VOGONS


My VIA C3 Nehemiah all-rounder build

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First post, by Bancho

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I thought I would share with a rig I've been working on for a good while now. It is at a stage now that I'm happy with it and covers a good range of games. I've still to map all the speeds available on this and is something I plan to carry out in the very near future. I've seen this build done a few times now and this is my take on it.

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Spec wise the machine is currently configured as follows.

VIA C3 1.2ghz Nehamiah CPU
MSI MS-6905 2.0 Master Sloket
Gigabyte GA-6BXC Rev 2.0 Intel BX, Powerleap BIOS
3DFX Voodoo 3 3500TV (With Fan Attached)
Matrox M3D Power VR
USB 2.0 Card for easy transfers
Keropi Music Quest MPU-401 Card with Dreamblaster X2 - Connected Externally MT-32 and a number of Midi Modules
Turtle Beach Malibu Surround 64
Creative Labs AWE32 CT3900 With 8MB Ram and a Trust Korg Sound Module
Pioneer Slot Loading DVD ROM
80Gig Hitachi HDD
Floppy Disk Drive
300WATT PSU

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As with most of my builds I try my best to manage the cables which makes it easy to work on the system. I'm hoping now that I don't have to mess to much with the innards!

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As for the Software side of things it is running Win98 SE and I have set it to boot directly to DOS. UNISOUND is used to initialise both cards. I use kolohimal's CPUSPD program to manipulate the CPU multi's and cache options and Rayers SMB for FSB change on the fly. In my brief testing I have got the CPU to 266mhz and 1400mhz at the top end. The board has a 50fsb option but it seems unstable and won't work with all multipliers. I plan to do a full map along with the throttle optioned offered in CPUSPD.

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On the sound front I think it offers a good selection of sound and a great number of MIDI options. I need to test but I intend to connect my MT-32 to the 3.5mm jack Midi out on the MPU-401 and use the DB9 for GM Devices. I mix all this using a Maker Heart Just Mixer 5. Its a great mixer and is the perfect size due to not having too much space!

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Hope some of you like my build

Cheers!

Reply 2 of 22, by Bancho

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I actually picked the C3 because of its ability to slow down with fine adjustments. This machine will be used to play a good majority of DOS games and Win9x Games. With the CPU clocked at 1.4ghz this give a speedsys equivalent of a 800mhz Athlon. For the games which are more demanding or want to run at higher resolutions I have a Tualatin 1400-S with a Ti4600.

Reply 3 of 22, by mothergoose729

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I have a work in progress build very similar to yours. If you add in ACPI clock skipping you can get down to 8088 speeds and also hit the 486 reference points.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1usQPR … dit?usp=sharing

On my slot 1 machine I also find that 50mhz FSB is not as stable. Since you can run a lower multiplier with 66mhz fsb I think that is the better way to go.

Reply 4 of 22, by Bancho

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mothergoose729 wrote on 2021-02-07, 15:53:

I have a work in progress build very similar to yours. If you add in ACPI clock skipping you can get down to 8088 speeds and also hit the 486 reference points.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1usQPR … dit?usp=sharing

On my slot 1 machine I also find that 50mhz FSB is not as stable. Since you can run a lower multiplier with 66mhz fsb I think that is the better way to go.

I think I used your chart as a reference when I was messing with my K6-III+ build! When you refer to the ACPI clock skipping, are you referring to throttle? Have you tried kalohimal's CPUSPD? That has a throttle option built in to the program. I'll use your table as reference and see what I can achieve! 😀

Reply 5 of 22, by mothergoose729

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Bancho wrote on 2021-02-07, 16:14:
mothergoose729 wrote on 2021-02-07, 15:53:

I have a work in progress build very similar to yours. If you add in ACPI clock skipping you can get down to 8088 speeds and also hit the 486 reference points.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1usQPR … dit?usp=sharing

On my slot 1 machine I also find that 50mhz FSB is not as stable. Since you can run a lower multiplier with 66mhz fsb I think that is the better way to go.

I think I used your chart as a reference when I was messing with my K6-III+ build! When you refer to the ACPI clock skipping, are you referring to throttle? Have you tried kalohimal's CPUSPD? That has a throttle option built in to the program. I'll use your table as reference and see what I can achieve! 😀

The community has several spreadsheets like that floating around, I mimicked the format 😜. I don't remember exactly what software I used for clock skipping... I use the same tools for cache, multiplier, FSB and all of that for sure.

I have read mixed reviews of people using clock skipping as a method for slow down. It is something I plan to test myself soon. Considering the C3 Nehemiah can do 386 speeds and fast 486 speeds without clock skipping I think there is a lot of potential. Only a handful of games need exactly a 486 DX33/66 or similar and they might be fine with clock skipping even if maybe some other games act up.

