Crawlspace Project: Compaq Presario 633

Showcase your Retro PC / Build logs.

Crawlspace Project: Compaq Presario 633

Postby Tenorman » 2017-12-24 @ 17:08

Hello All,

We bought a new house last year. The previous owners left an old computer (along with a bunch of garbage) in a crawlspace in the basement. I finally dug it out last week to see what it was. The computer was sitting on the old cabinet in the back.

crawlspace.jpg


It is a Compaq Presario 633 circa 1994. It would have been a relatively low-end model for the time as it has a 486 SX and no CD-ROM or sound card.

presario_633_front.jpg

presario_633_back.jpg

presario_633_inside.jpg


Specs:
http://www.elhvb.com/mobokive/Archive/Compaq/Presario/Presario%206xx/Presario%20633/633quickspecs.html

As you can see, it is was very dusty. I cleaned it up and was able to boot it without any trouble. I snooped around a bit. It looks like this computer was used mainly for Quicken, keeping track of a bowling league, and playing card games.

I believe the hard drive is going bad and probably was even before this computer was "put away". It is extremely noisy and there logs from several scandisk runs on the root of the drive.

I went on eBay and did a little shopping. I might have gone a bit overboard. My goal is to do a few upgrades and turn this into a decent 486 DOS gaming box. Some of the things I would like to play are the old Sierra and Lucas Arts Adventure games and a few of the early FPS games (Doom, Heretic, Dark Forces).

What I ordered:
-2x 4 MB 72-PIN RAM sticks. Will bring it up to 12 MB which should be more than enough.
-IDE to CF Adapter
-4 GB CF Card
-IBM branded ISA sound card with ESS 1868F chip.
-Adaptec AVA-1505 ISA SCSI controller.
-Generic external SCSI CD-ROM drive (I want to add a CD-ROM drive, but only have two drive bays and I want to keep the 5.25" drive).

Now I just need to wait for all this stuff to come in the mail so I can put it all together :).
User avatar
Tenorman
Newbie
 
Posts: 23
Joined: 2017-12-24 @ 15:47

Re: Crawlspace Project: Compaq Presario 633

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2017-12-25 @ 18:52

Nice find!

I can't tell the model, but that looks like an integrated TSeng VGA chip. Can you get the model number off of it?

If that's a 4000AX, that's a nice chip to have for a 486. One of the best ISA VGA chips you can get. I'm not sure how the other TSeng chips compare.
Time Machine = FIC PA-2013 2.1 - K6-2 500 - 256MB PC-100 - TNT2 Pro 16MB AGP - Labway Yamaha YMF719-E - Midiman MM401
Amibay For Sale Threads
I have lots of PC stuff for sale on Mercari! Get a $10 sign up credit with invite code VBGQMM.
User avatar
Ozzuneoj
Oldbie
 
Posts: 1064
Joined: 2016-3-16 @ 21:33

Re: Crawlspace Project: Compaq Presario 633

Postby Tenorman » 2017-12-25 @ 20:46

It is a Tseng E4000/W32I. From my research, I think it is supposed to be one of the better integrated video chips from the time. That was pleasant surprise.

presario_633_video.jpg
User avatar
Tenorman
Newbie
 
Posts: 23
Joined: 2017-12-24 @ 15:47

Re: Crawlspace Project: Compaq Presario 633

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-12-25 @ 23:16

It's very (very!) fast but can have compatibility issues with more problematic games. All in all, it's a great chip.
User avatar
gdjacobs
l33t++
 
Posts: 5151
Joined: 2015-11-03 @ 05:51
Location: The Great White North

Re: Crawlspace Project: Compaq Presario 633

Postby Tenorman » 2018-1-05 @ 22:08

A couple of updates:
I got the sound card, RAM, and CF adapter installed. I am waiting on a SCSI cable so no CD-ROM yet.

