VOGONS


First post, by ubiq

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I've had this case for a while and hadn't really nailed down what I wanted to do with it. It's a BitFenix Prodigy M 2022 mATX case that I got mostly because it's white and it has a rare quirk of mounting the motherboard "upside-down".

Now, make no mistake - this is not a good case. Those cool-looking handles are made out of cheap-feeling plastic and they're flimsy enough that the whole case wobbles if you poke it. Don't worry though, the way the PSU power connector is routed makes it so it protrudes out the bottom of the case so it's impossible to just detach the handles and lay the case flat.

Anyway enough griping and on to the building! I decided this would be the perfect (hah!) case to try and cram a Baby AT board into.

Specs:
GigaByte GA-586S2 motherboard
Pentium 166MMX
2x16MB 72pin SIMMs
8MB Matrox Millenium II
4MB Voodoo Graphics
CT1790 Sound Blaster 16 with DreamBlaster X2GS (yes it has the hanging note bug, I just deal with it)
NEC USB 2.0 PCI card
SD to IDE card reader

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I really like how it all came together. The two vertical slots make up for the mATX case obstructing what would normally work in the AT case.

I tried to get a CF card reader in there, but I couldn't get it working with the onboard IDE. I put a USB 2.0 card in there instead. The mobo actually has USB 1.0 support through a header, which I was able to break out and supply both a couple ports of the back as well as the case's actual USB 3.0 ports on the side. Yup, I can plug a USB mouse into the side of the case and it will work. 😂

The RAM I started with was way too little, so I smushed as much ram into the board as it was willing to accept and was able to feed it 2x128MB DIMMs. I also swapped the 166MHZ Pentium out for a 233. 🤷‍♂️😋

Anyway, it's all working so far. There are things I could do, like add the serial and parallel ports to the ATX I/O panel, but ehhh. The 4th PCI slot is actually usable too, if I relocate the serial port. Oh and as for how I handled the AT power switch? I just didn't bother and left it dangling out the bottom. 🤫 Future problems.

For now, just testing out early Glide software. Getting some troubling artifacts on the Voodoo card, so some troubleshooting to do. Could be a driver issue, could be the rather silly arrangement I have the cards in, hopefully not a bad card.

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Last edited by ubiq on 2023-06-18, 17:32. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 1 of 10, by bZbZbZ

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Nice build! I liked the original Prodigy M case, I thought it was a nice compact layout that still had enough space for high end parts.

Is the SFX power supply necessary for this case? I think it's nice in there, and leaves the rest of the interior much more roomy... just wondering if ATX would fit.

Are you using an xbox [elite] controller? Did you get it working in Windows 9x??

Reply 2 of 10, by ubiq

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bZbZbZ wrote on 2023-06-07, 05:27:

Nice build! I liked the original Prodigy M case, I thought it was a nice compact layout that still had enough space for high end parts.

Is the SFX power supply necessary for this case? I think it's nice in there, and leaves the rest of the interior much more roomy... just wondering if ATX would fit.

Are you using an xbox [elite] controller? Did you get it working in Windows 9x??

Nope, it supports a full-size ATX. I just happened to have that particular SFX one as a spare and thought it looked cute in there. (This was after spending time searching for a white ATX power supply and eventually deciding it wasn't worth it. 😅)

I have a USB4VC hooked up to this machine. Lets me use modern USB KBs, mice, controllers, including Bluetooth versions of each. It also allows me to hook this computer up to my slightly dodgy VGA KVM which also switches a USB 2.0 hub - the Raspberry Pi handles gaining and losing a USB kb/mouse and the AT computer never knows a thing.

Reply 3 of 10, by Thermalwrong

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That looks great, did you drill some new mounting points to get it all to fit?

The CPU speed is low enough that you shouldn't have a problem with the CPU being too fast for the Voodoo 1, so it's likely a bad bit on the memory. Might be worth posting a thread on it and/or check that all of the pins on both chips are soldered down correctly. Try squeezing chips at different points while playing a game to see if any points make a difference.

Reply 4 of 10, by ubiq

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Thermalwrong wrote on 2023-06-11, 20:03:

That looks great, did you drill some new mounting points to get it all to fit?

The CPU speed is low enough that you shouldn't have a problem with the CPU being too fast for the Voodoo 1, so it's likely a bad bit on the memory. Might be worth posting a thread on it and/or check that all of the pins on both chips are soldered down correctly. Try squeezing chips at different points while playing a game to see if any points make a difference.

Yup, had to drill all new holes - bit of a learning experience trying to get a drill into some awkward places. Ended up using my Dremel for most of it, and not worrying about trying to thread the holes, just throw a nut on the back.

I think my Voodoo problems were mostly my system absolutely hating the USB 2.0 card I had in there. Cleared up with it out.

Otherwise while it's interesting to explore early 3Dfx, I think the Glide experience I'm actually pining for is my long-gone Voodoo 2 SLI. So hmm, more to follow.

Reply 5 of 10, by bZbZbZ

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Wow... does the USB4VC pass through the analogue triggers and both analogue thumbsticks?

