Work Log: Ex-Govt AUS. Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration/Down/Upgrade - Canopus T64V, SB16 & More!

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Work Log: Ex-Govt AUS. Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration/Down/Upgrade - Canopus T64V, SB16 & More!

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-7-12 @ 03:59

Current Progress: Video/Sound Card Arrived! Creative SB16 & Canopus Power Window T64V

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Build Purpose:
As usual, builds I work on that aren't straight picking parts from my collection tend to change purpose and scope over time. This started as a simple restoration of an old Government PC that was made by an Australian system integrator, just for the sake of keeping a cool part of Australian computing history that not many people would care about around. Since then, I've expanded on the purpose a bit. I'm sticking to these exact ideals - keeping as much of the build as feasibly possible in the 1994 to mid 1996 era, using hardware that would not have been prohibitively expensive or unreasonable (i.e., not going for absolute top tier/collectable parts to build the ultimate [purpose] machine), while also turning it into my main 95/DOS machine.

The reason for this is that when I move house later this year or early next year, I don't want to have to take my whole PC collection with me. I have to make tough choices on what I do want and what I don't want. For that reason, this build has become the chosen one for this era. It's form factor is perfect (one of the only desktop cases that I own). It's the right era. It's not crazy and it has some history behind it.

In order to serve this purpose, I'm aiming to keep an fun, enjoyable and robust collection of external peripherals and addons to turn this once Government Office workhorse into a box filled with endless fun without changing its core. This includes objects such as MIDI Sound Modules, external SCSI devices and an all-encompassing mid 90's setup in the end. My little shrine and retreat to the late DOS and Win95 era, no matter how boring the office PC is. Though that's for another topic after moving.

Current Hardware/Specs:
Plain colour annotates original hardware, green annotates new hardware, red annotates removed hardware and reason for removal.

Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I
Case: Custom Ipex Desktop AT Case
CPU: Intel Pentium 120MHz
CPU Cooler: Standard Intel Pentium Retail Cooler
Motherboard: ECS P5VX-Be Rev 2. (430VX)
RAM: 64MB - NEC MC-424000F32P-60 (4x16MB)
HDD1: Seagate Medalist 1276 1.2GB (NT4)
HDD2: Seagate ST34345A 4.3GB (Win95/DOS).
FDD: Sony MPF920-1
ODD: Teac 6x CD (Didn't check exact model)
PSU: ST-230WHF
Graphics Card: Canopus Power Window T64V (S3 Trio64V+) + Canopus MPEG Decoder Daughterboard (S3 Scenic/MX2 Powered)
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster 16 IDE (CT2290)
Network Card: SMC EtherEZ ISA

Perhiperals:
Mouse: Standard Microsoft Serial Mouse - P/N:55305 (It's in pretty rough shape, may replace it with a new one, or use my Ipex PS/2 Mouse)
Keyboard: Unknown at this stage. Wasn't able to locate this machine's original keyboard. Will have to do some research into Ipex's OEMs for their keyboards around this era.
Monitor: Sony CPD-17SF2 17" CRT. Original monitor was thrown out long ago. This was a nice '96 vintage monitor at the right price that I can also use with my Amiga.

Removed/Replaced:
CPU Cooler: Standard Intel Pentium OEM Cooler - Replaced with retail cooler from a PC that has partial historical significance to me.
ODD: Acer 624A 403 - 24x Speed - Was an upgraded drive, so replaced with an era appropriate 6x Drive.
Graphics Card: AOpen PT70 S3 ViRGE/DX - Was not original in the build, unsure what the original card was. Replaced with something cooler, and older.
Sound Card: AOpen AW35 - Was not original in the build, unsure what the original card was. Replaced with something more appropriate.
RTC: Odin OEC12B887A - Old and dead, replaced with brand new Dallas DS12887+.

Wishlist/To Purchase:
Sound Module:Yamaha MU80
Sound Module:Roland SC-55MKII (To replace the early SC-55 that doesn't play as nicely with some games and software).
Speakers:Unsure yet. Era appropriate speakers would be great. Beige preferred. Ipex would be absolutely great of course, but I do not know if they even rebadged any speakers. Altec Lansing or Yamaha would be amazing. Other speakers are follow suite.
SCSI Card:An appropriate Adaptec '95-Mid '96 model at the right price. There are lots of fun, external SCSI devices to play with after all!
And more to come...
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Original Post:

Hey guys. Just a little fun project to keep me occupied for awhile as I wait for parts to come in stock for my watercooled build.

