VOGONS


First post, by vintagely

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Hi everyone! And big greetings from an aging italian dude with a weird passion for old rigs. And bad english. I'm also new around here so please don't come on strong on me too much 😀.

About the thread title: since i was 12, when i got my first pc, i had to learn very fast how to solve windows 95 issues, and after a while i became very good at problem solving. Now when people around me have a blue screen i'm the first man to look for. It's not that i have the technical preparation, it's more like trial and error. For a loooong time. And probably that's why i can't solve the problem i'm facing now.

20 years have passed, covid is here so i decided to dust off my first beloved rusty pc from the attic. An old AMD K5 100 mhz 32 MB with s3 trio 1MB --- upgraded to a pentium 200 mmx 128 MB + V2 when things were getting too slow.

Heh, the memories. And i was kinda lucky when i got it upgraded back in the day since i didn't have a clue about jumpers, dual voltage motherboards and maximum cacheable DRAM areas. Luckily, the motherboard (PC Partner MB520N) was already configured for the mmx processor, but now i'm puzzled how the k5 worked well all the time before... Well better to give less voltage than too much i guess.

Returning to the present day, the first start was a bummer. My Caviar 21600 hdd was clearly dead, and the ominous triple beeps coming directly from the hdd confirmed that. Damn, i will miss that rotating sound.

Oh well luckily there is another one. A 16 gb maxtor that was configured as primary slave and for extra storage. After setting the primary master jumper correctly and good ide cable positioning, let's see if i manage to format it and get that Win98 SE working with some Blood (yes, that game from Monolith. My very FIRST game.)

Wait, what?!? what you mean 8 gb only?

After some research, i found that the AMI BIOS is 8 gb limited. And since i'm a tough one and want things solved, i literally wasted tens of hours trying to use every DDO software under the sun to give that drive full capacity and install win98 se. Nothing. Nada. I give up.

MaxBlast 4 failed. Ontrack Disk manager failed. I tried everything. I read somewhere that i need DDO installed on the drive and to boot it before launching setup from win98 cd-rom. So i tried everything to boot the overlay. But i just failed. Oh well i'm lil tired now maybe ill create two partitions inside Windows and get that juicy extra space with a partition sotware... HA! you wish!

Obviously i failed here too. I heard that with PTEdit32 and some luck with MBR editing and i might be able to trick windows and get that extra space... but i'm very afraid since my networking speed is around 500 kb/s (why is that low btw? i'm using a 3com 905 10/100) so it's not i'm doing fast backups.
Maybe i'm not brave enough, but some precise, in-depth tutorial on how to do that kind of partition-enlarging thing would be appreciated. Also, a link for PTEdit32 since symantec ftp server link is shutdown.

Another thing. THAT DAMN USB 2.0 CARD. i can't get NUSB working with that one. it's a NEC uDP720101 something card that should work Jesus! i try to connect an EMTEC 8 GB flash drive and sometimes nothing happens, sometime it gets detected with a red cross on device manager... and SOMETIME IT WORKS WHEN WEIRD THINGS HAPPENS! (like the s3 trio card in hardware conflict 16 colours when messing around). but then i need 16 bit colours on my desktop or my eyes start bleeding... so no usb flash drives for me either.

Well the optical usb mouse does work. Ok, i'm fine with that. I'm gonna use the goddamn 500 kb/s NIC for data transfers (oh, i will not mention the mess i had to learn/do to enable SMB1 on windows 10 laptop and get the network up and operational...).

I'm done. s3 VBE20 is installed. Voodoo 2 drivers configured and ready. Time for some BLOOD and GLQUAKE!

Last edited by Stiletto on 2021-02-23, 03:22. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 1 of 14, by weedeewee

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FYI, if a disk doesn't immediatly start spinning after being in storage for ages. and just sits there trying, but failing... Just give it a tap on the side. wack it.
Like if you had it vertical on the table, pick it up a few cm off of the table and drop it straight down on the table while it's trying to start spinning.

Best thing that can happen is it starts spinning and you have access to your data.

Reply 3 of 14, by Joseph_Joestar

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Any PC component with moving parts (CD-ROM drives, HDDs, Floppy drives...) is likely to have some issues after 20+ years. If you can get a BIOS update which supports disks over 8 GB, I would suggest using an IDE to SATA adapter paired with a cheap 120 GB SSD. Don't go over that amount as Win98 can't handle it.

OTOH, if your BIOS can't be upgraded and you're stuck with the 8 GB limit, grab a CF to IDE adapter and use a Compact Flash card. They work fine for pure DOS gaming but become a bit sluggish under Win98.

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Reply 4 of 14, by jheronimus

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vintagely wrote on 2021-02-19, 22:46:

upgraded to a pentium 200 mmx 128 MB + V2

PC Partner MB520N

That motherboard uses the Intel 430VX chipset, so it only caches 64MB. You're kind of hurting your performance by going over that limit.

BTW, here is the last BIOS image for your board. The readme file doesn't mention anything about 8GB limit though, but it's probably worth a try.

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Reply 5 of 14, by vintagely

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jheronimus wrote on 2021-02-20, 11:07:
vintagely wrote on 2021-02-19, 22:46:

upgraded to a pentium 200 mmx 128 MB + V2

PC Partner MB520N

That motherboard uses the Intel 430VX chipset, so it only caches 64MB. You're kind of hurting your performance by going over that limit.

BTW, here is the last BIOS image for your board. The readme file doesn't mention anything about 8GB limit though, but it's probably worth a try.

I knew that, thanks. That's why i mentioned maximum cacheable dram area, and upgrading to 128 was actually a mistake i did back in 2001. I got aware of that in the exact moment i decided to restore this rig and on another forum i was warned about this issue.

Regarding the BIOS, i already installed the latest version from PC partner website, but the 8064 MB BIOS limit is still there. I tried to search for a modded version, but only found somewhere a modded bios for the MB520ND that increase the limit up to 32 gb. Maybe it is possible to apply the mod on mine too, but i think it is too risky and probably not worth it.

Fact is, i actually managed somehow to overcome the 8 gb limit back in the day. i don't know how, but i did it. That's why i spent lots of hours trying to do it again... but now i think i'm not interested anymore. i don't wanna go through another format and reinstall of everything, i just wanna to create another partition/ enlarge the actual 8gb one in a reliable way if possible. If not, well not a big deal.

I'm actually more interested in fixing usb 2.0 flash drive issues, i don't know if there is a way to uninstall safely NUSB and/or apply other usb tweaks, i hope i will find a way to do so.

(wow so many replies already, thank you everyone btw 😁 )

Reply 6 of 14, by majestyk

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The 520ND is basically the same mainboard with the same chipset and the same super-IO, but provides two additional slots for SD-RAM sticks (which the VX chipset is capable of addressing). It comes with an AWARD BIOS while the 520N has AMI BIOS instead.
I would give it a try and flash the patched (32GB) ND-BIOS on a seperate Flash-ROM. Chances are good it works o.k.

Reply 7 of 14, by vintagely

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majestyk wrote on 2021-02-20, 15:40:

The 520ND is basically the same mainboard with the same chipset and the same super-IO, but provides two additional slots for SD-RAM sticks (which the VX chipset is capable of addressing). It comes with an AWARD BIOS while the 520N has AMI BIOS instead.
I would give it a try and flash the patched (32GB) ND-BIOS on a seperate Flash-ROM. Chances are good it works o.k.

Separate flash ROM? So do you mean that the bios rom on my board is inside a removable chip?

Reply 8 of 14, by vintagely

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Bump.

I will also add a few more questions that are bugging me from a while.

System: (P200 mmx + Creative voodoo 2 12 MB, 64 MB RAM). windows 98 se with unofficial 2.1 SP and 98se2me installed.

1) Is it WickedGL recommended to install on my system? If so what version would be best? . What V2 driver version to pair with wicked eventually?
2) Is it normal with my system spec and NIC card (3Com 905C 10/100) to have throughput of 500 kb/s with a windows 10 laptop over a router? I kinda expected some 1-2 MB/s at least...
2a) would be better to create a direct network link with a FTP to get better speeds? what FTP software would you suggest that may both work with windows 10 64 and windows 98?
2b) would be also possible to use a backup/restore hdd image that would work from dos and over NIC? which image backup software would be best suitable for the task?
3) are there any alternatives to NUSB to enable usb 2.0 flash drive support ? is it actually possible to remove nusb? If so, can you provide a quick link to a tutorial/guide on the matter?

Reply 9 of 14, by aha2940

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vintagely wrote on 2021-02-20, 21:39:
majestyk wrote on 2021-02-20, 15:40:

The 520ND is basically the same mainboard with the same chipset and the same super-IO, but provides two additional slots for SD-RAM sticks (which the VX chipset is capable of addressing). It comes with an AWARD BIOS while the 520N has AMI BIOS instead.
I would give it a try and flash the patched (32GB) ND-BIOS on a seperate Flash-ROM. Chances are good it works o.k.

Separate flash ROM? So do you mean that the bios rom on my board is inside a removable chip?

Take a look at your motherboard, and you may find a socketed chip (maybe marked AMIBIOS). If so, that's the chip where your BIOS resides. Likely it is an EEPROM, that can be replaced by an equivalent EPROM (or another identical EEPROM, of course). These kinds of chips can be burned at home using an EPROM reader/writer. That way, you can test whatever BIOS you want to, without risking damaging your mobo. If it does not work, just put again the original chip and you are ready to go. Just be very careful with the chip orientation, because putting it backwards is known to fry things.

