My Pentium 150 DOS MachineBuilt by www.dvd3000.ca - Last updated November 19, 2020
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Note: I end up talking about this for way longer than I intended to.
This is my DOS machine. It's a huge mish mash of parts that I built from different years, places and machines. No other system is exactly like this one. In this page i'll talk about how this thing came to be, what kind of parts and specs, and what can this beast of a system do?
Some might ask why I would have an outdated computer sitting on a cardboard box in the middle of my room. Well, it's not the permanant setup of course, I just don't currently have a table to put it on. Second is just because systems from this era are just FUN. And I love these mish mash parts systems like these. They're a type of system that was once quite common, but is now pretty much gone, except for that guy who uses a laptop motherboard as a desktop in 2020.
I use my retro systems the wrong way. You tell me to use them for "retro gaming" but I will use them for playing music, doing tasks that cannot be done on modern OSes, and resource intensive tasks (sort of)!!! And maybe I'll also play some old games. Rayman (the original) is pretty good actually.
The Computer and its Hardware
The front of the computer case. This computer case is quite interesting. Other than that it's yellowed (which adds character but yes I should retr0brite it), it has something of a story to tell.
Overview of the front, left to right, We have the Case badge which reads "ASI 286". Very old case. Probably from late 80's to early 90's.
Next is a keyhole to lock the system. Just another relic from the past. I don't have the keys though. They're probably in the previous owner's junk drawer.
Power, Reset and Turbo switch, as well as the Power, HDD and Turbo LEDs. No CPU Clock display, but just seeing the HDD light blink in synchronisation with a million progress bars is good enough for me.
Then we have the big'ol power button, which on these old AT systems is more of a power switch. This is before ATX, and power switches manually powered on the PSU by connecting it to AC POWER. No standby here, this is serious stuff.
There's a 48x HP CD Writer 9100 CD-R drive from 1999, continuing the mish mash of parts, as well as a Generic Samsung 1.44MB floppy drive.
Looking round the back of the machine is a Sunny Technologies ATX PSU. Wait a sec, I thought you said this was an AT class system? I'm using an ATX > AT adapter, becuase the PSU that was in this case tripped the breaker in my room when I plugged it in.
Next is the old-school AT keyboard port. No USB, no PS2. 5 pin DIN! You don't get connections that solid anymore. Next is a PS2 mouse port, and a Parallel LPT printer port.
If you're used to our modern ATX class computers, you might be noticing a... lack of onboard components. On the motherboard you literally get keyboard and that's it. If you want something like... Video... sound... mouse... or anything, you'll need expansion cards for that. Or at least to have some headers on the motherboard for expansion card brackets.
Speaking of expansion cards, let's pop open the case and see what kind of hardware I put in this thing.
Now I want everyone to take a few deep breaths, just calm down and relax. Because the inside of this computer is absolutley horrible by today's standards. First of all, cable mangment does not exist. I tried my best, okay.
Almost all parts have some form of "GOOD" written on them, because again, I built this machine from spare parts that I had.
This computer is run by the FIC PA-2007 Socket 7 motherboard. A little too new for this build, but I'm not too worried by that. In the image above is the all important central processing uniiiit!!! (add echo effect), the Intel Pentium 150 A80502150 CPU.
This CPU and heatsink were ripped from the corrosion-killed Packard Bell Multimedia E140, but I ran into a problem where... The heatsink wouldn't fit. It was running into all the stuff surrounding the socket. So, I could... BUY a heatsink. But that meant waiting a week and I didn't want to do that, so I stuck it in the vice and hacksawed the offending metal off. It now fits. Also there's no thermal paste, just deal with it. Actually, I should deal with that problem myself when I get some thermal paste sometime.
To go along there's also 24 MB of RAM in SIMM modules. Who needs more than 640k?? WELL I DO. 24MB of RAM! The 16MB from the Packard Bell combined with some spare 8MB (in matching pairs of 8x2 4x2)
Now here's an interesting part, at least to me. I always thought that expansion cards are one of the coolest parts about desktop computers. You can add almost anything to your computer. My dream expansion card would be some Elgato video capture card for the real high quality VHS captures, never limited by the USB bus... But that's modern stuff, we're here for this 90's COMP!
Left to right in the photo above we have an Creative Vibra16 CT4170 ISA sound card! Yeah, I know it's no AWE64. These Vibra cards are literally everywhere, but I do have an AWE64 on the way that's caught up in postage, but I'll update this page if I get the card working in here.
