VOGONS


First post, by slivercr

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"I am very fond of the Celeron 300A, as I am sure a lot of people here are. I still have with me my CPU from back in the day and for a few years now I've wanted to build something around it."
—Me, 5 years ago. Then I went on ebay, bought a dual Slot1 motherboard that uses RDRAM, and built a Tualatin monstrosity.

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So yeah, I still have my Celeron 300A and for quite a few years now I've wanted to build something with it. With this in mind I took to ebay once again earlier this month, only this time I managed to stay focused and actually found a couple of interesting deals for a computer featuring my beloved Celly.

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If the non-descript names mean nothing to you, the video card is a Voodoo3 3000 and the motherboard is a SE440BX2 with the Yamaha XG sound chip—pretty cool! I was looking for this motherboard in particular, but the Voodoo3 was a lucky find. As the items arrived I put everything together, added 512 MB of RAM and thankfully everything works great.

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I still need to make it functional: add storage, LAN, get a nice case and PSU for it, overclock the CPU (either tape or a mod to the MoBo); but as it stands, this is basically what I wanted to build for my Celly. As I add components or play around I will keep posting, but I just wanted to share right away because I'm excited for this build.

I also got a bit nostalgic. Since the Voodoo3 was such a lucky find, it sort of got me thinking "what would've been the best PC when the V3 came out in April of 1999? Well, as I gauge it, I'm not far off with these components! Half a GB of RAM would've been unheard of back then, and the fastest CPUs would've been either the 500 MHz Katmai released in Feb'99, an overclocked Celeron 333 released in Aug'98, or an overclocked 333 Deschutes from Jan'98—though I don't really recall P2 overclocking as something that really took off. We wouldn't see Athlons until Jun '99, its amazing to think that as 1999 came to an end we had 800 MHz CPUs available. I have a lot of fond memories of that time period.

Yeah, I don't know. I haven't posted in a while either, so I'm also happy to be back.

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce

Reply 1 of 16, by buckeye

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That's a nice foundation for a win98/dos build, mine is very similar. Are you going to stick a 2nd sound card in there for the ISA slots?

Post some pics when complete, like to see what case you end up using.

Intel D865GL Pentium 4 2.4ghz. 512MB DDR 400 Geforce2 GTS 64MB SB Audigy 500W 98SE
Intel SE440BX P3 450 256MB 40GB Voodoo 3000 16MB SB 32pnp 350W 98SE
MSI x570 Gaming Pro Carbon Ryzen 3700x 32GB DDR4 Zotac RTX 3070 8GB WD Black 1TB 850W

Reply 2 of 16, by Joseph_Joestar

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buckeye wrote on 2022-09-01, 14:02:

That's a nice foundation for a win98/dos build, mine is very similar. Are you going to stick a 2nd sound card in there for the ISA slots?

If that onboard YamahaXG automatically uses SB-Link (due to being integrated) and he's able to get the DOS drivers to recognize it, then it will work just as well as any ISA sound card.

Anyway, nice build! I used to have a Celeron 466 with similar specs. It's great for that transitional period between early 3D accelerated games which don't like overly fast hardware, and later titles which need a beefy system to max them out.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 3 of 16, by slivercr

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Thanks for the comments!

buckeye wrote on 2022-09-01, 14:02:

That's a nice foundation for a win98/dos build, mine is very similar. Are you going to stick a 2nd sound card in there for the ISA slots?

Post some pics when complete, like to see what case you end up using.

For now the only thing I'm thinking about adding is a SATA controller and a couple of 120 GB SSDs—I'll probably do that this weekend.

Finding nice, late 90s cases where I am is VERY difficult, so for the time being I'm setting it up in a generic mid-2000s case. I'm not against using newer cases though, so I'll have to see what I can get my hands on that feels right. Any recommendations?

Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2022-09-01, 14:09:

If that onboard YamahaXG automatically uses SB-Link (due to being integrated) and he's able to get the DOS drivers to recognize it, then it will work just as well as any ISA sound card.

Anyway, nice build! I used to have a Celeron 466 with similar specs. It's great for that transitional period between early 3D accelerated games which don't like overly fast hardware, and later titles which need a beefy system to max them out.

I know what you mean, and I like that Slot1 systems make it easy to change the performance of your system: a quick cartridge change and you have a 233 MHz machine, or a 500 MHz machine, or a 1 GHz machine! That said, I'm targeting a specific period with CRT gaming in mind, so I think this will manage. What happened to your Celeron build?

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce

Reply 4 of 16, by Joseph_Joestar

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slivercr wrote on 2022-09-02, 02:59:

What happened to your Celeron build?

I retired it and moved most of the parts to my other retro rigs. Too many systems, too little space to keep them all in active use.

You can see how my Celeron build used to look in this thread. Nowadays, it's kept in storage, but I do sometimes use it as a test system for graphics and sound cards from that era.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 5 of 16, by slivercr

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Here's the build as it stands today:

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This is, obviously, not final.
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The case comes from the mid-2000s, seen from the outside it lacks any interesting features—its actually quite boxy. It is curiously very fitting for this build, as it has a couple of 3.5 bays and a removable motherboard tray. It is, however, black. Since its a bit scratched I figured I might as well paint it, but haven't decided if I'll go with black again, or beige, or crazy.

As for the hardware itself, not a lot is new. I have the Celeron 300a in there (still not overclocked), as well as the Voodoo3; both with improvised cooling for the time being. I came very close to switching the CPU after getting my hands on this: an engineering sample of a Celeron 333.

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Unfortunately, it didn't work.
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Besides that, I started looking into some storage options and getting an OS in there. My original plan was to use an SSD with an old SiI3112 SATA adapter card I had laying around. I failed spectacularly at getting them to play well together: after a few tries of installing (and reinstalling) Windows 98, using different drivers, and flashing different BIOS files to the SATA card; I gave up and tried using a regular HDD instead of the SSD.

Worked like a charm.

I think I'll use this config for the time being, and if down the line I feel like I need an SSD I'll go on ebay and try to find a Promise adapter.

Finally (for now) I've played a bit with the onboard Yamaha audio and it sounds nice enough. I am currently following this excellent post to add a SB Live! in there and get EAX for some games I want to play in this machine.

My to-do list for this build keeps growing as I work on it, but I'm enjoying myself 😀

More later.

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce

Reply 6 of 16, by slivercr

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A small post about the onboard YMF740c and DOS…

I've been playing with the machine a bit, literally.

I played through Day of the Tentacle inside a DOS Command Prompt in Windows. Using the configuration menu I chose General Midi, feeding that into the XG synth with the help of Yamaha's Windows drivers. I really enjoyed the sound! For kicks I also tried firing the Roland option and it sounded kind of okay-ish?

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In any case, what I was really itching to try out on this machine was real DOS and oh man am I satisfied!
Out of the box, the Yamaha DOS drivers are configured like this;

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I.e., they treat the onboard sound as a PCI device at IRQ10. However, after reading through the datasheet of the YMF740c and noticing the following line about IRQ5;

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[YMF740c CATALOG, Yamaha, 1999]
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I went ahead and poked through the drivers, expecting to be able to switch the IRQ MODE to PC/PCI—what I found instead was this;

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A delightful ISA mode! This mode only worked properly when the IRQ was set to 5, otherwise I wouldn't get any 8bit sounds in the soundtest. So yeah, it seems I have an onboard ISA device! I was so excited I played through Day of the Tentacle again, using SoundBlaster for both music and voices. As far as sound in DOS goes, I'm pretty happy with it! Its essentially an OPL3 onboard solution running on ISA, the only problem is I can't access the XG Synth from DOS.

I'll try to record some sound samples of all 3 modes (GM and Roland in W98, SB in DOS) and post them here so you can have a listen. Unfortunately, the YMF740c doesn't have SPDIF, so I can't tap directly into the chip and will have to go through the CODEC, which is not the greatest. Oh well.

I'm also now in the market for a nice MIDI module that I can plug into the gameport. I'm leaning towards a Dreamblaster X2GS + ChillV adapter, but if you guys have other recommendations I'm all ears.

Thanks for reading!

[EDIT: added some details]

Last edited by slivercr on 2022-10-27, 13:44. Edited 1 time in total.

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce

Reply 7 of 16, by slivercr

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Here are a few recordings.

For now you'll find the intro—music only—to Day of the Tentacle in Adlib, GM, and Roland modes; as well as the intro to Monkey Island Ultimate Talkie Edition in GM and Roland mode. I'll try to add some other LucasArts games to this playlist later.

I'm pretty satisfied with the GM sound, but I sure take back what I said about the Roland option sounding kind of okay-ish: its pretty bad. Instrument mappings are completely wrong. It is amusing in a way, I guess.

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce

Reply 8 of 16, by slivercr

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Work continues on this build, slow but steady.

Earlier today I took out the CPU and applied some nail varnish to isolate pin B21 and overclock the CPU...

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Beaten by a K6-III 450 MHz :(
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I dont know if the nail varnish will be a permanent solution to overclocking yet. I have some new heatsinks for slot1 Celerons on their way to me at the moment, I guess I'll decide when they arrive and I make the switch. I have half a mind to use UV solder mask to completely cover the pin and leave this CPU as a permanent 450 MHz Celeron.

slivercr wrote on 2022-10-07, 03:44:

I'm also now in the market for a nice MIDI module that I can plug into the gameport. I'm leaning towards a Dreamblaster X2GS + ChillV adapter, but if you guys have other recommendations I'm all ears.

I thought about this for half a second and its actually cheaper to buy a Roland SC-55 or SC-88 than buying all the gear from Serdaco to imitate such a setup. That being the case, I went ahead and bought a nice SC-88ST, which is on its way to me from Japan at the moment.

I was pretty sure I wanted the ST version because it lacks the LCD and a button panel in the front—I want it to give it as little maintenance as possible in the years to come. I was torn between the SC-55ST and the SC-88ST, in the end the 88 won because it had Audio Input to mix in my sound card audio, effectively providing a nice interface to plug my earphones to. While the module arrives I'll have to build a custom Gameport to MIDI cable.

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce

Reply 9 of 16, by slivercr

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I'm free from work today and also Monday, so I have some time to play around with this machine.

As a small update to my MIDI module adventures: I may have gone a bit too crazy shopping. As mentioned in the previous post, I ordered a nice Roland SC-88ST, currently (still) on its way from Japan to me. It should be delivered some time next week. Today, though, as I woke up and checked my email I noticed an ebay alert for a cheap (sub $100) Yamaha MU-80 module. I did not even hesitate and clicked the Buy Now button. Its kind of redundant for this machine, but I really like the Yamaha XG sound and I couldn't pass it up for that price. I guess it gives me access to that nice XG sound in DOS too, but I'll probably end up using it with another machine. There were 2 for sale, I thought about grabbing both but I don't really need them, so one is plenty. I promise pictures of them soon. Probably checking out the internals of both too, to check if maintenance is needed.

As a sidenote, the combined price of both modules was around the same for all the gear I originally wanted from Serdaco. I'll probably still order an X2GS, just not all the other accessories.

For the time being, I'm faced with an age-old dilemma:

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To A3D, or to EAX, that is the question.
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This will be a Windows-only soundcard, since DOS is covered by the onboard YMF740c—this means I have no desire or intention of installing the "Sound Blaster Emulation" part of either driver. For the Vortex card, this is easily done using one of Phil's driver packages (I mean, you could also modify the files yourself but why bother when they're readily available?); and for the SB Live this is also easily done thanks to vogoner Joseph_Joestar's guide I referenced earlier in this thread—just don't follow step 5.

Before I was partial to the SBLive because I have some specific games in mind that support EAX, and also, as you can see in the picture, I did a small mod to my Live to get Front Panel audio, so I wanted to use it to have an easy place to plug my headphones to. However, now that I have a MIDI module on the way, things are a bit different:
- Those same games also support A3D and, while I enjoy environmental effects, I'd rather have positional audio.
- I can feed audio from my soundcard to the SC-88 and plug my headphones there.

I think I'll play with the Vortex2 for now.

Another post is likely during the weekend, to show my half-way done paint job and, if I get around to printing them, the side-panel intake fan ducts to cool the CPU and Voodoo3.

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce

Reply 10 of 16, by slivercr

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Oh man, its been a while since I was last able to take some time and update this thread. Work has been crazy, but very rewarding. Here are a few pictures and ramblings on this project…

The case paint job is half-way done:
The right and top panels are done, and I'm pretty satisfied about the result. I went for an off-white color to mimic old 90s cases, and I think it looks good on this case. Besides, the panels were pretty scratched so basically any paintjob was an upgrade.

The left panel is next, I didn't want to paint it before I "finalized" my fan adapters for side intake—this just to avoid potential scratches if I needed to move the panel somewhere for measurements. The prototype of the adapter works well enough that I can now easily iterate on it without needing the panel at all.
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The bottom vent of the left side panel measures 120x80 mm², thanks to the adapter it is now an intake that accommodates a 120mm fan. Here's a bad picture of how it looks inside…
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Its taken with the case closed, through the holes of front fan intake, and with cables in the way—sorry! Still, you can see the fan blowing right into the Voodoo3 which was the whole idea. The top vent can fit an 80mm fan, I have another adapter ready to fit a second 120 mm fan that blows right into the CPU and chipset. I doubt this one's needed at all, but I want to have these side intakes working and filtered, and have air escape through all other vents in the case. Dust be gone.

