Here’s my final build for the time being. I’ve run out of (working!) motherboards to build systems around. I do have one or two more nostalgia builds in mind, but those will have to wait until I find the respective parts…and space…

Note: I originally described this build here.

In 2003, I’d moved back in with my mother. I had gone back to college for a semester and needed a computer. I took what I had left over of my financial aid award, headed to CompUSA, and picked up what I considered to be a decent machine for the money for general home use. The thing was defnitely not a game playing machine of any kind, but everything else it was perfectly adequate at. The only game I 100% remember playing on this was Warcraft III.

The machine itself was a HP Pavilion 504n. 2.0Ghz Celeron on a 845GL motherboard, built in “INTEL EXTREME GRAPHICS!!!”, generic sound, blah blah. It was a perfectly fine for what I needed; IRC, general web stuff, mp3 hoarding and CD burning like a fiend…

Since it was the first machine I personally bought with my own money, I kind of wanted to recreate what I could have put together as a gaming machine at the time. This is an era where I don’t have appropriate parts to recreate, but I’ll do what I can.

I present to you…Catharsis.

Gigabyte GA-K8NNXP (Socket 754, nForce3-150)
AMD Athlon64 3000+ (2.0GHZ, Clawhammer, ADA3000AEP4AP (C0))
Hynix 512MB PC3200 DDR 400MHZ CL3
Seagate ST3120213A (120GB U/ATA)
Mitsumi D359M3D (3.5″ Floppy)
ASUS V8460ULTRA/128M (GeForce4 Ti 4600 AGP 4x 128MB)
Phillips PSC604 PCI Soundcard

There were several games around this time that I’d played much later on, on much less capable systems. The ones I specifically remember were Max Payne, Deus Ex, Warcraft III + Frozen Throne, and a few others that I really can’t remember right now.

The video card could be upgraded to match the rest of the machine. Possibly a GF 6800 or so, maybe a x300 for the AMD side to keep it all in the family. The sound card is an odd choice, but there are a couple of reasons for it. First…it’s my last PCI sound card. Second, it’s not a Sound Blaster. I’ve never really used dedicated sound cards that didn’t have the Creative label on them so once I finally get things going, it’ll be new to me.

I didn’t take any new pics this time around, but here’s a link to a gallery from when I attempted to actually build this up in a case. The case has since been tossed, so just ignore that part for now.


I’ve been thinking of what projects I want to tackle. There are things I need to do for “work”, and many more things I need to do for “fun”. Projects that fit into the work category obviously should take priority, but I can’t focus too much on one thing at a time. My interests and motivation tend to come in cycles. I’ll obssess over one thing for a week or two, lose interest completely, spend some time unable to think about any one thing, and then the cycle will start over.

To remove the unproductive parts of this cycle, I think I’ll try to schedule certain types of projects for specific days of the week. If I find time to work on something on a given day, it *MUST* be from the assigned category/type of project for that day.

If anyone actually reads this stupid blog, maybe you can pester me for updates as a second form of motivation…maybe…please?

Alright, let’s see if I can make a quick to-do list of the items I currently have bouncing around in the back of my mind, and then see if I can assign days.


D&D Modules
Short Stories
Novel Chapters
Retro PC Builds
Actually Playing Video Games
CLEANING THE HOUSE (Ok, that one is from the wife)
Pounding Through My Backlog Of Books To Read
Stage Plays
Organizing My Hard Drives (I only have a decade+ of shit to go through…)
Non-Fiction Writing (There are things I have interests in)

Let’s try this as a schedule:

These aren’t hard requirements here, more what I should consider the primary and secondary item for that particular day. If this works, and I can keep to my schedule, I’m sure there are certain people who wish to continue making money off of me who would be very happy.


Managed to put together my second nostalgia machine tonight.

In February 1999, I was sent to live with my father in Chicago. I wasn’t able to take my Compaq with me, so I was left with the machine he had at home. He’d only just bought it a few months before, so it was a bit of an upgrade from my Compaq. I managed to find the specs brochure for the exact model.

Basically, it had a PII/350, 64MB PC100, ATI XPERT 98 (Rage Pro Turbo), and some commodity PC98 sound chip.

Since I’d moved there after the middle of the school year, I wasn’t able to officially re-enroll in class. My dad said screw it, take the rest of the year off, and go explore the city and live it up. With all of my freedom, I did what any 16 year old nerd would do…I hung out at CompUSA and bought all the PC mags I could find that had demo disks ๐Ÿ™‚

This was the first real exposure I had to real 3D games. I remember very clearly playing the demos for Thief, Blood II, SiN, and a few others. I was blown away with the visuals and sounds in these games compared to what I was able to play on my Compaq back home.

A few months later, I returned to Miami and living with my mom, and I had my Compaq again. I still have very fond memories of staying up late and trying to find new ways to move Garrett around without wasting all of my moss arrows to pad the cobblestone footsteps ๐Ÿ™‚

Based on the parts I have, I’ve tried to recreate a machine for that experience. Thusly, I present to you…Wanderlust.

Pentium III 500mhz (SL37D)
128MB PC100 RAM (some obscure Samsung stick taken from a dead B&W G3)
Maxtor 93073U4 (30gb IDE, taken from a CRT iMac)
NEC FD1231M (3.5″ Floppy)
HP GCC-4481B (CDRW/DVD Combo Drive)
Diamond Viper V770 (TNT2 Ultra 32MB AGP)
Sound Blaster Live! CT-4760
3Com EtherLink III PCI (3C590C PCI 10mbps)
(No PSU at the moment, I only have one left)

I may underclock the CPU to the 350 range to approximate the original machine, but only if I find a slower video card to replace the way too fast TNT2 Ultra. If I can find a Rage 128 or so, I may swap that in and clock down the CPU. You can see my not-quite subtle inquiries about the Rage series in a thread on Vogonsย here.

I didn’t manage to take any pictures of the parts before I wrapped them up and boxed them, but you guys can check out the pretty blue Ikea box I put them in!



Ok, I really just need to get these parts squared away so I can pack them up till I find some ATX cases. I present to you…Reminiscence.

AOpen AX59Pro
Pentium 166MHZ MMX (retail version)
2x Crucial CT4M36P2M (16MB FPM Parity)
Seagate Medalist 4310 (ST34310A, 4.3GB)
Panasonic JU-256A217P Rev.F (3.5″ Floppy)
Sony DDU-1621 (DVD-ROM)
Diamond Viper V330 (Riva 128 4MB AGP)
Cardex Dragon 1000 (Voodoo1 4MB)
Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold
3Com Etherlink III (3C509TP ISA 10mbps)
(Uh…forgot to write down the model of PSU, but it’s an Enlight 250w something or other)

Here she is being tested:


And all boxed up for later:


As soon as I find an ATX case that fits my picky requirements, I’ll properly case her up and do some proper testing and benching.

This machine is meant to recreate the Compaq Presario 4808 I had as a kid. The parts are different, but the feel is meant to be the same. There are definite upgrades here compared to what I had before, but hey…it’s 2016 ๐Ÿ™‚

The usage scenario for this machine is to go back and play the games I did between the years of mid-97 through about late-99. Now, I did have access to a newer machine during this time, but only for a few months. This was my primary machine.

I had several late DOS games, 1994 or so and later and they all ran just fine on the original. I skirted the early 3D craze with just the Trio64V2+/GX I hadin the original machine, so this will give me a chance to play things the way they were meant to be played.

I won’t have a chance to give this build a proper workout till I get a case for her, but here she is for now.