The Recycle Center 1995 build - or thereabouts.

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The Recycle Center 1995 build - or thereabouts.

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-2-16 @ 05:19

I get most of my parts from recycle centers due to the sheer volume of retro stuff that goes through those places, and the fact that they often almost give the stuff away for next to nothing.

I've made two trips to the recycle center in the last week, and have picked up some goodies. With the parts I've managed to acquire, plus some strategic online purchases, I'm going to build a Socket 7 machine with Windows 95. I've built Socket 5/7 machines before, but with this one I feel like I know a little more what I'm doing with it. This will be a 1995/96/97 build (Windows 95 era), i.e. the Wild West days of the Internet (heyday of Netscape, etc.) and the last days of DOS gaming (when id software ruled the game industry and John Carmack was the coolest geek on earth), plus Microsoft's greatest triumph with Windows 95 - before Windows 98 came along and started the long tradition of OS's requiring disproportionally higher amounts of resources than their predecessors.

The impetus for the build came when I found a nice Sony Trinitron CRT and an old generic Socket 7 short tower desktop PC at the recycle center. After gathering together some more parts, the build process is now beginning.

I also found a keyboard - tried to RetroBrite it but we won't talk about that. Suffice it to say I tried an experimental method and failed very badly. It's OK though - it was a really crappy keyboard to begin with, and I found a nice AT/XT keyboard online which is now in the mail and will serve me better (what if I decide to build an 8088 or 286? Hmmm...).

The PC case I got originally had an AMD K6 setup with 32MB of RAM, no sound card, the S3 Trio 64V2/DX video card, and no hard drive (had been removed). Based on the stickers that were stuck on it, it had been used as some kind of server for something. But it will be put to much better use now after I have waved my Magic Wand of Cool Old Parts over it.

The "first draft" system specs will be:

CPU: Pentium MMX 200 (would upgrade to 233 if given the chance). Has a passive cooler (original cooler had a broken fan on it)
MB: Intel 430TX-based AT - 4 PCI, 3 ISA, support for SIMM and DIMM RAM, onboard IDE/floppy controller, onboard PS/2 mouse port
RAM: 64 MB EDO 60ns (max cacheable RAM on this chipset, and a great size for 1995)
Video: S3 Trio 64V2/DX PCI (on Sony Trinitron Multiscan 220GS monitor)
Network: 3Com Etherlink III (3C509) ISA
Sound: Sound Blaster 16 CT2230 (plug and play but can be initialized without TSRs)
USB: brand new PCI USB 2.0 card, with EHCI and UCHI controllers, so I can use the plug-and-play USB drivers in DOS. A pity I won't get full USB 2.0 support in Windows 95, though. Almost makes me want to use Windows 98... almost. If I want to transfer files quickly, I'm pretty sure that DOS supports USB 2.0 with ASPIEHCI.SYS here: https://www.bootdisk.com/usb.htm - not sure if it is full speed though or even how well it works. I have two different USB cards I can try with different chips.
HDD: Seagate 250 GB IDE drive. Of course OS limitations mean I can only use 137 GB - I don't care. I just wanted a fast, very large drive in it.
Floppy drive: 1.44 MB 3.5"
CD drive: Pioneer 32X CD-ROM

Now obviously the most blatantly non-period-correct items here are the USB card, hard drive, and CD drive. I really don't care much, though. This build is about me using Windows 95 in a modern environment, and putting it to use once more in today's world without really compromising any of the things that make the DOS/Win9x environment what it is. It's more about that than about period-correctness. If I want to transfer files via USB 2.0, I'm darn well going to do it. The CD drive is really a non-issue for me as nothing on the outside is a strong indicator that it's not from 1995. The HDD is because I will be doing actual work on this machine, and storing things like large music files on it. Heck, I may even use it to store my main locally-based music library, which I intend to grow, as Spotify is great while it lasts but will not be around forever, just like most things. Etc., etc. Anyway, there is a time and place for being a stickler about period-correctness (for example, if I built a 286 I would be much more inclined to make sure everything is just as it should be) but this is not it for me. This will also be my most-often-used DOS PC, and I'm a big fan of doing things with DOS that nobody would have ever thought possible.

