VOGONS


Random Advice 486/p4

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First post, by ODwilly

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Ok, to start my 486 has been on hold for a long time now. The problems are two VESA HDD controller cards that are both detected bad by the bios on boot-up (get a "bad HDC" message) . One of the cards worked a bit, it would pick up my disc drive but would never ever detect ANY Hard Drive or floppy oddly enough. Along with that issue there is a keyboard error message every time it boots up. I found this very odd considering that in the bios at least the keyboard is fully functional.
Along with that I have a 478 Soyo p4s Dragon Ultra Plus that I believe is in need of a recap. The plan I have with that is to use it as a fast 98se system. Run two 256mb chunks of ddr400 (instead of the current 3gb tri-channel ddr266) it has a GeForce 6200 in it, and currently it is maxed out with a non-HT 533fsb 2.8ghz Northwood. I am eyeing a 1.4ghz Willamette to swap into it instead. The general consensus is that a 1.4ghz plll is faster, so it would be the speed I am looking for. Go ahead with that and maybe add a nice agp voodoo3? General thoughts and advice appreciated! Thanks!

Main pc: Asus ROG laptop. I7-6700HQ, GTX 960M 4gb, 16gb DDR4.
Retro PC: Soyo P4S Dragon, 3gb ddr 266, 120gb Maxtor, Geforce Fx 5950 Ultra, SB Live! 5.1

Reply 1 of 24, by JayCeeBee64

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Can't really help you with the 486 ODwilly (never owned one myself), but have some experience with socket 478 Soyo boards. I own a Soyo P4I-845PE which recently I made a thread about here. Like you, I turned it into a fast Win98SE build and am very satisfied with its performance and compatibility so far.

Now here are some suggestions for you to consider:

- Keep your 2.8GHz Northwood CPU and forget the Willamette; I believe the Northwood is faster, cooler-running, and has twice the secondary cache.

- Your two 256MB DDR400 RAM sticks should work OK (even though Soyo P4 boards are limited to DDR333).

- You can't use a Voodoo 3 AGP in a Socket 478 board, they're limited to AGP 1.5v video cards only (and the Voodoo 3 is a 3.3v AGP card). The AGP keyhole is different. Either keep the Nvidia GeForce 6200 or go with a 6600 or 6800 256MB card (Win98SE driver support tops out at GeForce 6800 Ultra). Don't get 512MB AGP cards; you'll need to buy a third-party fix in order to use them. You can also try ATI Radeon 7000/8000/9000 series cards (Win98SE driver support tops out at Radeon X850 series) but the drivers are somewhat problematic and have compatibility issues with earlier Directx games. You can also consider Nvidia GeForce 4 or FX5 series cards.

- You didn't say what sound card you were planning to use, but you have two options: either use the built-in C-Media sound chip, or disable it in the BIOS and install either an SBLive! or Aureal A3D-based PCI card. You can also consider ESS Solo-1 PCI cards.

My Soyo board is also in need of a recap, unfortunately; I'm currently looking to find someone locally to do the job for me (I'm unable to do the recap myself). Until then, my P4 build remains in minimal usage mode only. Once it is fixed, though, I'll continue with my project to create a fast Win9x gaming rig.

Last edited by JayCeeBee64 on 2014-03-07, 16:42. Edited 1 time in total.

Ooohh, the pain......

Reply 2 of 24, by Auzner

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That's a really cool motherboard to have, but Tualatin was never on socket 478. DDR1 never had a triple channel controller. Using 3 DIMMs disables the dual channel ability and they will all run in a single channel. The motherboard and 2.8 Northwood are the same ages so you already have working parts for a single core WinXP system. A GeForce4 Ti4600/4800 would be within those parts' era.

Reply 3 of 24, by ODwilly

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Jay/Auzner: Thank you for the info on the agp slot! Mine has a Pro slot on the board, if that makes any difference for the voltage. The only reason why i am considering the Willamette (which has performance comparable or worse than a Taulie) is that my xp needs are satisfied by a 1.6ghz CoreDuo HP laptop with Geforce 7400 Go! w/2gb ddr2 and it runs a large percent of 98 games. The Soyo has a SBLive! card in it right now.

Main pc: Asus ROG laptop. I7-6700HQ, GTX 960M 4gb, 16gb DDR4.
Retro PC: Soyo P4S Dragon, 3gb ddr 266, 120gb Maxtor, Geforce Fx 5950 Ultra, SB Live! 5.1

Reply 4 of 24, by ODwilly

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Also, about the DDR1 my motherboard manual is pretty misleading and actually uses the term "tri-channel" so that is good to know! It was concerning to me using two slots and losing possible performance. I love the performance and features of the board, but the Soyos seemed to be hit really hard by the capacitor plague. It does not help that the PSU is one of the Antec's filled with Fuhjyu caps, and was in daily use from 2002-2011!

