VOGONS


First post, by zapbuzz

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I have posted about it in the beginning but I didn't explain the whole adventure.
When it was released I wanted it.
In 2003 I had a pentium 233mhz socket 7 Triton v2 motherboard system with 32mb ram and windows xp ... it sucked with its 4 platter 32gb hard disk.
Seeing this VP6 online at the time about a year after its launch intrigued me because it was 2 cpu, and had a special chipset
namely the Via Apollo 133a chipset that managed memory more efficiently than Intel variety at the time (with a heatsink) and could run 2 Intel Celerons for the home budget conscious.
Everything of the day I could afford was completely Intel and it was refreshing to see something unique from another vendor.
Lots of vehicle enthusiasts remember cars that stood out and waited for them to stand the test of time to become affordable I guess this was my idea of refurbishing and building this Rig.
I have spent 2 years completing it and it wasn't easy. Although it could use both ECC and non ECC ram pc133 SDRAM is getting hard to buy that passes memory testing and budget wisdom. I finally got exactly the kind of memory to bring out the best of the Dual CPU setup including the chipset without overclocking. Overclocking is a blasphemy to me. 2GB of single chip sided low density pc133 non ECC ram that was marketed for the Via motherboards I chose for this (Germany)
I selected Pentium III Coppermine CPU's that run at 1 GHz that they were available as brand new old stock. (USA)
The Abit VP6 Motherboard, the most expensive part of the project, being recognized as a collectible, has had all its capacitors replaced. (AU)
I garnished the VP6 Motherboard and cpu combination with gold plated heatsinks (UK)
The ATX PC Tower I chose has no floppy drive bays. However it is brand new old stock (AU)
Motherboard disk drive options Being ATA100 IDE PATA 4 ports built in or up to 8 Hard Disks; 2 ports or 4 disks can be RAID striped.
Instead of using Motherboard HDD RAID for system storage I have striped 2 CF Cards for the soul purpose of just memory swapping for windows probably an ancestor to ready boost but eliminating all memory swapping to mechanical disk.
A 4 port SATA II PCI card will be for any multi TB serving of storage. (May fill it up with retro software ready for home distribution)
I have run windows 98se, Millennium, 2000, all 2k servers, xp and windows 7 x86. 2000 and XP run head to head in performance so I chose XP Pro retail and activated one of my keys for it. (Its that hardware quality labs tested hype, you know? 🤣)
Windows 7's experience index says 4.1 but I may try to improve that in future for fun. But not with Tualatin CPU's i can update the BIOS CPU Microcode but chipset will die prematurely many VP6's I traced died that way. I want to apply my own patch to the BIOS with an updated RAID controller option ROM that should help RAID integrity buti need right bios tools and current drivers don't support the last official BIOS by abit.
A WD400 40gb PATA disk is for the boot disk. I'd use SATA as bootdisk but I may switch to DOS at times so no. If SATA was built in then maybe.
The 1 gigabit LAN runs full speed without issues as update server did install good drivers (the bundled ones caused overheating) in XP pro.
This rig is for offline fun and productivity of mostly multimedia. Casual use including Data serving to other home PC's. I can load a live CD if I want to surf with it anytime as linux mint mate x86 loves the 2gb memory bank.
Gamecube ATI 128mb Gamebuster GPU in AGP 2.X mode helped this machine score 4.1 in windows 7 experience index (as 1 disk system.)
I decided not to use windows 7 on this ever again it reminded me of windows xp on a socket 7 pentium thrashing that I haven't got a Terabyte system disk most likely. I backed up all the Distro's I ran with Macrium Reflect CDROM made with windows 7 so i can just refresh into 9x or NT within about 30 minutes of restoring sets.
I do this behavior with all my rigs I don't like dual or multi booting. A single OS at a time and changed only for temporary projects and research.
I have photos to upload shortly. I have today successfully run it on my HDMI wide screen television with the ATI card DVI through an DVI to HDMI adapter. Its better than my 17" IBM CRT.
Roles this system would be best for would probably be home multimedia editing and storage server for me but only casual use.
Having the second pentium III is a little better than 1 but a multi core CPU would leave it in the dust.
I don't mind its the machine I wanted it does better than I had hoped and such an old age this is fun to use.
The most unusual aspect of this setup is the addition of a 1000 watt Power Supply. This is not deliberate but a temporary solution I intend to replace with something around 420 watts. Casual use should not cause problems for this. I always buy new with PSU's its the highest hazard area of computers so no compromises. I did once it was 2nd hand, it made a explosive sound, the house lights flickered.
Motherboard stopped working a year later I wasn't surprised.
***Anyhow*** I will clean up the cable mess when i got the PSU i'm looking for.
More photos then.

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Last edited by zapbuzz on 2021-07-06, 02:33. Edited 4 times in total.

Reply 1 of 11, by zapbuzz

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At this time, I'd like to ask the Vogons community what would you like me to test on it.
It runs all versions of windows from from 95 to windows 7 x32 so perhaps if you just want to know if something works that your considering building something similar please comment about it and I will try it gladly for fun.
It doesn't have to be games it can be anything .... I might learn software I never thought existed (and others can learn too)

Reply 2 of 11, by slivercr

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Lovely motherboard—congratulations! I really like the GoldenOrbs, too.

