20 years of junk in a tower: wildly anachronistic Slot 1 build

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20 years of junk in a tower: wildly anachronistic Slot 1 build

Postby xjas » 2017-5-02 @ 06:59

Edit: current specs of the system will be kept updated here. Build thread below...
Code: Select all
CPU:   P3/412.5 (@ 5.5x75)                      (1998)
Mobo:  Asus P2L97-S / Intel i440LX              (1997)
Case:  Antec Sonata III                         (2009)
Video: Guillemot Maxi Gamer Phoenix (16MB Voodoo Banshee PCI)
System memory: 384MB PC133
Network: SMC 10/100 PCI
Sound:   SB AWE64 Value
SCSI:    Adaptec AHA7880 UW (onboard)
Storage: Maxtor 20GB IDE                        (2002)
         Maxtor 80GB IDE                        (2004)
         1.2MB, 5 1/4" floppy                   (1989)
         1.44MB 3 1/2" floppy
         iomega ATAPI Zip 100                   (1997)
         LG ATAPI DVD+/-RW                      (2006)

So a while ago I picked up this PII system in a horrible case that I hated. I decided the case needed to leave my sight ASAP but its internals were quite nice & fully deserving of a new home. It’s a PII/233 on a sweet Asus P2L97-S board with a 440LX chipset, 2 ISA slots, AGP 4x, onboard Adaptec SCSI, and 192MB SDRAM (3x64). I can bump it up to a 333MHz (max) CPU and 384MB, or overclock it up to 83MHz FSB, but I’ll see if it fits my needs as-is before I start upgrading.

EDIT: this thread was originally full of Photos that were hosted on a certain site which likened itself to a Bucket. Unfortunately, as said site made the monumentally, colossally stupid decision to disallow hotlinking of hosted photos after at least a decade of specifically encouraging such, thus destroying years of valuable information & historical threads across thousands of forums and blogs in one fell swoop, I've had to remove all of them.

Fortunately I was able to reconstruct the original post with images intact; click the attachment below for the photos & captions that were once here. I've left the original text below for quoting purposes, etc. I'd apologise for this but it's the decision makers at Photob*cket who need to be blamed.


No one can say I don't put any effort into my build threads...

20-years-of-junk-post-1.jpg


Original captions
[01-donor.jpg]
The donor in question with its running gear exposed.

Here’s what I came up with:
[02-receptor.jpg]
A derelict Antec Sonata III from 2009? Yes, that will do. Fun fact: my “modern” gaming PC at home is older than this case.

[03-nothinggoodcameout.jpg]
Literally nothing good came out of the Antec. I don’t think this is what it was originally equipped with, but that’s what was in there. No heat sink, drives, or RAM present.

[04-stripped.jpg]
Stripped & ready for action. Wait, that sounds dirty.

[05-qc-ok.jpg]
QC OK! I’m glad they checked.

[06-everythinggoodcameout.jpg]
Here’s what came out of the junky knockoff(?)-Enlight. This is the good stuff.

[07-addedto.jpg]
…of course I had to add a bit to it before it went back in. ;)

[08-mobo.jpg]
The heart of the beast.

[09-mobodatestamp.jpg]
The motherboard has this date tag of December 1997. And no one even voided the warranty!

[10-scsi.jpg]
Magnetic spinny media. You better believe we’re going SCSI. Salvaged these from a Motorola 88k-based server.
Last edited by xjas on 2017-9-19 @ 20:19, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: You know who else was 'period-correct?' Hitler! Anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby xjas » 2017-5-02 @ 07:01

EDIT: reconstructed post with photos intact:
20-years-of-junk-post-2.jpg

Original captions:

[11-choiceofvideo.jpg]
I had my choice of video cards. I like the PCI Rage but I haven’t really built anything with an Nvidia card before, so I initially decided to try this GF4 TI4200 instead. See the thread title. It’s a lovely shade of red. More on this later…

[12-excesscables.jpg]
I unfortunately had no way to use the front USB or SATA ports (this board has USB but no header for external ports.) I didn’t want to remove the cables so I coiled them up inside the front panel to keep things neat.

[13-hidden.jpg]
Not sure I like the result. They’re not completely hidden and I hope they don’t turn this area into a dust collection vortex.

