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Everything posted by Strider

  1. I just used AVRDUDE in Linux to burn the bootloader, worked like a charm. Loaded the "sketch" that acts as the systems ROM. Hooked it all up, loaded up Putty, and .... IT"S ALIVE! I know what I'm playing with all day today. I absolutely LOVE that first power on and boot feeling!
  2. The GPU space needs competition, and Intel one of the few companies more than capable of being a serious contender verses AMD and Nvidia. The Nvidia side of the GPU market just got a bit of a shake up with EVGA, probably the largest of Nvidia's board partners, announcing they will no longer partner with Nvidia, and are leaving the GPU space all together it would seem, at least for now. EVGA cited many of Nvidia's highly questionable treatment of their board partners and anti-consumer practices, claims supported by most industry insiders and other board partners. Now would be a good time for Intel Arc to really push ahead while the rush is on to fill the void left by EVGA on Nvidia's side of the fence. In an nutshell, I will always support competition in the market. It forces innovation and helps keep prices in check, and both of those things are excellent for the consumer.
  3. One of the main reasons I wanted to build the Z80-MBC2 was to give me the opportunity to learn on real hardware, and this “modern homebrew” machine is as close as I am going to get. Like I said, I can give you a basic overview of how these machines work, but this is simple enough I can really dig into how to make it work for me. So not only is this for fun, but it’s also a learning tool I can use to teach myself how to utilize it instead of just using what others create. This one uses the AtMega32 basically as the system ROM, and I still need to get that programmed so I can get it up and running. I ordered a 2 pack of USBASP programmers, and they don’t seem to play well with Windows 10, I failed to notice that when I ordered them, so I am going to try them on Ubuntu and see how that goes. I’ll get this thing up and running sooner or later. You had me for a second, I thought to myself, didn’t that come out in the early 90’s? I do plan on playing around in Microsoft Basic, and maybe Cobol, for the pure nostalgia of it, I haven’t messed with either since the 80’s. Not sure where I’m going to go from there, we’ll see. Yeah, that simple little cheap PCB holder is great to have, I have used it quite a bit!
  4. Finally, the last parts arrived this weekend, then I get violently ill thanks to Norovirus (Stomach Flu), feel better today so I put it all together...and... It completely slipped my mind that I have no way to burn the bootloader on the AtMega32A... So now I have to wait even longer for the USBASP to arrive... It was a very crappy weekend. lol
  5. I know it will all even out eventually, it's just going to suck in the meantime. The Z80-MBC2 I'm building is costing a lot more than it would have in 2020, but it is what it is. I have a lot on hold, but I'm not going to just stop everything.
  6. eBay, the only current way I can get all the chips needed. It's a real love/hate relationship, love that all the chips I need are available for sale by US sellers, hate the inflated prices and shipping on such tiny items. Oh well, $55 and some change after taxes, at least I got them. The crazy shipping kills, considering you fit all these chips safely in a First-Class package. $35 for the chips, $20 total or the shipping.
  7. Well, I'm as far along as I can get with what I have on hand, everything else has been, or needs to be, found or ordered. It's a good thing I test everything before using it, my wife got me an assortment box of ceramic capacitors from one of the many re-sellers on Amazon, and I think just about every capacitor in it is faulty. So now I need to order some of those since I don't have the 2 values I need on hand, they were in that kit. I also haven't decided if I want to mount the VGA Terminal Board vertical or horizontal yet, so I held off adding that header until I have the board in hand. Overall, a few hours well spent in my opinion. Can't wait to get it completed!
  8. Well, the mainboard arrived, so I know what I'm doing today! Guess it's time to start populating it with the common components, sockets, etc., after I test them of course. I don't have the ICs yet, but no reason I can't get a head start.
  9. Sketchy quick and dirty setup on my desk just to make sure it works, and I had to make a USB to SATA power cable becasue I failed to realize I didn't have the proper sized connector for this board... but....
  10. For me, the attraction is the fact I never really got to mess with anything like this, I started on a TI-99/4A and moved right into Commodore from there. I never went back far enough to mess with this sort of computer. I watched Adrian Black's video series on the SWTPC and it hooked me. I just loved how it all worked, the raw nature of it, and this is a way for me to play around with a modern incarnation of something right out of that era. Plus, the Z80 isn't something I got to really use either. It all just sound like fun to me, as does building it. I also think building something is just as fun as using the final product, that's why I want the X16 in a kit "DIY" form.
