VOGONS


First post, by Klaatu

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Retro Zx10 Project... finally complete 😀

So this PC came without side panel so figured it's a good opportunity to pimp it up some!

The panel is made from 1mm folded steel sheet with perspex window.

Sadly the pc did not have original wildcat graphics so I went for an FX5700 and Mach64... the latter allows dos extended memory to load in 98 dos mode. When in windows it switches to FX5700 over the DVI cable.

The only gripe I have still is that I failed to get the onboard Ensoniq PCI audio to work with DOS emulators so I decided to use a SB compatible ISA board for DOS support. It'd be good to get this working or maybe get an AWE 64 in there and just disable onboard audio.

Any advice for improved graphics / audio config would be awesome... I just got this going the best I could for a reasonable cost. What would ultimate config be? The mobo has 66mhz and 33mhz 64-bit PCI and AGP pro 2x.

Tyan Thunder 2500 S1867DLUAN ServerSet III Mainboard
Dual PIII 866Mhz 256MB Cache 133Mhz FSB Slot 1CPUs
512MB PC133 Registered ram (4x128mb)
PNY Nvidia Geforce FX5700 128MB AGP
ATI Mach64 PCI gpu VGA
Pro-Multimedia OPTi 924 ISA soundblaster compatible card
250GB IDE hard disc, CDROM, and Floppy.
Windows 98SE / XP SP 3 dual boot

Last edited by Klaatu on 2021-11-21, 12:52. Edited 5 times in total.

Reply 1 of 15, by Klaatu

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
20211106_204539.jpg
Filename
20211106_204539.jpg
File size
1.3 MiB
Views
355 views
File license
CC-BY-4.0
Screenshot_20211121-121127_Gumtree.jpg
Filename
Screenshot_20211121-121127_Gumtree.jpg
File size
56.2 KiB
Views
355 views
File license
CC-BY-4.0
Screenshot_20211121-121159_Gumtree.jpg
Filename
Screenshot_20211121-121159_Gumtree.jpg
File size
63.16 KiB
Views
355 views
File license
CC-BY-4.0
20211107_003848.jpg
Filename
20211107_003848.jpg
File size
1.02 MiB
Views
355 views
File license
CC-BY-4.0
20211106_181737.jpg
Filename
20211106_181737.jpg
File size
1.33 MiB
Views
355 views
File license
CC-BY-4.0

Reply 2 of 15, by Klaatu

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
Screenshot_20211121-123706_Gumtree.jpg
Filename
Screenshot_20211121-123706_Gumtree.jpg
File size
67.28 KiB
Views
349 views
File license
CC-BY-4.0
Screenshot_20211121-123725_Gumtree.jpg
Filename
Screenshot_20211121-123725_Gumtree.jpg
File size
66.97 KiB
Views
349 views
File license
CC-BY-4.0
Screenshot_20211121-123750_Gumtree.jpg
Filename
Screenshot_20211121-123750_Gumtree.jpg
File size
67.8 KiB
Views
349 views
File license
CC-BY-4.0
Screenshot_20211121-123805_Gumtree.jpg
Filename
Screenshot_20211121-123805_Gumtree.jpg
File size
76.47 KiB
Views
349 views
File license
CC-BY-4.0
20211119_211522.jpg
Filename
20211119_211522.jpg
File size
1.58 MiB
Views
336 views
File license
CC-BY-4.0

Reply 3 of 15, by Warlord

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

it's nice. I have a tdz2000 case, blue color thats missing a part as well. Not a side panel but a right side bottom skirt/fender molding. And I don't have the guts just the case. Someday I want to 3dprint a the part for it, but the cost is too high so ya It's probably never going to be built. Unless I meet somone who knows what they are doing, and can scan the left side which I have and make a model for me and print it.

Reply 5 of 15, by pshipkov

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

+1 for the rig.
-1 for the disco lights.

Kidding aside - good stuff.
It may be better to strap a proper pro grade graphics card.
Wildcat Realism / 5### series (or whatever is the highest AGP compatible), or Oxygen, or FireGL 2/3, Quadro FX 4000.
Prices are still ok since retro gamers skip them.

Ideal config ?
Some more flexible/faster mobo with Tualatin-S cpus, but that won't stay true to the original design/spec.

retro bits and bytes

Reply 6 of 15, by spiroyster

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Klaatu wrote on 2021-11-21, 12:31:

Screenshot_20211121-121159_Gumtree.jpg

Nice case, didn't realise these were marketed as 'Visual Workstation'. Is screen shot 3 displayed as part of the BIOS?

Since you have a window there, why not get a replacement unsheathed Wildcat, so perhaps not a realizm, but any of those Wildcats (42XX, 51XX, 7XXX etc) are pure monsters (size-wise) so would look cool. However, they are severly limited for games and so if you want to run games, perhaps the most bad-ass AGP you can find (that supports DirectX).

