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Jac's trip down memory lane

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade Worklogs' started by JaC, Jul 18, 2020.

  1. OP
    OP
    JaC

    JaC Member

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    The postie brought me some more presents.

    Got a replacement wheel for an old intellimouse optical I picked up a little while ago. The old wheel was all sticky and melty and gross.
    PXL_20210730_083209522.jpg

    Gave it a clean up with alcohol, replaced the wheel and gave it some fresh feet and it's almost as good as new (just a little yellow).
    PXL_20210730_095525769.jpg
    PXL_20210730_095517545.jpg

    Also got a Hercules GF2Ti. The little brother to my GF3Ti500. This one even has all it's fan blades.
    PXL_20210730_094800112.jpg

    Chucked it in the Thunderbird machine and gave it a quick rip through 3dmark 2001 - scored 4106 which seems to be about what it should.

    This one will go in the 1GHz Coppermine/CUSL2-C machine that I need a case for. In the mean time I'll borrow the fan for the Ti500 so it can go in the Thunderbird, the Ti200 can go in the Tualatin and by the time I'm ready to build up the Coppermine, hopefully the replacement fan will have arrived.
    PXL_20210730_095157316.jpg

    For shits and giggles, benchmarks for the Ti500 in the 1.4GHz Thunderbird
    3dmark 2000 8192
    3dmark 2001 6313
    So a little behind the 1.266Ghz Tualatin with the same card.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2021
  2. OP
    OP
    JaC

    JaC Member

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    Early last week the postie brought me a couple packages.
    Package 1 was a Netgear FA311. Pretty standard RTL8139, but with a blue PCB. Swapped it into the Thunderbird alongside the blue Hercules GF3Ti500. Decided to try and get a Hercules sound card for that machine as well. The random hard locks persist even with the PCI latency patch and I'd like to rule out the SB Live/KT133a issue. Good enough excuse to get a full set of blue PCBs in there. I've ordered a Muse XL for testing which is a pretty cheap card, but it's what I had back in the day. If that fixes the issue I might try to get a Fortissimo or Game Theater XP.

    Package 2 was a RIVA TNT. I dusted off one of the complete systems I have boxed up in the cupboard to give it a run. It started off as
    • Pentium 2 233
    • unnamed baby AT board
    • 32MB RAM
    • RIVA TNT2 M64
    I added a Vibra 16 sound card because it's better than nothing, and swapped the video cards around. Turns out the TNT and TNT2M64 are pretty similar in performance. I'll keep the TNT with that system just because it's a better match for a 1997-8 system. It was a school night, and this was just parts on my desk so I had to box it up and put it away. At least I know when I get an AT case, that one is ready to go.
    PXL_20210809_082553813.jpg
    PXL_20210809_093753086.jpg

    Last night I took a chance and picked up a bulk lot off gumtree for $30.
    • Dusty Antec P180b that should clean up ok
    • A dell P4 machine with a dead PSU (someone flicked it to 115V) and no ram
    • A HP core 2 duo machine with no disks or ram
    • An Acer Q8400 based machine with no disks or ram
    • A P4 3.0GHZ machine with....no disks or ram....
    • Another random case from 2010ish I guess
    • A Dell ST2410b with a busted backlight
    • A 22" LCD that works but is scratched up pretty bad
    • Another 24" LCD with no stand that is properly dead
    • GTS250 video card
    • An AM2 board that I don't have a CPU to test with.
    • A socket 939 board and Athlon 64 X2 4200+

    The 2xP4s and the HP C2D all POST with the addition of some RAM/PSU. The Acer needs DDR3 that I don't have any of. Those machines plus the empty case and AM2 board will tomorrow all go to the people I got my 486 off. In exchange I'll grab some IDE disks and some older cases that suit the hardware I have boxed up in a cupboard. I have another 2-3 complete PCs worth of components I want to put together but I don't have cases and/or HDDs so this will be a big unblocker.

