VOGONS


First post, by varrol

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Some time ago I got sucked into the world of retro computers. Now it's time for some reflections.

Basically I'd like to distinguish between the joy of "having" a hardware and actually using it. I'm aware that strong P3 with ISA sound card should cover most of the DOS and early windows gaming, but still different platforms allow to test and use some different hardware and compare to others. Basically I don't mind even duplicating the hardware, but lets be honest - it takes space 😀 even if storing bare motherboards without cases.

So some of my doubts:
1. Does it make sense to keep Asus P2B while having P3B-F - covering exactly the same + more (Having AOpen AX6B+ along with P3B makes sense though as it has SCSI while P3B offers divider for FSB133 to ISA/PCI) - meaning - does P2B have any advantages over P3B-F
2. Does it make sense to have dual CPU board - yeah looks nice, but both win98 and DOS will not utilize it and its not easy to upgrade CPU - sure can use with single CPU
3. Does it make sense to have SCSI onboard, while it's easy to attach SATA or SD Card or even ATA100/133 HDD
4. Does it make sense to have ASUS P5A along with AOpen AX59Pro (provide any extra performance / options)?

AOpen AX6B+ | P3 1G | 1GB ECC REG | FX5200 | CT4500
AOpen AX59pro | K6-2 450M | 256MB | Rage 128
Asus CUBX-E | P3 1G | 512MB | GF4 TI4200 | YMF719E-S
Asus P3B-F | P3 933M | 384MB | Radeon 9200 | CT4520
Asus P5A | P55C 200M | 256MB | Riva TNT | CT3600

Reply 1 of 9, by dionb

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1. which revisions? If the P2B can handle coppermine, I'd keep that for extra ISA slots over the P3B-F. But if you have an AX6B+ that sort of beats both, once again if it can do CuMine. If no CuMine, there's a use case for P3B-F and the AX6B+, less so for the P2B.
2. only if you want to run an SMP OS. Lots to choose from, from modern NetBSD or vintage NT4 or Linux via OS/2 Warp to things like BeOS... totally depends on what you want to do. If you're only interested in games, don't bother, as by the time games sensibly used multiple CPUs (or cores), you'd need a much more powerful system anyway.
3. tbh SCSI is a big PITA regardless, with big hot noisy old unreliable devices. Only use for 'authenticity'. Onboard offers no advantages over add-in cards, apart from saving you a slot.
4.P5A is Aladdin V, AX59Pro is MVP3. The former is faster on a like-for-like basis and can frequently overclock higer, but less flexible when it comes to RAM and AGP cards. Here it depends on what you want to do with it, which CPU and VGA card you intend to use and the revision of the P5A (low rev can't cache much, but ideal for K6Plus CPUs, high rev can cache everything but buggy with K6Plus, so better for So7 CPUs without integrated L2 cache).

Reply 2 of 9, by Burrito78

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The official CPU support lists from Asus on the web are not telling the whole truth about P2B/P3B CPU support. But all questions regarding these boards should be answered in this Guide/FAQ:
http://homepage.hispeed.ch/rscheidegger/p2b_p … pgrade_faq.html

Sound Blaster: From best to worst
Member of DOSBox Staging

Reply 3 of 9, by varrol

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I got P2B rev. 1.04 and P3B-F rev 1.04 and 1.03 - so P2B does not support Coppermines oppposite to P3B which handles them all (both revisions).

Currently I see no possibility to assemble old hardware for other reason than gaming - even for games I can hardly find time so probably will never try to test different OSes etc.

AOpen AX6B+ | P3 1G | 1GB ECC REG | FX5200 | CT4500
AOpen AX59pro | K6-2 450M | 256MB | Rage 128
Asus CUBX-E | P3 1G | 512MB | GF4 TI4200 | YMF719E-S
Asus P3B-F | P3 933M | 384MB | Radeon 9200 | CT4520
Asus P5A | P55C 200M | 256MB | Riva TNT | CT3600

Reply 4 of 9, by dionb

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varrol wrote:

I got P2B rev. 1.04 and P3B-F rev 1.04 and 1.03 - so P2B does not support Coppermines oppposite to P3B which handles them all (both revisions).

