VOGONS


Reply 661 of 718, by texterted

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Nice work, as usual.

I always remove the die shims from those Radeons. The shim that makes them die!

Cheers

Ted

98se/W2K :- Asus A8v Dlx. A-64 3500+, 512 mb ddr, Radeon 9800 Pro, SB Live.
XP Pro:- Asus P5 Q SE Plus, C2D E8400, 4 Gig DDR2, Radeon HD4870, SB Audigy 2ZS.

Reply 662 of 718, by Robert B

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Thanks! 😀 Well, I try to do my best each time. 😀

Have no worries. This ATI 9700 will see little to no use. If I'll decide to put her through her paces I'll mount a beefier cooling solution. A Zalman VF700 or an Arctic Cooling VGA Silencer. 😀

Also I'll remove the shim if necessary. 😁

But from where I'm standing it is good to have an all original ATI 9700. 😀

Reply 663 of 718, by Munx

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Robert B wrote on 2021-01-14, 20:27:

Expecting smooth sailing I wasn't prepared for the amount of work that was required to remove the nasty yellow stuff.

Acetone.

Pieces from a credit card, used with great attention.

Been lurking in this amazing thread for so long, so I guess it's finally time to make a comment 😀

With this kind thermal "dried our crusty bubble-gum" paste it's best to just warm it up with a hair drier and then you can wipe it off with a single swipe. No acetone or grinding needed.

My builds!
The FireStarter 2.0 - The wooden K5
The Underdog - The budget K6
The Voodoo powerhouse - The power-hungry K7
The troll PC - The Socket 423 Pentium 4

Reply 664 of 718, by Robert B

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😀 Thanks. I'll try your method next time I get the chance. I wanted to power up the card and heat it then remove the TIM but I wasn't confortable doing so. I just armed myself with patience and away I went.

Reply 665 of 718, by Robert B

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Sander van Doorn vs Robbie Williams - Close My Eyes

Open for business

Believe it or not, you learn something new every day. I thought that AOpen was and still is a distinct company so when I found this on the Internet I was a little surprised: "AOpen used to be the Open System Business Unit of Acer Computer Inc. which designed, manufactured and sold computer components. It was incorporated in December 1996 as a subsidiary of Acer Group with an initial public offering (IPO) at the Taiwan stock exchange in August 2002. It is also the first subsidiary which established the entrepreneurship paradigm in the pan-Acer Group. Currently, AOpen is a subsidiary of Wistron Group, a spin-off of the Acer Group." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AOpen

Acer and awesome components in one sentence? Don't get me wrong. I got nothing against Acer, I even own many laptops made by them and I have a good opinion about this company. The fact is I just wasn't expecting that a brand that is sacred to me, of which I read religiously in the PC magazines back in the day, to have ties with Acer. Truth be told I also never searched for information about Acer.

Now that we got this out of the way, if it is still the case, I must underline that I absolutely love AOpen stuff. They have to me a certain je ne sais quois. They attract me and they speak my language.

In September 2020 I found at the flea market a motherboard that me made think about the delicious Lindt swiss milk chocolate. I love milk chocolate since childhood. 😁 I eat it anytime, anywhere. Don't get me started about hazelnuts ... 😀 Have no fear, I'm still in great shape at 1.83m, 74 kg and 41 years old. Come to think of it on February 26th I'll celebrate 6 years since I started with great enthuziasm on the path of HW restoring. Getting older sux in more ways than one! 😁

I found the AOpen motherboard in a state that would've made other people to turn away. A veteran like me wasn't put off by the sad looking image and like many times in the past I got the last laugh in the end. With experience comes confidence and you know what can be saved and what is gone into the great void beyond.

Man I love going to the flea market and travel back in time.

AK73-01.jpg

The exact model of the motherboard is: AOpen AK73 Pro(A) Socket-A KT133A / AK73-1394 A / AK73 PRO(A) . A wonderful KT 133A motherboard.

