Sony Vaio P4 3.06GHz + Voodoo 3 3000 + Matrox m3D + SB Live!

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Re: Sony Vaio P4 3.06GHz desktop - in progress

Postby PC Hoarder Patrol » 2019-7-29 @ 15:00

Now that's weird :exclamation:

Randomly decided to take a close look at the chips on my VideoLogic Apocalypse 3Dx which I knew to have NEC memory (turns out the same ones as your M3D, but mine are week 1 of 97 and yours look like week 30) and whaddaya know - mine have exactly the same marks showing under light. Never had a problem with my card and never been used in a poor thermal / power setup, so I can only assume it's to do with the NEC manufacturing process. Perhaps others here could check for NEC memory on theirs and report.
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Re: Sony Vaio P4 3.06GHz desktop - in progress

Postby SirNickity » 2019-7-29 @ 20:47

I think you're worrying too much. :-)

P4s run warm, but if you see the temp > 70C, you're in troubled waters. Until then, the cooler the better, but don't stress about it. As for the video card, fire it up. If the chips are damaged, you're not going to hurt anything by damaging them more. If they're not, then there's nothing to worry about anyway. What do you have to lose? Run a game in demo mode, and feel the chips. If your fingerprints sizzle off, it's too hot and you've got a bad card or something. If you can still feel things when you're done, shut the case and play some games!
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Re: Sony Vaio P4 3.06GHz desktop - in progress

Postby amadeus777999 » 2019-7-30 @ 11:26

"Partial Seethrough" is most likely the case with all those thin chips.
Use a lighter and try to melt the "package" surrounding the chip. If the lighter can't do it, the chip will never be able to.
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Re: Sony Vaio P4 3.06GHz desktop - in progress

Postby GordonFreeman » 2019-7-30 @ 12:25

So, a quick update. I installed all of the hardware and I installed Windows 98. All of that went relatively smoothly, and then, what a surprise... the same problem showed up. I noticed something I didn't before, though. The problem seems to happen when I run Tomb Raider and then try to run another game that uses PowerSGL. The other game will either run slowly or crash, and sometimes I'll get an "illegal operation" error. This seems to happen with any other PowerSGL game I play after playing Tomb Raider. However, I just noticed that when this happens, if I run Tomb Raider again, it runs just fine. That implies to me that it isn't due to faulty hardware, but maybe due to something being configured incorrectly. I came across this thread from this very forum: viewtopic.php?t=31130

The issue that person is describing is different but similar to what I'm experiencing. They're playing different games, so that could explain the difference. They said that the problem had something to do with bus mastering, and they solved it by installing the card in a different slot. The slot it's installed in currently is different from the slot it was installed in my previous system, but I think the bus master and slave slots are different for different MBs, so maybe I was just unlucky and chose the wrong slot both times. So, what I'm going to do next is remove the sound card and try installing the m3D in each of the PCI slots (there are only 3 of them) and see what effect that has.
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Re: Sony Vaio P4 3.06GHz desktop - in progress

Postby GordonFreeman » 2019-8-04 @ 04:19

Here are some more photos related to the system.

This is the holder the HDD installs in. I actually think it looks kind of cool for something that's normally so boring. I didn't have this when I first got the system, but I went back to the store where I got it and they still had it.

Image


Here's the remote. I think it only works with Sony's software, which I haven't installed yet.

Image


Here's the inside as it is currently (though I shifted things around a little).

Image

I removed a couple cards, added an HDD, memory, video cards, and a sound card (compared to the setup of the computer when I first got it). This system looks pretty cool, even on the inside. It's obvious Sony put a lot of effort into the design of every part of the system. It's also interesting how parts of the case are non-standard for a desktop PC, yet installing new parts is still pretty easy.

Another thing about this system: it has USB ports on the front, which means I can plug a USB game controller into the front if I want to. I have a cheap Steelseries controller that works, however I feel like this system deserves something better than that; so I'm thinking about getting a Logitech controller for it.
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Re: Sony Vaio P4 3.06GHz desktop - in progress

Postby SirNickity » 2019-8-06 @ 21:08

No ATX-12V connector?
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Re: Sony Vaio P4 3.06GHz desktop - in progress

Postby WinSxS » 2019-8-06 @ 22:13

SirNickity wrote:No ATX-12V connector?

Hidden under IDE cables.
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Re: Sony Vaio P4 3.06GHz desktop - in progress

Postby oeuvre » 2019-8-07 @ 13:27

It's actually powered *by* IDE cables.
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Re: Sony Vaio P4 3.06GHz desktop - in progress

Postby GordonFreeman » 2019-8-08 @ 12:10

oeuvre wrote:It's actually powered *by* IDE cables.


IDE cables inside™

No, the connector is in the upper-right part of the MB, behind the IDE cables. This system is micro-ATX, I think.

