Old School Gaming LAN

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Old School Gaming LAN

Postposted on Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:40 pm

Way back in 2006 I was working for a place that was in the process of completely switching out there current computer stock with newer ones. I was able to salvage some old machines and some burned in CRT's to build up a LAN for dirt cheap. I setup 8 machines to play AOE2, Diablo 1 and 2, Warcraft 2 and 3, Dawn of War (Barely), and the list goes on of other games. Anyhow, it was a great time but sadly after about a year I had to break it down and trash most of the machines/peripherals.

I was doing some searching around the other day just to see what it would cost to build up a new LAN with duel core machines to run the old games and then some. I was surprised to see ebay certainly has a great stock of used ultra small form factor machines that would be perfect for the job. At first I just shrugged it off and didn't really think anything of it. Then i started thinking "Ok, it's time to get one of these going again!". I purchased a few of the tiny desktops and I'm very excited to start building it all up again. My goal is to get a few more of them so I can easily set them up and break them down and take no room for storage. The big thing is should I trust refurb monitors from Newegg? I bought a refurb laptop last year and the thing was in terrible shape and it looked like someone took Cheetos and rubbed them into the keyboard along with questionable stickiness all over it. Also, I need to find some Windows XP Pro keys for cheap but I'm iffy about ebay especially when the people post pictures of the keys!
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Re: Old School Gaming LAN

Postposted on Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:49 pm

Posting pictures of keys...classic.

Anyway, there is another way to get monitors, especially CRTs, for cheap - locally. E-recycling places might let you take items destined for recycling, you can also check your local 'freecycle' group, if you want to spend a little money (maybe) check Craig's List or Salvation Army and other such charitable donation stores. You might get some for free from those places, who knows. I would think that by now businesses have replaced their CRTs so you never know - maybe check with some large companies to see if they have CRTs stored up and not in use. The reason I suggest locally is that you won't pay shipping just gas and time, and more importantly you can check out the monitor for condition and operation if you bring a laptop along.
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Re: Old School Gaming LAN

Postposted on Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:14 pm

I work at a medium size hospital (3000 employees ~250 beds) and we do donate our old machines. However there is a catch, it has to be non profit. Not all places are like that. Anyways, check any large local companies and some may donate to you. Heck, we just donated several HUNDRED 17-19inch LCDs. ~900 is the final donation goal. Anyways, there are plenty of big companies out there that shun Ebay and Craigslisting old stock, for fear of foul play. The most recent wave of replacements are the first Core2Duos. 5-8 years is a typical replacement cycle for a big company, so that should fit your timeframe. However, be warned, the small form factor cases wreak havoc on internals. Most of these hard drives and cheap PSUs are barely hanging on. If you could somehow make it look like you were doing some sort of "getting kids addicted to games and not smack" or whatever ridiculousness that old people admire, you may be able to score a pretty hefty amount of hardware.

On the flip side, you could just build some cheap FM2 machines for a grand and a half then score some monitors somewhere. Monitors seem to have a pretty decent lifespan, compared to SFF "corporate grade" computers.
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Re: Old School Gaming LAN

Postposted on Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:20 pm

I'm thinking of sticking with older non flat screen displays. For the size and weight reasons :D
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Re: Old School Gaming LAN

Postposted on Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:12 pm

You could probably get away with running games under Wine on Linux. I used to do that for Diablo 2 and it worked quite well, though I don't have experience with any of the other games listed.
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Re: Old School Gaming LAN

Postposted on Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:33 am

The thing is I used to have a few XP keys but then I was like "well i'm not going to be needing any XP machines anymore!" and tossed them :(
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Re: Old School Gaming LAN

Postposted on Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:56 am

I've been refurbing some computers to freecycle and the HP and Dell and IBM ones are best for that purpose. Mainly because I've gotten the OEM XP stickers on the cases! It checks to make sure it's being installed on a Dell or IBM or whatever, sure, but since those are the systems I'm using, it works out. I just use a copy of an XP retail disc and supply another disc with drivers and apps (LibreOffice, mydefrag, imgburn, 7zip, MS security essentials, etc.) for the receiver to be able to reinstall if things die. Lately I've been nice and replacing the BIOS batteries as well and making sure the system is pretty well patched (and BIOS updated) before giving it away.

Anyway, my main point is maybe you ought to look for OEM desktops. They will more than likely have the original XP (or Vista) keys on the cases. I work in a highrise downtown and we have a "e-recycle" thing on the first floor. Every so often I "dumpster dive" that bin to see what other companies are throwing out. I swear some place must have replaced their VoIP system as they threw out two completely working PowerConnect 6248 switches. I've actually had a heck of a time finding a place that will take old systems for FREE. Most want to charge me to recycle.

If this is a LAN on the cheap, you might want to stick with cheapie LCDs. Take less room, power, and back strain. I'm sittin' on 6 desktops right now that I'm not doing anything with because I don't have XP keys. That part's killer! Too bad you didn't write them down in a .txt or something just for future reference before chuckin' 'em.
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Re: Old School Gaming LAN

Postposted on Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:19 pm

Well I picked up 4 (for now) HP DC7800p ultra small form factor machines which should do the trick for cheap. As far as the displays go I'm going to go with some Samsung 740N's for cheap as well. The only thing I need to get will be keyboards and mice. I question used ones so I think I might just buy up some of the ones listed below:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6823334009
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Re: Old School Gaming LAN

Postposted on Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:34 pm

Sweet!
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Re: Old School Gaming LAN

Postposted on Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:49 pm

Have you considered something like Tiny XP for the machines? As you have previously owned keys to XP its a perfectly valid usage model. :)
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Re: Old School Gaming LAN

Postposted on Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:53 pm

Slightly off topic, but I'm interested. Who all is playing on these LAN machines? Your kids and their friends, just your family, some other grouping of people?
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Re: Old School Gaming LAN

Postposted on Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:00 am

I can help with XP keys. I have a VLK or two gathering dust. Just don't share them with the world, and I'm happy.
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Re: Old School Gaming LAN

Postposted on Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:11 pm

DPete27 wrote:Slightly off topic, but I'm interested. Who all is playing on these LAN machines? Your kids and their friends, just your family, some other grouping of people?



Old friends of mine who still enjoy the older games. I'm pretty excited to fire up some Age of Empires 2 for lannage as it never gets old!
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Re: Old School Gaming LAN

Postposted on Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:21 pm

Some of those older games work on newer OSes. I have been playing Diablo II on Win7, for instance, and Warcraft II Battle.net Edition works too.
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Re: Old School Gaming LAN

Postposted on Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:56 pm

The reason of why I stick with XP is for IPX support for some of the games.
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