I found it tossed in a big bag together with other parts. It still had its cooler and underneath it I could see something ceramic. NICE!

Even if it had three damaged electrolytic capacitors when I laid my eyes on the AOpen lettering my eyes popped out. ME WANT! ME NEED! ME ACQUIRE! 😁

The seller, a regular at the flea market , even if he doesn't now what he sells, has enough intuition to detect the interest of someone who happens to casually ask in an absent manner: How much is this piece of "junk"?, immediately started pulling from the heatsink, without unhooking the clamp, to see if there is something pink under it.

All this time, completely frozen, I looked in slow motion how he twists back-and-forth the heatsink and could feel the edges of the CPU die starting to fray .

NooooOOOOO!!! The fraction of the second from when I saw him yanking the cooler and the moment I started telling him to stop and that I'll buy the whole kit ceramic CPU and all, felt like an eternity.

Too late. What's done is done. The cooling fan had two broken blades so the kit already took one for the country, the added perversions bestowed on the meager ceramic CPU didn't make any difference if at all.

#$*@$)&@$@^$&@%%@!(*#^!&*~!!!!!!! Damn hooligans!

Ever since I saw the motherboard I was thinking about an Athlon 1GHz CPU on a 200MHz bus and I said to myself that more water will flow down the Danube until I'll find one.

Be careful what you wish for it might just come true! I wish for a V5 6K? cough, cough, ... fat chance.

When I got to my car, I used a screwdriver and with surgical precision I removed the clamp from the heatsink.

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Carnage! Carnage and even more carnage!

F..K!!! A 1GHz/200MHz Athlon!? A1000AMT3B F..K! F..K!! F......K!!!

Wait a minute! I feel the energon still pumping inside! It must still be alive!

I took a deep breath and I said to myself that all will be alright in the end.

I gently touched the motherboard and I said to her: you're safe. Welcome to my humble laboratory where amazing things happen and pigs DO FLY!!! 😁

I'm ready and willing to do my best!

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The motherboard was quite filthy and I already knew that using only IPA 99% will not be enough.

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The three electrolytic capacitors that I mentioned earlier aren't visible because I put them back into position just for taking pictures. Don't worry, I never work with half measures. All IN or all OUT! They have been replaced.

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Due to the flea market treatment which mainly involves soft cushions and silk gloves, the board has a lot of scratches on the back but none of them are terminal. Surprisingly, the ceramic caps underneath the NB are sitting fine and dandy. Phew! NICE! Die Hard mobo!

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Before I started restoring the motherboard I did what must be done and I replaced the damaged capacitors. A Rubycon YXG 2200uf/6.3V was replaced with a Panasonic FR 2200uf/10V. A GL 10uf/25V was replaced with a Panasonic FR de 10uf/50V. A Lelon RXA 680uf/16V was replaced with an AISHI RZ 680V/16V. In the case of the last cap I didn't have one with a pedigree but a working cap is way better than a dead one.

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When in doubt hose it down! Even if in the picture the water jet seems too strong let me tell you that in fact it was not.

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After the wash one paper label went MIA but it was no loss really. In exchange I got a silkscreened string logo AK73 Pro(A) which is way better than the cryptic barcode.

After the wash I dried the board as long as necessary. Slow drying in action.

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I cleaned the CPU a little and I was able to better asses the damage. If this CPU still works I'll be both grateful and amazed, I said to myself.

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Ready! Get set! GO!

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Some PC133 goodness.

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As expected, the temperamental and at the same funky RAM kit, of 2x256MB PC133, which only worked well on my Abit KT7, showed some fits and just 256MB were recognized.

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Even if the board posted the good news was another. The 1GHz Athlon was still alive and kicking. The satisfaction I felt is hard to describe with just words. Wave after wave of adrenaline took over me and I started making all kinds of moves with my hands up in the air. YES! YES!!! YEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

I tried another kit of RAM. A PC150, 2x128MB kit and this moment was one taken straight from the X-Files.

I inserted the RAM sticks. I powered up the motherboard and I got no beeps.