Main pc: Asus ROG laptop. I7-6700HQ, GTX 960M 4gb, 16gb DDR4.
Retro PC: Soyo P4S Dragon, 3gb ddr 266, 120gb Maxtor, Geforce Fx 5950 Ultra, SB Live! 5.1

Reply 5 of 24, by JayCeeBee64

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The type of AGP slot doesn't change the limitations ODwilly. These two links show why:

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/AGP-Bu … -Tutorial/155/3
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerated_Graphics_Port

If you are really set on using the Willamette CPU then go ahead, the Soyo board will work with it just fine; don't be surprised if its performance is not what you expected, however. The SBLive! is a really good choice for games (I use one myself).

Soyo P4 boards are indeed hit very hard by the bad caps plague; I have read many stories of boards going bad in just a few years of use. It also doesn't help much when you use a cheap/bad power supply with it - that's what happened with mine, used it with a really cheap no-name brand PSU and after a little over 2 years the caps went bad on it 😒 . Oh well, live and learn.

Last edited by JayCeeBee64 on 2014-03-07, 16:42. Edited 1 time in total.

Ooohh, the pain......

Reply 6 of 24, by ODwilly

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Interesting, they mention a "universal pro slot" in the wiki article that is keyed for 1.5 and 3.3 volt cards. There is also a diagram showing all the kinds of pro slots. Once I have access to the board again I will compare them. Never know might get lucky! Yep, indeed live and learn! That is how my socket 7 rig died. Only AT psu was a USAWIN! pop! no more motherboard 😒 and ya I don't expect much out of a Willamette, it would be more of a cost-effective replacement to a Pentium 3 rig. Having the option of switching back and forth between a Rocket 2.8ghz to a slower 1.4 is really attractive I think. The Antec just got swapped for a really nice Hi-Pro 240watt. Lots of amps on the 5volt rail, good fan, and really well built. Plus it was free

Main pc: Asus ROG laptop. I7-6700HQ, GTX 960M 4gb, 16gb DDR4.
Retro PC: Soyo P4S Dragon, 3gb ddr 266, 120gb Maxtor, Geforce Fx 5950 Ultra, SB Live! 5.1

Reply 7 of 24, by JayCeeBee64

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Looks like luck is on your side ODwilly; I just found the manual for the Soyo P4S Dragon Ultra Plus and it shows a Universal AGP Pro slot. This means you can use a Voodoo 3 AGP. My apologies, I jumped the gun and assumed that all Socket 478 boards were AGP 1.5v only; I never realized that some Socket 478 boards actually used a Universal AGP slot (and this is the first time I've seen one with a Universal AGP Pro slot). It's also good to see that you know what to expect out of a Willamette CPU.

I also ended up replacing the PSU in my P4 build with a Seasonic SS-400ET Active PFC 400W unit; it's very quiet, reliable, and the Seasonic brand has an excellent reputation as well. As for the el-cheapo no-name PSU, I did the only thing left to do: took it out to the backyard, placed it on top of a concrete slab, and allowed Mr. Baseball Bat to do its very worst on it 😈 . A few days later, I took what was left to the local recycling center; they looked at me funny at first, but took it anyway. All's well that ends well 😀 .

Once you get your Soyo board fixed and finish the build, post back with the results; I for one am very curious to see how a Voodoo 3 performs in a Pentium 4 mobo.

Last edited by JayCeeBee64 on 2014-03-07, 16:43. Edited 1 time in total.

Ooohh, the pain......

Reply 8 of 24, by ODwilly

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O man that is REALLY neat! Now I just need to order one off of ebay from that guy selling them new for $30 that everyone has been getting from xD and that is the only proper way to dispose of garbage PSU's!!! Mine is a really good design, but just riddled with cancerous capacitors. So I am debating on recapping it since it is 20pin, has a -5volt rail required for ISA cards and is still fully functional. So many projects, to little time. Just got a new (ancient) digital camera, so I might have to post some pics over the weekend of the rig as-is.

Main pc: Asus ROG laptop. I7-6700HQ, GTX 960M 4gb, 16gb DDR4.
Retro PC: Soyo P4S Dragon, 3gb ddr 266, 120gb Maxtor, Geforce Fx 5950 Ultra, SB Live! 5.1

Reply 9 of 24, by LunarG

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I used to use a 2.6GHz (800MHz HT version) Northwood myself, and I know that it's popular to hate them, but honestly, when I'd swapped up to an Athlon XP3200+ and tried the P4 again, I was surprised how smooth the general usage experience was. I seem to remember reading back in the days about people running the 533MHz version on 800MHz bus settings, although I guess this was a best case scenario. The Netburst architecture was always controversial, but it actually worked really well on higher clock speeds. I truly doubt that a Willamette would be an upgrade.