Here I've got an Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I computer. Ipex was an Australian PC manufacturer from 1984 to 2008 based in Victoria, and I'd argue their heyday was the mid 90s to early 00s. They are mostly known for the computers they built for the Australian Goverment and anyone who spent any time in public schools, Defence Force bases/DoD offices and many other public sector buildings would likely have seen an Ipex computer or peripheral during this time. Here's a logo to jog your memory for those Aussies out there:

Image

Not many of Ipex's computers made it out into the "wild", so to speak. The Government was fond of recycling or destroying these PCs after their lifespan was up, and the few you do find these days are more than likely ex-business, not ex-government.

This one is from the Government. It hasn't been used since 1999 and has been in storage since then. Without going into too much detail on how I came across this (not stolen) and which department it's from, it's a machine I'm going to keep for myself mainly for nostalgia, but also because it's a cool little piece of Australian computing history. One of the only large scale Australian PC builders that existed out there!

So let's dive into this, take a look at what was inside and go through what I want to do with it. I've blanked out the Ipex serial numbers on the components PC, since they are recorded.
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The front of the case. Notice the lines are styled to match their logo? Neat! I only noticed that the other day. Two spots visible where the Government serial number/barcodes used to be. Plenty of LED options, too!
Image Image Image

This CD drive seems out of place. 24x? Floppy seems fine though!
Image
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Side, Top and Back views.
ImageImageImageImage
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The inside.
Image
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The Hard Drive. Seagate Medalist 1276, 1.2GB. Understandable pick, reliable as hell and large storage for the time!
Edit: turns out this was a replacement drive, but was replaced by Ipex under warranty. Perhaps not as reliable as suspected. Found the documentation for the replacement. :lol:
Image
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The Optical Drive. Acer 624A 403. 24x Speed. Mfg date March '98. No Ipex sticker. It works just fine, but something's wrong here!
Image
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The PSU. Ipex ST-230WHF. 16A +5V, 12A +12V, 0.3A -5V, 0.5A -12V. No idea who the OEM is, and haven't really researched it either. Plenty of certifications though, and I'm confident they aren't faked since these were Government PCs after all. Caps not checked, so I'll likely check those at another date and recap if necessary. Fan still working and fairly quiet.
Image
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The Floppy Drive. Sony MPF920-1. Original part, works, Jan '97. However, this had a different serial number on the Ipex sticker. I'm guessing it was a replacement.
Image
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Now we'll get into the cards, board and everything else.

BIOS. Award PCI/PNP 586. Nothing special here. '95 Date.
Image
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RTC. Odin OEC12B887A. Again, nothing special here. Dead.
Image
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CPU/Cooler. Intel Penium 120, exact SKU not checked. Cooler - San Ace MC 109X4412H6022. Made in Japan of course! Working fine, but may replace with a new one since I have a couple of them NIB.
Image
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Motherboard. ECS P5VX-Be Rev 2. PCISet SB82371SB/SB82437VX
ImageImageImageImage
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Graphics Card. AOpen PT70 S3 ViRGE/DX. No Ipex serial number, so not sure if it's original or not.
ImageImageImage
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Sound Card. AOpen AW35. Crystal CX4237B-XQ3 sound chip. No Ipex serial number either.
ImageImageImage
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Network Card. SMC EtherEZ ISA. SMC 83C785QF chip. Ipex serial number that matches case, so certainly original.
ImageImageImageImage
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RAM. NEC MC-424000F32P-60. SMC 83C785QF chip. Ipex serial number that matches case, so certainly original.
Image
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Now an interesting tidbit I found while disassembling this machine.
Image

These are the screws that were holding in the three expansion cards. Sound card, Graphics Card, Network card from left to right. The Sound Card is clearly out of place, which I found unusual for an OEM machine, but didn't think much of it.

Image

I then saw this later on. A matching screw hidden away in the side of the case. The fact the Sound Card and Graphics Card have no Ipex warranty sticker, combined with the fact that there is a single different screw in the case holding one of them in, the fact they were registered with the FCC in 1997, the sound card having a different warranty sticker and the original screw was hidden away leads me to believe that these are not original parts.

Image Image

I also like these cable routing clips and holders they built into the case.

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So that's the PC. Now why is the title a "Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade" project? Here's what I want to achieve with this PC.

Restoration:
  • Full backup of current install as a reference point (still has everything on it).
  • Thorough cleaning of all parts.
  • Retrobright the case.
  • Source replacement RTC.
  • Fresh install of NT 4.0 (original OS on here), minus the Government Department additions, but keeping the original Government wallpapers and some software.
  • Source an Ipex keyboard and possibly mouse. I have an Ipex PS/2 mouse but would prefer a serial one.
  • Recap PSU if required.
  • Possibly replace CPU Fan.

Downgrade:
  • Get rid of the Acer 24x CD Drive.
  • Replace with either a 4x or 6x CD Drive.
  • Potentially remove some of the extra RAM that seemed to be added after the fact. There is 64MB of RAM in here, and that doesn't seem right. But it very well could have been, given where it came from. Unfortunately I don't have anything to compare to or research with.

Upgrade:
  • Remove the S3 and the Sound Card, since I am convinced they aren't original. I will keep them however, just in case it turns out they are.
  • Source and install AWE32 (preferably Value) Sound Card. May use my AWE64 Gold, but it's too out of place in my opinion.
  • Decide on a more appropriate graphics card. Though the ViRGE/DX is fine, I wouldn't mind something a bit more powerful yet still in the '95 to mid '96 era.
  • CF adapter for easy file transfers.

I'll update the post as I make progress! Thanks for checking it out guys.
Last edited by x0zm_ on 2018-9-04 @ 05:56, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2018-7-12 @ 06:09

Wow, that's a really neat little machine, and a great find by the way! It'll be very interesting to see how this restoration works out. Bookmarked :)

On the photos, the case doesn't look too yellow. Is it so bad that you really need to stress the plastic with retrobright?

x0zm_ wrote:Notice the lines are styled to match their logo? Neat! I only noticed that the other day.

That is cool, I like it very much :) Great case!

Downgrade: I agree with most of it, but the extra RAM won't hurt so maybe keep it in there?
Upgrade: Spot-on in my opinion!

Have fun with this great little side-project, all the best! :)
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
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2: P3-S 1.4|512MB|D815EEA2|Voodoo5+Voodoo5 6000|SB0350
3: P4 3.4EE|4GB|P4C800-E|FX 5900 Ultra+Ti4600|SB0466
4: X5470 3.33|8GB|P5Q-E|GTX 580 3G|SB0886
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby chinny22 » 2018-7-12 @ 13:24

I think I may have come across 1 or 2 of these growing up? logo seem a little familiar? I didn't know they were as big as this.
I also now wonder if it was common to get contracts for other states. or if say Ipex was big in Vic, but not so much anywhere else?

Across the border in NSW I grew up with
Our high school had Beem (or was it Beam) 486's up till I left in 1998, my first high school had something different again but I cant remember what.
Local TAFE had Digital Pentium MMX or maybe early P2's, while popular models at the campuses my dad worked were Dell, Compaq, a few old Osborne's and other non big name brands which may have been larger then I realised.

Awesome a relatively unknown part of Aussie history is saved though!
Are the Aux, Headphone/Mic ports hooked up to anything?

Surprised your keeping NT4! I get it and actually like the OS but its usefulness is pretty limited.
I'd keep the 64MB of ram, NT loves RAM!
If your looking for suggestions ATi Mach 32 or 64 is period correct, hardware acceleration, Good NT4 compatibility, and PCI should be dirt cheap.
Not saying its the best choice but a common one from the time.
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-7-13 @ 03:11

voodoo5_6k wrote:On the photos, the case doesn't look too yellow. Is it so bad that you really need to stress the plastic with retrobright?

Downgrade: I agree with most of it, but the extra RAM won't hurt so maybe keep it in there?
Upgrade: Spot-on in my opinion!

Have fun with this great little side-project, all the best! :)


I have very harsh white light in the room the photos were taken in, so it looks brighter than it actually is. It's pretty bad when looked at in natural light.

