VOGONS


First post, by bassix6

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Hi all,

Apologies in advance if I create too many topics, but I recently I started working on my first retro Pentium III build and I discovered Vogons is such an excellent community to find more info about it!

I'm looking for hardware components and yesterday evening I stumbled on a rather interesting offer. This guy offers a complete pc for 125 euro's with the following components:

CPU: Intel Pentium MMX 233MHz
Memory: 256MB PC-100 SDRAM (2x 128MB)
HDD: 8GB Compact Flash via IDE adapter (brand new)
Optic drive 1: Artec 54x speed cd-rom speler IDE.
Optic drive 2: HP dvd-writer 300N IDE.
Floppy drive: Teac FD-235HF 3.5 inch 1.44MB FDD.
GPU: 4MB Asus 3DP-V375DX PCI.
3D accelerator: 4MB A-trend 3Dfx Voodoo 1 PCI.
Sound Card: Creative Soundblaster AWE64 CT4520 ISA.
Network Card: SMC EZ card 1255TX 10/100Mbps PCI.
Motherboard: Asus TXP4 Socket 7
PSU: HEC 230Watt ATX

I think at least a few already add up to 100+ dollars/euro's, so I'm seriously considering to buy the whole system. What do you guys think?

Reply 1 of 14, by Doornkaat

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Buying the individual components at ebay prices will be more expensive but it'll only be worth it if you want this exact config or a very similar one.
The i430tx chipset won't be able to cache 256MB of RAM properly so you'd probably be better off with less memory.

Reply 2 of 14, by cyclone3d

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That system is a Pentium 1 system, not a Pentium III system.

Not a bad price considering the insane prices 3dfx cards are going for now.

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Reply 4 of 14, by dionb

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The Voodoo 1 and AWE64 together would probably cost more than that these days, and a nice Asus TX board and decent S3 PCI card make this a pretty good late DOS system as it is, and a very decent deal.

Note by the way that 256MB RAM is overkill for DOS and is way over the 64MB limit of the chipset; it only makes sense to do this if running Linux or WinNT/2K/XP, which I probably wouldn't do on a P233MMX. Still, easy enough to swap that out for 64MB if you want to run DOS or Win9x on it.

Reply 5 of 14, by mothergoose729

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Yeah the 3dfx card alone is worth maybe 60+ euros. You don't need 256mb of memory on a system like that anyway, so a single stick of 128mb might perform better and be totally adequate. The AWE64 card is a value spec and not terribly hard to find but they are more a bit more expensive than they used to be. It should work great for most DOS games that support SB Pro or later. If you want this particular configuration than the value prospect is definitely there.

That system should play quake II at 640x480 at 30fps-40fps... for reference. For games released between 1993-1998 it would be great. You can extend it's life a little by adding a PCI video card. Something like a TNT2 M64 or maybe an FX 5200 PCI.

Reply 6 of 14, by Namrok

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Looks like a pretty solid 1997 era build. But if you were looking to build a nice 99/00 Pentium III system, you'll find yourself sorely lacking for the power you want.

To put this in perspective, that system might run Quake 2, a game that came out early in 98, at about 20 FPS at 640x480. 30 FPS if you aggressively optimize the settings and gut the image quality. That's how my P233 MMX with a Riva128 goes.

Even my K6-2+ 500 with a Geforce 2 MX, a fairly budget minded 99/00 build, scores 56 FPS at a 1280x960. My Pentium III with a Geforce 2 GTS gets 70 FPS at the same.

The gap between a Pentium MMX and a Pentium II/III is monumental. Those poor Pentium MMXs were rendered obsolete by Pentium II's almost as soon as the came out. I can scarcely think of a platform that aged as poorly in my lifetime.

Which is not to say I don't love my Pentium MMX system. It has a very "little engine that could" romanticism to it. I even goosed mine by running it at 2.5 x 100 FSB instead of 3.5 x 66 because I had a motherboard which could. But if your original plan was a Pentium III, you'll find yourself distinctly unsatisfied with a Pentium MMX the moment you attempt to play all but the very earliest 3D games like GLQuake. Even mid to late 98 games like Unreal or Half-Life might be prohibitively painful on there, unless you are extremely tolerant of framerates in the teens during heavy action sequences. Which many people put up with back in the day. I know I did. But which may not be what you want out of a "new" retro system these days.

Win95/DOS 7.1 - P233 MMX (@2.5 x 100 FSB), Diamond Viper V330 AGP, SB16 CT2800
Win98 - K6-2+ 500, GF2 MX, SB AWE 64 CT4500, SBLive CT4780
Win98 - Pentium III 1000, GF2 GTS, SBLive CT4760
WinXP - Athlon 64 3200+, GF 7800 GS, Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 7 of 14, by Joakim

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It is a good price but you should ask you self what purpose it has. Do you mean to run speed sensitive games? Not sure this one can. I'd go with a SS7 or rather a 486 to complement your p3, but I thats my opinion.

Reply 8 of 14, by mothergoose729

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Joakim wrote on 2022-01-16, 20:26:

It is a good price but you should ask you self what purpose it has. Do you mean to run speed sensitive games? Not sure this one can. I'd go with a SS7 or rather a 486 to complement your p3, but I thats my opinion.

