VOGONS


First post, by dicky96

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Hi guys I mentioned on another thread that a friend was giving me two old PCs that were in his garage and destined for the dump. I thought they were two old PCs I sold him back in the 90s but only one of them is.

The other one is the first I am looking at, The spec is as follows (according to the BIOS and having a look inside the case)

Mobo Gigabyte GA-5AX
AMD K6-2 450
128Mb RAM
20Gb HDD
SiS 6326 SVGA
Soundblster Awe 32 CT3780
Cretive 48x CDROM
3.5" Floppy
10Mbit BNC PCI LAN card and a 100Mbit? RJ45 ISA Lan Card
Midi Tower case? 4x 3.5" bays

OK so being cautious forst thing I did was diconnect the PSU from the motherboard and forced it to boot by linking the pins on the ATX connector with just HDD and CDROM connected. I could here the HDD spin up so then connectred the mobo and booted up. All went fine and it booted up to Win98. And I almost shat myself when I got this very loud thunderclap sound from the speakers!!!! I forgot soundblaster cards used to do that!

So i was quite pleased with what I have here. I had a look around in win98 and everything looked good. The I powered off and I had noticed the IDE cable wasn't attached to the CDROM so I connected that and booted back up. But it would not POST. SO then I powered down and disconnected the CDROM IDE - but it still wouldn't POST. And now I can't get it to POST even with all drives disconnected and only the SVGA card fitted 🙁

I tried removing some of the DIMMs and fitting just one - but then I noticed that there were two PC100 128Mb SDRAM and a PC133 256Mb SDRAM. But when it did boot into Win98 it wa sreporting 128Mb RAM. Strange.

Anyway I can't see how connecting the CDROM IDE cable can stop the system POSTing? Any suggestions guys?

Ohh here are some pics.

OK so first

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Reply 2 of 19, by Baoran

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First thing with old computer like that I would try checking the power supply voltages with multimeter and if possible try another power supply that you know that it works.

Reply 3 of 19, by frudi

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dicky96 wrote:

Anyway I can't see how connecting the CDROM IDE cable can stop the system POSTing? Any suggestions guys?

Maybe the IDE cable is oriented incorrectly, I've seen many motherboards from that era refuse to POST if any IDE device is not connected properly. Make sure all IDE connections are oriented correctly and attached securely. And that all connected IDE devices are configured properly for master/slave. If everything seems to be configured and connected correctly, try replacing the IDE cable.

Reply 4 of 19, by dicky96

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OK panic over - it's working again. I put all the DIMMS back in and it would POST but didn't detect the HDD and I could not see it in the BIOS. Then when i tried again it would POST but I could not get into the BIOS

However on post it was showing some really odd amount of RAM like 766546 or something silly . So I downloaded the GA-5AX user manual to see what was what, then played around with the DIMMS and found that the 256Mb PC133 in slot 1 reports 512Mb on boot, one of the 128Mb PC100 in slot 1 will not post and the other 128Mb in slot 1POSTS and then boots to Win98. So it's loooking good. At least this time i was ready for the thunderclap LoL

Strange it booted to windows the first time with all 3 DIMMs inserted and only reported 128Mbit.

I also realised the thing i thought was an ISA LAN card is in fact not that at all. IIt has a connector similar to a RJ45 but smaller that says 'Line' and 3.5mm jacks for Mic IN and Speaker. The card says LASAT 288V on it. Googling that didnt help but I think it's a modem card?

All in all quite a nice retro PC this one? Looks like it has some value too - looking on ebay at the various components.

Now gonna look at the other one. BBL.

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Reply 5 of 19, by canthearu

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That device is an old modem. The giveaway is that a portion of the card is isolated using a plastic cover (this is part of the certification for plugging this into the phone network)

You probably don't need it, as very few people use dialup internet these days. It is a bit of a shame that it is impossible to use the modem to relive the original internet days 😀

Reply 9 of 19, by dicky96

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Cool so it's 20 years old then 😁 I have to say I'm really quite pleased with this retro PC find, seriously it was going to the dump until I saved it from that fate. I would like it to be an intel CPU but hey ho.

OK so I've been doing a bit of googling to see what would be the best AGP GPU to put in this rig instead of that SiS VGA card. Seems that this is a complex topic and fastest does not necessarily equate to best. Nor is there actually a single 'best' option apparently, So over to the experts here for advice I think......

Reply 11 of 19, by dicky96

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yeah I have just read something like that on a 'Vogon Wiki' page regards super socket 7 boards. I was googling for 'fatest super socket 7 cpu' at the time 😉

Reply 12 of 19, by dicky96

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OK I spent a little more time playing around with this. I tested the CDROM and the two presumably faulty DIMMS in another PC I have lying around, a Dell Optiplex GX110.

