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So Let It Be Vintage, So Let It Be Mine,I'm Creeping Net....

creepingnet

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Messages
1,036
Location
Sparks, NV
I've been lurking here the past few days, just when I thought I had found the only vintage computer boards I find this one...I guess it does pay to explore a little.

As for me, I have been collecting/restoring/repairing or otherwise putting to good use vintage-current IBM Compatibles with a focus on the 486 and older era for about 5 years now, and at one time had as many as 30 PC's, working and Non-Working, butI'm slowly narrowing my scope of size down to vintage Compaq (pre LPX post-Canion era stuff like the Portables and Deskpro) stuff at this point. I don't really collect for value, but more or less because I like tinkering with the older hardware, once you think you have seen it all then something else comes along to slap you with a new set of challenges to figure out.

As for my collection, I'll probably describe in more detail in the collection page as that's what I assume that's for, but here's the brief list (and even more in my site listed in my profile)

Micro Configurations Corporation "White Box" XT Clone 8088
Compaq Deskpro 286 (12 MHz)
Compaq Deskpro 386 (16 MHz Rev 2 board)
Flight 386 SX w/ ZEOS Motherboard "Frankenstien"
A Pentium based system in a New Old Stock XT Clone Chassis
GEM 386 DX-20 modified to fit Micro ATX boards, Pentium III, looks old!
Duracom 486 Notebook.
The Token "Frankenmac" Macintosh 7100/80 w/ 500 MB SCSI out of a 6100/60

It's not as big because I'm downsizing so I can move out of the state I'm in, all efforts in Alabama has proven futile for entry level computer technician work, I figure once I get a decent job to support myself with and a decent place to live myself, I can expand my collection again.
 

creepingnet

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Messages
1,036
Location
Sparks, NV
joe sixpack said:
Welcome,Welcome!

Tell me more of your "white box" XT

Well, "White Box" at you know is a term used for a computer assembled out of off the shelf parts such as those that can be bought out of a Tiger Direct or Dalco catalog (I think, unless I was told wrong). This computer is possibly one of the earlier examples of "generic" XT Clone.

The case is closely styled after the IBM PC XT 5160 chassis, however, instead of screws, it's opened by pressing 2 buttons on each side and lifting the top up like a car hood (the "Flip-Top" Case I think it's called). It has a long rectangular logo bezel in front, the vents are a little longer in height than the vents on an actual XT, and it has this nifty metal panel on the bottom that provides a place to install Tubro switches and even, apparently, a front mounted keyboard jack. I have the original serial number and make/model plate off the back, which was apparently a white Avery label printed on a DOT matrix printer, which says Micro Configurations Corporation Model 0A XT, with the date of assembly and serial number afterward (which if I remember right was August 13, 1986).
It has an amazingly clean 150 Watt XT clone PSU.

The motherboard is a generic "Turbo XT 8MHz" system board with 8 ISA slots, it's pretty much a typical XT board aside from one modification that was made, and that's the BIOS. The BIOS is not the original BIOS for this board as I have seen several on E-bay, and they all have a Phoenix BIOS with a blue label on it, this one is just a series of 5 chips, all with silver 5.25" diskette write protect tabs on top with a number written on them in red sharpie. The BIOS is actualy either an EPROM burned copy of or is a labeled for proper installation IBM PC BIOS v1.01 from out of an IBM PC 5150. My guess is maybe the original BIOS was blown, or someone took the original out of this board and tossed it. The board has a Intel licenced Siemens plastic package 8088-2 CPU, which due to the BIOS, it won't work in turbo mode (throws an error 105 on screen If I remember right), and I still have yet to install an 8087 under the hood yet. The memory is completely full to the full 640K maximum, though only 560K has been addressed since I last dusted out the case for some unknown reason, I may have unknowingly killed a chip, and yes I have reseated them all.

