Red Falcon's Retrocomputing Thread!

Discussion in 'All non-AMD/Intel CPUs' started by Red Falcon, Nov 16, 2014.

  1. Red Falcon

    Red Falcon [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Good lord, those prices - if only that equipment had cost so little back then!
    Those were such good motherboards, and nice work getting it flashed - definitely need for those added features for tweaking.

    I remember when the TNT2 was impressive, haha, how times change, and even by 2001.
    That is quite the official build, and it sounds like everything is legit from that era, circa late 1990s to early 2000s - very nice work! (y)

    Yeah, tell me about the bloat...
    I remember when the Linux kernel 2.6.32 would load within 30 seconds on a single-core Atom system, and now with Linux kernel 4.XX, it seems to push even higher-end systems more than it should - just so much code needs to be loaded for everything to work, plus the additional features.

    Hell, I am running just Chromium with only 8 tabs open on the Jaguar system in my sig, and it is using ~427MB of VRAM just for that - crazy!
    Thanks for the great memories, and for sharing, I'm really impressed and would definitely like to see some pics of your new build if you have some time. :cool:

    hNTA1LTQ3YzctODdlOS04MDVhNGVhYWFiNDEucG5nIn1dXSwiYXVkIjpbInVybjpzZXJ2aWNlOmZpbGUuZG93bmxvYWQiXX0.png
     
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  2. lostin3d

    lostin3d [H]ard|Gawd

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    Talk about bloat. I experienced a tipping point with that on an old rig recently with XP SP3. Only slightly an antique at this point but I fired up my last Pentium 4 build a few weeks back just for the heck of it. It was my last pre I7 series build and I don't remember the finer details of it's specs but here's some. Thing took better part of 90+ seconds to get to desktop and all services loaded. This was my rig for all those 98/XP era games and was just able to do some of those at 720p/1080p. Still a lot of good memories with this thing.

    Pentium 4 @ 3.4 Ghz w/ HT
    2GB Ram(don't remember clock/timings)
    2x80GB WD platters in Raid0 via Sata I
    Vision Tek ATI HD2600Pro 512MB AGPx4
    Silicon Integrated Systems MB(don't remember model)
     
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  3. Red Falcon

    Red Falcon [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The Pentium 4 is an antique - well, damn, they did stop manufacturing them in 2004, and that 15-year point is the point at which technology turns retro. :eek:
    Even with two 7200RPM disks in RAID0, it still takes 90+ seconds to boot - actually, that was pretty good for back then!

    I remember getting under a minute for 2000 Pro or XP to boot (assuming fully loaded with software and not a vanilla install) was pretty cool.
    Nice work on getting 1080p going on that system!

    I can't believe it has already been over 5 years since XP went EOL - damn, someone, stop the clock already! :D
    2GB of RAM back in 2004 would have been around $800 or more, and would have been quite the feat.

    2GB of RAM wasn't even standard until circa 2008 - pretty slick system you built, I like it! (y)
    What games or software have you run on it at 1080p so far?
     
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  4. 70 Polara

    70 Polara Limp Gawd

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    Heh yeah I did well on getting stuff cheap, which honestly isn't easy as retro computing has become a big thing and it's hard to believe the prices nineties era hardware and early 2000s as well are selling at. I have sold off most of my collection and 3dfx hardware and have done well, glad I kept all the stuff I came across so long ago. If I would have guessed what 3dfx stuff was worth these days I would have stock-piled it by the ton back in the early 2000s when it was all considered 'worthless' lol.
     
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  5. 70 Polara

    70 Polara Limp Gawd

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    I have updated my Post#160 as my retro box has changed yet again, and I think I'm finally happy! Always wanted to mess with Socket 423 P4s and RAMBUS memory because as I recall it was pretty much hated in it's day for high cost and less then impressive performance compared to the Tualatin P3 or AMD Athlon XP, so I got around to using the other set of parts I bought awhile back. I'm thinking that as a unique retro gaming system the Willamette P4 works pretty well, and performance seems great!
     
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  6. 70 Polara

    70 Polara Limp Gawd

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    P6290004r.jpg P6290008r.jpg Here are a couple of pictures of my Socket 423 retro PC I detailed in Post#160, taken with my 1998 Olympus D490 digital camera that refuses to die. I bought it new for $400 and it has taken thousands of pictures in the last 21 years! It's so old it uses a serial cable to upload pictures to my PC, but it's still easier then using my phone. :)

    The ATX case I'm using cleaned up pretty good for being 'saved' from the trash. I'm on a budget these days so the trash can case beats buying a new one!
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
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  7. Red Falcon

    Red Falcon [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Man, I am really impressed with that system, excellent work getting everything up and running. (y)
    Oh, we used to have one of those Olympus digital cameras (believe ours was from the early 2000s with SmartMedia storage - 8MB to 32MB) - you're right, those things are tanks and, apparently, NBC-hardened!