A few moments have passed and I heard something like a hissing noise, the kind you hear when some electronic components get damaged. For sure the CPU is bye bye I said to myself...

What the F..K?

I approached the motherboard and I tried to identify the area that made that noise.

I smelled the board and I was expecting to feel the good ol' burned stuff smell. Barbecue anyone?

Eventually I directed my ear towards the little PC speaker I mounted on the board. The tiny one not the big kid like that from the 486 PCs.

I restarted the motherboard and I finally found the source of the strange noise.

A gentle feminine voice was informing me via the PC Speaker that: "The memory may have a problem!"

WOW! This is something new! My jaw dropped on the floor ...

This is why the kit wasn't posting! The RAM beep code was replaced by the nice lady telling me to take out that PC150 crap and give her some love. Damn!

Wanting to solve the memory issues, ONCE AND FOR ALL, I prepared three sticks of 512MB PC133 RAM and I was ready for another round. 1.5GB of PC133 FTW!

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Did it work? He he!

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Clean bill of health.

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Some AOpen motherboards had an option called Die Hard BIOS. In essence this option involves two separate BIOS chips and you can switch between them, when needed, via a jumper.

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The board has a soldered SST 39SF020A chip. Because I didn't have another SST chip and because after I consulted the spec sheets I arrived to the conclusion that they are pin compatible, I mounted in the free PLCC socket a Winbond W29C020CP90B chip.

A Die Hard mobo requires a Die Hard BIOS don't you think?

The SST chips has a R1.13 BIOS and the Winbond a R1.20 BIOS. I switched between the chips via the JP30 Die Hard BIOS Select Jumper and all was ok.

More testing. More good news.

AK73-28.jpg

@100%!

The last stage was dedicated to cleaning the board. IPA 99%.

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WET!

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Looking good!

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After a few careful cleaning passes I got the following results.

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Unfortunately some scars and stains could not be removed. In the future I might use some lacquer to cover some of them but at the moment this isn't a priority. The good news is that these blemishes do not change the fact that this board is a great one! Remember, they don't make'em anymore!

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The Die Hard 1GHz CPU.

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After my work was done I held in my hands the motherboard and I just stared at it for a few minutes.

A DIE HARD KIT for the ages!

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I'm sure that some of you think about Sk.A as something common that still hasn't won its rightful place like many other exotic parts, but for some, including me, which used them for many years(I had 3 PCs with Sk.A CPUs), these kits have started to become irresistible. Get them while they last!

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/Sykvzzk

More later.

Last edited by Robert B on 2021-01-23, 17:33. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 666 of 718, by chrismeyer6

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I love Socket A it's one of my favorite platforms to build and work with. Also you did an amazing job resurrecting that motherboard it came out beautiful.

Reply 669 of 718, by texterted

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Excellent! Another nice board shown the love it deserves.

Cheers

Ted

98se/W2K :- Asus A8v Dlx. A-64 3500+, 512 mb ddr, Radeon 9800 Pro, SB Live.
XP Pro:- Asus P5 Q SE Plus, C2D E8400, 4 Gig DDR2, Radeon HD4870, SB Audigy 2ZS.

Reply 670 of 718, by Robert B

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Hi @pshipkov . Come to think of it you are totally right! 😁

For me, a guy who generally is "in the trenches" at the flea market, I'm usually accustomed to such situations. Only when I'm done restoring and I have an idea on how I'm going to lay the general lines of the story I'm about to present, I finally "see" what I got. If I look back at some of my greatest endeavours I just couldn't keep them for myself and I had to share them with you my readers. 😀 Restoring parts and documenting their story are tied together in my opinion. I must underline the fact that while I restore the parts I generally don't have a guide line on how I'm about to tell their story. Some have a greater potential story wise than others. This is not tied to them being unique or necessary special. They sort of guide me and I just tell their story or at least I like to think this way. Also I never ever put down a draft of an episode. There can be months apart between the moment I restore a part and I tell its story but I can still recall each detail. The pictures help me a lot. So when it's the time to really write things down I let the inspiration flow. 😁 All in one go without stopping even if it takes 5,6, 8 ... hours. Also in that time I have two versions ready one in my native language and one in english.