It turns out that the 256Mb PC133 that reads a 512Mb on the GA-5AX (and won't go past POST screen) just causes the GX110 to beep and not boot. Interestingly the 128Mb PC100 that would not POST on the GA-5AXworks just fine in the Dell GX110. Also the Creative 48x CDROM woked fine in the Dell. As the Creative CDROM is quite discoloured it actually matches the Dell case better, so I swapped them over.

I now have the CDROM from the Dell working fine on the GA-5AX.

Also I tried the 'faulty' 128Mb PC100 that worked OK on the Dell and it will boot in on the GA-5AX, but if I put 128Mb in bank 0 and 128Mb in bank 1 I only see a total of 128Mb in the Bios and Windows - though the PC seems to be quite stable. If I put 128Mb in bank 0 and 128Mb in bank 2 then it reports the correct 256Mb in bios and Windows and again seems quite stable. SO that's what I did, I now have 256Mb RAM and a working CDROM on the GA-5AX 😀

I also had a look at the mobo it is a Revision 4.1. According to the BIOS and the Mobo Manual online this is a 1999 model so I guess that settles the age of the PC.

I had a look for voodoo 3 AGP cards and can get for about £50-£60 on ebay, I never had a voodoo3 before only the voodoo2 back in the day. How do they compare?

I also note from the mobo manual this revision supports up to K6-III 550. I had a look on ebay, it seems K6-2 550 are about £30, K6-2 533 about £20 but K6-III are about as common as hens teeth!!

What are these Mobos/CPUs like for overclocking? They seem to have lots of switches and jumpers to play with 😈 😈 😈

Reply 13 of 19, by cyclone3d

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Look for a K6-2+ or K6-3+. Those are generally a lot easier to find then the regular K6-3, run at a lower voltage, run way cooler, and can also overclock a lot more than a K6-3.

K6-2+ has 128KB L2 cache while K6-3 and K6-3+ have 256KB L2 cache.

K6-2+
https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-K6-3-K6-2-500-MH … nd/362520426223

https://www.ebay.com/itm/K6-2-Plus-500-MHz-CP … ES/223295563179

https://www.ebay.com/itm/AMD-K6-2-500ACZM-500 … PU/192596764395

https://www.ebay.com/itm/AMD-K6-2-550ACZ-550M … PU/192600752443

K6-3+ - only ships to USA, but you could just use a mail forwarder.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/AMD-K6-3-450ACZ-SKT- … EW/131837162332

K6-3 (only 333Mhz)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/AMD-AMD-K6-III-333AF … PU/192600717768

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 15 of 19, by cyclone3d

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Moogle! wrote:

Get out your q-tips and clean the edge connectors on everything, especially the ram.

Pencil eraser works about 1 million times better to clean off oxidation than q-tips and alcohol.

Q-tips and alcohol are good for cleaning off dirt and grime.

Definitely clean the contacts though.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 16 of 19, by dicky96

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I have to say the quality of advice (and willingness to help) on this Forum is just excellent!

OK I had a look around for K6-2+ and K6-3+ on ebay.co.uk and also on ebay.es (I am English but I actually live in Gran Canaria Spain - mostly because i can't stand the crap weather in North West UK anymore - and I have postal addresses in both countries)

It seems to me that the K6-3+ or K6-III must be an American thing as I just cant find them on ebay uk or ebay.es, the latter of which gives me better access to private sellers throughout the EU. Maybe these were only really marketed in the US.

Obviosuly a CPU is not the heaviest thing to ship from the US of A

The rig is working fine with it's K6-2 450. I'm just looking at options to make this rig into a perfect 'textbook' example of a late 90s gaming rig. I feel it has the potential to be just that, and fitting the fastest K6 processor i can put on the Super 7 mobo plus a voodoo3 - from advice here - seems the way to go if I can pick up the parts at the right price.

I'ts not like i am in a desparate rush to upgrade the CPU. The voodoo 3 I already have my eyes on 😀

Rich

Reply 17 of 19, by Mister Xiado

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The RAM seemed to be the primary culprit in all of this, and SOP is to just work with one stick at a time while testing everything else. MemTest86+ would be useful for checking the RAM. New PATA cables may help.

b_ldnt2.gif - Where it's always 1995.
Icons, wallpapers, and typical Oldternet nonsense.

Reply 18 of 19, by dicky96

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Ahh I found this after posting - and learnt a LOT in 15 mins
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2Oymnq5DEQ It's very interesting how close the spec of that test rig is to the one intend to have 😀

Based on that video tutorial this seems like a good bet for me, if it is the low voltage version he mentioned for overclocking

K6-3+ - only ships to USA, but you could just use a mail forwarder.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/AMD-K6-3-450ACZ-SKT- … EW/131837162332

Rich