VOGONS


Retro PC Hell

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First post, by athlon-power

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I want to first address this by saying that I am aware of just how bad I've managed to mess up, multiple times. I'm also aware of how iffy I've been with the forums, starting threads and never replying to them. I apologize both for what I've managed to destroy, and how I've been on here lately.

I destroyed a Packard Bell Pack-Mate 7130 in perfect condition, for one. I paid $100 for it. The secondary IDE channel had suddenly went out, and I was going through and checking and double-checking things such as BIOS settings, jumpers on the motherboard, etc. When I went to double-check the RAM, which I had found was very hard to remove due to the little metal clips on the EDO slots being a particular pain, I slipped while using a screwdriver to undo the clip and it went straight into one of the Intel PCIset chip pins. Bent three or four of them together. I have tried unsuccessfully to bend them back, meaning it had shorted pins permanently. It was a Pentium 120 with 16MB of RAM, a great little PC. Oh, well. The case is in nearly flawless condition, no yellowing, etc., and it ran great(ish), and I ended up killing it. I should have left well enough alone.

I bought a Dell Dimension XPS P100C for $5, however, the case is severely rusted at the bottom where the expansion slots are. It's got other issues as well, but there's really so much rust that I don't have the equipment to deal with it right now. The CPU is apparently glued to the heatsink, because it wouldn't remove from it, and when I tried to put a small screwdriver in between the CPU and the heatsink and twist it slowly, it chipped a corner off of the ceramic. The CPU still works, and it doesn't appear that anything but the ceramic itself was damaged, but this is now the second time I've done something stupid to hardware like this.

I don't even know what to do now. I have US$180 to figure out how to get at least one Pentium machine that runs at 133MHz or below running.

Option A is to try and get the motherboard in the Packard Bell replaced, as the CPU is fine, the PSU is fine, it's just the motherboard that's gone. The problem is that I can't find the exact motherboard for this model, all of them have less VRAM on the S3 chipset, and they don't have the TV-out and S-Video out ports on them. The motherboard has a generic model of E139761, a more detailed number on a small pink sticker (181410), and a third number on a yellow sticker, but searching that one yielded no results (PSOR62907956).

Option B was to try and get a new case/CPU for the Dell Dimension, but that's not likely to happen.

Option C is to build an entirely new system out of the parts from the Dell and PB, but I'm unsure as to how I would have enough money to even get an AT case from eBay, let alone a motherboard. If I wouldn't have been such a flaming idiot, I wouldn't even be in this situation, and would be humming along happily with the PB, but no, I'm not the brightest bulb in the box, and I have now destroyed a very good mid-era Pentium system. Great. I greatly appreciate any help you can give me, this has been a royal pain for me. Knock on wood, I'm now very, very, very thankful for the Pentium 200 Gateway I have to use in the meantime while all of this garbage goes on.

I am also very open to suggestions as to how I could possibly put that money towards a different kind of retro system, because being buried in Socket 7 and Socket 5 motherboards has started to slowly drive me insane (or more so, breaking various parts of systems that use those sockets).

Where am I?

Reply 1 of 10, by cyclone3d

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Where are you located?

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 2 of 10, by SodaSuccubus

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Hey. Accidents happen.
My first retro rig died day 2 when i forgot to wire the psu cables the right way, blowing the motherboard.
Another time i was foolishly building rather sleepy and ended up frying a precious 5X86 from installing it wrong.

Accidents happy, their cringy and painful but its how we learn i guess 😀

ANYWAY
Honestly, i know it might not be the ideal solution, but i'd personally just scout out another socket 7 board. Maybe a Super Socket 7 even, and just shove it in a nice cheap ATX case. There are still some out there (check Corsair's Carbide 100R) that can fit AT boards with some standoff moving. If the lack of beige bothers you, you can try to spray paint it.
Im fairly certain you should be able to find another Socket 7 board for a decent price (be glad this wasn't a 486!). Maybe even one as a bundle with a faster processor and some ram.

