VOGONS


Reply 21340 of 22350, by RaiderOfLostVoodoo

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Did benchmark all my PCIe graphic cards to see if they're ok. 3 were broken.
Now I'm gonna benchmark all my AGP graphic cards. Found a GeForce 6800 GS (256MB) in the pile. Wasn't aware that I have a valuable AGP card beside my two Voodoos.

Reply 21341 of 22350, by Merovign

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Well, completely wasted evening. Night, even.

I did try to test a video card on a HP slimline to compare to the integrated video using XP, but I had a completely weird series of problems with a previously tested card that went all the way down to having to reinstall XP.

When I tried to set up the audio drivers, the drivers would not install because the Microsoft Universal Audio Architecture driver was missing. HP didn't have the driver and said to get it from Microsoft. Microsoft didn't have the driver because they dropped the standard. Even better, when they made SP3 they made it incompatible with the driver. So basically MS literally sabotaged this hardware for future use.

There's supposed to be some kind of whack hack patch somewhere but I may just rip out the best parts and run it over a few times. It's too bad because I love these tiny form factors, and everything but that seems to work... I hate to give up on hardware, especially getting rid of a smaller machine in favor of a larger one when I'm trying to reclaim space.

One of the things I ran into over the weekend was incompatibilities in different systems with different cards. I had like 7 PCI, AGP, and PCIe cards that would not post (beep errors) and 5 of them worked on different systems. Compatibility is largely a suggestion, it seems. At least the "dead" ISA card was just a mystery configuration issue, don't have enough of those to lose one.

Edit: I got the HP s7620n sound working by not following the directions and trying random crap. Of course. I'm not even sure the hotfix patch even made a difference, just ignore the warnings about UAA and install a generic chipset driver for the sound chipset.

Anyway, I did 3DMark99 (not really best for this time but to compare to older cards I tested this weeknd) and the Radeon Xpress 200m, which had a Passmark score of 23, had a 3DMark99 score of 11,486. The 8400 GS (installation of which was craaaaazy) has a Passmark score of 128 and a 3DMark99 score of 3996.

That makes NO sense at all. The only thing I can think of is that the 200m offloads most of the work to the T2600 CPU and the 8400GS does it all on the card? The 200m is supposed to be worthless and yet here I am. No, the scores weren't reversed, the 200m was tested without a card in the system.

I have a second 8400 GS, but it has a PCB post sticking down on the bracket end of the card for no adequately explained reason that interferes with a cap just past the end of the slot.

*Too* *many* *things*!

Reply 21342 of 22350, by davidrg

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I benchmarked my 486! I've no idea what's good for a system like this but I guess it is what it is. CPU is an Am486DX4-100, Motherboard is a DataExpert EXP4045. Video card is a VLB S3 805 which claims to have come out of a DECpc according to the VGA BIOS. Disk controller is some random 16bit ISA thing. The disk seems awfully slow but I'm sure its normal enough and this is just the first time I've ever benchmarked a disk of this age.

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Reply 21343 of 22350, by appiah4

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davidrg wrote on 2022-03-31, 09:51:

I benchmarked my 486! I've no idea what's good for a system like this but I guess it is what it is. CPU is an Am486DX4-100, Motherboard is a DataExpert EXP4045. Video card is a VLB S3 805 which claims to have come out of a DECpc according to the VGA BIOS. Disk controller is some random 16bit ISA thing. The disk seems awfully slow but I'm sure its normal enough and this is just the first time I've ever benchmarked a disk of this age.

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mem.png

Let me do this for my 5x86-120, I'm really curious as to how they would compare..

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 21344 of 22350, by badmojo

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davidrg wrote on 2022-03-31, 09:51:

I've no idea what's good for a system like this...

If you want something to compare to then this is a great resource: Phil's Ultimate VGA Benchmark Database Project

Life? Don't talk to me about life.

Reply 21345 of 22350, by Radical Vision

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Made sweet retro deals for GEforce 7950GX2, Voodoo III 2K AGP, ASUS Agea PCI card, Asus TUSL2-C and others...