The case is just a generic short desktop tower AT case. It was very dirty and beat up when I got it. I've since cleaned it thoroughly and painted the outer side and back cover - it's drying right now and we will see if I like the color. The front of it, I can tell, is a little yellowed. I have yet to decide if it's bad enough that I want to try to fix it. Overall it's kind of a nice-looking case, proportionally and design-wise. It will go nicely on the lower shelf under my desk.

Tomorrow when the case has fully dried, I'll complete the build process and then I will post all of the pictures that I have been taking along the way.

I do just have a couple questions that have been bothering me, though:

1. Should I use a PCI NIC? Do I need 100 mbps? I'm going to be utilizing the network for bare-bones Internet browsing Windows 95-style, but the bigger worry here is network shares. It would be nice to be able to transfer files over the network. Will I be kicking myself for not installing a 10/100 NIC? I guess I'm worried about compatibility. I know the 3C509 is easier to set up due to it being on the ISA bus, plus there are drivers for it for more DOS programs, etc. I have a 3C905, plus an Intel PRO/1000 card - woah. I don't think I need gigabit speed here. This is 1995, after all.

2. The video card. I'm a little worried about the S3 Trio64V2/DX being underpowered for the PMMX/200. My problem here is also compatibility. I have some ATI Rage XL cards, which I know will do fine in Windows, but I also have a very bad opinion of ATI cards due to their horrible compatibility in DOS. I would try for a Matrox Millennium, but again, DOS compatibility there sucks. Maybe what I really need is a Voodoo, but those are hard to come by and I don't think I'll be playing many games that would need it. Most of my gaming will be DOS-based and Windows will be used for productivity.

Anyway, I'll sign off until tomorrow when I will post pictures. I am open to comments and suggestions. Stay tuned!
I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.

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http://keenmaster486.github.io
Vintage desktops: Pentium/MMX 233 (Win95), 286-12 (MS-DOS 5.0)
Vintage laptops: IBM Thinkpad 600E, 560X, 365CD
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Re: The Recycle Center 1995 build - or thereabouts.

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-2-16 @ 19:33

Firstly, pictures of the parts:

MB (Intel 430TX):
IMG_6896.JPG


NIC (3C509):
IMG_6897.JPG


USB (EHCI/UHCI controller):
IMG_6899.JPG


Video (S3 Trio 64V2/DX):
IMG_6900.JPG


Sound Blaster (SB16 CT2230):
IMG_6902.JPG
I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.

http://classictechnology.herokuapp.com
http://keenmaster486.github.io
Vintage desktops: Pentium/MMX 233 (Win95), 286-12 (MS-DOS 5.0)
Vintage laptops: IBM Thinkpad 600E, 560X, 365CD
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Re: The Recycle Center 1995 build - or thereabouts.

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-2-16 @ 19:38

Other pics:

After thorough cleaning, tearing everything out and putting it all back in with the final configuration:
IMG_6907.JPG


Case before painting:
IMG_6892.JPG


After painting and put back together (not sure I like the color. It was Rustoleum Almond, intended for painting on metal surfaces, which is what this is, but I think I'd rather have a lighter color. I dunno.)
IMG_6908.JPG


Goes nicely under the desk:
IMG_6910.JPG


First boot (and here you can see the Trinitron, the picture on which looks very good, though you have to manually adjust it):
IMG_6912.JPG



Next up will be software installation.
I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.

http://classictechnology.herokuapp.com
http://keenmaster486.github.io
Vintage desktops: Pentium/MMX 233 (Win95), 286-12 (MS-DOS 5.0)
Vintage laptops: IBM Thinkpad 600E, 560X, 365CD
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Re: The Recycle Center 1995 build - or thereabouts.

Postby SW-SSG » 2019-2-16 @ 19:57

keenmaster486 wrote:CPU: Pentium MMX 200 (would upgrade to 233 if given the chance). Has a passive cooler (original cooler had a broken fan on it)

Word of warning; that's going to run very hot, and the heat will radiate all over the MB and surrounding cards. I'd try pointing a low-speed 80mm fan at the heatsink rather than relying on the PSU fan for all of the cooling.
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Re: The Recycle Center 1995 build - or thereabouts.