On the topic of RAM and the Sound/Video card:

I found the service log for this (well, all) of the PCs from here. The extra 32MB of RAM was added weeks after procurement by the software vendor for the main piece of software this machine was running, so I suppose that's close enough to "stock" to keep it.

The Sound and Video card were added in early 1998, so they are definitely going out. Unfortunately it doesn't say what was *originally* in here aside from "VGA Card" and "Audio Card".

chinny22 wrote:I think I may have come across 1 or 2 of these growing up? logo seem a little familiar? I didn't know they were as big as this.
I also now wonder if it was common to get contracts for other states. or if say Ipex was big in Vic, but not so much anywhere else?

Across the border in NSW I grew up with
Our high school had Beem (or was it Beam) 486's up till I left in 1998, my first high school had something different again but I cant remember what.
Local TAFE had Digital Pentium MMX or maybe early P2's, while popular models at the campuses my dad worked were Dell, Compaq, a few old Osborne's and other non big name brands which may have been larger then I realised.

Awesome a relatively unknown part of Aussie history is saved though!
Are the Aux, Headphone/Mic ports hooked up to anything?

Surprised your keeping NT4! I get it and actually like the OS but its usefulness is pretty limited.
I'd keep the 64MB of ram, NT loves RAM!
If your looking for suggestions ATi Mach 32 or 64 is period correct, hardware acceleration, Good NT4 compatibility, and PCI should be dirt cheap.
Not saying its the best choice but a common one from the time.


I'm from NSW and we had a few of them at school, or in primary school at least, along with some Acorns. By high school we were getting some Acers and possibly some IBMs. I've seen them in at least three Defence/RAAF bases around Sydney, two other schools in Sydney that I didn't attend.

Checking wayback, they were apparently at one point the largest Australian owned system integrator, so that's something.

I've actually got an ex-TAFE PC in that pile in the photos that I have to get to at some point, but it was nothing special. Pretty sure an instructor built it since it's unbranded and has stuff written in permanent marker.

Image Image

They aren't. Only Power, Turbo and HDD are.

I was considering an ATI Mach 64. I'm happy to use anything a bit cooler than the S3, but not a Tseng ET6000 or ET4000. Overdone in my opinion, and too expensive for what they are. Also considering chucking in a Matrox (Millennium most likely). All comes down to price at the end of the day. I want to try keep the whole thing under $100 - $120 at most.
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-7-16 @ 22:19

Took apart the PSU last night quickly just to check caps to determine whether I should immediately factor in a recap into cost. Didn't fully remove it from the case because I didn't want to undo all the cable management unnecessarily, so the photo isn't great. Had to hold it and take a photo at the same time. :lol: But all caps seem fine from a quick visual inspection.

Made by Seventeam. Sunon fan. "PCE-Tur" caps. No idea what brand they are, never heard of them. May end up replacing them for peace of mind if nothing else, depending on how much everything else costs in the end.

That explains the "ST-230WHF" model number.

Will test it properly with multimeter when I clean out the case properly.

Image

Something I noticed based on some quick research. Unlike some other photos of this model online, this one has all the components filled, whereas photos of other ones show empty throughhole/silkscreen locations for components that weren't added, mainly filtering. Must be a higher cost model with that option included to meet certain certifications.
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-7-16 @ 23:42

The other models might be lower cost versions designed to deliver profit at the cost of performance, longevity, safety, or all three. Probably less of that, though, as Seventeam has maintained a decent reputation as an OEM.
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby ninkeo » 2018-7-17 @ 11:17

I used to see these systems EVERYWHERE, one of my older mates has a couple with blown power supplies. But in all of the ones I've used, none of them ever had the front panel audio jacks working because they either had only the PC speaker or a soundcard with no pinouts for them.
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-7-19 @ 02:38

gdjacobs wrote:The other models might be lower cost versions designed to deliver profit at the cost of performance, longevity, safety, or all three. Probably less of that, though, as Seventeam has maintained a decent reputation as an OEM.


Yeah, my thoughts exactly.

ninkeo wrote:I used to see these systems EVERYWHERE, one of my older mates has a couple with blown power supplies. But in all of the ones I've used, none of them ever had the front panel audio jacks working because they either had only the PC speaker or a soundcard with no pinouts for them.


