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Reply 20 of 33, by bifo78

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Is anyone aware of there being minimum requirements for the Rage XL PCI? AMI Beepcode gives an error on display memory when attempting to use it. Not sure if it's a bad card or actually incompatible with a P200 MMX system.

Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64

Reply 21 of 33, by BitWrangler

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Some of them from Rage II+ upwards were saying PII-233 minimum, I was thinking that was for the DVD playback, but maybe the drivers need the horsepower too. I had one running in a Cyrix MII machine back in the day, but it was a 366GP so a faster one.

One thing to note is that sometimes not all PCI slots are the same, the chipset may only directly handle 3 or 4 so the 4th or 5th one is kinda crippled compared to the others. So different slots might give different results. Could also be a power deficiency in the board design or PSU or due to age and wear.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 22 of 33, by bifo78

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After doing a soft reinstall of win98, removing the SCSI card and figuring out that the AMIBIOS version is capable of locking out IRQ11, the system is currently working and able to get online. Delving into it, I found a picture of an original Rage XL retail box that lists a minimum requirement of a K6 266 or P2 300, so I'll need to swap in a K6 266 and see if it works. The clock multiplier only goes to 3.5x, but the bus speed can be set up to 75 or 83mhz, so that may work? Or maybe the card is just broken and I'll need to buy yet another one, or fight with the G200 bios. I also got the 3.5" floppy working and bumped the ram up to 128mb. All drivers and installed cards are working.

Since I've got that working, I'm trying to flash the AMIBIOS because the version in the system is the factory original from '97 which appears to only support up to 8.4GB drives.

Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64

Reply 23 of 33, by bifo78

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BitWrangler wrote on 2021-09-03, 03:18:

Some of them from Rage II+ upwards were saying PII-233 minimum, I was thinking that was for the DVD playback, but maybe the drivers need the horsepower too. I had one running in a Cyrix MII machine back in the day, but it was a 366GP so a faster one.

One thing to note is that sometimes not all PCI slots are the same, the chipset may only directly handle 3 or 4 so the 4th or 5th one is kinda crippled compared to the others. So different slots might give different results. Could also be a power deficiency in the board design or PSU or due to age and wear.

I've been installing into the same slot that the Millenium uses, no luck. I've also run the G200 BIOS repair floppy, which appeared to succeed. However, when trying to boot with that as the only video installed, it gives the same video memory beep error as the Rage XL (which is the same error it was giving before), so it also appears to be a no-go. For the time being, the 2MB Millenium is the only video card that works. The BIOS specifically lists cards up to 16MB, so I'm assuming that there's something else wrong with the old BIOS version that causes some kind of incompatibility (maybe it expects a 100mhz bus clock?). I'm thinking I might just try to buy a Millenium II with more RAM because that's the biggest problem, I'm not too concerned about video performance but I can't use full 1280x1024 resolution above 256 colors on my only 4:3 screen.

It also appears that the M560 may not even be capable of flashing the BIOS, each of the AMIBIOS flash programs I use fail to even detect the bios. I'm going to order a 39C010 and burn a bios rom to it and see if it works since it's the current replacement for the 29C010.

Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64

Reply 24 of 33, by Gmlb256

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PCI slots are usually clocked at 33 MHz if the FSB runs at 66 MHz on a non-Super Socket 7 motherboard, setting 75 MHz or 83 MHz may overclock the PCI slots unless the chipset (such as the TX Pro that your motherboard has) operates the PCI clock in an asynchronous manner.

Perhaps some incompatibility with the motherboard chipset?

Reply 25 of 33, by bifo78

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2021-09-04, 16:38:

PCI slots are usually clocked at 33 MHz if the FSB runs at 66 MHz on a non-Super Socket 7 motherboard, setting 75 MHz or 83 MHz may overclock the PCI slots unless the chipset (such as the TX Pro that your motherboard has) operates the PCI clock in an asynchronous manner.

Perhaps some incompatibility with the motherboard chipset?

That's my current guess as well, so the next step is getting a flashed BIOS chip. Not going to try to flash the one that came with the board, don't want to brick it, so I'll have to order a SST39SF010 128k flash DIP (pin compatible modern replacement for the 29c010 used for AMIBIOS).

