VOGONS


First post, by AngryByDefault

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Hi!

As the subject says, I am curious about what are the benefits you find in those Athlons an Turions as a retro platform.

Not that I have anything against them, as I have personally used similar CPUs in their day, it ' s just that I think I understand why people chooses a Pentium I or a Core 2 Duo, but not so sure about these two (and a few others, actually).

I' d love to hear your reasons.
Thanks.

Reply 1 of 28, by Error 0x7CF

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I'm not an Athlon 64 chooser for any retro systems yet, but I did choose a late (XP3000+) Athlon XP system for one of my "early XP era" machines. I like that it's not just a boring old standard Pentium 4 like I have so many systems of, and the board is pretty thoroughly featured as opposed to a lot of cheapo cost-reduced P4 boards I've seen around that cut corners around having AGP or PCIe x16 slots for GPUs. It's also much easier to cool, which is quite important since it's in a lanbox style system from Shuttle, the SK43G, and it has a relatively beefy for the time ATI x800XT in the same tiny case with it. A Pentium 4 system in the same chassis with the same GPU and no additional fans for airflow would cause a housefire.

I used an Athlon 64 singlecore system running Windows 7 for a good number of years, not even with an Athlon II. It ran Minecraft okay on the motherboard graphics actually, probably because it was an Nvidia board. An Athlon 64 machine would make much more sense to me as an "Ultimate XP Machine" than some of the i7+980ti machines I see. I don't believe any game that could take advantage of that hardware is running at its best under XP, and I think games for that kind of hardware belong more on Windows Vista or 7, mostly 7. Core 2 Duo feels too far outside the XP era, Athlon 64 started out several years before when the Pentium 4 was alive and kicking.

Old precedes antique.

Reply 2 of 28, by Caluser2000

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How does I get them for free sound? AMD were well ahead in the 64-bit game.

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A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 3 of 28, by LHN91

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I've got a couple machines that are early Athlon64 or same-era Sempron machines. Honestly, I have them mainly because they were free... but if I was buying I'd also consider them because they're quick (often quicker than the P4's of the time), they tend to run fairly cool, and plenty of the boards support 98SE/ME. Not to mention that basically any modern cooler that works on AMD should work on any AMD socket from 754 and up.

Reply 4 of 28, by Error 0x7CF

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LHN91 wrote on 2021-05-28, 00:57:

plenty of the boards support 98SE/ME

That's a very interesting point. Athlon 64 came out in 2003, so if you're careful about board choice you can have a board with 98SE/ME drivers that can run a 2.6 or 2.8GHz processor. (Also a processor with that frequency that has IPC better than zero.. looks at Pentium IV)

Old precedes antique.

Reply 5 of 28, by bloodem

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Athlon 64 is ultra fast for Win98, decent/acceptable for early WinXP gaming, flexible for DOS, cool (the Venice / San Diego SKUs), and VERY quiet (you can use cheap modern coolers with it, that simply destroy any period correct cooling solutions).
The socket 939/754 platforms based on the VIA K8T800/VT8237 chipset are extremely compatible with both Windows 98 and DOS and you can use sound cards such as the Yamaha YMF7x4 or ESS Solo-1, which will give you very good DOS compatibility and great sound quality.

Using a combination of CPU multiplier & memory speed adjustments / setmul (L1 cache) / Throttle, you can generally obtain 386 / 486 DX-33 / 486 DX-66 / Pentium MMX speeds with great ease.
It's my second favorite 'modern' platform for DOS/Win98 (and even WinXP) time machines (the Athlon XP + VIA KT400/KT600 being on first place).

As it has been pointed out, with Pentium 4 you get a pretty boring platform. Later faster models (Prescott in particular, but even Northwood 3 GHz and above) are hot, and since you can't use modern coolers they're also very loud.
They're very good for Windows 98 but that's about it. For Win XP they're... passable, and as for DOS compatibility - it's very poor (and you basically get no speed control - 386/486 speeds are unobtainable). In fact, I've had much better success with Core 2 Duo when it comes to speed adjustments, than with Pentium 4 (which is understandable, since the Core microarchitecture is a successor to the P6) 😀.

