3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

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Re: 3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

Postby pshipkov » 2019-8-24 @ 02:38

Glad you liked my gibberish.

4x1Mb Samsung 60ns parity FPM 30 pin SIMMs

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Had to pick and choose from a bunch to find the right ones. As far as i remember 2 more memory sticks with LG chips on them worked fine too, but used the 4 Samsung ones for uniformity.

The BIOS does not offer option to toggle parity checking, but these memory sticks have been battle tested on multiple motherboards for all sort of things - they are solid.

EDIT:
Just remembered something - there is a similarly looking type of SIMMs with KM41C1000CJ-6 labeled Samsung chips on them, they gave me quite a bit of trouble. They are a bit taller and have wider resistors. There is a "SAMSUNG Korea" label in the upper left corner.
But maybe it is just a coincidence that mine are not great and i am only spreading rumors here.
So i leave it to you to decide what is what. :)
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Re: 3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

Postby Ekb » 2019-8-24 @ 08:26

nice :)
i didn't know that samsung is good too :)

if I'm not mistaken, then "Parity error check" is it J18, you need to install a jumper 1-2.
2-3 - OFF parity error check.

I see chips "Parity Error Check" are also high speed 60ns :)
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Re: 3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

Postby pshipkov » 2019-8-24 @ 22:09

I tried that and got an error message.
Plus the system hangs in a weird way.

Tried the same memory sticks in two other motherboards - 286 and 386 - parity check went just fine.
Given the fact that the VLSI system is very stable, i am wondering if its parity checking is just being funky ?

Btw, do you have the datasheet of the motherboard ?
There are couple of other jumpers that seemingly do nothing.
Last edited by pshipkov on 2019-8-25 @ 00:13, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

Postby Ekb » 2019-8-24 @ 23:12

you can check by turning turbo is OFF. Will it pass the test?

Datasheet/document I have no.
Last edited by Ekb on 2019-8-25 @ 15:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

Postby pshipkov » 2019-8-25 @ 15:15

With Turbo turned-off the parity check function works, otherwise it fails.
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Re: 3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

Postby Televicious » 2019-8-26 @ 05:20

Didn't see the 3dfx voodoo get used in benches on the DX5. :( Awesome collection though. Nice job.
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Re: 3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

Postby pshipkov » 2019-8-26 @ 22:51

Thanks for the kind words.
It is a nice hobby to spend an hour or few with, when possible.

You are right - i didn't provide any numbers for the voodoo. Let me know if there is a specific benchmark, or a game, that you think will be a good fit and i can give it a try.

===========================

I want to righten something that was wrong, or better - something that was unjust.
Couple of posts above i labeled the Unichip 367C motherboard an underperformer.
The motherboard shown all symptoms of turbo turned-off - no L2 cache, very low performance, etc.
I was unable to wake it up, so i assumed that it is just a badly desgned piece of hardware.
Until yesterday.

Check this out:
- I noticed that one of the turbo-switch pins was little shorter. Upon close inspection i realized that it actually was broken and does not make contact with the corresponding line. Fixed it. Shortened the pins (turbo-on). Back in business ! Until ...
- Now there is an error message about bad cache.
- I know that the cache chips are good. They work fine in other motherboards. Whatever. Changed couple of sets, until 4xEtronTech 20ns ones did it. Weird. Finally ! Well, until i ...
- Turned-off auto-config and optimized timings = black screen.
- I was using CL-GD5426 and CL-GD5428 ISA video cards. Had to bring my preferred weapon of choice - ET4000AX (1998) when something is funky on that side.
- Back online. No, not yet ...
- The system is now very unstable. I know that the installed memory may not be the best out there. Swapped them with trusted ones. And finally that did it !
Quite a tall stack of problems that i think gives me a good excuse for my initial opinion about this motherboard.
Once that was cleared up, the motherboard turned out pretty nice.

Updated stats:
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Performance comparison with M321 for reference:
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Re: 3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

Postby pshipkov » 2019-9-13 @ 07:11

Back in the day there were plenty of S3 Virge based video cards.
Spent a moment today to check the unaccelerated DOS and accelerated Windows GUI performance of 3 Virge generations (capped at 1996).
Added an S3 Trio for a reference.
Used the ASUS PVI-486SP3 motherboard.

