VOGONS


PIIL representing the VIA C3 Gang

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First post, by pii_legacy

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  • PC-Chips M789CG 3.0 motherboard
  • VIA C3 Samuel-II 800mhz
  • 2x 256MB 233mhz DDR
  • VIA Unichrome Pro (onboard)
  • Onboard SB16 compatible audio
  • 32GB CF card in CF-IDE converter with Ubuntu 8.04 and Windows XP
  • 52X CD Drive
  • Sony floppy drive
  • VIA USB 2.0 PCI card
Last edited by pii_legacy on 2020-07-15, 10:45. Edited 4 times in total.

Reply 3 of 22, by pii_legacy

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chrismeyer6 wrote on 2020-06-08, 02:01:

That's a really nice system you have. One day I'd like to build a Via C3 system. Also nice choice with Sim Tower it's one of my all time favorite games

Thanks very much! These boards usually can be found for low prices, even without needing repair. 😀

MKT_Gundam wrote on 2020-06-08, 02:38:

Is the onboard sound a VIA chip too? If lucky, would be compatible with DOS games.

Although the rest of the board is filled with VIA chips, I was surprised the sound was not by VIA. It's C-Media CMI9761A AC97 audio. Didn't find any DOS drivers, sadly. I also need to find a spare PC speaker around to plug into the header. I have a spare Ensoniq AudioPCI hanging around, so that may end up living in this machine.

Hopefully, I can get a post about my AL440LX machine in the next couple days, if everything I need to put it together shows up in the next few days.

Reply 5 of 22, by Orkay

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Oh man, Ubuntu 8.04! I miss the GNOME 2/KDE 3 days. Kinda makes me wish I spent more time with such old distros lately, as I remember seeing a bunch of old videos showing how cool Linux was for making any Pentium II rig look so powerful with a faster AGP card and CompizFusion. I've found that nowadays a Pentium 4 chokes on modern Linux with 512MB of RAM unless I go for something specifically designed to be super lightweight.

New retro tech videos on Vlare: https://vlare.tv/u/Kugee

Reply 6 of 22, by foil_fresh

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CNR cards... i've never touched or seen one of these in my life. neither network/modem/audio or whatever. really hope you get it up and running!

Pentium MMX 166MHz / Shuttle HOT591-p / S3 Virge DX / SB 16
Pentium II 266MHz / Lucky-Star 6ABX2V / Riva128 / AWE64 / AW744L
Pentium III 950 MHz / SY-7VBA / Voodoo 3000 / Aureal Vortex 2
Pentium IV 3.4GHz/ GA-8S655FX / Geforce 6800 GT / Audigy

Reply 7 of 22, by Caluser2000

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Orkay wrote on 2020-06-12, 04:47:

Oh man, Ubuntu 8.04! I miss the GNOME 2/KDE 3 days. Kinda makes me wish I spent more time with such old distros lately, as I remember seeing a bunch of old videos showing how cool Linux was for making any Pentium II rig look so powerful with a faster AGP card and CompizFusion. I've found that nowadays a Pentium 4 chokes on modern Linux with 512MB of RAM unless I go for something specifically designed to be super lightweight.

Find that hard to believe. I did a netinstall of Debian Jessie on my K6-2 266 test rig with around 300megs of ram just fine. Also on the previous P166mmx setup it superseded. Just do a basic installation then build it up from there using apt.

I suggest you have a gander at this thread. Re: *nix software and systems which you are quite welcome to participate in.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 8 of 22, by matze79

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I run Debian on Pentium 60 with 128Mb RAM and TinyX 😀

https://dosreloaded.de - The German Retro DOS PC Community
https://www.retroianer.de - under constructing since ever

Co2 - for a endless Summer

Reply 9 of 22, by Caluser2000

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matze79 wrote on 2020-06-12, 10:03:

I run Debian on Pentium 60 with 128Mb RAM and TinyX 😀

That is pretty damn cool. Pop over to that thread and post some details if you want.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 10 of 22, by pii_legacy

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VIA C3 MACHINE (Getting dismantled for a different case currently)

This machine started out as one I threw together to get some floppy disks backed up, and ended up realizing it's a bad ass machine for DOS/early Windows stuff. As some other posters have pointed out, the C3 is very adaptable to different speeds and performance levels from anywhere from a 386 to similar to a PII/PIII. The specs are a VIA 800mhz Samuel-2 CPU, 512MB DDR, onboard VIA UniChrome CLE266 graphics, CMI9761A onboard audio, Sony floppy drive, BenQ 56X CD drive, 32GB CompactFlash card on an adapter directly into the primary IDE channel (the motherboard knows and complains about no cable even though it works!) in a Rosewill micro ATX case with a EVGA 500W power supply. I was running this off the 8GB Quantum Fireball hard drive on there until I cloned it to the CF card and added Linux. I use Goteks on my Pentium II machines.

The motherboard this is based around is a PC Chips M789CG 3.0, which came with either a CPU socket or in BGA form soldered directly to the motherboard. I ended up going with one of those, as the only C3 CPU offered in soldered-down format is the 800mhz which is the fastest of the Samuel 2's. I noticed the CPU power draw goes down exponentially as the clock rate goes down. It seems to pull about 13w at 800mhz. It runs a little warm, even though it's about 15C under its advised limit, so I will try to take off the heat sink one day that i'm bored if it starts getting warmer on average, and put some fresh thermal grease on there. It looks like the heatsink is held down by 2 annoying looking plastic screws with springs. I forgot to take a picture of the back when I had out for recapping. This board was a pain as it had very narrow but deep PCB holes for the caps.

This particular motherboard I got for pocket change since, even though it was booting up, the IDE devices weren't detected. All four of the main power capacitors on the board were shot and leaking electro goop. I'd assume the board was run for a long time before I got it. They were only rated to 6.3V and had 5V going through them, at the hottest point of the motherboard too. it probably would have been better for PC Chips to put 10v's there given the temperature concerns. Either way, I put some fancy 10k hour 105c caps there so it should be good to go for a long time. The 10k hour ones cost a lot more than the 1k-2k hour ones but it's worth it for peace of mind. I wish the 5v was a little closer to 5v but it's fairly stable so probably not worth complaining about.

The inside of the PC is pretty messy. That's how it goes when you have a lot of devices connected with ribbon cables anyway. Frustratingly, this board WILL let you boot from USB, but it's USB 1.0 rates and the drive won't even boot without PLOP most of the time. I was able to get the XP and FreeDOS installers to boot but then it couldn't find the install files. So, I ended up burning a lot of CDs.

One of the things I like about the BIOS is it has a lot of color themes to pick from. It also has some interesting features like USB and even USB thumb drive support for DOS.

I was a little disappointed that with the CD, CF and Floppy drives hooked up, it pulls almost 50 watts off the wall. My AL440LX machine with a PII-300 pulls similar numbers. BUT, in XP with VIA chipset drivers installed and power management enabled in the BIOS, and no CD drive, I could get down to about 25 watts off the wall on average.

The CLE266 graphics aren't bad performing overall, but as you can imagine it's not great besides 2D usages. It does not perform great in 3D but 2D/DOS support is great from what I've tried so far. The board doesn't have AGP, so you're stuck with PCI graphics on this board. But, the onboard graphics are more than good enough for DOS gaming. It also has ideal 9x support. I have a 4GB CF card with 98SE on it. The 32GB card in there right now has the latest FreeDOS, Windows XP, and Ubuntu 8.04. It was ridiculously difficult finding a Linux distro with a kernel that has cmov and VIA C3 support. I was just about to give up and compile Gentoo on my main machine for it, when I found a post on Google of someone else who had the same issue who was able to run Ubuntu 8. It's not ideal by a long shot but it works, and I will try to find a more modern browser for it sometime soon...

SimTower performance can't even be compared to my Pentium II machines, it runs as good as a PIII at the least.

Last edited by pii_legacy on 2020-07-15, 10:46. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 11 of 22, by pii_legacy

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Last edited by pii_legacy on 2020-07-15, 10:47. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 12 of 22, by jakethompson1

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Orkay wrote on 2020-06-12, 04:47:

Oh man, Ubuntu 8.04! I miss the GNOME 2/KDE 3 days. Kinda makes me wish I spent more time with such old distros lately, as I remember seeing a bunch of old videos showing how cool Linux was for making any Pentium II rig look so powerful with a faster AGP card and CompizFusion. I've found that nowadays a Pentium 4 chokes on modern Linux with 512MB of RAM unless I go for something specifically designed to be super lightweight.

Assuming you've run into it but there's MATE which is still maintained and is the GNOME 2 code base and should take care of the GUI being so heavy. Really it's browsers or Electron based things more than anything else that overwhelm an old system. Just my personal opinion but I can't stand whatever GNOME 3 is nowadays out of the box. I bet there are a bunch of gnome-tweak-tool things but I'd rather just use Windows at that point.

