Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

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Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby Tenorman » 2018-12-03 @ 01:06

I first learned about this idea when I asked about "Motherboard / CPU Combo With Most Speed Options" (viewtopic.php?f=46&t=62836).

After getting an answer, I started researching and working on this box. It's kind of a weird one, and that's intentional.

-Via C3 Ezra 866
-Gigabyte GA-6BXC Rev 2.0
-MSI MS-6905 Slocket Rev 2.0
-Creative 3D Blaster Savage4 Pro 32 MB PCI
-Diamond Monster Voodoo2 8MB PCI
-SoundBlaster 16 Value (CT277A)
-SPEA V7 Media FX (Ensoniq Soundscape S2000 2MB with a different sticker on it).
-3 x 128 MB PC100 RAM
-32 GB Compact Flash (Windows ME / Linux)
-4 GB Compact Flash (DOS / Win3.1)
-LG DVD / CD-RW Drive
-Realtec 10/100 PCI Ethernet Adapter
-Generic ATX Desktop Case
-Coolmax 300w Power Supply

Operating Systems:
This machine triple boots.
-Windows ME: Simply because I didn't use ME much in the day and booting MS-DOS mode isn't a concern because of the separate DOS 6 / Windows 3.1 drive.
-Ubuntu 10.04: It's handy to have a system with legacy ports and the Linux CLI tools around. 10.04 is the last Ubuntu release that supported i586 processors.
-DOS 6.22 / Windows 3.1

Things I had trouble with:
-I had to put both Windows ME and the Ubuntu /boot partition inside the first 8 GB of the drive in order for Grub to boot them. Sounds silly in hindsight, but it took me a while to figure this out. I ended up with the following partitioning scheme on the 32 GB compact fash.
6 GB Win ME C: (primary)
1 GB Linux /boot (primary)
10 GB Linux / (extended)
1 GB Linux swap (extended)
Allocate Rest to a primary FAT 32 partition

The DOS 6.22 install has the 4 GB CF card to itself with 2 x 2 GB partitions.

I am a big fan of Ensoniq Soundscapes, but it is annoying in this system.
-Windows ME will not detect this card automatically, and the drivers will not detect its settings correctly. Need to configure ports, IRQs, DMAs manually.
Two issues that I believe may be related:
-Cannot get the wave playback working in Windows ME. This isn't a big deal as I mainly use this card for the wavetable. I have Windows configured to play waves through the SB-16 and only use the Soundscape for MIDI.
-I haven't been able to find a pattern, but in DOS 6 the computer sometimes freezes on bootup when SSINIT.EXE is running and initializing the card. I assume there is some kind of resource conflict, but haven't been able to find it. I have the needed IRQs and DMAs reserved in the BIOS and have also tried different ones.
-On the plus side once it gets going, Final Fantasy VII in Windows sounds great as do all the DOS games that support wavetable.

The 3D Blaster Savage4 Pro is an "interesting" card to say the least. I picked it because it has good DOS compatibility, Windows 3.1 drivers, and at least some semblance of 3D acceleration for Windows 9x. The only drivers I have been able to get to work are the ones from the Nov 1999 update on Creative's site. S3's reference drivers blue-screen the computer, as do the drivers that came on the CD with the card. The Creative site also has a firmware update that is supposed to fix some issues that I applied. The DOS compatibility and games that use the Metal API (Unreal) are the highlights. Other things are hit or miss. I have the Voodoo2 installed both for Glide support and as a fallback for anything that doesn't like the Savage4.

The C3 866 that I have seems to run reliably up to around 1 Ghz, even on passive cooling. At 1100 Mhz, the machine will immediately crash. At 1060 Mhz, it will crash after about 20 min in a loop of 3DMark tests. 1000 Mhz seems pretty stable.

Performance:
-There were taken at 952 Mhz (112 x 8.5).
DOS
-3DBench 1c: 359.8
-Doom: 93.1 FPS
-Quake 640x40: 65.7 FPS
-Speedsys processor 496.6
Windows
3D Mark 200 (default settings) 993
SisSoft Sandra 99 Dhrystone 1636 / Whetstone 302
Unreal Tournament (800x600x16, high detail, Metal): Lower 50s FPS, haven't run actual benchmark
Quake 3 Demo 001 (800x600x16, high quality, OpenGL): 31.5 FPS

To Do:
-I only had PC100 memory and it will only run reliably up to 112 Mhz. I want to get some PC133 so I have all the speed adjustment options available.
-Need to get a CD-ROM audio cable that will work with SoundBlaster 16.
-See if I can figure out the Soundscape's resource conflict. Don't really care about this in Windows ME, but it is annoying to have my DOS boots sometimes hang during SSINIT.
Last edited by Tenorman on 2018-12-03 @ 01:32, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby Tenorman » 2018-12-03 @ 01:14

Pics

3dblaster.jpg

voodoo2.jpg

sound_cards.jpg

computer.jpg

front.jpg
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-12-03 @ 01:18

Does the mobo support FSB switching in software using Rayer's tool?
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby Tenorman » 2018-12-03 @ 01:22

Yes. You can select 50, 66, 83, 100, 112, or 133 (once I get some PC 133) via Rayers SMB.
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-12-03 @ 07:59

What a dream!
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby matze79 » 2018-12-03 @ 13:30

Hi,

you can also install latest Slackware it also supports i586 and gives you more modern cli tools.
Works fine on my K6-2 Machine and C3.

just use huge.s kernel to boot install.
https://www.dosreloaded.de - The German Retro DOS PC Community
https://www.retroianer.de
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby infiniteclouds » 2018-12-04 @ 22:09

Hey congrats on your system, Tenorman. Glad to see it worked out and you were able to secure a 6BXC. If you want to upgrade your chip there are some 1.0ghz Ezra-Ts out there for sale last I checked, for pretty cheap, too.