As far as the drives go, I have a Toshiba 720K I pulled out of a dead Amdek 286/a system (really neat little 286 system with a passive backplane bus and a digital LCD readout in front that throws out the CMOS messages, but that's another system I've had). That's my primary A drive as I have some old 720K's floating around with no damage but some corrupted data on them. The second drive is a 360K Mitsumi which had a white face until I primered and painted the faces of the two drives black to match the rest of the unit as I have not been able to find any black face drives locally. The hard disk is a Seagate ST-238R with a Western Digital 2400 WXT series RLL controller.

The rest of the system, I have an IBM 83 Key keyboard hooked up to it as we speak, as it won't use the DIN 5 port on my Belkin OmniView KVM (wiring incompatability XT vs AT), I also have an IBM CGA 5153 monitor laying around for use with the system solo with the CGA card (or limited with one of my EGA cards). I also have a Unisys dot matrix printer hooked up to it to print Documents and such as well. I mostly use it for old games like Wheel of Fortune and Burger Blaster, but It does get some use making text files and lyric sheets for music and so on. Now if I can only find a Tandy DAC card for it, I might be able to re-live my Tandy 1000 SX days on it too with 3 channel sound.
 

joe sixpack

Experienced Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Messages
177
Location
Around Here... Somewhere
Mad-Mike said:
joe sixpack said:
Welcome,Welcome!

Tell me more of your "white box" XT

Well, "White Box" at you know is a term used for a computer assembled out of off the shelf parts such as those that can be bought out of a Tiger Direct or Dalco catalog (I think, unless I was told wrong).

Yes you are right "white box" is a term used to discribe parts that are shipped
to oem's "Original Equipment Manufactures" but offten times they call it "OEM"
It's somewhat like if you bought something in "bulk"
But when you said "white box" xt i thought it was a nickname for it.
nowadays it's almost always used when talking about parts only.
the advantage of buying oem is it's cheaper, but it's the same hardware as retail.
the disadvantage is it offten comes in a plain box with no logo's "white box"
some times with a manual and driverdisk but sometimes not.
they also never come with extra hardware such as adapters or cables unless they are required.
Another big disadvatange they most times have only 30day warrenty
because the OEM (A.K.A dell, hp, compaq) will have cover it in there warranty when you buy there computer.

I almost always buy oem because of the savings but sometimes the
"box" or "retail" version is only a fewbucks more depending on what it is.
I use to always buy retail hdd's because they seem to fail a lot more then
anything else. but now that most only give you a 1 year warranty instead of 3
it's almost never worth paying extra for a box version of a hdd because
unless it is DOA then it should last at least 1 year most seem to fail 3,4 years (for me at least)
it's funny because while they keep saying there drives last longer and longer
there warranty gets shorter and shorter. Maxtor says there "diamond plus"
(I think thats the line) last for 1million hours Mean Time Before Failure OR
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) But if you do the math, It's pretty easy
to figure out that there is no way to know there drives will last this long
seeing as million hours adds up to aprox: 114 years. Of course if you read
the fine print MTBF is most times "Power On Hours" with 25% duty time
you still end up with a drive that is suppost to last aprox: 28.5 years
This is complete B.S btw. On a side note i had a maxtor drive that went down
on me it was 6months out of warranty and they still replaced it at no cost.
so i gotta give credit to maxtor. 9/10 ide desktop drives i buy is from them
seagate makes fantastic SCSI drives or as i like to call them "brick drives"
i call them that because they are so damn durable. I have had really
bad luck with western digital drives in the past but i have a pair of 80gb's
and a 200gb and they seem to work just fine so im not sure what to think.
When they shove a 200gb hdd in your face for 50bucks after rebate
it's hard not to take the bate.
 

creepingnet

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Messages
1,036
Location
Sparks, NV
My experiences are a tad bit different. Most of the old Seagate drives I come across are in pretty bad shape (bad sectors, bad FAT, missing allocation units), and either need TLC or an updated bad track map (ST-506 only), maybe it's because they are in business computers, and after seeing how business machines are treated on their way out to the dumpster, it's not too much of a surprise. I usually use Seagates old ST-506/412 drives in my XT and AT class machines.

