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A very persnickety PIII machine

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Reply 21 of 41, by murrayman

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lost77 wrote on 2020-01-18, 19:47:

And what was the monitors refresh rate? For Windows 9x you will typically need to sync your desktop resolution, color depth and refresh rate with the games settings to make sure it applies.

I keep it at 60hz, 640x480 at 16bit while diagnosing all this stuff, so that’s what I had it at for that and previous tests

AOpen Custom PC | AOpen AX63 Pro, PIII 933, 1GB PC133, GeForce 256 DDR 32MB AGP, SB0100
Compaq Presario 5170 | PII 350, 64MB PC100, ATI Rage Pro LT AGP, ESS 1868
Packard Bell Multimedia S610 | PMMX 233, 32MB PC100, S3 Virge GX 4MB, Sound4

Reply 23 of 41, by murrayman

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lost77 wrote on 2020-01-18, 19:56:

So, what FPS do you get at 800x600? Do you also have a low score with 3DMark2000? The Quake 3 numbers seemed fine I think (assuming they were 32-bit color).

Bench at standard 800x600 16bit had max FPS on first game at 78fps, so actually faster than lower res. Since these are the default settings to 3DMark99 and I’ve always used them, it’s the same figure I normally get; nothing different from the previous V5 or the V3 I have. Haven’t yet tried 3DMark2000.

AOpen Custom PC | AOpen AX63 Pro, PIII 933, 1GB PC133, GeForce 256 DDR 32MB AGP, SB0100
Compaq Presario 5170 | PII 350, 64MB PC100, ATI Rage Pro LT AGP, ESS 1868
Packard Bell Multimedia S610 | PMMX 233, 32MB PC100, S3 Virge GX 4MB, Sound4

Reply 25 of 41, by murrayman

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lost77 wrote on 2020-01-19, 22:03:

Please post your game1, game2 and synthetic CPU 3D scores for 800x600 16bit.

Sorry, I didn’t get around to this before taking a break and switching gears again.

So 3DMark99 MAX started crashing with the V5 at the same spot as the V3 , just not as often. As well, Descent 3 started crashing quicker with each startup, to the point that I could no longer press enter quick enough to just start a game.

I decided to sell both the second V5 and the V3, and give a GeForce 256 DDR a shot. Results: 3DMark99 MAX would now crash in one of the earlier tests consistently, but would free up the mouse to use, although you couldn’t return to Windows. So the system wasn’t totally frozen, but you couldn’t do anything save move the mouse.

Tried flashing the BIOS to R1.32, which was successful, but did nothing to alleviate any issues. Tried installing Win2k on a separate partition, and it had the same issues with D3; 3DMark 99 wouldn’t install. I then tried installing a different combination of VIA 4in1 drivers known to be reliable, making sure to use standard AGP mode in Win98 and let the setup choose the best settings in Win2k, and Win98 would either crash to blue screen or crash Explorer at random intervals. Win2k was stable, except when you restart normally, it occasionally will hard reset the second you click restart, and you can hear the HDD power down and back up.

One thing I’ve not tried over the past two years is swapping back in the PIII 500 and 128mb (2x 64mb) PC100 SDRAM. Gave this a go, and wouldn’t you know it, now Descent 3 is stable, but Win98 is crashing to blue screen at seemingly random when doing disk operations, and Win2k sometimes still resets and the HDD powers down.

What gives? I’ve got a set of 1gb (2x 512mb) and 256mb (2x 128mb) PC133 RAM that all test reliably with memtest that I paired up in multiple configs with the PIII 933, and the 128mb of PC100 also tests stable. I’ve tried all sorts of combinations of IDE HDDs and IDE-to-SD card adapters, and I always get anomalous disk-read errors or freezes when trying to install an OS at all. Is this motherboard shot?

