First post, by jheronimus
I'm currently unemployed (or "between jobs", eh?), so I have lots of time between interviews. Why not make a new build?
It all started with this '99 Palo Alto ATCX case:
The great thing about it is that it's a "convertible" case, meaning that it can be converted between a tower case and a desktop. According to Anandtech, this feature made this model very popular among OEMs, so it was used for various Pentium III models by Dell, Micron, Compaq and others:
The drive cage is removable, and the motherboard mounting is screwless. All in all, there are almost no screws to be found in this case.
Originally, this machine came with a Pentium IV at 1.7 GHz, but I didn't particularly like that build. So I've decided to make a new one!
The motherboard is Asus TUSL2-C with a Pentium 3 1400-S (512KB of L2 cache). The USB breakout panel was a mistake — I forgot that Asus still used a proprietary USB/MIR panel:
The GPU is a Gigabyte GF-GV3000D — based on the original GeForce 3. The fan was extremely noisy, so I had to clean it with compressed air, disassemble it using this guide. Added some oil to the fan — it's definitely quieter now, but still far from silent.
Creative Sound Blaster Live 5.1 Platinum. Came with a front panel, but without a remote control or things like MIDI cables. Can't say I need either of those, the main point of this thing for me is looking cool and allowing me to play in my Sony MDR-7506 headphones.
An obligatory 3COM network card:
512 MB of PC-133 SDRAM and an 80GB Western Digital drive:
Well, with all that it's time to install Windows 98SE:
I've immediately installed the latest drivers for the video, sound, network and chipset, followed by DX 9.0c, IE 5.51 and Unofficial Service Pack. The issue is that I occasionally get BSODs like this:
It mostly occurs when I'm downloading large amounts of data from my home FTP which is why I've tried the following:
- downgraded the Intel chipset drivers to the ones offered on the Asus website for this model. Figured it might be a DMA issue;
- upgraded 3COM drivers from the ones installed by Windows 98 to the ones from EtherDisk 5.4;
- upgraded the BIOS to the latest version.
After that I got a BSOD after playing Jedi Outcast, so I've finally tried some googling:
Turns out, these kind of error might be memory-related, so I've run Memtest86. Yeah, both 256MB sticks contained errors. I don't have other matching modules, so now I have three sticks: 256MB+2x128MB of PC-133. Ran memtest with no errors, but I still get BSODs when downloading stuff:
This is not a huge issue, but any recommendations would be welcome.
All in all I'm pretty happy with this build, but I am not sure whether the GeForce 3 is the best match. As it is, it can run almost all games I want, but I'd like to be able to run any Quake 3-based game (Jedi Outcast, Call of Duty, etc) at 1600x1200@60FPS. Technically a GeForce 4 Ti4200 or Ti4600 would still be period correct (Pentium firstname.lastname@example.org GHz was released in 2002) while Ti4600 would probably already be CPU-bottlenecked.
Pentium 133, 32 MB RAM, S3 Trio64V+, Crystal 4232, Dreamblaster X2 and Roland MT-32
Pentium III 1000, 512 MB RAM, Voodoo 5 5500 AGP, SB Live 5.1, SB32 CT3930, Gravis Ultrasound Max rev2.1