VOGONS


Need a little help with my MMX build

Topic actions

First post, by Murugan

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Hello there fellow retro-gurus
Well, I'm not really a guru since I need help but anyway...... 😀

My friend gave me his MMX-233 in this config:

* Mainboard: Chaintech 5VLM M101 (if anyone has a manual for this since I only found 3 dead links so far) with 16MB RAM *EDIT* Just found some info on the board
* GPU: Some SiS card (didn't look at it further ATM)
* Soundcard: Avance Logic AV 310
* HD of course running W95

Now so far I only added a Voodoo2 but I want to upgrade the RAM to 32MB and maybe add another sound card too.
I noticed 2 different types of RAM slots. The ones that are filled are 72 pins double sided RAM. Am I correct? But what is the other one?

Click for the full-sized image:
sfxq20_th.jpg

What is my best upgrade path?

Change the 2x8 into 2x16 72-pin since I'm guessing that mixing different types is not possible of recommended?
The mainboard has PCI and ISA slots and the sound cards that I have here are AWE32 PNP CT3980, AWE64 CT4380 , AWE64 Gold! CT4390 + CT1950, SB 16 Wave Effects CT4170, Audician 32 plus and a Sound Galaxy Orion16.
Or should I stick with the AV 310?

I've read a lot of MMX build threads but there are a lot of trees in the forest!

Thanks for looking!

My retro collection: too much...

Reply 1 of 28, by gdjacobs

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

You've got lots of options for audio. I'd experiment a bit to see what you like.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 2 of 28, by stamasd

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

As for the memory, a bigger picture would help. But they could be 168-pin DIMMs.

I/O, I/O,
It's off to disk I go,
With a bit and a byte
And a read and a write,
I/O, I/O

Reply 3 of 28, by Scraphoarder

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
stamasd wrote:

As for the memory, a bigger picture would help. But they could be 168-pin DIMMs.

Think you are correct. That was common for many boards to have both 72-pin FP/EDO ram and 168pin SD ram. You could even run both types simultaneously, but i was always sceptical doing that and just used one types. Think i read somewhere that SD ram in some cases wasnt any faster than good EDO sticks. True?

Reply 4 of 28, by archsan

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Yes 168-pin DIMM slots along with SIMM, as common with many 430VX (and 430TX) boards.
http://www.yjfy.com/C/CHAINTECH/mainboard/CT-5VLM.htm

As for finding manuals... unfortunately Chaintech has become one of the more obscure names. Scarce documentations online. 🙁

Oh, but you're lucky! 😀
http://www.elhvb.com/mobokive/archive/Chainte … lm0/5vlm0-3.pdf (not the full manual but key jumpers and pins/connectors positions are there)
found link from here

BIOS (check for yourself!):
http://www.elhvb.com/mobokive/Archive/Chaintech/bios/5vlm/

As for RAM upgrade, it's probably best to go with SDRAM provided you can find ones that are compatible with this board and can use them without the SIMM. Or go SIMM only. Just to avoid potential problems (esp. voltage mismatch).

Also with SDRAM on this board, best bet would be to use 32MB PC-66 sticks. Related:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.c … ilt/o-QDbM-9HhU
http://www.pcguide.com/vb/archive/index.php/t-4359.html

Murugan wrote:

Well, I'm not really a guru since I need help but anyway...... 😀

Well, everyone needs help one way or another. 😀

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."—Arthur C. Clarke
"No way. Installing the drivers on these things always gives me a headache."—Guybrush Threepwood (on cutting-edge voodoo technology)

Reply 5 of 28, by Murugan

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Thanks for the help!
I found the first link archsan but the other ones are an excellent addition.
As for the sound card, I'm gonna start out with my AWE64 CT4380 and see what it gives.
Done some searching on Evilbay and would these be good:
http://www.benl.ebay.be/itm/122050374684?_trk … K%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

My retro collection: too much...

Reply 6 of 28, by nforce4max

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

I wouldn't bother with an AWE64 if this is going to be a DOS build but for 9x it is not a bad choice, you can upgrade the ram to 64mb for almost nothing. As for the card you got a lot of options and the vast majority of them are cheap.

On a far away planet reading your posts in the year 10,191.

Reply 7 of 28, by SBB

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Seems like chaintech didn't store full manuals on their site in those days, but just in case these are useful:

https://web.archive.org/web/19980416060532/ht … ION/Manuals.HTM

https://web.archive.org/web/19980416073122/ht … als/5vlm0-3.pdf

For sound I have a Creative CT2900 ISA Card, based on Vibra 16S chipset in my P200MMX build, worth a look as they're very affordable, sounds great and I paid £12.50 for mine (€15). About one third the price of AWE32s I was looking at !

Last edited by SBB on 2016-07-27, 10:43. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 8 of 28, by archsan

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Murugan wrote:
Thanks for the help! I found the first link archsan but the other ones are an excellent addition. As for the sound card, I'm gon […]
Show full quote

Thanks for the help!
I found the first link archsan but the other ones are an excellent addition.
As for the sound card, I'm gonna start out with my AWE64 CT4380 and see what it gives.
Done some searching on Evilbay and would these be good:
http://www.benl.ebay.be/itm/122050374684?_trk … K%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

😀
If you're going to use SIMM, then why not EDO DRAM instead of FPM? Usually from the era would be 60ns sticks.

Example:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/32MB-PS-2-EDO-SIMM-Me … g8AAOSwvg9XYQY9

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."—Arthur C. Clarke
"No way. Installing the drivers on these things always gives me a headache."—Guybrush Threepwood (on cutting-edge voodoo technology)

Reply 9 of 28, by mmx_91

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

For system memory, I'd definitely go for SDRAM, and upgrade it to 64MB (the cacheable limit). It's faster than EDO most times, can be used in single module configurations, and really easy to find (flea markets, old pc's, etc.)! In my opinion, it's an advantage to have DIMM slots on Pentium motherboards 😀

Reply 10 of 28, by archsan

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

^Yeah, I'd go with SDRAM first myself, simply because I have some PC-66 and PC-100 sticks ready for testing. 😀 But primarily also because of the flexibility of not having to pair sticks (so I can use single 32MB module if I needed to).

That said, on a VX board it probably wouldn't be that much faster over EDO DRAM:
http://www.pcguide.com/ref/mbsys/chip/pop/g5iI430VX-c.html

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."—Arthur C. Clarke
"No way. Installing the drivers on these things always gives me a headache."—Guybrush Threepwood (on cutting-edge voodoo technology)

Reply 12 of 28, by jheronimus

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Murugan wrote:

If someone can help me out with some SDRAM then 😉....

From my experience, later Socket 7 boards usually play nice with nearly any PC-100/PC-133 SDRAM memory stick. They are cheap, easy to find, and usually cause less issues than SIMMs. Also, I might be wrong, but almost all 32MB SDRAM sticks are PC-100 or PC-133, so you can't really go wrong there.

AWE64 is a nice place to start: drivers are easy to find, installation procedure is well documented, and you get SB16+AdLib(emulated)+General MIDI in one package. It has some issues with General MIDI under pure DOS, but a lot of mid-90s DOS games support AWE32/AWE64 natively and you can run most other titles under Windows 9x.

MR BIOS upgrades catalog
Unicore Award upgrades catalog

Reply 13 of 28, by psychz

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

SDRAM support on socket 7 is strange. Apart from the memory caching limit of the various chipsets (i.e. you have to use small sticks in order to gain performance), some early boards used to support only single-sided sticks. Also keep in mind to check the voltage jumper as SDRAM is 3.3V, not 5V. From personal experience they don't get damaged immediately, they just run rather hot, not sure if you would want that. Don't actually know how long they tend to last when used that way 🤣 The only advantage of it vs EDO is that it doesn't need to be paired with a matching stick I guess.

Stojke wrote:

Its not like components found in trash after 20 years in rain dont still work flawlessly.

:: chemical reaction :: athens in love || reality is absent || spectrality || meteoron || the lie you believe

Reply 14 of 28, by Murugan

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Things are getting complicated now 😀
I really lost touch with old HW sorry
So it seems according to a link posted here, the VX set takes only max 32MB sticks.
Are these the ones I need then:
http://www.benl.ebay.be/itm/262517900729?_trk … K%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

@psychz: I don't see any jumpers for ram voltage or am I getting blind here....
http://www.elhvb.com/mobokive/archive/Chainte … lm0/5vlm0-3.pdf

Sorry for the hassle people 🙁

My retro collection: too much...

Reply 15 of 28, by archsan

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

At such cheap prices it wouldn't hurt to try both (that is, one type at a time).

However, due to questions about voltage (whether the board regulates the DIMM separately and automatically or if there's a jumper unknown to you), for simplicity's sake at this point I'm going back to my EDO DRAM recommendation. If they work then having SDRAM wouldn't be much of a difference anyway on this system.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."—Arthur C. Clarke
"No way. Installing the drivers on these things always gives me a headache."—Guybrush Threepwood (on cutting-edge voodoo technology)

Reply 16 of 28, by mmx_91

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Yeah, it's more convenient due to the ease to find SDRAM modules. Additionally, if you're using PC100/133 modules (more usual than PC66), you can often tweak memory timings on the Bios to gain a bit more of performance. When using SDRAM you should configure jumpers to bring 3.3V to the modules!