[14-shockproof.jpg]
The hard drives go into these lovely quick-swap drawers with vibration damping rubber gromets.

[15-newinpackets.jpg]
I even got some brand-new-in-package Antec accessories for this guy. :)

[16-cablemanaged.jpg]
This is about the best I could do at cable management. To be honest, because of the way the floppy cable stretches over the CPU & the server-length 7-position SCSI cable, it’s never gonna be overly tidy. It’s good enough for me though.

[17-altvideo.jpg]
As it turned out, the TI4200 wouldn’t pass POST, so instead I tried a Quadro FX1000 (right.) It’s a powerful card but for some reason was unbelievably sluggish on this system. Even BIOS text mode operation was slow. Maybe some obscure AGP incompatibility.

I finally settled on this Radeon 9250 Pro (left) which gives me DVI & S-video out and another red PCB. Also it’s a 256MB card so this machine now has more VRAM than system RAM. And the GPU is clocked higher than the CPU. This amuses me to no end. See the thread title again.

[18-itboots.jpg]
Quick test to make sure it would boot - sure did!
Last edited by xjas on 2017-9-18 @ 07:56, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: You know who else was 'period-correct?' Hitler! Anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby xjas » 2017-5-02 @ 07:04

EDIT: Reconstructed post with photos intact:
20-years-of-junk-post-3.jpg

Original captions:

[19-doorisajar.jpg]
…and I closed everything up. The black DVD drive that was in the case is SATA so I can’t use it, but I have a black IDE drive with lightscribe(!) to go in as soon as I get it out. Also a black floppy. Still haven’t found a black Zip drive though. Not too worried, because

[20-closedup.jpg]
…I can always close the front door for a nice finished look. And yeah that WinXP sticker is going away.

[21-rearend.jpg]
Here’s the view from behind. Quite tidy.

(I have a black Dell USB keyboard & mouse that I’m using with it for that modern look. Well, 2009 modern.)

[24-systemreport.jpg]
System specs from Linux (gparted) while I was formatting the drive. Pretty well equipped!

So what OS is going on this beasty? Windows 95? 98? ME??? Of course not!

I went with FreeBSD 4.11, chosen semi-arbitrarily. Actually 4.11 was known to be a rather solid version, & was also the last one that didn’t have good support for SMP, so I figure it’ll be interesting to try on this single-core powerhouse. I have some old scientific software I wanna use that won't run on modern 64-bit Linux so this will be fun to play around with and see if I can get it to compile. (In theory it should be compatible.) If I can get that going I’m gonna be doing actual scientific work for my job on this. :P

[22-freedom.jpg]
[23-kde.jpg]
It’s been a while since I’ve seen the friendly face of good old KDE 3.5. It runs great!

Unfortunately it still needs some work. My salvaged SCSI drives proved unreliable, one failed immediately and the other one is giving me some weird flakeyness so they’re probably gonna be replaced with a single 20GB IDE. The Audigy 1 I put in, unbeknownst to me, does NOT use an Emu10k1 chip & therefore isn’t supported by this version of FreeBSD. Fortunately I’ve got a bunch of Audigy 2 cards that do use the Emu10k1 and will work fine. And I still want to replace the DVD(+/-RW) and FDD with black ones, and mount them a little farther back on the bracket so they sit flush (oops.)

I might also stick the PCI Rage back in and see if I can make it get along with the AGP Radeon although I have absolutely no idea what benefit that would give me. I also have a Voodoo2 that could go in there instead. Or a Banshee, or that Voodoo3 I inadvertently found that is still for sale. But I like the Radeon for now.

Anyway, it’s up & running and was essentially a 100% free build that has a useful job. Wins all around.
Last edited by xjas on 2017-9-18 @ 07:59, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 20 years of junk in a tower: wildly anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby xjas » 2017-5-03 @ 06:11

Small update today. Dug up some additional hardware to add in:
26.JPG
I'm sure glad whoever the previous owner of this Audigy 2 was had a label maker & wasn't afraid to use it.

So the twin ~1998 SCSI drives are out and the single 2002 IDE Maxtor is in. As much as I want to lament the loss of coolness, reinstalling FreeBSD took about half as long, the damn thing is nearly silent when running, and I get 2.5x the capacity anyway. Sometimes I forget how rapidly things were changing around then.

