VOGONS


First post, by SpaceCowboy87

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I came across some old hardware recently and would like to know if its possible to build an MS-DOS system with it. The board is a PC100 BXcel mATX board and was found with a P2 350 and Quantum Bigfoot TS IDE drive. No idea if any of it works or where to start troubleshooting since the board did not include any ram. Any help or advice would be appreciated.

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Reply 1 of 19, by ODwilly

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Without ram it wont post, so as-is you can power it up and see if the psu delivers power to peripherals,also check and see if the Bigfoot powers on and doesnt make any abnormal noise. Wors of warning it is a noisy beast.

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Reply 2 of 19, by shamino

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I don't know about this particular board, but typically with a working CPU installed but no RAM the board should probably emit a beep code from the speaker (make sure it's attached). If you get a beep code then that's a good sign that the board and CPU are probably working. If you don't, then it's in doubt.
If this doesn't work then try reseating the CPU. Slot-1 is a little flaky sometimes.
If you have a multimeter and feel comfortable using it then check voltages.

If you get this board up and running then yes it would be suitable for DOS.
I'm not sure but I think that board uses an early VIA chipset, which might be troublesome in some environments but for DOS I don't think it matters.

Reply 3 of 19, by F2bnp

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This is a PCChips M726, utilizing the ALi Aladdin Pro II chipset.

It's decent if you get it up and running, I had some trouble getting it to detect RAM properly, I guess it's like 440BX where it can be a little flaky with newer RAM DIMMs. It performs alright, below 440BX obviously, but the cool thing about this particular motherboard is that it is a BabyAT one, which is somewhat rare for Slot 1.

Reply 4 of 19, by Tetrium

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F2bnp wrote:

but the cool thing about this particular motherboard is that it is a BabyAT one, which is somewhat rare for Slot 1.

^This

Even though it was a PCChips board, I kept it as I knew Slot 1 AT (and especially compatible with Deschutes 100MHz FSB) was uncommon, even then.

I had gotten this board locally back in my early days of collecting. Can't even remember if I tried to make it POST, but when reading about it I read quite a lot about people having trouble getting it to run stably.
So if you decide to go ahead and set it up, take it slow and modestly (single RAM stick, maybe a PCI graphics card, known good PSU, you probably know the drill 😜).

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Reply 6 of 19, by The Serpent Rider

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but the cool thing about this particular motherboard is that it is a BabyAT one, which is somewhat rare for Slot 1.

1. They are not rare at all and even not that uncommon.
2. AT Slot 1 boards usually have lesser expandability due to really small size to kinda fit in both AT and ATX cases. This board is one of such examples.

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Reply 7 of 19, by Unknown_K

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I have a few boards that were meant to be replacements for older AT case systems (I think including the one pictured). The problem with those boards (outside of the oddball chipsets used) is you have a whole bunch of cables taking up slot covers on the rear to get the sound, USB, Ethernet, serial/printer ports, and even video out limiting your other card options.

You are better off with an ATX version these days unless you want to use a sleeper AT case for a P2 or K6 board.

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Reply 8 of 19, by F2bnp

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The Serpent Rider wrote:

1. They are not rare at all and even not that uncommon.

In all my years of collecting, I've only even seen one more AT Slot 1 motherboard and that was using a Via Apollo (the original one) chipset. I've never seen an Intel chipset board, but I've seen a few Socket 370 AT boards so that makes them a little more common in my case actually.
Do you know any other AT Slot 1 mainboards? I'm genuinely interested.

Reply 9 of 19, by The Serpent Rider

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Asus P2E-B and Lucky Star 6LX2 for example (440EX and 440LX chipsets), nobody cares about those cuz "but muh ATX" and not 440BX. I think AT Slot 1 and Socket 370 boards were quite popular choice to upgrade system around 1998-2000.

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Reply 10 of 19, by F2bnp

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I have somewhat of a sweet spot for AT boards despite the obvious disadvantages, it reminds me of my first PC. But yeah, I too would be a little disinterested in 440EX and 440LX chipsets because they can't do more than 66MHz FSB. I wonder if you could use any of the later Mendocino or even early Coppermine Celerons with slotket adaptors on these, could be interesting.

AT Slot 1 and Socket 370 boards were not really a thing in my country and to be honest I don't see them pop up in discussions a lot in most European sites or auctions, so perhaps it was more of a US thing?