New components
The heatsinks for my Celerons have arrived, I like them a lot! They make proper cartridges out of the Celerons, and are secured by screws in the back.
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At the bottom you can also see a Promise adapter I bought recently. It has W98 drivers and had a pretty good price, so I couldnt help myself 😅 Originally I wanted to use SSDs and my SiI3112 would not have anything to do with them—the SSDs work fine with this adapter so I'm going back to the original plan.
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MIDI modules arrived:
Finally, as can be seen in the first picture and as I mentioned in the previous post, I now have 2 MIDI modules! The Roland SC-88st came from Japan, it was in impeccable condition inside and out;
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The Yamaha MU-80 on the other hand, was pretty dirty on the outside, but inside it was also pristine.
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I did have to change the battery in the Yamaha because it was complaining about it when I turned it on, so while I was in there I installed a battery holder and called it a day
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I didnt spot any bulging caps on either, and they are both working wonderfully. They sound glorious. I built my own Gameport to MIDI cable to hook them up, I'll make a post about it later with a small how-to in case anyone wants to make a good, cheap MIDI out cable.

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce

Reply 11 of 16, by H3nrik V!

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Great job with the 120mm fan for the Voodoo card.

That cooler for the Celeron, does that have a backside as well?

Please use the "quote" option if asking questions to what I write - it will really up the chances of me noticing 😀

Reply 12 of 16, by slivercr

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H3nrik V! wrote on 2022-11-23, 08:50:

Great job with the 120mm fan for the Voodoo card.

That cooler for the Celeron, does that have a backside as well?

Thanks! I'm pretty satisfied with the way it lines up.

The cooler does have a backside, here's a close up of my Celeron 333 with the same cooler;
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It fits nice and tidy in there. The ElanVital marking is a sticker so eventually I plan to remove it and add some intel branding, but tbh its very low priority.

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce

Reply 13 of 16, by H3nrik V!

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I like it. It gives that SECC2 vibe

Please use the "quote" option if asking questions to what I write - it will really up the chances of me noticing 😀

Reply 15 of 16, by chinny22

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Missed this until now somehow.
Good find on the Video and M/B!
The motherboard I recognized right away but was assuming the video card was ATI or Matrox based till i read later on.

While I don't really like overclocking (this day and age just get a faster CPU/system IMHO) Celeron feel like they should be overclocked even if its just a little.

And yeh, you can't go wrong with MIDI modules, My SC-55 is still the favorite, partly because of the display and the "bouncy lines" so the poor old MU-10 doesn't get much use as YMF cards do much the same thing yet I'm still thinking about a dreamblaster for something different to fit to some builds unused header.

Reply 16 of 16, by slivercr

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H3nrik V! wrote on 2022-11-24, 07:02:

I like it. It gives that SECC2 vibe

Right? I also prefer this heatsink a million times over the usual SEPP heatsink with its weird bracket to hold it together.

dunzdeck wrote on 2022-11-24, 11:01:

Very nice - thanks for taking us through!

Thank you for checking out the thread!

chinny22 wrote on 2022-11-25, 12:23:
Missed this until now somehow. Good find on the Video and M/B! The motherboard I recognized right away but was assuming the vid […]
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Missed this until now somehow.
Good find on the Video and M/B!
The motherboard I recognized right away but was assuming the video card was ATI or Matrox based till i read later on.

While I don't really like overclocking (this day and age just get a faster CPU/system IMHO) Celeron feel like they should be overclocked even if its just a little.

And yeh, you can't go wrong with MIDI modules, My SC-55 is still the favorite, partly because of the display and the "bouncy lines" so the poor old MU-10 doesn't get much use as YMF cards do much the same thing yet I'm still thinking about a dreamblaster for something different to fit to some builds unused header.

Hey chinny22, thanks for dropping by! The motherboard was a super lucky find, I was really happy to get it as I had been searching for one with the ymf chip for quite a while (without paying $lol for it). And I get what you're saying about OCing, with exceptions like this Celeron 🤣

You're right about the modules—the MU-80 will go unused in this build since the YMF740 provides such good MIDI, and most of the DOS games I want to play can be run within Windows. I think further down the line, when I'm "done" with this build, I'll build one with similar specs for some oldschool LAN partying. I have this SE440BX3 laying around that I can use,
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I can use a YMF719 which I also already have, probably with a Dreamblaster X2GS, and the MU-80. That way I would also have Roland and Yamaha MIDI available.

Who knows when that'll be, though.

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce