VOGONS


First post, by AngryByDefault

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Hello people! 😀

I am looking for some Socket 7 board, and I've come across a few local ads. Truth is... I don't really need another S7 boards as I have 3 already, but it kinda bugs that they are not of great quality and this little devil at my shoulder keeps whispering me to check out for something else...

So, I wonder which one of these would you go for, if any?

Some caveats to keep in mind:
- I'll admit not having a specific intention for this purchase, I'm just hooked on this.... ->
- ... ->.... ¿Maybe build an overkill, period incorrect, Cyrix machine with odd choices...?
- I've never seen a S7/SS7 board with AGP around here, so "Pure Socket 7 FTW" it is...
- I know memory will not always be fully cacheable and that would lead to a lower performance, still, I'm inclined to install as much as possible and figure out how to use a "RAM Disk"? Most if not all of these boards can cache 64 MB only.
- For some reason I'm feeling more ATX than baby AT lately (but a good argument for an AT board can turn that around).

- Links in the post will take you each boards specs I used for reference, in case that's helpful.

1) PCChips M599LR
* Pros
- K6-2 500 included.
- mATX
- K6-2 support
- 1.5 GB RAM Supported (according to the link at least...)
- Cheapest one in the list.

* Cons
- PCChips
- 2 PCI, 1 ISA only
- SIS 530 Chipset (rather slow? plus I already have one)

https://www.ultimateretro.net/en/motherboards/6191
--

2) SOYO Sy-5ssm (v 1.0 - 512K Cache)
Chipset is SIS 530 whic, I read, is kinda slow.

* Pros
- K6-2 500 included.
- mATX
- K6-2 support
- Finally not a PcChips board!
- 768 MB RAM supported (but ruined by not being cacheable?)
- 3 Mem slots

* Cons
- Slow SIS530 chipset? (plus I already have one)
- Single ISA slot.

https://www.ultimateretro.net/en/motherboards/10492
--

3) PCPartner MVP4BS7-947
Chipset is "VIA VT8501 (Apollo MVP4) [VT82C501, VT82C686A]" and I didn't find much about it.
* Pros
- K6-2 550 included.
- K6-2 support.
- MVP4, A chipset I don't already have. (Assuming it is not particularly bad)

* Cons
- Baby AT (I have 3 other B-ATs already)
- "Only" 256 MB RAM Supported
- 2 Mem slots only.
- Just 1 ISA Slot
- Smells like PCChips?

https://www.ultimateretro.net/en/motherboards/6680
--

4) DTK PAM-0057I E0
Chipset is "Intel 430 TX"
Never heard of this brand, I have no clue how reliable it could be nor how well documented it is.

* Pros
- Intel 430TX chipset.
- Not a PcChips board.
- Intel 166 MMX included.
- 4 PCI + 4 ISA slots.

* Cons
- About 30% more expensive than the rest.
- AMD K6-2 not supported?? / Boring Intel 166 MMX included.
- Max FSB at only 66MHz.
- Baby AT (I have 3 other B-ATs already)
- "Only" 256 MB RAM Supported.

https://www.ultimateretro.net/en/motherboards/1998
--

Any opinions will be much appreciated.
ABD

Edit: Corrected 4th link.

Last edited by AngryByDefault on 2022-05-09, 15:13. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 1 of 32, by Repo Man11

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According to the manual, the DTK board supports the K6-2 and has a setting for 75 MHz FSB. That means that you're already most of the way to a K6-2+ or K6-3+ at 450 MHz, and possibly 500 if there is an undocumented setting for 83 MHz FSB.

https://www.manualslib.com/manual/1047428/Dtk … ?page=21#manual

"Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects." - Will Rogers

Reply 2 of 32, by Joseph_Joestar

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AngryByDefault wrote on 2022-05-08, 23:10:

4) DTK PAM-0057I E0
Chipset is "Intel 430 TX"
Never heard of this brand, I have no clue how reliable it could be nor how well documented it is.

DTK made good monitors and decent motherboards back in the day. It's a solid brand.

- Intel 166 MMX included.

Pretty much the perfect MMX model for DOS, since you avoid runtime error 200 and can slow it down to 386 and 486 levels using SetMul. I use one myself and am very happy with it.

- "Only" 256 MB RAM Supported.

