What retro activity did you get up to today?

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby red_avatar » 2019-2-07 @ 11:51

appiah4 wrote:Pentium 75 being too slow for Windows 95 is news to me in 2019.. I mean, I ran OS/2 Warp 3 on a DX4-100 super smooth, how much slower could Windows 95 be?

Regardless, you say it's a Pentium 75 PC with 8MB RAM, but the boot screen clearly says it's a DX2-66 processor and 16MB of RAM is onboard - one of you is wrong. :confused: You say the VGA is a VLB card, that makes me think the PC is the one in the right here :cool:

Also, Pentium 75 is not slower than any 486 CPU, your memory is wrong. The DX4-100 may be a tad faster than Pentium 60 in integer tasks maybe, but that's about it.


Read carefully :p

(this image I found online so the specs don't match)


The VGA is on-board (chip) so it's not VLB - disregard the screen above completely. I posted it to show you how the start up screen looked, nothing else.

And yes, technically Windows 95 runs fine on a Pentium 75 but I build these PCs to be typical high end machines of the period. I had a Pentium 166 for Windows 98 which I already found a tad too slow so I upgraded to a Pentium 233 MMX. A Pentium 75 running Windows 95 would only be able to run a very small amount of Windows 9X games at a good speed. It would be far more useful as a DOS machine. Thing is, my Pentium 233 MMX is ALSO great as a DOS machine and even better since there's quite a few late end DOS games that will run poorly on a Pentium 75 but run fine on a P233.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby appiah4 » 2019-2-07 @ 11:57

red_avatar wrote:Read carefully :p

(this image I found online so the specs don't match)


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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby blurks » 2019-2-07 @ 12:16

red_avatar wrote:The VGA is on-board (chip) so it's not VLB

Is there any way to rule that out or to confirm that? I have a similar HP Vectra N2 4/66 (486 DX/2 66 CPU with 24 MB RAM). It has an integrated lightning-fast Cirrus Logic GD-5434 graphics controller. I know there are some ISA variants out there but the majority of 5434's I came across were VLB-variants. Additionally I wasn't able to reach the speed of the integrated GPU with an external card on the ISA bus ever again (see this comparison). Could it be that some of HP's Vectra series have an onboard VLB interface for the GPU?
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Murugan » 2019-2-07 @ 13:06

Can't say W95 is slow on my P75 build.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby kixs » 2019-2-07 @ 13:07

blurks wrote:
red_avatar wrote:The VGA is on-board (chip) so it's not VLB

Is there any way to rule that out or to confirm that? I have a similar HP Vectra N2 4/66 (486 DX/2 66 CPU with 24 MB RAM). It has an integrated lightning-fast Cirrus Logic GD-5434 graphics controller. I know there are some ISA variants out there but the majority of 5434's I came across were VLB-variants. Additionally I wasn't able to reach the speed of the integrated GPU with an external card on the ISA bus ever again (see this comparison). Could it be that some of HP's Vectra series have an onboard VLB interface for the GPU?



You should test with external 5343 ISA card - like Speedstar64. Otherwise it wouldn't be all impossible for the internal VGA to be connected via VLB. Also test with Speedsys to get the KB/s for the onboard VGA card. If it's above 4MB/s it's most certainly on some other bus then ISA.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby blurks » 2019-2-07 @ 13:14

kixs wrote:You should test with external 5343 ISA card - like Speedstar64. Otherwise it wouldn't be all impossible for the internal VGA to be connected via VLB. Also test with Speedsys to get the KB/s for the onboard VGA card. If it's above 4MB/s it's most certainly on some other bus then ISA.

I wish I could but ISA 5434 cards are crazy rare and expensive. Also (my impression) Speedsys only arbitrarily offers information about the data transfer speed of video memory. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Depending on the GPU and the VESA extensions installed. Will have to have another look into the stock system configuration.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby PTherapist » 2019-2-07 @ 13:32

Battling with a VIA C7 based Thin Client. It seems to have hardware issues.

Firstly the CPU overheats, which cleaning and applying new thermal paste doesn't cure. Secondly once I've gotten past the heat issue with the addition of a fan, system stability isn't great. DirectX games will freeze or cause BSODs in Windows XP and installing Graphics drivers in Windows 98 leads to a frozen black screen at boot.

I'm guessing failing capacitors are to blame for these issues, so I'm probably going to leave this mini project on the backburner for a while. Though I'm not ruling out bad RAM just yet, which I'm going to test before proceeding any further. As sometimes upon reboot it fails to POST with beep codes relating to the memory.

It uses a regular Mini ITX motherboard, so I'll probably end up replacing the motherboard. I notice a lot of cheap Atom based boards available would fit in this thin client case, whilst others would need some slight modifications for the ports in the back. But then I'd be verging further away from retro and more towards regular low powered emulation system.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby blurks » 2019-2-07 @ 13:45

kixs wrote:
blurks wrote:
red_avatar wrote:The VGA is on-board (chip) so it's not VLB

Is there any way to rule that out or to confirm that? I have a similar HP Vectra N2 4/66 (486 DX/2 66 CPU with 24 MB RAM). It has an integrated lightning-fast Cirrus Logic GD-5434 graphics controller. I know there are some ISA variants out there but the majority of 5434's I came across were VLB-variants. Additionally I wasn't able to reach the speed of the integrated GPU with an external card on the ISA bus ever again (see this comparison). Could it be that some of HP's Vectra series have an onboard VLB interface for the GPU?

