VOGONS


First post, by tayyare

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I have this PCChips M918 motherboard (version 1.2) and as expected it has soldered plastic bricks instead of cache. I want to change them with real cache so here are the questions:

- Although the fake chips are DIP28, the solder pads beneath are DIP32. I want to solder sockets in place but never managed to find anything like DIP32 sockets. Can I use 2 x DIP16 sockets instead?

- The cache jumpers are not there so they must be soldered in place, too, that's for sure, but what about the BIOS? As far as I can remember, fake cache motherboards have modified BIOSes to show the non existing cache as it was there. I searched the net and found a couple of BIOS dumps but I2m not sure about their contents. Can someone with an PCChips M918 (or an Amptron DX-9300 for that matter, both are the same)with real cache (I know there are some) can share a BIOS dump in here?

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Reply 2 of 17, by cyclone3d

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Baoran wrote:

I don't know if this can work, but aren't pretty much all cache chips DIP28, so is there any advantage in soldering anything else there?

There are longer chips... if you go past 256KB dual ranked, you will most likely need DIP32 from what I have seen.

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Reply 3 of 17, by tayyare

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This board supposed to support 1MB of cache, using 8 pieces of 128K x 8 chips, and I was naïve to think about maybe DIP32 is required form for them, but after checking ebay and aliexpress, I think 128x8 SRAM in DIP format (DIP32 or otherwise) is a dream. Why some company like PCChips designed their board around this non existing format?

Was there DIP32 (or 28, I don't know) 128 x 8 SRAM chips available in the past?

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Reply 4 of 17, by quicknick

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Can't imagine why two DIP16 sockets wouldn't work, in fact I am sure I've seen this kind of arrangement on one of my boards, but cannot remember now which one.
Also, I've "un-faked" two fake cache boards (this one being a bit stubborn) and the (real) cache worked with the original BIOS in both cases.

Reply 5 of 17, by Tiido

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You'll likely have to cut off a little bit of plastic on the smaller sockets to make them fit nicely side by side but that is gonna be the only obstacle.

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Reply 6 of 17, by TheMobRules

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I have a ZEOS 486 motherboard that has two DIP16 sockets for each DIP32 (or DIP28) cache chip:

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Reply 7 of 17, by Deksor

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In my experience, you don't need to modify the bios : if the cache is enabled but not detected, it will show like it's present, but if it's really here, it'll just work.

I've done this mod on two mobos successfully (one is the m915i and the other is from another brand that did fake the cache too for some reasons, but has nothing in common with pcchips) and I never ever had to modify the bios

Reply 8 of 17, by tayyare

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Thanks a lot guys, two things are clear now: I can use DIP16 sockets and BIOS most probably need no update.

I think I'm restricted by 256KB of cahe though, since no news about those magical 128x8 DIP32 chips 🤣

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Reply 10 of 17, by cyclone3d

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TheMobRules wrote:

128K x 8 DIP32 chips are not uncommon at all, take a look at eBay (generally by Chinese sellers).

But most of those are not the correct form factor. The common ones are the wider ones. The thin, longer ones like normal cache chips are the ones that are hard to find.

I had to but from 2 different sellers to even get enough chips to put 512KB cache on one board.

Edit: Actually, it looks like they are available now... last time I looked they weren't. But coming from China, who knows if they are remarked 20ns ones or if they are actually 15ns.

This seller is the cheapest:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/10pcs-IS61C1024-15N- … 32/391775544885 ($14.25 + shipping for 10)

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Reply 11 of 17, by meljor

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China even sells the 10NS ones. Also dip28 sockets are pretty cheap and easy to find (use aliexpress.com)

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Reply 12 of 17, by tayyare

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cyclone3d wrote:

Edit: Actually, it looks like they are available now... last time I looked they weren't. But coming from China, who knows if they are remarked 20ns ones or if they are actually 15ns.

This seller is the cheapest:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/10pcs-IS61C1024-15N- … 32/391775544885 ($14.25 + shipping for 10)

Thanks so much! 😀 Now I can find many on Aliexpress (ebay is not for me, paypal is not available in Turkey), too, by using the exact chip model code. The searches that I did before using "128x8 cache", "DIP32 SRAM", etc. (both in ebay and aliexpress) returned nothing. Already ordered a 10Pcs lot for 11-12 USD. they say they are "10ns", we will see 🤣

meljor wrote:

China even sells the 10NS ones. Also dip28 sockets are pretty cheap and easy to find (use aliexpress.com)

Thanks a lot for the heads up. Unfortunatelly, there are no narrow DIP32 available, though.

In any case, I just checked with the DIP16 sockets and can confirm that two of them end in end allign perfectly for use in place of a DIP32, no mods required.

Now only thing is to find a cheap soldering pro. I suck at soldering 😊

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Reply 13 of 17, by Deksor

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Well since you don't want to keep the fake chips, you can clip them off, catch the remaining pins with pliers and melt the solder and pull gently the pin off. Repeat ~250 times and all the chips will be gone

Reply 14 of 17, by feipoa

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I have an m918 motherboard. It came with cache sockets. I was able to "use" 1024K of cache, but don't expect much from it. On this board, when you have set the fastest RAM timings, the cache results don't appear on speedsys or cachechk, even when the cache settings are set to the fastest in the BIOS. The only way to confirm that your cache is working is to slow your RAM speed down (in CMOS) to the slowest and put our cache speed at maximum. I don't know why this is. I've seen similar issues with these ALi chipset boards before, but not nearly as extreme as on the m918.

Perhaps my M918 is faulty, perhaps all M918's are like this - I just don't know. It is possible that the BIOS itself is causing issues because it expects fake cache and wants to trick the consumer. I've been meaning to try the BIOS from a different ALi board on the M918, but haven't got around to it. Because of these issues, this is one of my least favourite PCI socket 3 boards. I hope you have better luck than I did.

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Reply 15 of 17, by TheMobRules

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feipoa wrote:

I have an m918 motherboard. It came with cache sockets. I was able to "use" 1024K of cache, but don't expect much from it. On this board, when you have set the fastest RAM timings, the cache results don't appear on speedsys or cachechk, even when the cache settings are set to the fastest in the BIOS. The only way to confirm that your cache is working is to slow your RAM speed down (in CMOS) to the slowest and put our cache speed at maximum. I don't know why this is. I've seen similar issues with these ALi chipset boards before, but not nearly as extreme as on the m918.

Perhaps my M918 is faulty, perhaps all M918's are like this - I just don't know. It is possible that the BIOS itself is causing issues because it expects fake cache and wants to trick the consumer. I've been meaning to try the BIOS from a different ALi board on the M918, but haven't got around to it. Because of these issues, this is one of my least favourite PCI socket 3 boards. I hope you have better luck than I did.

My PCChips M921 does a similar thing. Even though it has real cache, it won't show up in cachechk or speedsys with the BIOS "chipset auto configuration". I need to set it manually to the fastest timings for it to be detected, though in my case I don't need to dial RAM speed all the way down.

It's probably a "feature" of PCChips boards...