VOGONS


First post, by Joakim

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Hey guys, I just thought I'd join your nice forum here and start by posting my current project!

I'm building a Super socket 7 machine (not an other one!?) with some hardware I picked up from different places. I haven't received all the parts yet so I haven't put it together yet.

The motherboard is an Acorp 5ali61 with a K6-2 350 MHz and 128 Mbyte of 66 Mhz dram. It has a Matrox Millenium G400 Max and a Soundblaster 16 Pnp ISA, a crappy ATX case and a modern PSU.

I recon that the soundblaster 16 pnp will give me a headache, when looking at some form posts here but, hey I like challenge so I'll try it or put it in a picture frame or something... I really am not going for something perfect, I'm just having fun. Maybe also the graphics card is not perfect for older DOS-games.

Reply 1 of 19, by gerry

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Joakim wrote on 2021-03-31, 13:22:
Hey guys, I just thought I'd join your nice forum here and start by posting my current project! […]
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Hey guys, I just thought I'd join your nice forum here and start by posting my current project!

I'm building a Super socket 7 machine (not an other one!?) with some hardware I picked up from different places. I haven't received all the parts yet so I haven't put it together yet.

The motherboard is an Acorp 5ali61 with a K6-2 350 MHz and 128 Mbyte of 66 Mhz dram. It has a Matrox Millenium G400 Max and a Soundblaster 16 Pnp ISA, a crappy ATX case and a modern PSU.

I recon that the soundblaster 16 pnp will give me a headache, when looking at some form posts here but, hey I like challenge so I'll try it or put it in a picture frame or something... I really am not going for something perfect, I'm just having fun. Maybe also the graphics card is not perfect for older DOS-games.

you're right not to worry about perfection, or even making 'optimal' choices - its about having fun and some of the fun, in my view, is using up components you have or buying real cheap ones

the system sounds good to me. out of interest - hard drive or something like compact flash?

Reply 2 of 19, by Joakim

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I actually am not planning to go the compact flash way. Mostly because I dont have reader in one of my other computers or have any cards and dont want yet an other media. I went with an sd to sata solution, it seems to have higher write speeds but its not really an issue. I am probably getting a gotek later, and a regular HDD also if I find one I like. To be honest I love the sound of old hard drives make and I want to get one that has the right 'tick'.

Reply 3 of 19, by Doornkaat

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Hey and welcome! 😃
Feel free to post pictures of your build once the stuff arrives.
It is refreshing to see a build that's just fun and not a study on perfect hardware.👍 Also makes it easier to just change some parts if something isn't to your liking.

Reply 4 of 19, by Joakim

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A picture of the mobo.

It actually looks brand new even though it is over 20 years old. It's 'baby' ATX. I actually saw an original system at eBay the other day. Quite cool.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/172265326345

A keen eye can see that the jumper is set to 3x100 fsb, which happens to be the same as the system on eBay. The cpu that was packaged with the mobo I bought was actually 350 MHz.

The motherboard is old school and has jumpers for fsb, multiplier and voltage. I am more interested in down clocking than overclocking though!

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Reply 5 of 19, by Joakim

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So I received enough pieces to start assembling but I ran into a problem with general instabilities. Graphic glitches and write and read errors. It's a hassle to find the root cause with no spare parts!

I struggled for a couple of days with this, trying different BIOS settings etc. Now I found in the manual of the motherboard that using PC66 ram with 100 MHz fsb might be unstable. I have bought a 64 mb PC100 stick but it won't arrive until next week. So I changed the FSB to 66 MHz to match the memory and I am now installing windows 98!

Reply 6 of 19, by majestyk

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The TAG-RAM is missing on this board.
1 SRAM L2 Cache chip is present, but no TAG-RAM.

It´s supposed to look like this:

http://www.dosdays.co.uk/topics/images/acorp_5ali61.jpg

(Same revision (F) of the board)

If there are instabilities, a closer look at the electrolytics around the CPU and in the VRM circuit might be a good idea.

Reply 7 of 19, by Joakim

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majestyk wrote on 2021-04-05, 14:27:
The TAG-RAM is missing on this board. 1 SRAM L2 Cache chip is present, but no TAG-RAM. […]
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The TAG-RAM is missing on this board.
1 SRAM L2 Cache chip is present, but no TAG-RAM.