This card is max cheap for Creative stuff, and some Sound card enthusiasts may not quite like how this thing sounds. If i'm going to be honest, this isn't my favourite card, but the only other sound card I have is more of a 486 era card, the Aztech Sound Galaxy Nova 16 Extra (what a name), which is actually in my 486 motherboard (page coming eventually), and it sounds wonderful! Still, SB PRO era stuff though, little too old for this machine.
Moving on, we have one of these things, and if you're into retro builds, you've almost ceratinly seen one of these. A generic SYBA CF to IDE adapter, which allows you to use CF cards with the IDE interface. Until I got this, I actually didn't know that CF cards are actually pin compatible with the IDE standard, and these adapters aren't doing any conversions like the SD to IDE adapters do.
I love this thing because it makes it dead simple to just take out the card (while the machine is OFF!!!!!), plug it into my main pc, dump some files on, and get right back to "work". These things are great. No more drive swapping and opening the case.
Here it is, the video card. The mighty ATI Mach64 GT (RageII+) PCI video card, an absolutley slammin' video card from 1997, which is probably overkill for this machine. This is a great card. It took ages to find the drivers, but this is working flawlessly on Windows 3.11 to Windows 98. Quick card, smooth video playback, perfect DOS support, what more do I want?
And last but certainly not least in the expansion department is this D-Link DFE-530TX PCI Ethernet Card, for use with all kinds of things. I have file shares set up on ALL of my Windows installs, including every install on this machine, thanks to the great driver development team over at D-Link, I guess! This card is from 1999 and still assumed people would be using it on WFW3.11, and even OS/2 actually!
I found this card at a thrift store, complete in it's box, never opened. 90's box designs are so COOL. It's this card flyin' through the digital computer world!!!
Man, I couldn't imagine how much all this stuff cost then it was new... Good thing i'm doing this now instead of 20 years ago becuase I'd probably instantly go broke.
Now before I power on this absolute comp, I'll do a quick overview of the pheripherals.
I don't take this stuff too seriously, No Model M, no Microsoft Mouse, No Trinnny Tron CRT monitor.
Now that you're done complaining about the fact that I don't own those things, I'll show you what I DO have.
For a monitor, I have a NEC MultiSync 1530v, a very early LCD monitor from 2001, still working even in 2020. I've had this monitor since 2017, and it's really taken a beating. I bought it from a thrift store for $10, brought it to the car in the pouring rain, where the LCD developed a bunch of vertical pixel lines that still remain to this day, but are much less visible than they were 2 years ago.
It really sucks that this nice beige LCD monitor would now be called junk by most collectors just becuase it has a few pixel lines. Someday I may attempt to replace the LCD panel, but for now it barley bothers me.
Here's the keyboard. OK OK, stop crying!!! Yes, this is an HP Multiumedia keyboard that probably shipped with a Pavillion in 2003. I know that most people hate these keyboards, but I absolutley love these things. I've been using these HP Multimedia keyboards for almost my entire life, and I'm actually using an older Compaq branded Multimedia keyboard to type this document right now, and yes. I do actually use the multimedia controls for the volume and sleep button on my main PC... in 2020.
I'm not one of those people who finds it necessary to line their keyboards with stupid RGB lights, and for my mouse to have 20 buttons on it. I use a Compaq multimedia keyboard and a normal Logitech mouse, which actually is the first mouse I ever used. The first computer I ever used is gone, but the mouse lives on today.
Speaking of mice, we have this bar of soap. Well, actually it's an Olivetti mouse which is a rebranded Logitech M-SF14-6MD. This was from back when rectangle was a normal mouse shape. No comfortable, ergonomic mice allowed.
Also, when you name your company "Olivetti", expect me to rename it to "Oliver".
Okay, that's all the hardware, which was probably the most interesting part, becuase now it's on to the crap that's on this hard drive, which is actually a CF card!
I have multiple CF cards, for DOS/WFW311, Win95 and Win98 even! Since this is the DOS machine, it only seems proper to start with the one and only.
You can't get more computer than DOS (actually you can but shut up). Seeing the dumbing down of Windows 10 makes me want to shove this comptuer in front of a Windows 10 fan and watch them have an aneurisym at the sight of a command line. No eye candy, bloat or stupid preinstalled candy related puzzle games. You don't even get a mouse. Time to learn your way around the command line.