AOpen Custom PC | AOpen AX63 Pro, PIII 933, 1GB PC133, GeForce 256 DDR 32MB AGP, SB0100
Compaq Presario 5170 | PII 350, 64MB PC100, ATI Rage Pro LT AGP, ESS 1868
Packard Bell Multimedia S610 | PMMX 233, 32MB PC100, S3 Virge GX 4MB, Sound4

Reply 26 of 41, by aha2940

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murrayman wrote on 2020-03-15, 13:31:
Sorry, I didn’t get around to this before taking a break and switching gears again. […]
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lost77 wrote on 2020-01-19, 22:03:

Please post your game1, game2 and synthetic CPU 3D scores for 800x600 16bit.

Sorry, I didn’t get around to this before taking a break and switching gears again.

So 3DMark99 MAX started crashing with the V5 at the same spot as the V3 , just not as often. As well, Descent 3 started crashing quicker with each startup, to the point that I could no longer press enter quick enough to just start a game.

I decided to sell both the second V5 and the V3, and give a GeForce 256 DDR a shot. Results: 3DMark99 MAX would now crash in one of the earlier tests consistently, but would free up the mouse to use, although you couldn’t return to Windows. So the system wasn’t totally frozen, but you couldn’t do anything save move the mouse.

Tried flashing the BIOS to R1.32, which was successful, but did nothing to alleviate any issues. Tried installing Win2k on a separate partition, and it had the same issues with D3; 3DMark 99 wouldn’t install. I then tried installing a different combination of VIA 4in1 drivers known to be reliable, making sure to use standard AGP mode in Win98 and let the setup choose the best settings in Win2k, and Win98 would either crash to blue screen or crash Explorer at random intervals. Win2k was stable, except when you restart normally, it occasionally will hard reset the second you click restart, and you can hear the HDD power down and back up.

One thing I’ve not tried over the past two years is swapping back in the PIII 500 and 128mb (2x 64mb) PC100 SDRAM. Gave this a go, and wouldn’t you know it, now Descent 3 is stable, but Win98 is crashing to blue screen at seemingly random when doing disk operations, and Win2k sometimes still resets and the HDD powers down.

What gives? I’ve got a set of 1gb (2x 512mb) and 256mb (2x 128mb) PC133 RAM that all test reliably with memtest that I paired up in multiple configs with the PIII 933, and the 128mb of PC100 also tests stable. I’ve tried all sorts of combinations of IDE HDDs and IDE-to-SD card adapters, and I always get anomalous disk-read errors or freezes when trying to install an OS at all. Is this motherboard shot?

Well, it seems you have tested everything and the only constant is the motherboard...and the power supply. I have seen a couple times where the PS gets damaged, delivering noisy power that affects system stability. Try with a different one just to be sure.

Reply 27 of 41, by murrayman

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aha2940 wrote on 2020-03-15, 13:36:
murrayman wrote on 2020-03-15, 13:31:
Sorry, I didn’t get around to this before taking a break and switching gears again. […]
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lost77 wrote on 2020-01-19, 22:03:

Please post your game1, game2 and synthetic CPU 3D scores for 800x600 16bit.

Sorry, I didn’t get around to this before taking a break and switching gears again.

So 3DMark99 MAX started crashing with the V5 at the same spot as the V3 , just not as often. As well, Descent 3 started crashing quicker with each startup, to the point that I could no longer press enter quick enough to just start a game.

I decided to sell both the second V5 and the V3, and give a GeForce 256 DDR a shot. Results: 3DMark99 MAX would now crash in one of the earlier tests consistently, but would free up the mouse to use, although you couldn’t return to Windows. So the system wasn’t totally frozen, but you couldn’t do anything save move the mouse.

Tried flashing the BIOS to R1.32, which was successful, but did nothing to alleviate any issues. Tried installing Win2k on a separate partition, and it had the same issues with D3; 3DMark 99 wouldn’t install. I then tried installing a different combination of VIA 4in1 drivers known to be reliable, making sure to use standard AGP mode in Win98 and let the setup choose the best settings in Win2k, and Win98 would either crash to blue screen or crash Explorer at random intervals. Win2k was stable, except when you restart normally, it occasionally will hard reset the second you click restart, and you can hear the HDD power down and back up.

