VOGONS


Reply 40 of 83, by Tali

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Visited an actual (physical, not online) LED store and got some blue and yellow LED strips today. Came home, tested them, and yellow is actually amber. Ugh, why do these things look different with and without external light? Got so fed up with it that decided to order non-programmable, 4-wire RGB LED s and a simple resistive controller for those. That should finally get me the colours I want.

Also, thinking ahead, acquired an early PhysX card (P4 will feature crossfire, therefore missing PhysX, so it will be interesting to spice things up with an actual Ageia product).

Now purchases on hold, waiting for actual boards to arrive.

Reply 41 of 83, by mbliss11

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Update on the drive - turned out it was bad my others on order came in today and were fine. Everything is working great with the exception of the dos game blood which hangs when playing audio from the CD. Other than that very happy with it. I may try a different driver in DOS and see if that resolves it. Thanks again for the inspiration 😀

Reply 42 of 83, by Tali

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Thank YOU for the feedback, and glad it was useful for someone else besides me, myself and my persona. At times it feels like that, with more than half posts here being, well, mine. 😀

Speaking of which, waiting for parts is getting on my nerves. Worse yet, I am contemplating another (ANOTHER!!!11111) build. Oh, where am I going to keep them all? And why would I want a Pentium M... but somehow I do.

Reply 43 of 83, by Tali

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I've received the first of the next batch of motherboards, a nice purple ECS P4 board that needed the most repairs. It had pins in the S775 bent quite violently by whoever was its former owner. Well, that was the board I wasn't sure I would be able to fix. Yet, after a bit of fiddling and spoiling my eyes, it happily booted.
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I didn't run extensive tests yet, and that wasn't quite the objective at the moment, but, at least, it works as far as getting into BIOS is concerned. Currently it is running a P4-2.8 GHz, which is exactly 1 GHz below what it will be running in the end. I figured, I wanted the "fastest", not the most powerful P4 system, and, since it was a numbers game for Intel, hey, why not? So P4 670 on the way. I'd love a 672, but there really is no reason to have virtualization on a machine that isn't going to be using it, and about the only one for sale was twice the price (not even counting shipping). I could choose P4 EE at 3.73 GHz instead, which is definitely more powerful, but 3.73 vs 3.8... It's a P4, appearances matter! 😀

Anyway, here's the happily running BIOS and a nice little cooler (still packed) that is going to be working its backside off keeping this monster from overheating. Managed to snag it NOS.
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Given that with P4 it wasn't so much about actual speed as it was about appearances, let's call the machine "Emperor" (and also because Dune 2 had the guy with purple banners on yellow, something close to the colour scheme I have planned for it).

P3 is also being shipped, and I've picked up a Vortex 2 for it, making its specs mostly complete. Speaking of specs, Emperor is still in process of being decided upon: while I do wish to put 1950XTX in CrossFire, I'm debating with myself if I shouldn't sacrifice some performance for convenience and go for 1950Pro instead, since those have an actual bridge (not a dongle), and are generally much less pain to come by. Then again, where's the fun in that?

Oh, and that PSU in the picture? Well, it's a temporary one, and is going into another project. That's actually an Antec NEO 480, perfect for those 5V-hungry Athlons. Its twin brother is powering the Shaman (Dual P2 seen in the picture).

Reply 44 of 83, by Tali

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My Tualatin and the corresponding mobo happily arrived today. No pictures this time, as I'm working on P4 for now, plus, I don't have a s370 cooler yet, so no need to take it all out.

In the mean time, I'm installing Vista on that P4. And, to tell the truth, that stock Intel cooler in the pic above is really making me appreciate just how quiet Sorceress is, with her three separate loops and 9 fans. Too bad I can't use the Arctic Square, as I don't want to take it out until I have a case and the actual CPU I have intended for the Emperor.

Reply 45 of 83, by Tali

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Installing actual, real and fully licensed box version of Windows Vista Ultimate on Emperor. Updates still work! Activation doesn't, at least not automatic. Phone activation, however, saved the day. I'll try to get boxed versions of OSes for all my builds, speaking of which, does anyone know how and where could one procure licensed Norton Commander 5.5 hardcopy? I know there are alternatives, like Volkov, and plenty of free clones but it would be the most authentic thing to run on Bard...

Not everything is sunshine and lollypops, though. PhysX card turned out to be dead. Not bricked, but still dead. It will get detected, it will happily start some tests, but will fail at some of them. A shame, though, given the state of its fan and the discolouring around the chip, not something I would find unbelievable. It very well may have overheated during its previous life.

