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A "broad spectrum" 90s build?

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Reply 20 of 88, by gdjacobs

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2mg wrote on 2021-07-14, 08:03:
People, thanks A LOT for the input, all of you! […]
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People, thanks A LOT for the input, all of you!

I do have A LOT of questions now:

- Since I need a Voodoo card for Glide, do I need a GPU for DX/GL, aka does Voodoo do these proper and fast?
- For those recommending PIII builds, why ISA? Wasn't ISA replaced by PCI and AGP by then?
- Why recommend ISA anyway, I'm very unsure about this part, is it the DOS drivers aspect? If it's because of soundcards, aren't there good PCI options?
- Are PIII/Athlons "slowdown" friendly (cache, downclock)?
- Is setmul exclusive to K6 CPUs?
- Aren't prices for K6/SS7 a bit too high? Would it be any cheaper to do a PIII build?

Voodoo cards supported a subset of graphics functionality via so-called miniGL drivers. These were available for Quake, Half Life, Unreal, and others.
ISA remains the best option to support DOS titles which your project will be running. There are good PCI options, but they're seldom as compatible or straightforward as an ISA card for DOS.
P3 CPUs are not slowdown friendly via multiplier manipulation. They can be slowed using ACPI tricks, although I tend to find multiplier and cache slowdown tricks to be smoother than ACPI waits. Some Athlon CPUs can be reclocked, either after modification or by using a mobile chip or other that has the reclocking capability intact.
Setmul works on quite a few CPUs, including AMD k8 which all support downclockiing.
SS7 boards have been expensive for a long time. Later socket 7 are a good alternative, as are BX based boards. Even here, though, prices can be steep, so keep your eyes pealed for bargains.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 21 of 88, by Socket3

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2mg wrote on 2021-07-14, 08:03:

People, thanks A LOT for the input, all of you!

I do have A LOT of questions now:
- Since I need a Voodoo card for Glide, do I need a GPU for DX/GL, aka does Voodoo do these proper and fast?

A voodoo 3 will work great in glide, d3d and ogl.

2mg wrote on 2021-07-14, 08:03:

- For those recommending PIII builds, why ISA? Wasn't ISA replaced by PCI and AGP by then?
- Why recommend ISA anyway, I'm very unsure about this part, is it the DOS drivers aspect? If it's because of soundcards, aren't there good PCI options?

You'll want a sound card with real OPL3 for older dos games, that means ISA. PCI cards either have poor dos support or lack real OPL3, emulating it (horribly).

2mg wrote on 2021-07-14, 08:03:

- Are PIII/Athlons "slowdown" friendly (cache, downclock)?

P3 not so much. As for athlons, only the Athlon mobile found in laptops and the Geode NX are supported as far as I know. Rare, and a bit of a pain to get working, since neither the Athlon M or the Geode are supported by all socket A boards.

2mg wrote on 2021-07-14, 08:03:

- Is setmul exclusive to K6 CPUs?

No. It works with K6-2/Athlon Mobile/Geode/ViA C3 - read my post above.

2mg wrote on 2021-07-14, 08:03:

- Aren't prices for K6/SS7 a bit too high? Would it be any cheaper to do a PIII build?

Yes it would - but don't get a P3, get a VIA Cyrix C3 CPU - it's supported by setmul, and you can get one for 20-35$ off ebay. Also I recommend you stay away from the 440BX slot 1 platform even tough lots of users are recommending it. To get a slot 1 motherboard to run faster CPUs (socket 370 p3) they use Slotkets (adaptor from slot 1 to socket 370) witch are a pain in the but - most are passive, requiring a CPU the 440BX can run (like a mendocinno celeron), while others have a voltage regulator allowing you to run the fastest pentiu 3 cpus. The difference is voltage and pin re-routing on the socket itself. A typical 440bx board supplies 2v for a pentium 2 chip. Some can do as low as 1.7. A Coppermine p3 needs 1.65-1.75v, at 2v it will cook. Also the 440bx does not support FSB133, witch means you'll have to look for 100MHz fsb p3 chips, limiting your choice. A slot 1 1000MHz p3 with 100MHz fsb is rare and VERY expensive. Active slotkets are also rare and expensive. In my opinion the 440bx platform is not worth the hassle, especially for someone just getting into the hobby. You can get a Via Apollo 133 / Intel 815 board for a lot less money then a 440bx + active slotket, and the socket 370 board will just work - no messing around and no modding required. Also note that Tualatin chips are only officially supported by the intel 815t and Via apollo 133t (693T) chipsets. You can run them in other socket 370 and even slot 1 boards, but that means active slotket or pin modding (the tualins require 1.45-1.5v).

