VOGONS


First post, by dpirate

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Hello,

I am trying to build an Athlon XP system that is as silent as possible. I recently bought a new EPoX EP-8RDA3I motherboard because the ASRock K7VT4A Pro that I bought in the early 2000s does not have a 12 volt connector and therefore requires a PSU with a 30+ amp 5 volt rail to work with something like an Athlon XP 2800+ . I have an Enermax power supply that delivers 30+ amps on the 5 volt rail but it is even noisier than the CPU fan. I hate having to hear that thing. So the hope was that I could just use my trusty silent 350w Seasonic SII power supply with the EPoX and be done with it. Things are not working great unfortunately. I suspect that this motherboard doesn't really use the P4 connector for the CPU but I can't be 100% sure. When I run burnK6 on FreeBSD to push the CPU to it's limits the machine just blacks out and reboots while the CPU temp is still at around 50 degrees. I have a 3ware 8006-2LP SATA hardware RAID controller in this machine and sometimes at boot the machine will freeze when loading this controller's add-on BIOS. And I also have random missing characters in Xorg. Before I go and buy another PSU such as a Corsair one with a 30 amp 5 volt rail that may or may not be silent enough, can anyone confirm that this motherboard does or does not use the P4 connector for the CPU?

PS: I'm using a Radeon 9600 PRO in this system if that changes anything.

Reply 1 of 12, by PD2JK

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Unplug the P4 connector and find out? You won't damage anything.

My 8RDA+ doesn't have that connector, so I cannot test it for you. And I sold my 8RDA6+ Pro a few years ago...

Tulip Vision Line DC: 386SX 16 MHz
Highscreen AT: Pentium MMX 200 MHz
AOpen HX45: Athlon (classic) 700 MHz
Highscreen ATX: Athlon (classic) 1 GHz

Reply 2 of 12, by majestyk

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First of all make sure all the capacitors in the voltage regulators for the CPU core supply are in perfect shape or have been replaced.
Sometimes Epox used Sanyo electrlytics which will probably still be o.k.. but maybe this is not the case here.
A picture would be useful!
Then you can check if there are still any instabilities. I doubt there will be any.

Last edited by majestyk on 2021-01-23, 17:21. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 3 of 12, by PC Hoarder Patrol

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Seems it most likely does

Re: ~2002-03 build

https://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtop … 5310380#p272265

though I see other forum posts claim it works with (12V AND 5V lines?) or without (5V only)

Reply 4 of 12, by dpirate

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Thank you for your answers.

For some reason I thought that my Seasonic S12-II was 350w but it turns out it is 430 watts. A simulation of the power required by all components of this system came up with 330 watts but I suspect the hardware RAID card may draw more power than your average fake RAID add-on card. But 430 watts should be good enough. So I can probably rule out not having enough power.

Here are some photos of the system and motherboard:

https://cloud.metalpunks.info/s/zXwSsW2WyCNzpW6

This EPoX 8RDA3I was advertised as new never used. And indeed when I got it it looked like it was never out of the plastic. I don't know if capacitors still waste away when they never have been in use. I guess maybe it is in fact overheating and shutting down. Maybe that arctic cooling copper silent 3 fan is not good enough for an Athlon XP 2800+. Or this second hand CPU is worn out by previous intensive use and can't be pushed. I have another Athlon XP 2400+. I am going to try it and see how that goes.

Reply 5 of 12, by majestyk

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dpirate wrote on 2021-01-23, 12:41:

I don't know if capacitors still waste away when they never have been in use.

They definitely do!
And you can see on pic. 18 that all 6 capacitors in the CPU VRM section (the ones in line besides the CPU socket) are defective.
(The 3 green Sanyo caps in front of them are probably still o.k.) I would also replace the one right besides the ATX PSU connector since it´s the same model as the other 6.
Replace them all and don´t power up the system in the current condition, it will hurt the CPU and other semiconductors.

Last edited by majestyk on 2021-01-23, 17:21. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 6 of 12, by dpirate

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majestyk wrote on 2021-01-23, 13:01:

And you can see on pic. 18 that all 6 capacitors in the CPU VRM section (the ones in line besides the CPU socket) are defective.
(The 3 green Samsung/Samxon in front of them are peobably still o.k.) I would also replace the one right besides the ATX PSU connector since it´s the same model as the other 6.
Replace them all and don´t power up the system in the current condition, it will hurt the CPU and other semiconductors.

Ok, I will put it aside until I'm able to change the capacitors. Thanks for taking a look.

Reply 7 of 12, by dionb

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dpirate wrote on 2021-01-23, 05:58:

[...]

I have an Enermax power supply that delivers 30+ amps on the 5 volt rail but it is even noisier than the CPU fan. I hate having to hear that thing.

So replace its fan, or at least re-lubricate the current one if its bearings are still good. I have a huge AOpen/FSP 350W total but 50A 5V beast that rattled like hell. Now with a new Noctua 8mm fan it hardly even purrs.

Reply 8 of 12, by Repo Man11

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I lost both my Epox 8K3a+ and my 8RDA3+ to bad capacitors. I presently have an 8KRA2+ that works well, but I had to recap it. I miss Epox, their motherboards worked very well for me.

Reply 9 of 12, by majestyk

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This is how one of my Epox Socket A boards looked like after a few years of regular use :

epox_before1.JPG
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But once these Epox bords from that era are properly recapped, they run "forever". The buid quality was top of the range, Epox became just another victim of the "capacitor plague" and got defunkt a couple of years later.

Reply 10 of 12, by Grosvince

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I you want a silent Athlon XP rig, try to find a Geode NX 1750 CPU, which is a Athlon XP 1600+ low voltage. I run mine on the same Asrock K7VT4A Pro.

Vincent

Reply 11 of 12, by dpirate

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Grosvince wrote on 2021-01-23, 17:41:

I you want a silent Athlon XP rig, try to find a Geode NX 1750 CPU, which is a Athlon XP 1600+ low voltage. I run mine on the same Asrock K7VT4A Pro.

Vincent

That's an interresting idea. I have an ALIX 2D3 mini server with a Geode LX800 CPU. It doesn't come with a fan or even a heatsink. Is it the same for the Geode NX?

Reply 12 of 12, by Thandor

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dpirate wrote on 2021-01-23, 20:24:
Grosvince wrote on 2021-01-23, 17:41:

I you want a silent Athlon XP rig, try to find a Geode NX 1750 CPU, which is a Athlon XP 1600+ low voltage. I run mine on the same Asrock K7VT4A Pro.

Vincent

That's an interresting idea. I have an ALIX 2D3 mini server with a Geode LX800 CPU. It doesn't come with a fan or even a heatsink. Is it the same for the Geode NX?

Yes and no, the LX is based on the MediaGX and thus uses less power. Since it's a completely differeng chip you can't compare the two.

The NX is a K7 Thoroughbred so it's identical to any 130nm 256KB L2 Athlon XP. However, the NX1750 is sliced from a good part of the wafer and can run with low voltages. I don't remember the lowest vCore possible on the 8RDA3 but I doubt they go very low (1.4v?). I ran several Thoroughbreds (including a NX1750, that actually needed more vCore than my 'best' regular Athlon XP 1800+ 😉) on an ECS K7S6A that can run at 1.1vCore. With a big heatsink and a slight breeze you don't need active cooling. I think most motherboards can't do 1.1v so passive cooling will be more difficult.

thandor.net - hardware
And the rest of us would be carousing the aisles, stuffing baloney.