  11. Yeah, I just wish it was a bit bigger, but it would work for a Raspberry Pi if you really wanted to use it as an enclosure. Also, one of them just arrived, as did the SSD and RAM I'm going to use for it. Now I just need to make a SATA power cable for it and get Ubuntu installed, but I'm also gonna try Windows 10 on it, just to see how it performs, even though I won't keep it on there, I'm just curious.
  12. I just ordered the Z80-MBC2 and uTerm VGA Terminal PCBs on eBay, and an RTC on Amazon. I have most of the necessary resistors, capacitors, and connectors on hand, I just need to track down the ICs and everything else. https://www.ebay.com/itm/283494335966 https://www.ebay.com/itm/283877042508 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Q7NZTQS/
  13. It will come in handy to build this... I just ordered the boards. https://www.ebay.com/itm/283494335966 https://www.ebay.com/itm/283877042508
  14. Sorry for the late reply, I completely missed it. Yes I did, but no review. I'll just be adding it to my list of tools on my blog. The "Velleman" one I originally ordered arrived damaged, they replaced it. Arrived broken again, this time I did a refund and went with a different one. Not sure if if was defects, packing, shipping, but twice in a row is a sign telling me to try something different. lol I ended up with this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Q2TTQEE/ So far, it's holding up fine, I've used it about 6 or 7 times. The base is weighted metal, the arms and grippers are plastic, but as long as you don't wrench on it like a madman it should last. I like it, much easier than helping hands for a lot of things.
  15. I got 2, one for a project for my wife, the other for me to play with. To be honest, depending on its emulation capabilities, I may build a custom retro console around it. I would LOVE to cram it in this thing... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZTDW238/ - But there just isn't enough room. The Sega Saturn is a favorite of mine. Or, maybe I'll just see if I can find anyone local who has a dead one and gut it, or a Dreamcast. That's the long way of saying, I not 100% sure yet.
  16. With the Raspberry Pi nearly impossible to find, the Atomic Pi is still available, and great for some projects, but not all, and my new found interest in small form factor computers, I just decided to try out an Intel NUC N3700 bare-bones SBC. It's a quad-core Pentium 1.6GHz/2.4GHz CPU, up to 8GB DDR3L 1600, with Intel HD graphics. You can check it out in more detail below. Basically, it's much cheaper than a Pi currently, much more powerful than the Atomic Pi, and has advantages of an x86 SFF desktop, like SATA storage. It can also run off anything between 12V and 19V, depending on it's configuration. Lastly, 3D printing a case for it would be easy, there are designs available, since it's a NUC board. The best part... it's only $50. Once it arrives, I'll play with it and share more. It's obviously more powerful than the Pi 4 and Atomic Pi, more on par with the Zotac ZBox Nano P I use as my bench computer, if not a bit more powerful than that too since it's one generation newer and can run the RAM at 1600MHz vs 1333MHz. Should be fun for the price. I just wanted to throw it out there just in case anyone else may like such a thing. eBay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/154964524587 Details: https://www.intel.com/content/dam/support/us/en/documents/mini-pcs/nuc-kits/NUC5CPYB_NUC5PPYB_TechProdSpec.pdf
  17. @SlithyMatt I hope you don't mind, but I linked one of your videos for my "Retro Emulation on a Budget" page. The knock-off 620 in 1 NES unit. It fits what I'm doing perfectly.
  18. Since I found myself not having time to work on my "This Old Geek" project, I created a simple blog instead. It's not very "retro", though I tried to carry some of the retro style over (like the banner design), but it's vastly easier and less time consuming. "This Old Geek" and multiple variations of it were unavailable, so I went with ... https://theclassicgeek.blogspot.com/ It's a work in progress, as are all blogs, but it's far enough along now that I decided to share it. Feel free to let me know what you think.
  19. Yeah, I assume it's all about the nostalgic feels, not accuracy. So I think you're pretty spot on.
  20. So I was searching for some replacement keycaps to rebuild an old Cooler Master CM Storm Trigger keyboard I have, and ran across these... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B1DGQM6Y/ A set of C64 inspired keycaps that I am now SERIOUSLY considering picking up just becasue I think they look cool, and I have a good number of compatible keyboards lying around I could use them on. Just haven't decided if they're worth $40 yet. What do you think? Note, that if I did get them, it would be for general use, not as a C64 emulation keyboard, but purely for the nostalgic style becasue I like how they look. That also got me wondering what other cool stuff is out there you could use to give your modern hardware a "retro" makeover. So why not a thread to post what we find? Have you come across any such items lately?
