from a broken computer.
    • Scanner (hopefully one that can use a parallel port)
Very soon (possibly stealing this from other machines until I get this):
  • Maybe $12 new, worst-case-scenerio: Power cord
  • Maybe $9-$12 new, worst-case-scenerio: Keyboard
  • Maybe $20, PS2 (or USB w/ PS2 converter) Optical Mouse
  • Maybe $10-$20, worst case scenerio. Likely dirt cheap with David's assistance. Ethernet cable
Down the road (as soon as I can afford)
  • Onboard four 184-pin DDR DIMM sockets, 1GB each. I'm not sure what speed the motherboard supports. $79x4 for PC2100 DDR 1GB. $247x4 if can use any speed (PC4400 DDR 1GB). Or maybe hold off from buying the fastest-possible now, in expectation of buying faster later.
  • AGP 8X NVidia 6800 Ultra
  • Better CPU. Right now there is a $950 Pentium 4 3.4GHz 800MHz 2MB Extreme which is far pricer than the $269 Pentium 4 3.4GHz 800MHz or even the faster-clock-speed $431 Pentium 4 560 3.6GHz LGA775. (Are these Socket 478 though?)
  • Modem
  • Wireless Internet Card
  • 5.25" 1.2MB floppy drive
  • More 120GB 7200RPM Maxtor hard drives. Maybe $70 times 3 or 4.
  • Better drive for writing to removable media (DVD+-RW)
  • Color printer
  • 2.88MB 3.5" floppy drive
  • Larger monitor and/or video projector unit
  • Even more fans, for ridiculous airflow, assuming that this doesn't cause negative side effects (take too much power, or make too much noise, the latter of which is probably unlikely).
  • Frivolous lights.
Table to put stuff on.
Perhaps two tables, while I'm at it.
  • I like the sturdy table, with the built-in leg rest, of what I use now for Allower. Maybe the newer computer will use that.
  • So, I'll need one more computer to store what is currently Allower, if Allower is going to be able to nicely be used as a system for guests (who can use a nice Operating System, like OpenBSD, for surfing the web, or we could take down the services of that computer, like an FTP server, and rely on Windows 98 SE ICS (Internet Connection Sharing) when we want Allower to be using Windows (for networked Windows games).
  • I could really use another table for another TV and some of my already-owned video game systems.

To support the IP-06046, it will need to support: 12"(L) x 9.595"(W) (304.8mm x 243.71mm) ATX Form Factor

I don't quite know how to go case shopping. I would think this could be bought from a store to save shipping on a big and heavy thing, but how to find one that supports the uncommon features I'd like?

  • Requried drive support: at least 2 5.25" (a 5.25" floppy drive and a DVD-RW drive) and 4 3.5" drives (a 3.5" floppy and 3 hard drives).
    • 5.25" drive bays can serve instead of 3.5" drive bays, due to drive mounting.
    • For easy installation of a "guest" temporary drive, it would be nice to have 3 5.25" bays (any more than that would be a waste of space that wouldn't likely offer any good) plus space for all the 3.5" drives,
    • although I wouldn't feel two bad if it had only 3 5.25" bays plus space for all but one of the 3.5" drives (and so I would remove one hard drive from a 5.25" bay, and still have access to the other 5.25" drives, if needed).
  • I like the idea of a removable 3.5" cage that pulls out just like ATX drive rails do. I'm not sure how to *find* that feature that Allower supports so nicely, though.
  • I like the idea of not requiring screws for cards. I'm not sure how common that is, though. (And, while at it, not requiring screws for the case outside or anything else either, possibly not counting drives which I imagine may need screws for the drive rails unless some other method of holding drives has been devised.)

Central Processing Unit Slot
  • Intel Socket 478 Pentium 4 processor with 400/533/800 MHz system bus
  • In it goes: Intel's fastest 32-bit chip
    • Since until Intel discontinues their 32-bit line of chips, they are likely to continue to create faster and faster ones, buying chips earlier may result in a chip which is something like half the speed, or less, or a yet-faster-32-bit-chip that Intel will make. In the meantime, I will likely to decently satisfied with just about any Pentium IV, although as money permits I may buy incremental upgrades (there is, after all, a 1.3GHz Pentium 4 and a 3.6GHz Pentium 4, so if I can afford a 3.6GHz'er I may well get that instead of, or to replace an already-purchased, slower chip).