S3 Virge/GX 2Mb (Compaq)
http://www.petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/486dx5_s3_virge_gx.jpg
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S3 Virge/DX 2Mb (forgot to put the second Mb of memory for the photo session)
http://www.petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/486dx5_s3_virge_dx.jpg
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S3 Virge/VX 8Mb (STB Velocity 3D)
http://www.petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/486dx5_s3_virge_vx.jpg
Image

S3 Trio/DX 2Mb
http://www.petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/486dx5_s3_trio.jpg
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http://www.petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/benchmarks/benchmarks_s3.png
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As expected, DOS results are even, a bit of a difference in Windows GUI. Same old, same old.
Will try to run some accelerated 3D tests tomorrow to see if there is anything different on that side.
If i can trust my distant memories - the results will be close, but also dismal. :)
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Re: 3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

Postby pshipkov » 2019-10-08 @ 06:18

Ran a quick test with latest version of glQuake1 against the 3 Virge cards using the GL library provided by S3.
Used Voodoo 1 as a reference, but had to set "cache burrst write" to 3 cycles (lowest possible is 2), otherwise Voodoo and glQuake don't cooperate. This was not necessary for the Virges.
I expected VX to be the slowest, but surprisingly it does better than the rest. Still the Virge line is clearly a 3D decelerator type of hardware.
On top of that, picture was dithered and the GX card produced additional texture stretching artefacts.
Image
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Re: 3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

Postby pshipkov » 2019-10-14 @ 03:38

In continuation to my post on Page 2 about 486 motherboards from the time period 1995-1996, i am adding one more to the list - Biostar MB-8433UUD-A rev.2

http://www.petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/mb_8433uud_a_motherboard.jpg
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The motherboard came with the usual dead Dallas battery, which required unsoldering and socketing.
The cache chips were faulty, so fresh high-quality ones had to take their place.
Memory was problematic too, so high-quality modules had to replace them as well.
Adjusted BIOS timings to the lowest possible wait states for best performance.

Below is what the standard set of DOS syntethic benchmark programs report.

Biostar MB-8433UUD-A with AMD-X5-133ADZ 160MHz
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Biostar MB-8433UUD-A with Intel Pentium P24T 83MHz
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Used the Asus PVI-486SP3 rev. 1.22 as a reference point.
http://www.petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/486dx5_motherboard.jpg
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Asus PVI-486SP3 with AMD-X5-133ADZ 160MHz
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ASUS PVI-486SP3 with Intel Pentium P24T 83MHz
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Numbers are more or less the same. The only noticeable difference is in IDE performance:
PVI achieves 9-10Mb/s while Biostar lingers at 3-5Mb/s.

Synthetic tests are ok, but they don't show what really is going on, so i ran the usual mixture of unaccellerated DOS and accellerated Windows graphics, as well as 3D rendering tests ...

Biostar kicked PVI's butt in PCI video graphics. Tested with Matrox Millenium, Tseng Labs ET6000 and Cirrus Logic GD-5480, results were consistent, so only the Matrox numbers are shown below for compactness.
But the ASUS board had the final word on graphics performance with the monster Trident TGUI9440AGI VESA card.

The Biostar board ran into trouble with the Windows accellerated graphics and 3D rendering tests using the 486DX5 CPU.
I had to significantly relax the wait states to get it to stable condition, otherwise Windows was hanging, 3D Studio cannot get to UI and LightWave3D crashed during rendering.

For Windows and 3D Studio:
L2 cache wait states 3-2-2-2
host clock / pci clock 1:1

For LightWave3D:
read/write wait states 1 1
L2 cache wait states 3-2-2-2
host clock / pci clock 1:2/3

Synthetic tests taken with the LightWave3D wait states for the 486DX5 CPU for fully stable system:
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I was conflicted about the situation.
In the one hand - i really like the great DOS performance of the Biostar board despite the fact that the wait states used to achieve it lead to unstable system for Windows and 3D rendering, but in the other hand - i really like fully stable systems.
At the end i decided not to discard Biostar's great DOS results and provided two bars for the 486DX5 - one for fully stable system and another for the lowest wait states.

Ok, enough talk - let's take a look at the results.
Well, one last note - orange bar denotes best result, orange outline denotes best PCI result.

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Conclusion:
The Biostar board has better PCI performance than the Asus one, even with increased wait states necessary for fully stable system for the execution of more sensitive tasks. Its IDE performance is about half of what the Asus mobo does. The Asus board saved face with its support for VESA graphics which came on top at the end of the day. But the metrics difference is more or less marginal.
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