Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

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Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby Eleanor1967 » 2017-11-29 @ 23:22

Hello,

I recently purchased a PC Chips M919 on eBay. It arrived yesterday and thankfully it posted right away. It works and is stable and all. There is just one problem. It does not use any of its available L2 cache. At first I tested with my Cyrix 5x86 (which I suspect is a little broken, I think I inserted it the wrong way around in the socket when I was a lot younger anyway) and on POST it only tells me that 64k of cache are detected. I switched to an AMD DX4 NVT8 and now it tells me on POST that 256K cache are detected. All good so far. Problem is neither cachechk nor speedsys detect any L2 cache. I'm baffled on how the board can detect the cache on post but than just not use it. All 9 chips to get warm, so there is at least something happening. If attached some photos of the board, the module and the socket. Dont know if they are good enough, I can try again with my DSLR if necessary. The socket does look a little wierd but I don't know if that could be the problem and I'm not sure on how I could “fix” it.

So if somebody has any ideas or input, please let me know :)

A little off topic: How hard and expensive would it be to produce new cache modules with some sockets on it (because it would be nice to have another one of those to test with)? There probably wouldn't be a high demand but the prices people ask for this module on eBay is and I can't imagine it would be to costly to produce given how small it is and how little components are used.

Update: The Cyrix started to also "detect" 256K on POST. I guess thats progress.

Cheers Eleanor1967
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Last edited by Eleanor1967 on 2017-11-30 @ 21:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby TheMobRules » 2017-11-29 @ 23:28

I posted this on the other thread yesterday, I don't know if you saw it but it may be of help:

Try tightening the cache timings in the BIOS... with my PCChips M921, I noticed the chipset auto-configuration settings in the horrible WinBIOS are so slow that cachechk is not able to detect any cache, I need to manually set it to a reasonable value such as 2-1-2 for the cache to be detected.
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby Deksor » 2017-11-29 @ 23:29

PCChips mobo will display that cache is present even when there's none. That white stuff in the COAST slot looks suspicious
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby Eleanor1967 » 2017-11-29 @ 23:35

TheMobRules wrote:I posted this on the other thread yesterday, I don't know if you saw it but it may be of help:

Try tightening the cache timings in the BIOS... with my PCChips M921, I noticed the chipset auto-configuration settings in the horrible WinBIOS are so slow that cachechk is not able to detect any cache, I need to manually set it to a reasonable value such as 2-1-2 for the cache to be detected.


I did and tried it immediately. Its on 2-1-2 now (from 2-2-2) and didn't make a difference.

Deksor wrote:PCChips mobo will display that cache is present even when there's none. That white stuff in the COAST slot looks suspicious


Yeah as I said not really sure on how to clean it really, its so narrow. Will give it a try somehow.

Detection on post works like that for me at least:

Cache in BIOS disabled: Nothing about cache on the POST screen.
Cache in BIOS enabled but no module inserted: Will tell me that cache is present, but not how much.
Cache in BIOS enabled and module is inserted: will tell me 256k present

So it is somehow interacting with the module.

EDIT: Fixed my spelling errors which made the text easy to misinterpret
Last edited by Eleanor1967 on 2017-11-30 @ 13:18, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2017-11-29 @ 23:50

Maybe it's possible that you need to flash the BIOS. I seem to recall something about some of these PCchips boards disabling the cache no matter which way you have the BIOS set. I think that red hill guide discusses it in detail.
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby Eleanor1967 » 2017-11-30 @ 14:01

Anonymous Coward wrote:Maybe it's possible that you need to flash the BIOS. I seem to recall something about some of these PCchips boards disabling the cache no matter which way you have the BIOS set. I think that red hill guide discusses it in detail.


I just updated the BIOS to the latest version I got here, didn't make a difference. Can maybe someone who has the same board with known working cache please post his BIOS so I can make sure I have the right one?
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby BLockOUT » 2017-11-30 @ 18:17

try bios reset remove the battery.
leave everything unplugged for some hours

it should boot and auto detect the cache. from the pics you posted the slot looks in bad condition.

can you get another motherboard? those are usually cheap , what cost a lot is the coast module.

im telling you this because once i had an m919 that it didnt detect more memory, i changed and changed the memory and it always said less memory
till i left it alone for a day dissconnected and added the ram and turned on and it detected it.
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby dieymir » 2017-11-30 @ 19:17

Try to disable the EDO RAM option in BIOS if it is enabled.
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby Eleanor1967 » 2017-11-30 @ 21:12

BLockOUT wrote:try bios reset remove the battery.
leave everything unplugged for some hours

it should boot and auto detect the cache. from the pics you posted the slot looks in bad condition.

can you get another motherboard? those are usually cheap , what cost a lot is the coast module.

im telling you this because once i had an m919 that it didnt detect more memory, i changed and changed the memory and it always said less memory
till i left it alone for a day dissconnected and added the ram and turned on and it detected it.


Since I flashed a new BIOS on another EPROM all settings should be gone. When I received the board, I also put in a new coin cell since the old one was dead, so a BIOS reset now should not really change anything.

The board also has sit over night twice now without being turned on which as you all know as good as unplugged for an AT board

Well I don't have a pile of M919 and cache modules to test with and I haven't seen any on ebay. I also paid good money for this one so I rather not let it go so fast.

I did clean the module's pins with isopropyl alcohol, but have not yet tried to clean the slot. In person it also does look a lot better than on that photo. I will probably try this next though since I'm really running out of ideas.


dieymir wrote:Try to disable the EDO RAM option in BIOS if it is enabled.


