Reply 500 of 576, by Robert B

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I think that for the exact reason mentioned by you we love these type of cases. They meant the world to many of us. The interior is the same as the wide majority of the AT cases and just the front is different. Back in the day buying a brand name system was totaly out of the question.

Good thing that I found a case that is just like the one I used to have.

I made a badge for the case from a thin sheet of embossed aluminium and it looks wicked. Both the FDDs work but I dont have a 5.25" floppy disk to really test the TEAC unit. The HDD is a 1.2GB Seagate and the CD-ROM is NEC CDR-272 4x which reads almost any disk I throw at it. Pretty nice unit.

The crappy SKY HAWK SHT-230W PSU (yes SHT which stands for you know what...) has Rubycon USP 85C caps and surprisingly works well. No swollen caps. The fan is stil quiet and running great.

Even the CPU fan is in very good condition.

For 7.5 EUROS I'm not complaining. 😁

Reply 501 of 576, by Robert B

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The next two stories might not be considered by some to be retro but I felt that they are stories that are fit to be presented here. Even if my soul is back into the '90s my heart is close to many other generations of components old and new.

Anton Ishutin - Show Me (Dmitri Saidi & Vicent Ballester Remix)

Abit KN8 ULTRA the misfortunate or 939 a touch and go affair

Ah s939...

Over the years I never owned a s939 system be it with Good Ol' AGP slot or "the latest and greatest" with PCI-E slots. Was this a good thing or a bad thing? I just can't say for sure.

One thing is certain. Back then, instead of waiting just a little while longer and buy a first generation s939 kit, I decided to buy my 3rd socket A PC. Abit NF7-S with a Barton core Athlon XP 2800+ and a Leadtek 6600GT AGP...bad move to buy something like that, so late into the cycle. The motherboard was EOL and finding it proved to be quite a challenge. To make matters worse, the Barton 2800+ was a poor overclocker. With great efforts I managed to eek out 2.2GHz out of it and even then it was flaky as hell. The motherboard hanged from time to time when I had HDDs connected to the S-ATA ports. Even to this day, to some extent, I still think of that A64 3200+ that I should've bought back then. I got as much as I could from this last socket A PC until 2008 when I managed to buy something really good. A P35 with Core 2 Duo E8400. Good times.

Funny fact. Even to this day, my old NF7-S is still used with Win XP for light browsing at my aunts small shop. 😁 Who would've thought. I'm waiting paciently for the moment when I will be called to put her into retirement, clean it and restore it as it deserves. The box of the motherboard is still in my aunts office as I've seen it a while ago. Back in 2008 when I sold that PC, I told them to keep all the boxes. 😀

Enough reminiscing, I should return to the present. 😁

On the 01.06.2019 I was at the local flea market. The weather was temperamental to say the least. It was around 09.00. Me and a few other "special" guys, were there looking for the next score. As the saying goes: "The early bird gets the worm." I can think of a few ways to interpret this but let's leave it at that. My mind is restless. 😁

The day before, I received on WhatsApp, from my best supplier of retro HW, a picture with a mighty Abit AN7 motherboard. My first thought, after I saw the pictures, went towards my old NF7-S. After a restless night, filled with dreams of old HW 😁,(I know I should go check myself 😁), I woke up and something was telling me that I might find an Abit motherboard at the flea market. I just could sense something in the air.

The odds were pretty low to say the least. Was I able to find an Abit motherboard on that exact day in a small flea market like that from my city?

Well, I arrived at the local flea market and I saw that there were very few sellers and even fewer buyers. It rained the night before and the weather was gloomy. I said to myself that this will be a day to forget and I wont find anything worthwhile.

I walked absent-minded on the alleys and all I could find were butchered and dismembered components in various states of decay...

I arrived at a small strip of concrete and I saw a white shopping bag from which a bright golden heatsink was visible. On that golden heatsink something was written ... ABIT!

Ueheheh! My eyes poped out and I reached for the bag and I caught a glimpse of what was inside.

While I was looking inside, I heard a man's voice from behind, telling me quite agressively: KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF THE BAG AS YOU ARE GOING TO TEAR IT UP!!!

I was struck by those words as: 1. I wasnt expecting such a reaction and 2. I'm not the kind that tears up shopping bags. 😁

I turned around and I saw that those words came from a short man with a mustache, wearing a knitted vest, a cap and a pair of glasses.

My first reaction was to underline the fact that the bag was on the ground and I thought that it belonged to the woman that was selling a bunch of stuff.

I was assaulted again by a couple of comments about tearing his shopping bag...

I was quite vexed and I was very close to give him a piece of my mind but I managed to compose myself.

I left but I wasnt able to shake off the images of an nVidia 6800 graphic card and the golden Abit cooler.

If only I would've arrived sooner at the flea market...damn...

I completed my stroll through the market but I found nothing else to buy.

Sheesshhh, a red 6800 card and an Abit motherboard complete with an Arctic heatpipe cooler....damn...

Because I didnt find anything to buy and I had a shopping bag with me, I, being the good samaritan, when I found the man from before, trying to stuff more parts into his bag I told him that he can have my bag, free of charge. I was only thinking about the well-being of the components ...


What the ... I almost sent him you know where ... but in an instance I managed to remain calm.

- I asked him: How much did you pay for all the parts?
- 4 EUROS. (we're getting somewhere)
- What would you say if I was to buy all the parts from you?
- They are not for sale!
- I give you 10 EUROS for the lot!
- (HDD LED ON for a couple of seconds) Zero reactions.
- Come on, it is more than double what you have paid and I dont need the PSU.

A few moments later I was looking freely inside the bag and the man was also giving me details. 😁 This is a PSU with a separate 12V socket...He bought the parts for scrap and the fact that they looked well, attracted him.

I only had eyes for the Abit motherboard and that RED card!!!: GAINWARD Model 6800GS PCI-E 512MB TV-OUT DVI / P/N:NE/6800SXTD52-PM8070-GLH (It was presented before this episode) Sax@cean edit. Rafael Lambert - The Way We Are (Anton Ishutin Remix)

I looked briefly over the Abit motherboard and I only saw an elctrolytic capacitor that had its plastic jacket scratched. Otherwise it looked ok. The mounted cooler was an Arctic Freezer 64 PRO and the CPU was fine and dandy.

10 EUROS for the motherboard, graphic card, RAM, CPU and cooler? No brainer ...

Now the Abit kit and the Gainward card were in MY SHOPPING BAG.

After I gave the man the 10 EUROS, the lady that sold them initially, asked me how much I paid for them. She wasnt too happy when she found out that I paid 10 EUROS instead of the 4 she received. 😁

At that moment I was really happy even if in my bag I held some PCI-E parts that werent so "retro".

I arrived at my car and I took a few pictures.


I removed the cooler thinking that I might score an Athlon FX CPU (I know it was wishful thinking) but I found a common 64 3200+ instead. It seems that over the years this CPU is haunting me. ADA3200DAA4BW 😁


The motherboard model is: Abit KN8 Ultra V1.0. With this occasion I saw that besides the electrolytic capacitor with the scratched plastic jacket, a 13NO3LA MOSFET had been resoldered or changed. I didnt waste too much thought over this. The flea market stuff always has these risks. Even if the motherboard was toast I was still in the green. At that time I didnt take into consideration the fact that the motherboard might be dead.

K8-N-ULTR-03.jpg K8-N-ULTR-04.jpg

I put the motherboard on my bench box 😁 and I powered it up.


POWER ON! Tense moments ... seconds pass ... just a flatline. ... Hmm ... NO F..KING BEEPS! That can't be a good thing I said to myself ... My PCI debugger card, being some cheap chinese crap, didnt give me a single clue to what was happening.

K8-N-ULTR-06.jpg K8-N-ULTR-07.jpg

I updated the BIOS.

The board received power. The leds lighted up. The CPU got warm. Even so, I wasnt able to make it to P.O.S.T.. I tried other CPUs and sticks of RAM but to no avail.

While I was trying to resuscitate the board, one thing was annoying me quite bad. The Good Ol' Abit chipset cooler, board killer in all its might. Loud and almost ceased was yelling at me: DEAD CHIPSET!!! Even to this day I still cant understand why they mounted such crap on a vital component. They could've used an oversized heatsink and call it a day.


While my mind still searched for answers, I decided to address the matter of the chipset cooler. To my surprise, I found out that the golden variant is heavier than the silver one. It had a certain weight to it. The heatsink is up for the task but the fan is the weak part. I cleaned the ball bearing and the sleeve bearing. I didnt want to open up the ball bearing and I used pressurised grease to make the bearing run freely. I also used some fine washers to reduce the play in the fan.

At the end, the cooler was almost new. The fan still had a small noise but I was going to address that later IF the motherboard proved to be alive.

K8-N-ULTR-09.jpg K8-N-ULTR-10.jpg K8-N-ULTR-11.jpg K8-N-ULTR-12.jpg K8-N-ULTR-13.jpg

That day all my efforts were futile. The motherboard didnt POST no matter what. No beeps. Nothing.

A few day later I cleaned it well. I washed it with hot water and dish soap, followed by 99% IPA and a session with and air compressor. I wasnt going to waste time making spotless a board that seemed dead.

K8-N-ULTR-14.jpg K8-N-ULTR-15.jpg

While I was cleaning the board I checked another thing that seemed out of place. An electrolytic capacitor was too tall and too close from a PCI-E x1 slot. Someone replaced an OST RLX de 1500uf/6.3 cap with a SAMXON KM 3300uf/6.3V cap. The soldering was superb and I had to check the internet to see if the motherboard really had a 3300uf cap there. Taking into consideration that the board didnt POST, I started thinking that maybe those three caps near the chipset were at the root of all my problems.


The OST RLX caps were sold as Ultra LOW ESR and I couldnt just solder whatever I could find . Besides, in order to get my final answers I had to solder something good so that I wont have to return and solder other caps.

