Continuing with my P4 WinXP rig (oh god wall of text warning)
I had a Sandy Bridge i3 2120 machine for WinXP originally and while it worked great it always somehow felt a little clinical to me, unexciting. I imagine most here know what I mean. I didn't mind as I have pretty functional mindset, as long everything works it's all good.
But then I happened upon a cheap OEM Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium I was like, hey, I've never tried EAX 3.0 and beyond. I already knew I don't like earlier EAX versions, way too much echo and often sound unnatural to me, but I was curious enough to pick it up and see how the later EAX version fare. And suddenly no longer "everything worked", the motherboard did not like the card at all. Some sort of compatibility issue, lots of noise and weird beeping. Turning off Intel EIST in bios helped, the noise and beeping disappeared when doing nothing but reappeared the moment you did something, even moving the mouse was enough. I ruled out EMI and tried to find other bios settings that could help but no go. So there I was, with a motherboard that had a compatibility issue with a sound card that supported something I still don't know do I really need at all. Can't have that, time to rebuild the whole thing!
I decided to go with Cedar Mill P4. I'm sure some are already chuckling "the guy wanted something more exciting and went with P4 🙄" but it kinda is to me. I've never had a P4, back in the day I had a Athlon XP and P4 seemed like what the rich and privileged had (even though Athlon XP made much more sense price/performance wise), so here we are.
System specs for those interested:
- MSI P35 Neo3 MS-7395
- Intel Pentium 4 HT 651 3.4GHz Cedar Mill D0-stepping 65W
- Gainward 9800 GTX+
- 2GB (2GB x1) Corsair CM2X2048-6400C5 DDR2-800MHz 1.80V 5-5-5-18, was supposed to use two 1GB sticks for dual channel but the seller somehow managed to send the wrong sicks so had to pick something else up
- Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Pro
After getting all the parts and dealing with the corrosion surprise under the CMOS battery as previously discussed, all was set and I installed WinXP. No music at the end of installation when the awesome XP installation music should have played. Okay, I thought XP SP3 installation disk had some basic driver for X-fi, but I guess not. No sound card detected, can't install driver. The very reason that made me rebuild the thing was not working. To describe the feeling I had at that point was like I was about to pop a vein, inflate like a balloon and get a sudden court order to pay child support for some random kid whose mother I've never met.
Hood open, reseat the sound card, turn the PC back on. The whole BIOS reseted, all the settings were back to default. Didn't touch the battery or the reset CMOS pins but okay? At least XP now found the sound card and drivers installed just fine, the card works great! So either reseating the card or some BIOS setting that got reseted caused it to not work, haven't pinpointed that yet. One suspect is the "Auto Disable DIMM/PCI Frequency" BIOS setting that's supposed to turn off unused DIMM/PCI slots to reduce EMI, sounds like asking for trouble enabling that.
Everything worked fine and the PC was rock solid, passed Prime95 and HCI MemTest (which I prefer over MemTest86, twice it has found errors on RAM that passed MemTest86) with no issues. Turned off the PC and unplugged it to do something. The BIOS reseted AGAIN on boot. The battery was dead. That battery was perfectly fine, and suddenly it was not after placing it to the battery holder that has a bit of corrosion damage on the leg as previously found. A bit concerning I'd say? The dead battery out and a new one in, everything works again. Even survived unplugging the power cord for the night, no issues.
So either the battery just happened to croak at an amazing time by pure coincidence, or I've got a motherboard that might kill the battery at random times. The seller is some larger company type that gives 1 year's worth of warranty, why do I feel like I'm going to find out that the motherboard is the root cause only after that year has passed 🤣
DOS/Win98SE (1990-1999): Pentium III 650MHz / Voodoo 3 3000 / Sound Blaster Audigy 2 / Orpheus
WinXP (2000-2006): Pentium 4 HT 651 3.4GHz (65W) / 9800 GTX+ / Sound Blaster X-Fi
Win7/10 (2007-2016): Xeon E3-1230 v3 / GTX 1660 Ti / Sound Blaster Z