I was able to get DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.1 installed without any problems. A pleasant surprise was that the BIOS detected the full 4 GB size of the CF card so I didn't have to use drive overlay software. I just divided it into 2 x 2 GB partitions. I've got a couple games installed. Doom runs well enough at ~19 FPS. I only get about 12 FPS on Heretic but it is playable if you reduce the screen size a couple notches.
User avatar
Tenorman
Newbie
 
Posts: 23
Joined: 2017-12-24 @ 15:47

Re: Crawlspace Project: Compaq Presario 633

Postby chinny22 » 2018-1-12 @ 14:26

You are dedicated! I would have just used a standard CD-ROM temporarily to copy windows/drivers to the 2nd partition and hook it upto the network for anything else.
Your external SCSI is much cooler though.
You can always upgrade the CPU, DX2/66 will run Heretic ok, Dark Forces is still slow, may be better on DX4, never tried.
User avatar
chinny22
Oldbie
 
Posts: 1724
Joined: 2011-8-26 @ 12:02
Location: Australian but living in the UK for now

Re: Crawlspace Project: Compaq Presario 633

Postby Tenorman » 2018-1-12 @ 21:34

486_pc.jpg


I got the external SCSI CD-ROM working. The drive got pretty beaten up in the mail, but it works, so whatever.

I switched everything over to PS2 and am using a KVM so I can switch over to the 486 from my "regular" computer easily.

The splotch above the Compaq logo is ink. I'm sure I could scrub it off with a magic eraser or something, but it is fine for now.

I have been researching CPU upgrades. The motherboard has settings for 25 or 33 Mhz bus speed and SX vs DX CPU. I doubt it supports 3.5v CPUs or write-back cache. I am probably looking at either a DX2-66 or an Overdrive chip of some sort (Intel ODPR model , or one of the AMD 5x86 models, no separate overdrive socket). The DX-2 would definitely be a lot cheaper, but there is a certain cool factor to going for overkill.
User avatar
Tenorman
Newbie
 
Posts: 23
Joined: 2017-12-24 @ 15:47

Re: Crawlspace Project: Compaq Presario 633

Postby Tenorman » 2018-1-25 @ 19:28

I ended up getting a DX4ODPR100 chip and installing it. I also threw in another 16 MB of RAM (28 MB total now). I won't ever need it on a system like this, but it was cheap so why not?

I did some before and after benchmarks with Phil's DOS Benchmark Pack.

Benchmark Name: SX-33 / DX4-100
3DBench 1.0c: 25.6 / 51.0
PC Player: 5.7 / 14.7
Doom (high detail, no-HUD): 14.1 / 30.9
Quake: NA / 9.7
Norton SysInfo 8.0 CPU: 71.9 / 126
Landmark: 158.2 Mhz / 520 Mhz
Topbench: 149 / 253

In most of these apps I got a 1.7-2x performance increase. PC Player and Landmark were closer to 3x. I'm wondering if PC Player is taking advantage of the FPU. Landmark looks like it is just so completely synthetic and unrealistic that I see this speed simply from the clock increase.

I think that I am pretty much done with hardware upgrades to this computer. It can play all the Doom engine games very smoothly which is most of what I was after. At this point it would be bottle-necked mainly by having no L2 cache, and there is no way to add it on this board.

20180124_182449.jpg

20180124_183109.jpg
User avatar
Tenorman
Newbie
 
Posts: 23
Joined: 2017-12-24 @ 15:47

Re: Crawlspace Project: Compaq Presario 633

Postby Jo22 » 2018-1-25 @ 19:51

Hey, I remember these Compaqs!
Mine (same look) had a 486DX2-66 installed and featured on-board audio (Compaq Business Audio ?)
Many years ago, I ran both DOS 6.20 and Windows 98SE on it - it was the slowest Windows 98 rig I ever had (probably because of the HDD). ^^
I can't remember that Tseng chip, though. I thought it had a Cirrus.. Strange. Maybe mine had a different chipset.

Tenorman wrote:I ended up getting a DX4ODPR100 chip and installing it.

Good choice! :)
Tenorman wrote:I also threw in another 16 MB of RAM (28 MB total now).
I won't ever need it on a system like this, but it was cheap so why not?

True. Total memory lower than 64MiB is usually safe, btw.
If you install more, performance *may* degrade at some point because of insufficient cache memory.
"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//
User avatar
Jo22
l33t
 
Posts: 2532
Joined: 2009-12-13 @ 07:06
Location: Europe


Return to System Specs

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests