VOGONS


First post, by BeastOfSoda

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Hello, first off merry Christmas or whichever festivity your culture celebrates.

I would like to share my experience with this weird IDE to SATA adapter:

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Although the seller claims that the adapter uses a Jmicron chip, it actually employs an unheard of VPD Chips IC, with product code VCB0S003-1836, which turns out to be used on the cheapest adapters found on AliExpress.

I tried using it on my Socket 370 build, here are the specs.

Piii 866
Shuttle AV11 mainboard (VT82C596B chipset)
Nvidia Ti4200
Voodoo 2
Sound Blaster 16 + SBlive + ES1868f
Intel network card
LG DVD-ROM drive
Kingston 120 GB SSD (I think SATA III)
Potato 420w PSU, which I wouldn't be surprised if it was 50% efficient
256 MB of garden variety RAM

Here are the results: at first, I was having wack issues with general system stability, which I eventually resolved by placing the adapter on the same IDE channel as the DVD-ROM. The kicker, however, is that it seems to be causing some conflict that is borking my computer spectacularly: the game I tested it with was Mobil 1 Rally Championship, and although the Ti is chosen as the graphics adapter, the system outright shuts itself off whenever going in-game if the Voodoo 2 is also present, no matter what I try. It's simply like, "nah, I quit" and just dies.

A quick calculation is suggesting me that I'm probably pushing 200W with the mentioned components, but since my estimate has been really generous I doubt I'm simply running out of juice; it might be down to incompatibilities with Via boards, but since it's only happening when the Voodoo 2 is connected, I am certain there must be more to it. Therefore, I have to conclude that this adapter is rubbish, and I advise double checking that you're not buying it by accident.

Any thoughts?

After a bit of troubleshooting (thanks PcBytes), it appears that the power situation in my system is less reliable than I thought, and adding this adapter along with a bigger video card was too much to handle. With a less demanding configuration, it turns out that the adapter isn't nearly as bad as I initially thought, as the SSD is seamlessly recognized as a boot drive and the DVD reader also works. No copy or performance issues have been denoted so far, but my testing has been limited due to the shakiness of the system. I'll have to revisit this in the future.

Last edited by BeastOfSoda on 2021-12-26, 13:13. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 1 of 6, by PcBytes

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First off.... 256GB? 🤣

Second - replace the PSU, and while at it, try and replace those two caps above the IDE connector.

I have a feeling these might be underspec'd (chinese capacitors are something I take with extreme levels of salt.) and hence why the shutdowns. Wouldn't count on the potato PSU's caps being up to par either.

"Enter at your own peril, past the bolted door..."
Main PC: i5 3470, GB B75M-D3H, 16GB RAM, 2x1TB
98SE : P3 650, Soyo SY-6BA+IV, 384MB RAM, 80GB

Reply 2 of 6, by BeastOfSoda

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PcBytes wrote on 2021-12-26, 10:54:

First off.... 256GB? 🤣

Second - replace the PSU, and while at it, try and replace those two caps above the IDE connector.

I have a feeling these might be underspec'd (chinese capacitors are something I take with extreme levels of salt.) and hence why the shutdowns. Wouldn't count on the potato PSU's caps being up to par either.

Yes, GB. I like to image my system partition 25 times over to RAM, so that I can have a smoother crashing experience. 😜

I might fix that goof later, but after considering your insight I decided to try running the same system, with the same IDE to SATA adapter situation but with a more frugal video card, a TNT2 M64. What I found out was that the game is now running without crashing, so it's well possible that adding the adapter was enough to tip a barely stable system over the edge (although I can't imagine an SSD drawing more power than a platter drive, even with the adapter attached). It should also be mentioned that with the Ti 4200, I was running the game at twice the resolution as what is achievable with the other card, so that would definitely be an added factor.

As it looks like the adapter wasn't the root cause of my issues, I might have to replace the PSU after all; I am however not going to monkey with the capacitors on the adapter for now, as I might have to return it, but your advice makes sense.

Either way, thanks for the suggestions; hopefully I can provide a fair evaluation of this product when I've got my power issues sorted out.

