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First post, by koleq

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Hello, my retro rig is lately freezing after some time gaming on it.

I have a habit of playing games meant for a CPU faster than the one I have,
I have a P133 and I am playing though Polda 2 which says minimum config is P200 but the game runs perfectly smooth,
Another game I was playing required P MMX and this game runs very slowly (especially videos)
But I managed to play 1 chapter on it and in the second chapter the PC froze on me.
(Both of the games are Point and click adventures, I thought those aren't that hard to run.)

Is it something bad with my hardware? I have never checked the paste on the computer the paste might be literary 27 years old. Same goes for the hard drive, but the hard drive seemed to be upgraded when I got it.

Or is it just that I am pushing the PC too much?

###HP Vectra VL 5/133 Series 4, D4644B###
CPU: Pentium 1 133Mhz
RAM: 96 MB EDO RAM (4x8MB, 2x32MB)
GPU: ELSA Victory 3DX (S3 Virge/DX 4MB)
Sound: Avance Logic ALS100 Plus+ REV 2.0
HDD: Seagate 20 GB (need to boot OnTrack)
OS: Windows 98 SE

Reply 1 of 18, by mkarcher

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koleq wrote on 2022-05-10, 18:36:
Hello, my retro rig is lately freezing after some time gaming on it. […]
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Hello, my retro rig is lately freezing after some time gaming on it.

I have a habit of playing games meant for a CPU faster than the one I have,
I have a P133 and I am playing though Polda 2 which says minimum config is P200 but the game runs perfectly smooth,
Another game I was playing required P MMX and this game runs very slowly (especially videos)
But I managed to play 1 chapter on it and in the second chapter the PC froze on me.
(Both of the games are Point and click adventures, I thought those aren't that hard to run.)

Is it something bad with my hardware? I have never checked the paste on the computer the paste might be literary 27 years old. Same goes for the hard drive, but the hard drive seemed to be upgraded when I got it.

Or is it just that I am pushing the PC too much?

As you don't overclock your processor, it is supposed to run perfectly stable. At the day of Pentium 1 mainboards, the core voltage regulator was used by just wasting the excess 1.7V (to get down from 5V to 3.3V) as heat (a "linear regulator"). Linear regulators don't depend on capacitors that much as later switching regulators do, so worn-out caps on the mainboard likely don't cause the issue.
The first thing you need to check is whether the CPU fan is still functional. Lockups after some time of gaming are a common symptom of overheating Pentium CPUs due to a broken fan. The thermal paste isn't that important, as a pentium is just around 10W of heating power, so getting that heat away doesn't require any high-tech magic.

System crashes may also be caused by bad RAM, so running memtest86+ might be a good idea. Don't blindly jump to the conclusion that if memtest86+ reports bad RAM, the RAM must be bad, as memtest86+ just reports the computer doesn't receive the data from the RAM it tried to write there. In case of memtest failure, the issue might also be rooted in the processor, the L2 cache or the mainboard.

Reply 2 of 18, by koleq

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mkarcher wrote on 2022-05-10, 19:07:

System crashes may also be caused by bad RAM, so running memtest86+ might be a good idea. Don't blindly jump to the conclusion that if memtest86+ reports bad RAM, the RAM must be bad, as memtest86+ just reports the computer doesn't receive the data from the RAM it tried to write there. In case of memtest failure, the issue might also be rooted in the processor, the L2 cache or the mainboard.

Where do I get memtest86+ that supports Pentium 133 could you please link me to a download?

###HP Vectra VL 5/133 Series 4, D4644B###
CPU: Pentium 1 133Mhz
RAM: 96 MB EDO RAM (4x8MB, 2x32MB)
GPU: ELSA Victory 3DX (S3 Virge/DX 4MB)
Sound: Avance Logic ALS100 Plus+ REV 2.0
HDD: Seagate 20 GB (need to boot OnTrack)
OS: Windows 98 SE

Reply 3 of 18, by mkarcher

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koleq wrote on 2022-05-10, 19:25:
mkarcher wrote on 2022-05-10, 19:07:

System crashes may also be caused by bad RAM, so running memtest86+ might be a good idea. Don't blindly jump to the conclusion that if memtest86+ reports bad RAM, the RAM must be bad, as memtest86+ just reports the computer doesn't receive the data from the RAM it tried to write there. In case of memtest failure, the issue might also be rooted in the processor, the L2 cache or the mainboard.

Where do I get memtest86+ that supports Pentium 133 could you please link me to a download?