RAM slots
Onboard four 184-pin DDR DIMM sockets - supports up to 4 GB.

I want two! One for a mouse, one for a keyboard! Will I not get to have this? I do want my system to support both, but I suppose a sacrifice could be made on this if I can find an adapter to let a device designed for PS/2 ports to work with USB, so that I could use:

  • PS/2-style port Keyboard
  • 3-button serial mouse in DOS
  • USB Mouse in Windows for things needing scroll wheel and/or more than 3 buttons

Mini-DIN connector supports PC/AT keyboard and PS/2 mouse.

One RS-232/422/485 serial port
I believe this is just a 9-pin port which can be faster than RS-232 ports
Three RS-232 serial ports (in addition to the RS-232/422/485 serial ports listed above).

One will be disabled, desiring to be COM2 for modem use.

Another is likely to be COM4 (using IRQ10).

Bi-directional SPP/ECP/EPP parallel port

A parallel port scanner is expected to be plugged into this, and then a parallel port printer will be plugged into that. A parallel port drive (Zip Drive, Jaz Drive with Travelor adaptor) might be plugged in even before that. (Note: Ideally the scanner will also support USB which is how it would more normally be used, due to speed.)

SSD Interface
One 50-pin CompactFlash™ socket. At first, I was thinking this was just for "flash memory" cards that may hold a small amount of data, like 16MB (or maybe cards holding that little of memory are now old and no longer sold) to perhaps 128MB. However, I found a a page of "Compact Flash Hard Drives" selling 5GB Datapak PC Card Type II Kingston DP-PCM2/5GB. Also a motherboard sporting "two onboard IDE Compact Flash slots (treated as hard-drives)". I originally thought this was useless, just a built in support for one memory type when I could easily come up with my own flash-card-reader solution via USB (I have some free-after-rebate reader that supports mulitiple types), but I guess support for Compact Flash is starting to become common on motherboards. Will usage of this conflict with another IDE channel and not let me use the 3 hard drives plus DVD drive I had planned?
Digital I/O
"Four digital output and three input." (What are these? Are they IEEE 1394 FireWire?) I'm wondering if this is the same as the IEEE 1394 ports, in which case there may not be seven ports.
IEEE 1394 (FireWire) Interface
One IEEE 1394 port onboard; pin header for up to 3 IEEE 1394 ports, optional. (Is this the same as the Digital I/O ports, meaning there is one output port and three ports that can be set up as either input ports or output ports?)
Ethernet ports, 1 Gigabit
  • CSA Interface supports Intel 1000/PRO CT(547EI) GbE
    • It is desired to have Gigabit support on motherboard, as Gigabit Ethernet requires a dedicated bus to be effectively used, because otherwise Gigabit ethernet would saturate any other bus. "Transfers with 10/100/1000 Mbps standard can be up to 125 MB/second which can nearly saturate the PCI bus. A PCI Gigabit Ethernet card has access to 133 MB/second of memory bandwidth, so if you're transferring at 125 MB/second that leaves you with a mere 8 MB of bandwidth/second for other things including USB, sound etc."

  • ICH4 embedded MAC with 82562EM (PHY) 100Base-Tx Fast Ethernet controller.
Expansion slots

NVidia 6800 Ultra

When I looked at this prior to this card's release, it looked like it may be the most powerful AGP-based graphics card to be made (as future graphics cards will be using the PCI Express architecture)

ISA Slots
Gravis UltraSound Extreme
Main reason for insisting on an ISA slot
SB Awe 64 (Gold?)

Perhaps a NetGear, so I can have what may be the maximum amount of free memory in DOS while having a working netword card in that environment.

Otherwise, this may be sitting empty for a bit.

Since so much of what used to go onto ISA slots, such as "Super I/O cards" supporting floppy and hard drives as well as serial ports and a parallel port, are now built into motherboards, I don't know what ISA device might go into this slot.

PCI Slots
V.92 internal modem, not a WinModem.

Possible modem:

Creative 5633 Modem Blaster v.92 56K OEM
  • $30.00
  • "Hardware Based, Not a "WinModem"" However, "an auction for "Model Number: DI 5633" "This is a software-based modem."
  • V.44 Compression
  • Voice
    • "Telephone Answering Machine (TAM) functionality on DI5633 models allows you to use your sound card for voice modem support without making additional connections and to set up a complete voice-mail system."
    • "A Telephone Answering Device (TAD) Connector and included cable on DI5631 models mean easy connection to a sound card and clearer voice mail messages."
    • "Full-Duplex Speakerphone functionality on DI5631 models let you speak hands-free over the phone line by attaching your own microphone and speakers directly to the modem."
  • Modem-on-hold works with your Call Waiting service to let you pause your Internet connection and place or receive phone calls without losing your connection.
Overpriced ($79.99 price) V.92 USR
USR hardware-controller based models do not support V.44. http://www.modemsite.com/56k/v92c.asp

USR 56K "Not a Winmodem" Sportster internal modem

obtained for less than $60 from www.compuplus.com when Allower was purchased. Except I think that was V.90. V.92 is out now.

A jumper setting determines whether this card will be configured to support PnP or configured to use a single COM port. By not being a WinModem, not only does this not require Windows drivers (which would make this pretty incompatible for other operating systems), but it uses the chips on the modem itself to perform the "digital signal processor" controller logic that handles hardware error correction, hardware data compression, basic modulation protocols (such as V.34, x2 or K56flex), and AT command interpreting, rather than requiring CPU power to do that.


Just on a side note, I found a URL for USR V.90 ISA (note: not V.92), which was being sold new in Dec 2004 (maybe later). I'm guessing it's not listed on the V.92 software upgrade page.

Choosing a Modem

"Upgradeable firmware. The modem should be upgradeable via a software download. This will extend its useful life. HREF="http://www.building-tux.com/hardware/choosing-a-modem.html">" "Modem manufacturer are always tweaking the code for their modems to better handle noisy phone lines." "Other nice features include fax capability, voicemail, call waiting, etc. A good warranty should be considered a must."

Wireless Ethernet controller

Should support 802.11g (which would mean it also supports 802.11b), as well as the upcoming standard (which I don't remember the name of, offhand).

Slower than the 1GB Ethernet the motherboard supports, but needed to become a part of the wireless network I want to have in my house.

Modern sound card?

A newer sound card than the ISA ones in the system may be more compatible with newer features such as DirectX's support for environmental audio.

Power Supply
  • I don't know how many Watts I'd need. I should check that before getting anything. An nVidia 6800 Ultra was speculated to take a lot, and 3 hard drives plus a DVD drive plus two floppies may take a bit too, plus fans.
  • More is good. The extra power won't hurt any computer equipment, even if it does hurt my electric bill more, which I'm not sure it will even do that. Too little can cause problems.
  • $6.95 for 500W seems good compared to $6 for 250W.
  • I imagine that $99 700W would be overkill (and that it being overkill is the reason it isn't popular and so is the reason for the much higher price).
Hard drives
Make, size
For maximum compatibility, the largest drives possible without needing LBA48 (since Windows 98 Second Edition doesn't handle LBA48 well), so something under 137GB. It seems 120GB is the biggest common size that fits that criteria. I have found myself growing more and more trust for Maxtor after Western Digital's tech support failed to support LBA48 in Win98SE even though their box surrounding a 250GB drive said it was supported. So, three Maxtor 120GB drives. 7200 RPM, not the 5400 RPM variety.

Looking for the drive that can read more things than anything else. Right now I think I'll just take the DVD+-RW from Allower, which can read/write/re-write to any of: CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD(-ROM), DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW

  • CD-ROM
  • CD-R(W)
  • DVD(-R(W))
  • DVD+R(W)
I'll hold off on purchasing the fastest possible DVD for now, since I believe some future device, compatible with everything listed above and also more media (with a capacity to hold more data) may be coming out in the not-too-far-off future (and that this new media may make a big deal out of HDTV). Blue-Ray? Double-sided DVD (already out now?!?)? Some other competing standard mentioned on X-Scene.com news from time to time?

5.25" 1.2MB floppy drive
possibly as a combo drive
3.5" 2.88-compatible floppy drive
2.88 MB floppy drive

(Similar to Chrosmac Ventures's IBM ThinkPad 750 755 760 765 Series Super 2.88MB Floppy Drive Complete?) Apparently they may be called "Media-Sense Drives". or Mitsubishi Super Floppy. (black $75) Sony MP-F40W-15 2.88mb Floppy Drive DealTime searched for 2.88MB, found some IBM links.

