ON HOLD: Ex-Govt Rebuild "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I"

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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-8-27 @ 00:59

JidaiGeki wrote:Nice, have been following this thread with interest, especially on the back of the P3/V5 build.

Speaking of which I see a V5 5500 PCI casually chilling out in the 'pile of crap' - what's the plan with that one? :D


No idea. Those are all the V5's I bought from China while I was over there. I don't know what to do with them. That one's out of the anti static bag because I was testing it earlier in the day and was planning to return to it later. It's back safe and sound now ;)

Isn't necessarily a pile of crap in the sense that it's all crap, it's in the sense that I've been too lazy to actually sort it all out. It's a mix of stuff that I've bought in China, things I have to sort through from the family business and side of the road finds. There's just a lot of Slot 1 & Socket 7 boards, RAM, very basic S3 cards and early to mid 90s cases, and the few interesting things like V5 cards, software boxes, and server hardware.

Since I'll be moving (again, and hopefully for the last time) early next year, I don't want to go too far into sorting it all out only to have to pull it all apart again later.

Because of that, I'll likely carry through with some serious build consolidation and stay at 3 retro builds.

  • DOS/95 - This build. That means it'll end up with the MIDI modules, of which I'm hoping to get more of. This whole setup is my most authentic and vanilla setup, with everything limited to no later than mid '96 with very few exceptions such as the aforementioned HDD, and an IDE DOM for automated backups. I have a lot of fun plans for this considering it'll be replacing a few builds, and it's not strictly for gaming like my other two are. This means I'll probably have to sell off my other two era appropriate builds parted out in the next six months. The machine I used for playing mods & demos has cooler sound hardware, but I'm not overly attached to it. The GUS never really did anything for me since I never grew up with one, for example. This build (or the case, rather) means more to me, considering how much time I spent around computers just like this one. Even if it's not 100% authentic to what it once was, I like it for what it is becoming.
  • Win98/3dfx - The watercooled build. Mainly for fun as opposed to practicality. A build to experiment with modding and fabrication for things where there are no guides to follow. Nothing other than the hardware used is era appropriate. It stands alongside my main PC and shares peripherals. Why is it taking so long to update? Because there's a lot of fabrication work to figure out! No custom waterblocks, but getting close to it. :lol:
  • Mid 00s/XP - Another watercooled build WIP that I haven't posted about, but is low on the priority list. More of an oldschool watercooled build using old parts, rather than forcing new parts onto old hardware. No reason other than it takes me back to how I got started with watercooling and parts are cheap.

There's the potential for a 4th, which is a dual PPro workstation build to tie in with this build, but that wouldn't be until after I move and work out how much space I have.

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Abandoning the ZIP drive (and leaving the possibility for an external one instead), I picked up a set of these on eBay for the HDD. Paid a couple more dollars to get it locally as opposed to saving $2.00 on AliExpress and having to wait another 4-6 weeks for it to arrive.

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Plus I only really need floppies. I get to use my favourite floppies of all time with them, which I got years and years ago by complete chance. After buying them at an absolute steal of $1, I really wanted some red ones (Top Secret), but none to be found since. Secret is cool enough. All brand new. I'm fairly certain they weren't meant to be sold at all, but oh well. :lol:
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-8-31 @ 03:56

Excuse the crap lighting, it's raining outside, finally.

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Some new thermal compound from eBay that performs well and costs almost nothing. Packaging suspiciously like Thermal Grizzly packaging. $5 AUD delivered locally though, can't argue with that. :lol:

From reviews and my own testing, it seems to be comparable to MX4, but much cheaper. Not sure about the longevity though so I'll keep an eye on it. If it works out well it may be my new compound for retro PCs.

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CPU heatsink now installed with retail fan from one of the family businesses PCs and some new compound.

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Also received my brass 3.5 to 5.25 adapter for the hard drive, so almost everything is here.

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I just need to wait for the cards to get out of the port and to my front door. I'm hoping for next week. :-D

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Edit: Looks like Monday is the day!
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-9-03 @ 02:37

Oh boy!