Not a recent distro, but I did try Slackware 11 on the K6-2 w/ 64 MB RAM I got recently. It could (barely) run X with xfce. There was a lot of hard drive access but once it was up and running memory was about half free.

Reply 14 of 22, by darry

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pii_legacy wrote on 2020-06-12, 23:35:
Oh and i know you were wondering about power consumption. All that is only pulling 35 watts tops. https://i.imgur.com/5bwkvPjt.j […]
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Oh and i know you were wondering about power consumption. All that is only pulling 35 watts tops.
5bwkvPjt.jpg

Quite frugal .

That's in Windows XP, at idle and with power management enabled, right ?

My testbed P3 750MHz (underclocked 1GHz) with Geforce 6200, SATA drive and controller, AWE64 , 3C905B NIC and DVD-ROM drew a bit under 90W at the wall, idle under DOS (no power management), if memory serves .

That is with PSU rated at 70% (probably less at that load) efficiency .

Reply 15 of 22, by pii_legacy

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darry wrote on 2020-06-13, 04:34:
Quite frugal . […]
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pii_legacy wrote on 2020-06-12, 23:35:
Oh and i know you were wondering about power consumption. All that is only pulling 35 watts tops. https://i.imgur.com/5bwkvPjt.j […]
Show full quote

Oh and i know you were wondering about power consumption. All that is only pulling 35 watts tops.
5bwkvPjt.jpg

Quite frugal .

That's in Windows XP, at idle and with power management enabled, right ?

My testbed P3 750MHz (underclocked 1GHz) with Geforce 6200, SATA drive and controller, AWE64 , 3C905B NIC and DVD-ROM drew a bit under 90W at the wall, idle under DOS (no power management), if memory serves .

That is with PSU rated at 70% (probably less at that load) efficiency .

Actually, that's the power draw I get in 98SE or DOS (!) without any power management and less than 20% load. That machine (the AL440LX) doesn't run XP at this time. I was pretty surprised at the low power draw.

When I get around to doing some 3D gaming with it I will be sure to plug it back in with the watt meter. Supposedly the 300mhz PII has a TDP of 42 watts or something 😀

I was actually quite surprised that it's so consistently below my VIA C3 machine -unless- I have chipset drivers and power management enabled in XP on the C3, AND no CD drive hooked up, then I'm able to get around 23-25 watts off the wall.

Reply 16 of 22, by darry

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pii_legacy wrote on 2020-06-13, 05:45:
Actually, that's the power draw I get in 98SE or DOS (!) without any power management and less than 20% load. That machine (the […]
Show full quote
darry wrote on 2020-06-13, 04:34:
Quite frugal . […]
Show full quote
pii_legacy wrote on 2020-06-12, 23:35:
Oh and i know you were wondering about power consumption. All that is only pulling 35 watts tops. https://i.imgur.com/5bwkvPjt.j […]
Show full quote

Oh and i know you were wondering about power consumption. All that is only pulling 35 watts tops.
5bwkvPjt.jpg

Quite frugal .

That's in Windows XP, at idle and with power management enabled, right ?

My testbed P3 750MHz (underclocked 1GHz) with Geforce 6200, SATA drive and controller, AWE64 , 3C905B NIC and DVD-ROM drew a bit under 90W at the wall, idle under DOS (no power management), if memory serves .

That is with PSU rated at 70% (probably less at that load) efficiency .

Actually, that's the power draw I get in 98SE or DOS (!) without any power management and less than 20% load. That machine (the AL440LX) doesn't run XP at this time. I was pretty surprised at the low power draw.

When I get around to doing some 3D gaming with it I will be sure to plug it back in with the watt meter. Supposedly the 300mhz PII has a TDP of 42 watts or something 😀

I was actually quite surprised that it's so consistently below my VIA C3 machine -unless- I have chipset drivers and power management enabled in XP on the C3, AND no CD drive hooked up, then I'm able to get around 23-25 watts off the wall.

Impressive, I will retest mine when I get the chance .

Reply 17 of 22, by pii_legacy

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It seems i'm out of luck with the VIA card I got , despite it having Windows 98 drivers. I didn't notice there was a thread where several other users already noted this card's no good with 440BX. Which USB 2.0 cards for old motherboards

Looks like i'll be making a handmade adapter if I want to use those case USB ports.