First post, by jheronimus
I've been messing with my Supermicro P54VL-PCI motherboard (Socket 5 VLB) for a while now and I'd like to upgrade it from Pentium 100 to something faster in order to have a sort of an "ultimate" system for testing VLB stuff. That means that I need an upgrade kit of some kind. Ideally I want something like Pentium 166 to be able to comfortably run Quake at 30FPS, but more is better, of course. However, since all upgrade kits are pretty expensive, I'd like to be sure they will work on my system — I don't have any other use for them apart from this board.
The issue is that the board uses a fairly obscure Opti 596/597 chipset that none of the upgrade manufacturers specifically mention on their support pages.
I've taken a cue from WaybackTech: he has made a video on a different Opti-based VLB motherboard (his board has a 571/572 chipset) and he successfully runs benchmarks on WinChip 2 and Pentium MMX.
So far it seems like my motherboard doesn't accept any non-Intel CPUs, including AMD K5 and IDT WinChip 2. It does accept any non-MMX Pentium (although it runs it at 100MHz because there is no multiplier setting available). With an Award BIOS from Shuttle HOT-543 it runs with MMX chips as well, but Quake fails to start with stock BIOS settings. The stock AMIBIOS from Supermicro doesn't allow MMX chips. Otherwise the Award BIOS seems to be slower than the original one (about 1 FPS difference in Quake timedemo with Pentium 100).
I've tried the diagnostic tool from Intel's disk for Pentium MMX Overdrive and it says that my system should be compatible with it (although, again, Intel doesn't mention this board or chipset anywhere).
I've also tried the support CDs (1999 and 2000 versions) for Evergreen Spectra, but it says that there is no BIOS upgrade for my chipset, although MR BIOS does exist for Opti 596 (the ROM file should be called V076B508, but I can't find it anywhere).
Is there any other way I can make sure? I figured something like a CPU interposer would be a safe bet: if an AMD K6 doesn't work on this system, I can just stick whatever Pentium MMX I want. However, seeing how the AMI BIOS seems to perform some check for the CPU, maybe the Overdrive is a better option that won't force me to use the non-native Award BIOS? Then again, I don't understand whether the crashes with Pentium MMX are a result of running them in a 3.52v-only motherboard or the motherboard won't ever play nice with them.
Pentium 166 MMX Overdrive, 32 MB RAM, Ark Logic ARK1000VL, Tekram DC-680C, Turtle Beach Tropez, Gravis Ultrasound Max
Pentium III 1000, 256 MB RAM, Matrox G400 MAX, Adaptec 19160, Yamaha YMF740B