VOGONS


Matching CPUs with Voodoo cards

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First post, by GL1zdA

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Hi!
Could you help me choose the best CPU for some Voodoo based configurations? All machines would run Win98 and would be used for games available in 2000 and older (Win9x games and DosGlide games).

1st: Riva 128 + Voodoo
2nd: Riva TNT + 2x Voodoo 2 SLI
3rd: Voodoo 5500

For the first I would choose a PIII 300 - I cant find benchmarks with better CPU's and the first Voodoo. Does it work better with faster CPUs?
For the second I would go for a fast PIII or an AMD K6-III. (the AMDs and good super7 motherboards are somehow hard to get in Poland, where i live)
I don't know at all what should I use for the Voodoo 5500.

Are there more games than Quake III (and games based on its engine), that would benefit from a Dual-CPU setup and WinNT? Will they require Windows 2000 or will NT 4.0 be enough?

What sound cards whould you choose for them? (I would probably choose some monster sound cards).

Reply 1 of 30, by kreats

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1st - p233 MMX. Get an asus tx chipset board for this.

I think the voodoo 1 is fill rate limited (640x480 max support), probably doesn't matter if you go higher than this. The riva 128 might benefit from a faster CPU, but a p2 class cpu is a mismatch for this video card. A 233 is probably about as fast as you want to get if you want to moslo enough to run early dos apps/games too.

2nd - k6III+ or p3 I guess. It's a bit redundant if you're running a v5500 rig also. The k6III is interesting enough, but offers no real benefit to justify it's price. I'd say just have 1 and 3 personally.

3rd - P3-S with slot-t on bx board. Or you can find a p4 board with isa slots - but they don't have any "magic" to me.

Games that support SMP are pretty rare - a dual CPU rig is just not justified for retro gaming (and indeed is not supported under win98). No directX on NT, so forget about that.

AWE64 Gold & SB Live should be all you need unless you want a MIDI daughterboard (in which case, get a SB16 card or roland midi interface). A vortex2 card could be interesting if you're into aureal sound, but not required really.

Reply 2 of 30, by Silent Loon

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Welcome GL1zdA,

remember that - if you don't have the PCI version - all Voodoo5s are for the agp 2x slot, they run with 3.3V, NOT with 1.5V (AGP 4x) or 0.8V (AGP 8x). Running a 3.3.V card in a 1.5V Slot will destroy the card and / or the board! Normally cards and slots are keyed so you can't mix them. Nevertheless I've heard that there were some early P4 boards with 4x AGP that were not keyed, and also cards that had jumpers on it to select the right AGP speed / voltage (TNT2s board i.e. Diamond Viper Ultra), which some people oversaw - bzzzzzz !

So with the V5 you're limited by the AGP because you need at least a 2x/4x universal slot. The fastest you can go might be a KT333 (not KT400) based Athlon XP board, but you better look twice to get the right (universal) AGP Slot: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agp#Compatibility
If you need an ISA slot the fastest might be an early Athlon / Athlon XP board with KT133A chipset.
I doubt that there are any P4 with 2x or universal AGP and ISA Slots too. If so they are rare and expensive. By the way: there are forums of voodoo specialists on the web, where this particular question ("which is the fastest board for my V5") is discussed, so a little google search may be useful.

As kreats pointed out the 2nd combination looks kind of redundant. A good and cheap alternative to a PIII Slot BX- Board would be a VIA based PIII board that can go up to 1Ghz. That board would have ISA-Slots for ISA soundcards ( if you need them) and you could change the CPU if a game demands less speed (i.E. I-War / I-War Defiance). In this case I use a Via C3 550Mhz CPU which is awfully slow (slower than every K6-III and most K6-II))!
Nevertheless there are many games that run with a Voodoo1 which will not run with a V5, but might run with a Voodoo2. So you can also skip the first combination in favour of the other two.

Diamond Monstersound MX 300 is allways a good choice if you use win98.

Reply 3 of 30, by GL1zdA

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kreats wrote:

1st - p233 MMX. Get an asus tx chipset board for this.

I think the voodoo 1 is fill rate limited (640x480 max support), probably doesn't matter if you go higher than this. The riva 128 might benefit from a faster CPU, but a p2 class cpu is a mismatch for this video card. A 233 is probably about as fast as you want to get if you want to moslo enough to run early dos apps/games too.

Ok, I found a benchmark: http://www.thg.ru/graphic/19971130/print.html . It seems the better CPU would only matter for the Riva. Yes, I am looking for an ASUS TX97 board since a few months, but without luck. (There are several versions of it, I want an ATX one with DIMM's).

kreats wrote:

2nd - k6III+ or p3 I guess. It's a bit redundant if you're running a v5500 rig also. The k6III is interesting enough, but offers no real benefit to justify it's price. I'd say just have 1 and 3 personally.

