PcChips sucks!

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Re: PcChips sucks!

Postby bjwil1991 » 2017-10-30 @ 13:13

Pabloz wrote:On the weekend i tried the very same PCCHIPS m919 motherboard with the same PSU, same memory, and the same vga pci card.
it boots, and now it detects the memory correctly 16MB. These motherboards are a lottery

Then today i tried to boot it again, it hanged at the first boot screen that says the Videocard model.
Then i tried to boot like 20 times after that and it failed to POST., always black screen with the monitor on standby

Then i took the motherboard out of the case, inserted the videocard, and it booted fine. :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:

I have no clue of what the hell these pcchips boards have, could it suffer from a bend? It was very common to see that in the 90s the people that built these PCs, placed like a foam sheet between the motherboard and the PC case.

and what keeps the board in place are those small standoff plastic snap that are not very secured because on one side of the board it doesnt have a bracket

Check the solder points on the ISA/VLB slots for any cracks or cold points. If so, reflow the solder on those pins.
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Re: PcChips sucks!

Postby Pabloz » 2017-10-30 @ 13:28

bjwil1991 wrote:
Pabloz wrote:On the weekend i tried the very same PCCHIPS m919 motherboard with the same PSU, same memory, and the same vga pci card.
it boots, and now it detects the memory correctly 16MB. These motherboards are a lottery

Then today i tried to boot it again, it hanged at the first boot screen that says the Videocard model.
Then i tried to boot like 20 times after that and it failed to POST., always black screen with the monitor on standby

Then i took the motherboard out of the case, inserted the videocard, and it booted fine. :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:

I have no clue of what the hell these pcchips boards have, could it suffer from a bend? It was very common to see that in the 90s the people that built these PCs, placed like a foam sheet between the motherboard and the PC case.

and what keeps the board in place are those small standoff plastic snap that are not very secured because on one side of the board it doesnt have a bracket

Check the solder points on the ISA/VLB slots for any cracks or cold points. If so, reflow the solder on those pins.


i wasnt even using isa/VLB , i was using PCI video, and im sure i tried all 3 slots when the board was inside the case.
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Re: PcChips sucks!

Postby bjwil1991 » 2017-10-30 @ 13:39

Oh. Check the solder points on the PCI slots then. Didn't realize that board came with PCI slots, and I thought it was VLB. My bad.
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Re: PcChips sucks!

Postby feipoa » 2017-10-30 @ 17:48

Pabloz wrote:On the weekend i tried the very same PCCHIPS m919 motherboard with the same PSU, same memory, and the same vga pci card.
it boots, and now it detects the memory correctly 16MB. These motherboards are a lottery

Then today i tried to boot it again, it hanged at the first boot screen that says the Videocard model.
Then i tried to boot like 20 times after that and it failed to POST., always black screen with the monitor on standby

Then i took the motherboard out of the case, inserted the videocard, and it booted fine. :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:

I have no clue of what the hell these pcchips boards have, could it suffer from a bend? It was very common to see that in the 90s the people that built these PCs, placed like a foam sheet between the motherboard and the PC case.

and what keeps the board in place are those small standoff plastic snap that are not very secured because on one side of the board it doesnt have a bracket

I have similar experiences with M919 and HOT-433, except it didn't require me to move the board in and out of a case to witness such anomalies.
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Re: PcChips sucks!

Postby bjwil1991 » 2017-10-30 @ 17:59

Maybe the board's too close to the metal mount the motherboard sits at, or possibly a bad ground. My current AT case has an issue at the top right end (no mounting points) for my motherboard to not flex back and forth.

Check the caps, diodes, and resistors on the motherboard to see if any of them are bad.
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Re: PcChips sucks!

Postby Pabloz » 2017-10-31 @ 19:55

its quite facsinating how much unknown magic voodoo stuff these boards come with
It appears someone from a casino jackpot designed these boards in order to work properly.
I got 2 of them, same revision same jumper settings. One has 4 72pin SIM slots and the other one has 2 72pin sim slots and the rest are smaller sized sim slots. So i wanted to see what works, always booting and going into the bios and reseting the bios ,using the same hardware components on both boards.

Let me try to explain.

I took the motherboard out of the case, the case has a removable metal (some old at case designs got that removable metal back plate)
placed the plate on the floor, with the motherboard and videocard and floppy, and it booted fine, i was able to boot and play some games from floppy discs. Board has 2 72pin simm slots and the rest are the smaller sized sim. with the real 256 cache module.

cache looks good

Image



then.......then....

I took another m919 motherboard, same revision, same cpu, same power supply, same floppy drive. The only difference is that this board has 4 72pin memory slots. I placed the same real cache module in this board. and tried to boot... boots....but hangs after the cache message, after it says Starting MS-DOS. Always hangs in there. i tried floppy, i tried gotek, no go.

so weird, feels like the cache specifically made for M919, only works on some versions of the board, its very weird that it boots and hangs on starting MS-DOS.
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Re: PcChips sucks!

Postby AlaricD » 2017-11-02 @ 20:44

I had an M-321 board whose cache was real, but the tag ram was soldered on instead of socketed, so to upgrade from 128KB to 256KB would have required soldering in a different SDRAM chip. I never attempted that.

Also, the system would lock up or reboot when using any of the 16-bit DMA channels, so that was kindof a bummer.

Still, having gone from a Tandy 2000 with a 186, and a Tandy 1000 with no HD (but it did have Deskmate in ROM), to a 32-bit computer, it was a fantastic leap.
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Re: PcChips sucks!

