20 Years of Athlon- A Slot A Build!

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade Worklogs' started by mAJORD, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

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    All I want for Christmassss. is... ?

    ..Well back in late '99, it was absolutely an Athlon, in all its awkward slot A glory.. and that's exactly what I shouted myself back in that memorably humid summer. (a ground up build!)

    I still remember reading, I think it was an Anandtech preview? in disbelieve at the numbers.. They were Intel defeating almost across the board , No weak FPU, higher IPC, higher top tier frequencies, with clear indication this uArch would have future frequency scaling to boot. Based on history, it didn't really make sense. But it was real.

    So yes , Happy 20th Birthday Athlon! - A birthday that's really flown under the radar IMO

    Doing a build on this platform is something I've been looking forward to getting into. At the time there were two games on my radar that I look forward to enjoying on this, as I did then. System Shock 2, and my pick of the two - Quake III arena. I don't think either need any more commentary. The later celebrates its 20th Birthday in a day or so , and I doubt that will go unnoticed :)

    So That's the core platform, but obviously a Video card choice has to be paramount here.. and to be honest I've struggled with this one. At the time the Nvidia Geforce (SDR) had just been launched 'officially'. So if just looking at it objectively / theoretically, this would be an obvious choice. My problem is, I saw this card as a bit before its time at release - I mean it was undeniably faster than it's predecessor , but it was expensive initially, and the DDR version , if my memory serves me correctly was the one to 'wait for' in 2000.

    So basically I find myself drawn to my old favorite, the TNT2 - In this case a TNT2 Ultra.. The one I actually wanted at the time, but even it was a bit out of my price range!


    The build thus far:

    CPU: AMD Athlon 600Mhz Slot A - untested

    cpu.png

    This actually a 180nm Model I've pondered getting hold of a 250nm.. Still pondering I think. As these were 100% dumb shrinks , I'm not sure it's worth it.


    HSF

    From WES quite some time ago.. an Orb clone! Which is exactly what I had at the time.. They wern't great performers As far as I remmeber.. but how can you resist the orb?


    Motherboard:

    Epox EP-7KXA

    Another not quite period correct board- But i've had it for a while now, so I'd like to use it regardless. It's a solid board, so

    mobo.png


    GPU
    one Diamond viper V770u TNT2 Ultra untested (and on it's way)

    RAM: 128GB Transend PC133 Was working!. I'll be running this at PC100

    IMG_20191130_201434.png

    HDD: ___________?

    I have a lot of collecte HDD's. Just need to work out a typical size, performance level for this era

    Soundcard: _________?

    Another Aureal Vorex 2 ? (used the one I had in my last build)

    PSU:________?

    Probably another modern Seasonic 80mm fan model, with beefy 5V rail at this stage


    Case:__________?

    This I'd really like some help with.. What do you guys reckon of this


    It's from a late 2000 build I believe. But is the case still something relevant to late 99?

    I feel like it's a little bit too 2000s with the style of buttons, but not really in relation to your prebuilt compaq' and HP's at the time - more so in relation to DIY. Have been trawling some old 99 mags

    PS it has blue buttons (not pictured) I took them out so I can clean and retrobrite it if I go with it. Just not convinced yet. also feels a bit cheap / flimsy maybe.




    case.png
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
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  2. Agg

    Agg Lord of the Pings

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    Hah, I have the mid-tower version of that case here. I think it was the first case I ever cut a blowhole into. It's going to be pretty dang close to that year, certainly the correct era.

    oldcase.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
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  3. OP
    OP
    mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

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    ha! nice

    Do you happen to know/remember what make it is? or is it pretty generic. can't see any markings on it. Though the last case I used had no markings but someone recognised the exact model Inwin.

