Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

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Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby feipoa » 2012-7-09 @ 05:57

Share your experience with dual Tualatin setups.

My story:

I went with a relatively inexpensive solution from Intel for my dual Tualatin. It is an Intel SAI2 motherboard. They are cheap on eBay, about $30 new, with lots of surplus. In fact, I have as second one NIB in the closet. The board is based on the Intel ServerWorks ServerSet III LE chipset. It has 2 PCI-X, 4 PCI slots, and supports up to 4 GB PC133 RAM. The only drawback is the lacking AGP slot. The board has been rock solid for years with dual PIII-S 1.4's. It is running XP Pro with 2 GB of RAM and a dual-DVI Quadro FX 600. Like my Dell Precision Workstation 410, they never crash.

Through the years, the lack of the AGP slot on the SAI2 board encouraged occasional browsing on eBay for a similar-performance board with an AGP port. I now have two such boards in the closet. One is a SuperMicro P3TDE. Again, dual PIII-S, 4 GB RAM support, and based on a similar chipset, the Intel ServerWorks ServerSet III HE-SL. This board has 6 PCI-X slots and 1 AGP 2X/PRO slot. An added bonus is dual, built-in Ultra160 SCSI controllers. The one small drawback is that the boards is a bit fussy with RAM. All 4 DIMMs must be filled with matching, registered PC133 ECC sticks. A small price to pay for what you get.

The second board I sourced was a SuperMicro P3TDDE. It is now safely in the closet next to the P3TDE. The reason for sourcing this board was that I felt a little behind by the only 2X AGP port on the previous board. The P3TDDE has a 4X AGP port. Unfortunately, I had to let go of the Intel chipset though. The P3TDDE uses a VIA Apollo Pro 266T chipset, but it comes with the AGP 4X/PRO slot. I remember this board being a little less fussy with memory. You loose all PCI-X slots and the onboard SCSI though. I haven't yet tested the stability of this VIA chipset, but if there is any chance of it being stable, it would be in high performance server-class board such as those offered by SuperMicro.

No board seems to have it all, but the combination of these 3 boards does! I'm now just waiting for my wife's Intel SAI2 to die so I can upgrade it to one of these SuperMicro boards. For what my wife uses the Intel SAI2 for, the GeForce 6200 in the PCI form factor has been exceptionally fast. The main bottleneck is actually the CPUs; she does a lot of work with Adobe flash and streaming video. You can probably speed up the PCI graphics card by placing it in the PCI-X slot for 66 MHz operation (instead of 33 MHz). It worked fine there for a year, then I upgraded her graphics driver version, and it stopped working. I had to put the graphics card into a regular PCI slot thereafter. Downgrading the driver didn't fix it either - not sure what happened, but it feels just as fast in a regular PCI slot.

I did quite a bit of research before selecting these motherboards. Most of the boards out there are based on VIA chipsets. I did see one with RAM faster than 133 Mhz, I think it was called RAMBUS (200 Mhz or something like this), but I couldn't find it for sale anywhere. I think it also lacked the AGP port. The ASUS CUV4X-DLS with Tualatin adapters is what I had for my wife before the Intel SAI2 board. It has a 4X AGP port and built-in SCSI. She used this ASUS board semi-reliably for a few years, then it died mysteriously. We had two such experienes with this ASUS board; One was used, and one was an ASUS refurb. sent direct from ASUS. It would output a BSOD after 4 days of uptime, even with Coppermines installed. I still have it in my dead motherboards box. There are no bulging caps. The manual mentions it is based on the VIA VT82C694XDP, VT82C686B chipsets, which I beleive is VIA Apollo Pro 133A. This experience and another bad experience on a FIC super7 board have soured me on VIA chipsets.

These are my success and failure stories with building a reliable dual Tualatin III-S board. I hope someone finds the information helpful. I prefer to just stick with my good 'ole Dell Precision Workstation 410 though. When the time comes, and I hope it never does, I have 3 dual Tualatin boards to choose from. I also have a backup 410 motherboard, revsion A06, incase my existing one dies. If you aren't in a hurry, you can eventually find high-end boards for real deals on eBay, usually from sellers who don't know the value in what they are selling.

EDIT: 19 December 2012

The MSI Pro266TD Master LR, MS-9105...