Yeah seems that way. I don't ever recall one having working front panel audio from my experience either.

Update on progress:

- New RTC arriving shortly from Maxim. Hopefully Friday or early next week.
- 6x CD drive sourced and on its way.
- Still on the hunt for a well priced sound card and video card. May end up keeping the S3 depending on sound card cost in the end.
- CF adapter ordered from China.
- Considering getting a second 2-10GB HDD for Win95/DOS games.
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby greasemonkey90s » 2018-7-21 @ 16:16

Do you know if the battery is on a zif socket or soldered.
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-7-23 @ 03:36

greasemonkey90s wrote:Do you know if the battery is on a zif socket or soldered.


ZIF thankfully.

Image

Oh boy, what could be in this ridiculously sized box?

Image

Image

Image

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2 month old RTCs! Hooray!

May they last another 10-15 years.

I also picked this monitor up on the weekend from eBay. I've been looking to get rid of my HP P1230 CRT for awhile now as it's just way too large and heavy to be practical, no matter how nice it is and how high the refresh rate goes.

This will be the monitor for this build and my Amiga 3000 from the same source as this computer, while my main PC's LCD will be used for my Pentium III since both cards in there have DVI out now. The rest of my machines will continue to share old 5:4 and 4:3 Dell LCDs.

Image

Image
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-7-28 @ 03:17

Currently have a shortlist of cards to put in here. Narrowed it down to the following, some based on cool factor, some based on price. I've kept everything within the 1994-mid 1996 era as best I could. All prices in AUD. Will just think it over and pull the trigger on purchases this weekend or early next week.

Sound Cards:
  • Sound Blaster AWE32 PNP (CT3600 - $60-$70) - Expensive, but cool. I have a thing for SIMM slots.
  • Sound Blaster 16 Pro (CT2290 - $20-ish) - OPL3, arguably not *as* cool, even with OPL. Good though!
I had some other Media Vision, Jazz, etc cards here, but I think I just want to stick with the SB for compatibility.

Video Cards:
  • Canopus Power Window 968 (S3 Vision968 Chipset - $25) - Love Canopus cards. Interesting workstation chip. Exposed IBM DAC die. Pretty good compatibility in Windows 95, NT and DOS.
  • Tseng ET6000 ($50-$60) - Great performance. Well documented, great compatibility. Overdone and boring, and expensive.
  • ELSA GLoria-L (S3 ViRGE + 3DLabs GLINT 500TX + 3DLabs Delta - $40) - This thing is just flat out cool. ViRGE for DOS Compatibility. Then some ballin' 3DLabs action for 3D workstation in NT. A bit (or very...) out of place in this PC though. But holy hell, it's just cool.
  • Diamond Stealth 64 (S3 Vision964 - $30) - Again, interesting. Not as cool as the Canopus card. Probably won't buy.
Haven't found any other cards at a decent price that were interesting, though.

Other things I'm considering putting in here that may not be too out of place in a workstation-style build.
  • Tandberg Data TDC 3660 5.25" SCSI Tape Drive. Accepts QIC tapes. No clue what I'd do with it though.
  • 5.25" Floppy Drive maybe?
  • May just install second HDD for Win95 instead of a second format interface.
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby PcBytes » 2018-7-28 @ 18:00

Wait, you're telling me that those Dallas RTCs are made in 2018?

I thought these were out of production. (I live under a rock when it comes to this subject)
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-7-30 @ 04:53

PcBytes wrote:Wait, you're telling me that those Dallas RTCs are made in 2018?

I thought these were out of production. (I live under a rock when it comes to this subject)


The DS12887 are OOP and replaced by the DS12887+, which I've got here. Never had any issues with them and they are 100% compatible with the old, non-plus variant.

The only difference is RoHS compliance and being lead free, which is great!

As for cards, I've at least settled on the SB16. It feels much more appropriate to me even if the AWE32 is perfectly appropriate as well. Can always add a wavetable if required later on.

Video card I'm still not sure. I've narrowed it down to the Canopus card and the ELSA GLoria from my previous list.