The 430TX chipset can only cache 64 MB RAM, even if you can technically install more. Basically, you'll lose some performance if you go over that amount. That said, if this is meant as a DOS and early Win9x system, then 64 MB is all you really need.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / SBLive / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 3 of 32, by Zeerex

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These are interesting choices. Would definitely go for the MVP4 just for kicks. I’m zooming into the clock generator on ultimate retro and it seems to have a W156? which might be able to go to 125mhz fsb. Turn on memory interleaving and you’ll get into Aladdin memory performance territory. I know because I have a similar board. Wish it weren’t baby AT though. The onboard Trident blade3d video isn’t great but is very DOS compatible and has Directx 6 for some light 3D acceleration. not sure if it can be turned off when you throw in a decent PCI card.

Reply 4 of 32, by Gmlb256

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2022-05-09, 02:25:

Pretty much the perfect MMX model for DOS, since you avoid runtime error 200 and can slow it down to 386 and 486 levels using SetMul. I use one myself and am very happy with it.

Never got that runtime error with a Pentium 233MMX and weirdly enough a K6-2+ CPU at 450 MHz (6 x 75), it only happened when overclocking the Pentium MMX to 262 MHz on my Socket 7 computer.

For faster CPUs there are utilities than can address this such as TPPATCH and TP7P5FIX.

The 430TX chipset can only cache 64 MB RAM, even if you can technically install more. Basically, you'll lose some performance if you go over that amount.

This becomes a moot point when using a K6-III or K6plus CPU as they have L2 cache on the CPU die and is independent of the motherboard chipset limitations. Still, CPU support depends of the motherboard BIOS and core voltage settings offered.

Reply 5 of 32, by cyclone3d

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The MVP4 has built in AGP graphics. Not going to be very good for actual 3D games, but you could throw a couple Voodoo 2 12MB cards in there and have a nice little gaming system.

The onboard VIA sound should also be useable in DOS if memory serves.

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Reply 6 of 32, by chiveicrook

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Ad 3
Integrated Trident Blade3D in MVP4 chipset shares system memory and eats a lot of memory bandwidth (according to original reviews) so it might not be the best choice for "high performance".
It is surprisingly capable, however.

Ad 2
While also not the best choice for squeezing the last drop of performance, if I were to choose I would go with SOYO Sy-5ssm and build a small form factor "reverse sleeper" in a modern-ish case.
Integrated sound is ok-ish for dos support as far as I know and I would throw in a voodoo2 to couple with integrated vga (maybe even with a vertical->horizontal riser to put it in a slim case)

Reply 7 of 32, by Cuttoon

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AngryByDefault wrote on 2022-05-08, 23:10:
4) DTK PAM-0057I E0 Chipset is "Intel 430 TX" Never heard of this brand, I have no clue how reliable it could be nor how well d […]
Show full quote

4) DTK PAM-0057I E0
Chipset is "Intel 430 TX"
Never heard of this brand, I have no clue how reliable it could be nor how well documented it is.

* Pros
- Intel 430TX chipset.
- Not a PcChips board.
- Intel 166 MMX included.
- 4 PCI + 4 ISA slots.

* Cons
- About 30% more expensive than the rest.
- AMD K6-2 not supported?? / Boring Intel 166 MMX included.
- Max FSB at only 66MHz.
- Baby AT (I have 3 other B-ATs already)
- "Only" 256 MB RAM Supported.

https://www.ultimateretro.net/en/motherboards/6145

Hi, better check that last link, I think you got the wrong URL there.

Those boards, general remarks:

Don't know much about the overall qualities of that SIS chipset, but "slow" usually shouldn't distract you in a retro build, as long as you're not trying to get any benchmark records on a certain platform. Most likely, "slow" just meant a couple of percent and stability and good layout should be more important.
AFAIK, the SIS chipset was a highly integrated, late budget chipset. I have some ASUS board with it. Usually will have on board VGA.

Intel 430TX and VIA MVP4 both were the final chipsets of those manufacturers for the socket 7. I actually find the Wiki entry quite convenient:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_c … entium_chipsets
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_VIA_chi … _5_and_Socket_7

Note that the VIA MVP4 board has on board video, you'd need a VGA slot bracket cable. Apart from lacking the AGP port, it is "super" socket 7 and should provide the option for 100 MHz FSB, unlike most earlier S7 boards. So, that's the key to really use the high clock frequencies of late AMD K6-2 chips.

I'd assume that Intel TX boards are a bit more expensive on average because it's the last Intel chipset, but that does not mean too much. It's mature and features SDRAM.

