VOGONS


First post, by chublord

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Not sure if this is possible, but my goal is to get this machine to complete a task from World Community Grid (a distributing computing project, think SETI@Home).

Each task is single threaded (A modern chip like the Ryzen will run a bunch of them in parallel). But the tasks are good for a week before they expire.

Can it be done?

This IBM Valuepoint is currently configured with the following:

133 MHz AM 5x86 processor 120 100 MHz DX4 processor*
50 MHz FSB
80 MB FP memory
540 MB HDD (primary) / 1.6 GB HDD (secondary)
512 256 KB L2 cache*
S3 onboard graphics (1 MB VRAM) + Diamond 3D Voodoo1 (4 MB VRAM)
Windows 98SE

* My memory wasn't as good as I thought it was

I think the system can take 128 MB ram maximum, and I was considering a 2 GB flash IDE drive. There are PCI and ISA expansion slots, and I am going to try a USB PCI card. It has a Voodoo2 Voodoo1 graphics card, although I know this won't help in this particular case.

I think it's a long shot, but what do you think?

The World Community Grid website says it doesn't work on Windows 95, but it doesn't specify whether it runs on Windows 98.

Last edited by chublord on 2020-07-12, 16:00. Edited 4 times in total.

Reply 2 of 31, by BinaryDemon

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I have no experience with that particular distributed computer client but unless it’s designed for older systems I’d bet workloads would take longer than a week and
timeout. I remember running SETI@Home on a Pentium3 in the 2006/2007 timeframe and I think those workloads took about a week.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 3 of 31, by darry

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The minimum RAM requirements are 200MB according to https://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/help/viewT … Name=minimumreq
Additionally, I would not be surprised if the x86 client application requires instructions that your 5x86 does not have .

Other than the "can it be done?" factor, is there a point to this ?

Reply 4 of 31, by chublord

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darry wrote on 2020-07-01, 01:28:

The minimum RAM requirements are 200MB according to https://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/help/viewT … Name=minimumreq
Additionally, I would not be surprised if the x86 client application requires instructions that your 5x86 does not have .

Other than the "can it be done?" factor, is there a point to this ?

200 MB of RAM could include virtual memory, no?

And no - there's no real point to this other than to try and do it. It's a project. Does it need to be more?

Reply 5 of 31, by darry

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chublord wrote on 2020-07-01, 02:22:
darry wrote on 2020-07-01, 01:28:

The minimum RAM requirements are 200MB according to https://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/help/viewT … Name=minimumreq
Additionally, I would not be surprised if the x86 client application requires instructions that your 5x86 does not have .

Other than the "can it be done?" factor, is there a point to this ?

200 MB of RAM could include virtual memory, no?

And no - there's no real point to this other than to try and do it. It's a project. Does it need to be more?

I was asking for curiosity's sake. It's your hardware and your time . Have fun . 😀

Using virtual memory for something like this would probably cause things to be even slower than a 5x86 would already make them .That is assuming the client application would actually accept to run without having enough actual physical memory .

Reply 6 of 31, by jmarsh

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chublord wrote on 2020-07-01, 02:22:

200 MB of RAM could include virtual memory, no?

Probably not. Most of the WCG projects lock their working set for best performance/reduce the chance of errors.
There's practically zero chance you'll be able to run anything without at least SSE anyway.

Reply 7 of 31, by chublord

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Well, thanks for the tips so far. I'm just waiting on a PS/2 keyboard to get started.

Even in the likely event WCG fails, I'll be able to relive the glory days of DOS games like Whiplash - I think there's even a 3dFX version that can use the Voodoo card. (If you haven't played Whiplash, you haven't really lived - just saying)

Reply 8 of 31, by darry

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chublord wrote on 2020-07-02, 02:37:

Well, thanks for the tips so far. I'm just waiting on a PS/2 keyboard to get started.

Even in the likely event WCG fails, I'll be able to relive the glory days of DOS games like Whiplash - I think there's even a 3dFX version that can use the Voodoo card. (If you haven't played Whiplash, you haven't really lived - just saying)

I hope that works out for you, but I should point out that minimum CPU requirements for Whiplash list a Pentium 90MHz CPU, so things might be bit slow on your 5x86 CPU .

EDIT: Link removed as it seems to contain external links to unlicensed versions of the game. Sorry, I did not notice initially .

Reply 9 of 31, by chublord

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Here's the machine I am working with, looks like an Opti 82C802G chipset. Need you guys' help though!

The installed chip is apparently a 486DX4-100 (per the sticker on the side). Now, this machine came with a DX2-66, so I know it originally was set up for 5V operation. I am concerned I will fry this DX4. Any way to tell if the chip is "5V tolerant"? Were there any DX4s that were 5V tolerant?

I'm curious if this is a genuine Intel chip. Any way to tell based on the underside? (I don't have any thermal adhesive at the moment, so I'm trying to avoid pulling the heatsink off)

There's a 5V/3V jumper on the motherboard - I assume a VRM would go here.