So here it is, we're in the DOS prompt. Here's a directory listing of the root of C:\, but I also have D:\ as a second partition on a 4GB CF card because FAT16 only supports 2GB partitions max. Not shown here, but I also often use bd (Better Directory) instead of dir/w, as it gives a much cleaner looking directory listing.
This install of DOS goes back to at least 2017 as a DOSBox experiment, then moved to the Packard Bell Multimedia E140 (RIP), then moved to an 86box system, and now it's here. So pretty much this install has been on like 4 machines... because I can never reinstall stuff.
Just like the install on the Windows 98 machine which is from 2015. The registry is completely destroyed, but I can't let that install go. If it dies, a part of my soul also dies.... Jeez, i'm sentimental for the data on a 30GB hard drive from the 90's that's probably going to fail.
Anyways, onto the software I got on this thing. Most people think "dOs machine in modern day only for the nostalgia game!!!", but nah man, I use thing thing for all kindsa things!
I love playing music on old DOS systems, especially tracker/chiptune/keygen music! CHIPS man!!!
Here's something you might not expect: Mpxplay, MP3s and FLACs right in DOS, and it sounds GOOD! (Available on GitHub)
Just threw in a bunch of random MP3s that I had saved, and I can listen to them on this computer! Playing is Windows Welcome Music Remix by Sugar95 (underrated stuff)!
Here is PLAYMIDI.EXE, the most barebones midi player ever. For some reason things like to break on here, and GSPLAY and DOSMID both don't actually work, so just enjoy your SBPRO quality MIDIs.
Here is Reality ADLib Tracker, also known as RADTracker, a super lightweight music tracker that was originally designed for the ADLib card, but later updates added things like OPL3 support.
This program is pretty interesting, and you can actually download the updated version 2.0a from 2018 on the Reality website. Playing is RASTER.RAD that any RADTracker user would know about. Just a nice calming tune.
If you want some more snazz to your MIDIs, how about Open Cubic Player!
This thing essentually emulates a Gravis Ultrasound in software, for that ultra quality MIDI sound. It's actually quite interesting to think that its only about a 30m drive from here in Vancouver to Burnaby where Gravis was once operated from.
Playing is METBLAST.MID from Windows 3.0, that some Druaga1 viewers might know better as MID2.MID. There you go, I solved the mystery.
The biggest shame of all, Impluse Tracker does not work!!! The system completely locks up. When trying this with the Aztech card, it gets a little further, but theres no keyboard input, and everything you play sounds like poo. When I get some more ISA sound cards, I'll experiment more with this.
Well even if that tracker doesn't work, at least there's still Inertia Player... but you can't play XMs!!!!AAAAHHHHH!!!
I mean, anyways, playing is guitar slinger by jogeir liljedahl, which was actually the MOD file that introduced me to tracker music.
Alright, enough of that. Fine. I'll use my DOS machine how you WANT me to use it. Here's some games. I only have like 5 but anyways,
Here's one of my favourites, Epic Pinball. Don't really have much else to say, it's pinball. Runs well on this system.
Also got rayman. To be honest, I never really spend a lot of time getting "good" at games.
I'm not a gamer, I don't spend hours of the day practicing a game so I can play it by myself. So pretty much I suck at this game. But it's still fun until I throw the computer out of a 20 storey apartment building. (later levels of PlatinumQuest in a nutshell)
And the last game I took a picture of, Tetris Classic. This isn't my favourite version of Tetris, don't kill me but my favourite version is the one on the Tetris website because it has all the comfort features that I like.
Anyways, this version is pretty good, but I would need the normal rotation features and maybe a ghost peice to line up my blocks. Anyways, still good.
Well that was probably disappointing. Sorry that I don't play the "cool" games on my computer. I think I might be a bit too laid back for games where you shoot everything. Oh well.
Anyways here it is. Of course I installed Windows For Workgroups 3.11 on here, who wouldn't?
Got some software installed, The Print Shop, Office 4.0, Photoshop 3.0, Paint Shop Pro, Best of Entertainment Pack, Netscape and Audiostation. Pretty good install there, and since it's WFW, I also have a file share set up to Windows 10, and yes, It works. Imagine that, 2 OSes, 21 years apart, can still communicate. The compatibility of the Windows OS is still suprising in some cases, unlike Mac OS.
As said, here it is. I love old multimedia programs like this. They're so tacky and it's great. "Imagine like your stereo.. Yeah. But it's ON YOUR comPOOTAH" Look at this thing!
I also have serveal other media related programs like WinPlay3, and serveral AVI files, YES, including BABYCHA3.AVI. Yes. I have it.
But other than that stuff, The Windows 3.x era doesn't have a lot of super cool stuff becuase well, it's what was in your office. Windows was cool because you can have a spreadsheet and a word document both open at the same time, but at least I enjoy my Windows 3.11.
I don't really know what to do, write an essay on Windows 3.11 and then hand a floppy disk with a broken shutter to my teacher? Yeah.
And one last note before I switch OSes, this also has Icon-DO-IT to change the icons in program manager. Yes, I could get Plug-In for Windows, and it would have that feature and much more, but where in the world do I find a registered copy, Billy?
If you're wondering, the wallpaper is from Foxkeh.com, I love these wallpapers.
Swapping CF cards, here we go. Windows 95 POWER!
I love desktops like this. Every old computer has a desktop like this. Random shortcuts, empty "new text document" files, "Copy of" and "Shortcut to", customised color scheme, fonts, a bunch of shortcuts and to top it all off, a wallpaper made with the MS paint spray can.
Despite how absolutley cool this install is, I've actually been using Windows 98 on this machine more. I really should use Windows 95 more often though.
Even if Impulse Tracker doesn't work on DOS, I can still listen to my playlist on Windows 95. I know the old versions of ModPlug aren't great, but I can listen to music on here!
Of course since it's WINDOWS 95 on a PENTIUM, the possibilites are practically endless!!! Reach for the stars!!!!... or at least the ceiling of the boring office building that runs Windows 95 computers with WordPerfect.
So like I said, here's Windows 98's login screen, the classic "Microsoft Networking" login. Why can't we replace Windows 10's abomination of a login UI with this one? Yes, it's in French, becuase this install has an interesting story, it's actually the Windows 98 install that was on the hard drive in this case when I got it. What? Well let me explain as best as I can.
This case originally had a Socket 3 486 board inside it which I assume was probably a 486 DX2-66 or something from the 1994 date on the sticker left from the manufacturer, ASI. According to several stickers and file dates left on the hard drive, this machine was refurbished by "IPC" in 1998 with a new HDD, Video Card, Sound Card, CD-ROM Drive, Windows 98 and most interestingly, a 486 DX4-100 CPU! Who knows how they figured out the jumpers, becuase I can't find any info on this "Arvida Tech" motherboard. It's a pretty nice motherboard though, 100MHz CPU, 4 72-pin SIMM slots, 6 ISA with 3 VLB, CR2032 CMOS battery, some amount of cache(?), no crap Dallas chips, or worse, those horrid Varta barrel batteries that explode, ruining hundreds of these increasingly rare boards.
The original internals of the ASI case live on as my 486 machine (page coming soon), where this motherboard is still going strong 26 years later.
Anyways, here's the desktop. You're probably thinking "What a mess", but this is exactly how I found it. And it looks like the desktop on almost all of my computers including my main. The crap in the top right is all the stuff I put there. I work on a few projects on here. DOSBENCH is actually the PhilsComputerLab DOS Benchmark kit, and my incomplete batch file to make it able to run off of 2 floppy disks. Also on here is CPU-Z which requires Windows 98 at least.
I live in Canada, so I'm actually learning French and can read things to an extent. I don't usually tell people that I'm learning another language becuase they'll always ask "Well how do you say this", and I'm just like "well I don't know. Just because i'm learning the language doesn't mean I automatically know everything. I still can't have a conversation in French.
Okay, opening the My Documents folder an-AAAAHHHHH!!! Seriously, what the heck. No computer I've ever found has had a wiped hard drive. If I was a bad person doing bad things I could commit identity theft on every owner of the computers I've found. Resumes, addresses, passwords, job applications, taxes and what other personal data. Seriously people. Wipe your personal data.
According to the file dates, this computer was occasionally in use up to at least 2010, when it was retired. Looking the address up on Google Maps that was left on the Documents on the hard drive shows that it was from a Farm in Quebec. So of course they were using a 486 with Windows 98 FE in 2010, but it really does show that these things were built to last, still working hard nearly 30 years later.
Now that's it. If you've actually read all of this, you must be really interested in these builds. Thank you very much for reading this page that ended up being WAY longer than I wanted it to be. This is quite possibly one of the longest pages on this websites, for the only reason that I don't want to use up too much of the users time, but I wrote this page because I like reading pages just like this one, and I hope you enjoyed reading this as well.
If you have any questions or comments, send them over to . Your e-mails are much appreciated!
Written November 19, 2020