How about some Quake3 for starters, with and without SMP. I think there are no Apollo Pro133A results in the quake3 smp-scaling thread, so having your results would be interesting!

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce

Reply 4 of 11, by zapbuzz

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kalohimal wrote on 2020-06-05, 00:32:

Using CF card for Windows swap space is not a good idea. It will kill the CF card in no time.

Good point but considering 2gb ram with an OS that would probably use up 3/4 running a 3D game I'd probably be alright considering its just a casual thing and not a main rig.

Reply 5 of 11, by zapbuzz

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slivercr wrote on 2020-06-04, 22:07:

Lovely motherboard—congratulations! I really like the GoldenOrbs, too.

How about some Quake3 for starters, with and without SMP. I think there are no Apollo Pro133A results in the quake3 smp-scaling thread, so having your results would be interesting!

Thats worth the effort I will be delighted to 😀

Reply 6 of 11, by zapbuzz

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So instead of using CF decided to add SATA and PATA cards together the PATA boots RAID 0 with 2 x Maxtor Diamondmax 8's they are all 40gb disks very nice low latency activity the SATA I use in windows XP for RAID 0 over 4 x 500gb WD Blues. I use the SATA to load games like warcraft (private online servers blizzard has brought it back again so i'll try it there), final fantasy 8 pc edition. Plays movies pretty good I like the fast seeking through the retro version of MPC media player.
Its got neccassary backwards compatibility into SATA and USB so when PATA is completely dead I can use SATA but I prefer PATA being lower CPU/ FSB utilised a dual p3 better copes with extra cpu utilisation I wouldn't bother with SATA with a single P3 given choice.

Last edited by zapbuzz on 2021-07-13, 09:31. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 7 of 11, by chinny22

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Cool rig and nice backstory.
I love my Dual Slot1 P3 600 for similar reason it's the history more then the actual spec.
The Quake 3 test is about the only test I can think of as well.

NT4/Backoffice or 2000/2003 SBS suite of apps may be fun to play around with if your into that kind of thing? Not much use on a practical level of course though.

Reply 8 of 11, by nd22

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That is a very nice system! I also have a dual P3 1000/VP6 system that is running perfectly fine with XP. Performance is excellent for all games up to 2002 and it feels snappier than a single socket Tualatin - I know, this is blasphemy 😀 !

Reply 9 of 11, by ratfink

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Nice system, makes me miss my dual P3 box. Quake smp is all i can think of too. Wasnt that the only game around that time that could take advantage of SMP?

All else I can recall is the ease of swapping between different applications - part of the snappiness of a dual CPU system - but I think there were issues in doing so depending on the graphics load and what card you were using, eg in the case of running a couple of games at the same time (given all except q3 in smp node would have been single cpu).

And you can assign particular processes to particular processors so possibly that could help tune performance a bit for single-cpu games? Think I tried this to address Diablo II performance at the start of Harrogath, but I never managed to make it as smooth as I wanted (think I concluded the lag issue was loading textures and couldn't be fixed at least on that machine).

Reply 10 of 11, by chrismeyer6

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Back in the day with our lan parties I would be the game server with my dual P3 system. I would have the game for me assigned to one CPU and the game server assigned to the second CPU. That worked quite well no lag for me or anyone else on the lan. Those were the good old days and I miss them.

Reply 11 of 11, by zapbuzz

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Installed windows XP for SMP and a SATA II PCI card with 4 x 250gb disks in RAID10 the disks really are capped for speed being SATA III but its the access strategy upgrade makes it run snappy. SATA only as ribbon cables were putting pressure on motherboard components and that was making problems by pressure of ribbon cables on the motherboard epecially around ram slots.
After adding PCI SATA RAID I disabled resouces to all but secondary IDE ports (optical disk use) so not even build in RAID controller is used.
Now that I use USB2 I disabled built in USB and surprisingly it still grabs mouse and keyboard usb , still I have bios set for OS access as I use PS2 mouse and keyboard to save resources.
The USB2 PCI card has VIA VT6202L chip on it so I'll assume it be behaving well because the mobo VIA chipset.
All com ports and printer port i disabled too.
So far its stable and yeah its the best pentium III machine I've ever had.
Just waiting for that sweet AGP 4X Nvidia card to come along so the Ati can be put in a socket 478 Prescott mobo that has better voltage compatability.
Soundcard is creative X-FI it has a heatsink and plugs into front panel audio completely genre compatibility choice and second reason to use xp than 2000 the driver support for more modern soundcards with front headphone hookup.
My gigabit LAN pci card is realtek chip on windows 9x it would heat up fortunately not on xp it supports gigabit lan and have witnessed download speeds of 650m/bit with internet but haven't run LAN yet but soon.
Discovered a false panel on the tower with clips that hide a floppy port now using it got drive seek at boot too 🤣
very very lucky to experience this I am going to post screenshots about the desktop, tower and benchmarks later I think it is built. Happy 20th anniversary Abit VP6 you prove to have your foot in the door of modern tech with backwards compatability spanning 20 damn years!