Reply 7 of 22, by mothergoose729

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2021-02-07, 20:45:

How slow can you go ?
Can you post some benchmarks ?

The slowest I got it was speedsys score of 0.48. I ran the MIPS benchmark and I scored pretty close to an 8088@4.77mhz. It was a bit higher in memory throuput (1.48 I think), a bit lower in integer performance if I recall (something like 0.98).

Without ACPI clock skipping, you can get it down to about a 386dx16.

Reply 8 of 22, by Bancho

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Added the Midi modules to the mix now.

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Midi stack consists of

Roland SC-7
Yamaha MU10
Roland MT-32
Kawai GMega LX XC-3
Korg NS5R with a Dreamblaster s2 on Channel C
Roland Sound Canvas SC-55

And the setup in action! The Monitor is a 19" CTX PR960F Trinitron Display. I need to try and sort this area. Its a small space but I think I could make it work a lot better. Need some shelves!

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Last edited by Bancho on 2021-02-17, 10:17. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 10 of 22, by Bancho

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I've added a Creative "Blaster Certified" case badge to the machine! I really want to get a Via C3 case badge but they seem quite hard to find!

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I also connected the Kawai GMega LX XC-3 to the Midi out of the PCMIDI card. There doesn't seem to be much floating about on the Internet for this module, so I made some audio recordings of it. Sounds very reverby! I do like how the percussion sounds though.

At Doom's Gate - https://youtu.be/Xuw7hbz-1V4

Descent - https://youtu.be/Y9xRtT1Z42A

Reply 14 of 22, by Bancho

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Woody72 wrote on 2021-04-30, 10:44:

Nice build and I love the case, which one is it? I might try and hunt one down myself.

The case was from ebay UK, from a company called Acme. They appear to have stopped selling it now unfortunately. Its a really well built case and was cheap hence me buying two of them a good while back now!

chrismeyer6 wrote on 2021-04-30, 13:52:

This is a great build. Those Via CPUs take alot of flack but they really are great for this use case as well as small low heat/power systems.

Yeah they are great CPU's especially for DOS gaming. They really work brilliantly on the Gigabyte BX boards!

Reply 16 of 22, by mothergoose729

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Bancho wrote on 2021-05-03, 10:56:
The case was from ebay UK, from a company called Acme. They appear to have stopped selling it now unfortunately. Its a really we […]
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Woody72 wrote on 2021-04-30, 10:44:

Nice build and I love the case, which one is it? I might try and hunt one down myself.

The case was from ebay UK, from a company called Acme. They appear to have stopped selling it now unfortunately. Its a really well built case and was cheap hence me buying two of them a good while back now!

chrismeyer6 wrote on 2021-04-30, 13:52:

This is a great build. Those Via CPUs take alot of flack but they really are great for this use case as well as small low heat/power systems.

Yeah they are great CPU's especially for DOS gaming. They really work brilliantly on the Gigabyte BX boards!

I have the VIA C3 Nehemiah on the gigabyte BX board and its amazing. I have a few batch scripts for different speed reference points. Literally run the script and now I have a 386, run a different script and now its a Pentium, add throttle.exe to the mix and I can get a 486 or an 8088 too. Gettigng board of DOS games, now I feel like gaming in windows. Let's crank it up to 1300mhz and go play half life... no problem. It's awesome.

Reply 17 of 22, by bloodem

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Sounds very interesting! Any advantage in using the Gigabyte BX board (which seems to be very popular in conjunction with VIA C3) as opposed to other boards?
I'm thinking of building a VIA C3 platform myself and I'm still doing research regarding potential motherboards. 😀

4 x Socket 3 / 4 x Socket 7 / 6 x Super Socket 7 / 5 x Slot 1 / 3 x Slot A / 5 x Socket 370
5 x Socket A / 1 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 4 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: AM4 - Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: LGA1151 - Core i7 7700k

Reply 18 of 22, by mothergoose729

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bloodem wrote on 2021-05-04, 06:24:

Sounds very interesting! Any advantage in using the Gigabyte BX board (which seems to be very popular in conjunction with VIA C3) as opposed to other boards?
I'm thinking of building a VIA C3 platform myself and I'm still doing research regarding potential motherboards. 😀

The gigabyte board can set it's bus speed in software with the help of a utility program. It also has a lot of flexibility in the FSB too, so you can set it to quite a few different speeds. With setmul you can get very smooth and fine grain scaling all in software.

Reply 19 of 22, by bloodem

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Thanks! The bus speed control through software does sound very nice 😀
The only "problem" I see would be the need for a slotket (I usually try to avoid these for my builds).

4 x Socket 3 / 4 x Socket 7 / 6 x Super Socket 7 / 5 x Slot 1 / 3 x Slot A / 5 x Socket 370
5 x Socket A / 1 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 4 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: AM4 - Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: LGA1151 - Core i7 7700k