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First post, by Cga.8086

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Hello there.

i was offered a dual pentium3 socket 370 motherboard made by Epox.
for about 50bucks. It has an ISA slot, But when i checked the epox pdf that board only accepts up to pentium3 1000mhz cpus.

So im wondering if it is really worth it. A dual pentium3 is good and desired or not?. Should I just stay with a single core tualatin 1.4ghz board and cpu that i already have. Dual pentium3 boards are not so great for retro pc games?

Reply 1 of 19, by Baoran

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If you use dos or win9x, dual cpus don't matter so it is basically same as single cpu motherboard. You need to use linux/windows NT/winxp or similar to take advantage of multiple cpus.

Reply 2 of 19, by dionb

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Cga.8086 wrote:
Hello there. […]
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Hello there.

i was offered a dual pentium3 socket 370 motherboard made by Epox.
for about 50bucks. It has an ISA slot, But when i checked the epox pdf that board only accepts up to pentium3 1000mhz cpus.

So im wondering if it is really worth it. A dual pentium3 is good and desired or not?. Should I just stay with a single core tualatin 1.4ghz board and cpu that i already have. Dual pentium3 boards are not so great for retro pc games?

For retro-gaming, dual CPUs are completely pointless as:

1) DOS and Win9x don't support SMP, so the second CPU won't be used at all.
2) You could run WinNT, 2k, XP or Linux on this system, but then you hit problem #2: games from that period are single-threaded, so don't benefit from a second CPU/core. Games that are multithreaded will need something significantly more powerful than a P3.
3) SMP actually introduces a small but nonzero overhead, so if you're not using two CPUs, performance will actually be measurably worse than with a single CPU.

I'd be willing to wager that every single game you have will run faster on a single Tualatin 1400S than on dual whatever (up to and including 1400S).

SMP is great for responsiveness on the desktop, for compiling code, for zipping and rarring, perhaps even for some photo/video editing. But not for P3 gaming.

Note that all this applies equally to Tualatin and Coppermine (and indeed Katmai/Deschutes/Klamath/Mendocino and the rest too).

Reply 3 of 19, by melbar

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I agree with dionb in most cases.

The only game back in the day, i was playing with Win2000 instead of Win98, which has the benefit of two cores (smp): Quake III Arena

I have played with an dual Celeron 466 (clocked at 525Mhz) on an Abit BP6.
Sold this board years ago, now i would not go the path of dual-core with hardware of this era...

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Reply 4 of 19, by kixs

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I'd take it. It's a nice dual board with ISA slot. You can always use just a single CPU if you'll use DOS and maybe sometime later you'll want to try it under NT/2000/XP. You can use Tualatins with proper adapter, on eBay someone sells P3-s 1.4GHz with adapter.

Of course if dual stuff isn't your thing, then skip it.

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Reply 5 of 19, by konc

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"if it is really worth it", depends on what you plan to use it for. As people before me already mentioned, this board is not meant for gaming and the 2nd cpu won't offer any performance gain in "retro pc games". If you're only after playing retro games then just skip. If you feel like experimenting with SMP capable OSs or reselling things for a small profit then it's not bad at all.

Reply 6 of 19, by Baoran

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I have a gigabyte dual slot 2 motherboard that came with 2 450Mhz P3 CPUs. I got it 2 years ago for free and I have not found any use for it so it is probably first one I will throw away when I am in situation that I need more space. At least yours is better and you could keep it as a spare if your current P3 system fails.

Reply 7 of 19, by .legaCy

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I ever thought that even on a single thread games you could benefit from smp by making it run on one cpu, and other tasks share the other(s) while on a single cpu system the cpu time is always shared between everything running.

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Reply 8 of 19, by elod

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.legaCy wrote:

I ever thought that even on a single thread games you could benefit from smp by making it run on one cpu, and other tasks share the other(s) while on a single cpu system the cpu time is always shared between everything running.

The trouble is that in a retro gaming scenario you will not run an OS full of things to do.

Reply 9 of 19, by kixs

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.legaCy wrote:

I ever thought that even on a single thread games you could benefit from smp by making it run on one cpu, and other tasks share the other(s) while on a single cpu system the cpu time is always shared between everything running.

You need multitasking and SMP aware OS for that - Windows NT and newer based on NT (and Linux...).

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Reply 10 of 19, by oohms

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Dual processors are pointless for retro computers pre windows XP - and for those you are much better off with a core 2 era setup. I can't think of a single game that can make use of dual processors that also needs either an ISA sound card or windows 98

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Reply 11 of 19, by chinny22

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Having a duel P3 is how I found out 99% of Win9x games run fine in Windows 2000 and even stable win98 has nothing on Win2k.
but you don't need 2 CPU's for Win2k.