I remember that our original Pentium 166MMX - 430TX based (first pc) was upgraded in 2001 to 256MB SDRAM (one module) and a 20GB HDD. It worked perfect! When we got rid of it a year later, the memory module was moved to our new Pentium 4 machine. 😀

Some years later, I was asked to upgrade a similar machine (only used for office purposes). I tried another 256MB module that I had lying around, and its VX chipset if I remember it ok, recognized the amount of 128MB (the max for this chipset).

But back then I had no idea about cacheable limits! 🤣, my current Pentium setup uses a more modern (SS7) platform. I'm curious to buy a cheap Intel based motherboard to test and benchmark 🤣 🤣.

PD: It's VERY important to use modules that have memory chips on both sides, I experienced problems with single side modules on these kind of machines! Also, when those PCs were upgraded, I remember to remove old SIMM modules before installing the new DIMMs.

Reply 17 of 28, by Tetrium

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++
Murugan wrote:
Hello there fellow retro-gurus Well, I'm not really a guru since I need help but anyway...... :happy: […]
Show full quote

Hello there fellow retro-gurus
Well, I'm not really a guru since I need help but anyway...... 😀

My friend gave me his MMX-233 in this config:

* Mainboard: Chaintech 5VLM M101 (if anyone has a manual for this since I only found 3 dead links so far) with 16MB RAM *EDIT* Just found some info on the board
* GPU: Some SiS card (didn't look at it further ATM)
* Soundcard: Avance Logic AV 310
* HD of course running W95

Now so far I only added a Voodoo2 but I want to upgrade the RAM to 32MB and maybe add another sound card too.
I noticed 2 different types of RAM slots. The ones that are filled are 72 pins double sided RAM. Am I correct? But what is the other one?

Click for the full-sized image:
sfxq20_th.jpg

What is my best upgrade path?

Change the 2x8 into 2x16 72-pin since I'm guessing that mixing different types is not possible of recommended?
The mainboard has PCI and ISA slots and the sound cards that I have here are AWE32 PNP CT3980, AWE64 CT4380 , AWE64 Gold! CT4390 + CT1950, SB 16 Wave Effects CT4170, Audician 32 plus and a Sound Galaxy Orion16.
Or should I stick with the AV 310?

I've read a lot of MMX build threads but there are a lot of trees in the forest!

Thanks for looking!

As others have pointed out, it's for SDRAM (430HX ones (if they had any) were supposed to only support EDO in its DIMM slots though).

Iirc 430VX would only work with those earliest density 16MB or 32MB SDRAM sticks with 8 chips/1 side or 16 chips/2 sides (usually these SDRAM modules came in these configurations).

Another thing I noticed is that these earliest SDRAMs had chips on them with far fewer pins for each individual memory chip (the chips were a bit shorter) and were mostly PC-66.

430TX was supposed to be easier with the higher density SDRAM modules.

But for a VX build, I'd go with 2 of those early PC-66 32MB modules as I should have tons of those around anyway, but I'd go SIMM if the VX board has only a single SDRAM slot, which would limit total amount of memory to 32MB while 4 SIMM slots I could go up to the maximum cacheable 64MB.

I'm a but rusty though, just passing by again 😀

Mixing SIMM and DIMM could be problematic (maybe not at first, but perhaps down the road) and many manuals at the time advised against doing so.

Whats missing in your collections?
My retro rigs (old topic)
Interesting Vogons threads (links to Vogonswiki)
Report spammers here!

Reply 18 of 28, by Murugan

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

I'll look to order 2x32MB EDO 60ns then.
I hope to install the AWE64 this weekend en next the RAM so I can finish this small upgrade.
Not planning on tinkering with speeds and voltages 😀

Thanks for the help guys! Much appreciated.

My retro collection: too much...

Reply 19 of 28, by konc

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
jheronimus wrote:
Murugan wrote:

Also, I might be wrong, but almost all 32MB SDRAM sticks are PC-100 or PC-133, so you can't really go wrong there.

Actually most of 32MB SDRAM sticks were rated @66MHz. I'll refrain from stating that 133MHz 32MB modules don't even exist in case I'm totally wrong with this, but I was working in the field at that time and they were certainly not common.