VOGONS


First post, by Metal

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Hi everyone! This is my first post here, so I hope I'm doing it right. I found this forum and its wiki extremely helpful in picking parts to build my '90s/2000s gaming/experimentation PC, so I figured this would be the best place to go for help.
I finally received the last of my parts in the mail today and after spending a couple hours putting it all together in an old case, I pressed the power button and was heartbroken to see that nothing was displaying on my monitor, despite the fans and disk drives running. I've tried everything I can think of to get it working but so far nothing has worked. I've reseated the CPU, RAM, and GPU. I unplugged the sound card and IDE devices, reset the CMOS using the jumper pins on the board, and even put in a new CMOS battery, but nothing's worked.
My specs are:

I actually got the motherboard new-in-box, so I was hoping this would be a relatively smooth experience.
Unfortunately I don't have any other PC100 RAM, GPUs, or Slot 1 CPUs on-hand to swap out. I also don't have a PC Speaker in the case so I can't tell if this thing is beeping at me or not.
I will note that the fans will still turn on if I power the machine on without the CPU, RAM, or GPU. I haven't tried powering it on without all 3, but it does power on while missing one of the trio.
Any advice?

Last edited by Metal on 2020-07-14, 03:14. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 1 of 23, by darry

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If you own a multimeter, testing the PSU voltage rails would be a good idea (especially if the PSU is not new ) .
Also what are the actual specs of the PSU ? There seems to be multiple versions of the CX430 .

Does pressing numlock on the keyboard toggle the numlock LED ?

Does a visual inspection of the motherboard or video card reveal any obviously leaky or bloated capacitors ?

I doubt this would prevent a board of this vintage from booting, but have you put in a fresh CMOS battery ?

I assume the jumpers are properly set for the CPU you have installed .

A PC speaker or POST card would probably help a lot .

Also, as a general rule, if you don't have spare parts to begin with, it's a good idea to source multiple examples of the less expensive stuff, like RAM, the CPU or even the video card just to have some spares to test if something goes wrong . Alternatively, if you can test parts at a friend's place or borrow known good parts from a friend, it helps a lot with the process of elimination .

Reply 2 of 23, by Horun

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Welcome ! Do you get any BEEPS from the PC speaker (very important it is hooked up) ?
Did you mount it in a case already or are you "bread boarding" it before installing in a case ?
A board that old (late 90's) may not work even if classed as new because the capacitors have dried out and failed since it has been in "non use" for years.
And if mounted in a case please remove it (see breadboard testing a motherboard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5ry7smNtPU).
Please post a good pic of your exact board, not a ebay picture. Thanks

edit: sorry Darry, was typing when you posted

Hate posting a reply and have to edit it because it made no sense 😁 First computer was an IBM 3270 workstation with CGA monitor. 🤣 Second computer a 286 12Mhz with real IDE drive ! After that came 386, 486, Pentium, P.Pro and everything after....

Reply 4 of 23, by jakethompson1

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Hello!

A 440BX board with Pentium III is also what I set up when I got into old stuff.

One way or another you're going to need a PC speaker attached or this is going to be a world of frustration.

Could you attach a picture of the RAM. I wonder if you are running into the low vs. high density issue.

Hopefully it isn't the capacitors. I set up my Intel SE440BX-2, which was also new in box, 5 years ago and so far (knock...) it still works fine.

Reply 5 of 23, by Metal

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@darry I do not have a multimeter on hand, but there might be a place where I could use one. I'll have to look into it.

The PSU is a CX430 75-001666. It's got 20A on the +3.3v rail, 20A on the +5v rail, 32A on the +12v, 0.8A on the -12v, and "+5Vsb" on the 3A rail. I bought it used and I don't know when it was made.

I just tried an old PS/2 keyboard and had no luck with numlock.

The caps are all looking good on the motherboard.

The battery I dropped in was fresh out of the package, but I only know that it was bought sometime in the last 2 years.

The jumpers are set to match what's shown in the motherboard manual for a 550MHz P3.

I guess I should order a PC speaker anyway. What '90s PC would be complete without one 🤣?

I also guess I could order a cheap Pentium 2 and another stick of RAM. Finding a decent GPU was quite difficult but I guess for testing it wouldn't matter if it was a crappy MX card or an ancient TNT or something like that. If I could get access to my local college campus, I know for a fact my old club has parts I could use to test this thing. I'll have to find out if they're open right now, since, y'know, coronavirus and all.
Thanks!

Last edited by Metal on 2020-07-11, 03:03. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 6 of 23, by Metal

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@Horun
I just now tried it breadbox-style and had the same luck, unfortunately.
Here's my board: https://imgur.com/KDL0QnY

@darry
Yes, it is a known-working monitor. I've been using it as a second monitor on my main PC since March.

@jakethompson1
Here's my RAM. I don't think it's the low/high-density issue, but I could be wrong. https://imgur.com/a/iF8MWZY

Also I found a note from the seller who sold me the PSU. It says that it was tested for functionality before selling it.
Additionally, the listings for the CPU and GPU both say that they were tested working. I guess this narrows it down to the mobo 😒

Reply 7 of 23, by Metal

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I just tested the power supply on a newer Core 2 Duo Dell SFF computer and it booted up just fine, so I guess it's the mobo or the RAM 🙁 .
I'll try reaching out to the sellers of the CPU and GPU to see what the extent of their testing was.
Is it possible that the GPU isn't compatible with this board? I've read some stuff about certain Voodoo cards not being compatible with Gigabyte 440BX/LX systems because they don't get enough power from the AGP slot, and I've read some stuff about NVidia GPUs having weird issues in Gigabyte 440BX/LX systems as well.

Reply 8 of 23, by jakethompson1

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That's a good point about maybe it's an AGP issue and you have no way to know since you have no PC speaker and no POST code reader.
Here's hoping it's beeping something at you that you just have no way to detect.
I got rid of a ton of the retro stuff I had originally in the late 90s/2000s but I'm glad I kept a lot of core stuff - PCI graphics cards, IDE hard drives, ribbon cables, etc.

Reply 9 of 23, by darry

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jakethompson1 wrote on 2020-07-11, 18:51:

That's a good point about maybe it's an AGP issue and you have no way to know since you have no PC speaker and no POST code reader.
Here's hoping it's beeping something at you that you just have no way to detect.
I got rid of a ton of the retro stuff I had originally in the late 90s/2000s but I'm glad I kept a lot of core stuff - PCI graphics cards, IDE hard drives, ribbon cables, etc.

My Abit BX6 was able to boot without a video card (used Linux on it). I suspect that other boards of that vintage were able to as well .
While not 100% conclusive, if you can get numlock toggle to work while booting without a video card, that would point toward the video card as a likely culprit .

Reply 10 of 23, by chinny22

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You definitely want a speaker.
You can get a "piezo buzzer" from online stores or electronic shop for next to nothing.
That would be my 1st purchase.
Cheaper then CPU's, RAM, etc and the beep code will give you better idea of whats going on

Reply 11 of 23, by PC Hoarder Patrol

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This is a bit of a long shot, but are you sure the processor is properly seated in the slot 1 socket, and yes I know you've tried that already. Reason I ask is that your pic shows the processor cooler has the right-angle side tabs and I've found that sometimes these don't play nicely with certain designs of slot 1 support brackets. The test would be to remove the slot 1 support bracket and fully reseat the processor & cooler without it, then re-test.

Reply 12 of 23, by Metal

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PC Hoarder Patrol wrote on 2020-07-13, 11:09:

This is a bit of a long shot, but are you sure the processor is properly seated in the slot 1 socket, and yes I know you've tried that already. Reason I ask is that your pic shows the processor cooler has the right-angle side tabs and I've found that sometimes these don't play nicely with certain designs of slot 1 support brackets. The test would be to remove the slot 1 support bracket and fully reseat the processor & cooler without it, then re-test.

Holy shit, PC Hoarder Patrol you nailed it!!!
So I originally was trying the PC Speaker idea. I found out that the Dell SFF C2D I mentioned earlier had a speaker soldered to the motherboard, so after work today I de-soldered it and soldered it onto what looked to me like a CD-to-Sound Card cable(?) and plugged it into the Spkr header on the board. I got no sound from it whatsoever and was starting to pack up all of the parts to try again at a later date, when I thought, for shits and giggles, to try removing the retention bracket for the CPU. I had to pull 4 plastic pins out with pliers and then push the bracket out.
When I slotted the CPU back in, sure enough, it went much deeper into the slot. I quickly plugged the RAM and my GPU back in and started it up, and was greeted with a "BEEP!" on my jury-rig speaker, and this on my monitor: https://imgur.com/a/flm6VHK

Any idea what this video corruption could be? Bad GPU? And where should I go from here in regards to the CPU? Obviously with a CPU this heavy, I can't let it stay in there without some support. Is there some kind of alternative bracket I can look for online? Or should I sell this CPU and look for another one?

Reply 13 of 23, by jakethompson1

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is that monitor native vga or do you have a converter involved?
The Award post screen is actually graphics mode. If you hit DEL and let setup come up, it will switch into pure text mode and I wonder if that will give different results.

Reply 17 of 23, by darry

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Metal wrote on 2020-07-14, 03:31:

Well, it's worth a shot. I'll give it a try tomorrow.

Hope that works, otherwise the most likely scenario is bad RAM on the video card, IMHO .

Reply 18 of 23, by shamino

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I get corruption kind of like that on my main everyday monitor sometimes. It seems to not get along with many of my older video cards for some reason. In fact it just happened again today when I was testing a P2 board with a RIVA128 card, so I had to grab an old junk monitor instead.
The difference I see is that you have legible text characters on top of the garbled lines. I just get the garbled lines.
The legible text makes me have some doubt about this being the issue.. it seems like the text would get garbled like everything else. But I'm posting the suggestion anyway. If you have another monitor handy, maybe try hooking that up to see if it makes any difference. Otherwise I think a video card swap may be in order.

The monitor I have this problem with is an SPVA from like 2008 or something. The one I used to "fix" the problem is scarcely any older, but it's a cheap TN panel.
I was thinking it had something to do with the SPVA panel not liking 70Hz, but that doesn't really make sense because the same VGA input works fine with some newer systems that still have traditional BIOS boot screens. So I'm not sure what's really going on.

Reply 19 of 23, by PARKE

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PC Hoarder Patrol wrote on 2020-07-13, 11:09:

This is a bit of a long shot, but are you sure the processor is properly seated in the slot 1 socket, and yes I know you've tried that already. Reason I ask is that your pic shows the processor cooler has the right-angle side tabs and I've found that sometimes these don't play nicely with certain designs of slot 1 support brackets. The test would be to remove the slot 1 support bracket and fully reseat the processor & cooler without it, then re-test.

Good catch.