I have begun to setup a system around this motherboard to upgrade my aging dual 850 MHz machine. I was attracted, probably foolishly, by the 266 MHz bandwidth PCI southbridge-northbridge vlink and the use of DDR memory. It also has a 4x AGP port, but lacks PCI-X slots, and is based on the VIA Apollo Pro266T chipset

I have it setup with dual Tualatin 1.4 GHz CPUs now and have installed Windows XP Pro SP2 without incident, but there were some problems I noticed pretty early on.

If the onboard LAN port is enabled and the onboard Promise IDE RAID port is disabled, you cannot soft-reset or even use the case's reset button. If you do, the board will hang upon reboot just after IDE HDD/CD-ROM auto-detection (even if you have no IDE items). The Intel Boot Agent usually follows at this point in boot, but never shows up. If you power down and power up, it boots fine. Or if you save the BIOS, it boots fine. However, if you leave both the onboard LAN and IDE Raid controller enabled, there is no issue with resetting.

I, however, did not want to use the onboard RAID controller and the CD-ROM drive only works on the standard VIA onboard IDE ports. There is no problem leaving the RAID controller enabled except that it consumes an extra IRQ. But this fact alone bothered me. I don't like having to disable items in the Windows Device Manager and I don't like seeing that red X on disabled items. So I disabled both the onboard LAN and RAID controllers and there is no problem with resetting now. I even tried disabling the Intel Boot Agent FLASH using the Intel bootutil, but it didn't help the issue. It also will boot fine with the RAID enabled and the LAN disabled. The only combination the board doesn't like to reset with is LAN-ON, RAID-OFF. This happens to be the only combination I wanted.

Normally, disabling an onboard LAN controller would also bother me, but this particular Intel controller was sluggish in Windows Explorer and is the second strike against this board. I am now using an Intel Pro 1000 MT controller and have no issues (for now).

I am using the board with a 1 TB SATA drive and Adaptec controller (1420SA). There will eventually be 4 SATA drives on this machine, if it proves stable. For anyone else who is looking for this board, I would recommend the non-LR version because it does not have onboard LAN or RAID. Note that both the NIC and SATA cards are PCI-X, as they were originally going to be used in a PCI-X based Tualatin board, but they also work in PCI 32-bit slots.

Now, 2 months later, I have been using this board without any crashes, and only reboot when Windows Update requires it. I'm using 2 GB of RAM and an AGP Quadro FX 500.

END EDIT

If anyone has any other dual Tualatin 1.4 GHz success stories, we'd like to hear them.
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Last edited by feipoa on 2014-5-10 @ 10:51, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby luckybob » 2012-7-09 @ 14:24

A long time ago, I built a dual 1.4 powerhouse based on the SAI2's big brother, the SDS2. It was my home file server until I needed something with pci-e. :P These boards are relatively rare. They come with 2 regular and 4x pci-x slots, and its based on the Serverworks HE-SL chipset. As far as I can tell, the SL variant has 2 big features that the others dont. #1: Dual channel ram. I had 6GB of it in 6 slots. #2: It had THREE INDEPENDENT pci busses. I really wish I hadn't sold it back then. The sds2 has a easy to find RACKMOUNT brother, the SCB2. Same stats as the SDS2 as far as I can tell, but designed for rackmount pizza boxes.

anyway, if you have more money than sense, there is a Tyan version, the S2688 on ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/110374041047 Its only been there a GOOD 3 years now.
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby feipoa » 2012-7-09 @ 15:01

That Tyan S2688 board and the Intel SDS2 seem very similar to the SuperMicro P3TDE, with the exception of the missing AGP port. The SuperMicro P3TDE also has the HE-SL chipset, however the advantage of the Tyan and SDS2 boards seem to be the extra 2 DIMMs.

I'd be very curious to know if any Tualatin PCI-X based motherboard works properly with the PCI-X Matrox Parhelia 256. Installation of the WinXP drivers cause the system to hang-up. The thought of using this PCI-X graphics card is the reason why I had originally given up on finding a dual Tualatin board with an AGP port. I was awefully upset when it didn't work - I think I paid $45 for that odd ball graphics card.

luckybob wrote:If you have more money than sense, there is a Tyan version, the S2688 on ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/110374041047 Its only been there a GOOD 3 years now.

Did you make an offer?
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby luckybob » 2012-7-09 @ 15:22

yea, I offered what its worth, $50.
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby Stull » 2012-7-09 @ 17:16

Irrational people often don't appreciate rational offers. Gotta' love eBay. :P
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby sliderider » 2012-7-09 @ 17:22

That's a ridiculous price. I got a Tyan dual socket 604 with 2.4ghz Xeons, heatsinks and fans for $25 shipped not long ago. I then upgraded it with dual 3.2ghz Xeons for another $20 a few months later.