28.JPG
The extra drive on the floppy bus & having to have two devices (ZIP & DVD) share an IDE channel did make the cabling a little convoluted, although it doesn't look so much here.

Incidentally the 5.25" drive had different date codes on a few of its components, but the earliest one was November 1989 making it almost exactly 20 years older than the case it's in. The motherboard & CPU split the difference roughly in half.

29.JPG
I'm starting to like the beige & black two-tone when the front door is open (or removed for easy access.) I'm probably not the only person who's ever mounted a 5.25" floppy in a Sonata III, but there can't be *too* many others. Never mind how many of those are still in service

It turns out to be impossible to push the 3.5" drives back flush, their mounting holes are fixed. That's gonna bug me forever.

(Note: changed the thread title due to a PM. The original one wasn't intended to be offensive, just a comment on how people tend to argue on the internet. But in the end if someone is uncomfortable with something you've done, it's far easier and nicer all around to meet them in the middle rather than standing your ground with hellfire. So that's what I did . ; )
Last edited by xjas on 2017-9-18 @ 08:02, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 20 years of junk in a tower: wildly anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby x0zm_ » 2017-5-03 @ 06:24

xjas wrote:I'm probably not the only person who's ever mounted a 5.25" floppy in a Sonata III, but there can't be *too* many others. Never mind how many of those are still in service


First one I've seen in any case beyond the mid 00s.

Nice build :D

If you do want to use those front panel connectors, I believe you can get a fairly cheap ($1-$2) cable that'll change the header to a normal USB plug, so you can route the cable out the back through a PCI slot or even through the game port hole on the IO shield, and plug it into one of the ports at the back.
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Re: 20 years of junk in a tower: wildly anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby Scraphoarder » 2017-5-03 @ 14:04

That white case looks like its made by Enlight. I have one like that, but the AT version.
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Re: 20 years of junk in a tower: wildly anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby candle_86 » 2017-5-03 @ 19:17

x0zm_ wrote:
xjas wrote:I'm probably not the only person who's ever mounted a 5.25" floppy in a Sonata III, but there can't be *too* many others. Never mind how many of those are still in service


First one I've seen in any case beyond the mid 00s.

Nice build :D

If you do want to use those front panel connectors, I believe you can get a fairly cheap ($1-$2) cable that'll change the header to a normal USB plug, so you can route the cable out the back through a PCI slot or even through the game port hole on the IO shield, and plug it into one of the ports at the back.


Or spend 5 dollars on a PCI USB 2.0 riser card that has the header on it, I've seen them.
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Re: 20 years of junk in a tower: wildly anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby AzzKickr » 2017-5-03 @ 20:41

Nice ! I like it !

Unless I'm mistaken the Audigy does not use a 10k1 chip though but a 10k2. Only the Live! Cards use a 10k1, right ?
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Re: 20 years of junk in a tower: wildly anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby xjas » 2017-5-03 @ 21:19

^^ They use the same driver under Linux (snd-emu10k1) and I'm assuming that holds true for FreeBSD as well. If not I have some Live cards I could throw in, or maybe an ISA AWE64. The slots are there after all. :cool:

candle_86 wrote:
x0zm_ wrote:If you do want to use those front panel connectors, I believe you can get a fairly cheap ($1-$2) cable that'll change the header to a normal USB plug, so you can route the cable out the back through a PCI slot or even through the game port hole on the IO shield, and plug it into one of the ports at the back.


Or spend 5 dollars on a PCI USB 2.0 riser card that has the header on it, I've seen them.


That's actually a really good idea. I don't want to run a cable out to the back ports (because it's ugly & that annoys me) but I definitely have a stack of PCI USB cards to go through. Hopefully there's one in there with the header and a decent chipset.

Unfortunately FreeBSD 4 has no support for SATA so I can't do the same thing with the SATA port. I'm running out of PCI slots anyway.
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Re: 20 years of junk in a tower: wildly anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby xjas » 2017-5-06 @ 08:03

Quick update, haven't worked on this thing for a couple days but I did find this USB 2.0 PCI card which has the internal pinheader. Well, *almost* has the pinheader. Looks like I'm gonna need to bust out the soldering iron on this one.