2.88MB disks are preferred over LS-120 Flopticals because 2.88 disks are useful for making/testing disk images for the El Torito (sp?) standard of booting CD-ROMs.

ED (Extra Density, 2.88MB) disks. (4.0MB disks would just be unformatted 2.88MB disks.) Apparently they are supposed to have a hole in a different location than a 1.44MB floppy.

eBay. Google.

(Just check for compatibility before buying one, to make sure the drive FITS in the computer! For example, I imagine IBM Laptop drives may not be.)

Will not have: LS-120 Flopticals

Will not have this, because I believe it conflicts with having a real 2.88MB drive, and I do believe the LS-120 Flopticals cannot write to 2.88MB disks. A shame... LS-120's do read 120MB disks. Woulda been nice to have these.

Jumper settings

I'll put a URL here when I can. I'm under the understanding that Flopticals, while they may be more common than 2.88MB disks, do not read/write 2.88MB disks which are useful for making/testing disk images for the El Torito (sp?) standard of booting CD-ROMs.


  • Immediately: Probably just use Allower's monitor, 20 or 21 inches, despite a bright stripe towards the left side of the image, and limited to poor 1600x1200 support (generally I ran it at 1280x1024). Why? Due to current position of such a thing. That is: cost.
  • Down the road, I'd like a huge monitor. Maybe even a display which is a video projector so I can make a screen about as big as a wall.

More external stuff
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse - Optical, 2 buttons plus clickable scroll wheel at minimum, and perhaps 5+ buttons.
  • Two Gravis Gamepad Pros (game-port versions). Although it would be nice if a disable-able game port was included with the motherboard, that's not a real issue for me since I anticipate game ports will be provided by sound cards. The ideal for game ports is just one, anyway.
  • Scanner connected via parallel port
  • Color Printer connected via parallel port, ink jet or better
  • Really splurging
    • Another color printer on USB (for speed), which also gives USB ports
    • Cell phone modem, in case phone line gets fried (killing DSL support) or for portable use. IrDA compatible. I supposedly already have this, Nokia 6600, but do I maybe need to pay for some software?
  • USB Devices
    • Bluetooth adapter
    • Memory cards w/ USB support, and/or memory card readers
      • N64 DexDrive
      • Playstation DexDrive
      • A Dreamcast VMU w/ USB support
      • There are Xbox Memory Units with USB support
        • like the MegaXKey.
        • I likely won't get one, though, since I can connect my Xbox via Ethernet and use it to support this task.
    • "Best Data now makes the 56USBP, a USB v.92 modem that supports the CDC standard. It's not a winmodem and it works under netbsd, osx, and win2k. Only $45, too."
Software: The new computer should have its own purchased copies of the following software.
Windows 98 Second Edition
Full version available for $55 eBay auctions, with some people bidding on lower-priced auctions
Nero Burning ROM
DVD Playback software

Some not-supported things: Although I wouldn't have objected to supporting many of these things, they just weren't deemed as important as the speed increase of having a faster CPU, or they were declined because of incompatibility with some other feature I chose to support.

25-pin serial port
Unless I'm wrong, if this can be supported by the new motherboard as an external port. I could put an I/O card in to support a 25-pin serial port, but I see little point in this. I don't know of a device that would use it other than a modem or a serial port, and so I plan to just rely on using the internal 56K modem, and a connection to an older machine that does have a 25-pin serial port if necessary.
"Unfortunately, while the EISA bus is backwards compatible and is not a proprietary bus the EISA bus never became widely used and is no longer found in computers today." (Referring, of couse, only to new computers sold on the market today.)
MCA (Micro Channel Architecture)
"Technically brilliant but ultimately killed by IBM's ridiculous licensing terms for the technology."
VESA Local Bus
"Unfortunately, because the VLB heavily relied on the 486 processor, when the Pentium Processor was released manufacturers began switching to PCI."
PCI-X (different than PCI-Express)
"The trouble is, while this has the hearts of those in the server market, the complexities and extra costs to manufacture mean that they will be virtually unknown at the desktop level. PCI-X, for example, requires a controller for every slot and that is just too expensive."

