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Reese's Intel Pentium build!

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First post, by ReeseRiverson

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I've been wanting to build an Intel Pentium system for some time, and finally got around to it after obtaining a AT style socket 7 motherboard. Our very first computer was an Acer, which I think was an AcerPower style system I grew up with as a kid, with Windows 3.1 with A.C.E. (Acer Computer Explorer) Had either a 66MHz or a 75MHz Intel Pentium processor. I wish I still had that system, but I hope to find another one or the same case. However, for the time being, I will have to be content with this latest build!

After obtaining a nice AT style case for the hardware, I began assembly rather quickly, as I began to be pretty excited. However I ran into an issue with the system actually wanting to boot. At first I would have to hit reset a time or two after it was already powered on. It was thanks to a member here at Vogons, by the name of Mau1wurf1977, who helped me realize I needed to verify the jumper settings, and what would be appropriate for the CPU. Which I spent some time researching the CPU itself, which is a Intel Pentium 133 - A80502133. Then after finding the right motherboard chart (Which wasn't necessary due to the settings being listed on my board itself.) but the PA-2005 I have, has two setups for the voltage. Single and dual. Dual being for separate Vcore. Thus having caused some instability. After getting this situated, it powers on quite well!

So here, we shall begin with the motherboard, which is a First International Corp. PA-2005 board:
IMG_2518-1000px.jpg

Then into the case it goes, having the PS/2 mouse port and serial ports hooked up and mounted on the lower slots. I wanted to help keep the wires neatly tucked away, and this seemed quite ideal:
IMG_2524-800px.jpg

Then I decided to choose an S3 Virge DX video card, which came with 2MB of VRAM, however I added a couple of RAM chips I stole from my Mach64 (Since I think it may be a dead card.). So I think this may be 3 megs total on this S3 now, if I were to guess...
IMG_2522-800px.jpg

Then next up, is my Diamond Multimedia Voodoo 3DFX card, I was going to put a Voodoo 2 in, but I decided to go ahead and put this one in instead:
IMG_2521-800px.jpg

As for my audio, I went with a Soundblaster AWE64 Gold, I have. This one I don't have an add on SimmCon memory module like I do for my 486 DX4 system, but I don't think I will worry about it for now:
IMG_2523-800px.jpg

Then I wanted to use an NIC here, as well, which is a 3Com EtherLink XL PCI - 3C900-COMBO:
IMG_2533-800px.jpg

Then all the goodies installed, and some wire management done:
IMG_2534-800px.jpg

How it looks on the back side:
IMG_2535-800px.jpg

Then going through some trial and error, which I never fully figured out why, but I ended up having some difficulty with my CD drivers loading, hanging on me after I seem to update the autoexec file, whether by memmaker or adding my mouse driver. Sometimes it seems like it started after I install my 3Com drivers, but after I managed to get things through with memmaker, and me leaving things alone, it won't hang while trying to load the current CD drive. It had been more of a pain with a DVD drive I had that originally worked until I did a fresh install of MS-DOS 6.22. I don't know if there's some conflict going on or what, but right now it seems fine. 😦

Anyway, here's the system running Day of the Tentacle from the CD drive!:
IMG_2536-800px.jpg

Then a picture showing more of the tower itself 😀 :
IMG_2538-800px.jpg

Motherboard originally had 32MB of RAM on it, but during testing process, I ended up sticking 64MB in it, and hadn't changed that. 😁

Specifications:
First International Corp. PA-2005 Motherboard
Intel Pentium 133MHz A80502133 CPU
64MB of 72-Pin SIMM RAM
S3 Virge DX Graphics card
Diamond Multimedia Voodoo 3DFX card
Creative Soundblaster AWE64 Gold ISA audio card.
3Com EtherLink XL PCI - 3C900-COMBO card.
Samsung 3.2GB IDE Harddrive in a 5.25" removable HDD Bay.
Some CDRW drive I have.
3.5" Floppy Drive
MS-DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.1.

Reply 1 of 38, by Mau1wurf1977

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Very nice machine 😀

A ton of games you can play on this and even has a PS/2 mouse for added comfort. Beautiful.

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Reply 2 of 38, by Old Thrashbarg

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So I think this may be 3 megs total on this S3 now, if I were to guess...

I don't think you can do that on a Virge... things will probably get a bit interesting if you try to run 1024x768x32 or 1280x1024x16.

Reply 3 of 38, by ReeseRiverson

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Mau1wurf1977 wrote:

Very nice machine 😀

A ton of games you can play on this and even has a PS/2 mouse for added comfort. Beautiful.

Well I still have some mice for the serial port, but it is a nice bonus for sure! 😀

Old Thrashbarg wrote:

So I think this may be 3 megs total on this S3 now, if I were to guess...