    So not only is the system itself retro, the images we are viewing them on are also retro. :cool:
    Heck yeah, that's very resourceful!

    You're making me feel so old, I remember when those cases were a luxury and much nicer to work on than most the older 90s beige desktops.
    All around, great job, and thank you for sharing!


    This might be something you may appreciate:




    Somehow, I think if we all had our way, this would pretty much be all of us. :D

    5db2bf51902b0738204f101b63bb9471.png

    ...and this...

    dragon-hoards-01.jpg

    ...and this...

    8aBY5YX.png
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
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  8. 70 Polara

    70 Polara Limp Gawd

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    Wow, that warehouse is incredible!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really enjoy LGR's videos, but haven't seen that one. Another guy I really like who doesn't get enough views is HighTreason610. He really focuses on oddball 90s hardware. https://www.youtube.com/user/HighTreason610/videos

    Thanks for the compliments on the P4 system and my retro camera :ROFLMAO: too. I did end up making a change to it, got rid of the ESS card and switched to a good old SoundBlaster Live PCI. The ESS is an awesome PCI card for DOS emulation, but I think it's more suited to earlier and slower hardware, it doesn't really seem to like the P4 much. The SoundBlaster Live has fairly good DOS emulation and has been solid for the games I like to play. The hardware acceleration is nice too, made Unreal 2 go from slightly choppy to smooth.........

    The other crazy thing I did was switched to Windows ME from 98SE. I never messed with ME at all when it was new, and ran 98SE up until about 2004 (switched to XP because of Half Life 2 as I recall). I saw an article on Vogons calling ME the 'Misunderstood Edition' and really it's correct. On the relatively fast P4 I have found ME to work better then Win 98SE. I did remove system restore and made a few other tweaks, but overall the built in USB flash drive support, better file manager, and the feel of Windows 2000 has made me really enjoy using ME. I have had no problems (yet) running all my DOS games in a window as ME doesn't boot to, or have MS-DOS mode. I also think it's more period correct for the mostly 2000-2002 hardware in this system.

    https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?t=47562
     
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  9. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

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  10. SamirD

    SamirD 2[H]4U

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    What has always impressed me about the higher clocked P4s is their single thread performance. This may not be your exact cpu as it's a 478 p4, but just look how it compares in single thread performance with a modern Atom processor: (And don't look at the power numbers or cores. :D)
    https://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare/Intel-Pentium-4-3.40GHz-vs-Intel-Atom-C3958/1077vs3526
     
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  11. SamirD

    SamirD 2[H]4U

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    Wow, just wow--I had no idea about that warehouse and then found the 180+ post thread on the vintage computer forum. :eek: Don't know what the status of the place is now though as they were trying to liquidate everything.

    Interesting that you talk about ME like that. I've always thought 98se was the best for the old setups, but maybe I need to give ME a look. (y)
     
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  12. GiGaBiTe

    GiGaBiTe Gawd

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    Nope, Netburst survived all the way up until early 2008, but the last new parts were made in 2006.

    The Cedar Mill core (Pentium 4 6x1) was the final revision of the Pentium 4. Basically a die shrink of Prescott to 65nm, all models had EM64T support and 2M of cache. The D0 steppings (sSpec SL9K_) had a 65W TDP and were great for poorly designed SFF hot boxes Dell made to stop them grossly overheating. They were poor performers in 64 bit mode though due to the organization of the L2 cache, which was optimized for 32 bit use.

    There were also some Pentium D 9xx parts released in 2006, but they were worthless unless you had a motherboard which didn't support C2D parts.
     
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  13. Red Falcon

    Red Falcon [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Oh wow, you are right, they did manufacture Netburst up to 2008.
    Argh, I remember the Pentium D CPUs, basically two Pentium 4 CPUs glued to the same die and communicated across the FSB - horrible latency and ungodly TDP and heat production...

    Haha, I remember using the later generation Pentium 4 CPUs in shuttle computers up until 2009 - those will not be missed!
     
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  14. 70 Polara

    70 Polara Limp Gawd

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    The 90nm Smithfields were terrible CPUs no doubt, slow and insanely hot (in my day I've seen many a dead Dell from these garbage CPUs, and lots of dead ECS boards as well, as ECS put cheap caps right under the CPU cooler that got nicely melted by the furnace like heat).....but the 65nm Preslers were tolerable for their time.

    Still have a friend with low expectations using a Pentium D 935, 4GB DDR2 on an Intel D946GZIS motherboard, Geforce GT640 video card, running 32-bit Windows 10 and he says it works just fine for what he does!!! He said until it dies it's not being replaced, and since I built the system an eternity ago, I get more impressed as time goes by that it's like the Energizer bunny.
     
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  15. Red Falcon

    Red Falcon [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Damn, that brought back some memories.
    Setup sooo many of those Pentium D Dell OptiPlex's back in the mid to late 2000s.

    haha, I can't believe that system is still running with mainstream usage, and props to him for keeping it going.
    That was a damn fine build you made for him. :cool:
     
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  16. GiGaBiTe

    GiGaBiTe Gawd

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    I briefly had a Pentium D 820 and got rid of it within a week because nothing I had would keep it from reaching 100C at idle...

    The "nominal" TDP was 130W, but at peak loads it could pull up to 152W. This monster https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16835101011 couldn't even keep it cool.
     
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  17. SamirD

    SamirD 2[H]4U

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    I actually have several of these BTX systems still working (210L, gx520, and I think one more). The key I found was to remove the pwm pin from the power connector and let the fan run floored (sound isn't a concern since I rdp into them). This cools so well that I've been able to run 95w processors on the 65w aluminum heatsink without an issue. :)
     
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  18. 70 Polara

    70 Polara Limp Gawd

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    Nice! That's one way to do it! Those fans can move some serious air when cranked up! I'd say Dell had the BIOS fan controls set for 'too quiet' and not 'max performance/system life' lol.

    In the past on some of the BTX P4/PD Dells I dealt with (cant remember specific model numbers anymore) if the caps weren't already failing I'd move the system to a Presler Pentium D as they were cheap used even back in 2008-2010 and that really cut the heat output. I remember some would give a post-error about unsupported CPU but worked fine after skipping the error message. But I recall dealing with many that simply died from bad caps as even with BTX the quiet operation/slow fan speeds killed them and they weren't worth fixing. Especially as most had 915 chipsets as I recall that were too limiting anyways as 2GB was the max memory on some even though supposedly 2x2GB was supported.

    I just recycled an XPS 400 PD 820 that was recently given to me in a pile of old hardware, it had bad caps everywhere and wouldn't power up. All I salvaged from it was a lowly X600 video card and a couple of PC-4200 1GB sticks.
     
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  19. GiGaBiTe

    GiGaBiTe Gawd

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    The GX260, 270 and 280 were notorious for capacitor failure and were subject to a lawsuit that forced Dell to replace hundreds of thousands of motherboards on their dime. Think it cost them over a billion dollars at the time. I had a lot of work in the 2007-2008 timeframe replacing motherboards in these machines, Dell would just ship crates full of motherboards and you'd swap them deskside. One job had me and three other guys replacing around 4000 boards at a state agency. Other machines like the 210L, GX620 and 7xx series were equally problematic. All of their power supplies made by Delta, Liteon and especially Bestec used in other models are equally trash. I've seen them catch on fire or explode.

    The thing is, the replacement boards used the exact same counterfeit Nichicon capacitors and they failed again less than a year later. But by that time they were due for a refresh so all of those old shitty machines went off to recycling. But it wasn't only the motherboards with bad caps, the power supplies had equally trash caps from different vendors like G.Luxon, Teapo, CapXon and other trash. The motherboards are easy to recap, but the power supplies are a nightmare on the DT, SDT and SFF models because they were put together like a jigsaw puzzle and had at least one daughterboard soldered in with more capacitors on it that needed to be replaced. The small capacitors, like the 5x10 or 8x10mm were the worst about failing, but they almost never showed physical signs of failure.

    To recap one of the SFF power supplies, the "long brick" types usually take a couple of hours, and even more if other faults are present.
     
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  20. Red Falcon

    Red Falcon [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I completely forgot about all of that, and yes, I also had to replace soooo many of those damn motherboards with the faulty capacitors, which ironically enough were starting to fail around the same time.
    Man, you are bring back all of the work memories for me - not sure if that is good or bad. :p

    At least the clam shell design was fairly easy to open, though for what was in those units they sure were heavy.
    Also, I will sooo not miss the WD400 and WD800, 40GB and 80GB PATA HDDs respectively, commonly found in those systems; while fairly reliable, they were the worst-performing HDDs I've ever had the displeasure of working with, even for that era.
     
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  21. GiGaBiTe

    GiGaBiTe Gawd

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    I hated the clamshell cases, especially on the towers because the halves never lined up and you had to fudge them around to get them to close and latch. The cases out on the floor also were generally heavily abused, knocked over, kicked, dropped off desks, etc so broken or bent plastic bits made it even worse.

    But the thing I hated the most about doing that work is removing the RAM modules. Dell had them like epoxied in there so you had to slam down on both latches with your thumbs to eject the modules. After about 10 of those your thumbs were so sore that you had to start alternating fingers and it didn't work so well.

    I still have a couple of those 40/80 GB drives to send you to remember the terror lol.
     
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  22. GiGaBiTe

    GiGaBiTe Gawd

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    So I bought one of my childhood computers, a Macintosh SE FDHD. It was in mostly ok shape, but needed some TLC to address some issues like a rotated screen (the yoke on the CRT moved), and a non-working floppy drive. Those issues have been mostly fixed now. The machine I had 20+ years ago was destroyed in transit back from Colorado in the late 90s, the CRT neck was broken and the motherboard damaged. Fortunately the very expensive upgrade board it had was intact and I kept it in a drawer for 20 years, which now lives inside this new to me SE FDHD.

    It came with an 80 MB hard drive (an upgrade from the stock 20 MB) and was owned by some college student in the mid 90s. There are lots of term papers on it and a few applications like MS Excel and Word.

    The upgrade board upgrades the machine from a stock 68000 @ 8 MHz to a 68030 @ 25MHz and optionally a 68882 FPU which I don't have yet and need to source. It also provides four more RAM slots for up to 16 MB of additional memory that I need to work on. It requires a special driver to enable and I have not been able to find it yet. It's called Gemstart 3.0.

    Here's a pic of the logic board with the 68030 upgrade board installed:

    fbVRjQL.jpg

    I'll get some of the whole unit once I finish ironing out some other problems.
     
  23. GiGaBiTe

    GiGaBiTe Gawd

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    It's a long shot, but if anyone has any spare 4 MB 30 pin SIMMs and a 68882 FPU in a PGA package that isn't stupid expensive, I'd love to have them.
     
  24. longblock454

    longblock454 [H]ard|Gawd

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  25. GiGaBiTe

    GiGaBiTe Gawd

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    I found it after digging through archives of old mac software and unfortunately it caused the machine to hard lock on the boot screen.

    The machine shortly after developed a fault with the PSU which causes checkerboard patterns on the screen on bootup so now I'm chasing other faults that need to be fixed.

    The hard lock may have something to do with the power issues because the machine was acting funny when it was working. Crackly sound, reset button didn't work all the time and the debug button would cause a bomb screen with garbage, even though macsbug was installed.
     
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  26. GiGaBiTe

    GiGaBiTe Gawd

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    The power supply is bad, I opened it last night to find leaking caps. I modified the harness to work with an ATX power supply and it behaves better, but still shows garbage on the screen for about 10 seconds when its powered up before I get a bong and it boots. The analog board needs to be recapped as well.

    ea15cOih.jpg
    c4ncqcIh.jpg

    I need to find a Micro ATX or Flex ATX power supply to steal the guts out of and transplant them into the SE PSU. I would recap it, but I don't trust it because the power rails were dangerously out of spec, even when loaded.
     
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  27. SamirD

    SamirD 2[H]4U

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    I have that Flex that I removed from the sx2803 that you said probably had bad caps and you could recap. It was only used about a week and then put in storage and then wouldn't boot when I turned it back on. I'm sure you could fix it and I think would be ideal for your project. Just let me know. (y)
     
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  28. GiGaBiTe

    GiGaBiTe Gawd

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    I'll take it, hopefully the PCB inside the PSU isn't too big to be transplanted into the SE PSU case.
     
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  29. GiGaBiTe

    GiGaBiTe Gawd

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    One of the two power supplies arrived a few days ago (the TFX) and I went ahead with attempting to transplant it first.

    0XTEUYJh.jpg
    WRKQiIeh.jpg

    Seems to work and the voltages check out OK.

    The LEDs are for diagnostic, green is PWR_GOOD, yellow is 5vsb and red is 3.3vsb. the cooling situation is a bit concerning, there's no really good way to mount a fan and I don't have any that fit other than the tiny blower stuck to the lid.
     
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  30. SamirD

    SamirD 2[H]4U

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    Hopefully my old unit I sent you should help you out as it has a tiny fan in it. (y)