VOGONS


First post, by Almoststew1990

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I have seen an advert for this PC.

https://www.gumtree.com/p/desktop-workstation … r-pc/1313860207

Judging by the pictures, what hardware do you think is in there? I can see the cyrix logo, but that is all. In particular does anyone recognise what I am guessing is the soundcard at the bottom and video card at the top? Also I see a CR2032 battery which is good.

I am very tempted to get it at the weekend! I am not sure how I would explain it to my partner though...

Last edited by Almoststew1990 on 2018-09-19, 19:29. Edited 1 time in total.

Ryzen 3700X | 16GB 3600MHz RAM | AMD 6800XT | 2Tb NVME SSD | Windows 10
AMD DX2-80 | 16MB RAM | STB LIghtspeed 128 | AWE32 CT3910
I have a vacancy for a main Windows 98 PC

Reply 2 of 20, by gex85

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The sound card would probably be a Sound Blaster AWE32 (Value), CT3910.

Some information about its limitations compared to the "full size" AWE32 can be found here: http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/2012/07/s … 64-options.html

My retro computers

Reply 3 of 20, by dionb

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Second that CT3910.

The video card looks... the VESA connector very close to the back plate combined with those (unpopulated) holes for a bigger connector directly above the PCI slot seem pretty characteristic, but I don't recognize it. It's not a Matrox or any Diamond or STB card I'm familiar with.

Apart from that there's a little old/low-end 8b ISA SCSI adapter in there (not connected internally, so probably used for external devices) and an ISA modem.

As for the motherboard... I see a brown baby-AT board with 72p SIMMs and at least one (but probably not more) 168p SIMM slot. The voltage regulator by the CPU looks like a primitive linear design. No sign of the chipset, but that combination suggests i430VX or Via VPX. The good news is certainly the CR-2032. I've looked at a few probable suspecst, but I don't think this is an Asus, FIC, MSI or Gigabyte board.

Reply 4 of 20, by Almoststew1990

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That's a shame about the CT3910 as I just bought a ct3600! (for 75% of the cost of this PC!)

Would I be able to put an Intel / AMD CPU in there or would you need to know the chipset to advise on that?

I think I'll go for it as I've never dabbled with Socket 7.

Ryzen 3700X | 16GB 3600MHz RAM | AMD 6800XT | 2Tb NVME SSD | Windows 10
AMD DX2-80 | 16MB RAM | STB LIghtspeed 128 | AWE32 CT3910
I have a vacancy for a main Windows 98 PC

Reply 5 of 20, by kixs

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It will take any Socket 7 cpu from Intel and most probably AMD too. But with faster K6 cpus your limit is FSB as the motherboard probably doesn't support 100MHz FSB.

Requests also possible

Reply 6 of 20, by SW-SSG

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FWIW, HDD looks like an IBM Deskstar XP (DPEA-31080, 1.08GB) or Deskstar 2 (DJAA-3xxxx, 1.2 or 1.7GB), both of which are generally well-regarded IDE HDDs from that time period.

Motherboard looks like the Lucky Star LS-P54CE with 430VX chipset; there was a thread about it here.

Reply 7 of 20, by gex85

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dionb wrote:

The video card looks... the VESA connector very close to the back plate combined with those (unpopulated) holes for a bigger connector directly above the PCI slot seem pretty characteristic, but I don't recognize it. It's not a Matrox or any Diamond or STB card I'm familiar with.

By looking at this very distinctive placement of the connectors and some googling I found that the graphics card is most likely a STB Lightspeed 128, featuring the Tseng ET6000 chip.
Not only the connector placement fits very well, the period (1996) does too.

  • unpopulated 50-pin-header located very close to the edge of the PCB (yellow)
  • VESA feature connector placed near the backplate but not in line with the 50-pin-header (blue)
  • characteristic Y-shape of the circuit paths to/from the 50-pin-header (red)
  • three little solder dots next to the VESA connector (light green)
  • three holes in the PCB (orange)
  • even the positioning of the white labels is correct
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Now this is the moment where you should call the seller and tell him you are going to pick this whole setup up next weekend 😉