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Reply 10 of 31, by swaaye

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I used to run SETI@Home on my Pentium 3 back in 99. I remember Intel had a build with SSE support but it wasn't allowed because SSE is single precision. I wonder if a P3 could complete a unit in a useful manner these days.

I can't remember if there were any 5v chips at 100MHz..... Certainly there were Overdrives with VRMs though.

Reply 11 of 31, by chublord

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swaaye wrote on 2020-07-03, 01:01:

I used to run SETI@Home on my Pentium 3 back in 99. I remember Intel had a build with SSE support but it wasn't allowed because SSE is single precision. I wonder if a P3 could complete a unit in a useful manner these days.

I can't remember if there were any 5v chips at 100MHz..... Certainly there were Overdrives with VRMs though.

Any idea how the 5v/3v jumper block typically worked? Is my assumption correct that a VRM module would plug in here, and without one, the CPU is running at 5v?

Could the board be auto-sensing?

Reply 12 of 31, by chinny22

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Do you know the exact value point model you have or a part number of the motherboard or VRM?
That block does suggest it can support 3.3 but quick google I'm finding machines the 5v support only so not sure how it works either.

Also I cant see any PCI slots, you do have VLB which is more interesting on a 486 anyway.
No PCI mans no Voodoo though.

Whiplash is playable on a DX2/66. I've even played the S3D varent on a POD83 more recently but don't expect smooth gameplay, you really want at least a socket 7 PC for games like that to run well.

Reply 13 of 31, by chublord

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chinny22 wrote on 2020-07-03, 10:04:

Do you know the exact value point model you have or a part number of the motherboard or VRM?
That block does suggest it can support 3.3 but quick google I'm finding machines the 5v support only so not sure how it works either.

Not sure of the motherboard model, but its a Valuepoint 466DX2/Dp.

Best info I could find was that "71G0733" is the VRM and "71G0796" is the DX4 processor + VRM. I bet both are rare as hen's teeth. http://ps-2.kev009.com/pcpartnerinfo/ctstips/8aa2.htm

I'm surprised that the DX4 I have powers up at all in that socket without blowing up if it's really 5V.

Also I cant see any PCI slots, you do have VLB which is more interesting on a 486 anyway.
No PCI mans no Voodoo though.

Whiplash is playable on a DX2/66. I've even played the S3D varent on a POD83 more recently but don't expect smooth gameplay, you really want at least a socket 7 PC for games like that to run well.

I do have PCI! VLB was an option on this machine too, but here is the proof:

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Reply 14 of 31, by chinny22

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Cool looks like 71G0796 is the 3v vrm
This even shows how to confirm what your running at

http://greyghost.mooo.com/pccbbs/valuepnt/d2uf4spl.pdf

and yep, no denying that is a voodoo card!
Now that you've pointed it out I've also noticed the white slots in one of your previous pics, fine you win this round!
In theory you should get better performance with the voodoo as it takes some load off the CPU.
In reality it won't be much more then a frame or 2. The card's still going to spend most its time waiting around for the CPU to feed it more. but still no harm in playing around with it.

Reply 15 of 31, by chublord

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I probed the VRM connector using a multimeter and I think I know how it's wired up.

The connector has 20 pins total.

The 10 pins towards the front of the computer are the input pins. The 10 pins aft are the output pins. The little jumper block that's installed just connects the input and output pins directly together.

The 8 input pins closest to the processor are directly connected to +5V. The other 2 are connected to ground.

I am going to try building my own VRM from a standard buck converter and wire it up. Wish me luck.

Reply 16 of 31, by darry

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chublord wrote on 2020-07-03, 22:29:
I probed the VRM connector using a multimeter and I think I know how it's wired up. […]
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I probed the VRM connector using a multimeter and I think I know how it's wired up.

The connector has 20 pins total.

The 10 pins towards the front of the computer are the input pins. The 10 pins aft are the output pins. The little jumper block that's installed just connects the input and output pins directly together.

The 8 input pins closest to the processor are directly connected to +5V. The other 2 are connected to ground.

I am going to try building my own VRM from a standard buck converter and wire it up. Wish me luck.

Sounds like a fun project . Good luck .

Reply 17 of 31, by chublord

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So far it seems to be working. The input voltage is pretty low, I think the PSU is on it's way out (+4.36V on the +5V rail and +10.94V on the +12V rail). That's probably why the processor didn't blow up without the VRM. Luckily this generic VRM is adjustable.

Computer posted with the VRM installed. Should get my PS/2 keyboard tomorrow to actually try booting it up.

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Reply 18 of 31, by darry

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chublord wrote on 2020-07-06, 03:16:

So far it seems to be working. The input voltage is pretty low, I think the PSU is on it's way out (+4.36V on the +5V rail and +10.94V on the +12V rail). That's probably why the processor didn't blow up without the VRM. Luckily this generic VRM is adjustable.

Computer posted with the VRM installed. Should get my PS/2 keyboard tomorrow to actually try booting it up.

Nice. Hope you get that PSU issue sorted too .