One thing I’ve not tried over the past two years is swapping back in the PIII 500 and 128mb (2x 64mb) PC100 SDRAM. Gave this a go, and wouldn’t you know it, now Descent 3 is stable, but Win98 is crashing to blue screen at seemingly random when doing disk operations, and Win2k sometimes still resets and the HDD powers down.

What gives? I’ve got a set of 1gb (2x 512mb) and 256mb (2x 128mb) PC133 RAM that all test reliably with memtest that I paired up in multiple configs with the PIII 933, and the 128mb of PC100 also tests stable. I’ve tried all sorts of combinations of IDE HDDs and IDE-to-SD card adapters, and I always get anomalous disk-read errors or freezes when trying to install an OS at all. Is this motherboard shot?

Well, it seems you have tested everything and the only constant is the motherboard...and the power supply. I have seen a couple times where the PS gets damaged, delivering noisy power that affects system stability. Try with a different one just to be sure.

Got it, I’ll give this a go later with a newer PS I have in my Phenom system in storage.

AOpen Custom PC | AOpen AX63 Pro, PIII 933, 1GB PC133, GeForce 256 DDR 32MB AGP, SB0100
Compaq Presario 5170 | PII 350, 64MB PC100, ATI Rage Pro LT AGP, ESS 1868
Packard Bell Multimedia S610 | PMMX 233, 32MB PC100, S3 Virge GX 4MB, Sound4

Reply 28 of 41, by murrayman

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Put in the newer 550W PS, and it made no difference.

I give up. That's two years of effort and every device swapped out. I'm replacing the motherboard.

Went ahead and ordered a venerable ASUS P3B-F. The AOpen lasted a long time, but something's definitely given up the ghost.

AOpen Custom PC | AOpen AX63 Pro, PIII 933, 1GB PC133, GeForce 256 DDR 32MB AGP, SB0100
Compaq Presario 5170 | PII 350, 64MB PC100, ATI Rage Pro LT AGP, ESS 1868
Packard Bell Multimedia S610 | PMMX 233, 32MB PC100, S3 Virge GX 4MB, Sound4

Reply 29 of 41, by murrayman

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Alright, up and running with the Asus P3B-F with the PIII 500MHz, 256mb RAM, GeForce 256 DDR, basically all the specs and AOpen power supply as before. Running Intel V2.30.021 chipset and nVidia 12.41 drivers. Now 3DMark 99 MAX freezes consistently when 3/4 the way of loading the 32MB texture rendering speed test.

So this motherboard actually has voltage sensors unlike the last (which was weird because an old Anantech article listed it as having such sensors, but no software could ever read it), and one thing I'm seeing is 12v+ is about 11.25v while idling on Win98. Is that too low? I'm assuming this value would go lower while benchmarking, correct?

AOpen Custom PC | AOpen AX63 Pro, PIII 933, 1GB PC133, GeForce 256 DDR 32MB AGP, SB0100
Compaq Presario 5170 | PII 350, 64MB PC100, ATI Rage Pro LT AGP, ESS 1868
Packard Bell Multimedia S610 | PMMX 233, 32MB PC100, S3 Virge GX 4MB, Sound4

Reply 30 of 41, by murrayman

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Add one extra issue: Sometimes when the nVidia BIOS screen displays, it shows 16MB of video RAM instead of 32MB. Seems to be at complete random.

AOpen Custom PC | AOpen AX63 Pro, PIII 933, 1GB PC133, GeForce 256 DDR 32MB AGP, SB0100
Compaq Presario 5170 | PII 350, 64MB PC100, ATI Rage Pro LT AGP, ESS 1868
Packard Bell Multimedia S610 | PMMX 233, 32MB PC100, S3 Virge GX 4MB, Sound4

Reply 31 of 41, by aha2940

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I don't get it. It seems you have replaced every component, so that it is effectively anther whole PC and you are still having issues? or are there any parts that you have constantly used?