This did not make a huge hit during the 32-bit era, as it was only coming out in its earliest, slowest incarnations shortly after 64-bit chips were released, so 32-bit chips were on its way out. I decided instead to look for a motherboard supporting AGP, so I would have a fast system supporting AGP cards. I figure when I get a system based on a 64-bit chip then it will probably support PCI-Express.

Audio/Modem Riser

"Released on September 8th 1998, AMR allowed OEM manufacturers like Asus to create one card that has the functionality of either Modem or Audio or both Audio and Modem on one card. This new specification allows for the motherboard to be manufactured at a lower cost". Technically dumb, as onboard audio was a more prefered solution, and onboard modems (with a phone jack built onto the motherboard) would have been a better solution for research dollars. Shortly after the release of AMR, someone created the "backwards AMR" standard where a card is designed to be a bit towards one direction (like right) instead of the other direction (like left), allowing a backwards AMR slot to share the same space for a face plate as a PCI-slot. As far as I know, this standard never got off the ground, and its biggest impact in history has been to be a confusing standard.

Communications and Network Riser (CNR)
"The CNR specification supports audio, modem USB and LAN interfaces of core logic chipsets."
Zip Drives

If I happen to have such a drive, I suppose I'll use it. Maybe I'll even waste some money on getting one. I don't plan to worry too much about it, though, due to compatibility.

The Iomega Zip Drives, in addition to the "Click of Death" (see also research into "Click of Death") (I do want to learn more about the class action lawsuit against IoMega, settled in March 2001 on this issue), the Zip disks aren't terribly common anymore and nor will they be with the backwards compatibility being as non-existant as it is. Iomega's Zip 750 drive can read but not write to Zip 100 disks (but it can write to Zip 250 disks, and the Zip 250 can slowly write to the Zip 100 disks). Even with combinations that are supposed to work, "the new" (250MB Zip and 2GB Jaz) "drives are unable to long format the old disks." "Warning! Do not use 2 GB disks with 1 GB drives! It may cause damage to the drive."

"Iomega and SyQuest drives have more than price in common. For example, Iomega's Jaz drive can't read Zip disks. Likewise, the SyJet can't use cartridges from SyQuest's EZFlyer 230 or EZ135 drives."

Older monitor plugs
On a hardware level, CGA and EGA monitors won't connect to this system. Any (S)VGA monitor can, though, and those monitors will provide CGA/EGA support for the video card.