20 years of junk post 5.jpg

It's funny how many of my dumb projects that holds true for, I could be building with lego & I'd need to bust out the soldering iron. I can't get away from it. I could be playing Minecraft and I'd *still* need to bust out the soldering iron.
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Re: 20 years of junk in a tower: wildly anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby xjas » 2017-5-25 @ 22:06

Did some digging in my stash of parts and found a few handy upgrades for this thing. Firstly 3x128MB PC-133 for a total of 384MB - max this board can support. They're not matching SIMMs but I don't care, I did try to pick ones with the same stepping (3-2-2) but AFAIK that's kind of irrelevant when massively underclocking PC133.
30.jpg

Second upgrade was a PII/400. I was really hoping to find something with a higher multiplier but gotta make do with what you have. I set it to 4x75 = 300MHz, still a nice step up. Haven't noticed any problems from overclocking the FSB yet. I also tried a P3/500 but it just wouldn't boot on this old LX board.

Interestingly, after the upgrade I've ended up with this left over:
32.jpg
Two virtually identical PIIs. Same part (B80522P233512 SL28K), almost the same manufacturing code (or whatever that is - one is 97410110-027 and the other is 97410110-010) and only 3 units apart in serial number!

If I ever manage to track down a P2L97-DS or other dual slot-1 board, I've got a nice matched pair for it. :)

The funny thing is, these came from two different places (well, two different labs in the same company) and I got them over a year apart from each other. One was in a box of junk that was getting tossed out and the other was in a working machine until I took it out just now, and I got it over a year later. Just complete blind luck that they both found their way into my hands.

Also FreeBSD is out. It was a fun experiment but I'm just more comfortable in the Linux ecosystem. It's been replaced with:
31.jpg
Macpup! A variant of Puppy that I guess is supposed to look like OS/X. It doesn't really (aside from having a dock), but it runs well & looks great anyway. It's based on the Enlightenment desktop which I've been wanting to mess with for a while.

You might be tempted to wonder how an up-to-date 2017 Linux distro can be packed down to run on such an old machine, but let's not forget we were all running GUIs & graphical apps already when this thing was hot shit 20 years ago. Time may fly but the war on bloatware never stops.
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Re: You know who else was 'period-correct?' Hitler! Anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby Kamerat » 2017-5-26 @ 03:54

xjas wrote:As it turned out, the TI4200 wouldn’t pass POST, so instead I tried a Quadro FX1000 (right.) It’s a powerful card but for some reason was unbelievably sluggish on this system. Even BIOS text mode operation was slow. Maybe some obscure AGP incompatibility.

The incompatibility issues might come from the 3,3V supply. Some old AGP motherboards had a 3,3V regulator on board instead of using 3,3V from the PSU, often too weak to power later mid and high end cards. I tried a GeForce DDR on my P2L97 back in 1999 and when I tried to load the drivers the screen went dark. It's possible to modify the board with a thick wire from the ATX connector (3,3V) bypassing the regulator:
http://www.plasma-online.de/index.html? ... s_tnt.html
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Re: 20 years of junk in a tower: wildly anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby xjas » 2017-5-26 @ 04:26

^^ That's really interesting, I've been having an issue with the Radeon where if you do something fairly GPU intensive (e.g. rapidly scrolling a full-screen webpage in Firefox), Xorg immediately crashes and dumps you back to the console. Seems like a good bet that's the reason. It doesn't happen with the PCI Rage but that thing only has 1MB onboard and is too hopelessly slow for my liking. I was going to throw a bunch of different video cards at it anyway.

I don't really want to do the mod on an untouched board like this. Time to dig through my stash and see if I have a 3.3V-capable card with a MOLEX connector (or failing that I'll just stick my PCI Voodoo Banshee in & see how that goes.)

Edit: woah, the bodge wire fix was originally published by ASUS themselves. Imagine a manufacturer these days coming up with that kind of solution & putting out DIY instructions - NOT gonna happen anymore!
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Re: 20 years of junk in a tower: wildly anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby xjas » 2017-6-01 @ 18:52

xjas wrote:
03-nothinggoodcameout.JPG
Literally nothing good came out of the Antec. I don’t think this is what it was originally equipped with, but that’s what was in there. No heat sink, drives, or RAM present.