Matze79, can you elaborate on Slackware? I'm not familiar.
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby Tenorman » 2018-12-05 @ 00:07

infiniteclouds wrote:Hey congrats on your system, Tenorman. Glad to see it worked out and you were able to secure a 6BXC. If you want to upgrade your chip there are some 1.0ghz Ezra-Ts out there for sale last I checked, for pretty cheap, too.

Matze79, can you elaborate on Slackware? I'm not familiar.


Thank you. Any idea off-hand how much a 1 Ghz Ezra-T would overclock? I can already run the 866 I have at 1.0 Ghz reliably, so I don't know that there is much reason to upgrade.

I have used Slackware in the past. Lately I have gotten more lazy and have been using mainly RedHat derivatives and Ubuntu, so I decided to go that route. If I remember correctly, when you boot the Slackware installer, it says something like "If your CPU is not at least a XXX, type "huge.s"".... The installer will then boot a 586 kernel instead of 686.
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby infiniteclouds » 2018-12-05 @ 02:30

Ezra-T can do about 1.2ghz or so depending on the chip. It's less about getting more power (although it is noticable) and more about getting more flexibility. A regular Ezra has 16 multiplier options, an Ezra-T has 27.
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby dr.zeissler » 2018-12-05 @ 09:32

Is the MULTI also changeable via Software?
The Partition-sheme can be done different.

2GB P DOS FAT16
2GB L DOS FAT16
XGB P WINME FAT32
xGB L WINDATA FAT32
xGB L LINUX BOOT/DATA
xGB L LINUX SWAP

You Need to use XFDIK-Bootmanager and you have to put GRUB/LILU in the Logical LINUX-Boot.
Then you can choose LINUX in XFDISK-Bootmenu and after that you get GRUB/LILU.
CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby Tenorman » 2018-12-06 @ 00:55

dr.zeissler wrote:Is the MULTI also changeable via Software?
The Partition-sheme can be done different.


Yep. The software to change it on the fly is called SetMul (viewtopic.php?t=38613).

I will read more about XFDISK later. This is just something I got to work given the tools I already know (Grub and Lilo) and my understanding of the constraints the different operating systems have. I'm sure there is room for improvement, but it works.
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby dr.zeissler » 2018-12-06 @ 06:02

That is an interesting concept! thx! And this works with an i440bx chipset?
Is that due to the chosen board and the Slot1-adapter or does it also work with this VIA-CPU in a standard S370 with an Intel i440fx/bx/or 815e board?
CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby infiniteclouds » 2018-12-06 @ 09:48

SetMul with the C3s should work in a S370 but software controlled FSB won't.
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby dr.zeissler » 2018-12-06 @ 11:22

Multi is much more important. 133x1.5x should be 200mhz. :) very dosfriendly!
CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby j^aws » 2018-12-06 @ 18:36

dr.zeissler wrote:That is an interesting concept! thx! And this works with an i440bx chipset?
Is that due to the chosen board and the Slot1-adapter or does it also work with this VIA-CPU in a standard S370 with an Intel i440fx/bx/or 815e board?

Software Setmul multiplier control and its range is specific to the CPU being used. For example, VIA C3 CPUs, specifically the EZRA-T variant, has many more multiplier options compared to an AMD K6-III+. If you have a C3 working on your motherboard with the correct Socket or adapter, and an appropriate voltage, then Setmul is ready to go.

Also, software with Rayer's SMB tool to control FSB is specific to the PLL clock chip used on the motherboard, as long as there is an SMB bus present to provide acess to this tool.
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby dr.zeissler » 2018-12-06 @ 21:16

VIA C3 800 1,35V FSB133 does not boot in my i815e D1215 mainboard.
CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby j^aws » 2018-12-06 @ 21:28

^^ Try updating your BIOS. That model looks like an OEM board, so BIOS may be limited.
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby dr.zeissler » 2018-12-06 @ 21:33

Latest Version already installed.
CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby j^aws » 2018-12-06 @ 21:54

dr.zeissler wrote:Latest Version already installed.

Probably means they never added C3 support in the BIOS. In rare cases, regressing the BIOS may give previous support, although unlikely. Such is the bane of OEM BIOSes.

EDIT: Maybe the VRM isn't capable of such low voltages?
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Re: Via C3 Ezra Slot 1 Machine

Postby infiniteclouds » 2018-12-06 @ 22:34

dr.zeissler wrote:Multi is much more important. 133x1.5x should be 200mhz. :) very dosfriendly!


I wouldn't say much more. For starters the lowest multiplier for C3s is 3.0x so you are starting at 400Mhz if the lowest you can drop your FSB is 133. Regardless, the C3 is going to give you more flexibility on a S370 than any other chip out there.
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