Welcome to Retro Game On!

Everything retro - big and small! Live from Perth, Australia!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Updates to the Games Room: 16/04/2014

Here's something different: after years of consoles, The Official Retro Game On Unnecessary Long Named Games Room has a computer. Well, forgetting the Atari St. I totally forgot about that when I first started typing that sentence, and I don't want to start again.

This computer is a bit newer, as in it's only about 12 years old. It was the first computer my family ever owned, and is running XP. In my mind, playing retro PC games is a lot easier on XP than newer OS's. Having a dedicated computer for those is something I've always wanted to do. This fits the build, and also has a floppy drive. Both my current computer and my laptop don't even have a disk drive (the tower did, but I disconnected it so I could have another hard drive) so having dedicated hardware makes everything a million times easier.

I didn't have the room to set it up on its own desk, so integrating it into my current retro setup is really a must. I think this is actually kinda cool though, and I'm happy that I got it working with the TV and sound system.
Luckily the graphics card has an s-video connection, so plugging the video in was as simple as tracking down a s-video to RCA cable. That also gave me an excuse to buy another switchbox:

I've run out of AV ports on the TV, so this switchbox is daisy-chaining off a set of plugs on one of the original switchboxes. This will mean that my Super Famicom gets its own button now, as it was the odd one out last time I overhauled the setup.

The audio was simple as well. A 3.5mm to double RCA jack cable goes from the audio port of the computer to a switchbox. This switchbox divides the connection into the sound system with that and the cables that go into the AV out of the TV. Meaning, without overcomplicating things, I can now switch between the audio of the computer and everything else with a press of a button. This is great, as I didn't want to have to setup up speakers just for the computer.

To control everything, I have a dedicated wireless keyboard and mouse. I can sit on the couch with these on the table, and not have to worry about cables being strewn around or even reaching in the first place.

The computer was in a pretty sorry state when I recovered it. Even though it was wrapped in plastic and in a box, it was still full of dust. So much so, that it wouldn't originally boot up because it couldn't read the RAM (according to the distressed beeps of the motherboard, anyway). Once I cleaned it out using a compressor, I got to work on the software side of things. The OS it's self was quite unstable, crashing and freezing constantly. After a reinstall I had some problems getting it updated, but after much blood and tears everything is up to date. I was even getting the message telling me support for the system ended last week, which is fitting now that it's in my interactive museum of retro gaming devices.

For those that are curious, these are the specs:
  • Acer Aspire T300 Standard
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Service Pack 3 
  • Pentium 4 CPU
  • 80GB Seagate Hard Drive
  • 1024MB of RAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce Mx 440 CPU

No comments:

Post a Comment