I've made some progress. I got the ethernet working; I wasn't able to do that before, for some reason. The m3D seems to be fine, I think I understand what's happening with it now - I'll explain that later. I haven't done much testing of the Voodoo 3 yet, so that's the next thing I need to do. Overall, the system seems to be running pretty well.
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Re: Sony Vaio P4 3.06GHz desktop - in progress

Postby SirNickity » 2019-8-08 @ 18:19

No, not the ATX connector, the 12V connector... the 4-pin one just to the bottom left of the CPU heatsink. Was it just unplugged when you took the picture, or do you not have it plugged in?
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Re: Sony Vaio P4 3.06GHz desktop - in progress

Postby GordonFreeman » 2019-8-09 @ 00:22

SirNickity wrote:No, not the ATX connector, the 12V connector... the 4-pin one just to the bottom left of the CPU heatsink. Was it just unplugged when you took the picture, or do you not have it plugged in?


I’m not sure what that connector is for; there’s nothing inside the system that can connect to it. There’s a connector on the other side of the CPU (the CPU power connector, I think) and the CPU fan is also connected to the board - so that other connector isn’t for those things. I don’t know what it’s for, but it doesn’t seem necessary.

I got my Logitech controller today. I’ll test that out later.

EDIT: I just looked, and the connector to the right of the memory (not visible in the photo) is also an ATX-12V connector - that one is connected to the PSU. The one you see in the picture is labeled ATX12V1, and the other one is labeled ATX12V2. Apparently they don't both need to be connected, because otherwise the system probably wouldn't boot. Plus, there's only one ATX-12V connector coming out of the PSU. The only explanation I can think of is that when Sony was redesigning the MB, they decided to move the 12V connector to the other side of the board, but for some reason they kept the original one. Maybe there just wasn't any reason to remove it, or maybe they used it for testing the board.
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Re: Sony Vaio P4 3.06GHz desktop - in progress

Postby GordonFreeman » 2019-8-14 @ 07:04

Another update. This is kind of long, so feel free to skip around if a particular section is boring you.

I got a Logitech F310 controller for the Vaio. Previously I was using this shitty Steelseries controller, but I wanted something better that also was a better match for the look of the Vaio. I think the F310 and the Vaio look good together, though they're not the same color. Coincidentally, the F310 is almost exactly the same color as my CRT computer monitor that I use for this system. I've been using the controller quite a bit, and I really like it. It's a pretty high quality controller, and that's what was really important to me.

Here's a picture of the controller connected to the Vaio:

Image

The cable is longer than it looks in this photo, part of it is to the left side of the frame. One of my goals that I originally started with my other system and that continues with this system is for it to be game console-like in the way I use it. I play most games with the controller, except for games that are meant to be played with a mouse, like point-and-click adventure games. I have a small wireless keyboard/trackpad remote, and I can use this to do any of the standard OS stuff - which mainly is limited to installing games and drivers, and loading games. That's pretty much it, and the remote works fine for that. So, this means that, to use this system, all I need is that small remote (which can also function as a controller) and my controller - and no desk is necessary. Now that I have the Vaio, since it has USB ports on the front, that means I can store away the F310 when I'm not using it, and plug it into the front of the system just like I would with a console. I also think it's cool to be able to use such a relatively new controller with such old hardware and games. I'm not really interested in playing first-person shooters on this system, apart from maybe every once in a while (which I can do, since I can also use a standard keyboard and mouse with a lap tray) - but for the most part I'd rather not, because I'd rather play them on my modern PC. The modern PC can play most of those games (the ones I actually care about) in higher resolution, in widescreen, with a full keyboard and mouse, and with better performance.

The following part might seem boring unless you're really interested in the PCX2 or you have one already and are experiencing the same things. So, if those don't apply to you, you may want to skip that section.

Long, boring PowerVR rant:

I think I understand what's going on with the m3D. The way it seems to me is the the PCX2 is just really picky about how you run games. Most PowerSGL games run fine and don't cause any problems, however Tomb Raider in particular and I think also the PowerVR tech demos can sometimes cause issues. I was looking at the patch files for Tomb Raider that are included on the m3D disc, and I realized that this version of the patch (1.6) is supposed to run in pure DOS - it actually forces you to reboot into DOS. The later patches allowed you to run it in Windows, but the Readme for those patches mention that the system can become unstable if you try to switch to other programs while the game is running - which is similar to what I've experienced, except that for me it seems to become unstable even when the game isn't running. So, my conclusion from this is that certain PowerSGL games/programs are just designed in a shitty way which can cause glitches/errors if they're used in a certain way, and the card and drivers are designed in a way that doesn't prevent this from happening. It's possible that it might behave differently with a different CPU, but I now think that doesn't matter because I seem to have found a solution.

The system seems to behave unpredictably when I run Tomb Raider, but I've found a solution which seems to work in any situation. The solution is this: if I want to play Tomb Raider for PowerVR, it has to be the only game or program I run in a given boot session - things like the 3dfx toolbar and JoyToKey are fine, but I shouldn't run anything else if I want to play that game. I think PowerSGL games are usually the only ones that have problems, however I've found it's best just not to run anything else, since it eliminates any other factors that could cause an error.

So, if I want to play Tomb Raider and the system is off, then I can boot the system and immediately run the game. If the system is on and I've been running other games or programs, then I need to restart the system, then I can run Tomb Raider. Once I'm done playing it, I then have to immediately shut down or restart the system. I still need to do some more testing, but this method seems to work pretty reliably - and it's better than playing it in DOS since I'm able to get the controller working this way, whereas I don't think it's possible to use the controller in DOS. It's a little annoying, but not too bad, and Tomb Raider isn't really that important to me anyway - I was mainly interested in it just as a technical challenge, and because the PowerVR version is supposedly superior to the other versions. I don't care about the PowerVR tech demos at all, so I'm just not going to avoid those entirely.

All of the other PowerSGL games I've tried seem to work just fine, so that's pretty much all I care about. I'm pretty sure now that the m3D itself isn't faulty: it's either just an inherent, unavoidable flaw of the hardware, or poor design of the games or drivers, or all of the above. Either way, it isn't something to be concerned about.

Anyway, I still really like the m3D and the games I can play with it - so I still think it's worth it to have it. Another nice thing about the m3D is that certain games that use Glide or DirectX that won't run on the Voodoo 3 (because they were designed for older Voodoo cards) will run on the m3D. And the Voodoo 3 can run most other games, so the two complete each other. :dead: A couple of games I've found that won't work on the Voodoo 3, but will work on the m3D are Unreal and Mechwarrior 2. Those games both have Glide support, but it doesn't work with the Voodoo 3.

A side note about Tomb Raider: another solution would be to just run the game in DOS, which I think would eliminate the problem entirely, but this isn't possible to do with my system because the DOS drivers for the SB Live! require emm386.exe to be running - and if you do that, then Tomb Raider gives you an error which says that emm386.exe can't be running while the game is running. So, this just isn't possible with my system, unless I want to install a second sound card - which is way more work than I'm willing to do for this one game. A side-benefit of this experimentation, though, is that I now know how to run CD-based DOS games in pure DOS with SB Live! drivers.

/Long, boring PowerVR rant

About the system itself:

Everything seems to be working pretty well overall. I've noticed that the DVD drive can be a little noisy with certain discs, but this isn't anything other than a slight annoyance at most - and most discs aren't that noisy. Glide/OpenGL/DirectX games seem to work fine with the Voodoo 3, and PowerSGL games generally (apart from what I described above) run fine on the m3D as well. DOS and Windows games work. The SB Live! and SB16 emulation work as intended. I also got the ethernet working, though I haven't used it for anything yet. This system is pretty awesome. It's basically the same as my previous system, apart from having a slightly higher CPU clock speed and extra hardware that I'm not using currently. The real benefit of this system is that it's in much better condition physically and cosmetically, and it looks much nicer. I've been continually expanding my setup and trying to make it the best system possible for playing older games, and I think it can't get any better than this.

Here are the system's current specs, which I'll also add to the OP:

Pentium 4 3.06GHz
P4S533-VL MB
512MB DDR-333
Voodoo 3 3000
Matrox m3D
Sound Blaster Live!
WD 160GB HDD
Sony DVD-RW drive
Matsushita DVD drive
Floppy drive
Windows 98 SE

It also has video/TV recording functions and a memory stick slot which are currently disabled. The built-in Yamaha AC-XG is also disabled.
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Re: Sony Vaio P4 3.06GHz + Voodoo 3 3000 + Matrox m3D + SB Live!

Postby Zack_H » 2019-8-15 @ 09:42

Very nice system! I like P4s a lot. The case is pretty sweet looking on that Vaio.
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Re: Sony Vaio P4 3.06GHz + Voodoo 3 3000 + Matrox m3D + SB Live!

Postby GordonFreeman » 2019-8-16 @ 07:22

Zack_H wrote:Very nice system! I like P4s a lot. The case is pretty sweet looking on that Vaio.


Thanks. I wanted to get a PIII, but it seems those are rather hard to find. The place I was looking at had a couple of P2s and a Celeron, and multiple P4s, but no PIIIs. I saw the Vaio and I loved the way it looked, and I've wanted a Vaio of any kind for a while now, so I had to get it. It was pretty cheap too, and in excellent condition. Initially I was unsure of whether getting it was the right decision, because I didn't know if I would actually end up using it - but I've been using it and it works pretty well for what I want it to do, so I think getting it was the right choice. I think the CPU is on the high-end of processors that are compatible with the SB Live!'s SB16 emulation. The CPU is way more powerful than it needs to be for the games I'm playing, but it actually does seem to improve the performance in some games - even compared to my other 2.53GHz P4 system.

Another thing I noticed the other day is that Ultim@te Race doesn't run as well on this system as it did on my other P4 system. On that system, it ran at close to 60fps, whereas on this system it runs at more like 30fps or lower. Other PowerSGL games, like Moon Racer, seem to run a bit better than that system. I don't know why that is exactly, but it seems like a positive overall - since I like Moon Racer more than Ultim@te Race. Glide/DirectX games on the Voodoo 3 seem about the same as the other system.
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