My retro computers

Reply 8 of 20, by Almoststew1990

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Well I gave the seller a call and asked if I could have a look. He said it's been on sale for a while with no luck, but someone was coming around to buy just the tower for £20 tomorrow; if I can come tonight and pay the full £30 for the whole lot he'll cancel Guy 1. Er, tonight might be tough, I might have to move some appointments around, let me check my diary:

vcnA3Ou.jpg

Anyway I survived a trip to Portsmouth with zero stab wounds and here it is:

fgAcuwjh.jpg?1
qA3OPnvh.jpg

I'll link to the album in Imgur rather than show all the photos. https://imgur.com/a/W8Jzo6z
The key bits (You guys were right about what was it in, good detective skills!) :
P54CE Rev F
6x86-PR120+ CPU at 100MHz
16MB RAM
STB Lightspeed 128 PCI
SB AWE32 CT3910
IBM DJAA-31700 1,700Mb (March 1996).
Serial mouse (very useful, i've been after one forever!)
Plastic-y AT keyboard
Speakers (no idea how these will perform tbh)

NJBWSGNh.jpg
kcehIjah.jpg

What I like about it is that the motherboard has IDE, Floppy, Parallel and Serial parts all built in. It also has SDR RAM support and the Cr2032 battery. This is my first foray into Socket 7 but it looks like a nice board to me! What is the brown slot? ...not a Slot 1 slot!?

BdLXyqkh.jpg

Unusually for me I just fired it up instead of stripping it. I haven't heard that Windows 95 start up sound in at least 20 years! I was also presented with a load of Internet Explorer pop-ups, which were looking for a Freeserve connection (that was a blast from the past!), and something called Roger Wilco which I assume was an old VoiP thing. A few text screens popped up; one referenced Age of Empires which I am totally fine with 😀

8MxTMsIh.jpg

Ryzen 3700X | 16GB 3600MHz RAM | AMD 6800XT | 2Tb NVME SSD | Windows 10
AMD DX2-80 | 16MB RAM | STB LIghtspeed 128 | AWE32 CT3910
I have a vacancy for a main Windows 98 PC

Reply 9 of 20, by kixs

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Congrats... you don't ask about buying it...but just go ahead and do it! 😁

Brown slot is for additional cache. By the picture it already has some so no real need to upgrade it.

Requests also possible

Reply 10 of 20, by dionb

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Wow! It was an STB after all - and an ET6000. Rare & nice (if not a super performer). Congrats - and GBP 30 well spent 😀

That Topless RAM is also fun. Never seen it so late/on such large SIMMs before. It was quite common on 1MB 30p SIMMs.

Reply 11 of 20, by Almoststew1990

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dionb wrote:

Wow! It was an STB after all - and an ET6000. Rare & nice (if not a super performer). Congrats - and GBP 30 well spent 😀

That Topless RAM is also fun. Never seen it so late/on such large SIMMs before. It was quite common on 1MB 30p SIMMs.

Yeah, I was wondering why the RAM looks like that. I've never heard of topless RAM before! I've begun taking it (the PC) apart now.
I'm still not sure what I'm actually going to do with it - I might just leave it with its Windows 95 install on it for now. I suppose it would make a good late DOS PC? I've never properly played Duke Nukem 3D....

The CPU is a very gold "IBM" CPU - is this just a rebranded Cyrix CPU? The heatsink came off surprisingly easily but it was definitely wasn't a modern thermal paste.

HJ49mGNl.jpg

Sadly the monitor seems to be "peeling"? A gave it a quick wipe with an alcohol spray but it hasn't come off. I can't get my finger nail under it either. When It turns off, I've seen a couple of white sparks fly around the screen. Is this likely to just be static (especially as I had wiped it with a microfiber cloth about 10 minutes prior).

The speakers are surprisingly punchy for 22 year old tiny bookcase speakers. I suppose speaker technology is quite mature.

I had a slightly surreal moment listening to the last user's WinAmp playlist. Wham's "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" was the next song. I wonder how long ago that playlist was left...

Ryzen 3700X | 16GB 3600MHz RAM | AMD 6800XT | 2Tb NVME SSD | Windows 10
AMD DX2-80 | 16MB RAM | STB LIghtspeed 128 | AWE32 CT3910
I have a vacancy for a main Windows 98 PC

Reply 12 of 20, by SW-SSG

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Almoststew1990 wrote:

What I like about it is that the motherboard has IDE, Floppy, Parallel and Serial parts all built in. ...

That's typical for socket 7; not as typical for socket 5 and earlier.

Almoststew1990 wrote:

The CPU is a very gold "IBM" CPU - is this just a rebranded Cyrix CPU? ...

IBM Microelectronics fabricated the Cyrix 6x86 line, and were allowed to sell the chips under their brand as part of the agreement. There are 6x86s out there with STMicroelectronics logos, too, as a result of a similar agreement, but these are a lot more uncommon. The chips themselves are functionally all identical.

Pretty nice machine overall, with some twists...