I looked in my stash of caps and I didnt find what I needed. I wasnt going to solder some 3300uf Nichicon HM caps in an area where were soldered 1500uf caps, even if that might've worked.

The OST RLX specsheets presented some good numbers if we are to believe them.

www.paullinebarger.net/DS/OST/OST%20%5b ... series.pdf

I was in a deadlock.

Days passed.

I cleaned the Arctic Freezer 64 PRO cooler. I used hot water and dish soap followed quickly by an air compressor session. The fan received a little oil. The rubber mountings of the fan have perished and the original owner replaced them with screws. Even so, the cooler is quiet. I also cleaned the memory sticks.

K8-N-ULTR-17.jpg K8-N-ULTR-18.jpg K8-N-ULTR-19.jpg

By chance, I found in my city, some solid caps: ULR 1500uf 6.3V which were quickly soldered.

K8-N-ULTR-20.jpg K8-N-ULTR-21.jpg K8-N-ULTR-22.jpg

Hours spent trying to revive the board. NO POST! NO BEEPS! NOTHING!

I dumped the motherboard into a box and I forgot about it.

My mind didnt give up so easily though. It still searched for answers.

What if the BIOS chip is toast? The odds were close to ZERO as I was able to delete and reprogram the chip with my MiniPRO TL866A.


I searched for a replacement BIOS chip and I found it on my dead GA-8TM s423 motherboard.

GA-8TM - SST49LF004A
http://pdf.datasheetcatalog.com/datasheet/Sil … gy/mXyzqwqs.pdf
KN8 Ultra - Pm49FL004

I checked the specsheets and I arrived to the conclusion that they are compatible and I should try something.

Last shot for glory.

K8-N-ULTR-23.jpg K8-N-ULTR-24.jpg


In a gesture of supreme frustration I pulled the blue heatsink from the VRM section of the board. If initially it seemed glued and I left it in place while I cleaned the board, now it moved and I was able to remove it.


K8-N-ULTR-25.jpg K8-N-ULTR-26.jpg K8-N-ULTR-27.jpg

Bad soldering and a replaced MOSFET. There's your problem son! More electrolytic caps with scratched plastic jackets. One slightly burned fan connector...someone before me tried everything to save the board but I think that he shouldn't've bothered...

I tried to remove a MOSFET using my 100W soldering gun but that was something like: pissing in the wind. That soldering gun with modified tips helped me in many situations but not now. My trusty mighty axe is useless here. I need other tools. I hit a brick wall.

This is the end I said to myself. I wont waste any more time searching for another MOSFET or for finding the specs of all the MOSFETS.

Abit KN8 the misfortunate. Most probably a dead chipset.



gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/mo44vbag/

For me, s939 is still a touch and go affair.

More later.

Last edited by Robert B on 2019-07-17, 14:46. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 503 of 576, by PcBytes

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Regarding the KN8, likely the heatsink over the MOSFETs shorted them out? I can recognize two 09N03LAs (25V,50A,8.6ohm RDS) but not the last MOSFET.

Might be also worth testing them. I brought back to life a MSI 845 Pro (Socket 423, i845, SDRAM) by replacing two MOSFETs (a 3055 and a FDN338) and it's now working nice and sweet under Win2k Datacenter Server SP4. The key here is to leave the soldering iron as much as possible to compensate for the huge grounding pads underneath that suck up the heat.

Main: Xeon X5450, 8GB RAM DDR2, DFI Lanparty DK P45-T2RS
Wolfram: C2D E6750, 2GB DDR2, ASUS P5K-SE/EPU
R.A.I.D: Pentium 4 2.8GHz, 2GB DDR400, ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe
Totem: Pentium S 166MHz, 128MB RAM, Totem TM-586TX4
Voodoo: AMD K6-2 500MHz, 128MB RAM, LuckyStar 5MVP3

Reply 505 of 576, by andrea

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PcBytes wrote:

The key here is to leave the soldering iron as much as possible to compensate for the huge grounding pads underneath that suck up the heat.

"Preheating" the area you are going to work on with a hair dryer from behind can also help.

Reply 506 of 576, by Robert B

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The tip of my soldering gun is small and heating that area was quite difficult. Because I feared I might damage something I called it a day. There are no guarantees that the motherboard will work even if I change the MOSFETS. When I have the time I'll try something and I'll preheat the area with a hair dryer just to see what happens. I know that I'll have to buy a hot air station in the near future. 😀

I'll have to check all the MOSFETS to see if they are ok. Also I'll have to start reading stuff as my knowledge is limited in this department.

Thanks for all the tips! 😀

Reply 507 of 576, by FuzzyLogic

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One more tip?

A temperature controlled electric griddle works great to preheat boards. I used one to replace two SMD power transistors from an LCD power board. A coffee cup warmer might even be enough to preheat the area.

BTW, I love this thread and admire your tenacity. Lots of detail and great pics.

Reply 508 of 576, by Robert B

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Thanks for the info! 😀 When I get back to the Abit KN8 I'll also try to use a bigger iron with a bigger tip instead of my trusty 100W soldering gun, just to see what happens. I still consider the board dead as it didnt produce a single beep the entire time I was trying to sort it out. A soldering station is also on the top of my list.

I'm glad that you love the thread. 😀

The X58 came out nicely. It is called Semi-Glorious for reasons that will be clear as day after I post the story. This was also a learning experience in many ways. Now I can say that I can restore just about anything. 😀

PRW-X58-06.jpg PRW-X58-07.jpg

More later.

Reply 509 of 576, by Robert B

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Borka - Le Vent

X58 - The Semi-Glorious ...

Fond memories tie me to the X58, even if back in the day I have never owned such a beast ... Sky high prices while I was rocking a P35-E8400-DDR2 ... Yep, it is kind of sad to be a "filthy peasant" and not one of the "glorious master race" but what can you do ... For a wide majority of us, joy can be found in the "simple" things, that is if you can stop for a moment and realize this. For a select few, it is exactly the opposite. You see, back in 2011 I joined a forum from my country called lab501. The fact that attracted me to join this particular forum were the great Overclocking Achievements of the founders of that forum/site that culminated with their win of the MSI MOA in 2011 and their excellent articles posted on the their internet page. In fact, the lab501 is the only overclocking team who ever held the GOOC, MOA and HWBOT Country Cup titles simultaneously! Being one of the select few, takes many sacrifices and perseverence. Reading about their achievements was and still is very exciting. From around that time I started to really like X58 stuff even if I never bought one for myself. That has changed recently when I aquired my X58 SG ... Semi-Glorious ... 😁

LAB501 - Romania OC Team - 2008-2011

Some of the readers of this post might already know about Monstru, matose, poparamiro and others that form the lab501 OC team but I'm sure that for a wide majority this information is unknown.

Let's return the to matter at hand. The mystical aura of the X58 made be buy one. Was it a good ideea or a bad ideea? I'll let you be the Judge of that. 😁

In April, this year, I arrived at the logical conclusion 😁 , that I MUST own a X58 setup no matter what. It couldn't be just any X58 so I searched high and low. Even from the begining, one fact was quite OBVIOUS. The prices for X58 stuff are still very high and in some instances they are close or even greater than those at their introduction on the market. What the FUUUU.....K?!??! The answer to this rather curious situation soon followed. People are still using them and they are still a viable option so the prices are still pretty high up there. If you want a top end X58 motherboard you better be prepared to fork out the cash. Bummer ...

These X58 beasts refuse to die and enter my collection, damn ...

Another headache was the fact that my X58 had to be made only by Gigabyte. Nothing else would cut it!

If I knew what was in store for me after I bought my Gigabyte motherboard, you can be sure that I wouldn't've bothered. If we look from another perspective if I wouldnt've bought it you would not have something to read so all evens out in the end, I guess ... 😁

I found my Gigabyte EX58-EXTREME v1.0 on the national OLX site. It was equipped with a i7-920 CPU / 6GB DDR3 triple channel. The price was out of my comfort zone so before I decided to buy it I wrote a few lines to the seller and I asked for some details. The seller told me that the motherboard was in good working condition and he had no use for it as he made the switch to a laptop. It had the original box but the package was incomplete. The Hybrid Silent-Pipe 2, the graphic card support, and a few other bits and pieces, were missing from the package. OK, I said to myself. This looks kind of legit? The pictures were a little blurry but the kit looked kind of OK. I was undecided. Out of the blue, a few days later, the seller sent me a message and told me that he is willing to drop the price. This was now around 60 EUROS for the motherboard, CPU and RAM. The price was pretty low compared to other motherboards on sale on the OLX site. For example, a Gigabyte X58-UD3R motherboard was about 80+ EUROS and the price didnt include a CPU or RAM. Even so, I still didnt want to buy the Gigabyte EX58-EXTREME. One day later I received another message from the seller. 50 EUROS for the motherboard, CPU and RAM, after a buyer thought it was s1150 instead of s1366 and returned it, ... So, I decided to pull the trigger. I spoke with the seller on the phone and he seemed trustworthy so I paid 50 EUROS for the kit and 10 EUROS for shipping. He told me that the motherboard is in good working condition so there were no reasons to worry.

This wasn't a bad ideea or was it?!?!? Little did I know ...

I did the classic mistake of not asking for the pictures with the CPU socket.

I waited anxiously the arrival of the package. The first thing I did after I removed the motherboard from the HUGE box in which is sat, was to conduct a close inspection of the CPU socket ...


EX58-01.jpg EX58-02.jpg EX58-03.jpg EX58-04.jpg EX58-05.jpg

I was numb. Cold shivers ran down my spine. What the FUUUUUUUUUUUUU........K!!!!

Bent and deformed pins. Lint between pins. One missing pin and one discolored pin. How could this motherboard be in GOOD WORKING CONDITION?!?!?! What kind of a man can sell this? I guess Ignorance si Bliss ... too bad I'm not an ignorant person. After so many posts, I guess that you already know that for me attention to detail is EVERYTHING!!! It all comes naturally to me. It is like breathing air, an effortless thing.

