Crawlspace Project: Compaq Presario 633

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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 :).
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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