VOGONS


First post, by JayCeeBee64

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I originally documented my Soyo P4 build here. Unfortunately I was not aware the motherboard suffered from bad caps; after a number of inquires and visits to local repair shops, I finally went to Badcaps.net to fill a Request Service form. The results can be seen in this post.

With the Soyo board recapped and back in good health, I began to contemplate what direction to go with it (I already have an Asus CUSL2-C for Win98SE); after some thinking, I decided to recreate my old main PC build from late 2011 as much as possible. I still have all the hardware from that time 😊

Here's the list of parts for the rebuild:

Soyo P4I-845PE Socket 478 Motherboard (Intel 845PE)

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Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz Northwood CPU

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Thermaltake TR2-M12 CPU Cooler

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Patriot DDR-333 ram (two 1GB DIMMs)

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PNY Verto GeForce 6600 256mb AGP

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Dynex DX-SC51 PCI sound card

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Western Digital WD1600JB 160GB IDE hard drive & Seasonic SS-400ET Active PFC PSU

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Cooler Master Elite 330U Black ATX Case w/ Lite-On DVD-ROM/DVD-RW and 1.44mb floppy drive

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Once I moved the CUSL2-C and all its related hardware to another ATX case, I prepared everything needed for the P4 rebuild:

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First I added the TR2-M12 CPU cooler and DDR-333 memory to the Soyo board, then placed it inside the Elite 330U case.

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After inserting the video & sound cards, hard drive, and all cables, the rebuild was done.

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As a final touch, I added a fan grill to the side door fan - since it takes hot air out now, I used the grill as a guard to prevent the fan from clipping any internal cables.

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I've already done a quick power-on test and everything appears to work properly; and while I used much of the hardware from that time period, there are still some changes - the ATX case and PSU are different, the NEC XR385 MIDI DB will be used elsewhere, and I no longer need the Promise Ultra 100TX2 PCI IDE controller (I'm only using one hard drive, not three). Next will be a fresh install of Windows XP.

Ooohh, the pain......

Reply 2 of 43, by JayCeeBee64

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How intriguing, I was actually considering adding a second side fan and make them both intakes just to see if cooling improves. Will give this a shot and compare results.

Thanks once again TELVM 😀

Ooohh, the pain......

Reply 3 of 43, by PcBytes

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Why a PATA drive? From what I saw,your board has SATA on it (next to the yellow IDE port) and installing a SATA harddrive improves performance greatly.

Also,they're cheaper to get. You can find any size you want (80GB onwards). I have a Athlon XP 2500+ rig that runs on a 80GB SATA HDD (WDC as well) and it's considerably faster than the other Athlon XP I have which runs on a PATA HDD (a Maxtor). As for XP,good choice.
But all of the above is just an idea.

And one more thing - why doesn't it have a floppy drive?

"Enter at your own peril, past the bolted door..."
Main PC: i5 3470, GB B75M-D3H, 16GB RAM, 2x1TB
98SE : P3 650, Soyo SY-6BA+IV, 384MB RAM, 80GB

Reply 4 of 43, by ODwilly

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I know I have a fat stack of IDE drives on hand and zero spare SATA drives. 40gb drives, 40gb drives EVERYWHERE! 🤣

Main pc: Asus ROG 17. R9 5900HX, RTX 3070m, 16gb ddr4 3200, 1tb NVME.
Retro PC: Soyo P4S Dragon, 3gb ddr 266, 120gb Maxtor, Geforce Fx 5950 Ultra, SB Live! 5.1

Reply 5 of 43, by candle_86

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ODwilly wrote:

I know I have a fat stack of IDE drives on hand and zero spare SATA drives. 40gb drives, 40gb drives EVERYWHERE! 🤣

Id love some 40gb, im swampeed in 20gigers 🤣

Reply 6 of 43, by JayCeeBee64

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PcBytes wrote:
Why a PATA drive? From what I saw,your board has SATA on it (next to the yellow IDE port) and installing a SATA harddrive improv […]
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Why a PATA drive? From what I saw,your board has SATA on it (next to the yellow IDE port) and installing a SATA harddrive improves performance greatly.

Also,they're cheaper to get. You can find any size you want (80GB onwards). I have a Athlon XP 2500+ rig that runs on a 80GB SATA HDD (WDC as well) and it's considerably faster than the other Athlon XP I have which runs on a PATA HDD (a Maxtor). As for XP,good choice.
But all of the above is just an idea.