Minutes have passed until I was able shake off the negative feelings. NO! NO! NO!

After a little panic, as this was a totaly new experience for me, I reached for my phone and I called the seller. He was swiftly informed about the situation. I told him about all the problems and that I had no use for such a kit. He kept telling me that the motherboard works, that he has entered the BIOS, yadda yadda, etc. etc. etc.

Bent pins are bent pins. THAT IS A FACT!

Besides bent pins, the motherboard had other issues. The stock waterblock had some kind of red sealant at its base, one little heatsink had bent fins an the RAM was anything but true triple channel. Mismatched RAM ... GREAT!!! Add assault to injury ... what could possibly go wrong ... &$@*(&$@*&!)!^$!^)(^$!*)&){!!!!###

EX58-06.jpg EX58-07.jpg EX58-08.jpg EX58-09.jpg

In the end I told the seller that all I could do was to buy the i7-920 CPU for the price of the shipping I already paid (10 EUROS) and that he had to pay the shipping back for the motherboard and the 6GB RAM.

Long seconds have passed ... the seller told be that he had no use the motherboard, that the box is too big and takes up space, etc. etc. etc. I told him that I DONT WANT THE MOTHERBOARD and THAT I DONT EVEN WANT TO POWER IT UP.

In the end, the seller came up with the proposition that he will return 40 EUROS if I was willing to send him back the 6GB of RAM and keep the motherboard.

I agreed.

In the end for 20 EUROS I was the pround owner of a damaged motherboard and one i7-920 CPU ... GREAT !!! Yeah right ... now his problem was MY PROBLEM! The motherboard looked like it went to hell and came back ...

After I spoke with the seller on the phone, I said to myself that even if I was to lose 60 EUROS I should stop worrying about this whole situation. This isnt a great sum of money ...

If I take into consideration the trips to the courier, plus stress, plus all the convincing I had to do, plus the days it took the seller to return the money, plus yadda yadda, it would've been better for me to fork out the cash for a nice X58 kit and be like a BO$$!!! Too late now ... bad decisions are BAD DECISIONS!!!

I was close to selling the kit and forget the whole thing.

Time passed and in the end I decided to do what I do best.


I straightened the pins as best I could. I didnt insist too much as they were already traumatized. Please observe in the pics the pulled pins with their tip bent over their head ... Initially, the straightening of the pins seemed difficult but now I can do this any time of the day.

I remember that after I decided to keep the motherboard, I jumped right in, and with a shaky hand while my heart was pounding I started straightening the pins. 😁 This was a bad proposition but in the end I DID IT!!! It is not rocket science! Easy peasy!

I recommed that you are ZEN while you straighten CPU pins ... otherwise BAD things CAN and WILL happen ...

EX58-10.jpg EX58-11.jpg EX58-12.jpg EX58-13.jpg

The seller told me that the motherboard was in working condition. As I said to him I say to you: I will not power up a board with bent pins! Only after I straightened them out I was ready for a test.

Initialy, I thought that the discolored pin was a result of some shoddy soldering. The answer to this question came later and it was quite obvious after I was faced with another problem with this motherboard.

Surprise! I had no beefy CPU cooler or a mighty PSU and I wasnt going to canibalize them from my daily driver. Bummer ... damn ninja gremlins always busting my chops ... &$(@*(*@$##!!!!

I searched in my stash of parts and I found : A Titan CU5TB cooler and an Antec Eathwatts EA-380D Green PSU. 😁

This looks kind of legit!

A short visit on a site with a PSU calculator and I was ready to start the X58 "garbage".

What graphic card to use?! Hmmm ATI 3807x2?! HELL NO! Too much current needed! Hmmm ... THIS might fit the bill! Creative Labs -CT6950-nVidia Vanta 32MB PCI (CT6954) in the HOUSE!!!

I placed the TITAN CU5TB on the i7-920, after I applied some MX-4 ointment and I was ready for THE DEFINITVE TEST!


EX58-14.jpg EX58-15.jpg EX58-16.jpg



EX58-17.jpg EX58-18.jpg EX58-19.jpg EX58-20.jpg EX58-21.jpg

The CU5TB kept in check a i7-920 CPU that wasnt unleashed. The temperatures varied from 40-41 to 53 degrees Celsius after a few hours of MEMTEST 86+. I say RESPECT FOR the tiny CU5TB! I used a 4GB DDR3 1333MHz Kingston dual channel kit because that was all I had at the time.

The initial tests were encouraging so I decided to restore the board, in spite of all the problems it had.

First I tackled the waterblock. I removed the red sealant after I saw that there were no leaks after a test with water.

I made two plugs that mimicked the factory ones.

I hand polished the waterblock. Patience, polishing cream and soft rags. That's all she wrote! 😁

EX58-22.jpg EX58-23.jpg

I removed the cooling system made from a hefty heat pipe.


I inspected the motherboard.

WHAT THE FU...K!!!! What kind of sh.......tttt is this!!??!??!?!!


Remember the missing pin and the discolored one? Initialy I thought that the missing pin was a result of too much straightening and the discolred pin was a result of some soldering iron action. The truth was plain to see. The pins made contact and the motherboard was powered up. As a result, a fuse blew up, a pin was vaporized and another one sticked out like a sore thumb...GREAT!!!

... how can you power up a board with pins that make contact and hope for the best ... I have nothing more to add ...

I stared at the motherboard for many minutes ...

EX58-26.jpg EX58-27.jpg

Is still worth it to restore this piece of ... manure ... ???

HELL YEAH!!! When the going gets tough YOU TOUGH THE F..K UP!!! 😁

I removed the body of the blown fuse.


I cleaned the area with some IPA 99%. The question was what kind of fuse to solder there ... what were the specs ?


EX58-29.jpgv EX58-30.jpg

Mirror mirror on the wall AM I GOING TO BE GREAT AGAIN? Sure my dear, anything you want!

EX58-31.jpg EX58-32.jpg

To remove the blwown fuse I used my trusty soldering gun with a tip adapted for the task.

EX58-33.jpg EX58-34.jpg

I needed a Littelfuse X16 fuse but I didnt have a single board that had one. Bummer ... I wasnt able find an equivalent from another manufacturer no matter how much I searched through my boxes of parts. Buying a few fuses was out of the question as the minimum order was in the hundreds of pieces ...

I was DEAD IN THE WATER ... again ...

A couple of weeks later at the flea market I found what I needed. A banged up ASUS P8H67 motherboard, for which I paid under 3 EUROS, had lots of Littelfuse X16 fuses. Lucky ME!!!!


Funnny fact. The damaged ASUS P8H67 had no bent or missing pins. WHAT THE ACTUAL F..K??? How could this be?!?!?? Human error is the worst kind of error! 😁

EX58-36.jpg EX58-37.jpg

Removing a Littelfuse X16 fuse from the ASUS P8H67, using my 100W monster, proved more difficult than anticipated. The fuse is very thin and bendy. The fusible element is held between two layers of insulation. After a few tries I managed to remove a fuse that fit the bill.

EX58-38.jpg EX58-39.jpg

Final results? Almost good as new!


After so many problems and so much work I started feeling THE TASTE OF VICTORY!!!

The demons had been slain and my gut was telling me that all will be smooth sailing from now on.

I cleaned the motherboard well.

EX58-41.jpg EX58-42.jpg EX58-43.jpg EX58-44.jpg


EX58-45.jpg EX58-46.jpg EX58-47.jpg EX58-48.jpg EX58-49.jpg



The final results were according to the effort put it. This looks just like I REMEBER A X58 should look!!!

EX58-51.jpg EX58-52.jpg EX58-53.jpg EX58-54.jpg EX58-55.jpg EX58-56.jpg EX58-57.jpg EX58-58.jpg EX58-59.jpg

Many days have passed after I was able to exorcise the Gigabyte X58 ... and I still didn't have a CPU cooler to conduct a FINAL TEST ...

I wanted to buy a Prolimatech Megahalems or Super Mega CPU cooler and make something special but the price was a little high and in the end I abandoned the idea ...

The flea market came to the rescue again. By a stroke of luck, in a big box of coolers, I found the the missing piece of the puzzle in the form of a stock s1366 cooler. The cooler was in bad shape with a verdigrised copper slug and many bent fins. I paid the asking price of under 3 EUROS and after some elbow grease it was almost good as new.

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Arround that time I also posted an add on the lab501 forum in which I stated that I wanted to buy a Gigabyte X58-UD9 or GA-X58A-OC motherboard. I talked with a user on that forum and by another stroke of luck, after he found out about the problems with my Gigabyte EX58-EXTREME, he told be that he had a new Hybrid Silent-Pipe 2 heatsink, a new waterblock and the required screws. LUCKY ME! For 10 EUROS, I was able to return this board to its former glory. NO stupid screaming little fans on this board. ONLY A MANLY HEAT PIPE!!! FTW!!!

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AWESOME! I had a motherboard that underwent a miraculous recovery, a CPU cooler, the extra cooling kit, but I didnt have a RAM kit that was up for the task.

The missing piece came in the shape of a CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB 3x2GB 1866MHz ver 2.1 kit for which I had to wait more than a week and I had to pay a little over 22 EUROS.

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GLORIOUS on the road to become Semi-Glorious ...

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i wanted, ... I wanted, ... I wanted, ... I wanted a 1+KW monster, I wanted a big piece of "iron" to cool that hot i7-920, I wanted to heat up that i7-920, I wanted ... so, the Semi-Glorious seeds have been sown ... the funds needed plus the problems of the motherboard made me back off. Maybe one day ... maybe ...

Only one thing was left to be done. In spite of the missing pin, was the motherboard still at 100%?

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To be able to run the 6GB triple channel at 1866MHz I had to increase a little the QPI voltage in BIOS. Initially, I received some errors in MEMTEST 86+ even if the individual sticks turned out to be OK. I started sweating bullets only thinking that maybe the memory kit is bad ... Over the course of testing I was amazed of the heat this monster unleashes. It put my meager Z68-2600K to shame in regard to this aspect. To be honest I must underline that the room temperature was around 24 degrees Celsius.