See ramlimit.htm http://www.pocketdos.com/faq.htm http://www.tinyapps.org/internet.html http://www.tinyapps.org/ftp.html Things I need to get: Wha Things I have: Enter into: http://stephan.win31.de/w31xsys.htm ISA slots: Motherboard ISA slots to be used for: GUS Extreme, maybe V.92 modem (if a PCI won't work well), maybe an SB Awe 64. PCI slots: V.92 modem if not an ISA one, wireless Ethernet card, SB Audigy 2.... SB PCI 512? (Apparently uses old-style PCI drivers, maybe is good) Get SB PCI 128 from Allen. Consider: More expensive model has: 8x AGP, not 2x/4x. Built in SMI 712, 2MB video (which I hope to be supported as secondary video card), TV out Gigabit Ethernet available, built in faster RAM up to 4GB RAM on one model 2 more serial ports SATA 533/800MHz bus vs 533/400MHz bus New something found with +"pentium 4" +agp +isa +"4 gb" http://www.option-computers.com/products/portables/StrongBoxLT.htm ATX motherboard: 1 AGP 8X, 3 full PCI, 3 full ISA, and 1 MicroPCI slots Support up to 4GB DDR SDRAM Memory "Some of the key features of industrial motherboard that differs from consumer motherboard are functions such as compact flash socket, watch-dog timer, digital I/O, LCD display and ISA bus slots. The benefit of using IEI industrial motherboards is its guaranteed long life cycle, revision control, and industrial reliability." http://www.pro-4-pro.com/de/Company/7316314/7316314_2_p4p0404.html MyLogo "Legacy devices are Industry-Standard Architecture (ISA) devices that do not adhere to the Plug and Play standard." www.motherboards.org/articlesd/motherboard-reviews/ 1170_1.html http://www.electricstuff.co.uk/backwardspc.html info on hyperthreading (by IBase) http://www.motherboard-links.com/dynamic-frameset.html?http://www.technoland.com/mb.htm http://www.soyousa.com/products/proddesc.php?id=194 http://www.motherboard-links.com/dynamic-frameset.html?http://www.denichi.com/Products/sbcfront.htm Motherboards I seem to like more: Google for +"pentium 4" +agp +"3 isa" http://www.cyberresearch.com/store/product/776.2.htm 2GB, 3 ISA, 3 PCI, 1 AGP slot (unknown multiplier), LAN 1 x 10Base-T/100Base-TX; 1 x Gigabit (10/100/1000Base-T), 2.4GHz CPU, VGA, audio, 2 USB 2.0 ports, $745-$1445 depending on chip included. Other options I've found: http://www.devita.com/Components/Hardware/Motherboards/body_motherboards.html Intel Socket-478 P4 Based Intel i845PE Chipset ATX Motherboard Supporting 533 MHz FSB, Intel Hyper-Threading Technology, DDR333, On-Board Audio, LAN, USB 2.0, and 3 ISA Slots. http://www.devita.com/Components/Hardware/Motherboards/body_motherboards.html 1 PCIAGP, 1 AGP, 7 PCI and 4 ISA (includes 1 PICMIC) slots. AGP Bridged Backplane http://www.advantech.co.jp/pdf/RS-400-SF_ds.pdf 4 ISA, 2 PCI, dual LAN, AGP2X/4X, 2 serial RS-232 (9-pin). PDF file says "www.advantech.com" http://kennethhunt.com/archives/001028.html supports Pentium 4, 3 ISA, 4 PCI, 4GB RAM http://www.qdigrp.com/qdisite/eng/Products/tx2.htm Intel 82430TX chipset 4 ISA, 4 PCI, Pentium 75-233MHz/Pentium w/ MMX/Cyrix 6x86 PR200+GP/AMD K5 and K6 PR166/PR200 Microprocessor What is this? 2 ISA and 16 PCI slots http://www.trentontechnology.com/products/backplanes/5696.html Possibly a similar-something http://www.orbitmicro.com/products/backplanes/backplane/PIAGP/PXAGP12S2.htm w/ 3 ISA, 7PCI, 1 AGP http://motherboards.bizrate.com/marketplace/product_info/details__cat_id--419,prod_id--7589660.html seems to have 3 ISA slots, 768MB RAM max, P2/P3, $90ish http://motherboards.bizrate.com/marketplace/product_info/overview/index__cat_id--419,prod_id--5186790.html seems to have 3 ISA slots, 768 RAM max, P2/Cel/P3, unknown price (web site error) I want to create an ultimate DOS/Win98SE(/WinMe) machine. I believe now is getting to be the best time for this, because some of the new machine's lowest features are starting to match the upper limitations of Win98SE. I've looked around on the 'net, but what I've decided is that I've never ordered a new computer online before, and I'm wondering if anyone would like to assist. (I am not asking for, and in fact I fully object to anyone just ordering this for me. It's time for me to educate myself on this.) Some of the parts for this may be stealable from my current machine. Characteristics of this legendary machine: Motherboard features: It must have ISA slots. I'm putting a GUS Extreme in there. I'm also interested in putting a Sound Blaster Awe 128 (this best DOS SB card, I think) in there, so I would like 2 or preferably 3 ISA slots. I think that ISA slots are the biggest concern I have in order to make sure that any decision made fulfills, rather than defeats, the purpose of this machine. Apparently this means I can't have PCI 2.2 (www.homenethelp.com/web/explain/ about-wireless802.11b.asp "If your computer has ISA slots, it is probably not PCI 2.2.") I believe, therefore, that the best video card I'll be able to put into the system is an advanced (high multiplier) AGP card, as I'm guessing that a yet-unreleased motherboard supporting PCI Express isn't likely to support ISA. It would be good to have AGP 16X, which reviewers indicate is apparently going to be the highest speed of AGP before PCI Express takes over. I am interested in using Intel, out of nostalgia of Intel undeniable rocking back in those days when I ran the software which I expect to run on this machine. I will want USB (2.0 preferred over 1.1). RAM: David believes that Win98SE has a RAM limit of 512MB. http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;q253912#appliesto says that this is caused by Vcache (Windows 32-bit protected-mode cache driver), and can be gotten around using System.ini's MaxFileCache set to 524288 KB or less. This sounds much better than the other options, such as using msconfig to limit the amount of memory that Windows uses to 512 megabytes (MB) or less (which sounds equivilent to setting system.ini's MaxPhysPage=, see http://www.mdgx.com/newtip8.htm for info on this value), or to Limit Memory to MB option in config.sys. http://journal.projectjj.com/paper_ramlimit.php suggests to set MaxFileCache to 131072. He also used 3rd party device driver XMSDSK 524288 R: /T /C1 /Y on a 1GB machine. Because of this issue, it would be nice to support 512MB of RAM (rather than 1GB being the minimum), although that is a fairly small concern for me since MS does document these workarounds that should work. The more RAM supported, the better. Given these limitations, I would like to support the fastest processor possible. I had a motherboard that fit this criteria, but I believe it was limited to Celeron (Pentium 2), or it had some preliminary Pentium 3 support since P3's were released right around the same time as that motherboard. The main reason I'm considering looking at new boards rather than trying to get that one back from David: Can a Pentium 4 motherboard support this? If so, I'd gladly take a P4, please. Other features: I'm interested in having a bunch of things built onto the motherboard. Why not? I'm wanting to make this the ideal system, one which I'll actually leave the case on most of the time as I won't have a future need to upgrade this system or a good reason to switch parts out of it. Since upgradibility isn't a concern, I'm thinking it will be good to have things built onto the motherboard, to leave the maximum number of free PCI/ISA slots open for high/maximum compatibility with anything else that may be thought of. Short of supporting AMR Riser cards, that is. Not only are they a terrible idea, but the conflicting standards make them fairly incompatible, so I reject that standard. (I would be looking for VLB support since any ISA card should fit in such a slot, except I think that would be incompatible with AGP.) 2 serial ports, at least 1 9-pin. Ideally at least 1 25-pin, and up to 4 serial ports, but I realize if this is unattainable. Networking: Newer motherboards are supporting wireless 1Gb Ethernet built into them, I think. That'd be great if I could get that, or even a 10/100 Mbps wireless. I suspect I can't, but I think I can find a motherboard with 10/100 Mbps wired Ethernet, or even a Gigabit wired Ethernet, and so I should make sure I get that so that I can connect to a wired ethernet without using a PCI slot for it. Sound: Will be handled by GUS Extreme, and a Creative Labs SB-16-compatible SB (likely SB Awe 64 Gold CT4520, which seems to be ISA-only), possibly another sound card (SB Live/Audigy-ish?). http://www.dataprobeintl.com/products/soundcard.htm lists a SoundBlaster AWE 256 SB Live. Some interesting looking sound cards: Note: Flashing Awe, grab the ftp://ftp1.us.dell.com/audio/aweflsh.exe from http://www.zdnet.fr/telecharger/windows/fiche/0,39021748,20072011s,00.htm, and the newer drivers from Creative. http://dmzweb3.europe.creative.com/SRVS/CGI-BIN/WEBCGI.EXE/,/?St=987,E=0000000000024937428,K=9901,Sxi=0,Case=obj(11203),Kb=creative_cli_us It seems that Sound Blaster AWE 64 Gold is the highest ISA card. http://us.creative.com/support/downloads/ lists: Sound Blaster 16 Sound Blaster 16 Wave Effects Sound Blaster 16 PCI see http://www.high-tech.com/drivers/sb16cfg.zip http://www.computing.net/windows31/wwwboard/forum/9959.html Sound Blaster Vibra 128 see http://www.computingreview.com/userControls/CRProduct/ProductSpecs.aspx?ProductID=272408 which may refer to this card. (or rather the SB PCI 128 listed below?) Ensonique Audio PCI Sound Blaster PCI 64, 128, 512 PCI 128: Because it uses Sound Blaster