Yes, I know they are redundant. But I simply like the old hardware 😀 And the Voodoo SLI which actually works without games beeing optimized to use it. I am just looking for a similar test as i posted above, to see where the Voodoo's limit the CPU.

kreats wrote:

3rd - P3-S with slot-t on bx board. Or you can find a p4 board with isa slots - but they don't have any "magic" to me.

Thats why I asked about SMP 😀 The ultimate P2B system

kreats wrote:

Games that support SMP are pretty rare - a dual CPU rig is just not justified for retro gaming (and indeed is not supported under win98). No directX on NT, so forget about that.

If there aren't any other than Quake III, it wouldn't matter because Quake III uses OpenGL. WinNT would be as the second OS to Win9x.

kreats wrote:

AWE64 Gold & SB Live should be all you need unless you want a MIDI daughterboard (in which case, get a SB16 card or roland midi interface). A vortex2 card could be interesting if you're into aureal sound, but not required really.

For the 3rd system I would use a Monster Sound MX300. For the the other - I don't know. After reading the forums I would go for a card with good MIDI or a card with a daughterboard, but for example Final Fantasy VII is AWE64 optimized, which probably wouldn't be the best choice for other games...

Reply 4 of 30, by GL1zdA

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Silent Loon wrote:

Welcome GL1zdA,

remember that - if you don't have the PCI version - all Voodoo5s are for the agp 2x slot, they run with 3.3V, NOT with 1.5V (AGP 4x) or 0.8V (AGP 8x). Running a 3.3.V card in a 1.5V Slot will destroy the card and / or the board! Normally cards and slots are keyed so you can't mix them. Nevertheless I've heard that there were some early P4 boards with 4x AGP that were not keyed, and also cards that had jumpers on it to select the right AGP speed / voltage (TNT2s board i.e. Diamond Viper Ultra), which some people oversaw - bzzzzzz !

Yes, I am aware of this. I have an AGP version. The PCIs are too expensive (probably Amiga guys look for it, because its the fastest that goes with their PCI expansion boards).

Silent Loon wrote:

By the way: there are forums of voodoo specialists on the web, where this particular question ("which is the fastest board for my V5") is discussed, so a little google search may be useful.

I tried to find a benchmark showing the Voodoo performance with various CPUs for 0.5h and simply hadn't enough time to look for the other setups. (or maybe I just asked google the wrong questions 😀)

Reply 5 of 30, by Amigaz

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GL1zdA wrote:
Yes, I am aware of this. I have an AGP version. The PCIs are too expensive (probably Amiga guys look for it, because its the fas […]
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Silent Loon wrote:

Welcome GL1zdA,

remember that - if you don't have the PCI version - all Voodoo5s are for the agp 2x slot, they run with 3.3V, NOT with 1.5V (AGP 4x) or 0.8V (AGP 8x). Running a 3.3.V card in a 1.5V Slot will destroy the card and / or the board! Normally cards and slots are keyed so you can't mix them. Nevertheless I've heard that there were some early P4 boards with 4x AGP that were not keyed, and also cards that had jumpers on it to select the right AGP speed / voltage (TNT2s board i.e. Diamond Viper Ultra), which some people oversaw - bzzzzzz !

Yes, I am aware of this. I have an AGP version. The PCIs are too expensive (probably Amiga guys look for it, because its the fastest that goes with their PCI expansion boards).

Silent Loon wrote:

By the way: there are forums of voodoo specialists on the web, where this particular question ("which is the fastest board for my V5") is discussed, so a little google search may be useful.

I tried to find a benchmark showing the Voodoo performance with various CPUs for 0.5h and simply hadn't enough time to look for the other setups. (or maybe I just asked google the wrong questions 😀)

Yeah, Amigan's are driving up the Voodoo 3/4/5 PCI Ebay prices

I know since I'm one of them 😁

My retro computer stuff: https://lychee.jjserver.net/#16136303902327

Reply 6 of 30, by kreats

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Ah yeah I've got a PCI v5 so never had to deal with those issues.

I was more stating that NT is almost entirely unsuitable for gaming. You may as well run XP or 2000 if you want a NT kernel based OS.

The extra noise & heat you'll get with a dual cpu system will be a negative when you're not in a SMP OS - so if you're mainly running win98 (and I'd imagine you mainly would be with a machine of this vintage), it wouldn't make much practical sense despite how cool SMP is. A single 1.4Ghz P3-S should be fast enough for any software/game that runs acceptably with the videocards you want to use.

