Torn between new and old...

May 22, 2019
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So I have an old small form factor PC. It has 1GB of RAM, an AthlonXP processor, an ATI dual VGA card, and a legit IDE hard drive. Not to mention an actual floppy drive...

So I’m trying to figure out what to do with it. It’s not really old enough for legit DOS gaming, but it doesn’t have enough power to be useful as a modern PC.

So my thoughts...

1. It has a serial port, so I could load DOS and use it as a terminal for my Altairs.
2. I could out in a modern motherboard with an M.2 and SATA SSDs and build it up as a Linux machine.
3. I could put a lightweight Linux distro like Debian on it, and use it for MAME, VICE, and retro stuff.
4. Are there other bare bones operating systems that can run on x86 processors? Maybe AmigaOS or some sort of old school BASIC look-alike?

I can’t sell it, and I shouldn’t throw it away. So I want to do something with it, other than letting it gather dust.

What would you do with a 2003-era PC?
 

msxenix

Honeydew is the money melon
« M² Supporter »
May 19, 2019
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I would say make it a FreeDos box or go with Win98SE (assuming driver support)

Freedos would still work well with a computer of that era, and it's still supported and under development.

Linux is a good option too. If you go that route, I would recommend using a lightweight window manager like LXDE or XFCE. Both are good for older systems.

Im not sure about other Operating Systems, but you definitely have a lot of options
 
May 22, 2019
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Well, the good news is that the motherboard will take 2GB of RAM. So if I decide to go Linux, I can upgrade the memory a bit. That will make it a little more useful with stuff like MAME.
 
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May 22, 2019
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It's a Shuttle small form factor... according to Shuttle's site, I can put 1GB DDR400 DIMMs in there, and they're like $16 each.
 

Elkarlo

New Member
Jun 5, 2019
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Which Chipset and CPU ? A good Chipset + CPU is able to run Win 6.x flawlessly.
So it could have enough power for a produktiv linux with an interface for Retrogaming or an Image like Lakka on it.

The biggest Problem is the P-Ata Interface for a modern OS, as it is hard to find good running P-Ata HDD's.
When you go for a Retrogaming Box like Lakka, you can use an P-Ata 44 pin to SD-Card Adapter.
It will give you some speed but the Cards may die fast.

When the Athlon is rated 2800+ or higher you may have a Barton on it which gives you enough power for a modern OS.
The Thortons have only 256kb Cache. The Chipset should be a KT333 or higher a KT600 preferable or an nforce2, but they maybe tricky for linux.
As you have a ATI on it i guess a KT Chipset.

Back in the Days the KT Chipsets were very well supported by Linux, the nforce used properiterian drivers.
 
May 22, 2019
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Yeah, the NForce stuff is a bit of a roadblock for Linux, and I don't really need bare metal DOS right now.

At the end of the day, everything I want to do with his box is already being done better by something else I've got. So I guess it goes back in the closet until I have a compelling need to run DOS on bare metal.
 
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