I don't think you can do that on a Virge... things will probably get a bit interesting if you try to run 1024x768x32 or 1280x1024x16.

Actually I can run this in 1024 x 768 at 16 million colors, now that I have the added VRAM. Before it gave a warning of being low on memory at that setting. It will give a low memory error on 1280 x 1024 at 16 million, but I haven't tried any lower color levels on that yet.

-Edit-

Hmm, seems it won't work right in 1280x1024 at 256 to 16.2 million. 🙁

Reply 4 of 38, by Mau1wurf1977

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Are you going to network that machine?

The more I think about it, I want to give that a go at some stage 😀

While I haven't got any cards yet, I like the idea of having two machines running, my desktop and my time-machine and filling it with one game at a time, then testing it without having to reboot.

One project I have is to build a collection of DOS games on the 30GB FAT32 partition. Currently I have it organised my companies and then games. E.g. Games > Sierra > SQ > SQ4CD

If these machines are networked can you sit on the desktop, create folders on the time-machine and then copy stuff across?

Itching to make a video once I know how this works 😀

My website with reviews, demos, drivers, tutorials and more...
My YouTube channel

Reply 5 of 38, by retrofanatic

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Awesome build ReeseRiverson!

I'm curious...is there a turbo switch header on your motherboard? I've had a hard time trying to find a socket 7 board with a "change on the fly" turbo switch. My socket 7 boards all need to be turned off first before I switch the turbo button on or off.

Just a suggestion...I love to see all the drive bays full on nice AT cases like this...a 5.25" Floppy drive would look nice in that case

Have you had any issues running any games with 64MB RAM? I know that there's been a few DOS games I've had issues running if I had more than 16MB installed (one that comes to mind is Aladdin).

Reply 6 of 38, by keropi

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A very nice p1 build!!! I'd take that extra meg from the S3 , 3mb seems a very odd number...

@Mau1wurf1977

mTCP is your friend! Don't forget about it.
Get your nic running in DOS (just a matter of finding the correct packet driver), connect the retroPC to the network switch and use the mTCP ftp-server. From that point you can do all your file management from your modern-pc using an FTP client , it works and it's great!
And since mTCP runs on virtually any old pc you can use it as a global solution, lowest I've tested was a 286/16 machine with an isa NIC. It just worked.

I have also converted my games collection to .ZIP files , I invested a good amount of time installing from floppies, locating patches and even workarounds to have CD-ROM games running fully from the HDD (when they don't use CDDA). There are a couple of cd-rom emulators you can use, cracks, file editing... it's a fun process 🤣 🤣 🤣
But the mTCP/network stuff really works, go for it!

@retrofanatic

There are utilities to turn ON/OFF the L1 cache from a p1, I use ICACHE.EXE and it works great on my p200mmx , it brings the system down to 486/66 speed or so , by just using it in the command line. And you can enable/disable the cache as many times as you want 🤣
And about the 16MB problem, there is another utility that I use, a ramdisk that you can load/unload and it has an option to load above the first 16MB of ram , leaving them free for troublesome programs... These 2 are GREAT utilities and thus I am attaching them here as well 😊

Attachments

  • Filename
    icache.zip
    File size
    624 Bytes
    Downloads
    78 downloads
    File comment
    Enable/Disable p1 L1 cache from command line
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • Filename
    fu_rd19i.zip
    File size
    73.69 KiB
    Downloads
    54 downloads
    File comment
    XMS/EMS RAM disk installable and resizable from command line.
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception

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Reply 7 of 38, by Mau1wurf1977

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keropi wrote:

mTCP is your friend! Don't forget about it.
Get your nic running in DOS (just a matter of finding the correct packet driver), connect the retroPC to the network switch and use the mTCP ftp-server. From that point you can do all your file management from your modern-pc using an FTP client , it works and it's great!
And since mTCP runs on virtually any old pc you can use it as a global solution, lowest I've tested was a 286/16 machine with an isa NIC. It just worked.

ANOTHER project 😵

I'm meant to relax, but this feels like (fun) work 😀

My neighbour collects any computer he can get his hands on. What network card would you recommend? I hear NE2000 and 3COM all the time. And it has to have Ethernet of course...

keropi wrote:

I have also converted my games collection to .ZIP files , I invested a good amount of time installing from floppies, locating patches and even workarounds to have CD-ROM games running fully from the HDD (when they don't use CDDA). There are a couple of cd-rom emulators you can use, cracks, file editing... it's a fun process 🤣 🤣 🤣

Wow sounds like you've done the hard work already. I don't want to re-invent the wheel so to speak. I'm planning another project and will get you on-board early and access your knowledge 🤣

I wonder when someone builds a CD-ROM simulator, like a hardware one, just like these floppy emulators. With IDE interface and audio ports. Shouldn't be that hard one would think...