You can get the memtest86+ V4.2 boot cdrom image and make a bootable CD from it, or you extract BOOT\MEMTEST.IMG from that image, e.g. by mounting it in recent windows versions or open the image in 7-zip. You can write that image to a 1.44MB floppy disk using rawwritewin.

Reply 4 of 18, by koleq

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Update, the CPU does not have a fan on it.
It only has a heatsink and then the powersuply that hangs over the CPU has a fan pointed at the CPU.
I measured that the heatsink can be about 35°C but then cools down. and heats back up.
I think the CPU is probably fine.

But you mentioned RAM, and these issues started happening when I removed some RAM from the PC.
I had
2x 8MB single sided (the two slots can only take single sided)
2x 8MB double sided
and
2x 32MB double sided
which resulted in me having 96MB of RAM, but I read online that Pentium slows down if it has more than 64MB of RAM so I removed all the 8MB sticks
I didn't see any performance improvement, but the PC became less stable.
I would like to run a mem test on the memory, and potentially put the 8MB sticks back it and see if the crashing gets resolved.

###HP Vectra VL 5/133 Series 4, D4644B###
CPU: Pentium 1 133Mhz
RAM: 96 MB EDO RAM (4x8MB, 2x32MB)
GPU: ELSA Victory 3DX (S3 Virge/DX 4MB)
Sound: Avance Logic ALS100 Plus+ REV 2.0
HDD: Seagate 20 GB (need to boot OnTrack)
OS: Windows 98 SE

Reply 5 of 18, by debs3759

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koleq wrote on 2022-05-10, 19:25:
mkarcher wrote on 2022-05-10, 19:07:

System crashes may also be caused by bad RAM, so running memtest86+ might be a good idea. Don't blindly jump to the conclusion that if memtest86+ reports bad RAM, the RAM must be bad, as memtest86+ just reports the computer doesn't receive the data from the RAM it tried to write there. In case of memtest failure, the issue might also be rooted in the processor, the L2 cache or the mainboard.

Where do I get memtest86+ that supports Pentium 133 could you please link me to a download?

Memtest86+ supposedly supports anything from Pentium up. https://www.memtest.org/
The original memtest is good for Pentium and earlier as well (486 and possibly still supports 386 - https://www.memtest86.com/download.htm, scroll down to older versions for a supported version that boots from CD or floppy)

See my graphics card database at www.gpuzoo.com
Constantly being worked on. Feel free to message me with any corrections or details of cards you would like me to research and add.

Reply 6 of 18, by koleq

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Should I be concerned that it says
L2 cache unknown?

IMG-20220510-215527758-MP.jpg

I have this like socketted module next to the CPU, I thought it's L2 cache.

###HP Vectra VL 5/133 Series 4, D4644B###
CPU: Pentium 1 133Mhz
RAM: 96 MB EDO RAM (4x8MB, 2x32MB)
GPU: ELSA Victory 3DX (S3 Virge/DX 4MB)
Sound: Avance Logic ALS100 Plus+ REV 2.0
HDD: Seagate 20 GB (need to boot OnTrack)
OS: Windows 98 SE

Reply 7 of 18, by mkarcher

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koleq wrote on 2022-05-10, 19:48:
Update, the CPU does not have a fan on it. It only has a heatsink and then the powersuply that hangs over the CPU has a fan poin […]
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Update, the CPU does not have a fan on it.
It only has a heatsink and then the powersuply that hangs over the CPU has a fan pointed at the CPU.
I measured that the heatsink can be about 35°C but then cools down. and heats back up.
I think the CPU is probably fine.

That's a valid solution, too. As long as the heat sink doesn't exceed 60°C, you will be fine. There is a lot of margin at 35°C.

koleq wrote on 2022-05-10, 19:48:
But you mentioned RAM, and these issues started happening when I removed some RAM from the PC. I had 2x 8MB single sided (the t […]
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But you mentioned RAM, and these issues started happening when I removed some RAM from the PC.
I had
2x 8MB single sided (the two slots can only take single sided)
2x 8MB double sided
and
2x 32MB double sided
which resulted in me having 96MB of RAM, but I read online that Pentium slows down if it has more than 64MB of RAM so I removed all the 8MB sticks
I didn't see any performance improvement, but the PC became less stable.

Well, this sounds like the 32MB sticks might be damaged or incompatible with your board. Possibly the memory offered by the 32MB sticks wasn't used by your DOS games at all, so you didn't notice instability caused by these sticks. I suggest to try to test each pair of sticks in isolation. For DOS gaming on a Pentium computer, 16MB of RAM is enough, so a single pair of 8MB sticks would do it for a start.

Reply 8 of 18, by mkarcher

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koleq wrote on 2022-05-10, 19:58:

Should I be concerned that it says
L2 cache unknown?

Don't worry. It likely just means that memtest was unable to read the L2 cache size from the chipset (maybe its not implemented for the 430FX at all) or auto-detect the L2 cache size on memory performance. If the BIOS reports L2 cache in the system summary box it prints just before booting, the L2 cache most likely works fine.

Reply 9 of 18, by koleq

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I know that the PC does not boot without the the Cache modul, the pc once stopped booting and I fixed it by wiggling the cache modul.
Probably not a good idea.

###HP Vectra VL 5/133 Series 4, D4644B###
CPU: Pentium 1 133Mhz
RAM: 96 MB EDO RAM (4x8MB, 2x32MB)
GPU: ELSA Victory 3DX (S3 Virge/DX 4MB)
Sound: Avance Logic ALS100 Plus+ REV 2.0
HDD: Seagate 20 GB (need to boot OnTrack)
OS: Windows 98 SE

Reply 11 of 18, by koleq

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The post screen says the Cache SRAM passed.

VID-20220510-222150369-exported-18218.jpg

The memtest also found 0 errors.

IMG-20220510-221458854-MP.jpg

Hmm there does not seem to be anything wrong...

###HP Vectra VL 5/133 Series 4, D4644B###
CPU: Pentium 1 133Mhz
RAM: 96 MB EDO RAM (4x8MB, 2x32MB)
GPU: ELSA Victory 3DX (S3 Virge/DX 4MB)
Sound: Avance Logic ALS100 Plus+ REV 2.0
HDD: Seagate 20 GB (need to boot OnTrack)
OS: Windows 98 SE

Reply 12 of 18, by mkarcher

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koleq wrote on 2022-05-10, 20:39:

The memtest also found 0 errors.

Hmm, this makes a memory problem less likely, although no memory test can test all possible access patterns. AFAIK, the old memtest86+ version I linked you (because I know it's Pentium compatible) doesn't have rowhammer or bit fade tests. I have a set of 4MB 30-pin SIMMs that do pass memtest, but likely would fail a rowhammer test. They also fail trying to boot Linux. Even if a memory problem is less likely than before, I still suggest to try the gaming test with 2*8MB instead of 2*32MB. If the system is stable with 2*8MB, the 32MB modules seem to have some issue, even if that issue is not detectable by memtest.

Reply 13 of 18, by Namrok

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If I've followed the thread well, you're playing this game "Polda 2" and it crashed in Chapter 2, locking up the computer with the sound repeating? Is it consistently the same spot? Has it crashed in other activities? Are we talking about this Polda 2 for Windows? I don't see a DOS release.

If it's only a single game, and the same spot in that game, I'd mostly blame the game. But it could also be drivers, either video or sound. But my inclination is sound. It could especially be remnants of old drivers if you've played around with the system configuration a bunch, without installing Windows again from scratch. One thing I would try, to isolate if it's a sound issue or not, is disable the sound card in the Device Manager, and then play the game again and see if it still crashes.

I would be to make sure I have the latest audio drivers, and no remnants of old ones. But often the only way to be 100% sure is nuking the Windows directory and reinstalling Windows.

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 14 of 18, by koleq

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It's not a issue in s single games but two games so far:
Polda 2 (it has only a Windows release) - after playing for a while in one dialog the PC froze, Ctrl+Alt+Del did not thing at the point I had to shutdown the whole PC.
and the second game is called Fairy Tale about Father Frost, Ivan and Nastya (also Windows only) - this game runs really slowly on my machine and when I lauched it once and walked away from the computer when I came back the game was frozen in the same way as Polda 2, Ctrl+Alt+Del gave me no reaction and I just had to shut down the PC.

But other game for example MDK I had no issues.

I was wondering if the two games that crashed are just too demanding on the system, but it shouldn't just crash right?

###HP Vectra VL 5/133 Series 4, D4644B###
CPU: Pentium 1 133Mhz
RAM: 96 MB EDO RAM (4x8MB, 2x32MB)
GPU: ELSA Victory 3DX (S3 Virge/DX 4MB)
Sound: Avance Logic ALS100 Plus+ REV 2.0
HDD: Seagate 20 GB (need to boot OnTrack)
OS: Windows 98 SE

Reply 16 of 18, by douglar

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koleq wrote on 2022-05-11, 04:58:

I was wondering if the two games that crashed are just too demanding on the system, but it shouldn't just crash right?

It's possible that you might find a bug in a game that only show up when running it on under powered systems but that is a less likely scenario. The devs probably had underpowered hardware available when they were testing after all.

More likely that it is borderline hardware or drivers that only fail in certain scenarios.

You probably want to focus on testing your ram for 10+ passes, looking for puffy capacitors, and trying a different power supply.

If that doesn't change anything, see if you are using drivers & operating systems published close to or shortly after the release date of the game.

Reply 17 of 18, by Tetrium

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koleq wrote on 2022-05-11, 04:58:
It's not a issue in s single games but two games so far: Polda 2 (it has only a Windows release) - after playing for a while in […]
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It's not a issue in s single games but two games so far:
Polda 2 (it has only a Windows release) - after playing for a while in one dialog the PC froze, Ctrl+Alt+Del did not thing at the point I had to shutdown the whole PC.
and the second game is called Fairy Tale about Father Frost, Ivan and Nastya (also Windows only) - this game runs really slowly on my machine and when I lauched it once and walked away from the computer when I came back the game was frozen in the same way as Polda 2, Ctrl+Alt+Del gave me no reaction and I just had to shut down the PC.

But other game for example MDK I had no issues.

I was wondering if the two games that crashed are just too demanding on the system, but it shouldn't just crash right?

Could you upload some pics of all the insides to here?

Do these games always crash at the exact same moments or is it somewhat randomized?

I have had a system where I got some stability issues with my DX4-100 at some point and I suspected overheating to the CPU heatsink (it was one of those nice-looking large anodized heatsinks without a fan). After prolonged usage the heatsink became almost too hot to touch. I can't remember what exact issues I had though as it's been like >10 years or more since I troubleshooted that particular problem with it.

Another rig did have very similar crashing of an Athlon XP rig of mine (sudden hard crash with the last bit of sound continuously looping) and this was solved by replacing the stock heatsink with an Arctic Cooler Copper Silent 3.
It wasn't even that the stock HSF was so bad. The problems only started once dust had started accumulating between the heatsink fins and the CPU HSF fan (the HSF had a highly dense fin-array), reducing airflow. Adding a case fan helped the insides keep a bit extra cool on top of what the new HSF could do.
With this Athlon XP I could definitively solve this crashing problem by preventing the CPU from overheating.

I however do agree with namrok that if the game keeps crashing consistently at the exact same moment, it's probably the game and not per se a hardware problem.

Lastly, given its age, it might be possible the issue is with the PSU.
But if your rig is perfectly stable concerning the rest of its usage, I would personally not be too worried about it and perhaps simply try those games on a different rig for at least the duration of these crash problems.

Whats missing in your collections?
My retro rigs (old topic)
Interesting Vogons threads (links to Vogonswiki)
Report spammers here!

Reply 18 of 18, by Tetrium

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koleq wrote on 2022-05-10, 19:48:
Update, the CPU does not have a fan on it. It only has a heatsink and then the powersuply that hangs over the CPU has a fan poin […]
Show full quote

Update, the CPU does not have a fan on it.
It only has a heatsink and then the powersuply that hangs over the CPU has a fan pointed at the CPU.
I measured that the heatsink can be about 35°C but then cools down. and heats back up.
I think the CPU is probably fine.

But you mentioned RAM, and these issues started happening when I removed some RAM from the PC.
I had
2x 8MB single sided (the two slots can only take single sided)
2x 8MB double sided
and
2x 32MB double sided
which resulted in me having 96MB of RAM, but I read online that Pentium slows down if it has more than 64MB of RAM so I removed all the 8MB sticks
I didn't see any performance improvement, but the PC became less stable.
I would like to run a mem test on the memory, and potentially put the 8MB sticks back it and see if the crashing gets resolved.

So you have a board with 6 SIMM slots?
8MB single sided is kinda odd though, could you please also include some pics of both sides of these 2 ram modules?
Are these those modules with 2x2 rows of those very large memory chips by any chance?

All of your pairs of memory are matched pairs I presume?

Anyway, 64MB total should be perfectly fine for your board.
If you have the manual (and please do give us the model number if you haven't already), oftentimes boards had particular demands on memory configuration. For all we know the problem is a mere memory configuration setting in the BIOS?

Whats missing in your collections?
My retro rigs (old topic)
Interesting Vogons threads (links to Vogonswiki)
Report spammers here!