VOGONS


First post, by middle_pickup

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I'm going to begin cleaning up my family's old Dell dimension XPS T500. The machine has a pentium III, voodoo 3 (I think), and a sound blaster live. I haven't booted it up yet because it's so dirty. I'd like to clean it out first. I'm also suspicious about relying on the original power supply, and wonder how hard it would be to replace it with a modern part. I'd appreciate any suggestions or info on the machine that might help. I read on an old Dell forum post dating back to 2003 that the PSU is not standard ATX. If anyone knows about this, I'd love to know myself.

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Amateur computer nerd. Please send help.

Reply 1 of 17, by slivercr

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its non-standard. There are adapters for sale on ebay if you want to use a modern PSU.

You can also try the methods in this thread
A Permanent Solution to the Dell 'Fake ATX' Power Supply Problem?

Any modern PSU which can output around 120 W in the 3.3 V + 5 V rails should be fine to power up the system.

The motherboard is rather nice, I think for those models its an SE440BX-3. Does yours include the Yamaha sound chip?

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce

Reply 2 of 17, by middle_pickup

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slivercr wrote on 2022-11-14, 18:14:
its non-standard. There are adapters for sale on ebay if you want to use a modern PSU. […]
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its non-standard. There are adapters for sale on ebay if you want to use a modern PSU.

You can also try the methods in this thread
A Permanent Solution to the Dell 'Fake ATX' Power Supply Problem?

Any modern PSU which can output around 120 W in the 3.3 V + 5 V rails should be fine to power up the system.

The motherboard is rather nice, I think for those models its an SE440BX-3. Does yours include the Yamaha sound chip?

Thank you so much for that info. I'm not sure about the onboard audio features. Might you be talking about an FM audio chip? Also, do you know how to remove the motherboard from the case? It seems to be mounted with some form of metal clips rather than screws. I want to remove everything to give it a deep clean. Definitely don't wanna damage it though!

Amateur computer nerd. Please send help.

Reply 3 of 17, by chinny22

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The original PSU's while been evil were at least pretty decent quality, I have a 4100 still using the original PSU and a XPS T500 with a standard PSU using and adapter.
The 3rd option of converting the board to standard ATX should also be possible, just check if the mounting holes to move the connecter over are present on your motherboard.

My motherboard part number is Dell Rev A00 AA 722394-111 and is running a 1Ghz Coppermine so good chance you can upgrade the CPU to whatever you can get at a good price.

Reply 4 of 17, by middle_pickup

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chinny22 wrote on 2022-11-15, 14:21:

The original PSU's while been evil were at least pretty decent quality, I have a 4100 still using the original PSU and a XPS T500 with a standard PSU using and adapter.
The 3rd option of converting the board to standard ATX should also be possible, just check if the mounting holes to move the connecter over are present on your motherboard.

My motherboard part number is Dell Rev A00 AA 722394-111 and is running a 1Ghz Coppermine so good chance you can upgrade the CPU to whatever you can get at a good price.

Well that's good to hear. I don't know that anything is wrong with my PSU, but just wanted to know for the future. As for upgrades, I'd be interested as long as it's pretty cheap. I'm not at all well versed in the slot system this machine uses though. I'll have to research this stuff more.

Amateur computer nerd. Please send help.

Reply 5 of 17, by chinny22

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I love those few years both AMD and Intel went from socket to cartridge style CPU's, probably in part because it didn't last long so is something different.
Plus they are versatile being very well suited to both dos and Win9x gaming.

The BX Motherboard which is what you have is legendary for its stability and somewhat famously what VMware virtual machines emulate.
And while your motherboard lacks some of the advanced BIOS options found in the likes of Asus BX boards I guess you could say you have the added stability of having aboard manufactured by Intel themselves.
SE440BX-2 is the Intel branded version of this board
SE440BX-3 is the OEM version (Gateway been the other main user)

As long as you have about 64-128MB ram and enough hard drive space you probably don't need to upgrade anything.
500Mhz will play most 9x games that don't like XP and CPU's after around 500/600Mhz start to get costly.
Voodoo 3 is an awesome card to get back into these old computers.
SBLive! is good choice for 9x games with EAX support.
Assuming it has the the onboard Yamaha YMF soundcard which is a really good card for dos gaming with 1 small catch, you have to play games within windows as you loose midi if you boot into pure dos.

If you really want to boot into pure dos the Live! does have some basic support as well, although I'd seriously be thinking about getting an ISA sound card of some type as the first upgrade.