You already have a CPU, PSU, and im assuming that 16mb of ram. If you need a cheap video card, look for generic S3 Trio's online and grab a ESS Audio Drive. Scrape anything else you can out of the systems like CD-Rom etc and you should be able to throw together a nice, retro pentium 😀

Reply 3 of 10, by athlon-power

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cyclone3d wrote on 2020-03-16, 22:50:

Where are you located?

I'm in Elizabethton, around northeast Tennessee.

SodaSuccubus wrote on 2020-03-16, 22:55:
Hey. Accidents happen. My first retro rig died day 2 when i forgot to wire the psu cables the right way, blowing the motherboar […]
Show full quote

Hey. Accidents happen.
My first retro rig died day 2 when i forgot to wire the psu cables the right way, blowing the motherboard.
Another time i was foolishly building rather sleepy and ended up frying a precious 5X86 from installing it wrong.

Accidents happy, their cringy and painful but its how we learn i guess 😀

ANYWAY
Honestly, i know it might not be the ideal solution, but i'd personally just scout out another socket 7 board. Maybe a Super Socket 7 even, and just shove it in a nice cheap ATX case. There are still some out there (check Corsair's Carbide 100R) that can fit AT boards with some standoff moving. If the lack of beige bothers you, you can try to spray paint it.
Im fairly certain you should be able to find another Socket 7 board for a decent price (be glad this wasn't a 486!). Maybe even one as a bundle with a faster processor and some ram.

You already have a CPU, PSU, and im assuming that 16mb of ram. If you need a cheap video card, look for generic S3 Trio's online and grab a ESS Audio Drive. Scrape anything else you can out of the systems like CD-Rom etc and you should be able to throw together a nice, retro pentium 😀

I already have quite a few retro cases, but all are ATX and I'm not sure what I would do about the "I/O Shield," situation, which is why I haven't bothered with it. I've seen a few Socket 7 motherboards for decent prices online, but I already have a K6-2 266 system for SS7 (AGP sucks on that thing btw), and a Gateway "SS7," board in my Gateway P200 (no AGP, but it uses SDRAM and is in an ATX form-factor).

I have an S3 Trio 64 that is from the Dell machine already, so I'm in decent grounds as far as parts are concerned. It's just the whole working system part that I'm having issues with.

Where am I?

Reply 4 of 10, by X3J11

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I feel your pain.

I'm trying to put together a trio of machines, one each for DOS, 98 and XP. I haven't done anything foolish, yet, but I came close trying to attach the heatsink to my 462 board. Screw driver slipped a few times, thought I hit the mobo, fortunately I only dinged the chassis.

Worst was checking the fan. I've got an old Thermaltake Volcano on it with an almost 8k RPM fan. It has some hefty blades on it, too. Lost a chunk of my finger as I wasn't paying enough attention.

But then, if I remember rightly, early Athlon boards always demanded a blood sacrifice.

Reply 6 of 10, by JoeCorrado

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athlon-power wrote on 2020-03-16, 21:59:

I should have left well enough alone.

🤣 I feel your pain!

My very own, well earned "famous last words".

I just love trying to tweak everything to the nth degree in some sort of OCD induced quest for perfection. I have screwed up so many things, so many times- but "most" times it just costs me my time to fix whatever I have broken. Luckily I have only ever physically bricked or otherwise ruined a handful of precious items.

I still haven't learned very well to just leave well enough alone!

-- Regards, Joe

Expect out of life, that which you put into it.

Reply 7 of 10, by jheronimus

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First of all — I feel your pain. There were cases when I overdid it with cleaning using chemicals, for instance, and ruined perfectly nice plastic parts. There were times when I messed around with DIP cache chips and broke legs on chips. It happens.

Second — I would suggest getting an ATX Socket 7 motherboard. All the I/O is built-in (a lot less cables/breakout panels), the cases are bigger. All in all it's simply a much more pleasant experience when you build a computer or mess around with expansion cards.