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The seal is marginally ripped in the corner. Should I return it?

No.

Opening up the box, an Nvidia GeForce box is revealed. Interesting.

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A Galax 1050Ti more specifically.

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Opening the box further, there's a nice pile of plastic, bubble wrap, cardboard and anti-static bags.

Let's take a closer look at what is inside.

Creative Sound Blaster 16 - CT2290

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The card is in great physical shape. No rust at all. Contacts are nice and clean. Original stickers are in tact. No bent pins on the headers. Very happy with the card physically, and I see no reason for it not to work.

One thing I have to do is remove whatever was written on it which should be easy enough.

Now let's move onto the video card, something which doesn't seem to have many pictures floating around.

Canopus Power Window T64V

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Again, the card is in great shape. It almost looks new. I'd believe it was if it wasn't for the clear usage marks around the VGA port. The metallic/diffused reflective solder mask looks beautiful. As with all Canopus cards I own, nothing about this card feels cheap. PCB is thick, Nichicon caps everywhere. Hitachi memory. I just love the MPEG daughterboard. Stickers are all present and in great shape.

I can't wait to put these both to use!

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Updates:

Since I can't find my 95 Install CD and only the boot floppy, I'll have to create another one. In the meantime, I was scouring the web for some drivers for this card. I didn't manage to find it anywhere other than the Internet Archive's archive of the Canopus site from 1999.

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So I've downloaded them, and I'll likely just download all the drivers for all the cards there just in case. It's seemingly not easy to find these so it's always best to have a second copy!

Perhaps not the version of the drivers I would have liked - older '96 drivers would have been nice, but I'll take what I can get from a dead Japanese company.
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Govt AUS. Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration/Down/Upgrade - Canopus T64V, SB16 & More!

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-9-12 @ 13:07

Some updates:

- All the hardware is now taken care off. The secondary HDD has been formatted and ready for Win95.
- SAM file removed from NT4. I decided to keep stock installation and not a recreation of the original installation.

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I've got the last "nice to have" bits on the way, including the following.

  • CF to IDE adapter - for transferring files easily.
  • Fan + Mesh for the front intake, since there's a fan slot that was never filled.

Finally, in order to consolidate DOS and 95 into a single machine as stated before, I've begun work on that too. Progress has come along swimmingly on the audio end. It's important to me to have OPL3, but also a variety of MIDI sources at my fingertips since I enjoy both listening and writing.

Since space will be limited, I've worked on putting together an almost entirely half-rack setup.

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With the exception being the MT-32, all of the hardware I've compiled (both purchased and on my wishlist) for the audio side of this project has been half-rack or smaller.

The Amplifier is an early 80s Aiwa amp, which I believe is the SA-A10 model. The sticker on the side is all but gone so I can't say for sure. I might be able to find out when I open it up. This was also a piece of equipment from our family business, so I'm very happy to be able to give it a new home. Not having to seek out a half rack, affordable, working amp is fantastic. It will require some TLC externally, but it works just fine. New feet, screws and general cleaning will be required.

Another issue that plagued me was a half-rack RCA switch. Since I'll have more inputs than the amp supports and I don't want to constantly plug and unplug devices, I set about searching the net for one. Once again, the "DIY" scene in China has come to the rescue. A full aluminium enclosure, half rack 4 input RCA switcher costing not much more than a crappy plastic one sold locally.

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With that problem solved, finding a pair of suitable speakers and adding more modules is all that remains.

The once humble Government office PC has become a MIDI workhorse alongside it's gaming and "work" duties. :exclamation:
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Govt AUS. Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration/Down/Upgrade - Canopus T64V, SB16 & More!

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-10-05 @ 07:13

Long time, no post. Been busy with work and finishing up the last big work project for the year, so haven't really touched any of my personal projects in about 3-4 weeks.

Just wanted to post what I've got on the way to finish up the system.

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All the cables & the switchbox for the MIDI equipment. Should be arriving this coming week.