Pentium MMX is plenty speed adjustable, and even if it wasn't throttle and mo slo are always an option. I don't know why people talk about this so much - IMO unless you are trying to use a p4 or something with DOS is usually isn't that big of an issue.

Reply 9 of 14, by Joakim

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mothergoose729 wrote on 2022-01-16, 22:21:
Joakim wrote on 2022-01-16, 20:26:

It is a good price but you should ask you self what purpose it has. Do you mean to run speed sensitive games? Not sure this one can. I'd go with a SS7 or rather a 486 to complement your p3, but I thats my opinion.

Pentium MMX is plenty speed adjustable, and even if it wasn't throttle and mo slo are always an option. I don't know why people talk about this so much - IMO unless you are trying to use a p4 or something with DOS is usually isn't that big of an issue.

Ok, are they multiplier unlocked?

When I looked at this mb again I realize it actually supports AMD k6-2+ anyway, only drawback is the non ATX form factor and no ago slot but imo agp is over rated for this time period. If this machine comes with a nice case I might have bought this.

Reply 10 of 14, by Blitz_25

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As other mentioned it's a P1 not PIII system. It should run win games released up to 1998 fairlly deacent at 640x480 res. If you'd want to build similar system by buying all components separatlly you would shell well over 200€ by current Ebay prices so if it would rock your boat then it's a very good deal.
It can be CPU speed up greatlly for cheap (around 20€+shipping) if you replace the 233mmx with much faster K2 II 500 (max what this MB supports) but then you'de bump in to GPU bottleneck as it would be Voodoo 1 that would hold you back greatlly so GPU upgrade in the likes of TNT, TNT2, V2, V3 would be addvised however here you're limited by PCI only option as this means much steaper prices in relevant GPUs compared to their AGP versions.

Reply 11 of 14, by mothergoose729

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Joakim wrote on 2022-01-17, 06:25:
mothergoose729 wrote on 2022-01-16, 22:21:
Joakim wrote on 2022-01-16, 20:26:

It is a good price but you should ask you self what purpose it has. Do you mean to run speed sensitive games? Not sure this one can. I'd go with a SS7 or rather a 486 to complement your p3, but I thats my opinion.

Pentium MMX is plenty speed adjustable, and even if it wasn't throttle and mo slo are always an option. I don't know why people talk about this so much - IMO unless you are trying to use a p4 or something with DOS is usually isn't that big of an issue.

Ok, are they multiplier unlocked?

When I looked at this mb again I realize it actually supports AMD k6-2+ anyway, only drawback is the non ATX form factor and no ago slot but imo agp is over rated for this time period. If this machine comes with a nice case I might have bought this.

Yes, it's socket 7. I don't know of any chips from that era with a fixed multiplier.

https://www.philscomputerlab.com/136-in-1-pentium-mmx.html

The motherboard should be able to run a regular K6-2, but I am not so sure about a K6-2+.

Reply 12 of 14, by dionb

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mothergoose729 wrote on 2022-01-17, 08:43:

[...]

Yes, it's socket 7. I don't know of any chips from that era with a fixed multiplier.

Starting with P133, Intel sporadically locked the multipliers on some of their So7 CPUs. There are definitely P166MMX CPUs that only run on 2.5x.

Reply 13 of 14, by Joakim

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mothergoose729 wrote on 2022-01-17, 08:43:
Yes, it's socket 7. I don't know of any chips from that era with a fixed multiplier. […]
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Joakim wrote on 2022-01-17, 06:25:
mothergoose729 wrote on 2022-01-16, 22:21:

Pentium MMX is plenty speed adjustable, and even if it wasn't throttle and mo slo are always an option. I don't know why people talk about this so much - IMO unless you are trying to use a p4 or something with DOS is usually isn't that big of an issue.

Ok, are they multiplier unlocked?

When I looked at this mb again I realize it actually supports AMD k6-2+ anyway, only drawback is the non ATX form factor and no ago slot but imo agp is over rated for this time period. If this machine comes with a nice case I might have bought this.

Yes, it's socket 7. I don't know of any chips from that era with a fixed multiplier.

https://www.philscomputerlab.com/136-in-1-pentium-mmx.html

The motherboard should be able to run a regular K6-2, but I am not so sure about a K6-2+.

There is a modded bios for this mb, with which it can run large drives and and k6-2+.

http://web.inter.nl.net/hcc/J.Steunebrink/k6plus.htm

It can however be hard to fit a long voodoo 2 card into this mb, as the CPU cooler might be in the way.

Reply 14 of 14, by AlexZ

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Pentium MMX became obsolete pretty quickly back then. I had it and ended up upgrading to K6-2 as soon as it came out as PII was too expensive. I do not consider Voodoo 1 very valuable.

Go for PIII and not MMX, as that will cover must longer time period.

Pentium III 900E, ECS P6BXT-A+, 384MB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 128MB, Voodoo 2 12MB, 80GB HDD, Yamaha SM718 ISA, 19" AOC 9GlrA
Athlon 64 3400+, MSI K8T Neo V, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT 256MB, 250GB HDD, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS