Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby Elia1995 » 2017-7-30 @ 14:20

tizzdizz wrote:Can you post a picture of your test setup? Also one of the whole motherboard would be helpful too. I had a similar issue with an AT machine recently, and not all AT power supplies and motherboards are created equal! Ask me how I know... POOF...


I put the motherboard on the box, plugged in the AT PSU and then what ? I can't find where to plug the POWER SW anywhere on the board, I can only find the pc speaker, reset button, leds and "keylock" which I have no idea what it is.

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Now back to the other computers, today I tested every single computer once again, all of them, except for that AOpen one which I disassembled yesterday, the ASRock with bulged caps and the Pentium II Slot one which I don't have the processor, seem to work, even the Sempron one today after retrying with different PSUs and even after I replugged the one that is inside the case and removing all the case cables from the mobo and plugging in only the POWER SW, turned on.

I'll now quickly post all the HWiNFO screenshots I took of each computer I got the test to work, except the Pentium III computer, because for some reason it doesn't like to boot from any CD...

I'll first post the photo of the computer and then the HWiNFO screenshots, so you all can take a look at the specs such as BIOS, chipset and, where is integrated, VGA (those which I didn't take the screen for the VGA page means I used my RIVA TNT2 because they didn't have the integrated graphics chipset.

For reference, here's the VGA page of my RIVA TNT2, it's nothing special, really... just 32 MB of VRAM (more than the built in TNT2 that my Celeron build has: 24MB)
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Yes, it's a TV I'm using... I literally ran out of extra monitors.

Ah and don't look at the RAM because it's basically the same RAM stick I just put and pull in each computer to test them.

Here's the Pentium III on which I couldn't get it to boot from my UBCD:
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Ok, first computer:
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This FS is completely silent because it doens't have any fan, the CPU cooler is a huge heatsink as you could see in the photos yesterday, but it runs very hot, especially when it shouldn't (boot and a simple DOS HWiNFO).
The built-in graphics chip is an S3 ProSavage DDR, but HWiNFO couldn't see how much video memory it has.

Now it's turn for the Sempron:
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So it really is a Sempron after all.
This one it seems to run very cool instead of the previous Athlon XP 2600+.
(Note: I haven't changed the thermal paste in any of those computers yet, I just turn them on, do this quick HWiNFO thing and shut them down to avoid to overheat the CPU with their old and possibly dry thermal paste)

Now it's turn of the PC on which I tested most of the SDRAM, the A7A266:
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So this is one of those PCs without integrated graphics, I used my RIVA TNT2.

Here's the Duron on which I tested some more SDRAM:
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This one doesn't have integrated graphics as well as the A7A266.

I didn't bother doing the HWiNFO on the ABit NF7, I know that motherboard like my current main PC, since it is a very important motherboard for me, it has an nForce 7 chipset and is a Socket A motherboard, both my 2006 PC and this "new" one have an AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (like the Fujitsu Siemens PC) as CPU.
I'll use there my nVidia GeForce 7300 and my Creative Sound Blaster CT4750 just like I did with my 2006 PC, as well as the exact same hardisk with Windows XP ready to use (basically when that PC died I removed the hardisk and stored it away with other hardrives, never used it again, luckily it still works and I'll be able to make a video like "let's remake my 2006 PC" in the near future).
Currently assembled vintage computers I own: 11

Most important ones:
A "modded" Olivetti M4 434 S (currently broken).
An Epson El Plus 386DX running MS-DOS 6.22 (currently broken).
Celeron Coppermine 1.10GHz on an M754LMRTP motherboard
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby tizzdizz » 2017-7-30 @ 14:56

Just taking a stab here, that brown slot could be for the cache?

As for the power switch - I've seen some AT machines that had half size ribbon cables that go to the front panel to control things like the power switches, leds etc. Look next to the floppy cable port on the board- it kind of looks like it could take something like that. Are there any labels there? Have you found the manual or diagram for the or motherboard online yet?

Of course that could just be for regular I/o too...
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby yawetaG » 2017-7-30 @ 15:07

Doesn't the power switch on an AT power supply switch on the power supply itself?
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby tizzdizz » 2017-7-30 @ 15:17

Most are that way, but I'm pretty sure I have a couple that aren't.
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby Elia1995 » 2017-7-30 @ 15:25

This AT PSU doesn't have any switch on itself anywhere.
Currently assembled vintage computers I own: 11

Most important ones:
A "modded" Olivetti M4 434 S (currently broken).
An Epson El Plus 386DX running MS-DOS 6.22 (currently broken).
Celeron Coppermine 1.10GHz on an M754LMRTP motherboard
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby tizzdizz » 2017-7-30 @ 15:44

I had a face palm moment earlier this week while reassembling a socket 7 machine. It's an AT Machine, with a front case panel hookup on the MB, and also a two wire plug that comes from the power supply, that goes to an "enable" on th MB. There aren't any switches directly wired to the power supply.
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-7-30 @ 15:49

Be careful with AT supplies as the switch at the front will operate with full mains voltage.
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby shamino » 2017-7-30 @ 15:56

Elia1995 wrote:It's the ABit NF7, it's the motherboard of my Windows XP age, it's the motherboard on which I could play The Sims 2 for the first time, on which I first used Internet and I registered on YouTube.
Oh my god, guys, I honestly NEVER would expect to see this motherboard among those computers, when I today recognized her, I was happier than ever before.
Especially because IT WORKS !!!
It's also the exact same model, exact same chipset and exact same CPU (AMD Athlon XP) as the one who got a bulge in a condenser. The small fan that should cool the chipset doesn't spin at all, but it's a minor problem, it might be all that dust, once I clean it deeply, it might spin again or if it doesn't, I'll just replace it with the one of my ABit NF7, after all it's the same exact model and the one in mine spins perfectly


I love these boards, they really are outstanding. My NF7-S floated away years ago but I still have an AN7 which is similar. One of my favorite setups I ever ran as a main PC. I only retired it when Youtube switched to H.264 and it couldn't keep up anymore. Speed differences aside, I still liked that computer better than my current system.

The chipset fan on these boards is the one thing I don't like. It's notoriously unreliable, and the "heatsink" that it attaches to is really just a thin little fan holder. I don't personally trust it as a passive heatsink, and since I also don't trust the fan, I consider the whole assembly worthless. I suggest swapping it for a more conventional heatsink from some other board, one which will allow you to screw in a higher quality fan from the top. Or alternatively, get a substantial enough heatsink that is designed to cool this chipset passively.

The only difference between this and my ABit NF7 is just the colour of the RAM slots, it has purple ram slots in mine and black in this one, but it's the actual exact same model

Are they the same revision? I didn't know they used purple DIMM slots on the NF7 boards, but they did use purple on the AN7 (which was it's immediate successor). Maybe your purple slotted board was a very late one.

For whatever it's worth, according to my notes, NF7 rev2.0 officially supports 200FSB with Barton CPUs, while rev1.x are officially limited to 166FSB (but can sometimes handle 200MHz anyway). I think the difference comes from the chipset revision that was installed.
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby Elia1995 » 2017-7-30 @ 16:35

I disassembled the ASRock K7S8X PC which had bulged caps:

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The CPU is an AMD Sempron, I'll keep it until I won't test it on some other socket compatible motherboard.

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I also tried to clean the cooler and the CPU with rubbing alcohol and some paper towel and toilet paper, but this is how much I managed to clean them:

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I don't know if it's the alcohol expired or the thermal paste too dry, but I can't swipe any more out of them... I tried as hard as I could without too much pressure on the CPU (I don't want to bent its pins to fix them like the Pentium ones... -_- ) this thermal paste must be at least 15 years old (the CPU is dated 1999, so it can't be more than 17 years old)...
Currently assembled vintage computers I own: 11

Most important ones:
A "modded" Olivetti M4 434 S (currently broken).
An Epson El Plus 386DX running MS-DOS 6.22 (currently broken).
Celeron Coppermine 1.10GHz on an M754LMRTP motherboard
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-7-30 @ 20:42

Elia1995 wrote:I disassembled the ASRock K7S8X PC which had bulged caps:

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The CPU is an AMD Sempron, I'll keep it until I won't test it on some other socket compatible motherboard.