I have tried with FPM and EDO RAM and the BIOS setting accordingly. Does not change anything in regard to their being L2 deteced by speedsys or cachechk.



On a positive note though my Cyrix 5x86 has started to also “detect” 256k on POST. With all the Cyrix related settings in the BIOS turned on I get an score of just over 47 in speedsys @100MHz which really isn't that bad considering there is no L2 present.
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby BastlerMike » 2017-11-30 @ 22:23

Try cleaning up the slot. I would suspect a contact problem.
I once had a cache module on a m919 that was detected by bios and speedsys, but the computer crashed every time when another application was started. It turned out that at least one chip on the cache module was defective. You may consider this too. A cross-check with another motherboard and/or cache module can clarify this.
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby FesterBlatz » 2017-11-30 @ 22:34

Yes that slot does look pretty sketchy.

Also, could you post a picture of the bottom of the motherboard? From only the one angle that's visible in the pictures above, I noticed there isn't a single trace connected to the pins on visible side of the slot. While its possible they're ALL routed on the bottom of the board or come at the pins from the other side of the socket, those possibilities seem unlikely to me.
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby Cga.8086 » 2017-11-30 @ 22:57

gently with eraser on the coast module pins to make them shine again

and for the slot take a thin napkin(not paper), put isoprophyl alcohol, surround napkin on credit card, insert gently on the slot to clean

cant belive that shit motherboard costs a lot, i bought like 3 for 10 dollars each. And i hate it, it is a lottery

i have seen many coast modules,. with yours i have seen 3 different BRAND chip memory makers
and some coast modules even have golden pins , not metalic color.
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby Eleanor1967 » 2017-11-30 @ 23:14

BastlerMike wrote:Try cleaning up the slot. I would suspect a contact problem.
I once had a cache module on a m919 that was detected by bios and speedsys, but the computer crashed every time when another application was started. It turned out that at least one chip on the cache module was defective. You may consider this too. A cross-check with another motherboard and/or cache module can clarify this.


Well I just cleaned the slot, but I just don't have another M919 or cache module to test with. And I don't see another one on ebay for that matter even if I wanted so spent another pretty penny on it.

FesterBlatz wrote:Yes that slot does look pretty sketchy.

Also, could you post a picture of the bottom of the motherboard? From only the one angle that's visible in the pictures above, I noticed there isn't a single trace connected to the pins on visible side of the slot. While its possible they're ALL routed on the bottom of the board or come at the pins from the other side of the socket, those possibilities seem unlikely to me.


Here are some more pictures with the DSLR and the best lighting i can create without using the cameras light which makes everything so shiny.

Cga.8086 wrote:gently with eraser on the coast module pins to make them shine again

and for the slot take a thin napkin(not paper), put isoprophyl alcohol, surround napkin on credit card, insert gently on the slot to clean

cant belive that shit motherboard costs a lot, i bought like 3 for 10 dollars each. And i hate it, it is a lottery

i have seen many coast modules,. with yours i have seen 3 different BRAND chip memory makers
and some coast modules even have golden pins , not metalic color.


The credit card thing is actually a really good idea haven’t thought about that before. Just cleaned the slot half an hour before you posted that.. I just a screwdriver and some paper tissue and isoprophyl alcohol (bad idea, paper stuck in the slot as I kinda expected) and rinsed everything of with the shower head. That's why the board is still wet in the pictures.

And while the board is quite thin and also kinda sketchy, all the BIOS settings for the Cyrix are quite nice performance boost for those seeking to get the most out of that CPU.
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby Eleanor1967 » 2017-11-30 @ 23:16

Something philosophical.. Tell me if I shell retry a picutre, autofocus on that lens is quite hit or miss
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby BeginnerGuy » 2017-11-30 @ 23:28

Wish I could offer some help. The board and contacts on both the slot and coast module look virtually perfect as far as the eye can tell with these pictures. Hopefully it works once it's done drying.

Is this a proprietary type coast module? I used to have a few early Pentium boards that took very similar looking modules of 256-512k. No idea how hard that stuff is to come by these days. If you need to find a module specific to the m919 then man this really sucks =\

I see I can get some HM62H256AJ-15 modules on ebay but they don't come cheap. It could be a faulty memory module, if you're brave enough to spend money and take the old iron to it..

edit: I don't understand why they used the coast module when those chips look like regular dip 28 sram chips, just like every other 486 board would use. I couldn't imagine the big socket and extra pcb saving any money?
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby Cga.8086 » 2017-12-01 @ 00:02

memory was expensive back in the day
and pc chips was a cheap ass company

they sure saved big bucks by doing fake L2 cache motherboards, and then they released the coast module (real cache l2)
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby chrismeyer6 » 2017-12-01 @ 00:36

I thought the cache stick for the M919 has a label etched into it that said for m919 on it his stick doesn't have any markings on it.
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby chrismeyer6 » 2017-12-01 @ 00:39

win31cache.jpg


I just found a picture of the module not the greatest quality though.
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby Cga.8086 » 2017-12-01 @ 00:53

it does, it says m919 on the left hand border
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Re: Problems with the L2 cache on my new PC Chips M919

Postby amadeus777999 » 2017-12-01 @ 10:37

Sucks, looks like you have to hunt down another module.
Some time ago these could be found on ebay for a good price... I think €19.90 or something.
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