Also found this JESUS, i am AOpen fan, this board is one of the rare ones i am looking for (Che Che too and Tube series boards), but fk that price...

https://www.ebay.com/itm/154889484007?hash=it … GcAAOSwqdxhWK5J

Mah systems retro, old, newer (Radical stuff)
R7 3700x/ Aorus x370 K7/ RX 6800XT/ X-Fi THD
K7 2.6/ NF7-S V2/ HD3850/ X-Fi
IBM x2 P3 1.4/ DX34R-U/Voodoo V 5.5k/ Audigy
IBM PC365 S8
Compaq DeskPro 486/33
IBM PS/2 Model 56
SPS IntelleXT 8088

Reply 21346 of 22350, by davidrg

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badmojo wrote on 2022-03-31, 11:20:
davidrg wrote on 2022-03-31, 09:51:

I've no idea what's good for a system like this...

If you want something to compare to then this is a great resource: Phil's Ultimate VGA Benchmark Database Project

I used his benchmarks and ran though all of them! I'll have a look and compare.

Reply 21347 of 22350, by appiah4

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appiah4 wrote on 2022-03-31, 10:48:
davidrg wrote on 2022-03-31, 09:51:

I benchmarked my 486! I've no idea what's good for a system like this but I guess it is what it is. CPU is an Am486DX4-100, Motherboard is a DataExpert EXP4045. Video card is a VLB S3 805 which claims to have come out of a DECpc according to the VGA BIOS. Disk controller is some random 16bit ISA thing. The disk seems awfully slow but I'm sure its normal enough and this is just the first time I've ever benchmarked a disk of this age.

bench.png
mem.png

Let me do this for my 5x86-120, I'm really curious as to how they would compare..

So, here goes:

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Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 21348 of 22350, by Solo761

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Welp... I found out why I had issues with VT6421A PCI SATA/PATA controller cards not getting detected on boot on my P233. Story time...

I bought two a long time ago to try and mod XBox360 drive and they laid around since. They worked fine then (about time when Core2Duo were mainstream) but for some reason they don't now. They have ROM chips so it should have it's own BIOS on boot time, and yet nothing shows up beside regular BIOS boot...

I thought maybe it's something to do with too old PCI standard on my QDI Titanium IB+ so I tried them on one Athlon X2 I had nearby. It booted to XP and I got prompted with "found new hardware". OK, so they do work. Great, lets try flashing them with custom (or just updated) firmware I found here http://toastytech.com/files/w95stuff.html.
But flasher tool said "Unknown LPC" and returned strange strings for flash chip ID (FFh/FFh)... Google wasn't that helpfull so I was puzzled a bit and took off sticker that was on ROM chip to see which one is it. It was CAT28F010N. Haven't encountered this one before, but it looked like standard 128kB flash ROM so it should work...

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And then I noticed one small detail that explained all of this... ROM chip isn't soldered!

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On each side only two pins are soldered to hold it in place! I tried checking few of these unsoldered pins for continuity and yup, no continuity, they're not even touching the pads below... So although these cards have ROM chips they're not used and they behave the same as variants without firmware. That's why there's no drive check on boot, but it gets "noticed" in windows.

Well... now I have new project. Desolder chip on one and pop it in standalone programmer to see if they're real or just dummy chips. Nothing would surprise me now... If they're real I'll flash firmware into it and solder it back on to see if that does something.

The more you know...

Reply 21350 of 22350, by Solo761

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Yup, as far as DOS is concerned there is nothing. That's normal behaviour for these cards without ROM chip. Windows drivers initialize it and drives are available in Windows. Just not bootable and not accessible in DOS.

The strange part is that this XBox360 procedure had to be done in DOS. XBox360 DVD Drive had to be connected to SATA port on VT6421A controller and tool that was used to read/write it's flash worked only from DOS. And flashing worked fine with this card. I only did it once, but it worked. Maybe that tool had firmware components integrated so it could "drive" this card. I remembered that tool didn't work when connected to chipset SATA controller, only via (pun not intended) these cards.

