Socket 478 64-Bit 3.4Ghz Pentium 4 SL7Q8

The_HAVOK

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I have a pretty unique build that i'm working on right now consisting of the illusive 64-bit Socket 478 3.4Ghz Pentium 4 SL7Q8, an Albatron PX915P4C Pro Motherboard, and 4GB DDR PC3200.
It currently is running 64-bit Windows 7 and has a GTX 750Ti as its GPU, and some cheap 120GB SSD as its main drive running off SATA.
I ziptied a Kraken M22 to the board for CPU cooling. It's in some retro looking case I got off EBay earlier this month, it has green LEDs, I am not sure what it is called.

Here's some history if you are interested in the SL7Q8

Some pictures, mind the clutter.
MtehfXL.jpg

As you can see, its running Windows 7 at the moment. You can't really tell from the picture but it is 64-bit.
6C0alLG.jpg
 
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FlawleZ

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I get enjoyment out of tinkering with older but unique or uncommon hardware. Anything specific you're looking to run on this system or just put together for the hell of it?
 

The_HAVOK

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I get enjoyment out of tinkering with older but unique or uncommon hardware. Anything specific you're looking to run on this system or just put together for the hell of it?
I've always just had a thing for Socket 478, I'm not really sure what it is. I guess I am building it for fun really, I am however trying to push this thing to the limit.
The SL7Q8 is a 64-bit chip which means it should be able to address more than 4GB of RAM, my current goal with it is to somehow jam 8GB of RAM into it.
I tried putting 4 modules of 2GB PC3200R ECC into it but it didn't post. Both the chip and board will work with ECC memory. I wasn't really expecting the PC3200R to work with the system due to the modules being registered but it was worth a shot trying.
 

Grebuloner

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I've always just had a thing for Socket 478, I'm not really sure what it is. I guess I am building it for fun really, I am however trying to push this thing to the limit.
The SL7Q8 is a 64-bit chip which means it should be able to address more than 4GB of RAM, my current goal with it is to somehow jam 8GB of RAM into it.
I tried putting 4 modules of 2GB PC3200R ECC into it but it didn't post. Both the chip and board will work with ECC memory. I wasn't really expecting the PC3200R to work with the system due to the modules being registered but it was worth a shot trying.

Pentium 4s lacked an integrated memory controller and relied on the chipset for memory addressing. It wasn't until Nehalem/Bloomfield (Core i7 9xx) in 2008 that Intel finally got on the IMC train. The 915 chipset maxes out at 4GB, so that's all you're going to get, unfortunately. Officially it doesn't support any type of ECC, either, but if you can get regular ECC to work (and confirm it in the OS, some boards just run modules in non-ECC mode), that'd be pretty cool.

How did you acquire the CPU?
 

The_HAVOK

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Pentium 4s lacked an integrated memory controller and relied on the chipset for memory addressing. It wasn't until Nehalem/Bloomfield (Core i7 9xx) in 2008 that Intel finally got on the IMC train. The 915 chipset maxes out at 4GB, so that's all you're going to get, unfortunately. Officially it doesn't support any type of ECC, either, but if you can get regular ECC to work (and confirm it in the OS, some boards just run modules in non-ECC mode), that'd be pretty cool.

How did you acquire the CPU?

I pulled the cpu from an IBM eServer xSeries 306 8836-5SU that I bought from EBay a few months ago.
CPUZ reported that the RAM modules were ECC, I don't know anything about the machine actually using the ECC functionality though. I'll do more testing with it.
 

commissioneranthony

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Hell yeah man. Nice score on that CPU. Thanks for the article, I didn't know IBM custom ordered CPUs from intel that late in the game. I thought that stopped after the 386 days! Also, I had that exact xion case back in the P4 days :D.
 

The_HAVOK

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The EBay listing that I bought this case from had a full build in it with some really wonky hardware in it. There was a ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2, which is a 775 board that has both DDR1 and DDR2 slots on it, and on top of that it has both AGP and PCI-E. The machine also had a C2D E8400, 2GB DDR1, and a rare HIS Radeon 3850 AGP in it. I only paid $15 bucks for this thing, shipping was about $40 though but I'd say it was well worth it.