I'd wait for something like a ABit VP6 and do the wire mod on the Tualatins. I have 1ghz Coppermines in mine but have 2 1.4ghz Tualatins mounted in Powerleap adapters waiting to be modded.
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby feipoa » 2012-7-09 @ 17:40

The Abit VP6 contains the same chipset as the ASUS CUV4X-DLS (VIA Apollo Pro 133A). I wonder if it is more stable? The BSOD issues I had with the ASUS were usually from the SCSI controller, however I see the Abit board has onboard ATA instead. Do you have long-term experience using the Abit VP6 as an everyday computer? How would you rate its stability?
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby sliderider » 2012-7-09 @ 18:23

feipoa wrote:The Abit VP6 contains the same chipset as the ASUS CUV4X-DLS (VIA Apollo Pro 133A). I wonder if it is more stable? The BSOD issues I had with the ASUS were usually from the SCSI controller, however I see the Abit board has onboard ATA instead. Do you have long-term experience using the Abit VP6 as an everyday computer? How would you rate its stability?


I haven't installed it in a system yet. It's packed away in the original box. I got it because it was complete and cheap. I'll put in a case one day, but I don't have enough cases or power supplies to go around for all my projects.
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby feipoa » 2012-7-09 @ 18:27

sliderider wrote:...but I don't have enough cases or power supplies to go around for all my projects.

Ain't that the truth!
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby nforce4max » 2012-7-09 @ 19:04

Very very impressive especially that SDS2 at one point. Didn't know that it even existed! I need to get around to working on my xeon build at some point. http://www.tyan.com/archive/products/ht ... ri860.html Got 2GB worth of rdram installed and two 3ghz 4mb xeons installed. http://ark.intel.com/products/27304/Int ... 00-MHz-FSB
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby nforce4max » 2012-7-09 @ 19:08

sliderider wrote:
feipoa wrote:The Abit VP6 contains the same chipset as the ASUS CUV4X-DLS (VIA Apollo Pro 133A). I wonder if it is more stable? The BSOD issues I had with the ASUS were usually from the SCSI controller, however I see the Abit board has onboard ATA instead. Do you have long-term experience using the Abit VP6 as an everyday computer? How would you rate its stability?


I haven't installed it in a system yet. It's packed away in the original box. I got it because it was complete and cheap. I'll put in a case one day, but I don't have enough cases or power supplies to go around for all my projects.


So many boards, so many drives, so many other things and no where to put them. :depressed:

Got heaps of dead supplies it isn't funny.
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby luckybob » 2012-7-09 @ 19:10

sliderider wrote:That's a ridiculous price. I got a Tyan dual socket 604 with 2.4ghz Xeons, heatsinks and fans for $25 shipped not long ago. I then upgraded it with dual 3.2ghz Xeons for another $20 a few months later.

I'd wait for something like a ABit VP6 and do the wire mod on the Tualatins. I have 1ghz Coppermines in mine but have 2 1.4ghz Tualatins mounted in Powerleap adapters waiting to be modded.


funny you should say that, I upgraded to a dual 604 xeon as well. A Supermicro X6DA8-G2. For $60 I got the board, 8gb of ram and a pair of 2.8 processors. I then paid like $40 for a pair of 3.8's and it currently runs as my web/file server/minecraft rig.

:P
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby nemesis » 2012-7-12 @ 02:57

Sorry to show up late to the party, but I have in fact run a dual tualatin rig some time ago... I have a post about it somewhere here (I think it ended with me looking for another PSU to solve my power issues).

Anyway, I shoved it in the closet for now because of: lack of space, lack of licenced copies of dual CPU supporting OS's in my house, and the fact that I already have an active single CPU Tualatin system... it seems like there were more reasons, but I guess it just boils down to the fact that I really haven't gotten around to doing much with it due to so many other projects that I haven't finished (i.e. pretty much anything to do with delicate soldering).