EDIT: Also yes, the PCI clock would be overclocked as well. At that point, from what I understand, it depends on the cards. 75MHz apparently doesn't cause too many problems with most cards (according to contemporaneous articles and posts about it I've read), but 83 is usually pretty unstable. I really don't think the processor is the problem though, so to run down the root cause the first step is the BIOS, then trying a Millenium II PCI or something else made around the same time as the chipset instead of something made two or three years later that may expect 100MHz PCI and have problems with the ALi non-intel chipset.

Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64

Reply 26 of 33, by bifo78

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I had to put this to the side with a new job but I got back to work on it yesterday. I replaced the AMIBIOS chip with a new, pin-compatible flash ROM with the newest BIOS version I could find (shows 1.16) which worked great! SST39SF010A-70, $1.47 for the chip plus 8.99 shipping. Wow do I miss local electronics shops. Also put in a proper glitchworks battery board instead of one poorly piggybacked on the original dead Dallas so that the PCI slot isn't blocked, and tried out a TNT 16mb. It worked fine... the one time I got it to boot. I was able to get into the BIOS to check settings and everything seemed ok, but it still has the problem where it doesn't want to boot reliably.

So instead of continuing to fight with it (and with a wary eye to the possibility that the motherboard is just dying), I bought a new parts system on ebay to use as a basis for a PII or PIII build. My gaming computer back around the millennium was a PIII 550 in a big tower with a TNT2, 128mb ram and the SB Live I still have (and the 6x DVD drive, which I flashed to be region free, ah the old days). I'll be transplanting the PC Chips 560M, the working TNT and ISA EZ2000, the existing ram along with some of the other bits that won't be necessary into the case from the parts comp (which is missing the 3.5 drive cage of all things). The parts comp comes with the following:

AOPEN AX6BC
??? Pentium III
??? RAM

ATI RageXC 4MB AGP
AOPEN Aw200 PCI Sound Card
??? PCI Ethernet
??? ISA Modem

52x CDROM
??? CDRW

This is the seller who has a bunch of other computers of varying ages and conditions for sale right this moment in case anyone else needs a parts starter. https://www.ebay.com/str/letsgothrifting414

EDIT TO ADD: I flashed the SST39SF010A-70 with a standard TL-866II PLUS usb eeprom burner, which is super useful for a variety of things particularly if you mess with arduinos and so on. I loaded the .ami file into the software used and it wrote it and the computer booted first try.

Last edited by bifo78 on 2021-11-28, 02:34. Edited 1 time in total.

Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64

Reply 27 of 33, by bifo78

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New build plan:
AOPEN AX6BC
512 MB RAM
PIII 550 Katmai

Creative CT5823 TNT2 32MB AGP
Startech PCI2IDE
AOpen AW744L II PCI
SB LIVE! PRO VALUE CT4830 PCI
RME Hammerfall Digi 9636/52 PCI
10/100 Ethernet PCI
Adaptec ATA-1505 ISA

Toshiba 6x DVD-ROM
CDRW
5.25" TEAC FD-55GFR
ZIP250 in 5.25 holder

3.5" 1.44MB
Fujitsu-Dynamo 1.3GB MO

Intent for the new build is to work as a full 90s audio workstation (with gaming distraction power) for when I move in six months and have the space to set my studio back up. The RME card is a dual ADAT lightpipe interface which will work well with my dual blackface ADATs that form the main recording point of my hardware home studio. 512MB ram is plenty for the software of the time, and the board can handle 768 so I might just pack it because why would you not. The drives are all useful for hardware, and the old ISA SCSI card specifically has both 50-pin internal and 25-pin external interfaces, which means I can work with external SCSI platter cartridge drives (e.g. Syquests, which are compatible with everything from the days when keyboards had SCSI) among other drives. The Startech PCI2IDE will let me stuff two extra 120gb drives in for hard drive recording if I want to, along with handling the ZIP and MO.