I had years of stuttery sound with a VIA based board (686B bug on KT7A RAID) to make me wary of them - a BX board is the ultimate for compatibility IMO. I've always been partial to the asus p3b-f or abit bf-6.

You'll find you have less compatibility trouble if you go with a live! it really does it all (get a live! drive for extra fun). Nothing precludes you from having both though. Also, I'd imagine the live! can load the soundfont that comes with FF7 equally as well as the awe64 can (better in fact, as you need to upgrade the memory on the awe64 to use the largest FF7 soundfont).

PS: the ultimate tnt+voodoo2 setup is the 2x pure3dII + spectra 2500. No need for an analogue pass through at all!

http://www.thedodgegarage.com/3dfx/canopus.htm

Reply 7 of 30, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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IIRC Voodoo5 can benefit from faster CPU up to 2GHz, especially if you're using MesaFX or the likes to play T&L games on V5. Unfortunately, as SilentLoon has put, Voodoo5 AGP can only be put on AGP 2x slot (3.3V) --something Pentium 4 mobos do not have. Even when the AGP slot is not keyed, you still need to pay attention to the voltage supported by the slot; putting your Voodoo5 on 1.5V AGP slot can damage your card, your mobo, or both.

However, you can still use AMD mobos if you're to use Voodoo5 with CPUs faster than Pentium III. Here is some recomendations:

(1) Epox 8KTA3+. The mobo has AGP 2x slot, and supports CPU up to Athlon Palomino 2000+. Okay, the supported CPU ain't probably that fast, but the mobo has an ISA slot. Yup, this mobo has an ISA slot.

(2) Asus A7V333. Based on VIA KT333 chipset, this one also has AGP 2x slot, and if you get Rev 2.0 mobo, you can put Barton 3000+ on it.

(3) MSI KT3 Ultra2. Basically the same with A7V333, so it is a toss-up.

(4) Asus A7M266. Supports dual Athlon MP processor, so if you want to play Falcon 4.0 GLide with dual processor and Voodoo5 5500, this is probably the best choice. However, I'm not really sure if it really supports 3.3V AGP, so you may want to check with the manual.

Nonetheless, it is all back to your playing goals: do you want to push the Voodoo5 5500 to play newer games, or do you want to use it to play older games with FSAA? If you want to see how would FSAA work in older games like Interstate '76, then Pentium III 700 is probably too fast for your purpose.

On the other hand, if you want to use Voodoo5 to play new games, you need to look for mobos with AGP 2x slot that also support the fastest CPU possible. Asus A7V333 and MSI KT3 Ultra2 are favorites among the folks at 3dfxZone precisely for that reason.

Personally, if you just want to play 'newer' old games like Jane's USAF or the first Half-Life with maxed AA and resolution, I'd rather suggest Windows 98 and the fastest GeForce card that still supports it --and this comes from someone who has four Voodoo5 5500 AGP and five Voodoo5 5500 PCI Mac. 😉

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.

Reply 9 of 30, by Targaff

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I can also recommend an Asrock K7VT2 for a V5 (or K7VM2 if you can't get one, it's the same but with an onboard video chip). I've used them for a few years now.

Intel CC820 | PIII 667 | 2x128MB SDRAM | 3Dfx Voodoo 5 5500 @ Dell P790 | Creative SB PCI128 | Fujitsu MPC3064AT 6GB + QUANTUM FIREBALLlct10 10 GB | SAMSUNG DVD-ROM SD-608 | IOMEGA ZIP 100 | Realtek RTL8139C | Agere Win Modem

Reply 10 of 30, by 5u3

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Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:

... and this comes from someone who has four Voodoo5 5500 AGP and five Voodoo5 5500 PCI Mac. 😉

Get your pitchforks people - this is the one who's hoarding the V5s 🤣

Okay, I admit, I'm on my fourth V5, but only because three of them already died. One was a V5 PCI - RIP 😢

Reply 11 of 30, by GL1zdA

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kreats wrote:

You'll find you have less compatibility trouble if you go with a live! it really does it all (get a live! drive for extra fun). Nothing precludes you from having both though. Also, I'd imagine the live! can load the soundfont that comes with FF7 equally as well as the awe64 can (better in fact, as you need to upgrade the memory on the awe64 to use the largest FF7 soundfont).