Reply 10 of 14, by vintagely

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aha2940 wrote on 2021-02-21, 14:52:
vintagely wrote on 2021-02-20, 21:39:
majestyk wrote on 2021-02-20, 15:40:

The 520ND is basically the same mainboard with the same chipset and the same super-IO, but provides two additional slots for SD-RAM sticks (which the VX chipset is capable of addressing). It comes with an AWARD BIOS while the 520N has AMI BIOS instead.
I would give it a try and flash the patched (32GB) ND-BIOS on a seperate Flash-ROM. Chances are good it works o.k.

Separate flash ROM? So do you mean that the bios rom on my board is inside a removable chip?

Take a look at your motherboard, and you may find a socketed chip (maybe marked AMIBIOS). If so, that's the chip where your BIOS resides. Likely it is an EEPROM, that can be replaced by an equivalent EPROM (or another identical EEPROM, of course). These kinds of chips can be burned at home using an EPROM reader/writer. That way, you can test whatever BIOS you want to, without risking damaging your mobo. If it does not work, just put again the original chip and you are ready to go. Just be very careful with the chip orientation, because putting it backwards is known to fry things.

got it thanks. Any eprom programmer you can suggest me that should work with my chip? (PC Partner MB520N, SMC version, AMI BIOS 70503a)

Reply 11 of 14, by aha2940

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vintagely wrote on 2021-02-21, 16:47:
aha2940 wrote on 2021-02-21, 14:52:
vintagely wrote on 2021-02-20, 21:39:

Separate flash ROM? So do you mean that the bios rom on my board is inside a removable chip?

Take a look at your motherboard, and you may find a socketed chip (maybe marked AMIBIOS). If so, that's the chip where your BIOS resides. Likely it is an EEPROM, that can be replaced by an equivalent EPROM (or another identical EEPROM, of course). These kinds of chips can be burned at home using an EPROM reader/writer. That way, you can test whatever BIOS you want to, without risking damaging your mobo. If it does not work, just put again the original chip and you are ready to go. Just be very careful with the chip orientation, because putting it backwards is known to fry things.

got it thanks. Any eprom programmer you can suggest me that should work with my chip? (PC Partner MB520N, SMC version, AMI BIOS 70503a)

Well, I use a chinese Top3000 programmer for my EPROM and EEPROM needs, however these do more than what you need (I also use it for old arcade games and other stuff) so they may not be the less expensive option. I do not know of other programmers, sorry about that, but I do know there are other (maybe better) options.

Edit: I noticed this thread about another EPROM programmer that seems to work for what you need: TL866II+ programmer question (Linux)

Reply 12 of 14, by vintagely

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aha2940 wrote on 2021-02-22, 03:15:

Well, I use a chinese Top3000 programmer for my EPROM and EEPROM needs, however these do more than what you need (I also use it for old arcade games and other stuff) so they may not be the less expensive option. I do not know of other programmers, sorry about that, but I do know there are other (maybe better) options.

Edit: I noticed this thread about another EPROM programmer that seems to work for what you need: TL866II+ programmer question (Linux)

No problem man, thanks anyway. i will take a look for the various options. For now i'm gonna give another try to fix the usb thing, maybe i will look for another card (probably searching for similar topics on the forum on the matter).

Reply 13 of 14, by MaximRecoil

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-02-20, 07:06:

OTOH, if your BIOS can't be upgraded and you're stuck with the 8 GB limit, grab a CF to IDE adapter and use a Compact Flash card. They work fine for pure DOS gaming but become a bit sluggish under Win98.

My CF card (which is a new SanDisk UDMA7 card, 32 GB) isn't sluggish in Windows 98 at all; it feels instantly responsive. Its overall score in this benchmark is about 75 times higher than my 7200 RPM 80-GB Maxtor D740X-6L HDD that was considered a pretty good hard drive when I bought it in 2002:

CuwqRM0.png

Its highest read speed in that benchmark almost maxes out the Ultra ATA/100 IDE channel that it's on, and should be capable of maxing out the slower IDE channel on the OP's older motherboard.

The problem with that SanDisk of mine, and probably most (or all?) newer/fast CF cards, is that is doesn't have a fixed disk mode like all CF cards are supposed to have, which is no problem at all in Windows 98 (it neither knows nor cares), but causes issues with Windows 2000 and newer.

Reply 14 of 14, by MaximRecoil

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aha2940 wrote on 2021-02-22, 03:15:

Edit: I noticed this thread about another EPROM programmer that seems to work for what you need: TL866II+ programmer question (Linux)

I have an older one of those (TL866CS) and can confirm that it works fine for burning BIOS EEPROMs, or at least it did with the type I tried it with (Eon EN29F002NT-70p DIP32 EEPROMs from early 2000s Asus motherboards). I've also used it for burning EPROMs and EEPROMs for '80s and '90s arcade boardsets, which is the reason I bought it in the first place.