    Yeah it's in the ballpark, I'm just particuarly anal about case era's. I mean I don't give a shit about the build date, just whether it was available in that time even (some cases were on the market for year+ unchanged)
     
  4. Agg

    Agg Lord of the Pings

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    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  5. cbjaust

    cbjaust Member

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    First and last time I had a go at Slot A was OSIBS Round 3 on hwbot in May 2017. Athlon 700 Thunderbird | Asus K7M | 2 x Hyundai Electronics 128MB SDRAM, 1 x 256MB NEC SDRAM | Triplex Millenium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB | Seagate Medalist ST317242A 17.2GB Disk | Skyhawk 250W PSU

    Super Pi 1M - it didn't go well, a suggestion was to drop the memory capacity down...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Flamin Joe

    Flamin Joe Member

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    Aw damn, I really have a soft spot for the Slot A. :thumbup:

    I had an ASUS K7M / Athlon 500 combo with a GeForce 256 and it was a rock stable platform. Of course as you did at the time overclocking was a must especially since AMD were getting such good yields that they were dumping higher spec'd cores into lower speeds. If I remember correctly my 500 only had a 550 core which I bumped up to 600 so essentially it was just a 50MHz overclock.

    Don't know if you can find them anymore but I imported a Montac Article Circle CPU cooler which was a modified Panaflo Orb which HP designed. And of course how can I forget the Goldern Finger required for overclocking! I think I had the FreeSpeed Pro which looks and sounds about right.

    Can't believe it's been 20 years!
     
  7. Hater

    Hater Member

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    how does slot A work? I have a twin slot A pentium II which became pentium III's board, can i slam athlons into it?
     
  8. Flamin Joe

    Flamin Joe Member

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    Slot A (AMD) and Slot One (Intel) are not the same thing. They are physically and electronically incompatible.

    You have a Dual Slot One Pentium, not Slot A.
     
  9. adz

    adz Member

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    I recall selling those exact cases at Maxwell's in Melbounre in the late 90's, they sold under the brand name Hyena. I reckon I could still dig up a supplier price list from then too.
     
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  10. Phido

    Phido Member

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    Slot A is AMD answer to Intels Slot 1. They are electrically and physically incompatible. Although both have the same number of connectors.

    In the late 90's, we all became obsessed with having our processors in slots, not socket. So everybody needed a "slot".

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slot_1
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slot_A

    There was also the more hilarious Slot 2 for servers, which looked like King sized Pentium II/III processors.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slot_2
    Which you can still buy from Walmart.
    https://www.walmart.com/ip/INTEL-80...n-450-80523KX450512-BX80523KX450512/375681874

    However you question is interesting, because slot A was based around DEC Alpha's protocol (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DEC_Alpha), so technically if you can flash your bios with a Alpha bios and find a compatible adapter or module, you could slam a DEC Alpha CPU into that baby..

    https://www.itprotoday.com/compute-engines/alpha-21264
    Samsung apparently made such a module. https://www.samsung.com/us/news/newsPreviewRead.do?news_seq=173

    You can then get a version of Windows NT that runs on Alphas too if you want to do that.
     
  11. power

    power Member

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    OP needs to fix that cap near the AGP slot, also that chassis is not an AOpen, some generic thing. AOpen's were much better build quality.
     
  12. Hater

    Hater Member

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    D'oh

    Durh.

    Cheers guys

    Edit: Man, PII Xeons? those things look all sexy-like
     
  13. flu!d

    flu!d KDE Neon 5.16

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    Absolutely loved the era of Slot A/Slot 1. Nothing better than a huge heatsink with dual fans...
     
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  14. Phido

    Phido Member

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    Its a fair question. Slot A was really the first AMD "Socket". Up until then they existed on Intel sockets like socket 7, socket 3 PAG132 (386) etc. So its not really that unexpected for people to ask if Slot 1 and slot A were compatible, because for the first time the AMD cpus existed on their own platform. If everyone knew everything then there would be no reason to have forums and new articles.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athlon

    The history around that was quite interesting, including HP buying DEC, and killing Alpha, which AMD then walked in and hired pretty much the best CPU designers on the planet out of a company that had just made them redundant (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirk_Meyer who later became CEO of AMD). DEC was keen to licence off their bus, as they new the end was coming. Dirk Meyer, Jim Keller, the bulldozer failure.. All super important parts of AMD's history.

    https://www.extremetech.com/computi...etting-future-success-on-bobcat-not-bulldozer
    http://vrworld.com/2011/01/10/coup-at-amd-dirk-meyer-pushed-out/

    The K7 represented a time when Dirk still had his golden touch and it effectively made him CEO of AMD.

