VOGONS


First post, by leonardo

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Nickname: Longbottom

  • Case: Wings branded no-name
  • Power supply: Fortron/FSP Group FSP-350 series (120mm fan)
  • Motherboard: AOpen AX6BC Pro II Millennium Edition (this board is legendary)
  • Processor: Intel Pentium III 1 GHz 'Coppermine' (7.5x133)
  • Memory: 256 MB PC133 SD-RAM
  • Video card(s): MSI MS-8838 AGP (NVIDIA GeForce 3 Ti 200, 64MB)
  • Monitor(s): HP M700 17" CRT
  • Sound card(s): Diamond MonsterSound MX300 (Aureal Vortex2) + Nec XR385 daughterboard
  • Storage: Dual Seagate U Series X 20 GB HDDs
  • Removable(s): Samsung SFD-321B/LEB 1.44 MB 3.5" + ASUS DVD-E612 & Plextor PX-W2410TA
  • Connectivity: 3Com Fast Etherlink XL PCI 100 Mbit
  • HIDs: IBM Model M (blue) and Logitech WheelMouse (ol' ballsy)

Brief description
Originally from a Finnish system integrator called Wings. I only kept the case because it's sturdy as hell and roomy enough to run an old system with just passive cooling. In fact the Slot1 CPU in this thing only has a huge heatsink on it. The PSU located right above it pulls warm air right out of the case. This makes the computer very quiet in operation. For maximum performance in late 90's and early 2000's titles, the system packs a GeForce 3 Ti200 which has excellent performance and driver support, and gives a nice clean image on the CRT. The AOpen AX6BC Pro II Millennium Edition could be blamed for starting the bling-bling trend on internal components with its stark color PCB, ridiculous naming, silver name plaque and "25 karat platinum" heatsink. 😆 For what it's worth, this is actually a very good, stable motherboard. Other peculiarities feature the DVD-drive which has a region-free "service" jumper. OS of choice: Windows 95 OSR2.

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Photo gallery
See the new post for updated photos!

Build log / hardware & software updates

Update on Jan 10, 2021

Replaced original motherboard (the AOpen AX6BC) and video card (a rare non-castrated/non-M64 PCI RivaTNT2 from ELSA) in a bid to increase performance for some of my later games such as NOLF, Deus Ex, and to be able to run games like WarCraft III or Max Payne that depended on DirectX 8 or later. I reluctantly upgraded to Windows 98SE and sure enough was reminded why I don't like Windows after 95. After a couple of reinstalls I got the hang of the system again and it now runs the more lean 95-version of Explorer to avoid IE and GUI lag.

Having to bring the CPU clock down to 750 MHz stings less than I thought it would, because for the games that I had 1 GHz was overkill anyway, but the graphics performance of the Radeon 9200 is heaps and bounds better than that of a PCI bus-based RivaTNT 2 (even the non-mutilated version).

3DMark2000 Benchmarks (before swap):
CPU @ 1 GHz (7.5x133), Creative 3DBlaster II (800x600x16): 1706 points
CPU @ 1 GHz (7.5x133), Elsa Synergy-II PCI (1024x768x16): 2320 points

3DMark2000 Benchmarks (after swap):
CPU @ 750 MHz (7.5x100) Sapphire Radeon 9200 VIVO AGP (1024x768x16): 5294 points
CPU @ 750 MHz (7.5x100) Sapphire Radeon 9200 VIVO AGP (1024x768x32: 5140 points

Update on Aug 4, 2021

After (temporarily) going back to my trusty ELSA Synergy-II video card (and thus Windows 95), I decided to give the planned upgrade another go with a GeForce 3 Ti200 as the main video card this time (see thread about AGP overclocking and video cards). So far the GeForce 3 seems like a much better deal with performance at least on par with the Radeon 9200. The GeForce has drivers for Windows 95 and the card has also operated reliably with the CPU running at full 1 GHz speed (which requires a 133 MHz FSB, which ends up overclocking the AGP bus).

3DMark2000 Benchmarks (after swap):
CPU @ 1 GHz (7.5x133), MSI MS-8838 AGP (1024x768x16): 7215 points
CPU @ 1 GHz (7.5x133), MSI MS-8838 AGP (1024x768x32): 7025 points

Last edited by leonardo on 2021-10-10, 15:32. Edited 19 times in total.