Apparently necessary for the SB Live to be in PCI slot 3, the one where the current AW200 card is and is next to the SB-LINK/PCPCI header. Which I'm not sure is necessary but the AW744L II either has the header or has the holes to solder it in. If the AW744L requires more than just soldering in the pins I won't bother, and that's only if its even needed since there are some 440BX drivers here. This is only necessary for DOS audio playback in gaming, apparently DOS MIDI interaction works fine.

The AX6BC also has two serial ports, which will make it ideal to connect to the serial connection on my AG-1. Not sure how the DOS compatibility works with serial GM though. All of it should be ideal with 98 as the base.

Last edited by bifo78 on 2021-11-28, 02:52. Edited 1 time in total.

Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64

Reply 28 of 33, by bifo78

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Would anyone recommend to use an IDE-CF as a system drive over an older spinning disk? I've had very few problems with spinners over time but I'm also not sure if newer CF cards are actually any slower? I only bothered moving over to SSDs on my modern computers a few years ago because I usually prioritize space over speed, but with IDE and a maximum bios compatibility of 137GB I'm not sure whether I'd get comparatively faster speed using a big CF-IDE instead of a 7200 IDE as a system drive, same speed with more OR less dependibility (with the adapter interface and effectively constant use of the CF card), or just worse speed with no value other than more space. In which case, big IDE drives are still cheaper than big CFs.

Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64

Reply 29 of 33, by maxtherabbit

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IME on systems 486+ running win9x or NT a good fast spinner will beat a CF card in most things, if only for the vastly superior write performance and DRAM cache

Reply 30 of 33, by bifo78

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maxtherabbit wrote on 2021-11-28, 14:53:

IME on systems 486+ running win9x or NT a good fast spinner will beat a CF card in most things, if only for the vastly superior write performance and DRAM cache

Thanks! that's what I figured. The main thing will be to find out how the lightpipe ADAT works for 16 tracks, if it requires me to record to tape and then playback to the hard drive or if it will just let me straight pipe it through. The first-gen blackface ADATs are of a lower bitrate and can only handle so much but I have my mixing analog so the only way I'll find out is when I set it all up.

uf da

Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64

Reply 31 of 33, by bifo86

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I'm unable to PM the admins, but I was apparently auto-banned because I used an email address for my account from a site that was gray-listed (sdf.org? i don't understand and I need to make posts in order to gain the ability to send PMs so I can reassure I'm legit and not trying to dodge a ban. This account is associated with a gmail address). I don't understand it but I got no reply from the email I sent asking what happened so whatever.

Current situation is that I've figured out that two problems I've had with drive compatibility and the system not recognizing the things connected to it correctly have been down to having bad cables and a weak power supply, which was only 250 watts. I've now fitted a NOS 450w power supply (in the hardened plastic wrap from 2005, even. The smell of fresh electronics from back then was a real madeline moment) and replaced the IDE cables with some NOS round ones to also help with airflow. I replaced one of the 80mm fans with one that is powered from the motherboard instead of leeching from the powersupply, and I've also burned a new flash rom of the last 2.59 version of the bios because none of the flashing programs worked. Gotta love that TL802 II, really worth having for this kind of thing.

Current problems seem to be that all of my cables are terrible and I am now replacing the floppy cable and the Ultra ATA cables attached to the card. The Ultra ATA cables are worrying me because unless I've been specifically lucky or specifically unlucky, the primary U-ATA port on the card might be bad. Unlucky in that the 3 drives I've plugged into it have been bad or unrecognizable (very possible, I'm returning/getting a refund on an old maxtor that when plugged in has a horrific grinding whine), or the port is bad and at least one of the drives it's been plugged into has just simply not been recognized. Or it's the cables and pure luck that it recognizes the 80GB UATA drive each time.