Currently I see no possibility to assemble old hardware for other reason than gaming - even for games I can hardly find time so probably will never try to test different OSes etc.

Then don't bother with anything with multiple CPUs. Quake 3 is the only game able to run on ~2000 era hardware that had any SMP support at all, and there you only notice the added value if you set all graphics to low to turn it into a pure benchmark. If you set graphics quality higher, you'll be lucky to win one or two FPS. That also happens to be what you lose when going from Win98SE to Win2K. Bottom line is that a single P3 with Win98SE will perform pretty much identically to two of the same P3s with Win2k (unless set to 640x480), in the single game that supports SMP. Anything else will be slower.

Note that if you multitask (game plus something else) the difference is going to be huge, so for a general desktop dual CPU was better even back then. But if you only game, don't bother.

Also, looks like the AX6B Plus supports CuMine, so just go for that one and offload the Asus boards - it gives you the ISA slots of the P2B and the CuMine support of the P3B. Oh, and a free SCSI controller I wouldn't recommend using 😉

Reply 5 of 9, by varrol

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dionb wrote:
varrol wrote:

Also, looks like the AX6B Plus supports CuMine, so just go for that one and offload the Asus boards - it gives you the ISA slots of the P2B and the CuMine support of the P3B. Oh, and a free SCSI controller I wouldn't recommend using 😉

Thanks, I think I'll sell P2B then. Will see if I keep one of P3B's.

AOpen supports Coopermine - only does not display 1GHz correctly on BIOS startup - does not affect functionality though. The only problem is as far as I remember - it does not have FSB divider for 133MHz - so PCI and ISA will be OC compared to P3B, which only gives 90MHz for AGP leaving PCI/ISA at normal speed. Not sure if this is a problem as about 20 years ago I had AX6B running FSB 133MHz fine.
I got one SCSI 8GB drive bought out of curiosity - works correctly but is extremely loud and quite slow 😵

AOpen AX6B+ | P3 1G | 1GB ECC REG | FX5200 | CT4500
AOpen AX59pro | K6-2 450M | 256MB | Rage 128
Asus CUBX-E | P3 1G | 512MB | GF4 TI4200 | YMF719E-S
Asus P3B-F | P3 933M | 384MB | Radeon 9200 | CT4520
Asus P5A | P55C 200M | 256MB | Riva TNT | CT3600

Reply 6 of 9, by SpectriaForce

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I have sold my AX6B+ in favor of the P3B-F. Indeed, the AX6B+ does not display the clock frequency of a 1 GHz CPU appropriately. In so far I can remember the BIOS of the AOpen board is less extensive (not by much) and less BIOS updates have been released. There's really not that much difference between the boards (most notably the SCSI controller), both run the AGP overclocked when 133 MHz FSB is selected. Both are well built. The fact that Asus still exists and has all information and BIOS updates online, were for me the main reasons to keep the Asus and sell the AOpen (you can 'still' find everything for the AOpen board).

The P2B is an interesting board if you have revision 1.12.

for ready to use retro game pc's click here

Reply 8 of 9, by varrol

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I'm starting to think about getting a S370 motherboard - with at least one ISA slot - but looking at offers and offer history they are more rare than slot1 - especially Tualatin compatible ones.

AOpen AX6B+ | P3 1G | 1GB ECC REG | FX5200 | CT4500
AOpen AX59pro | K6-2 450M | 256MB | Rage 128
Asus CUBX-E | P3 1G | 512MB | GF4 TI4200 | YMF719E-S
Asus P3B-F | P3 933M | 384MB | Radeon 9200 | CT4520
Asus P5A | P55C 200M | 256MB | Riva TNT | CT3600

Reply 9 of 9, by MKT_Gundam

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varrol wrote:

I'm starting to think about getting a S370 motherboard - with at least one ISA slot - but looking at offers and offer history they are more rare than slot1 - especially Tualatin compatible ones.

S370 are rare and expensive too
The and Gigabytes and FIC ones are plagued by bad caps

Retro rig 1: Asus CUV4X, VIA c3 800, Voodoo Banshee (Diamond fusion) and SB32 ct3670.
Retro rig 2: Intel DX2 66, SB16 Ct1740 and Cirrus Logic VLB.