It´s supposed to look like this:

http://www.dosdays.co.uk/topics/images/acorp_5ali61.jpg

(Same revision (F) of the board)

If there are instabilities, a closer look at the electrolytics around the CPU and in the VRM circuit might be a good idea.

Oh. That sounds bad. I guess I have some cheapo version then..? I am happy you point it out though!

The concept is new to me, so I did some quick reading up...

Does that mean I should keep below 64 Mbyte of ram?

Also, is it true that the k6-2+ is not affected by this?

I don't see any obvious problem with the board but I am really no expert on the topic. My major was material science, not electronics.. 😉 I will do some more testing at a later stage tho!

Reply 8 of 19, by jasa1063

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The Matrox G400 Max is a good choice for a Super 7 build with AGP. I have two, one in a Shuttle HOT-597 and a ASUS P5A-B. I have no issues with either one concerning AGP compatibly. Both boards are set to AGP 2X and all features enabled running Windows 98 SE. Outside of 3dfx Voodoo AGP cards, I have not found a more compatible AGP card than the Matrox G400 Max:)

Reply 9 of 19, by kjliew

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Matrox G400 supports AGP4X with sideband addressing. It is a full AGP specification implementation. It has better AGP tolerance than G200 and usually works well with non-Intel chipsets AGP implementation at reduced speed. G200 will had a hard time getting AGP2X speed with non-Intel chipsets.

However, it will not perform to its fullest on Super 7. It is a better match with Intel 815 or new chipsets paired with Pentium II/III.

Reply 10 of 19, by jasa1063

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kjliew wrote on 2021-04-05, 22:11:

Matrox G400 supports AGP4X with sideband addressing. It is a full AGP specification implementation. It has better AGP tolerance than G200 and usually works well with non-Intel chipsets AGP implementation at reduced speed. G200 will had a hard time getting AGP2X speed with non-Intel chipsets.

However, it will not perform to its fullest on Super 7. It is a better match with Intel 815 or new chipsets paired with Pentium II/III.

I agree the Matrox G400 Max is very CPU dependent to get the most out of it, but I still like it's price/performance ratio and compatibility on a Super 7 build. You can find Dell OEM versions of the video card on eBay for around $30. Like this one.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Matrox-Dell-G4-MMDHA … vQAAOxyBLxRGqtA

Reply 11 of 19, by Joakim

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I agree that matrix g400 is maybe not optimal. It's mostly because it was a good deal and for Lols). Also it seems that I did not get the g400 max but s g400 dual head. I could have swore I checked a table with the revision number corresponding to g400 max.. but oh well it was 15 $ so I guess it's ok.

majestyk wrote on 2021-04-05, 14:27:
The TAG-RAM is missing on this board. 1 SRAM L2 Cache chip is present, but no TAG-RAM. […]
Show full quote

The TAG-RAM is missing on this board.
1 SRAM L2 Cache chip is present, but no TAG-RAM.

It´s supposed to look like this:

http://www.dosdays.co.uk/topics/images/acorp_5ali61.jpg

(Same revision (F) of the board)

If there are instabilities, a closer look at the electrolytics around the CPU and in the VRM circuit might be a good idea.

According to this post:

Re: AMD K6 3DMARK, aiming for stars.

Update: found 5ali61 rev F mobo w/o tag sram. I believe that’a Final revision of this mobo that allowed using 10-bit chipset tag sram. Also, maybe, the fastest.

(I am not sure what this means though.)

Reply 12 of 19, by majestyk

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That´s right! You have the ALI 1542A1 northbridge Revision H (it´s the last charakter in the string above "TAIWAN"). This is the last version and the best. Earlier versions (before G) were buggy and had the built in Tag RAM disabled. G and H work perfictly WITH the built in Tag-RAM.
As you can see the board in my link above - despite also being mainboard revision "F" - has the nothbridge 1452A1 revision E, one of the buggy ones. So the internal Tag-RAM got disabled and the external Tag-RAM had to be populated.
There are not many mainboard models that had the revision H northbidge of this chip (a late Jetway model being one) so you´re lucky!

Reply 14 of 19, by Joakim

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Cool I got the motheeboard cou and ram for 75 $ or something labeled socket 7 prolly seller did not know what it was. Neither did I really it seems so I am considering myself lucky indeed!

I read somewhere the board might take 1gb of ram which is silly. I might go with 256 or something like that if I find a good deal. 64 is prolly fine?

This is just fun and games for me atm, something to do when kids and wife are sleeping and I need something to tinker with. I do feel I'm getting a little obsessed though.. 😁

I want a case that is more period correct at least.

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Reply 15 of 19, by Woody72

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Welcome to the world of Windows 98 computing Joakim. I'm the same, I only started tinkering a month or so ago but and am gradually getting the hang of old computers again. Just try and stay off eBay, it's very compulsive 😁.

Modern PC: i7-9700KF, 16GB memory, RTX 3060. Proper PC: Pentium 200 MMX, 128MB EDO memory, GeForce2 MX(200).

Reply 16 of 19, by paprika

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I loved the HD sound too, it felt at home... until I started researching DOS-era sound cards when I needed undisturbed silence. That's when I switched to Flash. With almost no fan sound (Pentium 90 doesn't need one, and the PSU ones tend to be very quiet), I am starting to understand the different flavors of "silence" of audio cards, amplifiers, speakers, etc... Fascinating subject BTW.

Joakim wrote on 2021-03-31, 13:55:

I actually am not planning to go the compact flash way. Mostly because I dont have reader in one of my other computers or have any cards and dont want yet an other media. I went with an sd to sata solution, it seems to have higher write speeds but its not really an issue. I am probably getting a gotek later, and a regular HDD also if I find one I like. To be honest I love the sound of old hard drives make and I want to get one that has the right 'tick'.

--
Beauty Shots of Retro Machines
Computers and stuff at my YouTube Channel

Reply 17 of 19, by Joakim

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Woody72 wrote on 2021-04-06, 10:55:

Welcome to the world of Windows 98 computing Joakim. I'm the same, I only started tinkering a month or so ago but and am gradually getting the hang of old computers again. Just try and stay off eBay, it's very compulsive 😁.

Yeah I'm on a Swedish site similar to ebay too often looking for deals. Bought an unknown computer for 15 bucks the other day. I think it is pentium 4 or something... But to be honest, it is cheaper to buy a whole used computer than buying a new IDE cable in my country they are more or less throwing them at people. I tried to find a ps/2 port but it is imposible. I have to solder my own..

Reply 18 of 19, by Joakim

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paprika wrote on 2021-04-06, 11:32:

I loved the HD sound too, it felt at home... until I started researching DOS-era sound cards when I needed undisturbed silence. That's when I switched to Flash. With almost no fan sound (Pentium 90 doesn't need one, and the PSU ones tend to be very quiet), I am starting to understand the different flavors of "silence" of audio cards, amplifiers, speakers, etc... Fascinating subject BTW.

Joakim wrote on 2021-03-31, 13:55:

I actually am not planning to go the compact flash way. Mostly because I dont have reader in one of my other computers or have any cards and dont want yet an other media. I went with an sd to sata solution, it seems to have higher write speeds but its not really an issue. I am probably getting a gotek later, and a regular HDD also if I find one I like. To be honest I love the sound of old hard drives make and I want to get one that has the right 'tick'.

My build is far from silent, the 22 year or fan has done too many rotations I guess and needs replacement. It reminds me of my old slot 1 machine, but thats not really what I am nostalgic about.. 😀

Reply 19 of 19, by gerry

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Joakim wrote on 2021-04-06, 12:46:
Woody72 wrote on 2021-04-06, 10:55:

Welcome to the world of Windows 98 computing Joakim. I'm the same, I only started tinkering a month or so ago but and am gradually getting the hang of old computers again. Just try and stay off eBay, it's very compulsive 😁.

Yeah I'm on a Swedish site similar to ebay too often looking for deals. Bought an unknown computer for 15 bucks the other day. I think it is pentium 4 or something... But to be honest, it is cheaper to buy a whole used computer than buying a new IDE cable in my country they are more or less throwing them at people. I tried to find a ps/2 port but it is imposible. I have to solder my own..

if that's the price then it's worth it if you get just a motherboard, a P4 cpu and a case. If it so happens to have a working PSU and maybe even some ram a card or two its already on its way to being a prized circa 2000 games machine to complement the one you are building now! 😀

and if it's no good you will have some parts spare anyway