Beyond that, the 80GB drive has had issues, there is something wrong with the formatting or with how it works with the system, because now it takes 3 reboots to get back to a working desktop and the first time it's a Windows Protection Error even after reformatting the drive and only installing basic drivers. I've ordered a kit from amazon that includes a USB-IDE adapter and an external power supply and I'll try to format it to FAT32 with that. I have a 20GB drive that is recognized but I haven't tried to install windows on it yet, because I have all 4 of the available IDE channels on the motherboard filled by the optical drives and the zip250 and fujitsu MO drive. I don't need either of the latter and the reason why I bought the 20gb drive is:

1. it is the spec that I originally ordered my childhood computer with (my mom, god love her, was talked down by the rep to a 12.5gb drive. haven't seen one of those since. still hate that dude)
2. it is exactly enough to put windows and all drivers, all primary programs used on and use as a main drive, and have plenty of breathing room for DOS games and other programs that can't comprehend being loaded from a D: hard drive.
3. it won't take an hour to format when necessary, and with a bigger, faster 7200rpm drive I can back it up, reload drivers, and also use the second (or third, or fourth) faster drive to directly record from my ADATs in my studio.

Anyway at this point the takeaway is: bios flashing apps don't work? flash the bios onto a cheap 256K chip you can get from digikey or mouser or wherever and swap the chips, it's worked on two different motherboards for me. Problems with drives being recognized? If you feel like the drive is probably good, swap the data cable and swap the power supply. This is all old kit and you can't trust anything but your own judgement.

Now the issue is figuring out which are the drivers that i need, and what order do i install them. ahhhh windows 98, i genuinely hate IRQs and i wish i had kept more specific notes than just this build thread. I still don't know how to get that damned ISA scsi card to work.

Reply 32 of 33, by bifo86

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Update:
System is currently running agreeably other than two issues that I'll go into after explaining the recent changes and posting what I expect to be the final spec.

AOpen AX6BC
PIII 550MHz
512MB RAM

Creative CT5823 TNT2 32MB AGP
[RME Hammerfall Digi 9636/52 PCI]
AOpen AW744L II PCI
SB LIVE! PRO VALUE CT4830 PCI
Promise Tech Ultra ATA/66
10/100 Ethernet PCI
* ISA BLOCKED BY PCI *
Adaptec ATA-1505

Toshiba 6x DVD-ROM
LG CED-8083B 32x4x4 CDRW
*3.5" 1.44MB in 5.25 holder
*TEAC FD-55GFR 5.25"

ZIP250
Fujitsu-Dynamo 1.3GB MO

20 GB PATA

80 GB ATA100

I had to replace the startech ATA/100 because one of the two ATA ports was bad, and after trying another one from another brand I saw the promise tech brand on ebay, and the sticker on the rom triggered a memory, so now I have the same card in my system that I had as a kid. Works fine with the 80gb ATA/100 drive. Second plug on the card is dedicated to the removable MO and Zip drives because I needed to connect the 20gb PATA drive directly to the motherboard to boot right with the previous cards and figured it was easier just to not bother swapping them because there's no benefit to using a non-ultra ATA drive on the card anyway.

Which leads to the next issue that I've discovered. After trying new cables and either drive, I swapped in a different ALPS 3.5" drive to test that as the sole floppy and as far as I can tell there is something wrong with the floppy port on the motherboard. Which means that I'm still without any way to make floppy disks on the system for my old synths and samplers, but at this point I figure the W30 can be imaged to be used on a GoTek and the VFX is going to be what it is with the GoTek. The MSX might even be easier. The * means installed but not connected.

I still have problems with the ATA-1505 needing IRQs that have to be occupied by other devices, I'm not sure if there are any ISA PNP SCSI cards with 25-pin ports on the back out there but if anyone knows of one, let me know. It's not necessary so it's disabled in win98, with the correct drivers installed but an IRQ problem.

For some reason the ethernet will not pull an IP from DHCP. It worked fine in previous installations, the drivers are the same and the lights show that it's connected and it pulls a 169 address (no response from DHCP, but cable is connected). I assume it's a problem with my router that I'll have to look into.

The Digi 9636/52 PCI are expensive and not immediately necessary, so the slot remains empty ([brackets] mean waiting) and I've got the win98 drivers available. I know that I need that card specifically not just because of the period-correct aspect but because I have 2 'blackface' ADATs for recording and it's the only card I could find that has 2 sets of lightpipe interfaces and the descendant is still the top rated internal audio interface by Sound on Sound magazine.