2mg wrote on 2021-07-14, 08:03:
In the spirit of it being a 90s PC, I'd add one specific requirement if possible: no tech dated 2000 and onward (except PSU). So […]
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In the spirit of it being a 90s PC, I'd add one specific requirement if possible: no tech dated 2000 and onward (except PSU).
So an early Katmai/Coppermine 700mhz PIII is fine, a Tualatin 1Ghz PIII not so much.
This limits GPUs to Voodoo3 and GeForce 256 max AFAIK.
Again, if possible.

The geforce 256 is a lot faster then a voodoo 3. A voodoo 3 3000 will run everything up to 1999-2000, at 1024x768 - higher in some cases, lower in others. For higher resolutions say 1600x1200 you'd need at least a Geforce 3 Ti / radeon 8500 - better yet, a geforce 4 ti4200.

Reply 22 of 88, by Oetker

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gdjacobs wrote on 2021-07-14, 10:02:

P3 CPUs are not slowdown friendly via multiplier manipulation. They can be slowed using ACPI tricks,

Socket3 wrote on 2021-07-14, 10:31:

don't get a P3, get a VIA Cyrix C3 CPU - it's supported by setmul,

P3 can be slowed down by disabling cache. I guess flexibility is nice but I don't get why some people insist on having complete control over CPU speed, isn't 'very slow' and 'full speed' enough? I guess there are some games that require a specific faster speed, like some Wing Commander or Ultima games, but aren't most speed-sensitive games really old games for the original PC?

Socket3 wrote on 2021-07-14, 10:31:

To get a slot 1 motherboard to run faster CPUs (socket 370 p3) they use Slotkets (adaptor from slot 1 to socket 370) witch are a pain in the but - most are passive, requiring a CPU the 440BX can run (like a mendocinno celeron), while others have a voltage regulator allowing you to run the fastest pentiu 3 cpus. The difference is voltage and pin re-routing on the socket itself. A typical 440bx board supplies 2v for a pentium 2 chip. Some can do as low as 1.7. A Coppermine p3 needs 1.65-1.75v, at 2v it will cook. Also the 440bx does not support FSB133, witch means you'll have to look for 100MHz fsb p3 chips, limiting your choice. A slot 1 1000MHz p3 with 100MHz fsb is rare and VERY expensive. Active slotkets are also rare and expensive. In my opinion the 440bx platform is not worth the hassle, especially for someone just getting into the hobby. You can get a Via Apollo 133 / Intel 815 board for a lot less money then a 440bx + active slotket, and the socket 370 board will just work - no messing around and no modding required. Also note that Tualatin chips are only officially supported by the intel 815t and Via apollo 133t (693T) chipsets. You can run them in other socket 370 and even slot 1 boards, but that means active slotket or pin modding (the tualins require 1.45-1.5v).

I agree that slotkets are a bit of a hassle, but I'd still like to make some additions:
-In practice, voltage-wise boards that can run a Coppermine can run a Tualatin, there's no Coppermine-only VRMs afaik. The chip/slotket still needs to be pin-modded and the BIOS might not allow it, however.
-A 1000MHz slot1 cpu will be a Coppermine, with the same voltage requirements as a slotket+s370 Coppermine.
-Intel 815 doesn't have an ISA slot

Reply 23 of 88, by Joseph_Joestar

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Oetker wrote on 2021-07-14, 12:37:

P3 can be slowed down by disabling cache. I guess flexibility is nice but I don't get why some people insist on having complete control over CPU speed, isn't 'very slow' and 'full speed' enough? I guess there are some games that require a specific faster speed, like some Wing Commander or Ultima games, but aren't most speed-sensitive games really old games for the original PC?

If you look here the list does contain some games that top out at 486 speeds, so going slower or faster than that might be suboptimal.

From personal experience, I know that One Must Fall 2097 is such a game. It runs too slow with both caches disabled (386 speed) but too fast on any Pentium class CPU (and above). In that particular game, you can tweak the settings for a bit more leeway, but other 486-class games might not have similar options.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 24 of 88, by mothergoose729

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-07-14, 12:48:
Oetker wrote on 2021-07-14, 12:37:

P3 can be slowed down by disabling cache. I guess flexibility is nice but I don't get why some people insist on having complete control over CPU speed, isn't 'very slow' and 'full speed' enough? I guess there are some games that require a specific faster speed, like some Wing Commander or Ultima games, but aren't most speed-sensitive games really old games for the original PC?