Postby gdjacobs » 2019-2-16 @ 21:28

Or look at making some sort of shroud to improve airflow.
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Re: The Recycle Center 1995 build - or thereabouts.

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-2-17 @ 00:42

Hmm. Yes, I did worry about that. I think I'll try to find a fan to put on it; if I can't find one I will just order one.
I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.

http://classictechnology.herokuapp.com
http://keenmaster486.github.io
Vintage desktops: Pentium/MMX 233 (Win95), 286-12 (MS-DOS 5.0)
Vintage laptops: IBM Thinkpad 600E, 560X, 365CD
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Re: The Recycle Center 1995 build - or thereabouts.

Postby rasz_pl » 2019-2-17 @ 01:33

>1995 build

middle of 1997 build :)
mounting 80x80 fan (wired up to 5V, from old power supply) in the front of case (if there are holes in plastic) should be enough
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Re: The Recycle Center 1995 build - or thereabouts.

Postby Intel486dx33 » 2019-2-17 @ 04:00

Nice, Good choice of cards for Win95 thru 98se.
I think Win95c is a good stable OS. Just add the USBupdate package.
I was able to get USB to work fine with the USBupdate package.
I.E. 5.0
Pentium MMX 200mhz is good enough.
64mb ram is good.

I use to have a bunch of those cheap AT cases back in 1990's and they came with cheap power supplies.
I think they sold for about $30. You may want to consider a good power supply as to not ruin your electronics if it should short out.
Please be careful. These cases have very sharp edges and you can easily injure yourself.

If you get the network card working then you really don't need USB if you have a home network with NAS or small network hard-drive.
You can use a Wifi extender and connect to your computer to give you computer access to Wifi network.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/TP-LINK-Wall-P ... :rk:9:pf:0

I use a WD mycloud NAS and it works great.
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Re: The Recycle Center 1995 build - or thereabouts.

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-3-04 @ 22:46

Updates:

  • Placed fan on CPU heatsink
  • Attempted 256MB of SDRAM. No noticeable performance decrease despite knowing that it probably is not being cached. I would probably see the difference in a benchmark. But do I really need that much RAM?
  • Attempted K6-2 CPU. Can even overclock it with 83 MHz bus speed + 5.0x multiplier. Not impressed with performance compared to Pentium MMX. Probably would perform much better on a Super Socket 7 board with full 100 MHz bus speed. I'll be putting a 233 MMX in it instead.
  • Replaced ISA 3C509 NIC with a PCI 3C905. Same compatibility across DOS/Win95 but 100 mbps hard-wired connection which is nice. The ISA NIC will go in a future DOS only build, hopefully.
  • Obtained a different keyboard, a Model M lookalike which is XT/AT autosensing. It works perfectly but unfortunately the touch on it is awful; feels like typing on bubble wrap.

TODO:
  • This particular MB has built-in USB, a UHCI controller. The DOS PnP (yes, PnP!) drivers I have (for printers, etc) require UHCI, whereas my USB 2.0 card is OHCI+EHCI. I'll keep the USB 2.0 card for fast file transfer reasons but I need the UHCI controller so I can plug in a USB keyboard if I want (yes, the BIOS supports USB keyboards) and also my modern HP printer so I can print with those DOS PnP USB drivers.
  • Different keyboard? Either a Model M (or clone), or a way to plug in my mechanical USB keyboard (see above).

This machine is great for mid to late DOS stuff and 1995-96-97 Windows 95 productivity. That's what I'm targeting with it so we'll see how optimized I can get it for those tasks. It also has WFW 3.11 installed but I don't foresee using it all that much; Win95 seems to handle everything splendidly.
I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.

http://classictechnology.herokuapp.com
http://keenmaster486.github.io
Vintage desktops: Pentium/MMX 233 (Win95), 286-12 (MS-DOS 5.0)
Vintage laptops: IBM Thinkpad 600E, 560X, 365CD
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Re: The Recycle Center 1995 build - or thereabouts.