Thats what I did on my Audigy 2 ZS 😀 And I also exchanged one of the midi's so that I get this AWE64 Sephiroth music. I only couldn't get the DirectX accelerated version to work - I have a Radeon 9800 Pro and it wouldn't render the backgrounds.

kreats wrote:

PS: the ultimate tnt+voodoo2 setup is the 2x pure3dII + spectra 2500. No need for an analogue pass through at all!

http://www.thedodgegarage.com/3dfx/canopus.htm

Yeah, I know, thats why I want Riva TNT + 2 Voodoo2. But the canopus cards are hard to find, so I would probably use the one from Diamond. (And upgrade if i finally manage to get the Pure3Ds and the Spectra). I managed to get the miro Voodoo 1 (a rebranded Pure3D 1) but unfortunately without the passthrough cabel which isn't a standard D-Sub cable 🙁

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:

Personally, if you just want to play 'newer' old games like Jane's USAF or the first Half-Life with maxed AA and resolution, I'd rather suggest Windows 98 and the fastest GeForce card that still supports it --and this comes from someone who has four Voodoo5 5500 AGP and five Voodoo5 5500 PCI Mac. 😉

The PCs would be for games that support glide or use the MiniICD but with best effects on the Voodoo (like Quake). No, I will not use it for new games (as those boys who managed to run Doom III on Voodoo2 SLI 😀 )

Amigaz wrote:

Yeah, Amigan's are driving up the Voodoo 3/4/5 PCI Ebay prices

I know since I'm one of them 😁

Here in Poland guys from Elbox try to make a new board that would support AGP and Radeons 9700: http://elbox.com/news_04_12_17.html . But 3 years have passed since the announcement and there was only one working prototype shown.

Thanks for all comments. I will think about everything and start to look for the hardware 😀

Reply 13 of 30, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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5u3 wrote:

Get your pitchforks people - this is the one who's hoarding the V5s 🤣

*whistles innocently* 😁

5u3 wrote:

Okay, I admit, I'm on my fourth V5, but only because three of them already died.

How did they die? 😢 How long is the life expectancy of a V5, by the way? Do you overclock?

5u3 wrote:

One was a V5 PCI - RIP 😢

Since V5 PCI is rarer than V5 AGP, isn't it possible to pull the VSA-100 chip off of a V5 AGP, then use it to replace the broken chip on the V5 PCI? I've never tried such thing before, but practically, how difficult it is to take off and solder back a GPU chip?

Davros wrote:

Kresh - since you are a fan of janes usaf are you aware of superpro 9.2 ?

Yup, although I never use it --USAF is one of those flightsims that I haven't got the chance to try the mods on. Isn't that true that Superpro 9.2 can enable the game to run on WinXP?

GL1zdA wrote:

The PCs would be for games that support glide or use the MiniICD but with best effects on the Voodoo (like Quake). No, I will not use it for new games (as those boys who managed to run Doom III on Voodoo2 SLI 😀 )

If that's the case, then CPU is probably not that important since most GLide games like Jane's F-15 or Jane's Longbow 2 run quite well on Pentium III. In fact, running Longbow 2 on P4 processor may result in your rockets exploding early before they reach the target.

However, there are exceptions like Unreal Tournament that need CPU faster than Pentium III, and that's where you need those AMD mobos.

For non-GLide, Win98 games, I think it's probably better if you use GeForce cards like 4600Ti or even 6800GT.

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.

Reply 14 of 30, by 5u3

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Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:

How did they die? 😢 How long is the life expectancy of a V5, by the way? Do you overclock?

My first V5 died because of overlocking (> 200 MHz). Hey, I was young and needed the FPS! 😅

The second one overheated because of failing fans - those tiny little heatsinks don't provide significant cooling just by themselves.

So, when I got the third one, I wanted to keep on the safe side (and get rid of the fan noise), so I took some epoxy and made this:

V5.jpg
Don't do this. Glueing rather heavy heatsinks directly onto a BGA-mounted chip without any further support will cause the connection between the chip and the board to fail eventually. Especially when the heatsinks are hanging upside down when the board is installed.

My current Voodoo card isn't modified yet, but those crappy little fans already sound as if they'll fail soon. I'll try big heatsinks again, but this time I'll include something that clamps them onto the board itself.

Gernerally the V5 cards are rather easily damaged. This is no surprise, as compared to a contemporary "normal" video card, the V5 has twice the amount of components and in-between connections to fail. Put them on a rather weedy, big PCB, and you're just asking for trouble.
If you ask me, we are lucky there still are enough working V5 cards to go around... 😉

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:

Since V5 PCI is rarer than V5 AGP, isn't it possible to pull the VSA-100 chip off of a V5 AGP, then use it to replace the broken chip on the V5 PCI? I've never tried such thing before, but practically, how difficult it is to take off and solder back a GPU chip?