If you look here the list does contain some games that top out at 486 speeds, so going slower or faster than that might be suboptimal.

From personal experience, I know that One Must Fall 2097 is such a game. It runs too slow with both caches disabled (386 speed) but too fast on any Pentium class CPU (and above). In that particular game, you can tweak the settings for a bit more leeway, but other 486-class games might not have similar options.

The only game I have played that requires a 486 to run properly is Magic Carpet. I haven't played every game on that list though so there might be more, but I have played quite a few.

A good portion of those are sierra or lucas arts adventures games that lose midi/FM functionality if you run too fast. For sure you don't need a 486 16 to play Indiana Jones properly - if you can get down to 386 speeds that is ideal.

I say that because there are a lot of CPUs that can approximate a 386 without using throttle/slomo but much fewer that can emulate a 486DX66 or similar. In my experience, the 386 speeds are way more important for compatibility.

Reply 25 of 88, by PARKE

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Socket3 wrote on 2021-07-14, 10:31:

Also I recommend you stay away from the 440BX slot 1 platform even tough lots of users are recommending it. To get a slot 1 motherboard to run faster CPUs (socket 370 p3) they use Slotkets (adaptor from slot 1 to socket 370) witch are a pain in the but - most are passive, requiring a CPU the 440BX can run (like a mendocinno celeron), while others have a voltage regulator allowing you to run the fastest pentiu 3 cpus. The difference is voltage and pin re-routing on the socket itself. A typical 440bx board supplies 2v for a pentium 2 chip. Some can do as low as 1.7. A Coppermine p3 needs 1.65-1.75v, at 2v it will cook.

This observation:
[[A typical 440bx board supplies 2v for a pentium 2 chip.]]
is not accurate.
Only the very early 440BX boards that were designed to support Pentium 2 generation cpu's were limited to voltages between 1.8v and 3.5v (2v is what they were supposed to deliver for CPU's that ran on 2v.). And even on those boards Coppermine CPU's are run at 1.8v by fanciers. Later 440BX boards (1990-ish)come with voltage regulators that allow voltage adjustment between 1.3 and 2.05 volts and between 2.1 and 3.5 volts.

Reply 26 of 88, by chinny22

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-07-14, 12:48:
Oetker wrote on 2021-07-14, 12:37:

P3 can be slowed down by disabling cache. I guess flexibility is nice but I don't get why some people insist on having complete control over CPU speed, isn't 'very slow' and 'full speed' enough? I guess there are some games that require a specific faster speed, like some Wing Commander or Ultima games, but aren't most speed-sensitive games really old games for the original PC?

If you look here the list does contain some games that top out at 486 speeds, so going slower or faster than that might be suboptimal.

From personal experience, I know that One Must Fall 2097 is such a game. It runs too slow with both caches disabled (386 speed) but too fast on any Pentium class CPU (and above). In that particular game, you can tweak the settings for a bit more leeway, but other 486-class games might not have similar options.

In my case only game I can't play on my P3 is Hi Octane
Warcraft 2 is still playable I just use the minimap to move around the screen instead
The Epic Megagame titles that suffer the Runtime 200 error just need a patch.

So I'm not saying it isn't a problem just it may not be as big of a problem as you would first think

Reply 27 of 88, by mothergoose729

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chinny22 wrote on 2021-07-14, 15:58:
In my case only game I can't play on my P3 is Hi Octane Warcraft 2 is still playable I just use the minimap to move around the […]
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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-07-14, 12:48:
Oetker wrote on 2021-07-14, 12:37:

P3 can be slowed down by disabling cache. I guess flexibility is nice but I don't get why some people insist on having complete control over CPU speed, isn't 'very slow' and 'full speed' enough? I guess there are some games that require a specific faster speed, like some Wing Commander or Ultima games, but aren't most speed-sensitive games really old games for the original PC?

If you look here the list does contain some games that top out at 486 speeds, so going slower or faster than that might be suboptimal.

From personal experience, I know that One Must Fall 2097 is such a game. It runs too slow with both caches disabled (386 speed) but too fast on any Pentium class CPU (and above). In that particular game, you can tweak the settings for a bit more leeway, but other 486-class games might not have similar options.

In my case only game I can't play on my P3 is Hi Octane
Warcraft 2 is still playable I just use the minimap to move around the screen instead
The Epic Megagame titles that suffer the Runtime 200 error just need a patch.