For testing purposes I still used the Antec de 380W PUS and the PCI Vanta 32MB. I also used a Cirrus Logic 5430 1MB.

The Hibrid Silent-Pipe 2 did its job and I can say that it wasnt just a marketing gimmick.

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Satisfied with the results, I left the motherboard in its box for a few weeks. Until I decided to post this episode I kept staring at the sorry state of the package and I said to myself why don't I do something about it?

I counted my options.

I knew that I could not use just any type of glue and because I had available some transparent silicone based glue, I said to myself WHY NOT?

I used small strips of thin cardboard to strengthen different areas, I managed to repair fringed areas and some holes in the cardboard. All in all as a trial run I got some decent results.

Initially I wanted to take apart the whole box and made a thin under-armour that was to be glued to the original cardboard but the amount of time and work needed were off the scale. I know I can do it it's just that this is a Semi-Glorious project and this is just as it should remain. A testimony of how things shouldn't be done and how thing should be restored.

Enjoy the pics.

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As usual, the final part is reserved for the glamour shots.

Smiling to the camera.

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Semi-Glorious indeed ...

After a lot of effort I got just a Small Spark instead of a Supernova Blast. Still, a mighty X58 is still a X58 even knee deep in the dead.

I wanted this story to be so much more than what it is. What has started badly didnt end worse but I was left with a sour aftertaste that is quite difficult to get rid off. I'm sure that many of you have been faced with a similar situation but I dont think that there are many that would've bothered to save this board. Only my stubborn nature and my will to get something from nothing made me go in the "wrong" direction until I got "the maximum" I was looking for.

I wanted to replace the CPU socket at a local shop but after some careful thinking I deemed the operation to be to risky.I spoke with them and the conclusion was something like this: IF IT WORKS WHY FIX IT? The cost was arround 40 EUROS including the socket. A decent price, but there were no guarantees that the board will work after the replacement. The odds of something going bad were pretty small but they had to be taken into consideration. A fact underlined by that company aswell.

A plus after this adventure is that in the end, I can safely say that I can restore just about anything. The methods applied on older parts can be successfully applied to restore any component no matter the generation. It is only a matter of will, time and of course money.

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/3cv33mhew/

More later.

Reply 511 of 576, by Robert B

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No matter how hard you steel yourself and no matter how impenetrable your armour is, there's always a weak spot and I was careless so I had to pay the price and then some. 😁

I'm also glad that the Gigabyte EX58-Extreme is still alive and kicking.

I'll be taking two weeks off but I still managed to do something before I'm leaving on my well deserved summer holiday. 😁

Pin soldering on a P120. I wanted to see if this works and I did it. I still have to straighten a lot of pins and test the CPU but the initial results are promising. 😀

PRW-CPU-02.jpg PRW-CPU-03.jpg

On my last trip to the flea market I managed to find 2GB of PC133 ECC, REG, SDRAM 😁 Those sticks look kind of sexy imo. 😁


Also, I managed to restore a Sapphire 1950XT AGP card. 😁 Another flea market rescue operation. 😁


More later.

Reply 512 of 576, by Robert B

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Madness - One Step Beyond (Official Video)

AGP tribulations? Part 1 aka Sapphire X1950 GT AGP 256MB DDR3

I'm sure that the ones that follow this thread already know that my luck with ATI cards is nothing to write home about.

At the flea market and at many of my contacts that supply retro HW, you dont find too many cards from the red camp. So, when I look at my parts list and I see that I have under ten ATI cards, of which many are dead, I keep asking myself the all important question: WTH has happened?

Truth be told, I always bought and had nVIDIA cards except my first video card which wasn't exactly a speed demon, an ATI RAGE IIC 4MB AGP. Looking back and taking everything into account, it seems that there is a reasonable explanation to this situation. My bias towards nVIDIA and my upgrade cycles made it so that I never bought an ATI card for the last 20+ years.

In July 2019 I was at the local flea market and after I walked more than half of the area, I was 100% sure that I was going to leave empty handed. I was feeling pretty well thinking that the army of demons that owns my body and soul (just one more piece, just one more mainboard, just one more ...) 😁 has been slain and I came out victorious ... little did I know ...

A force from high above made me open a series of old, beaten PC cases. All of them looked to be Pentium 4 systems. I wanted to have a peek and see what's inside. You never know ...

The first case was meh but once I opened up the second case I was greeted by a long blue card that also had two auxiliary molex connectors. I looked closer and I saw that it was an AGP card. NICE! I flipped the case over and the mystery card revealed its name Sapphire ATI X1950 GT 256MB DDR3 AGP. The card looked awesome and I said to myself: WOW this card really looks the part! The card was housed inside an HP case that looked rough ... an X1950 GT AGP ... I just dont know ... let me think about it.

I closed the case and I walked away to see what else was for sale.

30 minutes later I was back. The case was still there.

I asked the seller how much is the husk and he quickly said: 10 EUROS!

I already knew what I was going to take from inside, so I searched for a screwdriver inside a pile of old and rusty tools and I went to work.

The sun was burning and I started to sweat. The screwdriver was really bad. "Toothless", bent and with a regular head instead of a Philips. That's what you get for not bringing your own tools! ... 5 minutes later I scavenged what I deemed valuable: an Antec Earthwatts 380W EA-380 PSU, two sticks of Crucial 1GB - DDR400 CL3 and the ATI X1950 GT AGP graphic card. The rest, the case, the motherboard, the CPU, the HDD, ODD, FDD and everything else were left behind. The motherboard had swollen caps and it wasnt a high end model. The case was dead tired and it was missing a lot of bits. The only regret that I have is that I didnt take the Pentium 4 3.4GHz SL793 CPU, top dog for the Northwood HT core. At that time I considered the P4 stuff as being something meh and I said to myself that the 3.4GHz P4 is not coming home with me ... I paid for it but I didnt take it ... the mind works in mysterious ways ... You live and learn all the time. Brain fart on my behalf ...

The seller wasnt too pleased that I didnt take the entire case but 10 EUROS later we were both smiling. A late attempt to negociate the price down wasnt successful but regardless, I was very pleased with the deal. What's a few EUROS between old acquaintances. 😁

Buying from the flea market is always a risky proposition. Some parts that look pristine can be dead. Other that look like they went to Hell and came back are still alive. There are no guarantees and no refunds. You pick a ticket and you hope that it is a winning one.

The loot.

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Let's return to the ATI X1950 GT AGP.

It had good bones so I knew that after some TLC it will be awesome.

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I didnt power her up as I didnt have a suitable AGP 8x test bed available. My EPOX EP-8RDA3I V2.0 - nforce 2 Ultra 400 needs a full recap and besided her I dont have any other AGP 8x capable motherboard. I could've used an AGP 4x motherboard but I chose not to do it. So, the rule of the day was: let's clean this sucker well and see what's what later down the road.

Meanwhile my "problem" with the AGP 8x motherboards has been solved. I bought three motherboards that are waiting to be restored: Asrock AM2NF3-VSTA G/A 1.03, ASUS P4P800 Deluxe Rev. 1.02 - i865PE and ASUS P4C800 Deluxe Rev. 2.00 - i875P.

The Sapphire ATI X1950 GT AGP was in very good shape, without traces of damage, just a little dusty. I managed to save all of the thermal pads.

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The first to undergo the rejuvenation procedure was the cooling system.

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If you look closely at the copper heatsink, you can see some darker spots where the dust used to sit. Because the card has spent some time in a wet or damp environment, that dust has accumulated moisture which in return has affected the copper surface. After I cleaned to heatsink of dust and I saw the blemishes I said to myself that this is the time for extreme measures.

The heatsink was full of fine adherent dust so I used water under pressure to clean it really well. I dont use this method too often, and especially not on copper heatsinks, because it can do more bad than good. I didnt want to use vinegar so water it was. After I washed the heatsink I used an air compressor to remove all of the water and then to be really safe I also used a hair dryer for a few minutes.


One sorry looking but otherwise clean heatsink. Even the aluminium surface lost its shine and it had some spots.

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There was only one solution. Some elbow grease, polishing paste and soft rags.

I masked with paper tape the areas where the memory chips and the graphic chip made contact with the heatsink just to avoid some hassle down the road. The polishing paste forms a protective layer that is quite difficult to remove later. The effect is similar with the one you get after you wash and wax your car.

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After some work I obtained great results. One downside though. After I polished the copper it attracted fingerprints like a magnet and I had to repeat the procedure several times because I wasnt careful.

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I dont know for how long the mirror like effect will hold but it sure looks awesome. Bling-Bling, I'm such a violent thing! 😁


After some "metal work" next on the list was the cooling fan. It was a little dirty but otherwise in great shape. The great big ball bearing received a tiny drop of thick oil, just in case and that was it. The removal of the three screws that hold the fan was a little difficult but when it came the time to put it back I found out what I did wrong. Between the hub and the blades, there are three round recesses through which the screws are inserted and removed. You just turn the fan and center the round recess over the screw, the access is way better. Silly me ... all these years I didnt know what was the use of those small recesses. Now I'm 10.000 times smarter than your average cat. 😁

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Final results.

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Looking good! Ahem ... I MEAN AWESOME!!!

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Cooling system? DONE and DONE!

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I spoke above about some moisture. The evidence is bellow. Even closed in a sturdy case this card had no escape.

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I protected the ink stamps and I was ready to go to the next level. The only thing that couldn't be "saved" were the blue marker marks on the solid caps and other small ICs. These abound on ATI cards.

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Some time later.

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I hand polished the bracket and the fixing screws of the heatsink.

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The screws that hold the VRM heatsink took a bath in a rust removal solution.


I cleaned the VRM heatsink.

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I hand polished the screws that hold the bracket.


Pads and stuff ...

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I almost forgot ... I took out the screws from the rust removal solution and I also polished them ... for that extra effect ... 😁


On your mark, get set, go!

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We have reached the end of the story. Plain and simple. Just like that.

I have into my possesion a superb card that it is still an unknown quantity. I also have three motherboards that might be alive or dead. I could've fire them up and see what is their status but I chose not to do it. Before any trace of electricity will course into their veins I must be 100% sure that they are in tip-top condition. There is a method to this "madness" or at least I like to think so. 😁

At the end of the AGP tribulations?[/B] series we will see if it was a case of tribulations or I was just overreacting. 😁

I keep my fingers crossed for good results.

More later.

Reply 513 of 576, by Robert B

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Poldoore - Morning Glory

AGP tribulations? Part 2

After a first part dedicated to a video card which is quite something to look at, now is the time to make the switch to the main course aka Part 2.

Let's meet the stars of this episode:

1. Antec Earthwatts EA-380W
2. Asrock AM2NF3-VSTA REV G/A 1.03
3. Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS x2
4. Gigabyte HD 4650 AGP 1GB(DDR2) - GV-R465D2-1GI
5. Asus P4B533-E REV 1.02
6. Asus P4P800 DELUXE REV 1.02
7. Asus P4C800 DELUXE REV 2.00
8. Intel Pentium 4 3GHz(Prescott) SL7PM
9. Intel Pentium 4 3.4GHz(Northwood) SL793
10. AMD Sempron 3000+ SDA3000IAA3CN

When I bought all of these parts I didnt have the slightest clue regarding their state. The choice of the title AGP tribulations? is tied to this fact and it wasnt something random. All of these components had some issues big or small. Instead of powering them up and see what's what, me, as you well know by now, decided to ask the questions later and first restore these "bitchin'" pieces of (hopefully) future "retro" HW. 😁

All of the parts have been bought from the local flea market. I spent under 30 EUROS for all of them and they are the result of several trips made over the course of about a couple of months. It is not like "retro" HW is stacked there just waiting for a buyer.

When I write down these lines, I already now which of them are alive and which of them passed away. I can't spill the beans just yet as you will have to wait until Part 3 to find out the end of the entire saga. The NDA doesn't allow me to give out this information as it only on a need to know basis. 😁

Don't worry though. You will have plenty to see an read in Part 2, the meatiest part of the AGP tribulations series.

Saddle up and be ready for quite a journey.

Antec Earthwatts EA-380W

Even if this PSU isn't the well known Green EA-380D variant, nothing makes it to be less than her sister.

I bought this PSU together with the Sapphire X1950 GT AGP 256MB DDR3 and two sticks of Crucial 1GB DDR400 CL3.

It was cleaned well and then put to work. I didnt find any problems inside.

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gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/2ck6i5k0y/

Asrock AM2NF3-VSTA REV G/A 1.03

A somewhat special piece of HW. A typical Asrock product that quickly caught my eye.

I found her sitting on a dirty bed sheet looking sorry for herself. The AM2+ CPU socket, the DDR2 800 memory slots and the AGP port have given me plenty of clues to know that before me sits something exotic.

After a quick Internet search I paid the asking price and it was mine. NO BRAINER! https://www.asrock.com/mb/nvidia/am2nf3-vsta/

It looked pretty well. Besides some dirt and grime and a swollen capacitor, there were no other problems that could've made me want to give up on her.

It came with an AMD Sempron 3000+ SDA3000IAA3CN CPU. This didnt bother me at all as the motherboard can use CPUs up to the AMD Phenom II X4 series and this is nothing to sneeze at in regard to AGP systems. DDR2 + AGP is also something somewhat special or should I say peculiar. https://www.asrock.com/mb/nvidia/am2nf3-vsta/#CPU

I must underline that this model came out on the market near the end of the AGP era and it wasnt considered high end. We are talking about a budget solution for those that couldn't make the switch to a PCI-E platform.

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The swollen OST RLP 1000uf 6.3V capacitor was replaced by a Panasonic FR 1000uf 10V capacitor. In an ideal world I should've replaced all of the OST RLP capacitors and not just the swollen one but I decided to keep it simple and not overextend myself.

Also, the motherboard received a BIOS update to the lastest version, 3.30. To be able to extract the BIOS file from the .exe package on the Asrock site, I had to use the AMIUCP 1.07 tool AMI Utility Configuration. Finding this tool on the internet took me some time. The AM2N3VT3.30.exe package from the Asrock site couldn't be opened with any other program. After I extracted the BIOS file from the AM2N3VT3.30.exe package, it was very easy for me to use my MiniPro TL866A programmer to peform the BIOS update whitout having to install Windows or boot in MS-DOS mode. https://www.asrock.com/mb/nvidia/am2nf3-vsta/#BIOS

Ready to be returned to its former glory.

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The NF3 250.


Final results? Flawless!

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gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/1mqewclgi/

Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS. (x2)

On the same day when I bought the Asrock AM2NF3-VSTA motherboard I also bought from someone else two Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS HDDs.

Even if I had some doubts regarding their state, the sum of 5 EUROS for both of them didnt make me nervous.

In the end they proved to be still alive and kicking!

Me = Happy camper 😁

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gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/1d42rr6hu/

Gigabyte HD 4650 AGP 1GB(DDR2) - GV-R465D2-1GI

Little over 4 EUROS is all that I have paid for it and little over 4 EUROS is the exact sum of money that I almost "lost". I'm not a sore loser but I hate it when I buy something before I should've peeled my eyes better.

I saw that the card looked a little tired but the number 4650 and the Gigabyte of video memory have made me not think correctly. On the first visual scan I only saw one missing ceramic capacitor but when I got home I found another 5 missing. These last ones were the real headache as they were so small that they made the super fine needle of a 2ml syringe look HUMONGOUS! The 5 ceramic capacitors were missing from the PCI-E AGP bridge and in a normal situation this card would've been a complete write-off ...

I must underline that the 1GB of video memory is DDR 2 and not DDR 3 as it should've been. Like the Asrock motherboard we are also dealing with a video card that wasnt made to break records. Just a helping hand to those still clinging to AGP systems. Even if it was lauched later, this card is slower than the ATI 3850 AGP. Go figure ... 4 is less than 3. Just a regular day in the HW Universe! This has happened and will happen again in the future ...

NOT GOOD!!! What was I thinking ?!?!?!

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I left the 4650 in a box for more than a month when finally I found an ATI 3450 AGP which, behold, had the same exact problem! I paid for it less than 1 EURO (haggled form more than 1 EURO). 😁

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The moment I was waiting for had arrived. LET'S DO THIS!!!

The odds were stacked against me.

I knew that I would have to put to good use everything that I have learned about soldering. (And I still have a lot to learn). To make matters worse, the tool that I decided to use wasnt something intended for brain surgery ... meet the 15W soldering iron. 😁

I sharpened the tip of the 15W soldering iron on a grinder and I was ready to rock 'n' roll.


Action, action, but before I even was able to do something I had to ruin several ceramic capacitors until I was able to recover one that was in usable shape. The operation wasnt a breeze let me tell you.

After I got the hang of it, I was able to recover several promising candidates and I laid them on a piece of paper.


Final results? Well not exactly factory quality but I'm getting there. One capacitor at a time. 😁


Each capacitor was checked after it was soldered. Each joint was checked for strength.

After I finished the job and I was in the green, all was just smooth sailing. Just a regular day at the office.

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Final results.

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gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/1gdq72z6q/

Asus P4B533-E REV 1.02

When I was battling with the ATI X1950, the ATI 4650 and the Asrock motherboard, one thought creeped inside my head.

Why not go all out and extend my AGP arsenal with some Pentium 4 lovin' ???

Until 2019 I looked at Pentium 4 stuff as something forgetable and uninteresting. Time has taken care of everything and something that was unwavering has crumbled into dust.

Said and done. I need some P4 stuff and I NEED IT RIGHT NOW!

The flea market was kind with me and I was able to find three ASUS motherboards that had different chipsets Intel 845E, 865PE and 875P.

Straight from the get go I had in my hands three representatives of a generation. Not bad if I may say so.

The Asus P4B533-E came with a Pentium 4 2.4GHz SL6DV CPU. For the entire kit I paid little over 1 EURO! NO BRAINER!!!

The motherboard received a BIOS update to the latest version and then it was cleaned until it looked better than the day it was born.

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The cooler lookin' cool.

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The motherboard lookin' smokin' hot!

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I didnt remove the NB heatsink as it was well fixed and I didnt need additional headaches. I cleaned the motherboard centimeter by centimeter. Besides some scratches on the back the board was in great shape.

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/g8v7yvj6/

The Asus P4P800 DELUXE and the P4C800 DELUXE motherboards have been bought together. Taking into account that thery are THE DELUXE version, all I can say is: FRIGGIN' SCORE MY BROTHA' ! The price ? Little over 4 EUROS. Need I say it again? NO BRAINER!

When I bought the motherboards I also bought a Pentium 4 3GHz SL7PM - Prescott CPU. I had to straighten some pins but this task comes with the territory. The entire job was a little stressful as the pins are extremely fragile.

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As a precaution both of the motherboards have received a BIOS update.


Before I even tackled the P4P800 DELUXE and the P4C800 DELUXE I decided to clean the coolers. I love Sanyo Denki fans. They never let me down!

P4-FM-09.jpg P4-FM-10.jpg P4-FM-11.jpg P4-FM-12.jpg P4-FM-13.jpg P4-FM-14.jpg P4-FM-15.jpg P4-FM-16.jpg P4-FM-17.jpg P4-FM-18.jpg P4-FM-19.jpg P4-FM-20.jpg P4-FM-21.jpg

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/1r5502zoi/

Asus P4P800 DELUXE REV 1.02

Ready to be made great again.

P4-P800-DLX-01.jpg P4-P800-DLX-02.jpg P4-P800-DLX-03.jpg P4-P800-DLX-04.jpg P4-P800-DLX-05.jpg P4-P800-DLX-06.jpg

IPA 99%!.