The old Western Digital Caviar drives have been pretty solid for me, though not perfect. I find the 420 and 540 models have stiction problems worse than the others, with the 170 meg drives right behind. The ones coming into Gigabytes in size are not too bad though. I've had a few Quantum ProDrive and Fireballs from the same period, which also seem to be rather solid, if a little tricky to set up.

IBM Drives are the ones I swear by for laptops, I have 2, they have been dropped, kicked, thrown (not by me though), and other unusual accidents and still manage to work great.

As for my newest drives, I use Western Digitals because they are cheap and easily availible in the little town I live in. I do have to say the Maxtors are probably betther though, they have a smaller profile, which allows more space for ventilation between it and the other drives in the system.
 

joe sixpack

Experienced Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Messages
177
Location
Around Here... Somewhere
I guess when we compare notes we see that all manufactures make crappy products :lol:

the smallest SCSI seagate's i have are 1gb or larger and all came
from retired corprate workstations... i've not had one fail yet.
for the IDE's i have 2 seagate's a 1.2gb and a 10gb i've not had them
long my friend gave them too me out of a computer he was parting.
Thats why i say there SCSI drives are so great because i've got 11 of those.
I can't say how good there new drives are because mine are all pre 2000
when they got sold off to someone can't remember who.
almost all of my desktop IDE drives are maxtor 22 of them ranging from 1gb - 100gb
the really old drives seem to keep on trucking i still have a 127mb connor
THAT WILL NOT DIE i had a 50mb too but i gave it to a friend who then
sold the computer it was in. (wonder if it's still working)
As for a laptop drives i have two exact same model hitatchi / ibm travelstars
that have the exact same problem they dont detect most times when they
do work they are fine untill you turn the machine off i've tried them in
4 laptops plus a friends plus a usb case. MODEL: ic25n010atd04-0
might just be that model was crap 10gb's i've not had a great deal
of laptop drives so i can't really paint a picture.
Still i find my self buying another one an 80gb for my thinkpad (upgrade)
there's not that much selection for laptops i also like toshiba drives but
they seem slower. i've heard good things about fujitsu but never had one.

drive failure history:

western digital:
250mb ide (spindle motor went out, use to smack it to start spinning, it's platter is a christmas tree ordiment)
512? maybe 520mb ide (have no clue what happened)
1gb ide (spindle motor)
1.2gb ide (not sure what happen here took it apart the plater was scratched up and r/w head was twisted)
4gb ide (friends computer... made made clicking sound had mass bad sectors, stoped working soon after)

maxtor:
8.4gb ide (6months off warranty they replaced no cost)
40gb ide ....
... (not dead yet but has large number of bad sectors totaling aprox 58mb, in computer im using to write this it's my haul around gamming pc made up of spare parts
so not no big deal if it goes. In it's defence the drive sat for 1 1/2 years)

samsung:
2gb ide (works but has massive bad sectors 203mb, only samsung i've ever had, might add i have a 20x cdrom that is also junk, but they make good memory)

hitatchi / ibm (Laptop)
10gb ide (works when it wants thought spindle motor but now im not sure)
10gb ide (ditto)

I keep my drives on 5min shutdown (laptop), 15,20, or 30 min shutdown (desktop)
lol i just noticed there are no scsi's on the list
i do have more ide's then scsi's or maybe it's just because scsi so much better
but so damn expensive.... i guess you get what you pay for.
i might also note when a drive has bad any bad sectors i swap it out
and put it too use in something non critical AKA "I dont giv'a damn if it goes down, i'll use the drive till the spindle motor screams bloody murder!"
 

Erik

Site Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 27, 2003
Messages
3,592
Location
San Jose, CA
Welcome to the VC Forums! We're glad you finally found this place! :)

Enjoy!

Erik
 

creepingnet

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Messages
1,036
Location
Sparks, NV
HI:
If you do, would you be interested in selling it?
Please let me know at cliff_harmon@hotmail.com

Thanks

Unfortunatley that one is looong gone, I had to sell it off when I moved, I think I might have tried to offer it to some guy who had one before and wanted it and did not get a reply back.

I'll keep my eyes open though, here in Seattle it seems the old computer pile is never-ending. I may yet dig one up in the local thrift stores if I see one.
 
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