VOGONS


First post, by Enternal

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Hey everyone,

Been wanting to get an older PC for a while now so that I could have something for Windows 98 and Dos gaming. I've been casually looking off and on while I'm at yard sales and flea markets.
I bought this Compaq the other day at a yard sale for 5 dollars, I figured at the very least it would have something non integrated that was usable.

2rK2o6L.jpg

I was thrilled to see there was a 3dfx card inside

BzFR7kY.jpg

Which I was able to identify as a Voodoo 3 1000 that several people here have.
Also had a minor wave of nostalgia hit, when I remembered that an old girlfriend's Compaq that looked like this also had a Voodoo 3 in it, though a 2000 or 3000, I remember it having a heatsink.

Rest of the specs

Slot A AMD K7 (500mhz) K7500MTR51B
196 MB PC100 Ram
Some Compaq Sound Blaster

Was wondering if it would be worth upgrading this PC or if I would be better off taking the Voodoo 3 card and building something better with it.

I'm mainly interested in Dos through 2000 gaming.

The via motherboard
V1W8_1_20181015410097312.jpg

From reading it supports 384 Memory and up to a 750mhz to 1000mhz processor...documentation is conflicting. I'd likely go to a 900 mhz since its affordable.

Would this setup have any issues with the lucas arts games? I guess wing commander 1 might be out unless I can disable some chip features in the bios.

Also this voodoo is lacking a heatsink, any recomendations on a cooling solution...at least a heatsink, and some thermal paste to attach it? It lacks the holes of other models to mount one.

Thanks and looking forward to learning more from the forums!

Reply 1 of 31, by The Serpent Rider

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I see no practical reason to stick with Slot A platform, especially OEM one. You can buy KT133-KT333 range mobo with better CPU for a fraction of cost for "affordable" Slot A 900 MHz. And Socket A CPUs more often than not have unlocked multiplier.

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Reply 2 of 31, by Katmai500

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But Slot A CPUs are cooler! The first AMD CPUs to really surpass Intel. For $5 you can just clean it up and run it as is. Try some games first. Then think about an upgrade if they run too slowly on the 500 MHz Athlon. You can get slot A CPUs cheap if you’re a little patient.

Reply 3 of 31, by shamino

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This motherboard is an FIC SD11
AMD751 northbridge, VIA 686A southbridge
So as far as AGP support, you're dealing with AMD Irongate, not VIA. I don't have any experience actually using one of these so I have no opinion about whether that's good or bad.
I got one of these motherboards in a bulk lot a long time ago but I never got it running.

The Compaq version of the board has all 8 MOSFETs in the CPU VRM installed, the FIC retail version only has 4 of them. So it appears the Compaq version would be better for faster CPUs.
I don't know if the FIC BIOS has any advantages, but it might work. Maybe somebody knows.

That large capacitor at the top of the board is failure prone.

That was a great find for $5. I saw one of these at a Goodwill many years ago for $50 which I thought was way too much at the time, but nowadays the parts would be worth it.

Reply 4 of 31, by swaaye

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I think it's a great find. That's a sought after bit of kit for 1999. Slot A is an interesting beast. K7-500 is the original Athlon release and is similar to a P3-600. Hopefully it can be cleaned up and and work for you. There are a few people around with SD11, including myself.

Voodoo3 1000 would run a lot of games quite well for you. Can't go wrong with Glide support. It is considerably slower than a Voodoo3 2000, but there is a driver hack to enable the 2nd TMU if I remember right.

Reply 5 of 31, by gerry

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Enternal wrote on 2020-08-27, 14:33:

I'm mainly interested in Dos through 2000 gaming.

although the upgrade options are interesting if the goal is DOS and late 90's win9x gaming I think you already have a viable system right there, at least one that you can use happily and patiently await any parts that may come along. It may not be optimal and it may be a less sub par for the most demanding year 2000 games, in time an agp card and possibly a faster cpu would do the trick, but for now.. enjoy! It's a great find

Reply 6 of 31, by dionb

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The lack of ISA (and SBLINK) is a downside for DOS, otherwise this is a fine board for your purpose.

AMD750 means it should accept all Slot1 CPUs including Thunderbird, at already, assuming Compaq BIOS accepts it. However if you go for Third you might as well do SoA, so with Slot I'd say stay with Argon/Pluto/Orion.

