My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Discussion about old PC hardware.

My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby Atom Ant » 2018-11-11 @ 00:45

Hey retro fans!

I'd like to introduce my Pentrium Pro machine, which turned to be badder as I expected. Originally I meant to build the top gaming machine of 1996. But because the Voodoo 1 4MB (1996) graphics turned to be very limiting factor for Pentium Pro 200MHz and even a single Voodoo 2 12MB, I decided to go with Voodoo 2 12MB SLI.

So, I have an
-Intel PR440FX (1996) motherboard, which said to be the best Socket 8 motherboard,
-Pentium Pro 200MHz 512KB (1996) revision with potential overclock,
-Zalman CNPS90F CPU cooler (modern),
-4x16MB 60ns EDO RAM (1996),
-Matrox Millenium I 4MB (1996),
-Creative 3DBluster Voodoo2 12MB SLI (1998),
-Creative SoundBluster Awe 64 Value (1996),
-32GB Scandisk Ultra SD via Sd to IDE adapter (modern),
-Creative Quad speed CD reader (1995),
-Panasonic big and small floppy drive (early 90's),
-GSE 250W quiet PSU (1997),
-House from the 90's,
-Windows 95 OSR 2.5.

As you can see most of the parts are from 1996, but for the CPU cooler I had to use a modern one, because the original one is loud. For HDD i also had to use a modern IDE to SD adapter, which working fast and quiet, plus big help transferring data from laptop.

The Voodoo 2 SLI are from 1998, but needed for this system! It definiately can benefit from such a strong graphics... See the Quake GL benchmark results! Not mention only Voodoo 2 SLI allows 1024x768 gaming.

For further upgrade I plan to get 128MB 50ns EDO-RAM and a slight overclocking to 210MHz or maybe to 233MHz. My modern Zalman CPU cooler will be able to handle with ease! The PSU is my only concern, if 250W will be enough?
I'd like to get also an a SCSI to SD adapter, because the motherboard has a wonderful SCSI controller. However such an adapter is very expensive nowadays. What do you think guys in speed wise would I benefit using SCSI to SD instead IDE to SD?

So here some pics and Quake GL benchmarks,

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Update:
The good thing, it overclocks really well. I was setting 3.5x70MHz FSB and run stable at 245MHz. I measured nice gain in synthetic benchmarks,

Image

Image
Last edited by Atom Ant on 2018-11-11 @ 14:19, edited 18 times in total.
My high end of '96 gaming machine;
Intel PR440FX - Pentium Pro 200MHz 512K, Matrox Millenium I 4MB, Diamond Monster Voodoo I 4MB, 128MB EDO RAM, Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, 4x Creative CD reader, Windows 95...
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby Vaudane » 2018-11-11 @ 00:50

Love it. Makes me reminisce for when me and my pals played some lan games via a null modem (get in there tiberian sun) or got some of the quake mission packs on the go.

Just look at that empty processor slot though... so very empty... How come you've only used one?
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby Atom Ant » 2018-11-11 @ 00:59

Vaudane wrote:Just look at that empty processor slot though... so very empty... How come you've only used one?


Yeah, I am thinking on it would look well an inactive one without CPU cooler, just the gold surface would shine there... Will the 2nd CPU stay inactive without the Voltage regulator? Two operating one I don't want, Windows 95 cannot use two and even on NT 4.0, I do not know if games would benefit...?
My high end of '96 gaming machine;
Intel PR440FX - Pentium Pro 200MHz 512K, Matrox Millenium I 4MB, Diamond Monster Voodoo I 4MB, 128MB EDO RAM, Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, 4x Creative CD reader, Windows 95...
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby fitzpatr » 2018-11-11 @ 01:03

Vaudane wrote:Love it. Makes me reminisce for when me and my pals played some lan games via a null modem (get in there tiberian sun) or got some of the quake mission packs on the go.

Just look at that empty processor slot though... so very empty... How come you've only used one?


Windows 95 OSR2 sounds like the answer to that question.
MT-32 Old, CM-32L, CM-500, SC-55mkII, SC-88Pro, SC-D70, MU2000EX
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby Vaudane » 2018-11-11 @ 01:05

Ah I did not realise that it couldn't address a second slot. Makes sense thinking about it. Ive been bouncing between the worlds of modern x64s and antique 386s with co-processors so I'd never thought that 95-98 couldn't address a second one.

Apparently from what I've read just now, windows will just ignore the second processor.
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby brostenen » 2018-11-11 @ 01:32

Nice machine. It is really looking great. I remember when they launched the Pro, and I clearly remember an teaser article. That there were an Quad CPU Pentium-Pro board out there in the wild. Years later, I found out that it was a prototype board that never made it into production. I just remember that I wanted that board soooooo bad at that time. Yet I did know nothing about OS limitations regarding dual or quad processor setup's.

I still find Quad P-Pro boards fascinating. Yet the hunger for one is no longer present.
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby alvaro84 » 2018-11-11 @ 06:08

Nice and fine machine and I see the empty CPU slot very justified. I'd leave it empty too, considering the OS you use.
Also, I'm not sure if you'll benefit from 50ns RAM at all. Maybe if your board has options to set very tight timings for EDO but even then, my 60ns RAMs (I mean I tested a few dozen) can often (not always) run with the most hardcore settings I can squeeze out of my 430 test board at 66MHz. My 50ns sticks may or may not work with very tight timings in 430TX at 83MHz, it's up to sheer luck. With 440FX... I dunno. Can it go higher than 66MHz FSB? I understand the 128MB part, though.
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby Atom Ant » 2018-11-11 @ 07:40

It can do 70MHz FSB. With 3x multiplier I would get 210MHz. Because no significant bump in FSB, hope will handle that speed with 50ns RAM without any trouble.

Update,
Today I did some overclocking tests, and it is actually booting at 210MHz, 233MHz and also at 245MHz. I updated my first post with some screenshots and benchmarks.
My high end of '96 gaming machine;
Intel PR440FX - Pentium Pro 200MHz 512K, Matrox Millenium I 4MB, Diamond Monster Voodoo I 4MB, 128MB EDO RAM, Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, 4x Creative CD reader, Windows 95...
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby ph4nt0m » 2018-11-11 @ 21:03

Almost all 200MHz PPro's can do 233MHz. I think many can do 245MHz as well. It's a tough challenge and a bit of luck to get to 266MHz.
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby Atom Ant » 2018-11-12 @ 05:16

ph4nt0m wrote:Almost all 200MHz PPro's can do 233MHz. I think many can do 245MHz as well. It's a tough challenge and a bit of luck to get to 266MHz.


Not the 1995 versions, also not the one with 1MB cache from 1997. I might going to give a try to start the system at 266MHz than... :)
My high end of '96 gaming machine;
Intel PR440FX - Pentium Pro 200MHz 512K, Matrox Millenium I 4MB, Diamond Monster Voodoo I 4MB, 128MB EDO RAM, Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, 4x Creative CD reader, Windows 95...
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby ph4nt0m » 2018-11-13 @ 13:52

Atom Ant wrote:
ph4nt0m wrote:Almost all 200MHz PPro's can do 233MHz. I think many can do 245MHz as well. It's a tough challenge and a bit of luck to get to 266MHz.


Not the 1995 versions, also not the one with 1MB cache from 1997. I might going to give a try to start the system at 266MHz than... :)

Those 600nm PPro's were limited to 133MHz ES and 150MHz retail. I have half a dozen of those black 1Mb PPro chips and they run just fine at 233MHz. They can even be undervolted which is good because each draws about 15A at full load. Most VRMs for Pentium Pro are 10A or 12A rated, so they can do fireworks.
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby alvaro84 » 2018-11-13 @ 17:34

ph4nt0m wrote:Almost all 200MHz PPro's can do 233MHz.


I might be unlucky but trying (~10 pieces of) bog standard 200/256 PPros I saw about half of them to be (semi?) stable at 233MHz. Okay, it's at stock voltage.

Unfortunately I don't have any 512k or 1M pieces (though I'd really like to have such CPUs in my collection).
Last edited by alvaro84 on 2018-11-13 @ 18:57, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby Atom Ant » 2018-11-13 @ 18:50

ph4nt0m wrote:Those 600nm PPro's were limited to 133MHz ES and 150MHz retail. I have half a dozen of those black 1Mb PPro chips and they run just fine at 233MHz. They can even be undervolted which is good because each draws about 15A at full load. Most VRMs for Pentium Pro are 10A or 12A rated, so they can do fireworks.