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I also tried to clean the cooler and the CPU with rubbing alcohol and some paper towel and toilet paper, but this is how much I managed to clean them:

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I don't know if it's the alcohol expired or the thermal paste too dry, but I can't swipe any more out of them... I tried as hard as I could without too much pressure on the CPU (I don't want to bent its pins to fix them like the Pentium ones... -_- ) this thermal paste must be at least 15 years old (the CPU is dated 1999, so it can't be more than 17 years old)...


The K7S board might be worth keeping with a recap job.
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby Elia1995 » 2017-7-30 @ 22:01

Exactly, I also have some motherboards I still must recap for years, guess I'll add it to that stash for now.

Earlier this afternoon I cleaned that case and screwed in it this motherboard I had lying on that table for at least 2 months because I couldn't find any good case with a working power button.

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It's not old enough for Windows 98, but it makes a decent Windows XP PC. (it uses DDR2 RAM)

But I think I'll replace it with some older motherboard in the future because it doesn't feel right such modern stuff inside a case that looks ideal for Windows 95.
Currently assembled vintage computers I own: 11

Most important ones:
A "modded" Olivetti M4 434 S (currently broken).
An Epson El Plus 386DX running MS-DOS 6.22 (currently broken).
Celeron Coppermine 1.10GHz on an M754LMRTP motherboard
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby Tetrium » 2017-7-31 @ 00:46

Elia1995 wrote:I also tried to clean the cooler and the CPU with rubbing alcohol and some paper towel and toilet paper, but this is how much I managed to clean them:

I don't know if it's the alcohol expired or the thermal paste too dry, but I can't swipe any more out of them... I tried as hard as I could without too much pressure on the CPU (I don't want to bent its pins to fix them like the Pentium ones... -_- ) this thermal paste must be at least 15 years old (the CPU is dated 1999, so it can't be more than 17 years old)...

The 1999 is not the production date. I'm a bit rusty on the date codes, but is this Sempron from week 5 of 2005? That seems really recent, could be a good overclocker.

Btw, these days I'll either clean the CPU before removing it or insert it into a dummy board so the pins don't get bend when cleaning ;)
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-7-31 @ 01:22

Tetrium wrote:The 1999 is not the production date. I'm a bit rusty on the date codes, but is this Sempron from week 5 of 2005? That seems really recent, could be a good overclocker.


Not sure how it will perform, but I believe you're correct about the date code.
http://www.cpu-world.com/CPUs/K7/AMD-Se ... OX%29.html
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby Elia1995 » 2017-7-31 @ 06:34

I did try to clean it mounted in the socket, but I just can't get any more thermal paste off it, no matter how much strength or alcohol I put in the paper... the chips also tear any paper easily.

Now I'm going to install Windows 95B on the only ide hardisk I have and I'll benchmark my AGP graphics cards and the CPUs.
I'm starting with the AMD Duron, it's currently formatting, I'll post the results later.
Currently assembled vintage computers I own: 11

Most important ones:
A "modded" Olivetti M4 434 S (currently broken).
An Epson El Plus 386DX running MS-DOS 6.22 (currently broken).
Celeron Coppermine 1.10GHz on an M754LMRTP motherboard
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby Tetrium » 2017-7-31 @ 11:34

Elia1995 wrote:I did try to clean it mounted in the socket, but I just can't get any more thermal paste off it, no matter how much strength or alcohol I put in the paper... the chips also tear any paper easily.

Now I'm going to install Windows 95B on the only ide hardisk I have and I'll benchmark my AGP graphics cards and the CPUs.
I'm starting with the AMD Duron, it's currently formatting, I'll post the results later.

The important part is that the die area is clean and that there's no elevated blobs of TIM that are higher then the die, so the heatsink makes good contact.
In your case, you could try something like an old credit card (still plastic card) to scrape the TIM off of it. Do NOT use a metal knife or something.
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby hyoenmadan » 2017-7-31 @ 12:52

Certain TIM types don't clean easily with alcohol, but them dissolve pretty well with things like WD-40. I would certainly give a try to WD40 in this specific case.
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby Elia1995 » 2017-7-31 @ 13:34

Is WD-40 safe and won't be corrosive for the dye and the chips ?
Currently assembled vintage computers I own: 11

Most important ones:
A "modded" Olivetti M4 434 S (currently broken).
An Epson El Plus 386DX running MS-DOS 6.22 (currently broken).
Celeron Coppermine 1.10GHz on an M754LMRTP motherboard
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby Tetrium » 2017-7-31 @ 14:29

I'd only clean up the stuff on top of the die itself if it's this hard to remove. I'd rather have it in working condition and I've run chips like that before. Main thing is that thermal conduction from the die to the HSF isn't impeded.
I don't know about the WD-40, but WD-40 sure as hell fixes lots of problems :D

Btw, the plastic credit card is perfectly safe (but you "could" still knock off things like tiny resistors if being careless). You'd have to use quite a lot of force to even make as much as a superficial scratch on the bottom side of a HSF.
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby hyoenmadan » 2017-7-31 @ 17:41

Elia1995 wrote:Is WD-40 safe and won't be corrosive for the dye and the chips ?

I've used it without any problem before to clean Core2 and Athlon movile chips. No corrosion, no damages to the dye.
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Re: Just got a lot of new retro stuff to make new content for the community

Postby Elia1995 » 2017-7-31 @ 18:27

Ok, anyway I could try this Sempron on the motherboard with that other Sempron which was working, I'll put a tiny dot of new thermal paste and check the temperatures with HWiNFO again, if it works (aka: if the temperatures aren't boiling), then I'll do that for any other CPU in those computers: remove the cooler, clean them as much as possible, make sure that at least the dye is very clean and put new thermal paste and check temperatures (obviously I'll check the temperatures BEFORE and AFTER, to compare), I honestly was a little scared to remove every CPU from those motherboards because, currently as they are, they work and the temperatures are ok, but we all know that every thermal paste in there is certainly dry and the cooler comes off like if there isn't nothing sticking there, so a thermal paste refresh for each cpu is necessary.

Today I spent almost the whole day using the AMD Duron computer, I inserted the only IDE HDD I have, first I formatted it and installed Windows 95 (it takes at least 30 minutes to format everytime), then since it had some problems (meh, I don't really like Windows 95... my personal favourites are 98 for the WIN/DOS era and the legendary XP), I formatted it again, installed Windows 98D, then since the CT4750 drivers won't install because the installer required Second Edition, I installed 98SE (another 30 minutes of formatting + another half hour to install), I then installed only the VGA (I used only my RIVA TNT2 M64 32MB today) and the sound card (CT4750) and started installing a bunch of games, I'm making a list of which games run good and/or bad on that combo (AMD DURON 800MHz with 512MB SDRAM and RIVA TNT2 M64 32MB) so I'll know which games to show first and which to save for last in the video of this PC.

It didn't ever randomly shut off, it was stable and working perfectly, although I couldn't monitor the temperatures because I didn't have cputemp or whatever software works on Win98 installed...
But anyway, it'd be a shame if, it now works and after I clean up the thermal paste I manage to clean up and add new thermal paste, would start giving problems :(
Currently assembled vintage computers I own: 11

Most important ones:
A "modded" Olivetti M4 434 S (currently broken).
An Epson El Plus 386DX running MS-DOS 6.22 (currently broken).
Celeron Coppermine 1.10GHz on an M754LMRTP motherboard
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