Since the chips are BGA, swapping the chips seems impossible. Well, on the net you can find some adventurous approaches involving toaster ovens, but that'll unlikely work on a big and complex card like the V5.

Reply 15 of 30, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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5u3 wrote:

My first V5 died because of overlocking (> 200 MHz). Hey, I was young and needed the FPS! 😅

That was cruel. 😵 😁

5u3 wrote:

The second one overheated because of failing fans - those tiny little heatsinks don't provide significant cooling just by themselves.

So, when I got the third one, I wanted to keep on the safe side (and get rid of the fan noise), so I took some epoxy and made this:

While we're at it.......

Okay, call me squeamish, but frankly, replacing Voodoo5's heatsink and fan is something that I haven't tried before. I think removing the (glued) heatsink is the hardest part, especially because I'm afraid of damaging the VSA-100 chip.

However, I heard many times that putting the Voodoo5 in a freezer for few hours will make the glue layer brittle, making it easier to remove the factory default, shitty heatsinks.

So did you put your Voodoo5 in the freezer first before removing the heatsinks? I'm concerned about condensation; did you wrap the V5 in an airtight bag before putting it in the freezer?

5u3 wrote:

Since the chips are BGA, swapping the chips seems impossible. Well, on the net you can find some adventurous approaches involving toaster ovens, but that'll unlikely work on a big and complex card like the V5.

Nah, not me. At least not until someone else tried it first. Probably one of those insane folks at 3dfxZone will eventually do such thing. 😁

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.

Reply 16 of 30, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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Ghetto edit: OMFG, there are insane X-Box modders that already found the way to remove BGA chips. Also, some overclockers were discussing about it as well.

I think the safest way is having a BGA rework shop to do the job for you, although I think it will be costly.

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.

Reply 17 of 30, by 5u3

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Removing the heatsinks is really easy, it works just as you described above.

Remove the fans and put the card into a plastic bag. Keep it in the freezer for a couple of hours. Take it out and slide a flat-headed screwdriver between the PCB and the heatsink. If you fear damaging the PCB, you can protect it by wedging a plastic card between the screwdriver and the PCB. Try not to touch the BGA core with the screwdriver, it is possible to accidentially lift the core off the PCB in case you slide it in too far. Gently twist the screwdriver, the heatsink should pop right off, requiring very little force. If it doesn't work at once, try it on the opposite side.
Most times all the glue sticks to the heatsink when it comes off. In some cases there is some of it left on the core, it can be scraped off with a sharp knife at a flat angle. Be careful though, it's much easier to damage the card while cleaning the core. Pay attention to the small round capacitors on the card.

With sufficiently big heatsinks (like those in the picture above) a fan will not be necessary any more, provided you have good airflow in your case. But be prepared, those heatsinks will get rather hot while the card is in use (similar to a Voodoo 3).

Reply 18 of 30, by kreats

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A couple of those zalman northbridge chipset heatsinks are probably the solution - lightweight, silent and a decent amount of thermal conduction. They've got to be at least as good as those horrid stock hsf combos. A PCI slot cooler card in the next slot would be the next step I'd say if it was running too hot.

I think a specific solvent is better for removing thermal epoxy than mechanical scraping. See a modders site I guess - they do this all the time.

Reply 19 of 30, by swaaye

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That glue should dissolve if you use something like Oops or Goof Off. These are powerful solvents made of toluene, xylene and some other evil crap. Kinda like carburetor cleaner. Just get a little pool around the glue and wait a bit, rub, add more, rub, etc. It will take a while though. Do it where you have some air because that stuff is not healthy to breathe. I've done this before with Radeons and GeForces which used the annoying thermal epoxy.

The only problem with adding new heatsinks is that you're going to need to either epoxy them on or use thermal tape. There aren't any mounting holes on Voodoo5. If you use something like Arctic Silver Thermal Adhesive or Arctic Silver Alumina Thermal Adhesive, the heatsinks will NEVER come off again. Their epoxies are incredibly strong. I've ripped chips (RAM and GPUs!) right off cards trying to separate that epoxy. Believe me here. You should never expect that epoxy to break its bond if you use it.

I've recently discovered some awesome thermal tape that I'd suggest you use instead of epoxy if you think you'll ever want to separate the heatsinks from the card. It's called Chomerics Thermattach. It has extremely impressive adherence. There are two types, T411 and T412. T411 has the best bond strength but worse thermal conductivity. I've used T412 and its strength is still absolutely way beyond any other thermal tape I've ever used. I believe for attaching a cooler to Voodoo5 chips, you want T411.
http://www.madshrimps.be/?action=getarticle&n … 803&articID=612
I bought it from Sidewinder Computers:
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/therinmat.html