First post, by slivercr
2. FILE REPOSITORY —> HERE.
It includes drivers, datasheets, manuals, etc.
If you have anything I can add, send it my way please!
3. CURRENT CONFIGURATION
"Need" are things intended for the build. "Want" are luxuries or things I'd like to play with.
Turion ML-42 (2.4 GHz, 512 kB L2)
2 GB PC-3200 DDR (220.127.116.11 )
GeForce 7950 GX2
320 GB HDD
Sound Blaster X-Fi
RAM with better timings
At least a couple of SSDs
Modular SeaSonic PSU, custom cabling
AMD Wraith MAX/Prism
USB3 card and front USB3 connectors
x1950 xtx, just to keep the all-red theme
4. ORIGINAL POST
Hey people! I hope this post finds you well in these pandemic-ridden times.
About a year ago, while on holiday at my parents' place, I found my old Athlon64 computer and pretty much decided then and there I would restore it to its former glory. Unfortunately, besides plotting out a rudimentary capacitor map of the board, not much more was done and the project was shelved. Fast-forward to a few days ago: I noticed khyypio's post in which he used the same board on a WinXP system—I immediately took mine out of storage and starting playing with it!
I've had this motherboard since release, got it in early 2005 along with an Athlon64 3000+. I was on a student budget, so I picked this board in particular to use my old AGP card. The plan was to hold out as long as possible while saving money to buy a PCIe card down the line. Well, I held out about one and a half years and got myself a Radeon x1950 Pro, I guess having no money allowed me to put up for so long with the crappy performance of the fake AGP port. MSI called this pseudo-AGP port "AGR", Advanced Graphics Riser. Even though WikiPedia claims its a PCIe connection (based on an old review), the peeps at coreboot tell us—and its confirmed by yours truly—its nothing more than a PCI connection.
Later on there were reports that boards with nForce4 chipsets like this one could be pencil-modded to enable SLI and SATA300 (another source). I remember very vividly removing the chipset heatsink with the intention of enabling SATA2, and discovering the chip had the necessary components already in place—the chipset said nForce4-4x, but it was effectively a nForce4 SLI! True enough, SATA300 worked without fuzz when I got a faster HDD. With only one PCIe slot though there's no way to test SLI unless I get something like a 7950 GX2, which I don't have handy.
In any case, the core build I have right now is;
- K8N Neo3 [MS-7135]
- Athlon64 3000+ [Newcastle, 2000 MHz, 512 kB L2]
- 2 GB of PC-3200 DDR, effectively the max of the board.
- Radeon x1950 Pro
Of these, I only plan to swap out the CPU. In fact I already got the replacement...
This is a Turion ML-42. Its the second fastest Turion available, behind the ML-44. The only difference between the two is the ML-44 sports 1 MB of L2 cache, while mine has only 512 kB. They both have a frequency of 2.4 GHz, which puts them on par with the fastest desktop s754 CPU, the Athlon64 3700+. These three CPUs, at 2.4 GHz, have the 2nd fastest frequency for the socket: the fastest belongs to the Mobile Athlon64 4000+, rocking a cool 2600 MHz.
Why did I choose this CPU instead of any of the other ones?
- Compared to the Athlon64 3700+, the Turion has SSE3 and a lower voltage (less heat = less noise!);
- Compared to the Mobile A64 4000+, the Turion has official support in the BIOS (after running Tualatins on OR840, I want something easy for this project);
- Compared to the Turion ML-44, this one had a reasonable price.
The plan, then, is to build a nice Windows XP / Linux machine—precisely what this computer used to be!
This thread will be my build log as I put the machine together and try to answer some questions. Off the top of my head...
- Board needs to be recapped: its running on a bunch of Teapo caps (eww) right out of the capacitor plague era (EWWWWW);
- The Turion has no heatspreader—mod the heatsink's mounting mechanism to accommodate the difference in height;
- A couple of mods to the original case this computer was housed on;
- Repair a small damage around the SATA ports ;
- (Optional) It would be nice to change the SATA plugs actually, to right-angle connectors so they don't interfere with the Radeon;
- Get X-Fi for this computer (non-negotiable: EAX5 for BioShock)—choose between PCI or PCIe. There are reports of issues with the PCI ones;
- I'd like USB3. I can't have it at full speed, but the 1x PCIe 1.0 could theoretically allow about half of its speed: this would be 4 times as fast as USB2!
Is it needed though? Its SATA300 after all, I'd need to RAID to take advantage of faster transfer speeds from USB. Also, it would take up the 1x PCIe for the sound card;
- Get a few SSDs to RAID, I'm actually quite curious about the RAID performance of this chipset since I've never used it;
- Put an older GPU in the pseudo-AGP slot to improve compatibility with older games.
Since its a PCI connection my first thought was "3dfx, those are also fake AGP", unfortunately the slot is keyed for 1.5 V so 3dfx cards are a no go.
GeForce2 MX maybe?
- Benchmark the performance of the pseudo-AGP slot;
- Test SLI? It apparently works on older drivers and dual GPU cards!
Let's have some fun!