Reply 3 of 6, by PcBytes

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It's probably either the JMB controller or the onboard regulators that might pull enough to bump your system's stability after all.
I just noticed you're having ChengX caps on the controller. Not the brightest but will hold up rather good (I don't see them being in a very hot area either.) so you might not need to return the adapter after all.
For the PSU, I would definitely recommend replacing it with a better unit, because at this point it's clear that the PSU is likely absolute hot trash, and the adapter could very well be fine.

"Enter at your own peril, past the bolted door..."
Main PC: i5 3470, GB B75M-D3H, 16GB RAM, 2x1TB
98SE : P3 650, Soyo SY-6BA+IV, 384MB RAM, 80GB

Reply 4 of 6, by BeastOfSoda

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PcBytes wrote on 2021-12-26, 13:42:

It's probably either the JMB controller or the onboard regulators that might pull enough to bump your system's stability after all.
I just noticed you're having ChengX caps on the controller. Not the brightest but will hold up rather good (I don't see them being in a very hot area either.) so you might not need to return the adapter after all.
For the PSU, I would definitely recommend replacing it with a better unit, because at this point it's clear that the PSU is likely absolute hot trash, and the adapter could very well be fine.

Alright, I am convinced: I did get some cash for Christmas, so I might as well upgrade the PSU. I am, however, a bit torn, because I am looking at passive ones from Seasonic (of which I am a big fan): I could buy either a 400w or a 500w, both platinum rated.

Here is my concern: I know that at platinum rating, those PSUs are going to deliver 94% efficiency at 50% load, which is around my guesstimated 200w of power draw. However, without a power meter I cannot confirm how much I really need; there's also the fact that fully passive PSUs, as a rule of thumb, should not be pushed beyond 50% of their capacity in order to extend their working life, so I am undecided if I will be safe with 400w or if I should go for the 500w model instead (or, on the contrary, look at semi-passive cooling models as I've always used; it's just that going as silent as possible is really appealing to me right now, but I'm not sure if it's worth doing on the PSU). What do you think?

Reply 5 of 6, by PcBytes

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Considering the specs, I would ditch the idea of going passive for two reasons:

1. The way you explained it, efficiency is going to be an issue with those - especially since newer units are designed with 12v heavy stuff in mind.
2. They're wayy overkill for what you're running in there. The most exaggerate rating would be 350W, with a 200-230W constant load probably.

I would've recommended you the SS-351HT, but the 5v and 3.3v rails don't look very strong (22A each), and it features 2x 12V rails so not sure if it doesn't prioritize 12v over 3.3/5v.
There's also Delta and FSP PSUs you can look at, and your best bet for that machine (since up until and including Athlon XP everything was pretty much 5v heavy) would be an older FSP unit or an older Delta.
The best option however, would be Delta in that regard. FSPs usually had the tendency to cook the capacitors and the last time I had to work on one (FSP300-60GTP) it was a royal b**ch to recap. Deltas usually very rarely (if ever) fail, these things are total tanks.

"Enter at your own peril, past the bolted door..."
Main PC: i5 3470, GB B75M-D3H, 16GB RAM, 2x1TB
98SE : P3 650, Soyo SY-6BA+IV, 384MB RAM, 80GB

Reply 6 of 6, by BeastOfSoda

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Fast-forward one month, during which I upgraded the PSU: I went with Seasonic after all, and chose the SS-300FS which has 28A 3.3v / 30A 5v. It also has the-5v line, which is a nice bonus for those elderly ISA boards. I did have to replace a couple of domed caps, but aside from that it looked good.

So how did it go? The crashes with demanding games seem to be gone for the time being, but that VPD adapter is still a piece of trash. It turns on maybe once every ten restarts, and when it does there is no guarantee that it stays on. I did get a replacement jMicron adapter, but it doesn't play ball with VIA chipsets and SATA-III drives, which is my exact situation; I half knew that when going in, but decided to give it a shot anyway.

So for now I am back to using the old spinny drive, hoping that the reliability issues were caused by a swamped low quality PSU; my opinion on this particular adapter is unchanged, it's a pile of garbage. I might look into changing those capacitors, as intermittent behaviour points to them as culprits, but as it stands the product is poo.