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, SW1000XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, Diamond Stealth64 DRAM, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 10 of 24, by JayCeeBee64

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@ODwilly: yup, crap power supplies deserve no less (and it actually felt good to do it this way 😁 ). As for the Antec, keep it and have it recapped; I have an old Enermax EG301P-VB that its full of black PCE-TUR caps and is waiting for me to find someone to recap it (its 20-pin ATX and has the needed -5v line as well). And it would be nice if you can take pics of your rig as well.

@LunarG: Pentium 4s do get quite a lot of hate (here at VOGONS and in other retro-computing forums as well); I believe this is because Intel promoted the Netburst microarchitecture intensely for many years, only to turn around and abandon it quite suddenly when they realized it didn't have a future; the excessive heat and power consumption didn't help also. Nevertheless, it is a viable alternative to Pentium 2s and 3s as well as Athlon CPU-based rigs. For me, the sweet spot are the 533MHz to 800MHz Northwoods; they're fast and don't require an insane cooling setup. As for the Willamette, ODwilly just wants an equivalent to a P3 1.4GHz; if it doesn't deliver, then the 2.8GHz Northwood will probably go back in.

Ooohh, the pain......

Reply 11 of 24, by ODwilly

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LunarG: Ya, I have hated the P4 myself. Mainly because my general experience with them have been school computers with intel graphics that sucked, and our Graphics Design class at the highschool was filled with these p4 IBM's that for some reason NEVER worked right. They were slower then a 233mmx running xp (hard to believe, but I have had ample experience with both systems) after using solid p4 rigs I really don't mind them. and JayCee is right about the p3 equivalent. My board does not support HT nor does it support a 800mhz bus. It started life with a 2.2ghz Northwood when my dad built it over 12 years ago, got a 2.4ghz around 2006 or 8 and was upgraded by me in 2009 with the current 2.8ghz which is the max the board will run. From what iv read all Pentium 4's had hyperthreading, but intel locked it down in earlier chips. I guess to wait for motherboard manufacturers to apply the tech on motherboards? who knows.
JayCee: Should have pics posted on this thread tonight! Those old Enermax power supplies are really nice, hey at least it doesn't have the ol F'U caps (fuhjyu's) even the name is offensive! xD Ya I really like my Northwood. With the GeForce 6200 it plays MineCraft on minimum settings. Not to bad for a 12 year old rig.

Main pc: Asus ROG laptop. I7-6700HQ, GTX 960M 4gb, 16gb DDR4.
Retro PC: Soyo P4S Dragon, 3gb ddr 266, 120gb Maxtor, Geforce Fx 5950 Ultra, SB Live! 5.1

Reply 12 of 24, by LunarG

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This makes me wanna get my Northwood running again. Being an old time fan of Matrox cards, I managed to get my hands on a cheap Parhelia AGP, which will be perfect for my old P4 and MSI 875P Neo-FIS2R board. Also gives me something to use my Terratec DMX 6Fire 24/96 soundcard for. I got a Zalman all copper "orb" type cooler for the Northwood, so there's a good chance I could get this system pretty quiet. Would be good for late night midi work or something like it. Or I could use it to run Munt and hook it up to my 486 😁 The possibilities are practically endless.

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, SW1000XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, Diamond Stealth64 DRAM, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 13 of 24, by JayCeeBee64

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@ODwilly: I used my P4 Northwood as my main rig for a couple of years (from late 2011 to late 2013); it actually worked really well until HTML5 and Adobe Flash 11.7 made it unbearable to continue using it. By then I had my new Core i5 up and running, so I retired it temporarily until I decided to re-purpose it as a Win9x gaming rig. They are indeed very capable, just need to know what new role to assign them.

@LunarG: I've seen pictures of your MSI board, and it looks great! And turning it into a MIDI workstation or running the Munt emulator would be a really good way to bring it back to life. I believe you should go ahead and do this; you won't regret it 😀 .

Ooohh, the pain......