    Interesting AMD Threadripper HEDT and Eypc stuff is the sort of stuff the DEC guys would love for AMD to do, some are still there. Slogging it with Intel in the high end space is their core reason for being. So how much was Dirk, and how much was it his team (I think it was his team, and that became clear when he seperated off from his team and everything turned to shit). But back then, the K7 was killing it. It was the messiah, it was neo. While the K6 was a return to form, The K6-2 and k3 were place holder, prophets of what was to come, but the K7 was better than form. AMD was no longer a wart on Intel arse, but had become its own alternate peer. Supporting its own ecosystem and killing it. Intel had more than 10 engineers for every 1 at AMD, but AMD was killing it.

    When that black cartridge appeared...

    [​IMG]

    Which gave AMD some confidence to actually run some media ad's.



    Yes.. Now I have a hankering to get a Slot 2 Xeon setup. Or at least a processor mounted in a frame. There is something about these chunky things from another time.
     
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  15. Flamin Joe

    Flamin Joe Member

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    It was the cartridge design which I loved. It was just so different to anything that I had experienced before.

    God damn this thread, now I'm on eBay looking up Slot A CPU's. :lol:
     
  16. OP
    OP
    mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

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    Gold! Slot A party

    Good post Phido. I don't think we ever got That that ad in Oz.I think I first saw it online many yrs ago .

    Thanks for that. Love to see that pricelist! .

    Well spotted sir. I haven't really looked over it to closely, but that didn't catch my eye.

    Agree re Aopen.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
  17. Flamin Joe

    Flamin Joe Member

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    In looking up some reviews on my old motherboard, the ASUS K7M, it reminded me of some of the events in the lead up to AMD releasing the K7. I remember when all this was going down it certainly was a puzzling release by ASUS.

    https://www.anandtech.com/show/467

    Later on these motherboards came out in the usual colourful retail packaging with ASUS stamped all over it, but I remember how the motherboard I had originally came in a OEM white box but internally it had everything you expected from a retail box.


    Pssst. Hey kid! Want to buy a K7M motherboard? :lol:

    61GJEFSOmUL._SX425_.jpg
     
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  18. Phido

    Phido Member

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    I recall it being an online ad (one of the first video ones that stuck in my head) on slashdot or somewhere like that. Its a really aggressive ad. And loud.

    "DAVE GARDNER!"

    Also I think there was an original cut where he just got hit by the train.

    Also did everyone else see who was on stage with Lisa? Jerry Fucking Sanders. Looking more like Colonel Sanders..
    [​IMG]

    Jerry Sanders is a man from another era..
    https://organizationalphysics.com/2...ait-of-the-innovator-leadership-style-at-amd/

    AMD seems to be on a much more stable and focused path now. But the K7, was cocaine, planes and champagne.
     
  19. OP
    OP
    mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

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    weekend update!

    This arrived.. All the way from Hungary

    Diamond Viper V770U

    IMG_20191207_224158.png IMG_20191207_224846.png


    complete with it's broken fan blade.. and yes I was aware. But it was cheap compared to alternatives, and I really wanted the Diamond :)

    IMG_20191207_224406.png


    Doing some rough calcs, just some araldite should be well and truely strong enough to stick the blade back on. Might even get fancy and counter balance with a dollop on the opposite side


    Removed a couple of Cap's from the Mobo - The dodgy looking one spotted by Power was measuring low - It buggered.

    A sample from the VRM was measuring fine in Capacitance (2550uF) . I'll have to wait till I test with ESR meter at work to know if they're still healthy

    IMG_20191208_221202 (1).png



    these Tayer caps have a bad rep, so it'll be interesting to see if the VRM one is OK or not. If it is, I'll leave them.
     
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