VOGONS


First post, by Katmai500

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Background:

For folks who are not familiar, Intel Timna was a project in 1999/2000 to integrate a Coppermine Celeron CPU with a RAMBUS memory controller and i752 graphics all on a single piece of silicon. The goal was to simplify motherboard designs for the sub -$600 PC market. Unfortunately, RDRAM prices never came down to reasonable levels, so Intel had to resort to pairing Timna with the flawed Memory Translator Hub (MTH) to allow use of cheaper SDRAM. Intel also paired the MTH with the i820 chipset. Performance was worse than native-SDRAM solutions such as the 440BX, and there were stability issues. After the MTH was recalled and vendors showed little interest in selling Timna systems, intel cancelled the project.

This build is probably the worst possible combination of hardware for a retro gaming build: a fairly slow Celeron processor, intel integrated graphics with i810 levels of performance, and no AGP slot for upgradability, but it's super rare and cool so here we go.

The Build:

First we start with an Intel Timna engineering sample CPU: Q-Spec QV18, rated for 667 MHz and manufactured in May of 2000. It looks a lot like a standard Socket 370 Celeron, but the pin-out is slightly different.

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Intel Timna CPU
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Intel Timna CPU back (QQ30ES)
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Next we need a motherboard. This is an ASUS TMA-PL pre-production Socket 370S motherboard for the Intel Timna. It has no chipset northbridge, since that functionality is integrated with the CPU. So all it has is the MTH for memory translation and an ICH2 southbridge.

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Since this is a low-cost Celeron build, I'm sticking with the integrated Timna graphics and the on-board AC'97 audio. No need to fill up any PCI slots here. Just add a 128 MB stick of CL2 PC133 SDRAM, add a heatsink/fan, and it's good to go.

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ASUS TMA-PL with CPU and RAM installed
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Last edited by Katmai500 on 2023-11-03, 17:30. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 1 of 25, by Katmai500

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Specs:
ASUS TMA-PL Socket 370S
Intel Celeron "Timna" 667 MHz
128 MB PC133 SDRAM CL2
Intel "Timna" integrated graphics
Crystal AC'97 integrated audio
DVD/CD-RW drive
Sinitech SD-IDE adapter with 32 GB SanDisk SD card
AOpen H500A ATX case
AOpen 350W ATX PSU

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Boot up and Windows 98 SE installation:

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BIOS POST
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Installing Windows 98 had one major hurdle: graphics drivers for the Timna integrated graphics. I was able to easily find ICH2 drivers for the other chipset functions, and integrated audio drivers for another board, but the Timna graphics drivers were a challenge. Thankfully I was able to track down a single old FTP site with some BETA ASUS drivers that had the pre-release Timna graphics driver installer for Windows 98. (I also found one for NT 4.0 and 2000).

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Windows 98 SE installed with all drivers working! The CPU is recognized as Family 6 Model 9. This model number was re-used for Pentium M Banias after Timna was cancelled. Interestingly, the team that developed Banias also worked on Timna.

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Last edited by Katmai500 on 2023-11-03, 17:15. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 2 of 25, by Katmai500

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Benchmarks:

3DMark99
2140 3DMarks
8900 CPU 3DMarks

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3DMark2000
888 3DMarks

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Last edited by Katmai500 on 2023-11-03, 17:20. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 3 of 25, by Katmai500

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3DMark2001SE
478 3DMarks

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SisSoft Sandra 99

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Memory performance is pretty terrible as expected due to the Memory Translator Hub (MTH).

Last edited by Katmai500 on 2023-11-03, 17:24. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 4 of 25, by Katmai500

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Quake III Arena
Time Demo 1: 32.2 fps at Normal settings

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Summary:
This was really just a fun experiment with some rare cool hardware I came across. I've had the Timna CPU for many years, but only recently found a compatible motherboard. Performance is expectedly terrible, but it's a really rare and cool way to get miserable performance.

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Last edited by Katmai500 on 2023-11-03, 17:26. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 5 of 25, by Katmai500

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UPDATE: I installed Windows XP and can confirm that it is compatible with the Windows 2000 Timna Graphics drivers

Details:

The driver installer crashes under XP, even with Windows 2000 compatibility set. Trying to do an automatic installation through device manager by specifying the INF also results in a compatibility error. However, if you use the "choose driver myself option" and force it to install the Windows 2000 driver, it works totally fine with XP.

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Benchmarks:

3DMark2001SE
507 3DMarks

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Quake III Arena
Time Demo 1: 23.5 fps at Normal settings

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It's very interesting that 3DMark2001SE scored slightly better in XP than on 98, but Quake III ran ~27% slower.

Last edited by Katmai500 on 2023-11-11, 04:35. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 6 of 25, by Nexxen

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I waited for a full review since it was cancelled.
This is what I call "tying up loose ends" 🤣

I can't wait for more.
Good job!!!!!!!

edit: TBH I'm happy they ditched it for Banias.

Last edited by Nexxen on 2023-11-03, 17:47. Edited 1 time in total.

PC#1 Pentium 233 MMX - 98SE
PC#2 PIII-1Ghz - 98SE/W2K

Reply 7 of 25, by BitWrangler

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Wow, I hadn't heard of this thing ever. Doesn't seem way out of line for a 667 celeron though.

Last time I benched 3DM2k1 with an i810 chipset and celeron, the i752 graphics drivers I could find seemed to be a cheat version, 3DM dropped frames like crazy and score was around 1,500 liarmarks. Mistrusted all 2000-2010 intel graphics scores since. So looks like you got a driver that was "un optimised" i.e. actually tried to draw the frames. Some say that renaming the 3DMark executable foils some of the driver cheats but never tried it on intel specifically.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 9 of 25, by Disruptor

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Can we have some CPU-Z & GPU-Z screenshots please?

Can you upload the picture to cpu-world.com please?
https://www.cpu-world.com/sspec/QV/QV18.html
As this seems to be first Timna with specs then, you may also use their CPUID submit tool to create a new entry to their database:
https://www.cpu-world.com/Download/CPU_identification.html

Last edited by Disruptor on 2023-11-04, 04:23. Edited 3 times in total.

Reply 10 of 25, by luk1999

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Does it have unlocked multiplier? Have you tried to overclock this Celeron?

Pentium 4 2.4C, ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe, 2 GB RAM, GF FX5700 128 MB AGP, SB Audigy, Chieftec GPS-400AA-101A, Win XP SP2
Athlon XP 2000+, MSI KT2 Combo, 512 MB RAM, GF FX5600 128 MB AGP, FM801, FSP 400-60PFN, Win 98SE

Reply 11 of 25, by marxveix

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I did not know nothing about Timna before. How many Timna Celeron cpu-s are out there or where to get one?

From Socket370 Celerons i am missing only Intel Celeron 533A, all others i probably have in my cpu collection.

Reply 12 of 25, by pentiumspeed

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There was another rambus motherboard without MTH chipset. This one was on Aanadtech guess the motherboard thing, several years ago, had one southbridge with this socket.

Cheers,

Great Northern aka Canada.

Reply 13 of 25, by Katmai500

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Disruptor wrote on 2023-11-03, 20:18:
Can we have some CPU-Z & GPU-Z screenshots please? […]
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Can we have some CPU-Z & GPU-Z screenshots please?

Can you upload the picture to cpu-world.com please?
https://www.cpu-world.com/sspec/QV/QV18.html
As this seems to be first Timna with specs then, you may also use their CPUID submit tool to create a new entry to their database:
https://www.cpu-world.com/Download/CPU_identification.html

Every version of CPU-Z starting with 1.40 results in a VXD related BSOD. Older versions do work, but don't report correctly or very much info. Here's a screenshot from 1.39. No surprise that it's reported as a Pentium M Banias since that's the CPU which re-used the family and model originally allocated to Timna. Older versions report it as Intel P6.

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CPU-Z 1.39 Timna
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Fortunately, wcpuid works very well and reports lots of useful information:

The CPU clock speed, bus speed, multiplier, and cache info here are all correct. Timna uses a 133 MHz bus rather than the 66 MHz of a standard Celeron, and it has 128 KB of L2 cache. Stepping 2 makes sense since this QV18 is a A2 stepping of the Timna core. I have a 600 MHz QQ30 Timna which should be Stepping A1, but I have not tried to boot it yet. That CPU has a couple of slightly bent pins so I opted for the QV18 first. The socket info is incorrect, but likely related to Banias re-using the Family and Model allocated to Timna.

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Detailed cache information. I assume this matches a typical Coppermine Celeron, but need to confirm.

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wcpuid CPU cache information
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Chipset info

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wcpuid Chipset information
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Motherboard/BIOS info

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wcpuid motherboard information
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I'll try running the tool after I get this Timna machine working on the internet. For now I posted the wcpuid image to the QV18 page. If I run QQ30ES I'll do the same for it.

GPU-Z is a no-go on Windows 98. I'll install Windows 2000 next and try out GPU-Z soon.

Last edited by Katmai500 on 2023-11-07, 04:42. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 14 of 25, by Katmai500

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luk1999 wrote on 2023-11-03, 20:29:

Does it have unlocked multiplier? Have you tried to overclock this Celeron?

It does have an unlocked multiplier. The board would allow me to run it at 5.5X for 733 MHz, but I have not tried it yet. I can also increase the voltage, but do not want to take that risk. The stock voltage is 2.05 V. Quite a bit higher than a normal Coppermine core, likely due to the integrated graphics and memory controller. The board allows for up to 2.40 V.

marxveix wrote on 2023-11-03, 20:49:

I did not know nothing about Timna before. How many Timna Celeron cpu-s are out there or where to get one?

From Socket370 Celerons i am missing only Intel Celeron 533A, all others i probably have in my cpu collection.

I'm not sure how many are out there. They are Engineering Sample (ES) or Qualification Sample (QS) CPUs and were never released to the public, so they are pretty rare. A few have sold on CPU-World in the last 15 years and some others on eBay. I got mine over the years just knowing what to look for (unique markings on the CPU, unique pin-out), lots of checking of auction photos, and waiting for one to pop up.

pentiumspeed wrote on 2023-11-03, 23:45:

There was another rambus motherboard without MTH chipset. This one was on Aanadtech guess the motherboard thing, several years ago, had one southbridge with this socket.

Cheers,

That was the original plan before RDRAM prices stayed high. A bunch of old Anandtech articles mention Timna motherboards shown at IDF or Computex, but all of the images are missing. Do you have a link to that article?

Reply 15 of 25, by Jasin Natael

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Never heard of this thing.
This is really cool.
I wonder what what it would do with a discreet GPU, seems like the 133MHZ FSB would give it a serious leg up.
But then again the memory performance would be a drawback.

Reply 16 of 25, by H3nrik V!

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Jasin Natael wrote on 2023-11-07, 15:24:
Never heard of this thing. This is really cool. I wonder what what it would do with a discreet GPU, seems like the 133MHZ FSB w […]
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Never heard of this thing.
This is really cool.
I wonder what what it would do with a discreet GPU, seems like the 133MHZ FSB would give it a serious leg up.
But then again the memory performance would be a drawback.

Yeah, a proper RDRAM boards would probably unleash some performance on the memory side ...

Please use the "quote" option if asking questions to what I write - it will really up the chances of me noticing 😀

Reply 18 of 25, by Standard Def Steve

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Jasin Natael wrote on 2023-11-07, 15:24:

I wonder what what it would do with a discreet GPU, seems like the 133MHZ FSB would give it a serious leg up.
But then again the memory performance would be a drawback.

Just look at the og Xbox. It had a Coppermine Celeron w/ FSB133 and a GeForce 3.5.
Course, the Xbox CPU didn't have an IMC, but I'm guessing the external nvidia controller was even better.

P6 chip. Triple the speed of the Pentium.
Tualatin: PIII-S @ 1628MHz | QDI Advance 12T | 2GB DDR-310 | 6800GT | X-Fi | 500GB HDD | 3DMark01: 14,059
Dothan: PM @ 2.9GHz | MSI Speedster FA4 | 2GB DDR2-580 | GTX 750Ti | X-Fi | 500GB SSD | 3DMark01: 43,190

Reply 19 of 25, by Jasin Natael

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Standard Def Steve wrote on 2023-11-07, 17:21:
Jasin Natael wrote on 2023-11-07, 15:24:

I wonder what what it would do with a discreet GPU, seems like the 133MHZ FSB would give it a serious leg up.
But then again the memory performance would be a drawback.

Just look at the og Xbox. It had a Coppermine Celeron w/ FSB133 and a GeForce 3.5.
Course, the Xbox CPU didn't have an IMC, but I'm guessing the external nvidia controller was even better.

Yeah, that's a good point. Would probably be similar. It's a shame there weren't more boards available with AGP. But honestly, it's just cool as it is.