I'll have to see if I still have these tools somewhere and look a bit what's actually bundled.

Reply 21351 of 22350, by darry

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I have finally caught up my CD ripping backlog (I use DBPoweramp). As these CDs are all thrift store purchases and most of them are 30+ years old, I believe that this qualifies as a retro activity . I have ripped over 100 CDs in the last 2 weeks, mostly while watching a movie before going to bed .

This is sometimes quite tedious as some discs are scratched and/or degraded to point of only being readable on some drives .

On that note, I will share a little "secret" of mine : one of the best drives I have found to handle marginally readable audio CDs is the disc loader mechanism from an old Norcent DP300 set-top DVD player . This player uses an IDE interface for its disc loader (this was a thing on at least some DVD players in the early 2000s, including some from the likes of Apex Digital and Arcam), so the loader mechanism can be hooked up to a PC over IDE or with an IDE to USB interface .

In my case, the loader is a DVS DSL-710A and it rocks on marginal disks . On the audio side of things, it supports C2 error reporting too . This drive has been better than any of the Plextor drives I own. The only drives that come close are my LG GCE-8527B and my Asus SBC-06D2X-U (apparently OEMed from Pioneer) .

If I ever have to deal with a hard to read data CD, I will definitely give this DVS drive a shot .

EDIT :
Full disclosure: I have several dozen CD/DVD drives and have ripped over 1700 audio CDs so far (over the last 10ish years) .

Reply 21352 of 22350, by darry

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Solo761 wrote on 2022-03-31, 22:01:
Welp... I found out why I had issues with VT6421A PCI SATA/PATA controller cards not getting detected on boot on my P233. Story […]
Show full quote

Welp... I found out why I had issues with VT6421A PCI SATA/PATA controller cards not getting detected on boot on my P233. Story time...

I bought two a long time ago to try and mod XBox360 drive and they laid around since. They worked fine then (about time when Core2Duo were mainstream) but for some reason they don't now. They have ROM chips so it should have it's own BIOS on boot time, and yet nothing shows up beside regular BIOS boot...

I thought maybe it's something to do with too old PCI standard on my QDI Titanium IB+ so I tried them on one Athlon X2 I had nearby. It booted to XP and I got prompted with "found new hardware". OK, so they do work. Great, lets try flashing them with custom (or just updated) firmware I found here http://toastytech.com/files/w95stuff.html.
But flasher tool said "Unknown LPC" and returned strange strings for flash chip ID (FFh/FFh)... Google wasn't that helpfull so I was puzzled a bit and took off sticker that was on ROM chip to see which one is it. It was CAT28F010N. Haven't encountered this one before, but it looked like standard 128kB flash ROM so it should work...

Card.jpg

And then I noticed one small detail that explained all of this... ROM chip isn't soldered!

ROMChip01.jpg ROMChip02.jpg

On each side only two pins are soldered to hold it in place! I tried checking few of these unsoldered pins for continuity and yup, no continuity, they're not even touching the pads below... So although these cards have ROM chips they're not used and they behave the same as variants without firmware. That's why there's no drive check on boot, but it gets "noticed" in windows.

Well... now I have new project. Desolder chip on one and pop it in standalone programmer to see if they're real or just dummy chips. Nothing would surprise me now... If they're real I'll flash firmware into it and solder it back on to see if that does something.

The more you know...

You probably already know this, but at least some VIA PCI SATA controllers have issues with SATA drives that are capable of SATAII or higher .

Reply 21353 of 22350, by Solo761

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Yes, that's where custom firmware from page I linked above might help 😀.

At the moment I use 120 GB SATA SSD, via SATA to IDE adapter, on this P233 MMX where I wanted to use this card.