Postby Skyscraper » 2017-12-22 @ 23:24

cj_reha wrote:PC Chips boards were a hit or miss. My 486 gaming PC uses an M912 v1.7 and it is a quite fast reliable board, though the tons of TX PRO boards i also have are crap.

They were a weird company for sure.



I found that statement a bit odd as from what I have found through benchmarking the PC Chips "TX Pro" chipset a.k.a ALi Aladdin IV chipset is one of the fastest socket 5/7 chipsets. Intels 430TX is a little bit faster in some benchmarks but slower in others. The "TX Pro" is in most cases just as fast clock for clock as SS7 chipsets like the VIA MVP3 and the ALi Aladdin V.

The "TX Pro" motherboards are the PC Chips M560, M560TG, M565 and the M575 or rebrands (sometimes with small modifications) of these. They are all very similar and I own at least 4 of them.


The PC Chips infamous "VX Pro"/"VX Pro+" chipset (VIA Apollo VP1/VPX) might be a bit slow and have a bad reputation when it comes to stability and the "TX Pro II" chipset (SiS 5598) is also rather slow but the "TX Pro" is solid performance wise.

Thats said back in late 1997 and during 1998 I did build and upgrade computers using the super cheap PC Chips M537-DMA33 "VX Pro+" motherboard and Pentium MMX 200 CPUs overclocked to 250 (3x83) MHz and I never had any issues. A good thing with these boards are that they support the correct PCI divider at 83 MHz FSB, a bad thing is that the PCB is thin enough to see through... I think part of the issue with the boards bad reputation was that PC Chips got the chipsets that diddnt pass VIAs cerifcation for the higher busspeeds but after a while all VIA VPX chips beeing produced were good enough to handle even 83 MHz FSB. I probably missed the bad early batches of motherboards.
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Re: PcChips sucks!

Postby PcBytes » 2017-12-23 @ 06:49

Seeing their VX boards were VIA and TX was ALi & SiS, I wonder what did they ever come up with for HX?
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Re: PcChips sucks!

Postby appiah4 » 2017-12-24 @ 10:44

AlaricD wrote:Also, the system would lock up or reboot when using any of the 16-bit DMA channels, so that was kindof a bummer.


I have a 486 UMC board that does the same thing I cannot use any 16bit sound cards with it unless I turn off L1 cache have you ever sorted this out?
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Re: PcChips sucks!

Postby matze79 » 2017-12-24 @ 12:11

The M919 is a thin PCB ... and i had it twice some time ago.
Due to the thin lowcost PCB the TQFP's had cracked solder joints..
It did not recognize Memory and only POST some times.

After resoldering "all" TQFP''s using some flux and a bit solder it was running like hell.

I mean, even without Cache this Board outperforms some others with..
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Re: PcChips sucks!

Postby AlaricD » 2018-1-01 @ 20:27

appiah4 wrote:
AlaricD wrote:Also, the system would lock up or reboot when using any of the 16-bit DMA channels, so that was kindof a bummer.


I have a 486 UMC board that does the same thing I cannot use any 16bit sound cards with it unless I turn off L1 cache have you ever sorted this out?

I think I'd looked into it more back then ('93ish), and I recall it had something to do with soldering in a capacitor somewhere. Something to do with a timing issue on the 16-bit DMA channels. Didn't seem worth all that to fix it (but it could have given better performance had I done that).
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Re: PcChips sucks!

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2018-1-02 @ 00:35

It sounds like a classic case of defective 206 system controller. I believe you are right that there may have been a workaround involving a capacitor, but I'm not sure if it was a proper fix.
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Re: PcChips sucks!

Postby AlaricD » 2018-1-02 @ 15:21

Anonymous Coward wrote:It sounds like a classic case of defective 206 system controller. I believe you are right that there may have been a workaround involving a capacitor, but I'm not sure if it was a proper fix.


One of the funkiest fixes I'd seen involved the SB16 MCA and certain IBM boards where you had to solder a lengthy jumper on the board (something like an 8" wire to connect the two points).

I still considered the bigger issue with the M-321 was that the tag RAM was soldered on so although it had sockets for 256K cache, you'd have to desolder/resolder to replace the tag RAM to upgrade beyond 128KB. I always wondered what kind of performance boost I could have gotten from that. I do recall that my friend's i386DX-33 with 64KB cache was significantly slower than my Am386DX-40 with 128KB cache. FRACT386 was quite a bit faster on my system than on his, more so than just the additional 20% clock speed would account for. Would going from 128KB to 256KB be as performance-boosting as going from 64KB to 128KB? Enquiring minds want to know!
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Re: PcChips sucks!

Postby Pabloz » 2018-1-02 @ 20:20

Anonymous Coward wrote:It sounds like a classic case of defective 206 system controller. I believe you are right that there may have been a workaround involving a capacitor, but I'm not sure if it was a proper fix.



can you post a picture showing where the 206 system controller is located in the motherboard?
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Re: PcChips sucks!

Postby dionb » 2018-1-04 @ 00:58

PcBytes wrote:Seeing their VX boards were VIA and TX was ALi & SiS, I wonder what did they ever come up with for HX?

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/chipset- ... ro-and-co/
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Re: PcChips sucks!

Postby betamax80 » 2018-1-14 @ 23:07

Their Super Socket 7 solution was the "SX Pro" which used the SiS 530 chipset, if that helps.
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