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-3-12 @ 15:39

Updates:

  • Put MMX/200 CPU back in. Attempted overclocking. Bus 83 MHz, multiplier 3x for 250 MHz = hangs after memory test. Bus 75 MHz, multiplier 3x for 225 MHz = mostly works but stability issues. Ended up back with stock settings of bus 66 MHz, 3x multiplier. I bet a 233 MHz MMX would overclock better.
  • Put 64 MB SIMM RAM back in, replacing the 256 MB SDRAM I was experimenting with. If I get a 64 MB SDRAM stick I will put that in there; I think it would perform better.
  • Attempted to take advantage of the USB pins on motherboard. Got some 5-pin USB header connectors on Amazon, hooked them up but I think maybe the pinout is incorrect. USB keyboard does not work (with BIOS legacy support, or USBUHCI and USBKEYB). I should try to load the tried-and-true DOS PnP mass storage drivers though.

TODO:
  • Keyboard still, I am unhappy with the rubber dome keyboard. If I could get the USB keyboard working that would be nice.
I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.

http://classictechnology.herokuapp.com
http://keenmaster486.github.io
Vintage desktops: Pentium/MMX 233 (Win95), 286-12 (MS-DOS 5.0)
Vintage laptops: IBM Thinkpad 600E, 560X, 365CD
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Re: The Recycle Center 1995 build - or thereabouts.

Postby gdjacobs » 2019-3-13 @ 02:59

keenmaster486 wrote:Updates:

  • Put MMX/200 CPU back in. Attempted overclocking. Bus 83 MHz, multiplier 3x for 250 MHz = hangs after memory test. Bus 75 MHz, multiplier 3x for 225 MHz = mostly works but stability issues. Ended up back with stock settings of bus 66 MHz, 3x multiplier. I bet a 233 MHz MMX would overclock better.
  • Put 64 MB SIMM RAM back in, replacing the 256 MB SDRAM I was experimenting with. If I get a 64 MB SDRAM stick I will put that in there; I think it would perform better.
  • Attempted to take advantage of the USB pins on motherboard. Got some 5-pin USB header connectors on Amazon, hooked them up but I think maybe the pinout is incorrect. USB keyboard does not work (with BIOS legacy support, or USBUHCI and USBKEYB). I should try to load the tried-and-true DOS PnP mass storage drivers though.

TODO:
  • Keyboard still, I am unhappy with the rubber dome keyboard. If I could get the USB keyboard working that would be nice.


My experience with non standard bus speeds on S7 is that stability is more often board related.
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Re: The Recycle Center 1995 build - or thereabouts.

Postby appiah4 » 2019-3-13 @ 03:59

MMX200 is not a 1995 CPU (fastest available was a P133 IIRC) and it will run catastrophically hot without a fan.
1989:A500|+512K|ACA500+|C1084S
1992:HIPPO-VL+|U5SX-33|8M|GD5428|CT2290|S2
1995:P5I430VX|P133|32M|S3T64+/MX2|V1|CT3980/32M
1998:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|V2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2001:GA-6OXT|P3-1200|384M|GF4Ti4200|MX300
2004:K8VD|3700+|2G|X1950PRO|SB0350
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Re: The Recycle Center 1995 build - or thereabouts.

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-3-13 @ 06:27

appiah4 wrote:MMX200 is not a 1995 CPU (fastest available was a P133 IIRC) and it will run catastrophically hot without a fan.

Yes, I know. I think the fastest CPU available in 1995 was indeed a Pentium/133. This is an example of a PC that maybe someone bought in 1995 and then upgraded with the latest CPU in 1997. And yes, I have put a fan on it - I think that was somewhere up there in the updates.
I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.

http://classictechnology.herokuapp.com
http://keenmaster486.github.io
Vintage desktops: Pentium/MMX 233 (Win95), 286-12 (MS-DOS 5.0)
Vintage laptops: IBM Thinkpad 600E, 560X, 365CD
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