My website with reviews, demos, drivers, tutorials and more...
My YouTube channel

Reply 8 of 38, by keropi

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^ well , basically any card that has RJ45 and a packet driver does the job... the most difficult job is to find the correct driver IMHO

it would be great to have a hardware cdrom emulator, but I doubt anyone cares enough to do it 🤣

🎵 🎧 PCMIDI MPU , Orpheus , Action Rewind , Megacard and MK8330 soundcard website

Reply 9 of 38, by chinny22

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ReeseRiverson that's a nice clean build. nothing over the top and I agree putting those ports down the bottom made things look very tidy, just ashame about that parallel port cable 🙁 Even your case badge is pretty cool 😉

I also have the majority of my games patched, cracked not to use a CD and then zipped on a network share. Much quicker to find and "install" a game, and sometimes takes less space then saving the installer and patches separately. It even works for annoying Win9x games that have stupid installers that wont install if they cant find something that doesn't matter... looking at you Dark Reign and your Direct X 3 check despite having a later version installed.

Mau1wurf, as long as you can find a driver for dos any network card is fine. Ne2000 compatible was more a standard, and popular back in the day much like sound blaster compatible, but as we all know there are different levels of compatible so you may still have trouble finding correct drivers. 3comm was big back then so easy to find a card and the correct drivers for that exact card. but I if your neighbour is going to give you a card for free doesn't matter if its Intel, Netgear, Realtek, whatever as long as you can find a dos driver it'll be fine for the job

Reply 10 of 38, by ReeseRiverson

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Mau1wurf1977 wrote:
Are you going to network that machine? […]
Show full quote

Are you going to network that machine?

The more I think about it, I want to give that a go at some stage 😀

While I haven't got any cards yet, I like the idea of having two machines running, my desktop and my time-machine and filling it with one game at a time, then testing it without having to reboot.

One project I have is to build a collection of DOS games on the 30GB FAT32 partition. Currently I have it organised my companies and then games. E.g. Games > Sierra > SQ > SQ4CD

Well, so far both this system and my 486 system have 3com NICs so I can play network based multiplayer games if I wanted. 😀

How difficult is it to use a FAT32 partition with MS-DOS 6.22?

retrofanatic wrote:
Awesome build ReeseRiverson! […]
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Awesome build ReeseRiverson!

I'm curious...is there a turbo switch header on your motherboard? I've had a hard time trying to find a socket 7 board with a "change on the fly" turbo switch. My socket 7 boards all need to be turned off first before I switch the turbo button on or off.

Just a suggestion...I love to see all the drive bays full on nice AT cases like this...a 5.25" Floppy drive would look nice in that case

Have you had any issues running any games with 64MB RAM? I know that there's been a few DOS games I've had issues running if I had more than 16MB installed (one that comes to mind is Aladdin).

Hmm, I don't know if there is, but there is a spot for a turbo LED.

Haha, I thought about filling the bays up, but I don't have a nice 5.25" to match to toss in, and my Zip drive is a tad bit too white. However I'm quite happy. 😀

With the games I do own, not any with issues so far. Though I could always use another system.

keropi wrote:
A very nice p1 build!!! I'd take that extra meg from the S3 , 3mb seems a very odd number... […]
Show full quote

A very nice p1 build!!! I'd take that extra meg from the S3 , 3mb seems a very odd number...

@Mau1wurf1977

mTCP is your friend! Don't forget about it.
Get your nic running in DOS (just a matter of finding the correct packet driver), connect the retroPC to the network switch and use the mTCP ftp-server. From that point you can do all your file management from your modern-pc using an FTP client , it works and it's great!
And since mTCP runs on virtually any old pc you can use it as a global solution, lowest I've tested was a 286/16 machine with an isa NIC. It just worked.

I have also converted my games collection to .ZIP files , I invested a good amount of time installing from floppies, locating patches and even workarounds to have CD-ROM games running fully from the HDD (when they don't use CDDA). There are a couple of cd-rom emulators you can use, cracks, file editing... it's a fun process 🤣 🤣 🤣
But the mTCP/network stuff really works, go for it!

@retrofanatic

There are utilities to turn ON/OFF the L1 cache from a p1, I use ICACHE.EXE and it works great on my p200mmx , it brings the system down to 486/66 speed or so , by just using it in the command line. And you can enable/disable the cache as many times as you want 🤣
And about the 16MB problem, there is another utility that I use, a ramdisk that you can load/unload and it has an option to load above the first 16MB of ram , leaving them free for troublesome programs... These 2 are GREAT utilities and thus I am attaching them here as well 😊

Hmm, so the extra RAM can most likely hurt than help on this card?