Reply 14 of 24, by ODwilly

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unfortunately all 8 CPU power caps are bad. From what my friend was telling me, the bad psu and bad cpu caps mean that the rest of the caps have most likely been damaged as well. So the only option is to replace all 30+ caps. Right now, this is not an option for me. So I am storing it until further notice with the intention of spending as much as a new mid-grade board to get it back into action. There is just no price to put on your first "fast" pc right? Also I just went 400miles last night to sell a desktop, made $350, got a 14inch black CRT that is tested broken and an old Socket 7 ACER desktop in fantastic shape that deserves it's own thread. @LunarG: I agree with Jay, go for it! It would be interesting to see a 478 MIDI workstation setup, I don't think I have seen one on here yet. Whatever you decide to do with it, make sure to post it here for us to admire! 😁

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Main pc: Asus ROG laptop. I7-6700HQ, GTX 960M 4gb, 16gb DDR4.
Retro PC: Soyo P4S Dragon, 3gb ddr 266, 120gb Maxtor, Geforce Fx 5950 Ultra, SB Live! 5.1

Reply 15 of 24, by Robin4

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On the 486 machine, try to clean the contacts of those controller cards with a white pencil erazor (iam using one form hello kitty, it seems to work great)

~ At least it can do black and white~

Reply 16 of 24, by JayCeeBee64

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@ODwilly: Yup, the big caps are definitely bad, and after years of work with a questionable PSU it's wise to replace all of them. It's worth it, however, so take your time and wait until you can have it repaired. An you're right, there is no price to put on your first 'fast' PC.

On my Soyo board the caps around the VRM and AGP slot have gone bad, and while I could just easily get another P4 board to replace it I simply refuse to do so; I bought this P4I-845PE brand new back in 2003, and have the original box, cables, driver, utilities and bonus CDs. That, to me, it's simply irreplaceable. The only choice left is to fix it, and I have every intention to do so.

7yNG8kCm.png GBUhLJ2m.png 9lGJR7em.png

If I can't find someone locally to do the recap by the end of April, I'll go to badcaps.net and do a service request.

Ooohh, the pain......

Reply 17 of 24, by Auzner

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If you want to try it yourself there are a lot of how-to solder videos on YouTube. Decent inexpensive irons are sold at RadioShack and Frys. The parts are pretty inexpensive http://www.digikey.com/product-search/en/capacitors
Search for Aluminum/Aluminum Polymer caps. Usually motherboards use 470uF, 1000uF, 1500uF, and 10V and 16V. The voltage can be higher; capacitance can also be higher but it's usually easier to match the existing value. Some circuit designs (usually not in computer motherboards) depend on a particular capacitance. I sometimes save dead motherboards to harvest their caps so that I don't have to buy these.
If you plan to use this forever, spare no expense and get the nice Nichicon ones:
http://www.digikey.com/product-search/en?v=49 … d=0&pageSize=25

Reply 18 of 24, by ODwilly

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I have a soldering iron, just the idea of messing up on this really makes me nervous. A friend of mine offered, but when he found out that all 30 caps are the same bad brand he told me that he just doesn't have a pro setup to deal with such a big job. Also Jay: I really like your board, it looks like a newer version of mine almost! 800fsb, HT ready but a lot of the same ports, I/o and such. That sounds like a really good idea going to BadCaps, they have a good rep. Im looking into Prime West Systems in Mount Vernon. Gotta track down a phone number and get a quote. Robin: Great tip with the eraser! I shall have to try that out. It is just so strange how one card went from working with a disc drive, to giving an error message and the other card that never was detected before now gives the same error message as the "good card". It feels like reserving VLB for the video and finding a nice ISA controller card would be the smartest bet.

Main pc: Asus ROG laptop. I7-6700HQ, GTX 960M 4gb, 16gb DDR4.
Retro PC: Soyo P4S Dragon, 3gb ddr 266, 120gb Maxtor, Geforce Fx 5950 Ultra, SB Live! 5.1

Reply 19 of 24, by ODwilly

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Update: Here is my new Acer. Intel 430HX chipset, 6 72pin simm slots, 4 pci and 3 ISA slots. Came with two 16mb chunks of ram for a grand total of 32mb, I stuck in two random chips and now it is at 40mb. Pentium 166, Labway ISA card with a Yamaha chip, 3com XL pci network card, and a s3trio64+ seeing as how I do not have a monitor currently that can go down to a low enough resolution for the s3 I swapped in a pci RAGE ll+ that was my only pci video card on hand. Added in the 100mb ZIP drive and SCSI card as well. Trying to find jumper settings, but the only diagram I could find is really sketchy on details. Mobo model is V35n-mb any help in hunting down a detailed diagram would be greatly appreciated!

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Main pc: Asus ROG laptop. I7-6700HQ, GTX 960M 4gb, 16gb DDR4.
Retro PC: Soyo P4S Dragon, 3gb ddr 266, 120gb Maxtor, Geforce Fx 5950 Ultra, SB Live! 5.1