Do you overclock those Pentium Pro processors in Socket 8 motherboard?
I have 94 ' 95 Pentium Pro 200MHz 256K CPU, which will not overclock. I saw on ebay 512K version too, which i did not buy for test, but probably would not overclock well either. My current overclocker Pentium Pro CPU is a 95 ' 96 version, it is a newer stepping.
Anyway, even without overclcoking Pentium Pro is fantastic CPU. Having a 200MHz version in 1995 was like something much more than having any top computer hardware today...
My high end of '96 gaming machine;
Intel PR440FX - Pentium Pro 200MHz 512K, Matrox Millenium I 4MB, Diamond Monster Voodoo I 4MB, 128MB EDO RAM, Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, 4x Creative CD reader, Windows 95...
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby alvaro84 » 2018-11-13 @ 19:01

Atom Ant wrote:Anyway, even without overclcoking Pentium Pro is fantastic CPU.


I got a liking of it after I found in Fastvid documentation which BIOS option should I disable... Before that it looked really pale, it could do nothing special compared to a classic Pentium, and it was the best case. Getting Fastvid working helped it quite a bit.
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby anthony » 2018-11-13 @ 19:15

Very low quake results
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby ph4nt0m » 2018-11-13 @ 19:29

There's one thing about 256K PPro's. While the core is 350nm indeed, the cache die is still 600nm. So it may be a limiting factor. Many 256K PPro's don't even POST at 266MHz, though 1M chips don't do it either. The 512K PPro comes with a single 350nm cache die. It takes two of these for the 1M chip with a lot of power consumption. I have measured 11.7A @ 233MHz on the VRM while running Memtest.

I have recently overclocked one 200MHz/256K to 266MHz at 3.4V. It was unstable in benchmarks and couldn't compile a damn thing, so I modded it by soldering 10 1.0uF capacitors on the top.

Image
Image

It's fine now, passes all benchmarks and can compile a Linux kernel. What's really interesting, this is an early SY013 with the A0 core revision and A cache revision. It isn't supposed to do 266MHz, but it does.
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby Atom Ant » 2018-11-13 @ 22:11

anthony wrote:Very low quake results


Something fishy there. If I overclock the CPU to 245MHz, I still get the same FPS numbers like at 200MHz. If I overclcock the Voodoo 2 SLI by (only) +5Mhz brings very nice improvements in FPS. Do I need Voodoo 5 5500 PCI than, or why am I GPU limited with a pairs of Voodoo 2?
My high end of '96 gaming machine;
Intel PR440FX - Pentium Pro 200MHz 512K, Matrox Millenium I 4MB, Diamond Monster Voodoo I 4MB, 128MB EDO RAM, Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, 4x Creative CD reader, Windows 95...
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby lost77 » 2018-11-14 @ 10:52

Make sure you have vsync turned off. Also use the -nosound command line parameter to eliminate any sound card issues.

The Voodoo 2's in SLI can run much faster than on your system, something else is holding you back. Maybe you are getting L2 cache errors with the overclock?

EDIT: Actually, looking at the stock speed scores they seem awful low. Look at Phil's project and compare: https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=40031
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby Atom Ant » 2018-11-15 @ 04:48

lost77 wrote:EDIT: Actually, looking at the stock speed scores they seem awful low. Look at Phil's project and compare: https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=40031


Yeah, I saw. According to Phil’s lab my QuakeGL performance is under a Pentium 100. But look at this, my CPU at 245MHz performing over a Pentium II 233MHz,

Image

Or check above my 3DMark99Max score...
My high end of '96 gaming machine;
Intel PR440FX - Pentium Pro 200MHz 512K, Matrox Millenium I 4MB, Diamond Monster Voodoo I 4MB, 128MB EDO RAM, Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, 4x Creative CD reader, Windows 95...
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Re: My badass Pentium Pro with Voodoo2 SLI

Postby lost77 » 2018-11-16 @ 15:49

I would double-check that vsync was off (I use voodoo 2 tweaker) and run the benchmarks again.
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