Here's my Intel Advanced/ATX motherboard. It's even possible to do some cable management.

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All in all I've already sold a lot of my AT Socket 7 motherboards and very close to selling all of them.

Reply 8 of 10, by cyclone3d

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athlon-power wrote on 2020-03-17, 01:07:
I'm in Elizabethton, around northeast Tennessee. […]
Show full quote
cyclone3d wrote on 2020-03-16, 22:50:

Where are you located?

I'm in Elizabethton, around northeast Tennessee.

SodaSuccubus wrote on 2020-03-16, 22:55:
Hey. Accidents happen. My first retro rig died day 2 when i forgot to wire the psu cables the right way, blowing the motherboar […]
Show full quote

Hey. Accidents happen.
My first retro rig died day 2 when i forgot to wire the psu cables the right way, blowing the motherboard.
Another time i was foolishly building rather sleepy and ended up frying a precious 5X86 from installing it wrong.

Accidents happy, their cringy and painful but its how we learn i guess 😀

ANYWAY
Honestly, i know it might not be the ideal solution, but i'd personally just scout out another socket 7 board. Maybe a Super Socket 7 even, and just shove it in a nice cheap ATX case. There are still some out there (check Corsair's Carbide 100R) that can fit AT boards with some standoff moving. If the lack of beige bothers you, you can try to spray paint it.
Im fairly certain you should be able to find another Socket 7 board for a decent price (be glad this wasn't a 486!). Maybe even one as a bundle with a faster processor and some ram.

You already have a CPU, PSU, and im assuming that 16mb of ram. If you need a cheap video card, look for generic S3 Trio's online and grab a ESS Audio Drive. Scrape anything else you can out of the systems like CD-Rom etc and you should be able to throw together a nice, retro pentium 😀

I already have quite a few retro cases, but all are ATX and I'm not sure what I would do about the "I/O Shield," situation, which is why I haven't bothered with it. I've seen a few Socket 7 motherboards for decent prices online, but I already have a K6-2 266 system for SS7 (AGP sucks on that thing btw), and a Gateway "SS7," board in my Gateway P200 (no AGP, but it uses SDRAM and is in an ATX form-factor).

I have an S3 Trio 64 that is from the Dell machine already, so I'm in decent grounds as far as parts are concerned. It's just the whole working system part that I'm having issues with.

You can always buy a blank I/O shield and make the hole for the AT keyboard yourself:
https://www.ebay.com/i/333470805832

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 9 of 10, by computerguy08

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athlon-power wrote on 2020-03-16, 21:59:

I slipped while using a screwdriver to undo the clip and it went straight into one of the Intel PCIset chip pins. Bent three or four of them together.

Can you take a photo of that Packard Bell motherboard, so we can see the damage? It may be possible (unless the legs broke off) to bend them back with a really sharp object (a needle or something). I've done this a few times and it can give positive results. You won't risk anything since the board is already "dead".

Looking for a motherboard? You can find it in Ultimate Retro: https://www.ultimateretro.net/motherboards/search
Join our Discord server here: https://discord.gg/HWWH7hsk2p

Reply 10 of 10, by Horun

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computerguy08 wrote on 2020-03-28, 22:55:
athlon-power wrote on 2020-03-16, 21:59:

I slipped while using a screwdriver to undo the clip and it went straight into one of the Intel PCIset chip pins. Bent three or four of them together.

Can you take a photo of that Packard Bell motherboard, so we can see the damage? It may be possible (unless the legs broke off) to bend them back with a really sharp object (a needle or something). I've done this a few times and it can give positive results. You won't risk anything since the board is already "dead".

I agree ! Nothing like an exacto knife and small sharp needle to fix those bent smt pins. As long as you have a good magnifying lens it should be no trouble unless you broke a leg near the plastic chip.

Hate posting a reply and then have to edit it because it made no sense 😁 First computer was an IBM 3270 workstation with CGA monitor.