SPECS: i8088 4.77MHz, 640K, 360K DSDD X2, 3GB IDE
HDD, XT-IDE, TGA, Tandy 3-voice, RTL8019 LAN, MS-DOS 6.22
Generally used for Bulletin Board Systems, really really old DOS Games, and dabbling in making a custom Light Pen so I can do some intuitive CGA/TGA pixel artwork. Soon she's getting an 8087 and a V20 for a little better performance
Much of the reason I wanted a Tandy 1000 was because the SX version was the computer I started on in 1997, but alas, sometime around 2007 I managed land not one, but TWO Tandy 1000 systems, and this one won because the other was an HX and I did not have a Plus to ISA converter. That HX was donated to a collector in Seattle, and this one got the typical Creeping Network treatment of a ginormous yet fast HDD, beta testing OpenSource DOS System hardware (it has one of the first XT-IDE cards ever made in it, bought from VCFED in 2008), and of course playing AGI and early SCI Sierra titles in glorious 16-color graphics with Tandy 3-voice sound.
Tandy 1000 Details
Tandy 1000 BuildLog (2007-present)
GEM Computer Products
SPECS: i80286 12MHz, IIT 802c87 12MHz, 6MB, 3GB
SCSI, 2X CD-ROM (SCSI), TSENG ET-4000 ISA 1MB SVGA, SoundBlaster
Pro 2.0, Linksys PnP Ethernet, MS-DOS 6.22/Windows 3.1
Generally used for dabbling in game creation, IRC, BBS, light duty Web Surfing (non TLS), and playing older DOS games that run on XT/AT class hardware. This thing is about as maxxed out as a 286 can get with a whopping 6MB of RAM, low-power IIT 802c87 Arithmetic Logic unit, which induced a glitch in the BIOS that overclocked the 10MHz Intel 286 chip by 2 MHz. This thing behaves more like a crippled 386SX than a 286. It even runs things a 286 should not be able to run. Future plans include modifying the Arachne installation to handle modern TLS 1.2 compliant sites and remove old security protocols to prevent blocking from online access...probably just in time for a remake of my video from YouTube in 2007 "Internet on a 286".
GEM Computer Products is probably my favorite "White Box" Builder (Micro Equip. Corp/MEC) - ie one of those "local" PC Builders (Norcross, Georgia in this case) who builds computers out of Chinese parts from "plain white boxes". Honestly, there are only 2 builders/OEM's that really interest me these days, GEM Computer Products, and NEC. GEM for older x86 desktops, and NEC for laptops of course
GEM 286 Details
GEM 286 BuildLog (2005-Present)
SPECS: i486 DX2-40 SL, 20MB RAM, 1.44MB, 80GB
EIDE HDD, 1MB WD SVGA on 9.4" TFT LCD (640P), Int Spkr, Cisco
Aironet LMC-352 WiFi, Dock w/ Ethernet - MS-DOS 7.01/Windows For
My first "retro laptop" in 20 years. Bought in 2018, mostly used for DOS/Win31 gaming on the go when I'm in the mood for something slower and older. However this thing hits higher than it's weight class, running more like a DX2 66MHz than a DX2 40MHz, it even runs 95 OSR 2.5 quite happily with WiFi.
This machine is maxxed out, 80GB HDD, Cisco Aironet WiFi 802.11b 11mbps PCMCIA, Active Matrix LCD, 20MB of RAM. It was also my guinea pig for plastic laptop repairs so it got a nice wrap in marble contact PVC. My wife loves this machine, so I keep it up. Future plans include a PCMCIA SB Compatible Sound Card. (Currently Down - Bad Motherboard, nov video)
NEC Versa 40EC Details
NEC Versa 40EC Buildlog (2019-Present)
|1994 NEC Versa M/75||QUICK
SPECS: i486 DX4-75, 40MB RAM, 1.44MB, 80GB EIDE
HDD x2, 1MB C&T SVGA on TFT (800p), CS4231 WSS Audio, Cisco
Aironet LMC-352 WiFi, Dock w/ Ethernet, FreeDOS/Win95/WFW311
My personal favorite laptop of the lot. Has a working battery (sometimes needs shorted/frozen), travels, used for daily-type-use in FreeDOS or Win95 occasionally, as well as a LOT of gaming. Also dabbling in programming and even making pictures and coding this Website from time to time.