And one more thing - why doesn't it have a floppy drive?

Yes, it does have a SATA connector, but also a Highpoint host controller chip which I dislike a lot (had very bad experiences with both Highpoint IDE and SATA controllers 😖 ); I just won't use it, even with XP. I could also get a Silicon Image based SATA PCI controller as well, but I don't have to - I have quite a few 80gb and 160gb IDE hard drives and even a 500gb on hand, so I'll use those for now. When the time comes, I'll make the switch to SATA 😀

As for the floppy drive, there is one (it's just out of sight):

5UBw9icl.png Zm3FydB.png

ODwilly wrote:

I know I have a fat stack of IDE drives on hand and zero spare SATA drives. 40gb drives, 40gb drives EVERYWHERE! 🤣

Same here - a good amount of IDE drives in boxes, and no extra SATAs at all (I should probably get another WD Black SATA, just in case the one in my main PC conks out 😊 )

Ooohh, the pain......

Reply 7 of 43, by shamino

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When this stuff was current, I was on the AMD side, but I'm more interested in building a P4 machine recently.
That looks like a nice system. I've been getting really annoyed with the clunkiness of an MSI P4 board that I have. I like Soyo much better in that time period.
Many years ago I set my sister up with a similar looking Soyo P4 board running a Northwood. It was a reliable machine. Hers had an SiS chipset though - I like yours with the Intel chipset better.

JayCeeBee64 wrote:
PcBytes wrote:

Why a PATA drive? From what I saw,your board has SATA on it (next to the yellow IDE port) and installing a SATA harddrive improves performance greatly.

Also,they're cheaper to get. You can find any size you want (80GB onwards). I have a Athlon XP 2500+ rig that runs on a 80GB SATA HDD (WDC as well) and it's considerably faster than the other Athlon XP I have which runs on a PATA HDD (a Maxtor). As for XP,good choice.
But all of the above is just an idea.

Yes, it does have a SATA connector, but also a Highpoint host controller chip which I dislike a lot (had very bad experiences with both Highpoint IDE and SATA controllers 😖 ); I just won't use it, even with XP. I could also get a Silicon Image based SATA PCI controller as well, but I don't have to - I have quite a few 80gb and 160gb IDE hard drives and even a 500gb on hand, so I'll use those for now. When the time comes, I'll make the switch to SATA 😀

I have quite a few IDE drives around as well, but I'm getting hesitant to use them.
The big ones are a 500GB and 750GB. The 750GB is a Seagate which was used heavily up until it had intermittent problems waking up from sleep. It's been stored ever since. The 500GB is a basically mint WD Blue. It was originally bought for a machine that never saw much use.
I find myself trying to preserve them in case I really need a high capacity IDE for some reason, someday. The 500GB performs great so I've occasionally used it for lossless video capture.
The 750GB is big but unsteady. It would be the ultimate drive for a modded Playstation 2, except I don't have nearly enough games to need that much space, and I think it would bake itself to death. It's a hot running drive and the PS2 really has no ventilation. I stuck a 120GB in it instead.

I have a few 20-40GB drives which get used for random screwing around. For a permanent build I like to use SATA though, partly because of wanting to keep a stash of working IDEs, but also because I just don't trust those old drives to be reliable long term.

Reply 8 of 43, by JayCeeBee64

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I was also an AMD user back then shamino (had an Athlon XP 2000+ and Abit KT7A non-RAID combo); I got the Soyo P4 board new back in 2003, but didn't make use of it until late 2011.

As for the IDE hard drives, I got and used them at various time periods so I know they are still reliable; of course I've had my share of lemons (the Maxtor 40gb and WD 250gb drives were really awful; I got two of each brand new, neither lasted more than 2 years 😵 ), but that is to be expected of PC hardware with mechanical parts. I've been reluctant to make the switch to SATA and SSD, but I believe it's about time I start looking in that direction. I just hope I don't take too long (mentally kicks himself for letting his AMD PC go up in smoke because of that >_<).

Ooohh, the pain......

Reply 9 of 43, by JayCeeBee64

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Switched the side fan to intake and added a second fan:

mVBzHscm.png bpMueUnm.png

Now overall temps are slightly cooler and stay that way much longer 😀

Also finished installing and configuring XP SP3; had a bit of trouble with the Dynex DX-SC51 sound card, solved it by moving to another PCI slot (sharing resources with both the GF6600 and Davicom network adapter simultaneously is not a good idea in my book).

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Did some benchmarks as well:

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(I have no idea why the 3DMark 2000 score is slightly lower than 3DMark 2001SE)

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SiSoft Sandra 2002 Standard looks good ^^

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Now to continue installing software and some games, then ponder about trying out a version of Linux. I'm a rank beginner in the *nix world, so I'll have to do quite a bit of reading and download a few LiveCDs for some test runs before I commit to a permanent install (the WD hard drive has two 80gb partitions and the second one is empty and available for this purpose 😊 ).

Ooohh, the pain......

Reply 11 of 43, by obobskivich

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Very neat build - Soyo boards were cool back in the day, and it's nice to see one restored. Kind of a bummer they had to use such bad caps. I've always wondered if part of that was because they picked them to look cool (the silver does look neat against the black PCB) as opposed to perform well. 😵 🤣

Curiosity: why "only" a 2.4GHz Northwood? Is that a limitation of the board? Or just what you had handy?

On the 3DMark scores being fairly similar - its probably a combination of CPU limitations (which may not actually be a problem for gaming), and it may also be something to do with the 6600GT. IME "newer" graphics cards tend to do weird stuff in 3DMark00, like scoring lower than 3D01, not completing tests they should support, etc. I've never tested that directly on a 6600, but I've observed it on some other "newer" cards.

On the airflow - I'm not personally familiar with this specific case, but I've seen a number of cases that have that "front fan for hard-drive area" thing, and usually there's a piece of metal between the fan and the actual "front" of the case. It usually restricts airflow, and in some cases makes the front intake fan completely worthless. You may consider punching that out at some point, but honestly I can't imagine this machine really needing 4-5-10x 120mm fans (unless your goal is to undervolt all of them and make it really quiet).

Reply 13 of 43, by JayCeeBee64

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obobskivich wrote:

Very neat build - Soyo boards were cool back in the day, and it's nice to see one restored. Kind of a bummer they had to use such bad caps. I've always wondered if part of that was because they picked them to look cool (the silver does look neat against the black PCB) as opposed to perform well. 😵 🤣

From what I have read in other PC hardware forums, Soyo apparently had capacitors made specifically for their motherboards from a third party. Unfortunately that third party made really crappy caps, and Soyo either didn't know or didn't care; they could very well have gone for looks. This decision did come back to hurt them very badly - Soyo filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2009.

Curiosity: why "only" a 2.4GHz Northwood? Is that a limitation of the board? Or just what you had handy?

I got the 2.4GHz around the same time as the Soyo board (late 2003), and is the only Pentium 4 CPU I have on hand at present. The Soyo can handle up to a 3.06GHz HT Northwood (max for a 533MHz based board), but I prefer to stay with what I have (for now).

On the 3DMark scores being fairly similar - its probably a combination of CPU limitations (which may not actually be a problem for gaming), and it may also be something to do with the 6600GT. IME "newer" graphics cards tend to do weird stuff in 3DMark00, like scoring lower than 3D01, not completing tests they should support, etc. I've never tested that directly on a 6600, but I've observed it on some other "newer" cards.

The only test that fails in 3DMark 2000 is the CPU Speed test (16 bit color mode only). I have also checked the results I got from when I had Windows 98 SE:

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I was also using an older driver (82.69 Win9x Beta) and 512mb of memory back then. The different operating systems and NVIDIA drivers could account for the score result discrepancies as well. *shrugs*

On the airflow - I'm not personally familiar with this specific case, but I've seen a number of cases that have that "front fan for hard-drive area" thing, and usually there's a piece of metal between the fan and the actual "front" of the case. It usually restricts airflow, and in some cases makes the front intake fan completely worthless. You may consider punching that out at some point, but honestly I can't imagine this machine really needing 4-5-10x 120mm fans (unless your goal is to undervolt all of them and make it really quiet).

TELVM wrote:
To illustrate Obobskivich's last point: […]
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To illustrate Obobskivich's last point:

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"The air must flow!"

Well, here's a picture of the Cooler Master Elite 330U case interior when I first got it back in late January 2014:

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And here is a picture with the front cover removed:

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That plastic module with the Power/Reset switches and HDD LED make it impossible to cut any metal out without some finesse (which I don't have at all 😦 ). Moving it is not feasible (the front cover buttons won't work then). And gluing it to the front cover is not possible. I'll just live with it.

The side door fans just provide additional cool air to the CPU, motherboard and expansion cards, nothing more. They may not be needed, but they don't hurt either 😀

Ooohh, the pain......

Reply 14 of 43, by AlphaDangerDen

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I absolutely love the color scheme Soyo was using on their motherboards around the early 2000s, love the purple/black/brown scheme, a bit odd, but still looks very nice!

Reply 15 of 43, by TELVM

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JayCeeBee64 wrote:

... That plastic module with the Power/Reset switches and HDD LED make it impossible to cut any metal out without some finesse (which I don't have at all 😦 ). Moving it is not feasible (the front cover buttons won't work then). And gluing it to the front cover is not possible. I'll just live with it ...

Ouch yeah that plastic complicates surgery.

Seen up close that grille isn't too bad, the holes are relatively large and circular in shape. Not too restrictive or noisy. Some cases back in P4 times were much much worse 😵 .

Let the air flow!

Reply 16 of 43, by ODwilly

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This thread made me start working on my Soyo P4 again. I really really think it hates me because it is beeping at me now. . .

Main pc: Asus ROG 17. R9 5900HX, RTX 3070m, 16gb ddr4 3200, 1tb NVME.
Retro PC: Soyo P4S Dragon, 3gb ddr 266, 120gb Maxtor, Geforce Fx 5950 Ultra, SB Live! 5.1

Reply 17 of 43, by obobskivich

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TELVM wrote:

Ouch yeah that plastic complicates surgery.

A little bit. You could clear above and below the "band" where that plastic piece is with tin snips fairly easily, which would open things up quite a bit. 😊

That grille isn't terrible though - it could be worse:
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Reply 18 of 43, by mockingbird

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Can you tell me what you think about the Dynex SC-51? I have one just like it with the VIA 'Tremda' chip, and it's waiting for a re-cap before I put it in my XP x64 system to replace the onboard sound on my P5B which works well enough but not as good as the onboard Realtek I had before it. IIRC VIA ICE was highly regarded back in the day. Does this card give you the option of hardware acceleration in games?

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(Decommissioned:)
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Reply 19 of 43, by JayCeeBee64

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ODwilly wrote:

This thread made me start working on my Soyo P4 again. I really really think it hates me because it is beeping at me now. . .

That's disappointing, your Soyo P4S Dragon is one of the few with a Universal AGP Pro Slot. Perhaps it's time to double check everything once again (including the caps themselves).

obobskivich wrote:
A little bit. You could clear above and below the "band" where that plastic piece is with tin snips fairly easily, which would o […]
Show full quote
TELVM wrote:

Ouch yeah that plastic complicates surgery.

A little bit. You could clear above and below the "band" where that plastic piece is with tin snips fairly easily, which would open things up quite a bit. 😊

That grille isn't terrible though - it could be worse:
11-124-071-13.JPG

I"ll need a "guinea pig" to practice on first before attempting something like that. My Enermax CS-A1QX-02 case from 2001 is a good candidate (will have to transfer the Asus P3 build to another case first ^^):

86PVjuDl.png YXcLbcLl.png

mockingbird wrote:

Can you tell me what you think about the Dynex SC-51? I have one just like it with the VIA 'Tremda' chip, and it's waiting for a re-cap before I put it in my XP x64 system to replace the onboard sound on my P5B which works well enough but not as good as the onboard Realtek I had before it. IIRC VIA ICE was highly regarded back in the day. Does this card give you the option of hardware acceleration in games?

Overall the DX-SC51 is very good. Clean sound with very little (if any) background noise, has hardware acceleration, worked fine with the games I have. Claims to have EAX1.0/2.0 support but couldn't really tell if it actually worked (only have stereo speakers). Haven't tried the optical SPDIF output. For Windows XP 64 I would recommend the latest drivers (5.60C) from the VIA site (the Dynex drivers are old and don't support any 64-bit OS); look for "VIA Vinyl Envy24 controllers" to find it 😀

Ooohh, the pain......