I've scored another one, with seller calling it "100% working". We'll see, I guess...

Reply 46 of 83, by Tali

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Another update. Managed to get Emperor to install Vista 64, and it even activated! Now with most updates and service pack 2, it is very near to what I had back in the day. Even the CPU for now is the 630, just like I had back then (this one is borrowed from another machine while 670 is being shipped). On the down side, it still needs a proper sound card, as over the years I've learned to fear the Crab... and for a good reason. Then again, I didn't even bother with audio yet, so no harm done to my ears. Anyway, the "missing" list is as follows: 2x1950XTX and a sound card, TBD. The rest is pretty mundane stuff, like a case, some fan controllers, a DVD drive, etc. Nothing it can't run without.

I've also checked out the P3 board and the CPU. It booted just fine (the one I have isn't Tualatin-enabled, and the CPU has an adapter. Suffice to say, it gave me much less headaches than the i815 chipset itself. Finding single-sided (and not over-ranked) SDRAM to fill all four slots is going to be a nuisance. Of course, I could go with 2 x 256 Mb and call it a day... but it has 4 slots, and I want 4 sticks of RAM there, CL2 at best. I might also need a BIOS update, just in case. Anyway, the "missing" list for this system is: PATA SSD (I've checked with an 8Gb stand in, and it works just fine), floppy/cd (still not sure if I need a floppy, the laptop this is supposed to sort of replicate had one, but it's not like I've used it for anything but banking), and some RAM that will actually satisfy the rather limiting i815 requirements. It has onboard Creative sound (no doubt something legacy from Ensoniq), and I've got a nice Vortex 2 coming, so I might even decide not to disable the onboard chip and have both working, provided it has some EAX. The video card I've planned for it is also supposed to be at the post office already, and the RAM it has now, while far from perfect, is still usable. What's really needed is a cooler (I've borrowed the s775 tower from Emperor for now, but it certainly is far from a permanent solution - about the only thing keeping it on the CPU is gravity and some weak adhesive properties of thermal paste.
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P.S. That 1kW Corsair is certainly overkill for a Tualatin build. It's not meant for it, nor even for P4. While a little too weak for Sorceress (she already has her 1200W monster inside), it is just perfect for Assasin (remember, that thing is supposed to power a quad core with SLI'd GTX285, and I like to leave a bit of headroom in my PSUs)
P.P.S. This board, as can be seen from the photo, is a Dual BIOS board, so I can try to download the latest one and mod it with microcode patches for Tualatin, while remaining generally safe no matter what happens, since there is a second BIOS to back me up if something goes south.

But the most fun is for tomorrow. I've got a large shipment coming with some cool stuff here, including a replacement bracket for the CT3670, along with 32 megs of RAM for it; a board for Athlon, RAM and cooler for it, and the Athlon itself; some authentic case stickers, but, best of all, that Korg NX5R. Now I'm SO going to play the crap out of it...

Reply 47 of 83, by Tali

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Time for a pretty large update, and then some.

I've received the shipment mentioned above, and there are some mixed feelings. Nah, kidding, I'm happy as a pig in mud! But not all is well, so let's start with a spoon of tar in the proverbial barrel of honey.

First, I've ordered plenty of stuff, including a pair of "SLi-ready" OCZ DDR2 RAM modules, which, n0 matter how I searched the box, didn't seem to materialize. Instead, there was an odd pair of DDR4 by Samsung, something I have no use for. Ah well, things like that do happen, and it's a risk you take when ordering stuff to a shipping forwarder, since you can't inspect the items when they arrive, and it would be impolite to delay feedback till you actually forward them home. Call this a loss of fifteen bucks and move on, I guess.

Second issue is a much more unpleasant one. That CT3670 I was supposed to fix? Well, brackets did arrive, and I did solder one right in place. To say I'm proud of how nicely I managed to do the soldering is to say nothing. It felt like a breakthrough, most contacts couldn't be distinguished from factory made (and I'm normally not that good at it so I was pretty happy to have learnt something). It didn't work, however (no magic smoke, just wouldn't init), and multimeter wouldn't tell me why. What's more unnerving is that I don't know if it worked before to begin with, as I never got the chance to test it on Bard at the time. So now I'm stuck with a card I'm yet to fix, and I'm not 100% sure it can be fixed. Ah well...

