Livestream 10/12/2023 – Pentium 2 450 MHz

Since the new Pentium 2 build was complete (and a mighty fine build if I say so myself!), it was natural we’d do a streaming session to check it out. It’s a really fun time period to explore, and can be a bit eye opening. My point there is that many times in our minds when we played games like Half-Life for the first time in 1998, it ran flawlessly. The reality is less kind however.

It’s easy to look at some of the 90s games through the lens of newer machines. I’ll often reach for a Pentium 3 machine to play some of my favorites from the late 90s, and not a Pentium 2. Nothing to do with me just building one, point being a Pentium 3 will do everything for you looking at that period of games. And many of them run far superior on a higher horsepower machine, as they should.

So when we look at the Pentium 2 specifically, and even with such a “good” card as the Riva TNT from 1998, many games do struggle to keep up decent performance, with decent quality. But I’m willing to bet if you go back to that time period, that’s how games ran. Our memory has distorted that, however. But we still had a blast, trying to tweak every little bit of performance out of our machines.

That said, I love exploring specific time pieces, and this being nearly the ultimate 1998 machine (besides a Voodoo 2 SLI setup perhaps), it’s extra fun to play some games on. Check out the livestream replay below!

Building a Pentium 2 Retro Machine

Something struck me a while back: I don’t have a working Pentium 2 machine! The horror! Well, that is to say I have plenty of P1 and P3 systems, but considering I spent a lot of time on my P2 300 back in the day, I found it a bit odd I didn’t have one ready to go.

Looking then at parts, over the course of at least a year I collected everything I’d need. This included the top P2 CPU, the 450 MHz. Couple this with a Riva TNT card and an Aureal Vortex 2 sound card, and we had a killer machine on our hands for basically top tier gaming in 1998. What really set it all off though, was me picking up a new old stock desktop case, this one black. Putting everything together yielded a really compelling combination, and a setup that looks like a high class/performance system we’d drool over. Mostly stemming from the fact that most systems around this era were beige (the iMac excluded of course, a topic for another day), so a black one would have stood out completely.

The end result is a killer system from 1998 wrapped in an appealing, and different skin. Check out the video on the build below!

S3 Savage 4

The end of the 90s saw some pretty crazy competition in the 3D accelerator market. 3Dfx was riding high, but started showing cracks in their dominance. nVidia was cranking out new generations of cards at a near alarming rate, each iteration providing major laps. ATI had a broad product suite and other players like Matrox were still trying to keep up.

S3 then, having been a major player in the 2D card market for a long time, with some lukewarm attempts at 3D, didn’t want to be left out. They had already had previous cards capable of accelerated 3D graphics but it all came together finally with the Savage 4 chipset.

Sporting Direct3D, OpenGL, and their proprietary Metal API support, it wasn’t a bad card at all. Coupled together with the unique higher resolution textures availble in some games, it had a lot of things going for it. Sadly S3 was already behind the curve of their main competitors and weren’t able to keep up, eventually being chopped up and sold off. The Savage 4 is still a card well worth looking at today, which is exactly what I did in my latest video!

4/14/2023 Livestream – New Games for Xbox

The 6th generation of consoles, meaning Gamecube, PS2 and Xbox, are in a sweet spot of nostalgia right now. As people grow older, and plenty of people grew up on these consoles they are seeing a resurgence in focus, and for good reasons. There are many awesome gaming experiences to be had on that trifecta of systems, but I do feel the Xbox gets left out a lot.

No denying that the first Xbox had it’s fair share of experimentation. Just look at the number of “mascot platformers”! They were trying anything they could, to see what would stick. And of course numerous sports titles… but look deeper into the library and you’ll find some true gems. There are PC ports that are surprisingly good, and some truly awesome console exclusives. That makes the system quite fun to collect for, and a bit overlooked. The GC and PS2 are perennial favorites (especially the GC, look at those prices!), but the first outing from Microsoft in the console space doesn’t command nearly the same price for games. Many can be found for 5-10 dollars, which is a far cry from many other retro games.

So while visiting Washington DC a friend and I decided to go on an Xbox game hunt. We did find quite a few gems, so I thought it was a great chance to try some of them out. It was really fun to play some unexpectedly great games. Check out the replay below!

Toshiba Satellite 4010 CDT

Laptops in the 90s was a bit of the wild west as far as design goes. And I don’t mean that in the sense that they almost always looked like bricks (hey it’s a cool design!), more in that what was included. You had some that tried hard to cram in as many ports as they could, and some companies made some interesting choices. It seems like often you’d be missing some port or drive that would have made a lot of sense to include. That said, cost and technology was always a challenge. Nothing to say of poor battery performance from that time either.

But, Toshiba had a killer spec sheet in a lot of their laptops. I say that as a retro enthusiast who likes my laptops to include as many ports, and features, as possible. The Satellite 4010 CDT checks a lot of boxes, with almost every port you could want accounted for. Add in the integrated CD-ROM, and floppy drives that work at the same time, and you have a true portable workhorse.

It’s a great laptop, with some neat history attached to it, and it was really fun to mess with. Look forward to a livestream, but for now check out the video beloe!