Reply 32 of 41, by murrayman

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Every single part has been changed out and mix-n-matched at some point. The only static item has been the floppy drive, which in and of itself hasn’t given me any functional issues. But hey, at this point, if someone thinks I should change that out too, why not? I went stir-crazy over the dumb thing a long time ago as it was, haha

AOpen Custom PC | AOpen AX63 Pro, PIII 933, 1GB PC133, GeForce 256 DDR 32MB AGP, SB0100
Compaq Presario 5170 | PII 350, 64MB PC100, ATI Rage Pro LT AGP, ESS 1868
Packard Bell Multimedia S610 | PMMX 233, 32MB PC100, S3 Virge GX 4MB, Sound4

Reply 33 of 41, by jaZz_KCS

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murrayman wrote on 2020-03-21, 05:25:

Every single part has been changed out and mix-n-matched at some point. The only static item has been the floppy drive, which in and of itself hasn’t given me any functional issues. But hey, at this point, if someone thinks I should change that out too, why not? I went stir-crazy over the dumb thing a long time ago as it was, haha

You might be surprised to hear that I had builds seemingy acting up without rhyme or reason, which was fixed after switching to another optical drive.
So, replacing the FDD at this point doesnt even sound that off to me. Just for completeness' sake
🤷

Reply 34 of 41, by murrayman

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jaZz_KCS wrote on 2020-03-21, 11:01:
You might be surprised to hear that I had builds seemingy acting up without rhyme or reason, which was fixed after switching to […]
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murrayman wrote on 2020-03-21, 05:25:

Every single part has been changed out and mix-n-matched at some point. The only static item has been the floppy drive, which in and of itself hasn’t given me any functional issues. But hey, at this point, if someone thinks I should change that out too, why not? I went stir-crazy over the dumb thing a long time ago as it was, haha

You might be surprised to hear that I had builds seemingy acting up without rhyme or reason, which was fixed after switching to another optical drive.
So, replacing the FDD at this point doesnt even sound that off to me. Just for completeness' sake
🤷

Understood. Alright then, I’ll give it a shot.

Shortly after the original HDD failed in early ‘18, I swapped in a newer IDE DVD drive that’s been stable since, but what I’ll do today (and test things after each step) is:

- Swap the primary IDE single-device 80-pin IDE cable for a working two-device 40-pin IDE cable
- Disable FDC & Secondary IDE in BIOS and unplug all relevant data and power cables
- Plug in and enable one at a time
- Swap the secondary IDE 80-pin cable for a working 40-pin cable
- Swap back in both 80-pin IDE cables
- Swap the FDD cable for another working one
- Swap the FDD our for a working one from my Packard Bell
- Swap back in the original FDD cable
- Swap the DVD drive out for some other IDE drive (will have to see what I’ve got)
- Bang my head several times into a safe-enough surface if nothing helps

Should I reinstall Win98SE, drivers, and 3DMark 99 MAX each time I do this (when an optical drive is available), or just test it out as-is since it’s a fresh install from last night?

Also, can anyone confirm if that 11.25v on the 12v+ rail is too low?

AOpen Custom PC | AOpen AX63 Pro, PIII 933, 1GB PC133, GeForce 256 DDR 32MB AGP, SB0100
Compaq Presario 5170 | PII 350, 64MB PC100, ATI Rage Pro LT AGP, ESS 1868
Packard Bell Multimedia S610 | PMMX 233, 32MB PC100, S3 Virge GX 4MB, Sound4

Reply 35 of 41, by murrayman

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About a third of the way through the list now; no difference. I did find this article which suggests the AOpen PSU is not supplying enough +12v. Swapped back in the newer 550w PSU to check its tolerances, and while +12v and most of the others are all well within range, -5v is all the way up to -6.14v, and its causing the mobo to throw a HardWare Monitor error as a result

AOpen Custom PC | AOpen AX63 Pro, PIII 933, 1GB PC133, GeForce 256 DDR 32MB AGP, SB0100
Compaq Presario 5170 | PII 350, 64MB PC100, ATI Rage Pro LT AGP, ESS 1868
Packard Bell Multimedia S610 | PMMX 233, 32MB PC100, S3 Virge GX 4MB, Sound4

Reply 36 of 41, by pentiumspeed

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Get Seasonic 550W PSU new. PIII does not need 5v that heavy. I do not trust the 550W PSU since board saying too high on 5V.