Now, onto the brighter side of things. I've received a nice yellow board for that Athlon XP, along with everything I need for it. Well, everything but the video card. I'll be using a Radeon 9600 Pro for a while, until I make up my mind on what I actually want there. Perhaps, a Gigabyte 6800 GT, like the one I didn't win in an auction a couple days ago? Or screw period correctness and go with "the fastest AGP card"?
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Anyway, I don't need to bother deciding on what cooler to use. This is my pick, and I'm pretty happy with it. I've even tested it, and it sounds nice and clean, and looks amazing with the board, mostly out of the way of all the yellow stuff. For now, let's pack it, as there is no case yet, and the board quite obviously needs a recap, and the new caps haven't arrived yet.
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I've also managed to solve a problem with Bard. It simply didn't want to work with a switch for some strange reason (keys would get ignored, and mouse would simply stop responding after a second of rapid movement), but it was quite happy with a Tripp Lite USB to PS/2 converter. Now what I've come up with is an unholy adapter chain that, surprisingly, works quite well and doesn't induce any noticeable input lag with either mouse or keyboard. Clearly, this is something I wouldn't recommend unless you absolutely have to, especially considering the cost of adapters involved. But hey, they work, and I can use it with that Cybex switch, so no more extra keyboards on my desk!
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Finally, the icing on the cake. The very reason I wanted this shipment so badly. Korg NX5R.

The thing came in 110V variety, so I had to open it and switch to 220V mode. I just love how they went through all the trouble to support both voltages what can be essentially called "out of the box". Just open it, plug the connector into a different set of pins, and voila! Even the fuses are there for both voltages!
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Never mind the mess of screws, it is a very organized mess, with four top ones in a square being the side screws, while the two rows are, well, two rows of back screws in their respective order, and it does matter, as there are different screws there. Anyway, I was also happy to see that it did have the DB51XG inside! Quite a lot of folks (ok, by "a lot" I mean more than one, which, given the rarity of NX5R, is indeed a lot) are selling it daughterboard removed, and boy I'm glad there was no foul play involved here!
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I was also surprised to know there are actually 4 demo tracks on it, as opposed to the two on NS5R. Moreover, the fourth one I'm sure I've heard somewhere else. Perhaps on some Yamaha? Granted, I remember the melody with some additional effects, but it still sounded just fine here. After doing some (very basic) YouTube search, I couldn't find a single video with all four songs, so video incoming sometime soon(tm).
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And eternal doom on LGR (see what I did there? 😀), you made MIDI mountains a thing, and now they just keep growing! I've already got a whole shopping list, and it doesn't stop at MU80...

Reply 49 of 83, by TechieDude

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Agreed, these caps ABSOLUTELY_MUST_be replaced ASAP. Some of them are already bulging. I once had a Gigabyte GA-7VAX back in 2014 or 2015 that was killed by failed caps and wouldn't power on even AFTER replacing them. I don't even know how they managed to do that much damage to the board. Lesson learned: NEVER ignore bulging caps!

Reply 50 of 83, by Tali

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Will certainly do that. However, I've ordered replacement caps at the same time I've bought the board, and I'd wager they are still on some boat moving slowly towards Europe at the moment...

Reply 53 of 83, by starcube

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The fuses aren't there "for both voltages". If you look at the markings, the PCB stencil has two values for each fuse, one is crossed out with a marker. The fuses you have are rated for 110V operation, if you remove the marker with isopropanol, you will see the values they should be for 220V operation. You should change them to keep the unit safe. It may "just work" for now but it's not properly protected.

Reply 55 of 83, by starcube

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Tali wrote on 2020-05-25, 13:10:

Thanks for the tip, it is indeed most welcome. You wouldn't know what type (as in nomenclature) of fuses are these?

These are bog-standard T6 fuses.

Check in the service manual if they're fast-acting or slow-blow (crucial to protecting the unit) as well as the correct values if you don't feel like wiping off that marker.

Reply 58 of 83, by starcube

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Tali wrote on 2020-05-25, 14:02:

Strange, once is "marked" for 110/120, while the other is marked for 220...

The fuses for 220V will have a lower current rating than those for 110V.

You must change them when switching the mains voltage so that the unit is protected against the same amount of maximum power draw (voltage times current).

The service manual will be your source of absolute truth here.

Reply 59 of 83, by starcube

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Tali wrote on 2020-05-25, 14:13:

Ah, got it. I can see through the paint. The top one says 250v T1.6A, bottom one 250v 1200mA (whatever T in T1.6 means?)

T just denotes the current rating for the fuse.