Reply 11 of 19, by dionb

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Not really. Here in NL there was a period around 1999/2000 that almost all the bottom-feeder PC shops were getting rid of their old AT case stock by shipping those minitowers with AT Slot1/So370 boards. I particularly remember the PC Chips M748LMRT, a baby AT board based on the SiS620 chipset (or "Xcel2000" as PC Chips called it this time). It had both Slot1 and So370 PPGA and was usually paired with a Mendocino Celeron. It had all the usual PC Chips qualities, but nonetheless sold well because it was cheap and usually did the job (more or less).

Reply 12 of 19, by The Serpent Rider

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I even have 440BX board in AT format somewhere (Lucky Star) which is Pentium 3 Coppermine aware, but can't be overclocked past 133mhz (jumper only board).

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Reply 14 of 19, by The Serpent Rider

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Did some digging. I have Lucky Star 6BX2 "Bootes" Ver 1.0. Pentium II board without manual voltage regulation. So it's probably limited to Pentium III Katmai, but looks like with 133/4 PCI divider.

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Reply 15 of 19, by dionb

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F2bnp wrote:

Nice, I like hearing about stuff I never owned or even heard about. That M748LMRT looks insane, expansion ports take such a massive hit 😵

Its target audience are not exactly the kind of people who are likely to do a lot of expanding. Plus it already has (crappy) VGA, LAN, modem and sound onboard. Power users could think of enough other things to install, but for a simple school/office PC that's all you need.

I briefly had its uATX twin (M741LMRT) after I badly misjudged what caused my previous system to die (Celeron 366 and AOpen AX6BC - I blamed the CPU and bought a new one, but it was of course the motherboard, in retrospect almost certainly the awful caps AOpen used) and I had no cash left but needed something resembling a motherboard that would take either CPU. I bought one of these for the equivalent of EUR 37.50 new. It was crap, but it tided me over till I could sell one of the surplus CPUs and save enough to buy something decent (I went for a CUBX).

Reply 16 of 19, by shamino

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F2bnp wrote:

I have somewhat of a sweet spot for AT boards despite the obvious disadvantages, it reminds me of my first PC. But yeah, I too would be a little disinterested in 440EX and 440LX chipsets because they can't do more than 66MHz FSB. I wonder if you could use any of the later Mendocino or even early Coppermine Celerons with slotket adaptors on these, could be interesting.

AT Slot 1 and Socket 370 boards were not really a thing in my country and to be honest I don't see them pop up in discussions a lot in most European sites or auctions, so perhaps it was more of a US thing?

The only slot-1 Baby-AT I've acquired in person is a Micronics Twister 440LX. It has AT+ATX power inputs and the older DIN keyboard port like super 7 boards typically had.
I've tried it with Mendocinos but it didn't work - it freezes during POST at the part where it's trying to tell you the name of the CPU. It displays no name, just "-98MHz" and freezes.
I wasn't able to find any BIOS update online. It doesn't help that the manufacturer went out of business forever ago, and it's not from a well known enthusiast brand so there's very little info or support for it on the internet.

Back in those days, I remember seeing a few Slot-1 Baby-AT boards listed for sale here in US. One I remember looking at closely was an AT version of the Asus P2B.
The reason I wanted Baby-AT was to minimize the upgrade cost. The Slot-1 platform was so expensive that it defeated the purpose. Super 7 made more sense for someone trying to save money, and I guess other people felt the same way given the rarity of slot-1 AT boards. Super 7 AT boards are a lot more common.

The cost sensitivity of late Baby-AT builds may have made this a good niche for 3rd party chipsets like the board that the OP posted. But the cost of the Intel CPU remains, so it was still more expensive than building a super 7 machine.

Reply 17 of 19, by bestemor

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Yes, there is that "ASUS P2B-B" one, which has a normal BX chipset:
http://www.amoretro.de/2013/01/asus-p2b-b-rev … otherboard.html

Still rather cramped, but could be interesting if you have an AT case to fill.

Reply 18 of 19, by gerwin

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Really underground retro, these PC Chips chipsets nicknamed to resemble intel ones. 😀 I had such a motherboard way back then, the M729 BXcel. That one and similar motherboards were covered in this topic earlier:
PC100 M747 - The bane of my existence

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Reply 19 of 19, by Moogle!

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Pardon for bumping this old thread, but did you have any luck with this board? Will it really function with the 133MHz FSB with an appropriate processor? How is it for stability? I'm eyeing one of these on Ebay seeing as how there aren't any M598s for anything resembling a decent price. (Why did I toss mine?)