Reply 13 of 20, by MMaximus

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Nice machine and not bad for £30 with the monitor. That was risky of you to give the original ad in your topic... I wonder if the person who was supposed to pick it up tomorrow was someone who learned about it by reading this thread 🤣

SW-SSG wrote:

IBM Microelectronics fabricated the Cyrix 6x86 line

/OT Are you from a french-speaking part of Canada by any chance?

Reply 14 of 20, by dionb

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Almoststew1990 wrote:

[...]

Yeah, I was wondering why the RAM looks like that. I've never heard of topless RAM before! I've begun taking it (the PC) apart now.
I'm still not sure what I'm actually going to do with it - I might just leave it with its Windows 95 install on it for now.

Well, functionally it's just RAM like any other. If you manage to get hold of a lot more of it and have an open-minded and rather nerdy girlfriend/wife, you could make a necklace out of it for her 😎

I suppose it would make a good late DOS PC? I've never properly played Duke Nukem 3D....

16MB is on the low side for Win95. It will run, but I'd recommend >=24MB for a smooth experience. Then again, 16MB is more than enough for DOS and about the sweet spot for Win3.11, so it really depends on what you want.

The CPU is a very gold "IBM" CPU - is this just a rebranded Cyrix CPU? The heatsink came off surprisingly easily but it was definitely wasn't a modern thermal paste.

There sometimes some subtle differences (voltage etc) between Cyrix and IBM-branded parts, but it's the same core and at the same clock they will perform identically.

As for no thermal paste: back in the day it was deemed optional. You frequently saw OEM Pentium 1 systems (or Cyrix/AMD/IDT/Rise equivalents) shipped with heatsinks without paste. I'd recommend using a little even on such old stuff, but whoever built this was just using common practice in those days.

Sadly the monitor seems to be "peeling"? A gave it a quick wipe with an alcohol spray but it hasn't come off. I can't get my finger nail under it either. When It turns off, I've seen a couple of white sparks fly around the screen. Is this likely to just be static (especially as I had wiped it with a microfiber cloth about 10 minutes prior).

The sparks are plain static electricity (CRTs are very high voltage parts), but that 'peeling' is bad news and using alcohol on it is about the worst possible thing you could do. That's the anti-glare coating on the screen being damaged, and alchohol will damage it further. If it's irritating now, probably the best thing to do is to completely remove it - but then you have zero glare protection on what amounts to a rather bright marble.

Reply 15 of 20, by Anonymous Coward

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The 6x86 is a very early one. It even predates the "P" and "PR" rating system.

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Reply 17 of 20, by Almoststew1990

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Unfortunately, it won't post any more after I took it apart.

I should get an image on screen with just P8 P9 power plugged in, CPU, 2x Ram sticks and the GPU plugged in, right? I need to find a manual but I haven't changed any jumpers or anything.

This is with the board loose on the desk (but on its backing plate) so the card fits snugly in the slot (if you have seen the other thread in General Hardware).

The CPU and GPU get warm but no image on screen 🙁

Ryzen 3700X | 16GB 3600MHz RAM | AMD 6800XT | 2Tb NVME SSD | Windows 10
AMD DX2-80 | 16MB RAM | STB LIghtspeed 128 | AWE32 CT3910
I have a vacancy for a main Windows 98 PC

Reply 18 of 20, by PcBytes

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Almoststew1990 wrote:
Unfortunately, it won't post any more after I took it apart. […]
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Unfortunately, it won't post any more after I took it apart.

I should get an image on screen with just P8 P9 power plugged in, CPU, 2x Ram sticks and the GPU plugged in, right? I need to find a manual but I haven't changed any jumpers or anything.

This is with the board loose on the desk (but on its backing plate) so the card fits snugly in the slot (if you have seen the other thread in General Hardware).

The CPU and GPU get warm but no image on screen 🙁

Try without GPU and RAM. If you get a long beep without RAM then the sticks may have gone bad.

"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 19 of 20, by Almoststew1990

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PcBytes wrote:

Try without GPU and RAM. If you get a long beep without RAM then the sticks may have gone bad.

I don't get any beeps unfortunately with GPU and RAM disconnected. I tried a 64mb DIMM in it's one DIMM slot but that didn't work either.

I'm still convinced it's something simple like a loose power connection or something. Or a dislodged jumper. At this point it is literally just P8 and P9 power and a speaker connected up.

Ryzen 3700X | 16GB 3600MHz RAM | AMD 6800XT | 2Tb NVME SSD | Windows 10
AMD DX2-80 | 16MB RAM | STB LIghtspeed 128 | AWE32 CT3910
I have a vacancy for a main Windows 98 PC