While connected to motherboard (QDI Titanium IB+, i430TX chipset, I flashed patched bios to allow up to 128 GB HDDs) it works, but I can't get DMA to work. I check it on HDD in device manager, reboot and it's unchecked... According to ATTO benchmark I get 10 MB/s tops.
I have Win98SE installed and I think it's something to do with BIOS. I have also have IDE DVD drive and it also can't enable DMA, tried Seagate 10 GB IDE HDD and again the same.

Yesterday I tried Promise SATA300 TX4 controller. Installed the drivers, removed SATA to IDE board and plugged it directly, it worked, but performace was even poorer than via motherboard IDE controller. A bit less than 10 MB/s and inconsistent.
I then tried Promise Ultra100 TX2 I had from back in the day, reinstalled SATA to IDE board and with this combo I get almost 60 MB/s, HDD doesn't have DMA tickbox, I guess drivers take care of that.

That's why I wanted to test this card since it has both IDE and SATA 😁.

And I've run out of PCI connectors, graphics card, voodoo 1, network card and audio card. I had to replace ESS Maestro PCI card with ISA sound card to plug promise card 😁.

Reply 21354 of 22350, by Kahenraz

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I have had issues with VIA expansion cards, such as USB, on older non-VIA chipsets, especially anything prior to 440BX. So this could be an issue with controller compatibility specifically.

I've never tried a VIA disk controller, but it might be reasonable to expect the same behavior, as they may be tracking a later PCI specification that isn't backwards compatible.

Reply 21355 of 22350, by Solo761

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I thought that maybe firmware of these cards used some instructions that weren't available on MMX pentiums and that it doesn't work because of that so I tried this Athlon X2 and it worked in Windows, but then I noticed that there wasn't any boot screen related to the card. And at the end noticed that ROM chip isn't soldered 😁.

At this point I'm more curious if it's possible to make them work or if it' really dummy ROM chip 😁. Luckily desoldering should be easy.

Reply 21356 of 22350, by Turbo ->

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Received some small heatsinks today, which I attached to nine mosfets of my Pentium 4 system, that I am building at the moment.

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Reply 21357 of 22350, by BitWrangler

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Ah the simple bliss of right sized heatsinks... that's what made 486 heatsinks hard to find you know, everyone in the very early oughts cutting them up for RAM and MOSFET sinks 🤣

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 21359 of 22350, by BitWrangler

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darry wrote on 2022-04-01, 06:05:
I have finally caught up my CD ripping backlog (I use DBPoweramp). As these CDs are all thrift store purchases and most of them […]
Show full quote

I have finally caught up my CD ripping backlog (I use DBPoweramp). As these CDs are all thrift store purchases and most of them are 30+ years old, I believe that this qualifies as a retro activity . I have ripped over 100 CDs in the last 2 weeks, mostly while watching a movie before going to bed .

This is sometimes quite tedious as some discs are scratched and/or degraded to point of only being readable on some drives .

On that note, I will share a little "secret" of mine : one of the best drives I have found to handle marginally readable audio CDs is the disc loader mechanism from an old Norcent DP300 set-top DVD player . This player uses an IDE interface for its disc loader (this was a thing on at least some DVD players in the early 2000s, including some from the likes of Apex Digital and Arcam), so the loader mechanism can be hooked up to a PC over IDE or with an IDE to USB interface .

In my case, the loader is a DVS DSL-710A and it rocks on marginal disks . On the audio side of things, it supports C2 error reporting too . This drive has been better than any of the Plextor drives I own. The only drives that come close are my LG GCE-8527B and my Asus SBC-06D2X-U (apparently OEMed from Pioneer) .

If I ever have to deal with a hard to read data CD, I will definitely give this DVS drive a shot .

EDIT :
Full disclosure: I have several dozen CD/DVD drives and have ripped over 1700 audio CDs so far (over the last 10ish years) .

I'll have to bear that in mind, so far haven't had anything that terrible. Have a small stack that I've been meaning to get ripped myself. I knew of the "some DVD players have IDE internals" thing, but I didn't realise they were actually any good.

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