Quickie update, I replaced the "big, powerful" Radeon 9250 with the wimpy 9200SE in the above pic after slagging it off earlier, which solved my xorg crashing issue. It seems to be low-enough-power to work with the old LX board's early AGP implementation. That means I only get 64MB on a 64-bit bus and a lower clock speed but it's fine for desktop use (and still way over-specced for this system anyway.) Unlike the 1MB Rage it can do 1280x1024 and dragging windows around isn't painful.

Still tempted to throw my PCI Banshee or Voodoo2 in if I dig one of them out. I said I wasn't doing "period correct" with this system but I'd love to try all three Linux GLIDE apps on here.
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Re: 20 years of junk in a tower: wildly anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2017-6-09 @ 09:19

xjas wrote:Literally nothing good came out of the Antec. I don’t think this is what it was originally equipped with, but that’s what was in there.


Just saw that motherboard, it's a fantastic Pentium 4 board with universal AGP. You can run really old cards with it, including all the 3dfx, and especially the V5 is a good fit for this board and a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4.
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Re: 20 years of junk in a tower: wildly anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby sd_entertainmnt » 2017-6-09 @ 10:02

xjas wrote:Small update today. Dug up some additional hardware to add in:

Incidentally the 5.25" drive had different date codes on a few of its components, but the earliest one was November 1989 making it almost exactly 20 years older than the case it's in. The motherboard & CPU split the difference roughly in half.

Image
I'm starting to like the beige & black two-tone when the front door is open (or removed for easy access.) I'm probably not the only person who's ever mounted a 5.25" floppy in a Sonata III, but there can't be *too* many others. Never mind how many of those are still in service

[/size]


I did! Well it was for a customer years ago before my vintage computing binge. I remember thinking wtf why and hated putting Win98 on Pentium D system. BTW check that Antec power supply, the smart/true power series is notorious for bad capacitors... I had three go two of which I recapped before it got bad and are going strong today.
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Re: 20 years of junk in a tower: wildly anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby xjas » 2017-6-10 @ 10:53

PhilsComputerLab wrote:Just saw that motherboard, it's a fantastic Pentium 4 board with universal AGP. You can run really old cards with it, including all the 3dfx, and especially the V5 is a good fit for this board and a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4.

Noted... not sure what to do with it though. Honestly, I don't have much inclination to mess with P4s at the moment. I've got a couple of 3.0HTs I barely ever use and even the loaded PC-DL based dual-Xeon I built last year is just sitting in a closet. :( I'll probably never own a Voodoo5 (not getting into that feeding frenzy) but I've got a crapload of other AGP cards of all voltages so maybe I can use it somehow.

sd_entertainmnt wrote:I did! Well it was for a customer years ago before my vintage computing binge. I remember thinking wtf why and hated putting Win98 on Pentium D system. BTW check that Antec power supply, the smart/true power series is notorious for bad capacitors... I had three go two of which I recapped before it got bad and are going strong today.


I have three of them, two work perfectly and one won't power up any board I've tried. I'll keep my eye on it. Is there anything from the last 20 years not known for bad caps?
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Re: 20 years of junk in a tower: wildly anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby sd_entertainmnt » 2017-6-10 @ 14:47

xjas wrote:
I have three of them, two work perfectly and one won't power up any board I've tried. I'll keep my eye on it. Is there anything from the last 20 years not known for bad caps?


Seasonic, Enermax, liteon, FSP, are just a few off the top of my head I think that shied away from the shady capacitor suppliers over the years.
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Re: 20 years of junk in a tower: wildly anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby manbearpig » 2017-6-18 @ 09:01

Anecdotal but I've never had to replace caps on an Intel board.
Premio 212B motherboard (MSI MS-6112)
Intel PentiumII 333MHz Slot 1 66MHz bus
384MB ECC 66MHz
SIIG ATA133 controller --> Seagate Barracuda 80GB
SIIG Gigabit Ethernet (RTL8169) / USB 2.0 / IEEE1394 controller
ESS 1869 soundcard on board wavetable synth
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Re: 20 years of junk in a tower: wildly anachronistic PII/233 build

Postby feipoa » 2017-6-19 @ 21:03

I think there were some PII's with a 5x multiplier you might want to try instead of that PIII-500. I read somewhere that you want the later stepping models of the PII-333 (5x). So if your max FSB is 75 MHz, then you could perhaps get 375 MHz out of it.
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