  21. I used to have a Windows 95 "retro" PC that I used to play a wide range of old games on before moving mostly to emulation via DOSBox or some form of virtual machines, but I find I am having the desire to rebuild it. No real valid reason other than I miss it and it would still get a lot of use. I have an empty case next to my desk that used to house a small server, now it sits empty and crying to be used. I still have the original motherboard I used in my old build, an AOpen AK-72, a great board with plenty of power to push Windows 95 and DOS well beyond anything that existed at the time. I still have the AMD Athlon K770 installed on it as well, as you can see, and plenty of connectivity for whatever hardware I want to use. This was an era of motherboards I really enjoyed, with so many standards, new and old, all included. AGP, PCI, ISA, USB, etc. What I know: It will run Windows 95 OSR2.5/DOS 6.22. (Has support for USB and flash drives) I will not be using an HDD, but rather something like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YFPX7JB/?coliid=I11XZGII9ZDFUL The primary SD card will be 32GB, the max supported by Windows 95. I may keep other cards of varying capacity with different OS configurations on them. I'm not going to bother with a CD-Rom drive as I imaged most of my old games and software many years ago and still have them. I would like to have my old ISA AWE64 Gold back, but that's not going to happen, so I will probably just use a much cheaper and more plentiful Sound Blaster 16 or similar card for a wide range of compatibility. What I don't know, and need: What video card I want to use. I know I want an AGP card, but I'm not sure exactly what one yet. Something I can find cheap, has native drivers, and wide compatibility range. I seem to have misplaced the RAM for the board (PC133). My question is, what video card(s) would you suggest? I used to have an old Radeon X850 Pro in there, but that's long gone, and they're far too expensive these days to replace, so I want to go with something much cheaper. The system will be used to play a wide range of Windows 95 games, and some DOS games, but not many. I'm open to any suggestions as I start shopping around. Also, are there other sound cards you would suggest besides the Sound Blaster 16 I was going to use, and why? I have everything else I need, the video card is the biggest hold-up. Edit: Current Considerations: 1920x1080 in Win95 – Gaming at each games supported max resolution. - Price within my allotted budget, shipping included. Basic Cards - $10 to $15 ATI Rage 128 32MB Ultra GeForce2 MX200 64MB GEFORCE 2 MX 64MB GeForce FX5200 128MB Better Cards – $15 to $30 GeForce MX4000-T128 128MB GeForce FX 5500 256MBGeForce 6200 128MB Radeon 9200SE 128MB Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB Max "I am willing to spend." Cards - $30 to 40 Radeon X1950 PRO AGP 256MB / 512MB GeForce FX 5500 256MB
  22. I've seen the Sears "Telegames" 2600's for sale in second-hand shops and such, just never owned one. The more I think about it the more I'm thinking my parents picked up ours at Toys R Us, it was right next door to Sears and we were there a lot as well. I do remember that games at Sears sometimes had different packaging, they didn't look as cool, I think they even lacked cover art on the carts themselves if I recall correctly. Edit: A trip down memory lane...
  23. Joust! That was one of my favorite games on NES, I actually never had it on the 2600. Honestly, if I had to pick just a couple games to play on the 2600, Yars Revenge was probably my favorite to play by myself, and I really don't know why, but I loved that game. When it came to playing with friends it was almost always Combat and Warlords, we played those into the ground before we had an NES to play. I did the same thing as you when we got our NES, I played it side by side with the 2600 for quite some time. Eventually the 2600 just got pushed out becasue I started playing more on computers. I could have sworn our 2600 came from Sears, but it wasn't the Telegames model they sold, just the standard 2600, but I could be misremembering. I just know we bought just about everything from Sears back then. Our Sears was in a mall at the time, and they had a Toy's R Us right next to it, and my parents would let me go into the Toy's R Us and get lost in the video games while they went into Sears. Different times back then. lol
  24. I am actually doing a bit of shopping around right now for two different projects, one of them being the Z80-MBC2, I pretty much have my heart set on building myself one. You'll have to let me know how yours goes. The other project is building a DOS/Win95 "retro" computer for some old school fun, with some modern amenities like using an IDE SD adapter instead of a HDD and a floppy emulator (maybe).
  25. My first exposure to the 2600 was at a friends, his family was one of those that always had to have the latest and greatest things, we got ours later for Christmas. I used to have a huge CD-Rom collection, but got rid of all but a few many years back. Wish I had kept more of them. However I did find two CD's that somehow managed to survive the purge just a few days ago, both Atari. Circa 1999, Windows 95/98.
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