By the way I really like the stuff you do with all that ancient and exotic HW. At least this is how I see your stuff and projects. Each time you post something I'm eager to read it. As I'm a late 486 era guy the 286 and 386 is still uncharted territory for me. The extent to which you take each and every part is amazing. Retro battle stations indeed! Keep up the good work!

@textered - you bet! This one is a stunner! 😀

Reply 671 of 718, by bjwil1991

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Man, I love seeing an older motherboard look like new and shiny. I'm currently working on a Jetway motherboard that can take either a 386 + 387 or a 486 (up to 66MHz, I believe) and the VLB will work with either the 386 + 387 CPU or 486 CPU by switching the jumpers around and setting the wait time if the CPU speed is >33MHz.

The board had the Varta battery of DooM and I removed it successfully and assessed the damage: corrosion on the IC socket for the EPROM chip, the SN74F245N has rusted, and a few items had corrosion and not much damage (small area and only a couple of spots to the right) from the 2-3 pins on the AT power connector that suffered a bit of corrosion to about 10-20 pins on the 8 bit ISA slot, which will also be replaced along with the IC socket for the BIOS EPROM and a new SN74F245N chip and a socket for it as well.

The continuity is better than I expected (was expecting a break somewhere, but no breaks) and I'm going to do some more cleaning on it and replace those items and do a test between the AMI BIOS and MR BIOS for the 82C495SX chipset and see how it performs.

The board came with RAM (not sure about the size, so my guess is 8MB), a Cyrix Cx486DLC-25GP, and an Intel i387 16-33 FPU.

Discord: https://discord.gg/U5dJw7x
Systems from the Compaq Portable 1 to FX-6300
Twitch: https://twitch.tv/retropcuser

Reply 672 of 718, by Robert B

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Your Jetway mobo seems rather interesting. 😁 For sure it must be a transition model from the 386 to the 486 era or a repurposed model. Back in the day designing motherboards was quite expensive.

I too despise the barrel batteries. I have only one motherboard that got damaged by those leaky bastards and it is enough for me.

Reply 673 of 718, by Munx

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Aopen motherboard without a floppy connector placed in the worst position possible, aka left of the northbridge? I'm surprised 😁

My builds!
The FireStarter 2.0 - The wooden K5
The Underdog - The budget K6
The Voodoo powerhouse - The power-hungry K7
The troll PC - The Socket 423 Pentium 4

Reply 674 of 718, by Robert B

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😁 Phew I dodged that bullet! I thought that maybe something is wrong with my baby!!! 😁

By the way I really dig your Troll PCs. When I see a thread started by you I'm quick to read it and see what have you been up to! 😀 😁 You surprise me every time.

Reply 675 of 718, by Robert B

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Star Trek: The Next Generation - Main Title

5GB. It seems that the flea market visits of the last 6 years weren't for nothing. 😁

I'm waiting for something special to arrive. I'll post a few pics and hints after I get the stuff and I want you to identify the exact model otherwise I won't tell you the story. 😁

PRW-2021-025.jpg PRW-2021-026.jpg

More later.

Reply 677 of 718, by Robert B

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True words my friend. 😀 If the task will be too difficult I'm sure that you will lend your help but as the stuff is well known on this forum I have little doubt that the parts will be identified pretty fast. 😀

The parts have been packed well as I have seen the box before shipping but they come with regular Post so there still is a lingering uncertainty about their integrity as many of us have learned that shipping can sometimes be the most perilous stage in the life of a component.

I keep my fingers crossed for them to arrive safely.

Reply 678 of 718, by Robert B

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Hint No. 1 - What could possibly be?

We already know that is uses RAMBUS memory.

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I'll post a hint a day until the exact model will be identified. 😀 This baby is something special to get me so hyped.