My retro rigs
Methuselah, AMD K6-III+ 450 MHz, Voodoo 3 PCI, ES1868
Longbottom, Pentium III 1 GHz, GF3Ti200, Aureal Vortex2

Reply 2 of 12, by leonardo

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Half-Saint wrote:

Nice hardware but I'm curious as to why you're running Windows 95 on a 1 GHz Pentium III? 😁

Well... it does sort of boils down to what I use it for (which is retro gaming). If I used this for pretty much anything else I guess I'd be dual-booting Linux. Out of the old 9x lineage Windows 95 OSR2 is my favorite because in practice it does everything Windows 98/98SE/ME do, but it's less cluttered and doesn't come with Internet Explorer. I mean OSR2 on a 1 GHz Pentium just screams.

My retro rigs
Methuselah, AMD K6-III+ 450 MHz, Voodoo 3 PCI, ES1868
Longbottom, Pentium III 1 GHz, GF3Ti200, Aureal Vortex2

Reply 3 of 12, by tincup

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I agree - I have W95 OSR2 going on a P3-933 and it's really very nice... On it go retro games that benefit from the horsepower but don't run or don't run properly under W98, and have come to appreciate the simple charm of W95 as well... The only real drawback so far has been my inability to get a USB2 card running.

Reply 4 of 12, by chinny22

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I was building a similar PC as my end of the line Win 3.x machine (P3 slot 1, Tnt2 Ultra) but caved in and installed 98 and a better graphics card. Really love the slot1/BX generation and that would have been the case I was after, nice and simple it was around the same time cases started putting "stylish" covers or doors over the drive bays that just got in the way.
I'm guessing the CPU heatsink is from some big brand OEM originally?

Reply 7 of 12, by Half-Saint

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I used to passively cool a Pentium III 800MHz with a Zalman CNPS-6000 all copper heatsink. At idle it stayed at 52-53C which was perfectly fine for me.

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Reply 8 of 12, by leonardo

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chinny22 wrote:

... I'm guessing the CPU heatsink is from some big brand OEM originally?

cdoublejj wrote:

DUDE! wicked heat sink? does it work well?

The Slot1 CPU was apparently originally in a Compaq server. I bought it used and it has served me well. I have no way of monitoring the temperatures but there have never been any stability issues (nor does the heat sink get very warm) so I believe it's fine. It is one big loaf though. The case weighs a ton.

Half-Saint wrote:

I used to passively cool a Pentium III 800MHz with a Zalman CNPS-6000 all copper heatsink. At idle it stayed at 52-53C which was perfectly fine for me.

I understand the P3 doesn't have any temperature sensors, how are you getting your readings?

My retro rigs
Methuselah, AMD K6-III+ 450 MHz, Voodoo 3 PCI, ES1868
Longbottom, Pentium III 1 GHz, GF3Ti200, Aureal Vortex2

Reply 10 of 12, by leonardo

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2021 upgrades with new pics
After having an existential crisis, Longbottom has rediscovered itself as a more powerful late 90's/early 00's gaming setup...

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The AX6BC Pro II Millennium-edition is a fantastic motherboard... except for the floppy connector placement. UGH. 🤦
Also if you wanted to do a retro-build, this is clearly intended for post-DOS gaming since there are no more ISA-slots for real retro sound-hardware.
It's fine, as its older brother has me covered for those.

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Here, showing off the massive PIII heatsink that was the topic of conversation earlier on. The new graphics card (a GeForce 3 Ti200) runs so hot I decided to mount a quiet 60x60mm fan on it. The cards have been spaced out for proper airflow, but also ensuring none would share interrupts.

Last edited by leonardo on 2021-08-12, 14:31. Edited 1 time in total.

My retro rigs
Methuselah, AMD K6-III+ 450 MHz, Voodoo 3 PCI, ES1868
Longbottom, Pentium III 1 GHz, GF3Ti200, Aureal Vortex2

Reply 12 of 12, by leonardo

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svfn wrote on 2021-08-12, 11:51:

nice, that AX6BC Pro is drool worthy!

Thanks. Although I did initially kind of detest the bling. The “Gaming-this”, “Ultra/Extreme-that” and all the Christmas tree lights RGB that make up today’s PCs just make me go ewww…

Thankfully the most over-top-thing about the board really is the name and marketing. It really should just have been called AX6BC Pro rev 2 or something. It’s not that offensive looking, even if I liked the traditional all-green AX6BC better…

My retro rigs
Methuselah, AMD K6-III+ 450 MHz, Voodoo 3 PCI, ES1868
Longbottom, Pentium III 1 GHz, GF3Ti200, Aureal Vortex2