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Internals for a WiFi RS-232 Modem for BBS fun. Going to build a few inside a modem-ish sized project box (or possibly an old, damaged V32 / V34 modem) because I'm not a fan of hanging bare PCBs off the back of computers like my current one is. Will run lightly modified Zimodem. Didn't quite understand why people spent over $50 to buy one when you can buy the components for under $10 without any soldering requirements. Should fit the "look" requirements too.

The PC is also fully reassembled - and I'll add a photo of it next post since it's pouring down rain and don't want to go outside to the garage as a result.
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Govt AUS. Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration/Down/Upgrade - Canopus T64V, SB16 & More!

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-10-22 @ 05:40

The joys of old computers.

In addition to the AGP on my watercooled Pentium 3 deciding to crap itself recently, the 4.3GB Seagate drive I had intended to use in this machine simply doesn't want to work. It has to be a mix of the HDD firmware and the motherboard's BIOS. Other 4.3GB drives work in it, but this one just doesn't want to play. The drive does work in other machines.

Since I have no spare smaller capacity hard drives, I've decided to go straight for the 2GB IDE DOM for compatibility reasons.

Aside from that, all the new acquisitions work! I'll put some photos of the goodies below. Exception is the printer.

Here are my cables. Nice and thick. :lol:

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My RCA Switch. :)

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The tower of power. Though it will likely be split up and sit separate to the MT-32 .

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And strangely one of the things I'm happiest about, since I am glad to get my hands on one of these again -- the Panasonic KX-P1123 Dot Matrix Printer. A printer I fondly remember.

I'll have to clean it up, likely give it a new ribbon. But it should be good fun :)

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This setup is slowly becoming nicely rounded out. Age appropriate CRT, the *correct* keyboard. This machine originally came with a keyboard that I happened to have the same model of - the Acer 6311. It's amusingly what I've been using on ToXiC. The only difference is mine is Acer branded and not Ipex branded, and the Ipex branding was just a sticker.

MIDI modules. Printer. Sound Blaster. Not much more you could want.

Until next post - likely either printer cleaned and working or the IDE DOM arriving.

Peace :-D
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Govt Rebuild "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Canopus T64V+, SB16, MT-32, SC55 and more!

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-11-14 @ 07:11

Sad news - this project as it currently stands is dead.

I received all the goods I ordered, but it doesn't mean too much right now.

It's a motherboard issue, it seems. It's only been getting progressively worse. It was first the IDE issue, now only 2 RAM slots work. It doesn't seem to be a power issue, as I've tested with another power supply. It also doesn't seem to be cap issues. New CPU also tested to no avail.

Since diagnosing and potentially repairing the board will be a time consuming process, I've decided to put this build on hold indefinitely.

I'll be pulling my SB16, video card and battery from this build and replacing it with what was in here (minus battery) when I received it and putting it into storage for now.

From there, I'll work on a new Pentium 100-133MHz-ish build. I've got all the hardware required to make it happen. I'll make a new thread for it after I decide on some specifics so it's less of a rollercoaster and more of a straight-forward initial build.

I'll be sticking to the same ideas from this project, with some minor (but major!) differences, mainly due to the freedoms of not having a full build to keep in-tact restricting me.

Look forward to sharing it with you all soon. I believe it'll be something quite unique and oldschool :)
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Re: ON HOLD: Ex-Govt Rebuild "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I"

Postby chinny22 » 2018-11-14 @ 11:49

bugger, spose worst case you can use another motherboard but gets it then not a true representation of what was once a pretty common PC
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Re: ON HOLD: Ex-Govt Rebuild "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I"

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-11-14 @ 12:16

chinny22 wrote:bugger, spose worst case you can use another motherboard but gets it then not a true representation of what was once a pretty common PC


Yeah. I'll keep an eye out for the same ECS board if it's not a simple cap issue or something of the sort. I'd even be down to replace the PCIset chips as I've got enough dead donor VX boards around.

It's a real shame. I'd come to quite like this little machine.
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