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Starting a project. Pentium Pro 200

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First post, by stichas

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Hello fellow Vogons.

I just picked up a very weird scrap of parts for my next project.
Wondered how much retro can I take make it. It is a strange Acer AT motherboard with no AGP, no audio. 4 PCI slots and 3 ISA slots
On board USB1, 2xIDE, 1x FDD
And on board 2X SCSI controller ports
And to top it all off socket 8 and Pentium Pro 200 with 162MB sim RAM

I am planning to build a decent/good windows 98se PC. With AT case
Wondered is Pentium Pro would be good ? Or should I swap that with ATX mobo and a Pentium 3 socket with 1 ISA?

Here is a nice picture of the CPU. Will add more pictures, when the build progresses

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Last edited by Stiletto on 2021-02-03, 17:36. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 1 of 21, by fosterwj03

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Pentium Pros had relatively poor 16-bit instruction execution compared to similarly clocked Pentiums and Pentium IIs. You would be better off running Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 on a Pentium Pro (mature 32-bit OS's).

It will run Windows 98, but you might not like it as much as a Pentium III.

It sounds like a really nice find, though.

Reply 2 of 21, by maxtherabbit

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The "poor" 16-bit performance of the pentium pro clock for clock with the regular pentium is greatly overstated. IME it's like 5% or so.

Plus most pentium era DOS games use 32-bit DOS extenders anyway

Reply 5 of 21, by chrismeyer6

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My dad has a dual PPro 200 1Mb system that dual boots windows 98se and 2000 sp4 and it runs 98 very well. He uses the system with a telescope setup if his.
2000 seems snappier but that's cause it's utilizing both CPUs unlike 98 but 98 runs quite quickly as well and having 256 Meg's if ram and decently fast SCSI hard drives definitely helps.

Reply 6 of 21, by Horun

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Nice ! Having the SCSI on board gives lots of options as to drive types. Socket 8 was pre-AGP so you want to find a good PCI card like a Matrox to match up.
My favorite mid 1990's era board is my Asus P6NP5 w/Pentium Pro 200. There is just something about an original P6 that intrigues me (beside the fact they were the CPU that lead to P2 and P3 ).

Hate posting a reply and then have to edit it because it made no sense 😁 First computer was an IBM 3270 workstation with CGA monitor.

Reply 8 of 21, by Horun

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chrismeyer6 wrote on 2021-02-03, 01:37:

I thought Intel went down a different path with the Netburst based P4s. And they went back to the PPro line for the Core 2 line and beyond

Think you are right, is why I changed my post 😀 Had included P4 but just as hitting the submit button remembered that they made a change for P4.

Hate posting a reply and then have to edit it because it made no sense 😁 First computer was an IBM 3270 workstation with CGA monitor.

Reply 10 of 21, by H3nrik V!

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No doubt a P3 will be better at W98, already as the P3 starts at 450MHz. But yeah, a Socket 8 system is just cool in a whole other way 😀

Please use the "quote" option if asking questions to what I write - it will really up the chances of me noticing 😀

Reply 11 of 21, by Sphere478

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Pentium pros are super cool. Definitely gets my vote for a retro build.

Btw, if you look around you can usually find a pentium pro over drive for sale. Get ya some pentium II action! :p

Sphere's PCB projects.
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Sphere’s socket 5/7 cpu collection.
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SUCCESSFUL K6-2+ to K6-3+ Full Cache Enable Mod
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Tyan S1564S to S1564D single to dual processor conversion (also s1563 and s1562)

Reply 12 of 21, by bofh.fromhell

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stichas wrote on 2021-02-02, 22:23:
Hello fellow Vogons. […]
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Hello fellow Vogons.

I just picked up a very wired scrap of parts for my next project.
Wondered how much retro can I take make it. It is a strange Acer AT motherboard with no AGP, no audio. 4 PCI slots and 3 ISA slots
On board USB1, 2xIDE, 1x FDD
And on board 2X SCSI controller ports
And to top it all off socket 8 and Pentium Pro 200 with 162MB sim RAM

I am planing to build a decent/good windows 98se PC. With AT case
Wondered is Pentium Pro would be good ? Or should I swap that with ATX mobo and a Pentium 3 socket with 1 ISA?