I've also now added an Matrox MGA-2064W (R3) in the running at $20, and another Canopus card with the Trio64V+ chipset & MPEG decoder daughter board for around the same price.

I'm going to do some further searching for anything else that might be out there. The Canopus Power Window card is a reasonable, mid-range workstation card from the time. The GLoria is just flat out cool and I've wanted an excuse to use one for awhile, but I feel it's better suited to a dual PPro NT system.

As usual there's plenty of options for AGP cards and ISA cards, but early PCI cards are an absolute nightmare to find something interesting outside the bare basic ViRGE/Trio pile out there.
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-8-01 @ 06:01

Ah the burden of choice.

I've stumbled across the CT3110 "Phone Blaster". Vibra16 chip, but also genuine OPL3 with a built in modem. Certainly interesting. Doesn't seem to be much information about it online at all unfortunately, so it's hard to make an informed choice as to how well this thing actually worked or if it had any serious issues. It was interesting insofar as that I was considering putting in a 28.8k modem at some point.

I'll just stick with the CT2290 for now. Safe bet and a trusted seller. Hard to go wrong.

As for the graphics, I have decided on the Canopus Trio64V+ card. Older than the current ViRGE, sure. But more appropriate than the replacement '97 ViRGE card that's currently in here, and much cooler. The Power Window T64V+ came out right at the end of my timescale (June '96), but I'm fine with that. My reasoning is that it's both a reasonable chip that's not over the top by any means, but it's also a very nice, collectible (to me at least) card too. Canopus cards are just beautiful.

I've purchased both of these and hopefully they'll be shipped by their respective sellers soon. :-D
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby KCompRoom2000 » 2018-8-03 @ 02:53

Man, you sure are lucky to have found an S3 Trio 64V+ for only $20! If I had an S3 Trio/Cirrus Logic video card with 2 or more MB of RAM, I'd be using it instead of a Virge on my Pentium 1 rig, but alas they're hard to find at decent prices on eBay in the US. :-/
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1998-01:GX150MT|PIII-S 1400|384MB|GF4Ti4200|CT4670
2000-05:A8V|A64 3700+|2GB|RadeonX800
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-8-05 @ 07:54

KCompRoom2000 wrote:Man, you sure are lucky to have found an S3 Trio 64V+ for only $20! If I had an S3 Trio/Cirrus Logic video card with 2 or more MB of RAM, I'd be using it instead of a Virge on my Pentium 1 rig, but alas they're hard to find at decent prices on eBay in the US. :-/


I had to import them from China to get a good price. Some cards I were looking at were on eBay such as the CT3600, the Tseng card, the GLoria and others, some were local but were a fair drive away, but these items were just the right items at the right price.

The original CT2290 I was looking at was on a forum but this ended up being cheaper after shipping. It was cheaper for me to purchase these there, use a forwarding agent and have them forwarded than it was to buy it from US/Europe. The sad reality of the retro market and international shipping costs these days, but that's just life I suppose. The T64V came from a video card collector in China, and the sound card came from a store which seems to deal almost exclusively in 8086-P3 era goods, with most of it being 386 to 586.

Big shout out to them if they happen to be on this forum! :cool:

Here's the photos I've received from the agent.

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Total pricing:

Canopus T64V+ - $25 USD.
Sound Blaster 16 CT2290 - $15 USD.
Shipping for both - $12 USD.

Shipping alone for some of these cards I was looking at was getting close to the total price combined using eBay's GSP. I'm very thankful for having been introduced to the world of hardware shopping in China. Having to pay $50+ shipping on items from overseas really makes doing anything interesting challenging here at times.

Meanwhile I've got a secondary 4GB HDD for Windows 95 that I've pulled from an old Compaq with a dead motherboard. Since I've kept under my total budget, I'll be buying a DOM as a backup solution for the contents of these two HDDs.

Next update will be case cleaning. :-D
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-8-07 @ 09:52

Cleaning Day (Late night really) 1:

First thing to do was clean the case. It was mildly dusty, has food/coffee stains and permanent marker stains over it.

Sorry for the crappy focus and bad white balance. I forgot to turn off manual settings on my phone. You get the idea though. The case isn't [img]that[/img] yellowed. But it'll look nicer soon!

