A: Just because.
Q: I mean, why?
A: Because it’s fun and I like retro computing and gaming.
Q: No really, why?
A: I think the deeper sense is to bring back the good old times of youth where I could live in the day without having to work.
Q: Why don’t you just use an emulator?
A: A what?
Q: You cannot tell me you don’t know what an emulator is, so why exactly don’t you use an emulator?
A: As the word already tells, it just emulates things. I you want to have the “real” experience, you need to have a real machine. Many things cannot be emulated well, e. g. special hardware (Creative SoundBlaster AWE32, good luck!), the sound coming from the machine itself, the BIOS, the speed the machine reacts to different actions and so on. It is also meant for future people to get an idea of the evolution the technology took.
Q: Can’t I have all this much easier?
A: You can use emulators (drawbacks see above), or build your own reduced setup.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: Take a look at the parts list and you will get an idea.
Q: Can I buy it?
Q: Can you build the same system for me?
A: It’s all a question of the price you pay. The information on my page should be sufficient to build a similar system on your own.
Q: Are you planning some extensions in the future?
A: So it is not already big enough?
Q: I know it’s already huge, but are you planning to do some more?
A: It would be nice to have a bigger 18 G HDMI matrix switch (8x8), but it is too expensive at the moment. It would allow me to add a capture device, use the HDMI splitter in a loopback configuration and maybe get rid of an external EDID emulator. Another expansion would be to use some kind of networked optical disc drive emulators to eliminate the need to change media, which makes it easier to use the system from remote.
Q: Doesn’t it draw a lot of energy?
A: I want to run the machines only as needed, not 24/7. For data exchange purposes it may be needed to run two or three machines at once for a short time. My room is not a data center, and I don’t want to waste energy. Also one of the design goals is to save as much energy as possible.
Q: Why don’t you use device xy in your setup? It is much better than the device you suggest.
A: If you have your own suggestions, I am looking forward to your message!
Q: Why do you use so many devices made by ATEN/IOGEAR?
A: Looks like there is no way to avoid ATEN/IOGEAR in my case, although there are still a lot of compatibility issues even when using only their devices. I was for exaple trying a device made by Vertiv as the primary KVM in my desk, but it was much worse than ATEN (e. g. only allowing standard HID keyboard functions).
Q: Can you do some compatibility testing for me?
A: If I got some spare time and still own the involved devices, I may do some tests for you, just drop me a message. Please also take look at the compatibility matrix I built beforehand.