Do the 3com drivers come with mTCP? Ones that I was linked here: Drivers needed for 3Com EtherLink III 3C509B-TPO for my 486 system

Also thanks for the tips there, would be quite handy for this system if needed!

chinny22 wrote:

ReeseRiverson that's a nice clean build. nothing over the top and I agree putting those ports down the bottom made things look very tidy, just ashame about that parallel port cable 🙁 Even your case badge is pretty cool 😉

Thank You, and yeah, maybe I will figure something out for the parallel port cable sometime. Though it isn't bad, if you compare it to IDE cables that arn't made to take less space. 🤣

I wanted to personalize my case with a picture of my character, as a badge. 😁 I did the same thing with my 486DX4 build.

IMG_2475-800px.jpg

chinny22 wrote:

I also have the majority of my games patched, cracked not to use a CD and then zipped on a network share. Much quicker to find and "install" a game, and sometimes takes less space then saving the installer and patches separately. It even works for annoying Win9x games that have stupid installers that wont install if they cant find something that doesn't matter... looking at you Dark Reign and your Direct X 3 check despite having a later version installed.

Hmm, I really gotta find out more about this network share, because I would totally love to be able to have an easier way for data transfer between my modern systems and old-school computers. 😀

Reply 11 of 38, by keropi

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3MB won't "hurt" but it's an uncommon size... maybe the drivers don't like it, maybe they bug out, maybe they are OK... better find an extra MB and upgrade to the standard 4MB
mTCP will work with every packet driver out there, as long as that driver works with the card installed

🎵 🎧 PCMIDI MPU , Orpheus , Action Rewind , Megacard and MK8330 soundcard website

Reply 12 of 38, by ReeseRiverson

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That could be my issue with 1280 x 1024 resolution settings in Windows 3.1. I'd like to be able to find either more memory for the card, or find a video card with maybe 8MB, that retains nice support or decent support for DOS games. Windows 3.1 games will be nice here.

I read that the Matrox G200 has 8MB of memory. Though I do have an ATI Rage LT Pro here with 8MB of video memory. Commander Keen 4 doesn't like this card, though. No matter or what.

Reply 13 of 38, by keropi

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I have yet to find a 8MB card with good 3.x drivers... for DOS I cannot recommend the riva128zx enough, but it's 3.x drivers are BUGGY and lead to lockups, at least on my systems...

🎵 🎧 PCMIDI MPU , Orpheus , Action Rewind , Megacard and MK8330 soundcard website

Reply 14 of 38, by ReeseRiverson

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I just discovered that my ATI Mach64 actually works with that RAM taken out... and if I put it in, the GPU acts dead, while the system boots up around it. 😦

-Edit-

If I am reading right... the RAM chips are 256k a piece... Numbers being "V53C16258HK50". So it may not be right for Neither Mach64 nor the S3 Virge/DX card.

Reply 15 of 38, by chinny22

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I personally use Windows for Workgroups on my dos only PC. Only because it's about the only reason I have to load windows and bring back all those memories. It can be a b#tch to get working with XP and later.
mTCP is more efficient and should be easier to get going, but its not as cool as seeing WFW actually doing something productive

Reply 16 of 38, by Old Thrashbarg

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If I am reading right... the RAM chips are 256k a piece... Numbers being "V53C16258HK50". So it may not be right for Neither Mach64 nor the S3 Virge/DX card.

You're not reading right. They're 256Kbx16, for 512KB each. And they are the correct chips for both the S3 card and the Mach64 (along with pretty much any other mid-'90s card with the same sort of SOJ sockets).

Reply 17 of 38, by ReeseRiverson

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chinny22 wrote:

I personally use Windows for Workgroups on my dos only PC. Only because it's about the only reason I have to load windows and bring back all those memories. It can be a b#tch to get working with XP and later.
mTCP is more efficient and should be easier to get going, but its not as cool as seeing WFW actually doing something productive

I have the Windows for Workgroups Add-On but I never installed it. It's still sits, unopened.

Old Thrashbarg wrote:

If I am reading right... the RAM chips are 256k a piece... Numbers being "V53C16258HK50". So it may not be right for Neither Mach64 nor the S3 Virge/DX card.

You're not reading right. They're 256Kbx16, for 512KB each. And they are the correct chips for both the S3 card and the Mach64 (along with pretty much any other mid-'90s card with the same sort of SOJ sockets).

Ah, Thank You for clearing that up. However it doesn't explain why the Mach64 refuses to work with the chips installed. 🙁

Reply 18 of 38, by Mau1wurf1977

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My PCI S3 Trio64V+ shows EDO RAM during POST. Maybe that's the issue?

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Reply 19 of 38, by Mau1wurf1977

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ReeseRiverson wrote:

Well, so far both this system and my 486 system have 3com NICs so I can play network based multiplayer games if I wanted. 😀

Woooot got my head around this mTCP project 😀

MS-DOS networking with mTCP (Using FTP to transfer games)

My website with reviews, demos, drivers, tutorials and more...
My YouTube channel