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Coffee stain which was removed.

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Dirt and dust in the grooves, and then a lack thereof. Same for the grooves all over the case.

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Marker or something over the back of the case, which was also (mostly) removed.

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Dusty vents, and then clean vents.

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Some of the crap you pull out of these grooves.

Cleaning Day 2:

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The brighter, but dusty inside of the front panel. Photo taken for my reference for reassembly.

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A better look at the actual case colour in natural light.

Unfortunately today was cold, semi-cloudy and just not a very nice day for retrobrighting, but it's the only chance I had. It did well enough. I may redo it in Spring or Summer when the sun is out for a decent period of time, and it's actually hot enough to heat the water to a reasonable temperature.

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Later during the afternoon, my 6x CD drive arrived in all its yellowed glory. Sadly, it was damaged in transit. Such is life.

Turned out I had one in another "spare parts" Pentium 1 PC laying around. This PC was one that was running DOS software at my families business for over 15 years until it was replaced with a Pentium III running the same software... in 2011. It's nice I can put part of this machine to use.

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March '96 vintage Teac drive, from a machine assembled by Ritron in May '96.

By this stage it was mid to late afternoon.

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I'm happy with the case panel, especially considering the weather. It's not 100% back to the original colour, but it's much better than it was.

I started the CD drive panels but gave up shortly after since the clouds came back and it was getting late, so I'll put them out on the weekend.

Leaving it out to dry, I went back to work on the machine a few hours later and do some other prep work/cleaning.

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Re-assembling the front panel, before and after cable management.

Next up was the CPU and CPU heatsink. Surely there was dust to clean out in there.

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I'm surprised! The paste hadn't completely dried out, and was still mildly goopy over 20 years later. That dust had to be removed though. Disgusting.

I did the usual method of getting out what I could with a brush and tip of a nearby screwdriver, and washed the remains of the heatsink with distilled water I had around from watercooling.

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Yum.

The heatsink is currently drying out from its wash. I'll be replacing the thermal compound with the trusty Noctua NT-H1.

I'm tempted to replace the fan with the fan off the old family business machine, as that's a retail version with the nice hologram label. Unsure on this yet.

Up next: No idea. Cards will be awhile. We'll see. :dead:
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-8-09 @ 04:43

Left the CD drive plates out in the sun today.

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Poor dying grass. Too much frost and not enough rain. Drought doesn't help.

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The case it was pulled from and the colour it matched fairly closely versus what it is now.

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The drive as is.

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Colour is correct, as it now matches the untouched part of the volume wheel. The setting it was left on is still yellow.

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Also from this parts computer - the fan I am considering taking, and a sticker I may or may not have taken.
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby x0zm_ » 2018-8-25 @ 06:30

The joys of sea shipping.

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Since I've had time to blow waiting for the cards to arrive, I thought I'd take a look around both where I got this machine, and in my own personal "crap to sort through" pile to see if I could find anything interesting or useful to use here.

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The first thing I did was grab the retail CPU fan and placed it on the heatsink from the Ipex since I had already cleaned it. The OEM fan went into the aforementioned Ritron PC, which is currently being rebuilt for a relative who wants a DOS machine.

I found this hard drive in another already dead PC there.

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Seagate 4GB 2nd week '98 7200RPM drive. A bit new, but size isn't too bad. A possible contender for the 3rd 5.25" bay slot. Nothing else of interest really for this project.

Meanwhile, back in the pile of crap to sort through.

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ZIP 100 drive from '98. Again, a bit new, but I'd prefer it over another I have simply because it's IDE/ATAPI compatible whereas the others I have are SCSI.

If I was going to go with the hard drive option, I'd probably just stick with that 4GB drive if it works. It's a real pain to get old hard drives as is, especially shipping them because of their weight and relative fragility. Something I'll have to test this weekend.
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Re: Work Log: Ex-Government Australian Built "Ipex Pentium-120 PCI/I": Restoration / Downgrade / Upgrade Project

Postby JidaiGeki » 2018-8-26 @ 04:54

Nice, have been following this thread with interest, especially on the back of the P3/V5 build.

Speaking of which I see a V5 5500 PCI casually chilling out in the 'pile of crap' - what's the plan with that one? :D
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