PCI technology you won't have to worry about compatibility. Creative's patented technology provides near-perfect Sound Blaster emulation. This means that the Sound Blaster PCI128 works with the existing base of MS-DOS and Windows titles. http://www.bizrate.com/marketplace/product_info/overview/index__cat_id--463,prod_id--5214827.html PCI 512: http://www.baber.com/baber/sound/soundblaster_pci_512.htm And, with Sound Blaster PCI compatibility, you will be assured of support for the largest selection of existing MS-DOSŪ and Windows-based games and other titles. apparently isn't very good in DOS: http://ecoustics.audioreview.com/pscComputingReview/Components/Sound+Cards/Sound,Blaster,PCI,128/PRD_272436_5525crx.aspx SB PCI 5.1 Sound Blaster 32 Sound Blaster AWE32 Sound Blaster AWE64 (Likely I'll get a CT4520, as it doesn't require powered speakers like the Awe64 Gold's do). http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=31492&item=3475662231&rd=1 says it contains 512k onboard RAM. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=31492&item=3475662231&rd=1 says Expandable up to 24MB of RAM with memory upgrade module (sold separately) Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold (says Note: all settings are software selectable via Plug and Play. ) CT4390 and CT4540 (Gold series requires amplified speakers) http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=31492&item=3475662231&rd=1 says it contains 4MB onboard RAM. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=31492&item=3475662231&rd=1 says Expandable up to 24MB of RAM with memory upgrade module (sold separately) SB AWE64 Digital Soundblaster AWE 64 PnP ISA http://www.computing.net/dos/wwwboard/forum/13702.html for driver info (config.sys lines) see http://www.computing.net/dos/wwwboard/forum/13702.html DOS Drivers: http://list.driverguide.com/list/DOS/company258/ Live Series http://members.driverguide.com/driver/detail.php?driverid=48335 PCI 64 Driver http://members.driverguide.com/driver/detail.php?driverid=67830 SB 5.1 Live driver http://members.driverguide.com/driver/detail.php?driverid=124984 Soundblaster Live driver http://members.driverguide.com/driver/detail.php?driverid=78856 Game Port: I would like 2. As these tend to come on sound cards, this is likely a non-problem. Modem: PCI non-WinModem 56k. I have one that is V.90 that I can use. Long term, I may upgrade to K56Flex/V.90 (modem that supports both. Maybe mine does? or maybe what I was reading was referring to an ISP that supports both, and that a single modem won't support both?) or, more likely, V.92 (V.90 compatible) w/ V.44 compression support. On board VGA: Why not? I would like AGP support, but I'm guessing the on board VGA would be able to be supported as a secondary video card, and not take up a PCI slot. Sounds wonderful to me. If I get real crazy, I may seek out using a PCI slot to support a third video card, so I have one monitor on each side of the main monitor. Apparently Win98 supports up to 9 extra video cards. (In fact, when I'm all done, I may pursue a V.90 (or even V.92?) ISA card, to free up another PCI slot, and fill my PCI slots with extra video cards. Hard drives: It seems Win98SE doesn't like LBA48 mode very well, and therefore I may be limited to 120ish GB hard drives. I'm all for having a motherboard that will support four such drives. Floppy Drives; 2.88 MB 3.5" floppy, 1.2MB 5.25" floppy Other drives: DVD-RW (supporting dual-layer DVD's, made to be Region-free. Not out yet. In the meantime, borrow my single-layer DVD-RW drive.) Zip/Jazz drive, which I view as completely unimportant (and may even be undesirable if it means one less IDE drive, but a parallel port drive shouldn't mean that). PS/2 keyboard/mouse support. Since I know I'm unlikely to find a modernish system that supports AT-style keyboards, an external adapter will be needed for that. Price: I hope to make this a low priority, but all other things equal, a lower price would be nicer. Scanner: Printer port based scanner. Also should support printer-port Zip/Jazz drive, and a printer. Monitor: Multiple. LBA48 notes: "Windows XP does not support 48-bit LBA support unless you are running Windows XP SP1. If you want to use 48-bit LBA support, you must apply Windows XP SP1 or later." "Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 (SP2) and earlier versions of Windows 2000 do not support 48-bit Logical Block Addressing (LBA) as defined in the ATA/ATAPI 6.0 specification." "RESOLUTION To resolve this problem, obtain the latest service pack for Windows 2000." Win98 Standard Edition/Win98 Second Edition/Win Me: "Fdisk.exe may not be able to partition sectors larger than 128 GB." "RESOLUTION Update the system BIOS if possible."