2 x PGA132 / 5 x Socket 3 / 9 x Socket 7 / 12 x SS7 / 1 x Socket 8 / 14 x Slot 1 / 5 x Slot A
5 x Socket 370 / 8 x Socket A / 2 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 7 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
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Reply 6 of 28, by RandomStranger

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On the notebook front AMD didn't have an in-house GPU until they bought up ATI in around 2005-2006 so AMD notebooks generally have better (third party) IGPUs.

For desktop, they were much better choice in the Pentimu 4/Pentium-D era so period correct late W9x and early-to-mid XP era they are the better choice.
Also, if my memory serves me right, Intel paid off OEM manufacturers in the P4 era so they are very cheap and common and therefore boring compared to AMD.

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Reply 7 of 28, by nd22

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I got many socket 754 and 939 systems and I think there are several advantages over socket 462:
1. you no longer need a PSU with a strong 5V rail because the above 2 platforms will draw most of the current from the 12V rail. Socket 462 will draw a lot of current from the 5V rail even with the auxiliary power connector present!
2. Boards with VIA KT800 pro chipset make for a superb Windows 98Se machine because you can set the multiplier in BIOS to 5x and get a 1.000 MHz CPU! Also AGP is fully compatible even with bridged cards such as geforce 7800gs/7600gt ar radeon X1950 pro/X1650xt
3. you can dual boot 98SE/XP and the machine will perform very good in period correct games.

There are some downsides though:
1. NVIDIA nforce4 is NOT compatible with 98SE;
2.pci-express GPU do not play nice with 98SE in my experience!

Relative to socket 478 there are also some BIG advantages:
1. moderate power consumption
2. very easy to find compatible coolers
3. relative easy to cool - unlike Pentium 4 3.0-3.4 ghz.

Example: my second most used system is socket 754: Athlon 64 3400 Venice core; 2*1gb DDR-400; Abit KV8 PRO, 200gb HDD; geforce 7900gs AGP - superb performance in all games up to 2004 at extreme resolutions and settings and does NOT sound like a 747 taking off! Since the system is disconnected from the internet and can access only internal network everything runs like a dream on it!
IMHO Core2 duo represent late Windows XP era and do not play nice with 98SE

Reply 8 of 28, by ODwilly

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I have a 754 matx Biostar KT880? board with a multiplier unlocked mobile 25watt Sempron 2.0ghz that runs with everything overclocked to 2.3ghz. Made for a killer little media center with a HD 4670 before I sold that card. Has options for Windows 95 compatibility and supposedly 360kb floppy drive support. AGP 8x and sata 1 along with 2 ide channels and decent ac97 audio onboard. Honestly a compact and well rounded little setup. Oh and the integrated graphics are handy if you want to stick a Voodoo 2 or 2 in there.

Main pc: Asus ROG laptop. I7-6700HQ, GTX 960M 4gb, 16gb DDR4.
Retro PC: Soyo P4S Dragon, 3gb ddr 266, 120gb Maxtor, Geforce Fx 5950 Ultra, SB Live! 5.1

Reply 9 of 28, by Hoping

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My last project for Windows 98 consists of a Foxconn760GXK8MC (SIS 760GX) board and an Athlon64 mobile 3200+ DTR with 512MB of RAM and a 250gb ide hard disk and a Geforce4 ti 4200 (nv28) overclocked at 300Mhz and a Sound blaster live ( sb0100)
I had the intention that this team was the definitive one for Windows 98 and I was impressed, the SIS chipset has very good compatibility with Windows 98. I didn't want DOS compatibility in this system, only Windows gaming.
Personally, I do not consider any equipment with netburst technology to use it. I only have them as samples of what they were like.

Reply 10 of 28, by PTherapist

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I've got a couple of Socket 754 based PCs, 1 with an Athlon 64 3200+ & the other with a Sempron 3000+. I built them back in the day as cheap HTPCs, 1 of which was used until around 2015 with a Radeon HD 3450 512MB AGP Graphics card, capable of decoding H.264 @ 1080p HD.

I pretty much haven't touched these PCs since they were retired. The specs are kind of inbetween my current retro gaming builds, with a Socket A & Socket 478 covering early-mid 2000s and Socket 775 Core 2 covering mid-late 2000s. As such, I've never really considered repurposing them as Gaming PCs. With the right graphics card, they'd probably make a nice build covering early-mid 2000s games with Windows XP and have the bonus of running a lot cooler than the Pentium 4 & less power hungry than the Athlon XP. Performance wise, the top end would probably compete well against a non-HT Pentium 4 and would also be better than the Socket A Athlon XP.

I never had a Socket 939 build, I skipped straight to AM2.

I also have a laptop with a Turion 64 MK-36 2.0GHz, but this was given to me for free and hasn't seen any use in a couple of years, plus also has a dead battery. If I ever decide to do a Gaming Laptop setup, this would probably be a contender as it has Radeon Xpress 1100 Graphics and could probably handle late 90s to early 2000s stuff. The current installed OS would definitely have to go, the poor thing was upgraded to Windows 10. 🤣

Last edited by PTherapist on 2021-05-28, 12:48. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 11 of 28, by PTherapist

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Hoping wrote on 2021-05-28, 09:39:

My last project for Windows 98 consists of a Foxconn760GXK8MC (SIS 760GX) board and an Athlon64 mobile 3200+ DTR with 512MB of RAM and a 250gb ide hard disk and a Geforce4 ti 4200 (nv28) overclocked at 300Mhz and a Sound blaster live ( sb0100)
I had the intention that this team was the definitive one for Windows 98 and I was impressed, the SIS chipset has very good compatibility with Windows 98. I didn't want DOS compatibility in this system, only Windows gaming.
Personally, I do not consider any equipment with netburst technology to use it. I only have them as samples of what they were like.

Wise choice using an IDE HDD, I have that motherboard too and the onboard SATA is pretty atrocious, with poor performance & system lockups common - at least in XP, Vista & 7, I never tried 98 or ME on it.

Reply 12 of 28, by BitWrangler

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LHN91 wrote on 2021-05-28, 00:57:

I've got a couple machines that are early Athlon64 or same-era Sempron machines. Honestly, I have them mainly because they were free...

Yeah, I didn't choose socket 754, socket 754 chose me 🤣 Found two on the curb at different times. Though I did buy Compaq notebook with a Turion on 754. Then also I ended up with a 939 board, which is possibly an "ultimate" 939 setup now because it's got an X2 and 4GB RAM... should stick the 4870s in it in crossfire.

EDIT: Hmm guess one of the 754 could be my fastest AGP system if I stuck a 3400 in it, not sure I got a card worth it though, fixer upper 9700 with RAM problems, 9600 All In Wonder new in box, which I don't really wanna dig into. Did see an X1950 cheap locally, but I gotta stop buying more stuff.

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Reply 13 of 28, by megatron-uk

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At the time the Athlon 64 and X2 came out and we were buying desktops and workstations in the university, it was either those or Pentium 4's.... the Athlons just obliterated the P4 on a price/performance basis. Sure, if you forked out for dual or quad Xeon workstations you got something pretty special (and hot, and power hungry), but the Athlon X2 workstations we were getting from Dell at the time were running rings around the single core or hyperthreaded P4's in the same range.

Of course the Core 2 and Core 2 Quad then changed the game again.

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Reply 14 of 28, by BitWrangler

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This thread is good fun for illustrating what was going on just before/during the Core2 rollout... The Pentium D 995: A study into a world without Conroe for make benefit glorious forums of VOGONS

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 15 of 28, by Hoping

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PTherapist wrote on 2021-05-28, 12:44:
Hoping wrote on 2021-05-28, 09:39:

My last project for Windows 98 consists of a Foxconn760GXK8MC (SIS 760GX) board and an Athlon64 mobile 3200+ DTR with 512MB of RAM and a 250gb ide hard disk and a Geforce4 ti 4200 (nv28) overclocked at 300Mhz and a Sound blaster live ( sb0100)
I had the intention that this team was the definitive one for Windows 98 and I was impressed, the SIS chipset has very good compatibility with Windows 98. I didn't want DOS compatibility in this system, only Windows gaming.
Personally, I do not consider any equipment with netburst technology to use it. I only have them as samples of what they were like.

Wise choice using an IDE HDD, I have that motherboard too and the onboard SATA is pretty atrocious, with poor performance & system lockups common - at least in XP, Vista & 7, I never tried 98 or ME on it.

I didn't had much luck with SATA and win98, so always go for IDE.
I wanted a motherboard that did not use a VIA chipset because I wanted to use the Sound blaster live and not risk the problems that I had with another motherboard that had a VIA with an 8237, and I also did not want a motherboard with an nVidia chipset because all of the time they were affected by the bumpgate problem, so SIS was a good choice. And of course this system can run any game that works in Win98 with everything to the maximum.

Reply 16 of 28, by AngryByDefault

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Wow, thank you guy for sharing so much insight on the platform.
I suspected there was much more going on for them than the vague impressions I had about them...

Another itch starting to grow in me thanks to this forum 😜 ....

Reply 17 of 28, by Ydee

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For me, platform 754 is little overlooked and underrated. Sure, only supports single core CPU, single channel memory and slowest HT frequency, but You really need more for 98/ME OS? Then You can use s.939 (if You want stay on AMD platform) or s.775 for Intel solutions. Or You can increase the FSB up to 250/270 or maybe 300 MHz - at least nForce3 can handle it without issue (have Turion ML-30 on MSI K8N Neo V2). As nd22 said, with Athlon/Sempron/Turion on s.754 You can have a good performance, low power consumption, less heat loss (of course, nforce chipset are hottest than VIA or SiS) and good compatibility with AGP graphics. Each K8 CPU will be more powerfull even than last Bartons for 200 MHz FSB, I think. Another advantage is support SSE2 (and SSE3 on some revisions) compared to K7 CPUs.
Cons for me is bad SATA compatibility with VIA 8237 (without R) southbridge - only SATA 150 drives work and not all can be switched to this mode via jumpers or software utility. Nforce chipset have no support for DDMA.

Reply 18 of 28, by BitWrangler

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There was barely any point in having SATA on conventional drives of the time, typical performance was around 60-70MB/sec. By about 2008 I think it was there were some nice Hitachis that could fill the whole ATA133 pipe in RAID 0, and then of course the "whole new ballgame" SSDs came along and a 300MB/sec interface was actually useful, 17MB/sec over PATA never really set the world on fire.

Edit: If you stick a PATA<->SATA adapter on a modern SATA, you get the authentic experience because even if the board HAD SATA, most of the SATA drives around at the time had a PATA/SATA bridge built in anyway.

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Reply 19 of 28, by dionb

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For me these are the quintessential XP-era machines. Sure, I started running XP on Athlon XPs, but compared to them the 64 is less vulnerable in terms of core crunch and cooling, a lot faster, and compared to Intel CPUs from same time both faster and a lot cooler/quieter. Plus back in the day I couldn't afford a P4 but I could an Athlon64, so nostalgia plays its part too. Also, I'm a chipset enthousiast and one of my all-time favorites is the ULi M1697, which is an A64 chipset.

That said, I'm not hugely nostalgic about XP, so don't currently have any builds with it, but if I wanted one, I'd probably go for an Athlon64 X2.