What comes to mind, minor factors to look for in an average S7 board, around 1997:

- Voltage regulators, are those the linear of the switching type?
- geometrical layout: Will the CPU socket be in the way of longer cards, e.g. a Voodoo2?
- Native USB, and does that actually work?
- Button cell battery or stupid RTC module?
- SDRAM option: Not of much practical difference in actual use within 66 MHz FSB, but makes it much easier or cheaper to source larger RAM modules.

In general, before you buy a board, check if there's somewhat decent documentation for it. ASUS is stll my reference as they tend to provide manuals and downloads for boards of any age on their own website, last time I checked.

Don't know the boards you have, but of those you mention, nothing sticks out as particularly desirable, having anything that sets them apart from most others.
I would not spend much on those in a "buy it now" offer. Some might still finish around 10-20 € in a normal auction.
Soyo is the only brand that registers well with me, but that doesn't mean too much. If they do indeed work, all made it until now, roughly 25 years.

I like jumpers.

Reply 8 of 32, by Joseph_Joestar

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2022-05-09, 04:19:

Never got that runtime error with a Pentium 233MMX and weirdly enough a K6-2+ CPU at 450 MHz (6 x 75), it only happened when overclocking the Pentium MMX to 262 MHz on my Socket 7 computer.

Try running Terminal Velocity and Jazz Jackrabbit. This bug always triggers for me in those two games on fast Intel CPUs. Even their shareware versions are affected. With K6 CPUs, it doesn't manifest until higher clock speeds, due to their different architecture.

For faster CPUs there are utilities than can address this such as TPPATCH and TP7P5FIX.

Yup, I use those for my faster rigs. It's a bit tedious having to apply the fix for every game which suffers from that issue though.

This becomes a moot point when using a K6-III or K6plus CPU as they have L2 cache on the CPU die and is independent of the motherboard chipset limitations. Still, CPU support depends of the motherboard BIOS and core voltage settings offered.

Not many 430TX boards can take those CPUs due to their voltage requirements and/or the lack of a modified BIOS. But for those that can, it does effectively eliminate the issue.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / SBLive / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 9 of 32, by Tetrium

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AngryByDefault wrote on 2022-05-08, 23:10:

3) PCPartner MVP4BS7-947

- Smells like PCChips?

Should be a completely different manufacturer (and different board quality, imo PCPartner should be the better one).
PCPartner always seemed more like a (somewhat bland but just-works-like) OEM manufacturer or something to me while PC Chips seemed more like a budget public (flashy but cheap!) retailer and sometimes PC Chips were really very budget while the PC Partner boards I handled always seemed as simple and effective as some OEM boards.

Afaik model numbers for PC Partner boards always start with "35-" followed by 4 numbers and then something like "-01".

I don't know this particular board, but if it's anything like the PCPartner board I handled, it should be a relatively solid pick (and not at all like the yolo that blindly picking a contemporary PC Chips boards is).

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My retro rigs (old topic)
Interesting Vogons threads (links to Vogonswiki)
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Reply 10 of 32, by Anonymous Coward

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DTK made monitors? That's a new one to me. I would guess in the best case they just slapped their badge on some Korean brand.
Although their BIOSes were not loved, their motherboards were quite solid (you could usually get AMI instead of DTK). However, I think just about anything after 1994 is really a rebranded Gemlight, which were also decent. I would definitely go for the DTK and Soyo. Don't play the PCChips lottery.

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V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 11 of 32, by Joseph_Joestar

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Anonymous Coward wrote on 2022-05-09, 08:59:

DTK made monitors? That's a new one to me. I would guess in the best case they just slapped their badge on some Korean brand.

I never had a DTK monitor, but some of my friends did. They were pretty decent in the mid '90s.

Here's one if you're curious on how they looked.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / SBLive / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 12 of 32, by AlexZ

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I would go with neither as none of them have AGP.

Since you already have 3 Socket 7 boards, perhaps you should consider getting something you don't have yet - 440BX? 5x86 P75?

Pentium III 900E, ECS P6BXT-A+, 384MB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 128MB, Voodoo 2 12MB, 80GB HDD, Yamaha SM718 ISA, 19" AOC 9GlrA
Athlon 64 3400+, MSI K8T Neo V, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT 256MB, 250GB HDD, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 15 of 32, by bloodem

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2022-05-09, 08:01:

Try running Terminal Velocity and Jazz Jackrabbit. This bug always triggers for me in those two games on fast Intel CPUs. Even their shareware versions are affected. With K6 CPUs, it doesn't manifest until higher clock speeds, due to their different architecture.

The Turbo Pascal error can be easily patched, though. I actually patched Jazz Jackrabbit and Monkey Island, however I subsequently reverted to the non-patched versions, since I actually enjoy seeing that error and making it disappear through speed workarounds. 😁
Funnily enough, I have encountered the error on many "fast systems" of the '90s, however on a Core 2 Duo E7500 with an Audigy 2 ZS I can play all of the "error 200" games without even touching setmul 🤣

Last edited by bloodem on 2022-05-09, 15:35. Edited 3 times in total.

2 x PGA132 / 5 x Socket 3 / 9 x Socket 7 / 12 x SS7 / 1 x Socket 8 / 14 x Slot 1 / 5 x Slot A
5 x Socket 370 / 8 x Socket A / 2 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 7 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: Core i7 7700k

Reply 16 of 32, by AngryByDefault

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I'm always amazed at the level of engagement in this community, thank you all for you feedback.
I'll consider every comment and figure out what to do.

I will most likely get one, although they are not outstanding in a good, varied market, around here in my choices are quite limited. For instance, in the whole year I've been keeping an eye for Socket 7 stuff I've not once seen a sincgle AGP SS7 board, nor a K6-2+/K6-3, nor a 233 MMX, Winchips, etc...

Suffice to say that 85%+ of the boards are from PCChips...

Thank you again 😀

Reply 17 of 32, by Cuttoon

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I'd probably consider the one with MVP4 chipset simply because in my limited experience, boards with that chipset are pretty rare.
(Or it might just be that I usually did not care much for boards with on board VGA.)

It's also one of the most advanced S7 sets. So, it's super 7, at least, with 100 MHz FSB and RAM.
https://www.anandtech.com/show/248

AGP could be a lot of trouble with those boards so it's not a big loss that it's missing here - as long as it's not actually making the same trouble with the on board VGA...
That "Trident blade 3D" they used there probably sucks sweaty balls, but what would you expect?
http://www.vgamuseum.info/index.php/cpu/item/ … rident-blade-3d
It's just fine for DOS and as a base for a Voodoo addon card, I'd assume, as long as the whole shared memory business doesn't cause any shenanigans.

So, it's an oddity for sure.
Finding a VGA bracket should not be too complicated, they're generic, afaik.
By the photo, it's a compact, ok layout. Good luck finding the pinout of that large audio connector in the lower left corner, though.
Btw, manual says "VIA AC97 audio" but the photo shows a chip by advanced logic, next to the middle PCI slot. As seems to be the law, the photo's resolution is exactly one click too low to read the marking. Is that an audio codec like ALS100? These infos tend to be a bit murky sometimes...

I like jumpers.

Reply 19 of 32, by Socket3

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I'd personally go for 3) PCPartner MVP4BS7-947.

The MVP4 chipset is pretty good - had one back in the day, and I've been trying to get a hold of another working board for years. It's as fast as the MVP3, has K6-II+/III support, and the on board Trident Blade 3D is not the most horrible integrated video card. In fact it's miles better then the integrated solution in the SIS 530 - it can actually game at 640x480.

I had an Lucky Star MVP4 board back in the day with a 400Mhz K6-2 on it (non plus). I overclocked the snot out of that sucker using a socket A cooler, thermal paste (came with a janky little pentium 1 style cooler and a thermal pad) by giving it 2.4V and 5x 100MHz. It was the machine I used to finish Quake 2 witch ran great @ 640x480), Homeworld 1, Croc, Lego Racers, Dungeon Keeper 2, Deus EX - and others. Performance is similar to a Riva 128 - a bit slower but not by much - provided you use the 100Mhz FSB setting and PC100 SDRAM since the video card uses system ram as video memory. With RAM clocked at 66MHz it's pants tough...

The on board Blade3D also has excellent DOS support, as good as the S3 Virge, witch is a big plus - no need to use a dedicated video card - provided the seller still has the breakout cable for the display connector on the motherboard. There should also be breakout cables for the sound card witch has decent DOS support and is SB compatible, as well as for PS/2 and serial/parallel.

So if you're looking for a fast and compatible Super Socket 7 board i'd say go for the MVP4.

Cuttoon wrote on 2022-05-09, 15:35:

That "Trident blade 3D" they used there probably sucks sweaty balls, but what would you expect?

It really doesn't. In fact it's by far the best on-board VGA card on any socket 7 motherboard. It's miles ahead of the Sis530. Performance-wise it's a bit slower then a riva 128 but very usable and compatible in both 3D and 2D.