Current system runs very well, the 20gb drive provides an IDE boot hard drive along with the two optical drives direct from the motherboards and the 80gb drive runs off the Ultra ATA interface. The Ultra ATA interface should be bootable but I haven't bothered since everything is functioning as is and I've rebuilt/remade the system as much as it is. Halflife, Unreal Tournament, Re-Volt, and some other graphics-intensive games work great. Sound from the soundcards is completely functional and easy to route in software. DOS games seem to work ok but I need to have space to fully set up the system to test audio compatibility and frankly that's not the point of the system anyway.

Future ideas are to look into swapping the SCSI card for something to provide an FDD interface, because I have a parallel version of the Syquest EZ-135/EZ-230 drive that I've got for my W30 that I know works on Win98 machines. I'm not sure that the IRQs could handle an IDE floppy/ide/serial/parallel card though.

Reply 33 of 33, by Sphere478

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2021-08-19, 03:10:
Mixing SIMM and DIMM is not a great idea for safety and stability reasons. If the computer can boot with both of them the memory […]
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bifo78 wrote on 2021-08-13, 23:54:

The PC Chips motherboard is one of the strange ones with both SIMM and DIMM slots, which can be used simultaneously (but only 2 of the 4 SIMM slots) and since I already had the SIMMs I'm going to use them anyway.

Mixing SIMM and DIMM is not a great idea for safety and stability reasons. If the computer can boot with both of them the memory will run with the speed of the slowest one which in this case are the ones installed on the SIMM slots.

bifo78 wrote on 2021-08-19, 01:42:

I'm also wondering if the fact that I'm using an ATX power supply with an ATX-AT converter is causing the problems since the M560 only has an AT power connector, or if the crashes are due to a problem with the win98 disk (I 'successfully' installed it once, but it halted during the initial boot from hard drive). I'm also going to double-check my jumper settings, since it's an MMX 200 installed which boots. I'm burning another win98 disk right now since I can't remember where my original is.

I have one of these ATX to AT converter with -5v support and don't have any issues with it.

Adding my two cents in regards to simms and dimms in the same mobo.

While many mobos will post with simms and dimms, and some even go so far as to say that they are supported simultaneously in the manual, yeah, my experience has also been that stability is best to only use one type of memory.

I admittedly haven’t tried a curious combination that may work better though, and that’s using edo simms with edo dimms.

Anyway, there certainly may be motherboards and memory configs out there that would give a stable system that uses simms and dimms simultaneously. Who’s to say if OP’s can’t do this except owners of the board.

I’m unaware of any cases that have actually caused harm by mixing simms and dimms. Not to say that it isn’t possible for a motherboard to be designed in a way that it would be able to cause damage, though that would be stupid on the mfg’s part.

One final note, it’s often that if a mobo supports simms and dimms that some lines are shared between some dimm and some simm slots. You would have to figure out what slots those were (if any) and only use one type of memory or the other within those shared slots, not both. But the non shared slots can usually be fully populated.

bifo78 wrote on 2021-09-03, 01:38:

Is anyone aware of there being minimum requirements for the Rage XL PCI? AMI Beepcode gives an error on display memory when attempting to use it. Not sure if it's a bad card or actually incompatible with a P200 MMX system.

not at all surprising. I have over 20 pci gfx cards and when it comes to socket 7 boards it’s a toss up as to what cards even post. One board will even post a card that won’t post in another of the same era. Compatibility is very hit and miss with socket 7

Try other pci slots if it doesn’t post, move on.

A really good card for your system is a radeon 7500

There is a low profile one on ebay right now for about 50$

Radeon 7000, and 7500s have had very good luck working in my socket 7 boards. But of course no guarantee.

And btw, there is a significant difference in performance between 7000, and 7500 even on a pmmx

Edit: reading more replies, to anyone reading this, if your pci card doesn’t work on a socket 7 machine, just move on to another card it’s probably fine. Socket 7 is just super picky. A bios update may help, may not, but swapping the cpu I seriously doubt will help at all.
In general, latest bios is usually the best. There are rare exceptions though.

Sphere's PCB projects.
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Sphere’s socket 5/7 cpu collection.
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SUCCESSFUL K6-2+ to K6-3+ Full Cache Enable Mod
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Tyan S1564S to S1564D single to dual processor conversion (also s1563 and s1562)