My current Win98 gamepad solution is to use a Logitech F310 with the rear switch set to DirectInput... but then the analogue triggers are mapped as on/off buttons. And then for Gameport... I don't recall any controllers running through gameport with 6 separate analogue axis...

Reply 6 of 10, by thp

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Lovely build! Love the modern aesthetics while still seeing the old hardware through the window.

Are the 3.5mm headphone jacks on the side also connected or do you just use the soundcard outputs?

The vertical slots for the additional PCI cards (with the PCI extension cables) are a nice touch, would be a perfect slot for two Voodoo2 in SLI (and the Matrox card relocating to one of the top slots).

Also, if the Matrox and the Voodoo swap places, the 3Dfx chips might face outward for more geek cred? 😉

How's the noise and how do you deal with floppy and CD-ROM (if at all)?

Reply 7 of 10, by ubiq

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bZbZbZ wrote on 2023-06-12, 04:11:

Wow... does the USB4VC pass through the analogue triggers and both analogue thumbsticks?

My current Win98 gamepad solution is to use a Logitech F310 with the rear switch set to DirectInput... but then the analogue triggers are mapped as on/off buttons. And then for Gameport... I don't recall any controllers running through gameport with 6 separate analogue axis...

Nope, it can only do what a gameport supports, which is max 4 axis, 4 buttons. What is can do is have custom mappings that you can swap out on the fly, so you don't have to decide on a generic setup. For extra gamepad buttons, you can map them to keyboard keys. And you can also map the mouse to one of the joysticks...

Reply 8 of 10, by ubiq

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thp wrote on 2023-06-12, 09:33:
Lovely build! Love the modern aesthetics while still seeing the old hardware through the window. […]
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Lovely build! Love the modern aesthetics while still seeing the old hardware through the window.

Are the 3.5mm headphone jacks on the side also connected or do you just use the soundcard outputs?

The vertical slots for the additional PCI cards (with the PCI extension cables) are a nice touch, would be a perfect slot for two Voodoo2 in SLI (and the Matrox card relocating to one of the top slots).

Also, if the Matrox and the Voodoo swap places, the 3Dfx chips might face outward for more geek cred? 😉

How's the noise and how do you deal with floppy and CD-ROM (if at all)?

I haven't bothered with sussing out a way to connect the HDAudio header to anything - I'm pretty sure I've never used front-panel audio in my life, so not a priority.

And yes! Voodoo2 SLI is my dream config for the vertical slots. I put the 2d card in front just it was smaller but yeah...

Very minimal noise - the case fans are mostly just for looks and I keep them cranked down. 😉

As for removable media - I don't really own any old software on physical media, so my needs are very minimal - mostly just to get things up and running. For file transfers up till now I've mostly been just popping out the SD card and copying stuff on to it from my modern PC. That's been not the most convenient way of doing things, so I getting away from that a bit lately and messing with dual booting solutions.

Reply 9 of 10, by ubiq

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Well, I kinda messed this build up. I have a Voodoo 3 3000 AGP that I really want to put through its paces, and for various compatibility reasons it just wasn't going to work out in my other machine (Dual Slot 1 build). I also recently acquired a Microsoft Sidewinder 3d Pro which has its own compatibility challenges that made my other system a no-go.

So... oops, it's a Slot 1 build now! But, I kept the Baby AT form factor!

Here's what I used:
Procomp Informatics B684 motherboard (440LX-based)
Celeron 533MHz on a slocket
2x128MB PC100 DIMMs
Voodoo 3 3000 AGP
Sound Blaster Live!
Promise FastTrak S150 TX2 SATA controller
1TB WD M.2 2280 SATA SSD
NEC USB 2.0 card

Pretty happy with how this turned out - the PS2/Parallel breakout uses an otherwise unusable slot, and I've even got an ISA slot to spare. The onboard USB also works with case's USB jacks. The SFX PSU acting up (there's a reason I had it spare), so I tossed my bench full-size ATX PSU in there - it's big! The AGP slot extension cable lets the Voodoo 3 break away from those very oddly placed DIMM slots.. nice.

I was also inspired by Ricimer using a big SSD and multi-booting off different partitions. So far I'm finding it a slicker solution to juggling a bunch of SD cards.

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Unfortunately, I made a big mistake when working up this build. I didn't want to put unnecessary miles on my Voodoo 3, so I used a Geforce MX440 while getting everything else up and running. So, I didn't realize until I was pretty much done that the Voodoo 3 hate hate hates the AGP extender. I think Voodoo 3s are a little finicky in the first place and if I had to guess, it wasn't getting power delivery in a way that it liked.

So, I'm not going to endanger my Voodoo 3 further trying to get it work in a somewhat silly configuration. Back to the drawing board...

Reply 10 of 10, by bZbZbZ

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Aw man... Sorry to hear the Voodoo3 doesn't work with the extender. I see that the case + mobo layout prevents you from plugging an AGP card directly into the AGP slot.

FWIW, I kinda liked your original setup better... There was just something so cool about seeing TWO graphics cards mounted vertically via extenders. I realize a Voodoo1 doesn't perform anywhere near a Voodoo3, I just thought seeing the pass through cable off to the side was terrific.