Well, the specs are:
Aopen DX34R-U Motherboard
2x PIII Tualatin CPUs tested at 1.4 - 1.52GHz
BFG OC 6800 Ultra AGP
250GB IDE HDD
CD/DVD burner optical drive
2GB pc133 RAM

I can't remember what PSU I switched to... Kinda makes me wanna dig it out again and push the limits.
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby feipoa » 2012-7-12 @ 07:09

nemesis wrote:Well, the specs are:
Aopen DX34R-U Motherboard
2x PIII Tualatin CPUs tested at 1.4 - 1.52GHz
BFG OC 6800 Ultra AGP
250GB IDE HDD
CD/DVD burner optical drive
2GB pc133 RAM


Aside from the fact that the motherboard uses a VIA chipset, it looks pretty decent. It actually has native Tualatin support and 4X AGP. I think I tried to find one of those when I was doing my dual Tualatin motherboard hunting but came up empty. I see that it uses the VIA Apollo 133T chipset, which is at least different from what ASUS used in their CUV4X-DLS board.

Concerning your delicate chipset soldering: Aside from that weblink toaster oven approach I sent you, have you considered trying a hot air solder iron? I think those work pretty good on 2-sided SMD pieces, but not sure about 4-sided removal. You could always exacto the leads to remove the chipset, then hot air the lead stubs off the motherboard.
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby nemesis » 2012-7-12 @ 21:34

Actually I tried a heat gun that my brother has with some of the projects and had very little success. I have a few relatives that are experts at soldering, but sadly they don't live near me anymore.
Where I won't need to use the same chipsets again, maybe I should try that last approach.

Question: Why do you consider the other chipsets (I'm guessing that you're refering to the workstation Intel ones, but please correct me if I'm wrong) to be better than VIA? Is it due to the extra RAM support (DX34R-U can only support 2GB)?
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby feipoa » 2012-7-12 @ 22:42

Because I haven't had the best of luck with VIA-based chipsets. The CUV4X-DLS noted above is one board which gave me troubles; I've had two of them. The VIA MVP3 chipsets on Super7 boards haven't been very nice to me either. For long-term reliability, I've had a lot better luck with Intel-based socket 7's, socket 370's, and slot 1's. Perhaps this is coincidental in that the PCB and/or BIOS on Intel chipset boards have been designed better? Perhaps it is all in the chipset? I didn't bother to disect it.

I am refering to a hot air rework station, which unlike normal soldering irons, is contact-less. It is like a blow tourch of streaming hot air. Is that what your brother has?
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2012-7-12 @ 23:39

VIA couldn't even get the basics right. I can only imagine how shitty one of their "server" chipsets must be.
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby luckybob » 2012-7-12 @ 23:58

If you want a kickass P3 server chipset, the serverworks he-sl is king. I know they also made P4 chipsets, but intel pulled their head out of their arse and got thing right when they went ddr on p4's. :P
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby feipoa » 2012-7-13 @ 00:08

Anonymous Coward wrote:VIA couldn't even get the basics right. I can only imagine how shitty one of their "server" chipsets must be.

That is my first thought as well, but I still have a glimmer of hope. Has anyone had ANY experience with the VIA Apollo Pro 266T chipset?
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Re: Dual PIII-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz Success Stories

Postby nemesis » 2012-7-13 @ 00:49

I am refering to a hot air rework station, which unlike normal soldering irons, is contact-less. It is like a blow tourch of streaming hot air. Is that what your brother has?

Yes, that's exactly what he has... a decent model too. I just stink at using it I guess lol.

If you want a kickass P3 server chipset, the serverworks he-sl is king.

I can't argue with you there on server chipsets. I loved the Tyans that used those. The issue that I had with them was the price tag (and form factor). That and I despise PCI-X and they generally lack AGP... but that's what you sacrifice when you're strictly doing a server build. I'm not interested in making mine just a server (I have plenty of faster computers for that job). I was more interested in what server chipsets have going in their favor aside from greater RAM potential.

I guess I'm just looking for a dual Tualatin system for the same reasons that I built 5x86 systems... for benchmarks, general use,... and most importantly, gaming. Maybe some day I'll make a P3 server for kicks.

Would it be possible for someone to explain what is infact wrong with the VIA chipsets aside from reliability (was never really an issue for me)? I know it takes a little longer to explain what you're thinking and from the sheer hatred boiling from the page I can tell that there is in fact something wrong with it, but I don't know what to look for... is there a bus issue that I'm overlooking, or maybe hardware limitations that I'm not aware of? I would appreciate any explanations, but if not, then I guess it's not the worst thing for me to be blissfully ignorant of any shortcomings in my build. :happy:
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