So I'm not saying it isn't a problem just it may not be as big of a problem as you would first think

Yeah, for whatever reason it seems like there are more games that need a particular Pentium to run . Terminator Skynet and Alien Trilogy are two more examples where a slower pentium is needed to get the correct experienced. For both of them I found a pentium@90mhz (approximately) was the "sweet spot".

If you use throttle with setmul you can get pretty close I would think. Throttle will disable L1 cache at some of the speed settings, but you can enable it again with setmul giving your more options. Some Slot 1 and later boards can also manipulate the FSB using software utilities, which gives you a ton more options as well.

Reply 28 of 88, by luk1999

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2mg wrote on 2021-07-14, 08:03:

- Are PIII/Athlons "slowdown" friendly (cache, downclock)?

It depends on what "Athlon" you're talking about.

On first Athlons for socket A (Thunderbird core, up to 1,4 GHz) you can re-connect L1 bridges (pencil mod - http://fab51.com/cpu/barton/athlon-e23.html#L1) and use BIOS/Dip switches/jumpers to change multiplier down to 5x (5,5x in some cases - check motherboard manual).

Early Athlons XP (Palomino core) - there are information that also L1 mod worked, but something better than pencil was required. I've never tried that.

Most of the first Athlons XP on Thoroughbred core should have connected L1 bridges by default. I think that AMD locked it starting from week 37 or 39 2003, but I'm not 100% sure about that. So 5x or 5,5x will be achievable.

Athlons XP and Semprons (Thoroughbred, Thorton, Barton core) can be converted into "mobile" CPU by doing "Athlon XP mobile mod" (http://fab51.com/cpu/barton/athlon-e23.html#L5). This will allow going down with multiplier to 3x using software under Windows. This mod requires motherboards with KT400 or newer chipset (some KT333 also work), SiS 746 or newer (not sure about 735). It won't work with NForce.

* Some early boards offers ability to decrease FSB under 100 (eg Soltek 75KAV, 75KV - on early BIOSes you could go down to 75 MHz IIRC, Gigabyte GA-7ZX has FSB 95 MHz).
* You can find ISA slots on some of KX133, KT133 or KT133A boards (VT82C686B southbridge).
* Boards with VIA KT133(A), KT266(A) and some rare KT333 will support AGP 3,3 V, which might be required if you want to have Voodoo 3 AGP.
* Remember that some early revisions of KT133A and KT266 boards might not support Athlon XP.
* Some late boards on VIA chipset (eg Gigabytes on KT400, KT600) don't allow to set FSB 100 MHz on 133/166 MHz CPU-s. Make sure that there's such option in BIOS or there are DIP switches / jumpers on board or you'll need to make wire mods 😀.

Last edited by luk1999 on 2021-07-14, 20:19. Edited 2 times in total.

Celeron 1000A + Epox EP-3ETM + 2 x 128 SDRAM 100 MHz CL2
Prolink GeForce 4 MX440 64 MB + SuperGrace Volcano 3DX2000 Voodoo2 12 MB
Sandisk CF 16 GB + IDE to CF adapter + Sound Blaster Live! 5.1
Vobis Highpaq D XD Power case + FSP400-60PFN 400W (+5V@40A)

Reply 29 of 88, by Joseph_Joestar

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luk1999 wrote on 2021-07-14, 17:55:

* Remember that some early revisions of KT133A and KT266 boards might not support Athlon XP.

My KT7A revision 1.0 doesn't officially support AthlonXP CPUs, but it still runs fine with my Thoroughbred 1700+ despite seeing it as an "Unknown CPU". Its multiplier is also unlocked by default, so I can downclock it to 500 MHz (5x100) through the BIOS if needed.

Also, it's worth noting that the Throttle utility works particularly well with VIA chipsets. It offers much more slowdown options than on non-VIA motherboards.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 30 of 88, by BitWrangler

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Palomino downward unlock is done by fitting the pits cut in the bridges, because there's a ground plane under and they are active high, so just blodging something conductive on top does the wrong thing. So you fill pits with correction fluid or nail polish or something insulating, then join the dots over the top with something conductive. An interesting take on this I saw only recently was to get the conductive rubber pads off the back of an old calculator, phone or remote keypad and and apply those on top, not clear how they were meant to stay put though (Tape over top? IDK)

Thoroughbreds didn't seem sufficiently different to palominos that boards that had palomino support would refuse to boot them at all, unless it was deliberately prevented by the BIOS, whitelist style. However getting the right volts to them requires attention.

I believe I have had mobile modded XP working on every VIA chipset from KT133 up in the past, not sure if there's BIOS and motherboard manufacturer caused issues that prevent it working in some boards, but the chipset itself doesn't seem to get in the way.

2017: Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. 2021: Still starting, heh, many setbacks. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 31 of 88, by Socket3

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PARKE wrote on 2021-07-14, 15:29:
This observation: [[A typical 440bx board supplies 2v for a pentium 2 chip.]] is not accurate. Only the very early 440BX board […]
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This observation:
[[A typical 440bx board supplies 2v for a pentium 2 chip.]]
is not accurate.
Only the very early 440BX boards that were designed to support Pentium 2 generation cpu's were limited to voltages between 1.8v and 3.5v (2v is what they were supposed to deliver for CPU's that ran on 2v.).

I'm not claiming to be very knowledgeable about this platform - in fact I haven't played around with it as much as I do with socket A or 370 rigs, but this has kind of been my experience with the platform so far... I have over 10 440bx boards in my collection - out of all these, the only ones that can supply less then 1.8v are my Abit BE6-II and my Asus CUBX witch is a socket 370 i440bx board making it somewhat of an oddity. The rest (oem compaq, acorp, biostar, msi, shuttle, oem IBM, chaintech, jetway, etc) can only do 1.8v with the exception of the MSI witch can do 1.7v and is able to run correctly with my 850MHz p3 coppermine out of the box.

Also, I didn't say they provide 2V exactly - I said:

Socket3 wrote on 2021-07-14, 10:31:

A typical 440bx board supplies 2v for a pentium 2 chip. Some can do as low as 1.7.

- typical as in most common, witch happen to be OEM boards ripped out of gateway, fujitsu, compaq etc. Perhaps I should have worded it differently.

PARKE wrote on 2021-07-14, 15:29:

And even on those boards Coppermine CPU's are run at 1.8v by fanciers. Later 440BX boards (1990-ish)come with voltage regulators that allow voltage adjustment between 1.3 and 2.05 volts and between 2.1 and 3.5 volts.

A 1.75v chip will happily run at 1.8v - but try that with a Tualatin and it won't end well - learned that the hard way trying to overclock various 1200 and 1300 MHz tualatin celerons to 1.6 and 1.72GHz respectively.

In any case, my point is the 440bx platform is not practical for anything that requires a 133Mhz fsb (PCI/AGP divider) . Sure, they're fun to mess around with, but performance/cost/convenience wise they're just not worth the hassle compared to simply sourcing a decent socket 370 motherboard. Oh and did I mention cost? Had a look at ebay prices for 440bx boards lately? or for a good slotket? Same as the K6-2+ and K6-III, prices have gone up significantly. The only slot 1 boards I've been able to find lately for less then 50$ are either VIA based or OEM motherboards, and even those are becoming scares in my neck of the woods.

I get the feeling lots of users recommend these boards out of nostalgia more then anything. Some have stated it's the first high performance motherboard they bought. Others said it paved the way for overclocking. Another was saying in the "show off you retro rig thread" that his first PC as a kid was a hand-me-down pentium II with a 440bx board - but I fit in none of those scenarios, and I believe I'm looking at the platform objectively. Don't get me wrong - I like the platform just fine, and I love the look of slot 1 and slot A CPUs for some reason - got one on my desk right now on a little plastic stand. The 440bx platform - it is incredibly stable and easy to use. In fact I have a 850Mhz P3 system (using the afformentioned MSI 6163? motherboard) that is in use every weekend as one of my guest retro gaming rigs and it's been going strong and stable - but I don't understand why people would recommend a 440bx slot 1 motherboard + slotket to a novice in the hobby who just wants to build a simple retro gaming PC.

Last edited by Socket3 on 2021-07-14, 20:46. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 32 of 88, by Oetker

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Socket3 wrote on 2021-07-14, 20:33:
I have over 10 440bx boards in my collection - out of all these, the only ones that can supply less then 1.8v are my Abit BE6-II […]
Show full quote
PARKE wrote on 2021-07-14, 15:29:
This observation: [[A typical 440bx board supplies 2v for a pentium 2 chip.]] is not accurate. Only the very early 440BX board […]
Show full quote

This observation:
[[A typical 440bx board supplies 2v for a pentium 2 chip.]]
is not accurate.
Only the very early 440BX boards that were designed to support Pentium 2 generation cpu's were limited to voltages between 1.8v and 3.5v (2v is what they were supposed to deliver for CPU's that ran on 2v.).

I have over 10 440bx boards in my collection - out of all these, the only ones that can supply less then 1.8v are my Abit BE6-II and my Asus CUBX witch is a socket 370 i440bx board making it somewhat of an oddity. The rest (oem compaq, acorp, biostar, msi, shuttle, oem IBM, chaintech, jetway, etc) can only do 1.8v with the exception of the MSI witch can do 1.7v and is able to run correctly with my 850MHz p3 coppermine out of the box. I'm just saying this has been my experience so far.

Also, I didn't say they provide 2V exactly - I said:

Socket3 wrote on 2021-07-14, 10:31:

A typical 440bx board supplies 2v for a pentium 2 chip. Some can do as low as 1.7.

- typical as in most common, witch happen to be OEM boards ripped out of gateway, fujitsu, compaq etc.

PARKE wrote on 2021-07-14, 15:29:

And even on those boards Coppermine CPU's are run at 1.8v by fanciers. Later 440BX boards (1990-ish)come with voltage regulators that allow voltage adjustment between 1.3 and 2.05 volts and between 2.1 and 3.5 volts.

A 1.75v chip will happily run at 1.8v - but try that with a Tualatin and it won't end well - learned that the hard way trying to overclock various 1200 and 1300 MHz tualatin celerons to 1.6 and 1.72GHz respectively.

In any case, my point is the 440bx platform is not practical for anything that requires a 133Mhz fsb (PCI/AGP divider) . Sure, they're fun to mess around with, but performance/cost/convenience wise they're just not worth the hassle compared to simply sourcing a decent socket 370 motherboard. Oh and did I mention cost? Had a look at ebay prices for 440bx boards lately? or for a good slotket? Same as the K6-2+ and K6-III, prices have gone up significantly. The only slot 1 boards I've been able to find lately for less then 50$ are either VIA based or OEM motherboards, and even those are becoming scares in my neck of the woods.

I get the feeling lots of users recommend these boards out of nostalgia more then anything. Some have stated it's the first high performance motherboard they bought. Others said it paved the way for overclocking. Another was saying in the "show off you retro rig thread" that his first PC as a kid was a hand-me-down pentium II with a 440bx board - but I fit in none of those scenarios, and I believe I'm looking at the platform objectively. Don't get me wrong - I like the platform just fine, and I love the look of slot 1 and slot A CPUs for some reason - got one on my desk right now on a little plastic stand. The 440bx platform - it is incredibly stable and easy to use. In fact I have a 850Mhz P3 system (using the afformentioned MSI 6163? motherboard) that is in use every weekend as one of my guest retro gaming rigs and it's been going strong and stable - but I don't understand why people would recommend a 440bx slot 1 motherboard to a novice in the hobby who just wants to build a simple retro gaming PC.

Because it's got ISA slots and is relatively fast (fast enough for anything DOS and Win98) and stable as well. So that does make it a simpele hassle free choice. Pentium 4 systems with ISA slots are rare and expensive. So that leaves an Athlon system. I'm not too knowledgeable on Win98/DOS compatible Athlon systems but aren't some of those Via chipsets finicky?

Reply 33 of 88, by Socket3

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Oetker wrote on 2021-07-14, 20:45:
Socket3 wrote on 2021-07-14, 20:33:
I have over 10 440bx boards in my collection - out of all these, the only ones that can supply less then 1.8v are my Abit BE6-II […]
Show full quote
PARKE wrote on 2021-07-14, 15:29:
This observation: [[A typical 440bx board supplies 2v for a pentium 2 chip.]] is not accurate. Only the very early 440BX board […]
Show full quote

This observation:
[[A typical 440bx board supplies 2v for a pentium 2 chip.]]
is not accurate.
Only the very early 440BX boards that were designed to support Pentium 2 generation cpu's were limited to voltages between 1.8v and 3.5v (2v is what they were supposed to deliver for CPU's that ran on 2v.).

I have over 10 440bx boards in my collection - out of all these, the only ones that can supply less then 1.8v are my Abit BE6-II and my Asus CUBX witch is a socket 370 i440bx board making it somewhat of an oddity. The rest (oem compaq, acorp, biostar, msi, shuttle, oem IBM, chaintech, jetway, etc) can only do 1.8v with the exception of the MSI witch can do 1.7v and is able to run correctly with my 850MHz p3 coppermine out of the box. I'm just saying this has been my experience so far.

Also, I didn't say they provide 2V exactly - I said:

Socket3 wrote on 2021-07-14, 10:31:

A typical 440bx board supplies 2v for a pentium 2 chip. Some can do as low as 1.7.

- typical as in most common, witch happen to be OEM boards ripped out of gateway, fujitsu, compaq etc.

PARKE wrote on 2021-07-14, 15:29:

And even on those boards Coppermine CPU's are run at 1.8v by fanciers. Later 440BX boards (1990-ish)come with voltage regulators that allow voltage adjustment between 1.3 and 2.05 volts and between 2.1 and 3.5 volts.

A 1.75v chip will happily run at 1.8v - but try that with a Tualatin and it won't end well - learned that the hard way trying to overclock various 1200 and 1300 MHz tualatin celerons to 1.6 and 1.72GHz respectively.

In any case, my point is the 440bx platform is not practical for anything that requires a 133Mhz fsb (PCI/AGP divider) . Sure, they're fun to mess around with, but performance/cost/convenience wise they're just not worth the hassle compared to simply sourcing a decent socket 370 motherboard. Oh and did I mention cost? Had a look at ebay prices for 440bx boards lately? or for a good slotket? Same as the K6-2+ and K6-III, prices have gone up significantly. The only slot 1 boards I've been able to find lately for less then 50$ are either VIA based or OEM motherboards, and even those are becoming scares in my neck of the woods.

I get the feeling lots of users recommend these boards out of nostalgia more then anything. Some have stated it's the first high performance motherboard they bought. Others said it paved the way for overclocking. Another was saying in the "show off you retro rig thread" that his first PC as a kid was a hand-me-down pentium II with a 440bx board - but I fit in none of those scenarios, and I believe I'm looking at the platform objectively. Don't get me wrong - I like the platform just fine, and I love the look of slot 1 and slot A CPUs for some reason - got one on my desk right now on a little plastic stand. The 440bx platform - it is incredibly stable and easy to use. In fact I have a 850Mhz P3 system (using the afformentioned MSI 6163? motherboard) that is in use every weekend as one of my guest retro gaming rigs and it's been going strong and stable - but I don't understand why people would recommend a 440bx slot 1 motherboard to a novice in the hobby who just wants to build a simple retro gaming PC.

Because it's got ISA slots and is relatively fast (fast enough for anything DOS and Win98) and stable as well. So that does make it a simpele hassle free choice. Pentium 4 systems with ISA slots are rare and expensive. So that leaves an Athlon system. I'm not too knowledgeable on Win98/DOS compatible Athlon systems but aren't some of those Via chipsets finicky?

No, the Apollo Pro 133 chispet is lovely to use. VIA's bad questionable reputation is caused by the fact that the vast majority of motherboards sold with their chipsets were made by matsonic, jetway, pcchips and other "reputable" budget board manufacturers. That's because for brand name boards there was actually little difference in cost between a intel chipset board and a via one - check out the ASUS CUV4X and the ASUS CUSL2 for example - so people usually went with the intel chipset board.

Find an Asus CUV4X or Abit VH6-II, use it for a while and tell me what you think.

Last edited by Socket3 on 2021-07-14, 20:58. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 34 of 88, by cyclone3d

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Oetker wrote on 2021-07-14, 20:45:
Socket3 wrote on 2021-07-14, 20:33:
I have over 10 440bx boards in my collection - out of all these, the only ones that can supply less then 1.8v are my Abit BE6-II […]
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PARKE wrote on 2021-07-14, 15:29:
This observation: [[A typical 440bx board supplies 2v for a pentium 2 chip.]] is not accurate. Only the very early 440BX board […]
Show full quote

This observation:
[[A typical 440bx board supplies 2v for a pentium 2 chip.]]
is not accurate.
Only the very early 440BX boards that were designed to support Pentium 2 generation cpu's were limited to voltages between 1.8v and 3.5v (2v is what they were supposed to deliver for CPU's that ran on 2v.).

I have over 10 440bx boards in my collection - out of all these, the only ones that can supply less then 1.8v are my Abit BE6-II and my Asus CUBX witch is a socket 370 i440bx board making it somewhat of an oddity. The rest (oem compaq, acorp, biostar, msi, shuttle, oem IBM, chaintech, jetway, etc) can only do 1.8v with the exception of the MSI witch can do 1.7v and is able to run correctly with my 850MHz p3 coppermine out of the box. I'm just saying this has been my experience so far.

Also, I didn't say they provide 2V exactly - I said:

Socket3 wrote on 2021-07-14, 10:31:

A typical 440bx board supplies 2v for a pentium 2 chip. Some can do as low as 1.7.

- typical as in most common, witch happen to be OEM boards ripped out of gateway, fujitsu, compaq etc.

PARKE wrote on 2021-07-14, 15:29:

And even on those boards Coppermine CPU's are run at 1.8v by fanciers. Later 440BX boards (1990-ish)come with voltage regulators that allow voltage adjustment between 1.3 and 2.05 volts and between 2.1 and 3.5 volts.

A 1.75v chip will happily run at 1.8v - but try that with a Tualatin and it won't end well - learned that the hard way trying to overclock various 1200 and 1300 MHz tualatin celerons to 1.6 and 1.72GHz respectively.

In any case, my point is the 440bx platform is not practical for anything that requires a 133Mhz fsb (PCI/AGP divider) . Sure, they're fun to mess around with, but performance/cost/convenience wise they're just not worth the hassle compared to simply sourcing a decent socket 370 motherboard. Oh and did I mention cost? Had a look at ebay prices for 440bx boards lately? or for a good slotket? Same as the K6-2+ and K6-III, prices have gone up significantly. The only slot 1 boards I've been able to find lately for less then 50$ are either VIA based or OEM motherboards, and even those are becoming scares in my neck of the woods.

I get the feeling lots of users recommend these boards out of nostalgia more then anything. Some have stated it's the first high performance motherboard they bought. Others said it paved the way for overclocking. Another was saying in the "show off you retro rig thread" that his first PC as a kid was a hand-me-down pentium II with a 440bx board - but I fit in none of those scenarios, and I believe I'm looking at the platform objectively. Don't get me wrong - I like the platform just fine, and I love the look of slot 1 and slot A CPUs for some reason - got one on my desk right now on a little plastic stand. The 440bx platform - it is incredibly stable and easy to use. In fact I have a 850Mhz P3 system (using the afformentioned MSI 6163? motherboard) that is in use every weekend as one of my guest retro gaming rigs and it's been going strong and stable - but I don't understand why people would recommend a 440bx slot 1 motherboard to a novice in the hobby who just wants to build a simple retro gaming PC.

Because it's got ISA slots and is relatively fast (fast enough for anything DOS and Win98) and stable as well. So that does make it a simpele hassle free choice. Pentium 4 systems with ISA slots are rare and expensive. So that leaves an Athlon system. I'm not too knowledgeable on Win98/DOS compatible Athlon systems but aren't some of those Via chipsets finicky?

With AGP yes (possibly due to less than stellar power circuitry) but I didn't have trouble back in the day. And Voodoo cards generally work just fine. I never tried anything faster. This was more with Socket 7 boards though.

The KT7A is a great socket A board. A modded BIOS can be used to add Barton support, it has an ISA slot and it can be wire or socket modded to get the higher multipliers.

The M7MIA is a weird board as it uses an AMD northbridge and a VIA southbridge.
It is the only Socket A board that supports DDR and has an ISA slot.

I have one sitting on a shelf. I think it may not have the same issues as boards with VIA chipset but I am not sure.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 35 of 88, by gdjacobs

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Oetker wrote on 2021-07-14, 12:37:

P3 can be slowed down by disabling cache. I guess flexibility is nice but I don't get why some people insist on having complete control over CPU speed, isn't 'very slow' and 'full speed' enough? I guess there are some games that require a specific faster speed, like some Wing Commander or Ultima games, but aren't most speed-sensitive games really old games for the original PC?

Speed sensitive titles became much more uncommon in the Pentium era, but lots of games prior to that point had issues. I'm a big fan of Sierra titles. Lots had significant interpreter bugs when run on too quick a CPU.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 36 of 88, by Oetker

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Socket3 wrote on 2021-07-14, 20:55:
cyclone3d wrote on 2021-07-14, 20:57:
gdjacobs wrote on 2021-07-15, 00:54:

Thanks for the info, investigating a Via-based build (either P3 (Clone) or Athlon XP based) would definitely be interesting.

Reply 37 of 88, by 2mg

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I'm getting an old PC for cheap (gee, all of this is way more expensive than I expected), I'll post specs when I get it and see what can be done to improve it.

In the meantime, I know it has 3 ISA slots, and it obviously needs a soundcard.

Can you recommend one that is readily available/inexpensive/simply gets the job done, nothing more, nothing fancy.

Reply 38 of 88, by Joseph_Joestar

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2mg wrote on 2021-07-15, 20:58:

Can you recommend one that is readily available/inexpensive/simply gets the job done, nothing more, nothing fancy.

ESS AudioDrive 1868F.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 39 of 88, by keenmaster486

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2mg wrote on 2021-07-15, 20:58:

Can you recommend one that is readily available/inexpensive/simply gets the job done, nothing more, nothing fancy.

Yamaha YMF.
Sound Blaster 16 Value
SB AWE64 Value
Various ESS cards

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.
World's foremost 486 enjoyer.