FSB is 133 so you are not limited to 100 FSB like the infamous Cobalt flavours.

Intel486dx33 wrote on 2021-11-22, 00:38:

Would this work with a Video card and Sound card from an SGI Visual PC ?

Which computer are you talking about?
Cobalt visual workstations have integrated graphics, so no...
earlier IRIX MIPS use GIO so no...
later MIPS used standard AGP (FireGL) so any compatible AGP GPU would do (see above).
Non cobalt visual workstations used VPro (rebranded nVidia AGP quadros).

Don't think the sound capabilities were anything to write home about, however my 320 did come with a fairly decent Turtle Beach, although I don't think it was stock.

Last edited by spiroyster on 2021-11-23, 07:58. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 7 of 15, by Klaatu

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
Warlord wrote on 2021-11-21, 18:28:

it's nice. I have a tdz2000 case, blue color thats missing a part as well. Not a side panel but a right side bottom skirt/fender molding. And I don't have the guts just the case. Someday I want to 3dprint a the part for it, but the cost is too high so ya It's probably never going to be built. Unless I meet somone who knows what they are doing, and can scan the left side which I have and make a model for me and print it.

It's nice case 😀 it can definitely be done... any mates in the rapid prototyping business?

Reply 8 of 15, by Klaatu

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
pshipkov wrote on 2021-11-22, 08:45:
+1 for the rig. -1 for the disco lights. […]
Show full quote

+1 for the rig.
-1 for the disco lights.

Kidding aside - good stuff.
It may be better to strap a proper pro grade graphics card.
Wildcat Realism / 5### series (or whatever is the highest AGP compatible), or Oxygen, or FireGL 2/3, Quadro FX 4000.
Prices are still ok since retro gamers skip them.

Ideal config ?
Some more flexible/faster mobo with Tualatin-S cpus, but that won't stay true to the original design/spec.

Aww man it's all about the disco lights 🥳

I was wondering about later cards which are more affordable than the old high end cards. I think the fx in there is 8x AGP or something but it doesn't use the AGP pro part of the slot.

The quantum3d aalchemy also with S1867dluan mobo uses some beast of a pci card from 3dfx that takes up both 64-bit 66mhz pci slots and has power board and up to two sli cards with 128mb on each. I think these are pretty rare and worth an awful lot.

I think this originally would have had a wildcat card (not sure which) in the AGP slot and I've seen these on ebay for under £200.

Though I'm not sure whether these configs would provide much advantage over a mid 2000s ago card?

Reply 9 of 15, by Klaatu

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
spiroyster wrote on 2021-11-22, 13:47:
Nice case, didn't realise these were marketed as 'Visual Workstation'. Is screen shot 3 displayed as part of the BIOS? […]
Show full quote
Klaatu wrote on 2021-11-21, 12:31:

Screenshot_20211121-121159_Gumtree.jpg

Nice case, didn't realise these were marketed as 'Visual Workstation'. Is screen shot 3 displayed as part of the BIOS?

Since you have a window there, why not get a replacement unsheathed Wildcat, so perhaps not a realizm, but any of those wildcats (42XX, 51XX etc) are pure monsters (size-wise) so would look cool. However, they are severly limited for games and so if you want to run games, perhaps the most bad-ass AGP you can find (that supports DirectX).

FSB is 133 so you are not limited to 100 FSB like the infamous Cobalt flavours.

Intel486dx33 wrote on 2021-11-22, 00:38:

Would this work with a Video card and Sound card from an SGI Visual PC ?

Which computer are you talking about?
Cobalt visual workstations have integrated graphics, so no...
earlier IRIX MIPS use GPIO so no...
later MIPS used standard AGP (FireGL) so any compatible AGP GPU would do (see above).
Non cobalt visual workstations used VPro (rebranded nVidia AGP quadros).

Don't think the sound capabilities were anything to write home about, however my 320 did come with a fairly decent Turtle Beach, although I don't think it was stock.

That's the boot screen in the bios (can be disabled by enabling diagnostic mode in bios). And yes I think this era of machine marked the end of silicon graphics and the downfall of MIPS architecture. I'm not aware of any other x86 SGI machines.

I would be interested in learning what the best badass AGP card would be for this build. The FX5700 runs things like gta san Andreas and return to castle wolfenstein fine but struggles with doom 3. As mentioned earlier it isn't using the pro part of the AGP slot. I'm not worried about dos compatibility really as the dual pci/agp setup means the AGP doesn't need to be dos friendly. Just wondering what advantage a 2000 era wildcat would have over something like what I've got in there? Maybe a mid 2000s pro AGP nvidia card would provide best bang for buck along with an upgraded pci card as the Mach64 is not that hot... though that said maybe it doesn't need to be as it's only used for dos stuff.

The sound is a bit of a pain though as I'd much rather use the onboard Ensoniq for both dos and windows environments. I fiddled with IRQs DMAs and such settings in he autoexec.bat with at least two soundblaster emulation dos drivers but gave up in the end and just threw the opti in there. I guess going for awe64 or something would be better as this would probably work fine in xp etc.

Reply 10 of 15, by spiroyster

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

MIPS still had some merit for a few years. Mainly in the SMP Cluster/Server market with Onyx350, Onyx4 (beast) and in the workstation market Tezro. The single CPU Fuel and Octane were starting to show their age by this point I think though. Irix felt dated comapred to Windows.

The only true x86 SGI were the Cobalt 320 and 540 which came out late 98/early 99 and were desinged in house. The 230, 330, 550, 1200 and 1400 were just standard PC, and the zx10 was just an Intergraph rebrand, which is actually useful since the parts are off the shelf and replacable (unlike 320 & 540). SGI and x86 were an attempted side show to cash in on the ever encrouching performance increase in architecture and GPU power than was occuring at the time, instigated by an ex-HP/Microsoft CEO who obviously favoured x86/Wintel over MIPS/Irix who then promptly left SGI. However, The cobalt architecture could still hold it's ground in 2D compared to any other offering in the x86 market until mid 2000's.

There is no advantage for the wildcat's, they are CAD cards designed to push as many OpenGL polygons as possible at high resolutions in multple viewports/contexts, but lack shaders (or at least any decent shader performance), any decent extensions which games utilise and most importantly any decent DirectX capability. They always opted for IQ and massive vertex lists with smooth shaded fillrates over FPS. It's just that being as that is an Intergraph machine, it would look good to have an Intergraph pedigree massive Wildcat graphics card in there (Although Wildcat brand were owned by 3dlabs at the time iirc).

So pretty much any AGP for nVidia or ATi/AMD post 2001. AGP VPro's are just a nVidia cards that SGI could rebrand due to winning a court case against nVidia. ISA is always useful for DOS too.

Reply 11 of 15, by pshipkov

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

@Klaatu
Quadro FX4000, FireGL2, or Quadro Pro 2 - depends on what you favor - games, or pro apps, or blend between them.
For reference here. The post contains info about several pro-grade 3D accelerators that fit in AGP 2x/4x slot.
You may consider Wildcat 7000 series instead since your mobo has AGP PRO slot. Still, it will be much slower than Quadro FX4000, probably even slower than FX3000.
There are several follow-up posts in the same thread about the subject including the outcome of the study.

@spiroyster
The PC market was moving at much higher velocity than SGI and started surpassing it in the late 1990ies.
Buddies who were there at the time love to share juicy stories over beer even today - about the glory days and the decline.

retro bits and bytes

Reply 12 of 15, by Klaatu

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
pshipkov wrote on 2021-11-23, 09:07:
@Klaatu Quadro FX4000, FireGL2, or Quadro Pro 2 - depends on what you favor - games, or pro apps, or blend between them. For ref […]
Show full quote

@Klaatu
Quadro FX4000, FireGL2, or Quadro Pro 2 - depends on what you favor - games, or pro apps, or blend between them.
For reference here. The post contains info about several pro-grade 3D accelerators that fit in AGP 2x/4x slot.
You may consider Wildcat 7000 series instead since your mobo has AGP PRO slot. Still, it will be much slower than Quadro FX4000, probably even slower than FX3000.
There are several follow-up posts in the same thread about the subject including the outcome of the study.

@spiroyster
The PC market was moving at much higher velocity than SGI and started surpassing it in the late 1990ies.
Buddies who were there at the time love to share juicy stories over beer even today - about the glory days and the decline.

Awesome thanks for advice 😀 so the quadro fx4000 is decent gaming card? I thought quadros were more designed around cad capabilities.

It would be interesting to try a few various cards (not worried about period correct stuff just best gaming performance). Presumably the bottle neck in this system would be the 2x AGP bus. It's currently got an 8x FX5700 LE in there so wondering if theres much more performance to be had from say 6800 ultra!

Reply 14 of 15, by matze79

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Galaxy 7600GT, at least it has keys for AGP 2x

galaxy.jpg
Filename
galaxy.jpg
File size
167.18 KiB
Views
65 views
File license
Public domain

https://dosreloaded.de - The German Retro DOS PC Community
https://www.retroianer.de - under constructing since ever

Co2 - for a endless Summer

Reply 15 of 15, by pshipkov

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Performance will be hard cpu bound with the gpus in question here, especially given the 833mhz processors in use.
You can verify that by overclocking the video cards and not gain any performance.
Any GF, Q or Radeon card from around year 2001 or later will be fine really.

retro bits and bytes