Here is a nice picture of the CPU. Will add more pictures, when the build progresses

Pentium Pro is a great platform for a mid 90's system.
It beats all the Pentium and Pentium MMX's, but falls short of the Pentium 2's
The lack of AGP means you pay a premium if you want one of the better 3D cabable cards like the VooDoo 3's
Then again you can combine a great and cheap 2D card with a VooDoo 2 and get a very nice gamingsystem.
But the PPro will end up feeling limited if you want to play later 90's 3D games.

A P3 system can do anything the PPro does, and a lot better in most cases.
Mobos and CPU's and memory are dirt cheap, and theres a huge selection of AGP graphics cards to choose from.
Also ATX is a big plus when it comes to cases and PSU's, since you can use modern stuff.

Reply 13 of 21, by chinny22

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As others have said P3 is ideal for Win98, if that's your main goal.
PPro is closer to a Pentium 200 so late dos gaming will be fine, later windows games will start to struggle.

Back in the day when in cost more then a standard Pentium the 16 bit performance was a consideration.
But these days ok its not as efficient, so what? 1/2 the time my dual socket machines are happily playing games in Win9x or dos where the entire CPU is been ignored.
and owning a PPro is definitely cooler then a standard Pentium!

If you have the space you could build a socket 370 based PC which will allow for a faster 9x box and lack of ISA wont hurt as you have this rig covering dos

Reply 14 of 21, by elfoam

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I ran a pentium pro as the household server for a good 10 years, it's still do this day the coolest and more awesome PC I ever had. I ran Debian somewhere around version 1.8-2.1 on it. One you had compiled all your programs and the kernel for 686 they were lightning fast in those days. I also ran a dual slot one Celeron workstation at the same time, again with Debian but with 98 and windows 2000 on it. I later upgraded that one to dual slot one PIII's. Big fan of all the machine of that era. I'd love to find a good working Pentium Pro motherboard one day to rebuild my old server but they are not really affordable at the moment.

If you just want to run software from that time you are better off with a socketed Pentium III but they have not much cool factor.

Reply 17 of 21, by alvaro84

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I tried a Ppro-200/256 under DOS and though my consequence about its performance was "it's nothing special compared to a similarly clocked PMMX " (despite being vastly different) I still think the Ppro is a cool looking and otherwise very interesting CPU so yeah, go ahead, you can't go wrong with it, especially if you've already got one.

Shame on us, doomed from the start
May God have mercy on our dirty little hearts

Reply 18 of 21, by stichas

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Hello Everyone.

Thank you for your advice and tips

I guess you have this M11A board then?
http://www.win3x.org/uh19/motherboard/show/216

Yes mr. Evasive, i believe this is the MB I got.

I picked this up from an elderly man who was cleaning out his attic. He asked 20 eur. So something 24 $ for it.
It came in a very, in my opinion, ugly case. The strangest feature it had was an AT power supply which was controlled by the motherboard and acted like ATX. Although the connector was AT, the power button was not a toggle switch but a momentary button. When pressed the computer powered on.
And when shut down. The computer powered off by itself.
It had windows 2000 installed on an IDE drive and SCSI drive was secondary for files.

Also there were options in the BIOS to power on the computer on specific days.
The BIOS also had remote diagnostic options via MODEM. That was quite strange.

The case was not an original one. I am planning move it to a AT case with a toggle power switch and a turbo LED display.
Will post my progress here.
Please see the pictures of the previous case, SCSI HDD, SCSI CD-rom, PSU and some BIOS settings.

If you have any questions about it. Let me know. i will try to find it in the BIOS.

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Last edited by stichas on 2021-02-10, 18:25. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 19 of 21, by stichas

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Some more photos

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Last edited by stichas on 2021-02-10, 18:28. Edited 2 times in total.