You should test with external 5343 ISA card - like Speedstar64. Otherwise it wouldn't be all impossible for the internal VGA to be connected via VLB. Also test with Speedsys to get the KB/s for the onboard VGA card. If it's above 4MB/s it's most certainly on some other bus then ISA.

OK, it seems I have confirmation. 22.2 MByte data transfer speed for the onboard GD-5434 graphics adapter. Does that mean data transfer within video memory or data transfer over the bus to the video memory? Looks like onboard VLB, right? That would explain, why no ISA graphics adapter comes even close to the onboard GPU in terms of speed.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby kixs » 2019-2-07 @ 14:29

This confirms it's not on the ISA bus.

If Speedsys doesn't show transfer results, you can use DrHard sysinfo program.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby liqmat » 2019-2-07 @ 16:58

brostenen wrote:Watching demo's all day. Technically yesterday. I found a nice collection of OCS demo's from 1987 to 1993.

Don't know if this applies to your setup, but interesting regardless and maybe helpful to you.

http://www.indieretronews.com/2019/02/f ... e-and.html
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby brostenen » 2019-2-07 @ 19:34

liqmat wrote:
brostenen wrote:Watching demo's all day. Technically yesterday. I found a nice collection of OCS demo's from 1987 to 1993.

Don't know if this applies to your setup, but interesting regardless and maybe helpful to you.

http://www.indieretronews.com/2019/02/f ... e-and.html


Good to know. But I am running real floppy disks on all of my computers. Except my C64. For that I have an SD2IEC that are cordless and plugs directly onto the back of the machine.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby luckybob » 2019-2-07 @ 19:41

kixs wrote:For the past week or so I've helped a local bowling center with computers that control the lanes - it's from 1995 and computers are based on 486 VLB boards. They had some problems with the power surges and some components got broken. It's good I have a lot of old stuff ;) I'll post some photos of custom built wooden cases later :D


That's something where a video would be really cool to watch.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby red_avatar » 2019-2-07 @ 20:14

Murugan wrote:Can't say W95 is slow on my P75 build.


Well you have to see it from the point of a retro gamer. I don't run Windows 95 just to have Windows 95 (especially since W95 still gives me nightmares) - if I do it, it's to have the benefit of having Windows 95 for running games. Fact is, many devs stuck with DOS for a few years longer so there aren't all that many Windows games that will run well on a Pentium 75. This PC was very expensive at the time (78.000 Belgian franks or almost €2000 in early 1996) yet a year later, it couldn't even run most Windows games at a decent pace because the CPU jumped very quickly from 60-75 to 133-166. For example, Magic the Gathering & Age of Empires will barely run and need 16MB of RAM and both games were released only a year later. Can you imagine forking over the equivalent of €3500 in today's money for a PC that won't even run games released next year? My mate really picked the worst time to buy his PC. Half a year after him, I bought a P166 MMX for €1500 with 32MB of memory.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby liqmat » 2019-2-07 @ 20:19

Decided to turn on another one of my tall AT server towers today for testing and POP!!! Sparks, smoke and mayhem. Luckily no parts were attached to it at the time. Replaced the fuse. Nothing. Took the PSU apart and it looks like maybe a cap or two blew, but also the transformer smells of BBQ if you know what I mean. Kind of sucks as I can't find this model anywhere and it has long power cables for the tall case. Have any of you tried to rebuild a power supply before?

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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby luckybob » 2019-2-07 @ 20:31

Glad to hear you survived. Surprise bad psu caps are my favorite!
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby liqmat » 2019-2-07 @ 20:42

luckybob wrote:Glad to hear you survived. Surprise bad psu caps are my favorite!

Yeah, I contacted Digikey and we tried to get a matching transformer, but not enough info on the transformer for them. Maybe I'll try Enermax themselves and see if they have any recommendations. Not holding my breath. That transformer smells of electric death.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby luckybob » 2019-2-07 @ 20:46

Then it's likely a mosfet died, and took the transformer with it.

It's going to be easier to just cram a new power supply inside that box than fix the old one.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2019-2-07 @ 20:51

I've never fixed or repaired a power supply a day in my life and the only way to fix the power supply for me was to buy a new one and an ATX-AT w/ -5VDC adapter to go along with the new ATX PSU or spares I have.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby liqmat » 2019-2-07 @ 20:51

luckybob wrote:Then it's likely a mosfet died, and took the transformer with it.

It's going to be easier to just cram a new power supply inside that box than fix the old one.

Yeah, of course another one those towers has the proper ATX PSU plate attachment on the back. If only this lot had some extra PSU plates for these cases. I may just sell the case as-is and some modder can screw with it.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby luckybob » 2019-2-07 @ 21:00

Well new power supplies are just 12v supplies with a couple DC/DC buck converters for 3.3 and 5v.

It would be an interesting project to put something new in that giant power supply box.
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