Buy Micron or Samsung branded PC133 SDRAM 16 chips 256MB stick (8 chips on each side) in set of two or four pieces of 128MB 8 chips or 16 chips (still Micron, Samsung, infineon. Do not use larger than 512MB total on this computer due to windows 98SE OS does not support larger than 512MB.

Keep P3B-F but buy a PIII 800 fsb 100. Your CPU might be failing!

Cheers,

Great Northern aka Canada.

Reply 37 of 41, by murrayman

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pentiumspeed wrote on 2020-03-22, 00:06:
Get Seasonic 550W PSU new. PIII does not need 5v that heavy. I do not trust the 550W PSU since board saying too high on 5V. […]
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Get Seasonic 550W PSU new. PIII does not need 5v that heavy. I do not trust the 550W PSU since board saying too high on 5V.

Buy Micron or Samsung branded PC133 SDRAM 16 chips 256MB stick (8 chips on each side) in set of two or four pieces of 128MB 8 chips or 16 chips (still Micron, Samsung, infineon. Do not use larger than 512MB total on this computer due to windows 98SE OS does not support larger than 512MB.

Keep P3B-F but buy a PIII 800 fsb 100. Your CPU might be failing!

Cheers,

Good lord, alright, let me sell off all the extra BS for this thing first and then I'll give it a shot 🤣 I do have a spare PIII 500 that came with the mobo, but the HSF is a strange shape and doesn't fit between the brackets, so I'll swap it with the one on my old 500 and see if it operates any differently. That might at least say something about my old 500 and 933 if nothing else, though it's clear I need a new PSU, and I will for sure be getting that ASAP. I'll get back later with exact specs on the RAM I currently have.

AOpen Custom PC | AOpen AX63 Pro, PIII 933, 1GB PC133, GeForce 256 DDR 32MB AGP, SB0100
Compaq Presario 5170 | PII 350, 64MB PC100, ATI Rage Pro LT AGP, ESS 1868
Packard Bell Multimedia S610 | PMMX 233, 32MB PC100, S3 Virge GX 4MB, Sound4

Reply 39 of 41, by murrayman

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Tried a Seasonic S12III 550w and evening a Corsair RM850x. Tried different appropriate configurations of the CPUs and RAM that I have. No dice, and some anomalous issues from the prior Voodoos occurred, including Direct3D issues or freezes with games.

Well, I’m calling it here everyone. Something I have is clearly awry, but at this juncture, having swapped out literally everything at some point and even taking all parts out onto a test-bench in case even the case lights or switches were causing some sort of issue, it’s looking like I don’t have one problem source, but perhaps multiple. And I’ve not been able to find one consistently reliable configuration out of all the parts I currently have and have had over the last couple of years. My Compaq has not and still does not give me one lick of an issue, nor my Packard Bell. So, I’m just gonna part it out and start from scratch at some point in the future. I’ve had a Slot-1 machine this whole time now, so I think next time I’ll play around with a Socket 370 setup!

Thank you to everyone who has pitched in help with this rig in this and prior threads! Knew it was time to call it when it went from being fun to diagnose to nothing more than a chore. Honestly, I’m looking forward to a change and a little more headroom for PIII frequency, plus easier access to AGP 4x. I’ll likely keep the GeForce 256 DDR since they seem to be difficult at the moment to find consistently online, but I am selling every other currently installed and previously tried part to get it out of my collection and prevent any chance of introducing a faulty part to a potential future setup. It’ll be funny if that GeForce has issues of its own, but that will be easier to figure out at least isolated from everything else.

AOpen Custom PC | AOpen AX63 Pro, PIII 933, 1GB PC133, GeForce 256 DDR 32MB AGP, SB0100
Compaq Presario 5170 | PII 350, 64MB PC100, ATI Rage Pro LT AGP, ESS 1868
Packard Bell Multimedia S610 | PMMX 233, 32MB PC100, S3 Virge GX 4MB, Sound4