This really is the only laptop I can think of other than the P/75 that can hold a candle to the 486 Desktop. It's fast, it's stable, it's also built like a lead tank compared to the other Versa models. This one is so nice this will be the first candidate to build Alumilite Versa re-creation parts with. Then we will be looking at vintage laptops that can be hurled across a concrete floor and take little/no damage. I have a whole second M/75 motherboard/power board/CPU board that works so I can build a second one that's a TC model, or make this the TC and make that the HCP.
NEC Versa M/75 Details
NEC Versa BuildLog (2019-present)
|1995 NEC Versa V/50||QUICK
SPECS: i486 DX2-50, 20MB RAM, 1.44MB, 80GB EIDE
HDD, 1MB WD SVGA on 9.4" TFT (640p), Int Spk, Cisco Aironet
LMC-352 WiFi, 33.6K XJack PCMCIA Modem, FreeDOS 2.1
The V/50 was added to the collection in 2021 and is a pretty clean example of a vintage NEC Versa laptop computer in 2021. For awhile it was kept at my office as a sandbox and as a lunchtime DOS Workstation. Some advancement in my job though has lead to that coming to an end as the new scenario does not give me a situation where I"m comfortable leaving a vintage laptop computer around at work. Currently it's down with some kind of motherboard/power issue from a failed old HDD.
The V/50 runs about the same as my 40EC does, but it's a lot cleaner and a lot less used than all but the M/75, so it will probably be the last to get replacement plastic done when I get to that project idea
NEC Versa V/50C Details
NEC VErsa V/50 Build Log (2021-present)
SPECS: Gen. Pentium 75MHz, 1.44MB, 80GB EIDE HDD,
C&T SVGA on 800p TFT 9.4", ESS688 SB Compat Audio, Cisco
Aironet LMC-352 WiFi, FreeDOS 2.1
My other Favorite of the Versas, albeit a bit more brittle to a fault. This thing is like Kurt Cobain's Fender Competition Mustang incarnated as a laptop, it sounds cool, it looks cool, it is cool, but it looks like hell, and it's held together by glue, baking soda, and tape. But in some respects it's better than the M/75 because it has SoundBlaster support with OPL3 (ESS688), but it lacks the structural ridgidity of the Versa M-series.
If I could find a clean example without much/any cracking I've been tempted to create a brand new case for this one out of Alumilite, something useful as I also have a second M/75 that's caseless and would make an excellent hardware-hacking platform (Optical VersaTrak maybe?).
NEC Versa P/75 Details
NEC Versa P/75 Build Log (2020-present)
SPECS: Am486 DX4-100 8K L1 WB, 64MB, 1.44/1.2M,
5.25" Mobile IDE Rack (plethora of HDD), S3 805 2MB SVGA VESA,
SoundBlaster AWE64, Linksys Ethernet, every OS from DOS 5 to Win
My "Monster Truck" PC. This thing does it all - digital audio workstaion, gaming, programming, web design & development, graphics, MIDI, NES ROM Hacking, PCB Design, Schematic Creation, Spreadsheets of collections - the whole 9 yards. It gets used as hard as the M/75 does.
This thing is really wicked fast for a 486, it runs more like my NEC Versa P/75 than it does a DX4, probably in part due to having a PTI-255W Super I/O VLB HDD Controller that pretty much runs in PIO4 mode all the time. Recently I put a mSATA 128GB SSD in a 44pin IDE Converter (which then goes into another generic 44 to 40 pin IDE Converter for the Mobile Rack). The boot speed in FreeDOS is about 10 seconds. Currently it's being used to serve up some rare software to a few sites including my own resource site on the server Geocities was sold to.
Creeping Net 486 DX4-100 Details
Creeping Net 486 DX4-100 Build Log (2012-present, continuation off CN XT-II)