You can enter your results here
quake3 SMP-scaling thread…

But really apart from coolness 2nd CPU offers no benefits, but I still use my duel P3 600 more then P3 1Ghz Slot 1 PC's

Reply 12 of 19, by epicbrad

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To be honest, I would do it if you want to add this to your collection of retro hardware. I would enjoy having such a system. I would probably do some basic mods, put it in a nice case. Some lighting and show it off. It could be a nice retro build. However, unless you know what you're going to do with the second CPU , there isn't really any improvement for older legacy operating systems that don't support it forcing you to run newer OS's moving you closer to Windows XP. And they don't really support a lot of newer instruction sets so anything you'd download that could use the extra instruction sets (example, even web browsers now require specific instruction sets) - you'd probably run into some compatibility issues with software that won't run on it.

Keeping the above in mind it could be made useful if you have a nice application suite that's fairly retro and could use it. I would absolutely love to see a dual cpu watercooled system.

For me, I would choose one of the later revision socket 478 boards for better single CPU threaded performance with a faster pentium 4 cpu and that gives you many options to scale back the speed to be more compatible with older games 😀

Reply 13 of 19, by greasemonkey90s

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im on the same boat because im torn with being different or following the rest of the crowd that has built single cpu slot 1 rigs. dont gain much out of a pure gaming rig with dual cpu so its a bit of a waste. i got my asus p3c-d for 5 bucks new open box might end up as trade bait.

Reply 14 of 19, by dionb

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P3C-D is a pretty eccentric board apart from the SMP too. Even back in the day the number that were inexplicably dead was very high - so first test if it works, otherwise it's a very hypothetical discussion.

Reply 15 of 19, by PTherapist

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I ran a dual Pentium III setup (Slot 1, though) back in the mid-2000s as a Web Server, running Windows Server 2003. I was basically being cheap and you could pick up Pentium III stuff back then for very reasonable prices. Funnily enough, that motherboard was literally the only PIII-era motherboard of mine that ever failed and I couldn't be bothered fixing it. I think reliability with some dual CPU boards of that era was sketchy.

As everybody has already said, a dual CPU of even a 1GHz PIII would be wasted on gaming. But they can be fun for playing around with older dual CPU aware operating systems though.

Reply 16 of 19, by shamino

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Not for games, but if you have other multiple purposes for the machine, and will have a multi-boot for suitable OSes, then maybe dual CPUs end up being of some value.
Coppermines can be very thrifty on power, especially if you use the lower end models like say a 600E. So for some long running tasks that don't need a lot of speed, they can be useful, but then you wouldn't use dual CPUs in that scenario. Dual boards tend to have more RAM slots though, might have some server-oriented features, and if it's Slot-1, it's easy to pull CPUs in and out as desired.
So I guess the benefit for a board like this is some added flexibility. If the only concern is games, then it's probably not worth it though and it won't be as fast as your Tualatin.

I have an EpoX KP6-BS which is a dual 440BX slot-1. I think it sold pretty well because it was one of the cheapest dual boards. Lots of people in old forums/newsgroups talk about buying them for cheaper dual setups at home.
It had bad caps, a fried inductor, and a blown fan header (which turned into 2 blown headers before I realized the fan was seized), but it did come back to life with some work put into it. I've had other EpoXes that also needed caps changed, but once that's done I generally like them. I think all EpoX boards of that period have junk caps from the factory, but that's common of most manufacturers back then. The luckiest you can hope for from an EpoX board are Teapo caps, which are the best of the bad.

Fringe benefit though - you have dual CPU VRMs. If one dies, move the CPU to the other slot and maybe you can keep going. 😀

Reply 17 of 19, by nforce4max

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General rule is that dual socket or slot is always going to be rarer and exotic compared to the usual so always worth it from that standpoint unless server use only where there are no pci/isa/agp slots at all or uses hard to find oem power supplies.

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

Reply 18 of 19, by meljor

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I like Dual boards. I have working dual slot1, dual s370 coppermine, dual s370 Tualatin, dual s370 with Tualatin adapters and dual Athlon (xp). Still missing dual socket 7.

I also like to play old games with 3dfx hardware and actually USE NON of my dual cpu boards....

Would also love me a Dual Ppro (but also will never use it probably).

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asus p5a, k6-3+ @ 550mhz, voodoo2 12mb sli, gf2 gts, awe32
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Reply 19 of 19, by LeFlash

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meljor wrote:

I like Dual boards. I have working dual slot1, dual s370 coppermine, dual s370 Tualatin, dual s370 with Tualatin adapters and dual Athlon (xp). Still missing dual socket 7.

I got hold of one of the very first dual socket 5 boards, namely the Asus PCI-I-P54NP4.
Not that useful, but a really nice collectible.

You can either feed the 3.3V trough a proprietary connector or use a special PCI-Card with a fat linear regulator on it to get them.

https://www.asus.com/Microsite/mb/ASUSMB1st/T … CI-I-P54NP4.jpg