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Pentium 60/66 retrogaming use

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First post, by AlessandroB

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I have always been enormously fascinated by the first Pentium (60/66), for being practically a single model belonging to a family, for being the first of a very long series, for being at the time of its release an incredibly expensive desktop computer , and also to have that very famous FDIV problem. I'm trying to get a working system, but what is its real use in retrogaming? Theoretically the 486 family climbs much better with slower CPUs and faster CPUs. Is it still a nice museum piece or can it be used in an interesting way?

Reply 1 of 38, by matze79

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Its a good Allround Retro PC, i can`t see why not.

I use myself a Pentium 60Mhz and its at least as Good as some 5x86 Systems, but with the benefit of running Pentium Code and having a better FPU.
Everything that runs on a 486DX4 100 should run on a P60 too.

I also play GTA1 on it, with 3Dfx Voodoo 1, but a Rush would be better because they have some Kind of hardware triangle engine.

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Reply 2 of 38, by derSammler

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Better build a fast 486/5x86 system for retrogaming or use socket 5/7. (you can get FDIV-bugged Pentiums for socket 5 as well)

The P66 wasn't faster than the later 486 chips, apart from the FPU. But it runs hot, was generally unstable, and there are almost no mainboards to choose from. The few that exist have terrible slow chipsets. Most PCI-based late 486 mainboards were way faster. Like the Pentium Pro, the P66 was a technological milestone, but only in that it set the ground for things to come.

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Reply 3 of 38, by mpe

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Where would you use a DX4-100 you could use P60/66 and get same or slightly better performance (or much better if using FPU like Quake).

On the downside. Put a POD-83 or 5x86's to the socket 3 and any benefit of P66 is gone. There is only a limited number of motherboards and they generally suffer from problems of the era - early PCI quirks, buggy or complete lack of IDE, relatively slow memory bus/cache system (compared to more mature chipsets like Triton on Socket 7).

So it is not a pragmatic choice. Like it wasn't back in its days. Both Socket 3 and Socket 5/7 are more scalable and easier to get.

However, I love Socket 4 enough so that I have two such systems 😀

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Reply 5 of 38, by mpe

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Probably the most popular Socket 4 motherboard - Intel's Batman - is actually quite good in this regard.

Put a P66 and and with turbo off you'll get a performance of about 386-20. Hope that's slow enough...

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Reply 6 of 38, by matze79

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Yes mine is running very stable, i have no problems running intel batman.
Avoid OPTI Chipset. Beside of that you`re safe.

Just use a 386 if you need slow speed ? 😀

why build a mainstream retro system if you can get a cool P60 ?

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Reply 7 of 38, by Anonymous Coward

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derSammler wrote on 2020-01-17, 13:43:

But it runs hot, was generally unstable, and there are almost no mainboards to choose from.

They run hot only compared to what was available at the time. They're not really that hot compared to say...Athlons, P4s or anything made in the last 20 years. If you have a decent heatsink and fan you should be okay. Perhaps some poorly designed P5 boards are unstable, I'm not really aware of any stability problems with the CPU itself. The motherboard selection complaint is valid. I think the majority of P5s went into OEM systems, so if you want one that's the easiest way to get one.

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Reply 8 of 38, by The Serpent Rider

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Pentium 60/66 retrogaming use

None. Socket 4 stuck in a weird limbo, where it's not useful for old stuff, like top-tier 486, but still suck for later 3D titles.

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Reply 9 of 38, by maxtherabbit

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2020-01-17, 15:14:

Pentium 60/66 retrogaming use

None. Socket 4 stuck in a weird limbo, where it's not useful for old stuff, like top-tier 486, but still suck for later 3D titles.

What do you mean? I had a socket 4 system once upon a time and it would play anything a 486DX could.

If you're talking about speed throttling the 486 to play really old stuff, meh. I think most of us have other systems for that.