Reply 6 of 17, by slivercr

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chinny22 wrote on 2022-11-16, 12:56:
... SE440BX-2 is the Intel branded version of this board SE440BX-3 is the OEM version (Gateway been the other main user) ... […]
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...
SE440BX-2 is the Intel branded version of this board
SE440BX-3 is the OEM version (Gateway been the other main user)
...

I think this is not entirely correct, SE440BX2 and SE440BX3 are different products:

  • BX2 has 2 ISA slots, while BX3 has 1 ISA slot;
  • BX2 optionally comes with the YMF-740, BX3 optionally comes with the YMF-724;
  • BX2 can be found in OEM machines and in retail version;
  • I dont know if BX3 can be found in retail version, anyone have a retail one?

Both are pretty solid motherboards, tbh.

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce

Reply 7 of 17, by chinny22

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slivercr wrote on 2022-11-17, 17:20:
I think this is not entirely correct, SE440BX2 and SE440BX3 are different products: […]
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chinny22 wrote on 2022-11-16, 12:56:
... SE440BX-2 is the Intel branded version of this board SE440BX-3 is the OEM version (Gateway been the other main user) ... […]
Show full quote

...
SE440BX-2 is the Intel branded version of this board
SE440BX-3 is the OEM version (Gateway been the other main user)
...

I think this is not entirely correct, SE440BX2 and SE440BX3 are different products:

  • BX2 has 2 ISA slots, while BX3 has 1 ISA slot;
  • BX2 optionally comes with the YMF-740, BX3 optionally comes with the YMF-724;
  • BX2 can be found in OEM machines and in retail version;
  • I dont know if BX3 can be found in retail version, anyone have a retail one?

Both are pretty solid motherboards, tbh.

Gateway also had a BX Motherboard made by Intel that shared the SE440BX3 model number.
This differs from Dell's with a standard ATX connector and Ensonic AudioPCI for onboard sound.

Going off this list of BIOS ID's only the 2 BX3 boards above are listed both marked and OEM only.
https://www.wimsbios.com/intelphoenixbiosids.jsp#gsc.tab=0
But then it also lists 4S4EB0X1.10A which is a Dell branded BX motherboard without any special OEM model number.

I know I read that the 3 meant it was OEM on a forum about 20 years ago when trying o find out more on my own Gateway M/B so could definitely be wrong but it made sence so stuck with men and it does seem like BX3 was reserved for Dell/Gateway.
However the above link also lists a few other OEM's that use the BX2 model number so not sure why Intel split them off? Maybe orders over a certain number or x amount of changes over a standard motherboard?

In any case fully agree a SE440BX of any markings is a great basis of a PC build

Reply 8 of 17, by slivercr

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chinny22 wrote on 2022-11-18, 13:38:
Gateway also had a BX Motherboard made by Intel that shared the SE440BX3 model number. This differs from Dell's with a standard […]
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Gateway also had a BX Motherboard made by Intel that shared the SE440BX3 model number.
This differs from Dell's with a standard ATX connector and Ensonic AudioPCI for onboard sound.

Going off this list of BIOS ID's only the 2 BX3 boards above are listed both marked and OEM only.
https://www.wimsbios.com/intelphoenixbiosids.jsp#gsc.tab=0
But then it also lists 4S4EB0X1.10A which is a Dell branded BX motherboard without any special OEM model number.

I know I read that the 3 meant it was OEM on a forum about 20 years ago when trying o find out more on my own Gateway M/B so could definitely be wrong but it made sence so stuck with men and it does seem like BX3 was reserved for Dell/Gateway.
However the above link also lists a few other OEM's that use the BX2 model number so not sure why Intel split them off? Maybe orders over a certain number or x amount of changes over a standard motherboard?

In any case fully agree a SE440BX of any markings is a great basis of a PC build

I think you're right that the "3" means its an OEM board, because I've never seen a retail version of the se440bx3.

What I was getting at is that they are different products, they are physically different; that's why intel split them off. You can see pictures here.

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce

Reply 9 of 17, by middle_pickup

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chinny22 wrote on 2022-11-16, 12:56:

If you really want to boot into pure dos the Live! does have some basic support as well, although I'd seriously be thinking about getting an ISA sound card of some type as the first upgrade.

I was kinda wondering about that. I missed out on most of dos games as a kid, and there are a few games I want to experience like System Shock, Daggerfall and some of the Star Wars stuff. What sound card would you recommend?

Amateur computer nerd. Please send help.

Reply 10 of 17, by slivercr

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middle_pickup wrote on 2022-11-18, 23:49:

I was kinda wondering about that. I missed out on most of dos games as a kid, and there are a few games I want to experience like System Shock, Daggerfall and some of the Star Wars stuff. What sound card would you recommend?

I would insist that you check the back of your computer and if it has audio I/O and a gameport next to the USB ports, then you have the onboard Yamaha sound chip. This would be the ideal solution as its basically the same as having an ISA card, and it is super compatible in DOS. Besides that, within Windows and in DOS games played through the command prompt it gives you access to Yamaha XG MIDI, which sounds great.

If you dont have the onboard Yamaha, you could stick with your SB Live! and follow this guide: it'll allow you to use soundfonts for DOS games played through the command prompt (within Windows). Its a pretty cool feature.

If you want to go with an ISA card, I would personally recommend a Yamaha (I sound like a fanboy, I know) based card—anything with the ymf719 chip would be very compatible in both DOS and Windows. It would also give you great MIDI support through the gameport and a wavetable header, if you want to explore that option later on.

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce

Reply 11 of 17, by chinny22

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middle_pickup wrote on 2022-11-18, 23:49:
chinny22 wrote on 2022-11-16, 12:56:

If you really want to boot into pure dos the Live! does have some basic support as well, although I'd seriously be thinking about getting an ISA sound card of some type as the first upgrade.

I was kinda wondering about that. I missed out on most of dos games as a kid, and there are a few games I want to experience like System Shock, Daggerfall and some of the Star Wars stuff. What sound card would you recommend?

I'm going to assume you have the onboard YMC sound card as all T500's I've come across included it.
The games you mention all have MIDI soundtracks which is where you will notice the most difference between cards.

Honestly I'd stick with the onboard sound which a XPS T500 should have and play those few games in windows.
The Windows driver can emulate a Sound Blaster Pro but most importantly as slivercr said you'll have XG lite Midi which is on par as say the comparable Yamaha MU10 a much more expensive MIDI module.

If you really do want to drop back to pure dos for some reason I'm 90% sure the onboard sound works but you loose midi (so music)
An interesting idea that would need double checking by someone else is you could attach a external midi device like the MU10 or Roland. But would need confirmation the MPU port works in dos, and midi devices are expensive.

Safe bet would be a SoundBlaster of ESS Audiodrive range of cards. Double check here once you find something for a good price and we can say the Pro's and Con's which all cards have.
I wouldn't get a Yamaha ISA card as basically you have just duplicated the onboard sound, More fun to get something different and you can compare the differences.

Now if you don't any onboard sound for some reason.
SoundBlaster Live - Audigy 2 ZS are great for Windows and EAX and as slivercr already mentioned do have dos support, and while aren't amazing should be enough for the occasional dos session.
Aureal Vortex -Again more of a Windows card which supports A3D but also included dos drivers.
If you wanted an additional ISA card for just dos
The already mentioned Sound Blaster, ESS Audio drive or yes Yamaha YMF cards are popular choices.
problem is ISA cards are going up in price, I'd find any ISA card for a good price and just research/check here rather then been too picky

Reply 12 of 17, by slivercr

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chinny22 wrote on 2022-11-21, 13:59:
... If you really do want to drop back to pure dos for some reason I'm 90% sure the onboard sound works but you loose midi (so […]
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...
If you really do want to drop back to pure dos for some reason I'm 90% sure the onboard sound works but you loose midi (so music)
An interesting idea that would need double checking by someone else is you could attach a external midi device like the MU10 or Roland. But would need confirmation the MPU port works in dos, and midi devices are expensive.
...

I can confirm the onboard Yamaha (if OP has it) works in DOS—in fact the drivers pick it up as an ISA card. Like chinny22 said, you do loose MIDI in pure DOS.

However, I can also confirm that the MPU port of the onboard Yamaha works in DOS, at least in UART mode. I have hooked up a Roland SC-88 and a Yamaha MU-80 to mine and played a few Lucas Arts games and a LOT of Doom.

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce

Reply 13 of 17, by middle_pickup

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slivercr wrote on 2022-11-19, 15:03:
middle_pickup wrote on 2022-11-18, 23:49:

I was kinda wondering about that. I missed out on most of dos games as a kid, and there are a few games I want to experience like System Shock, Daggerfall and some of the Star Wars stuff. What sound card would you recommend?

I would insist that you check the back of your computer and if it has audio I/O and a gameport next to the USB ports, then you have the onboard Yamaha sound chip.

I guess I'm missing out on the Yamaha chip. I'm missing sound IO on the rear panel. The only sound IO I see is the sound blaster live card, which I have learned is a value model. Apparently this is a cut down version. I have been listening to different midi modules for dos games on YouTube, and I would like to get into that eventually. System Shock especially sounds pretty sick with the SC-55. I tested Roland's sound canvas VST last night with some of System Shocks midi tracks from GOG. Really cool.

Amateur computer nerd. Please send help.

Reply 14 of 17, by slivercr

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middle_pickup wrote on 2022-11-23, 04:20:

I guess I'm missing out on the Yamaha chip. I'm missing sound IO on the rear panel. The only sound IO I see is the sound blaster live card, which I have learned is a value model. Apparently this is a cut down version. I have been listening to different midi modules for dos games on YouTube, and I would like to get into that eventually. System Shock especially sounds pretty sick with the SC-55. I tested Roland's sound canvas VST last night with some of System Shocks midi tracks from GOG. Really cool.

Ah, shame. I stand by my previous recommendation then: a ymf719 is great value for any system. It has real OPL3, SB support, a non-buggy MPU401 implementation which you can use either through the gameport or the wavetable header.

Lately I've seen some CRAZY listings for it on ebay, asking for like $100—completely absurd. If you're patient you should be able to pick one up for around $25 or less.

Honestly, the soundcard/MIDI rabbit hole goes pretty deep. Its also very subjective, and certain products command hefty price tags due to being collectible. IMHO and for my use case, a $25 Yamaha beats the crap out of waaaay more expensive cards. YMMV.

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce

Reply 15 of 17, by chinny22

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Oh well, in a way not having onboard sounds means you aren't been somewhat forced into choice.

The SB Live Value is still a good card with hardware acceleration. Basically if you can see a Creative EMU10K1 chip then it's a proper Live! and as Silvercr said few posts earlier does have dos drivers you can use while waiting to find an ISA card for a good price because as he also said people are asking crazy money for ISA sound cards these days but also right in saying it's a deep rabbit hole that's really down to personal choice in the end which is why I'd recommend checking what you can find and asking here if it's any good, but indeed the Yamaha card isn't a bad choice at all

Reply 16 of 17, by kennyPENTIUMpowers

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i have this exact machine.. i put another power supply in it without realizing the plugs have differnet pin ordering .. it wouldnt boot (no surprise now)..
amazingly it didnt kill the board...

if u really want a new PS i would just cut the plug off the new and old Power supplies and solder up to the correct pins.. they just moved the pins around..
you would have to sort out the 2 3 pin plugs too though, i think they are just 3.3 and 5v ... (test them)

Reply 17 of 17, by middle_pickup

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slivercr wrote on 2022-11-23, 05:53:

...a ymf719 is great value for any system. It has real OPL3, SB support, a non-buggy MPU401 implementation which you can use either through the gameport or the wavetable header.

Lately I've seen some CRAZY listings for it on ebay, asking for like $100—completely absurd. If you're patient you should be able to pick one up for around $25 or less.

Honestly, the soundcard/MIDI rabbit hole goes pretty deep. Its also very subjective, and certain products command hefty price tags due to being collectible. IMHO and for my use case, a $25 Yamaha beats the crap out of waaaay more expensive cards. YMMV.

Thanks again for the info. I'll look around for a card like that then. I'm currently trying to sort out a new flash drive to install 98se to, and then go through the driver song and dance. Luckily I still have all the OEM cd's and floppies.

chinny22 wrote on 2022-11-25, 11:58:

The SB Live Value is still a good card with hardware acceleration. Basically if you can see a Creative EMU10K1 chip then it's a proper Live! and as Silvercr said few posts earlier does have dos drivers you can use while waiting to find an ISA card for a good price because as he also said people are asking crazy money for ISA sound cards these days but also right in saying it's a deep rabbit hole that's really down to personal choice in the end which is why I'd recommend checking what you can find and asking here if it's any good, but indeed the Yamaha card isn't a bad choice at all

Good to know.

kennyPENTIUMpowers wrote on 2022-11-25, 13:30:
i have this exact machine.. i put another power supply in it without realizing the plugs have differnet pin ordering .. it would […]
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i have this exact machine.. i put another power supply in it without realizing the plugs have differnet pin ordering .. it wouldnt boot (no surprise now)..
amazingly it didnt kill the board...

if u really want a new PS i would just cut the plug off the new and old Power supplies and solder up to the correct pins.. they just moved the pins around..
you would have to sort out the 2 3 pin plugs too though, i think they are just 3.3 and 5v ... (test them)

Wow. I'm glad your machine wasn't damaged. I'm guessing that Dell didn't want to damage their computers when users inevitably tried using an aftermarket PSU. Smart.

Amateur computer nerd. Please send help.