Some minor glitches in the system. Superglue to the rescue.


Almost there.

P4-P800-DLX-09.jpg P4-P800-DLX-10.jpg

Final results? Like GLASS BOSS!!!

P4-P800-DLX-11.jpg P4-P800-DLX-12.jpg P4-P800-DLX-13.jpg P4-P800-DLX-14.jpg P4-P800-DLX-15.jpg P4-P800-DLX-16.jpg P4-P800-DLX-17.jpg P4-P800-DLX-18.jpg P4-P800-DLX-19.jpg P4-P800-DLX-20.jpg P4-P800-DLX-21.jpg P4-P800-DLX-22.jpg P4-P800-DLX-23.jpg P4-P800-DLX-24.jpg

Back in the day I made jokes about P4 stuff. Back in the day I was an AXP & A64 kind of guy. Today? I love them all no matter the brand.

After some quality time with the P4P800 ... aaaannnddd not to forget ... DELUXE, my aversion towards Pentium 4 has melted.

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/1xq8cp4bm/

Asus P4C800 DELUXE REV 2.00

Some time after I bought the P4P800 DELUXE and the P4C800 DELUXE and after I paired the P4P800 DELUXE with the P4 3GHz SL7PM Prescott CPU, I was on the lookout for a CPU that would fit the P4C800 DELUXE. I looked at the P4C800 DELUXE as the jewel of my growing P4 collection.

Who read Part 1 is acquainted with the story of the P4 SL793 which was left behind when I removed from an HP case, the Sapphire ATI X1950GT AGP, the Antec 380W PSU and the two sticks of Crucial 1GB DDR400 CL3. After I paid 10 EUROS for the entire case and I looted just what I needed, I left the SL793 inside. After this, my thoughts kept coming back to it.

What's the stort with this SL793? Well, nothing special ... it's just that it is the fastest CPU wtih a Northwood HT core, running at 3.4GHz ... tsk tsk ... top end ... and stupid me left it to rot after I paid for it ... the mind works in mysterious ways ... or should I say the lack of ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_P … microprocessors

Weeks after the SL793 episode, I found again the seller with the HP case. BEHOLD! The case appeared again. I opened it up and BEHOLD AGAIN: The cooler and the CPU were still inside sitting pretty! 😁

You know what followed ... haggling ... again 10 EUROS for the entire case ... me NO! NO! NO! ... I already paid for it once... in the end for about 4 EUROS the CPU was MINE! YAY!

SL793 + P4C800 DELUXE ( 😁 ) = LOVE!

From all of the P4 motherboards, the P4C800 DELUXE was the most damaged due to the gentle handling procedures that are in effect at the flea market on a weekly basis. Just velvet gloves and pampering.


1. SB_PWR LED - cracked and with one torn connector.
2. Cracked IDE connector.
3. Two SATA ports were missing an ear.
4. Some scratches.

The damage wasnt terminal. The board still looked well and I didnt have any reasons to worry.

P4-C800-DLX-01.jpg P4-C800-DLX-02.jpg P4-C800-DLX-03.jpg

Looking kind of clean but looks can be deceiving.

P4-C800-DLX-04.jpg P4-C800-DLX-05.jpg P4-C800-DLX-06.jpg P4-C800-DLX-10.jpg


P4-C800-DLX-07.jpg P4-C800-DLX-08.jpg

How on earth that these ceramic capacitors haven't gone MIA? Well, the secret sauce is RED GLUE! 😁


The board has arrived from nowhere else than Sweet ITALY!



P4-C800-DLX-12.jpg P4-C800-DLX-13.jpg

Final results? Do I need to repeat myself? FLAWLESS against all the "small" flaws!!! 😁

P4-C800-DLX-14.jpg P4-C800-DLX-15.jpg P4-C800-DLX-16.jpg P4-C800-DLX-17.jpg P4-C800-DLX-18.jpg P4-C800-DLX-19.jpg P4-C800-DLX-20.jpg P4-C800-DLX-21.jpg P4-C800-DLX-22.jpg P4-C800-DLX-23.jpg P4-C800-DLX-24.jpg P4-C800-DLX-25.jpg P4-C800-DLX-26.jpg P4-C800-DLX-27.jpg P4-C800-DLX-28.jpg

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/2aabkfg2q/

After a lot of work and a lot of satisfaction, and after I MADE GREAT AGAIN ALL THAT COULD BE DONE TO BE GREAT AGAIN, I was ready to fire up these restored components and find their state.

This is how I like 'em, squeaky clean and restored to perfection. I know I have to check myself but I leave this for another time aka for later or never. My path is the straight and narrow. 😁

Stay close for the end of the AGP tribulations saga, when you will find how this story has ended.

More later.

Last edited by Robert B on 2019-09-28, 12:58. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 514 of 576, by SirNickity

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Glad you got a second chance at that CPU. That kind of stuff eats my up. 😉

As that famous Orbital tune goes, a funny thing about regret is... that it's better to regret something that you HAVE done than something that you HAVEN'T done. And by the way, if you see your mom this weekend, would you be sure and tell her ......

Reply 515 of 576, by Robert B

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Poldoore - Ain't No Sunshine

AGP tribulations? Part 3 aka The Grand Finale!

At last, we have arrived at the moment when I powered up all of the parts that have been painstakingly restored or at least brought to a state as close to that from factory.

Was all the effort worth it or it was just a situation like that in The Old Man and the Sea?

Without any further ado, I bring to you The Grand Finale of the AGP tribulations? series!

First, I decided to test the Asrock AM2NF3-VSTA REV G/A 1.03 motherboard and together with it to also test the two ATI cards: Sapphire X1950 GT AGP 256MB DDR3 and Gigabyte HD 4650 AGP 1GB(DDR2) - GV-R465D2-1GI.

Even from the get go all went smoothly. BEEP! I'm alive! BAM! Clear image.

AM2-NF3-VSTA-TST-01.jpg AM2-NF3-VSTA-TST-02.jpg AM2-NF3-VSTA-TST-03.jpg AM2-NF3-VSTA-TST-04.jpg AM2-NF3-VSTA-TST-05.jpg

The Asrock motherboard gave me no troubles and the Gigabyte ATI 4650 was working well. It seems that the work put in with those small ceramic capacitors has paid off.

After I found out that the test bed was in good working order I installed the Sapphire X1950 GT and I put it through her paces. Like the Gigabyte ATI 4650, the Sapphire X1950 GT also proved to be alive and kicking. To establish exactly the state of the X1950 GT I installed Windows and I ran 3DMark2000 @ 1600x1200 so that the Sempron 3000+ wont fall on his nose. All was okay, the driver install, the image quality, etc. Zero problems.

AM2-NF3-VSTA-TST-06.jpg AM2-NF3-VSTA-TST-07.jpg AM2-NF3-VSTA-TST-08.jpg AM2-NF3-VSTA-TST-09.jpg AM2-NF3-VSTA-TST-10.jpg AM2-NF3-VSTA-TST-11.jpg AM2-NF3-VSTA-TST-12.jpg

Next came the turn of the Gigabyte HD 4650 AGP 1GB(DDR2) - GV-R465D2-1GI. Again all was okay.

AM2-NF3-VSTA-TST-13.jpg AM2-NF3-VSTA-TST-14.jpg AM2-NF3-VSTA-TST-15.jpg AM2-NF3-VSTA-TST-16.jpg

Over the course of the testing sessions I observed that the heatsink of the NF3 250 chip on the Asrock AM2NF3VSTA was getting rather toasty. If you intend to use this board in one of your retro projects I urge you to mount something beefier or ar least mount a fan if possible.

On the first POST of the Asrock AM2NF3VSTA motherboard, I was greeted by the following error: MAC Address are invalid in both CMOS and Flash! which reminded me of All your base are belong to us ... 😁

I looked on the Internet for a solution and I found on the Asrock site a tool to update the MAC address of the onboard LAN chipset.


The update of the MAC address can only be done under DOS. I downloaded all of the versions, I made a bootable USB stick and I was ready to get to work. The MAC address can be found on a sticker located on the motherboard. After a few moments of searching I found the 12 figures on a sticker fixed on the parallel port. I tried to write another MAC address instead of the factory one but this was a no go. From all of the MAC Tool versions from the Asrock site: 1.17F, 1.61B, 2.07A and 2.16B, only the 1.17F worked.

After I updated the MAC address I never received the error: MAC Address are invalid in both CMOS and Flash!

AM2-NF3-VSTA-TST-17.jpg AM2-NF3-VSTA-TST-18.jpg

The start was great! 3 out of 3! My wish for a 100% success rate seemed to materialize. Something was still nagging me though: White Men Can't Jump or do they? Hmmm ...

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/29y7hprkq/

Soon followed the testing of the Asus P4B533-E REV 1.02 motherboard.

BAM! Again all was okay. WOW! 100% here I come!

In this instance I decided not to install Windows and just take the pulse of the board. By all means this motherboard seems to be in good working order.

P4-B533-TST-01.jpg P4-B533-TST-02.jpg P4-B533-TST-03.jpg P4-B533-TST-04.jpg P4-B533-TST-05.jpg P4-B533-TST-06.jpg P4-B533-TST-07.jpg P4-B533-TST-08.jpg P4-B533-TST-09.jpg

With this particular board I had a little problem when I wanted to power it up. It didnt have the Front Panel Connector pins soldered. WTH? I looked closely and all I could find was something called VPANEL. I downloaded the manual but I didnt find any information regarding the VPANEL. ?!?!?! I searched on the Internet for ASUS & VPANEL and I found only a few posts that were of no help to me. I encountered a somewhat similar situation when I dealt with the MS-6168. All that was left for me to do was to guess the POWER pins and go from there. The picture bellow presents the function of each pin.


The SL6DV CPU and the Asus P4B533-E were alive. NICE!

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/2eq0rnqhm/

Like the Asus P4B533-E, the Asus P4P800 DELUXE was also still working well. This is friggin' great news! I told myself. The SL7PM CPU which needed a lot of pins straightened was also OK!

P4-P800-DLX-TST-01.jpg P4-P800-DLX-TST-02.jpg P4-P800-DLX-TST-03.jpg P4-P800-DLX-TST-04.jpg P4-P800-DLX-TST-05.jpg P4-P800-DLX-TST-06.jpg P4-P800-DLX-TST-07.jpg

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/hpmc38be/

After all of the success I registerd, I was expecting the Asus P4C800 DELUXE to also be alive. Nothing warned me of what was in store for me. From this point forward the things took a bad turn.

Sure I can find another P4C800 DELUXE but each time I get the news that a component has passed away I can't stop to be a little sad.

Well...let me tell you the entire story.

I powered up the board but I got nothing. NO POST. NO BEEP. NADA.

The board started, the CPU warmed up, the NB and the SB chips also warmed up but that was all.

I tired many different sticks of RAM.

I tried many BIOS versions.

I tried three PSUs.

I tried many CPUs.

I inspected countless times the board for signs of damage.

I tried other compatible BIOS chips.

I removed the NB heatsink but I found nothing bad.

I removed CPU socket cover but I found nothing bad.

I tried to power up the board without CPU, video card and RAM.

I tried multiple PCI and AGP video cards.

I tried USB and PS2 keyboards.

Over the course of my attempts to resuscitate the board I observed one thing: the NB heatsink got extremely hot and when I say extremely I dont exaggerate at all. It burned when you just approached your finger to it and if you touched it you could hold the finger there for no more than a second or two.

It looks like a dead NB chipset...

I installed the Corsair LED DDR just to see if the board gets to detecting the RAM. No led lighted up no matter what.

The SB chip was mildly warm. Because the SB_PWR LED (Stand By Power which lights up when the system is ON, in sleep mode or in soft off mode) was broken, I mounted on the back, a red led to see if it would light up and it lighted up, sign that the board might be ok. I replaced the broken led.

My BIOS debugger card didnt give me a lot of clues. The system hanged at: control to int 19h bootloader even if a HDD was connected. I couldnt bypass this error no matter what I tried.

The only normal thing was that I got 3 beeps when there was no RAM installed. Otherwise ZERO BEEPS. No clues.

While I battled with the demons, I noticed a strange buzzing noise that was coming from the right up corner when I powerd up the motherboard with no CPU. I checked by feel all of the electrolytic capacitors and MOSFETs to see if they got warm but none warmed up because there was no CPU installed. By this I ruled out a shorted capacitor. I used Freeze Spray to see what component got warm faster or was warmer than the rest. I checked for an imperfect contact or a solder bridge but I got nothing. In the end I decided to slightly move a ferite coil that I assumed was buzzing. It looked great, without cracks, with great solder joints and with the wiring intact. After this I never registered that strange buzzing noise and when I mounted the CPU the leds on the Corsair DDR stick lighted up, sign that the board tried to come to life. My joy was short lived because in the end nothing changed. The BIOS debugger card kept throwing other errors on each power up. The board hanged at chipset initialisation or at set memory wait states.

While I inspected the motherboard for traces of damage I also observed that on the back, the solder joints from a couple of the pins from one of the memory slots looked a little worse and the laquer seemed to be of a darker colour like it was burned.

In the end I threw in the towel. The Asus P4C800 DELUXE is DEAD!

I didnt try the SL793 CPU but I have no worries. I'm waiting for a suitable motherboard so that I can marry them and they will live happily ever after.

P4-C800-DLX-TST-01.jpg P4-C800-DLX-TST-02.jpg P4-C800-DLX-TST-03.jpg P4-C800-DLX-TST-04.jpg P4-C800-DLX-TST-05.jpg P4-C800-DLX-TST-06.jpg P4-C800-DLX-TST-07.jpg P4-C800-DLX-TST-08.jpg P4-C800-DLX-TST-09.jpg P4-C800-DLX-TST-10.jpg P4-C800-DLX-TST-11.jpg P4-C800-DLX-TST-12.jpg

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/21hmomti2/

From all the parts that I have gathered I really wasnt expecting the Asus P4C800 DELUXE to be dead. In the end I wasnt able to get a 100% success rate with parts bought at face value from the flea market.

In the end this endeavour wasnt a true case of tribulations even if the passing from from uncertainty to known fact made me to pose the problem of this word. Until this day I never gathered so many parts to be featured in one story but there's a first time for everything. Also, the time required from the moment I bought these parts and the moment I write down this lines was a long one: more than two months.

Overall, the AGP tribulations? series was a success story. Besides one motherboard, all of the other components proved to be still alive and kicking which is by no means a small feat. If I pause for a moment and think about it, all could've ended a lot worse so I declare myself content with the outcome even if I wasnt able to get that illusive perfect score.

More later.

Reply 516 of 576, by Robert B

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Chubby Checker - Let's Twist Again

"Who's that, flyin' up there?
Is it a bird? No
Is it a plane? No
Is it the X -A32
? Yeah"

I mean who in the marketing department came up with this name? X -A32? Seriously? X - friggin' A32? I dont even have to mention the ERAZOR part because it is already too much ...

Ever since I saw this NLX card at the local flea market, with its "futuristic" looks accompanied by a slight hint of a SF aroma, (X- A32), my thoughts went straight to the one and only: Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk. I mean look at it! It seems harmless but for sure it packed a punch when it was released.

This is my second Geforce 256 SDR. I dont think that it is necessary to remind you who is the mighty GF256. All that I need to say though, is that it was the first GPU. Anything else is just superfluous stuff so I'll return to the star of this episode.

Let's meet the F-117 ahem, cough , cough ... ELSA ERAZOR X -A32 aka ELSA GeForce 256 SDR 32MB AGP.

For the paltry sum of 2 EUROS this card came home with me and stoically endured "all the bad" treatments that had to be performed.

Even from the get go, this card looked amazing but I knew I could turn the things up to 11. So I did what I do best ...

Initial state.

ELSA-GF256-SDR-01.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-02.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-03.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-04.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-05.jpg

Looks kind of okay? I think NOT! YUCK! Dirt, dust and a fan that rattled at the slightest turn!


On the operating table.

ELSA-GF256-SDR-07.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-08.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-09.jpg

Some elbow grease.

ELSA-GF256-SDR-10.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-11.jpg

I wanted to remove the heatsink but it was fixed with thermal adhesive so I let it be. Better safe than sorry.

After this encounter with and irremovable obstacle I got serious to work and I washed the entire card with lots and lots of IPA 99%.




The results quickly followed.

ELSA-GF256-SDR-14.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-15.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-16.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-17.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-18.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-19.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-20.jpg

Looking awesome but something is missing?


Aaa the signature fan ... what am I going to do with this fan which is way past its prime ... I said to myself. Hmm... casse-tete probleme!

In the past I have opened, cleaned and greased the ball bearings of different fans but I never got to do this on such a tiny scale.

In some instances a small drop of thin oil can alleviate some symptoms but it is never a long term solution. Sometimes the oil can make things worse as it can thin the old grease of a bearing that can have many miles on its odometer. Also, sometimes the grease can just dry up. The fan can be replaced but when you are dealing with a restoration project there is no subtitute for the real thing!

In this instance, the drop of oil made its job but, me being me, I had to find a more permanent solution.

I taped with paper tape the entire fan and I plugged the hole in the center with a small piece of cotton. I put everything in a plastic bag and then I used ca grease spray hoping that some of it will find its way inside the bearing.

ELSA-GF256-SDR-22.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-23.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-24.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-25.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-26.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-27.jpg

In the end the results werent what I have hoped for. The ball bearing was even noisier than before. Most likely that inside the ball bearing went the propellant and not the grease. Deh ... if you have an itch ... you scr ... points points and even more points ...

I searched for solutions. I used some MOBIL Mobilgrease XHP 222 NLGI2 and some GM 5W40 motor oil. I smeared the ball bearing with grease and then I put a few tiny drops of oil. I took great precautions so that none of it would get inside the motor or the winding. I know from experience that motor oil has a property of "clinging" to metal, so in a way I used that to my advantage. I left the "greases" overnight to do their job. I didnt have high hopes for the following day and I was preparing for a brain surgery that could end up with a lobotomy or a damaged ball bearing.

The next day surprise, against all the odds, the ball bearing was turning super smoothly. No more noise. What the ??!?!? I could've removed the dust cover from the ball bearing but I wasnt sure that I could put it back. The same procedure on a bigger ball bearing was close to being a faillure.

Lets not get drunk with success. This procedure usually isnt going according to plan but in this instance I got lucky. My will to preserve everything has paid off.

Ready for action SiiiiiiiiRRRrrrR!!! Del Shannon - Runaway

ELSA-GF256-SDR-28.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-29.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-30.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-31.jpg

Now you can understand why I went all the way and I didnt replaced the fan with a new one. There is no subtitute for the original! I mean look at it! SO PERFECT!


Metalwork. Before and after.

ELSA-GF256-SDR-33.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-34.jpg

Careful assembly.


Final results. When I say final I really mean final. Bobby Darin - Dream Lover

ELSA-GF256-SDR-36.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-37.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-38.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-39.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-40.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-41.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-42.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-43.jpg

After "the grease job" I had no idea how would the fan perform during testing.

I plugged "the stealth attack aircraft" in the PIII-800 and I pressed the POWER button!


I must underline the fact that up until that moment I didnt know if the card was alive or not. The fan performed admirably. No noise was present even if the PC case was put horizontally or vertically. WIN!

Well, such a beautiful card just couldnt be dead or I got lucky again. 😁 Dion - The Wanderer

ELSA-GF256-SDR-45.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-46.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-47.jpg ELSA-GF256-SDR-48.jpg


gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/272dx6qki/

More later.

Reply 517 of 576, by Robert B

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Oliver $ & Jimi Jules - Pushing On (Official Video)

The sleeper

This PC is my fourth completed "build". The first one was the recreation of my first PC with the AMD 5x86 133MHz, followed by a K6-2 500MHz and a PIII at 800MHz.

I say "build" because this is how I bought it from the flea market. I didnt have anything to say in regard to the selection of components.

I found this PC on a Saturday morning at the local flea market. The exact date was 23.06.2019. The first things that caught my eye were the AT format and that BIG 5.25" floppy disk drive. The whole package peaked my interest so I politely asked the seller to let me get a glimpse of the stuff that's inside. You never know what you can find trapped in there.

As soon as I opened it I saw that it was untouched, and it looked exactly like the day it was born. Besides a RAM upgrade everything looked like it would've been somewhere around '96.

I removed the CPU from the socket and I saw that it was a Pentium 75MHz. The video card was something from Trident, the sound card didnt stand out. '90s WM abounded. The case was scratched and the structure looked a little bit deformed. Curriously, the sheet metal and the plastic front were in very good shape just a little dirty.

After a short deliberation I decided not to buy it. The seller tried very hard to make me buy it and the only way I got rid of him was by telling him that I'll see what else is for sale at the market and if I decide to buy I'll return. I didnt want to take only the CPU as I thought that someone else might buy the PC and it would be better if it was complete.

On the night between Saturday and Sunday I was "haunted" by that AT case, so, early in the morning I went to the flea market where the PC was wainting paciently for me. I bought it and I took it home. Back then, I wanted to use the case for an overpowered build that would look totaly harmless.

Let's see what was inside as we are dealing with an Intel Inside kind of system.

The-Sleeper-001.jpg The-Sleeper-002.jpg The-Sleeper-003.jpg

The CD-ROM was manufactured in July 1995. I couldn't find more at that moment without starting the PC or removing the unit.


Once again I removed the CPU from the socket so that I could take a better look. It was a Pentium 75MHz / SX969 / A80502-75. Nothing fancy up to this point but if you look closely at the back you can see two letters ES aka Engineering Sample. Something not that common. Even from that moment it became obvious that the choice to buy this PC was an inspired one. This P75 ES sits nicely, close to my P90 ES, which was also a flea martket find.

The-Sleeper-006.jpg The-Sleeper-007.jpg

Because the heatsink was loose and it didnt make good contact with the CPU, I decided that before I start the PC I must tackle the cooling. Shortly, I decided to reuse the old cooling fan that still spinned nicely and just replace the anemic thin heatsink with something proper.

The-Sleeper-008.jpg The-Sleeper-009.jpg The-Sleeper-010.jpg The-Sleeper-011.jpg The-Sleeper-012.jpg The-Sleeper-013.jpg

Next on the check list was the PSU. SKY HAWK MODEL: SHT-230W. Ever since I saw it, it didn't inspire confidence. The letters SHT made me thing about the brown stuff.

I was expecting a horror story inside . 20+ years is a lot of time for a PSU. Many things can go bad.

The-Sleeper-014.jpg The-Sleeper-015.jpg

Surprise! Rubycon USP capacitors. Initially I thought that they are fake but after a short internet check, I found out that they are the real deal. This PC is full of unexpected stuff. The other capacitors looked to be OK. The fan was still in great shape so all that was left for me to do was just to clean the entire thing a little.


Soon came the moment when I pressed the POWER button. CLANK!

A happy BEEP was heard. The image soon followed on the screen. Accustomed with temperamental parts with obscure quirks, I was amazed by this box that keeps on trucking no matter what.

The-Sleeper-017.jpg The-Sleeper-018.jpg The-Sleeper-019.jpg

I booted into Windows 98.


The OS was in German, sign that this PC travelled some distance to get here. Shortly, the Good Ol' Windows 98 did what it does best ...


Satisfied that the PC was in good working order I checked to see what else was inside.

Mustek GI1904A ISA Hand Held Scanner Interface Card. Useless for me ...


CD-ROM NEC CD-272 4x. The unit works very well and even if at first it didnt exhibit this, it has the same "problem" like many other older ODDs, with discs that are other color than silver. As expected I might say. My first CD-ROM unit, an LG CRD-8160B 16x had the exact "problem".


Some funky RAM. TM 513201-70 Si-Die 2195 Ti.

The-Sleeper-024.jpg The-Sleeper-025.jpg

The sound card is an OPTi 82C929A ISA / CRYSTAL CD4248-KL ISA with no less than four CD-ROM interfaces: Mitsumi, Sony, Panasonic and IDE! 😁

The-Sleeper-026.jpg The-Sleeper-027.jpg

32 bit Trident TGUI9440 - 1MB PCI - 7379 REV. H3

The-Sleeper-028.jpg The-Sleeper-029.jpg

The motherboard is EPOX P55-IT REV: 0.2 - INTEL Triton 82430FX PCIset chipset. This fact is suggested by the string 2A59CPA9C visible on the lower part of the P.O.S.T. screen - 08/04/95-TRITON-2A59CPA9C-00 http://www.elhvb.com/mobokive/Archive/Epox/manuals/p55it.pdf

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One thing was still nagging me. The missing badge. I found a thin aluminium part from a CASE-MATE phone case package and I made a badge that was perfect. Problem solved!

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When I looked at all the parts sitting on the table, the thought of that overpowered system vanished in thin air. I decided to keep this PC as close to the original as possible and just make a few modifications. The sleeper will remain a sleeper, a time capsule.

I looked at the motherboard and I saw the C.O.A.S.T. - Cache On A Stick slot. What if? I told myself ...

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I have four C.O.A.S.T. modules and for some time I wanted to know if they are working or not.

1. Elpina HT-VX - 256KB
2. HP 0960-0944 SPB CACHE - 256KB
3. SMART IN364TCSP83YG15 - 256KB - 2 bucati.

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Because the EPOX P55-IT lacks the VRM section needed for Pentium MMX CPUs, I decided to replace the Pentium 75 with a Pentium (classic) at 166MHz. Quite a speed bump let me tell you!

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Some jumper settings later. 166 @ 167. NICE! 😁 For protection, I applied on the motherboard, under the heatsink clamp, a thin transparent film. You dont want damaged traces as accidents can and will happen. The motherboard is ancient and it doesn't have CD-ROM support in BIOS, so, I had to use my Good Ol' floppy with MS-DOS CD-ROM EXTENSIONS WITH DEVICE DRIVERS from my LG CRD-8160B. My original 1998 floppy disk. 😁

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Before I post the results of the upgrades we must establish the baseline.


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The HT-VX C.O.A.S.T. didnt work and I installed the HP 0960-0944 SPB CACHE - 256KB. I wasnt sure if the other two SMART IN364TCSP83YG15 modules were C.O.A.S.T. modules or something else.

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I installed 64MB EDO RAM - 4 x 16MB.


I tweaked the BIOS a little.

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All was close to perfect but Windows 98 still threw a lot of errors. I knew that it needed a reinstall but even so it seemed way too quirky.

I decided to use MEMTEST to see if that maybe the RAM was bad.

There's your problem. DEAD RAM!


I tried to isolate the stick or sticks that were bad but I got to the conclusion that they were all DEAD?!?!?! What the F... ?!?!?!?! It can't be.


Maybe the HP 0960-0944 SPB CACHE - 256KB C.O.A.S.T. module is either dead or it is a case of an incompatibility?

I looked closely at the HP C.O.A.S.T. module and I saw that on it, it was written SMART (C) 1996. I looked at the SMART IN364TCSP83YG15 modules and I also saw the string SMART (C) 1995. These SMART IN364TCSP83YG15 might be C.O.A.S.T. modules after all. I checked the spec sheets of the CXK77W3211Q ICs and because I didnt see any warning lights I plugged a SMART IN364TCSP83YG15 module in the PC and I powered it up.


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Final results. P166 - 64MB EDO - 256KB SYNCHRONOUS PIPELINED BURST - C.O.A.S.T.

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During the time I was working with this PC, I found at the flea market a sealed Windows 98 CD pack and two Windows 95 CDs. Unfortunately they are all in German. I would've preferred the English version but they were bought for what they are and not to be put to use.


Some light metalwork.

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After I sorted out the PC case I cleaned the 5.25" FDD a little.


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I opened up the CD-ROM unit to clean the laser lens. This wasnt necessary as it was already clean. I washed the plastic front and I cleaned some light rust from the exterior.

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I cleaned the rust from the PC case and I used some grey primer/filler to cover some parts that were looking worse. I didnt want to cover all of the blemishes as I wanted to preserve "the character" of this PC. A time capsule. The Sleeper that really sleeps. No extreme measures, no extreme cleaning, just some good old fun with old parts.


Final results.

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1. CPU: Intel Pentium (classic) 166MHz - SY037 - textolit
2. Motherboard: EPOX P55-IT REV: 0.2 - 256KB C.O.A.S.T. - SMART IN364TCSP83YG15
3. RAM: 64MB EDO - 4x16MB
4. Video card: Trident TGUI9440 - 1MB PCI - 7379 REV. H3
5. Sound card: OPTi 82C929A ISA / CRYSTAL CD4248-KL
6. HDD: Seagate ST31277A - Seagate MEDALIST 1.2GB
7. FDD: 1.44" / FDD: 5.25" TEAC FD-55GFR

In the end I was left with a system that is perfect for DOS. The only foreseeable change if I decide to use it as a daily driver is to change the video card for something with a little more muscle. Otherwise I made this system to be as great as it can be.

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/1v6omn6qi/

More later.

Reply 518 of 576, by SirNickity

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Rank Oldbie

Hey! My MMX 166 has the same case! 🤣 Except mine is missing the black plastic insert around the buttons and display. I may have to get one laser cut some day.

Speaking of character, I bet that P-75 has the FDIV bug. 😀

Reply 519 of 576, by appiah4

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Rank l33t++

The metal case cover had a lot of scratches on it, but the end result is immaculate, what kind of process did it go through? Did you repaint it?

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.