Reply 10 of 38, by The Serpent Rider

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I had a socket 4 system once upon a time and it would play anything a 486DX could.

Yes, but 486DX4-160Mhz is better for stuff like Doom or Duke3D.

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Reply 11 of 38, by AlessandroB

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2020-01-17, 15:25:

I had a socket 4 system once upon a time and it would play anything a 486DX could.

Yes, but 486DX4-160Mhz is better for stuff like Doom or Duke3D.

Aside from being cool, in my case to be more precise, the P60 must take me up to my PII233Mhz underckocked up to 133Mhz. The Pentium60 should "replace" the 486DX2 which despite being legendary is in my opinion less weird (we all had a DX2) compared to the P60. Aside from wing commander, I don't have many problematic titles to dedicate a very slow machine to.

Reply 12 of 38, by dionb

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I ran with a P60 on SiS501 chipset from 1995 to 1999. It was perfectly usable for period-correct software - slower than my mother's P90, but there was nothing she could run that I couldn't.

Primary SiS IDE was fine, I just didn't use the CMD-640 secondary IDE.

Reply 14 of 38, by Doornkaat

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I'm trying to get a working system, but what is its real use in retrogaming? Theoretically the 486 family climbs much better with slower CPUs and faster CPUs.

I have to admit I really don't understand the question.
The Socket 4 / P5 platform can be used for retro gaming - like any other old PC.
Thanks to SetMul though you rarely need anything except a K6-2 400 on a decent S7 mobo for DOS games except for those running too fast on a slow 386.
Btw: My P5 system has a hardware turbo switch that actually halves the CPU clockspeed on the fly - I think by halving the FSB - so it should even run some titles that are too fast on a regular P60 with caches enabled. Neat! 😁

Reply 15 of 38, by dionb

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AlessandroB wrote on 2020-01-17, 17:18:

P60 in 1999 i think was a "little bit" slow for anything past 1996

I was very relieved to upgrade to a Celeron 366 - but if you're a poor student, you can't buy a new system every year... and after I upgraded to 16MB RAM in 1996, it was current enough. Don't forget around 1996 the high-end might have been a Pentium 166 or 200, but in the low end people were still selling - and buying - 486 systems. Software in 1997 and 1998 still ran on such systems, and a P60 could run anything a 486DX4-100 could.

Reply 16 of 38, by mpe

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2020-01-17, 15:25:

I had a socket 4 system once upon a time and it would play anything a 486DX could.

Yes, but 486DX4-160Mhz is better for stuff like Doom or Duke3D.

Unless you put a PODP5V-133 in. Then no 486 can compete...

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Reply 17 of 38, by The Serpent Rider

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Unless you put a PODP5V-133 in.

But at that point you're better off with a common Socket 7 board. Which is also much easier on your wallet this days, compared to average PODP prices.

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Reply 18 of 38, by SirNickity

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dionb wrote on 2020-01-17, 18:32:

I was very relieved to upgrade to a Celeron 366 - but if you're a poor student, you can't buy a new system every year... and after I upgraded to 16MB RAM in 1996, it was current enough.

I remember the 90s being a constant running theme of "my computer isn't fast enough to do this, but I'ma do it anyway." If you're not suffering, you're not getting the authentic experience.

I've been watching the old Computer Chronicles episodes. Anything with a processor in it started at $2000 and went up from there. Software... a colorized directory listing utility started at $40, and anything more quickly grew into territory for which you had to take out a loan.

That was an era where you danced with she who you brung.

Reply 19 of 38, by mpe

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2020-01-17, 18:53:

Unless you put a PODP5V-133 in.

But at that point you're better off with a common Socket 7 board. Which is also much easier on your wallet this days, compared to average PODP prices.

Yes. But that's no different to 5x86-133, POD83, Cx 586, or every upgrade chip designed to prolong useful time to otherwise obsolete platforms. Except for the wallet thing. That's for sure.

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