I would love to have used the HIS Radeon in my SL7Q8 build, but sadly the board I am using only has PCI-E, no AGP. I am still trying to find a good somewhat period accurate GPU to pair with the SL7Q8, it would need to be PCI-E of course.
I do have two other 478 boards, Dell Dimension 4200 and a Dell Precision 360, both of which have AGP with 4 RAM slots and are decent boards but I'd like to stick with the Albatron board it's using currently.
 

DeaconFrost

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If you are looking to add to your retro builds, I have 5 or so Creative Labs SoundBlaster cards that are unused.
 

iroc409

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I might actually have one of these processors in the original shrink-wrapped boxes. :D
 

The_HAVOK

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Here's a little update on the SL7Q8.
I've recently gotten hold of a Gigabyte GA-8KNXP which, if you probably don't know, has 6 RAM slots on it. I do plan on testing the SL7Q8 out on the 8KNXP with all 6 slots populated with 1GB sticks of RAM just to see what happens but I don't expect much out of it, just another weird rare board added to the collection. It is coming from outside the US so it won't be here for at least a month, I'll make another update post when I get hardware test results.
 

NattyKathy

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that AGP 3850 is a great find! good luck w the new board, I don't think it'll like >4GB but who knows.
 

The_HAVOK

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I just made another thread about another option to getting past the 4GB limit here
https://hardforum.com/threads/the-socket-478-to-775-cpu-transfer-card.2006084/

as for the 3850, I got it to work just fine on a 775 board a few months back but have gotten nothing out of any of my 478 boards. It will not make it to post and will just show a black screen with a blinking cursor. If I disconnect the PCI-E 8pin power it will properly display an error message about it, but that's as far as I've gotten.
 
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Hi mate

it’s amazing, I am also wanting the sl7q8 and HIS hd3850, not sure if you have already had played enough with them, will you be willing to sell them ?
 

GiGaBiTe

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I just made another thread about another option to getting past the 4GB limit here
https://hardforum.com/threads/the-socket-478-to-775-cpu-transfer-card.2006084/

If you can find such a unicorn adapter, you'll probably want something with an Intel 965 chipset. It was the last Intel chipset to officially support Netburst, while also supporting Core 2 Duo parts. It will get you up to 8 GB of RAM. There are a few P35 boards which have dirty hacks to support 800/1066 MHz Netburst CPUs, but I wouldn't trust them.

as for the 3850, I got it to work just fine on a 775 board a few months back but have gotten nothing out of any of my 478 boards. It will not make it to post and will just show a black screen with a blinking cursor. If I disconnect the PCI-E 8pin power it will properly display an error message about it, but that's as far as I've gotten.

The compatibility issues stem from the chip on the back of your HD3850 covered in pink thermal tape, which by the way needs a heatsink that appears to be missing. I would install one if you want the card to last any length of time.

The chip in question is a PCIe to AGP bridge chip, which was used with newer PCIe GPU designs to adapt them to the AGP bus. These bridge chips are notoriously temperamental and have pretty significant compatibility issues with both motherboards and Windows. These weird cards were produced for a number of years in the early PCIe era between 2004-2007ish because there was still a large number of people with legacy AGP systems that wanted to get as much as they could out of their existing machines before upgrading their entire system.

In reality, these cards were more trouble than they are worth. Because of the bridge chip, they required special drivers that weren't updated like their regular PCIe counterparts and quickly lost support. The drivers that did exist were usually buggy and unstable, causing erratic system behavior or rendering problems. Some cards were worse off than others. I think it was Gainward that made a weird 7950GTX in an AGP card, something Nvidia never supported. It only had a handful of driver versions that worked, and they all had some sort of problem.
 

defaultluser

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In reality, these cards were more trouble than they are worth. Because of the bridge chip, they required special drivers that weren't updated like their regular PCIe counterparts and quickly lost support. The drivers that did exist were usually buggy and unstable, causing erratic system behavior or rendering problems. Some cards were worse off than others. I think it was Gainward that made a weird 7950GTX in an AGP card, something Nvidia never supported. It only had a handful of driver versions that worked, and they all had some sort of problem.

For unofficial releases like your 7950GTX I agree it's a buggy hack, but for official releases like the 6600 GT AGP. I had 18 months of solid drivers on my 939 system.

The hd 3850 was an official release from ATI, and got 8 years of drivers

https://www.driverscape.com/download/ati-radeon-hd-3850-agp

Also, the ATI bridge chip was rushed-out (and ended up having a lot of compatibility problems)

https://forums.anandtech.com/threads/advice-for-agp-3850-users-to-avoid-problems.213225/
 
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GiGaBiTe

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I'm talking about the final AGP cards to ever be released, which doesn't cover the Nvidia 6000 series. The 6000 series was released in 2004, when AGP was still relevant and supported by most of the industry. The HD3850 was released in 2007, which by that time AGP was decisively dead and gone. There was one further generation with AGP support, being the HD4650 and 4670 in 2008, which both have dreadful hardware and software compatibility issues due to using bridge chips.

I very much doubt the HD3850 had eight years of support. It may have been supported in the driver stack for eight years, but that in no way means it was supported that long. It'd be like saying the Nvidia 8400GS had 10 years of support because Nvidia had it in their driver package until 2016. It was in no way getting any updates that improved performance or compatibility after just a few years, it was just there for legacy reasons. Both Nvidia and AMD stop optimizing their driver stacks for older generation cards after a newer generation comes to replace it, which is why you sometimes get better performance and less problems with older driver packages that were released within the lifetime of the card in question.
 

defaultluser

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I'm talking about the final AGP cards to ever be released, which doesn't cover the Nvidia 6000 series. The 6000 series was released in 2004, when AGP was still relevant and supported by most of the industry. The HD3850 was released in 2007, which by that time AGP was decisively dead and gone. There was one further generation with AGP support, being the HD4650 and 4670 in 2008, which both have dreadful hardware and software compatibility issues due to using bridge chips.

I very much doubt the HD3850 had eight years of support. It may have been supported in the driver stack for eight years, but that in no way means it was supported that long. It'd be like saying the Nvidia 8400GS had 10 years of support because Nvidia had it in their driver package until 2016. It was in no way getting any updates that improved performance or compatibility after just a few years, it was just there for legacy reasons. Both Nvidia and AMD stop optimizing their driver stacks for older generation cards after a newer generation comes to replace it, which is why you sometimes get better performance and less problems with older driver packages that were released within the lifetime of the card in question.

Unless you have hands-on experience comparing the Pcie driver support versus the AGP drivers, this is pure conjecture.

jUST BECAUSE YOU CAN FIND SPECIFIC Bad graphics drivers releases in any card's history doesn't mean this one was any worse. The 2000-2010 time period was the worst for ATI's driver quality (so simply pointing out one card as "terrible" offers us no real data).

This entire generation of DX10.1 cards were quickly forgotten by DX11 game developers (so further optimization from the AMD driver team would have been pointless); these cards didn't have enough vram to run the Crysis 2 DX11 plus texture patch update (let-alone every dx11-native game released afterward:)

https://bit-tech.net/reviews/gaming/pc/crysis-2-directx-11-patch-analysis/1/
 
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GiGaBiTe

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Unless you have hands-on experience comparing the Pcie driver support versus the AGP drivers, this is pure conjecture.

I've had such a card, the HD4650 in both the AGP and PCIe variant. The PCIe variant never had any issues with drivers or hardware compatibility, while the AGP variant never worked properly. I've also helped several people over the years with similar bridged cards try to get theirs working, including one 3850 and several Nvidia 7000 series cards that used bridge chips. These cards have a very narrow band of hardware they will work on, and really only work well on Windows XP. They don't work on Windows Vista or 7 usually at all because of the bridge chip causing conflicts. This means that DX 10 functionality can't be used, but such a system configuration isn't usually good enough to run those games anyway.

Late AGP cards without bridge chips were fine. I still have my BFG 7800GS OC and never had a problem with it.
 

The_HAVOK

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I got the 8KNXP motherboard but it seems to be faulty. It posts and everything, updated it to the latest bios, but it doesn't seem to pick up any more than 1.5 gig of RAM. If I clear CMOS on first post it will pick up a maximum of 3.5GB of ram but if I restart it it falls back to 1.5 after a few boot cycles. Ive tried different CPUs, deferent memory modules in different slots. The SL7Q8 works on it as well but does not want to boot to any x64 install media or operating system. The board looks like its in perfect condition, doesn't seem to be any bad caps or anything.
On 32bit OS's it boots just fine and windows 7 will properly report any memory modules that are installed but will always show a hard cap at either 1.5 or 3.5 gb. For example if I were to fully populate all 6 slots with 1GB modules the os would report 6gb total but only 3.5 gb useable or some times 1.5.
As for the HD3650 AGP It does work with this board just fine, ran HL2 on the machine at expected framerates. cant remember what drivers I used.
I have also done some hacking around with the bios and the microcode and the latest bios revision for the board is the latest version for 0F41.
 

The_HAVOK

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I also managed to get hold of a PCTA-01 from TAGG in Austria. On HWBot he's got a submission for a 3ghz Prescott running on a P45 board and DDR3. The only 775 Boards I have are either EVGA nForce 780i SLI using DDR2 or a pretty beat up ASUS Striker II Extreme using 790i and DDR3.
Both boards start running with SL7PP installed using PCTA-01 but get stuck during post, I think the EVGA board debug display said something about APIC initialization. Im trying to get hold of a decent 775 DDR3 board using an Intel chipset at the moment.
 

GiGaBiTe

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The RAM slots and/or the memory modules could be oxidized, a common problem on old computer gear. Try hosing down both the slots and the modules with Deoxit Gold G5 or similar contact cleaner spray.

I think you're out of luck with the memory. According to Intel, the 875P has a maximum memory limit of 4 GB:
https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/27711/intel-82875p-memory-controller.html

They're generally pretty rigid about their specs, I doubt Gigabyte has done anything to break this limit.
 

ZodaEX

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The RAM slots and/or the memory modules could be oxidized, a common problem on old computer gear. Try hosing down both the slots and the modules with Deoxit Gold G5 or similar contact cleaner spray.

I think you're out of luck with the memory. According to Intel, the 875P has a maximum memory limit of 4 GB:
https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/27711/intel-82875p-memory-controller.html

They're generally pretty rigid about their specs, I doubt Gigabyte has done anything to break this limit.

Gigabyte made a device called the iRAM where you can mount 4gbs of RAM as your paging file so when you go over 4gbs of RAM usage you're still using RAM for up to 4 more gigs.
 

GiGaBiTe

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Gigabyte made a device called the iRAM where you can mount 4gbs of RAM as your paging file so when you go over 4gbs of RAM usage you're still using RAM for up to 4 more gigs.

The problem with the iRAM and other devices like it (there were several) is that even though it was a PCI/PCIe card, it was basically a glorified volatile hard drive that used the SATA interface. The throughput on the iRAM was 300 mb/s or less, the only benefit being the very low seek times similar to an SSD.

The other problem is that you can't run programs from the page file, it has to be in physical memory. If the system runs out of usable physical memory and only has page file left, it will go into a perpetual failure loop where it endlessly swaps out data in physical memory to the page file and back again in a fruitless attempt to free enough physical memory to run applications.
 

The_HAVOK

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Memory limitations are imposed by the memory controller which is not necessarily always the CPU. Intel started using CPU integrated memory controllers with Nehalem, so in this case memory limitations are imposed per CPU. Any architectures prior to Nehalem use memory controllers on the chipset meaning the motherboards and chipsets are really what determine memory limitations, and the CPU doesn't really care too much about it.
The guy I bought the PCTA-01 from has a few benchmark submissions on HWBot using a PCTA-01, and here is one of them with a 3GHz Prescott running with DDR3 on a P45 Chipset.
 

The_HAVOK

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Somewhat related but, I managed to get afew more Radeon HD 3650 AGP's

In addition to my HIS Radeon, I now have 2 more ddr2 cards with 1GB and 512MB. The 1GB card is missing a heatsink fan but this is not a problem as I have future plans for it.
20210529_232116_HDR.jpg
20210529_232137_HDR.jpg
20210529_232212_HDR.jpg
 

cdoublejj

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i have similar build but it's bios start matx build and instead of ddr it's ddr2 and it also had the PCIe. i got to run farcry blood dragon. i used a laptop pentium 4 and poly modded the mobo. been wanting to put a nice PSU in it and see if it helps stability i've been running 700mhz over stock it's like 95% stable under prime 24 hours. have not volt modded yet.
 
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