Reply 7 of 31, by chinny22

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agree with everything already said.
Slot A was dropped pretty quick by AMD so drivers aren't great and upgrades aren't cheap.
They are however somewhat sort after by collectors so if you do decide to go with something else you may be better off selling this off complete. (You'll definitely get more then $5 for it)

I own the non OEM version of this. from a dumpster find. BIOS is pretty simple, Only thing I can see Compaq dropping is memory timings.
Someone here was asking about an OEM FIC-SD11, not so long ago and discovered it has no ability for an internal speaker. Can't remember if that was Compaq or another OEM.
AGP is buggy, Therefore Voodoo 3 which is basically just a bridged PCI card is a good match. (mine came with a V3 2000)
You can read about the non oem version over at redhill, he said it was one of the few boards that were reliable with TBirds.
https://www.redhill.net.au/b/b-00.html

Windows games should be fine. Dos games ideally need an ISA sound card but you may get away with PCI, that'll come down to testing.
This is by no means the perfect DOS/Win9x PC but it's also a bit more special then the standard build and bonus "girlfriend nostalgia" points.
Oh and cooling you can stick on a heat sink and mount a fan somewhere just to run air over the card. That's what I did.

Reply 9 of 31, by The Serpent Rider

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When it comes to money worth - yes. If you're not into collecting stuff and there are no dirt cheap options at hand (like that Compaq system) - Slot A should be avoided.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 10 of 31, by 65C02

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2020-08-28, 11:04:

When it comes to money worth - yes. If you're not into collecting stuff and there are no dirt cheap options at hand (like that Compaq system) - Slot A should be avoided.

If you're not into collecting stuff and there are no dirt cheap options at hand, Slot 1, Socket 370, Socket 7, Socket A, Socket 478, and even VOGONS itself should be avoided. 😀

Reply 11 of 31, by The Serpent Rider

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Sure thing, just browsing recently bought retro hardware topic might cause severe case of lupus.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 12 of 31, by darry

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65C02 wrote on 2020-08-28, 16:19:
The Serpent Rider wrote on 2020-08-28, 11:04:

When it comes to money worth - yes. If you're not into collecting stuff and there are no dirt cheap options at hand (like that Compaq system) - Slot A should be avoided.

If you're not into collecting stuff and there are no dirt cheap options at hand, Slot 1, Socket 370, Socket 7, Socket A, Socket 478, and even VOGONS itself should be avoided. 😀

I do not see myself as a collector per se (I do love having spare parts, though), but I do have one full-fledged retro socket 370 machine and one testbed Slot 1 setup . Some parts I got dirt cheap while others were relatively expensive .

If you set yourself a budget, reasonable expectations and have patience you can build pretty much any of the mentioned systems . I personally prefer Slot 1 and socket 370 because they have a reasonable thermal enveloppe (looking at you Pentium 4, whatever the socket), do not require extreme (by today's standards) 5V PSU rails (unlike most socket A boards), are easy to find with ISA slots are still rather plentiful and are powerful enough for the timeframe I am targetting .

Reply 13 of 31, by The Serpent Rider

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I'll just link my old opinion on popular universal retro choices for gaming: Re: Should I build a "one rig to rule them all"?

Last edited by The Serpent Rider on 2020-08-28, 16:51. Edited 1 time in total.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 14 of 31, by SPBHM

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very cool PC, shame about the missing front cover for the CD drives,
main con was mentioned which is the lack of ISA slot, I would totally keep this thing (after some cleaning!), but I have a soft spot for this era of Compaq.

Reply 15 of 31, by Enternal

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Thanks for all the advice and board information everyone!

The 900 Mhz Slot A's are in the 40-50 range but if the platform is not worth really working on I may just use the card in a recommended setup. But I'm going to download the drivers and copy of 98SE while I'm at work and see how it holds up first.
Got it started the other night, had to get a PS2 Keyboard and Mouse, started without any issues. From looking at the files looks like the last time it was used was in 2005. Has Roxio and Photoshop 7 installed. Looks like the original owner was using the PC to do some advertisement work and that's about it.

First start after 15 years. Hadn't adjusted the monitor yet.
PgYKhcm.jpg

Reply 16 of 31, by dionb

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Enternal wrote on 2020-08-28, 17:20:

Thanks for all the advice and board information everyone!

The 900 Mhz Slot A's are in the 40-50 range but if the platform is not worth really working on I may just use the card in a recommended setup. But I'm going to download the drivers and copy of 98SE while I'm at work and see how it holds up first.

Tbh, I'd just leave it with current CPU. If you want Athlon 900 performance, you can get SoA KT133+Tbird 900 or similar for less than that amount, and even then, there's not going to be a whole lot that will run nicely on that but not on this. It's a great late Win98/early Win2k/XP platform as it is.

Reply 17 of 31, by red-ray

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Enternal wrote on 2020-08-27, 14:33:

Which I was able to identify as a Voodoo 3 1000 that several people here have.

Good find, I have not validated SIV on a Voodoo 3 1000, please will you try it and post the Menu->File->Save Local file?