    The dead S939 board will go to ewaste, I'll keep the A64X2 and probably build something up with it if I can get a motherboard. It'll go well with a 7800GTX I have already.

    The LCDs will go to ewaste.

    I'll keep the P180b and use it to build something a little more modern up at some stage. I have a pair of HD6870s here if I can find a fitting motherboard/cpu/ram. Phenom 2 X6 or 1st gen i7? That's getting dangerously close to being younger than 10 years old.

    I swapped the GTS250 into my C2Q in place of the 9800GT. A GTX285/295 would be ideal but this is a nice modest upgrade. While I was digging around for RAM in my stash I found a pair of 2GB DDR2 sticks so it now has 2x2GB + 2x1GB
    Also benchmarked the different video cards with 3dmark05.
    With the 9800GT - 15220
    With the GTS250 - 16284

    And today I picked up a Jetway 7BXAN slot 1 i440BX motherboard. Might put it in the Katmai machine, or if it has coppermine support I could put together another P3 1Ghz with a slotket. Also got a pair of 80GB HDDs which I'm yet to test but they're earmarked for the Thunderbird and Tualatin.

    Played some CS 1.6 the other night with an old mate. It was way more fun than it had any business being.
     
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  3. sammy_b0i

    sammy_b0i Laugh it up, fuzzball!

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    Ugh, you had a 3D Prophet GF3 Ti500 all along? /drool
     
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  4. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    Those Hercules cards are so goddamned pretty.

    The mouse wheel replacement is interesting - I'd never thought to search for them. I'll have to look into whether one of these will fit my older ball version. I'll cop the colour difference if it means getting away from the bloated corpse that's in there!

    upload_2021-8-17_17-3-23.png

    Love that short story :thumbup:
     
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  5. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    Love the Prophet cards.. I search for them every now and then. I loved the art work on the boxes..

    Nice couple of scores mate. Very cool.

    Love where this is going :D
     
  6. OP
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    JaC

    JaC Member

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    Decided to give the soltek SL-75KAV another run. Prior to getting my KT7A, I was trying to use this to build up a thunderbird machine, but had massive stability issues. Since then, in the pile of parts that I would have used I found a dodgy stick of ram and a dodgy hard disk. So let's throw something together on the desk and see if it will behave. Installing windows 98 involves a lot of waiting while it formats the 80gb hard disk. This is probably the bit of older computers I don't have fond memories of.
    PXL_20210821_092310801.jpg

    So in the meantime I did a bit of a stocktake on Nvidia cards I have on hand.

    Riva TNT
    Riva TNT2 M64
    GeForce 2 MX
    GeForce 2 GTS (potentially has issues)
    GeForce 2 ti
    GeForce 3 ti200
    GeForce 3 ti500
    GeForce 4 ti4200 (has artifacts)
    GeForce 7 7800gtx
    GeForce 8 8800gt
    GeForce 9 9800gt
    GeForce GTS 250

    So I guess it might be interesting to fill in the gaps and have at least one (working!) higher end card from each generation from TNT to 9800. Bonus points for having them all built up in period correct PCs.

    So the gaps to fill in are
    TNT 2 vanilla or ultra (ie not m64)
    GeForce 256 DDR
    Ti4200-4600
    Fx5800-5900
    6800

    TNT2 ultras seem to be reasonably rare but I think I found a vanilla TNT2 in a sea of m64s so I'll chase that one up.
    I'll take a closer look at the Ti4200 and GTS, try reflowing as much as I can and check out/replace any electrolytics. It would be nice to get that ti4200 working again.

    If that works out then I've only got 3 to go.

    And finally, that disk is formatted, windows is installed, etc
    PXL_20210821_102751849.jpg
    3dmark started and ran through a few tests then crashed to desktop and wouldn't restart, citing the lack of a dx7 compatible video card. So maybe this board is flaky after all, or maybe I just bumped something. Might be another one for the recapping pile. I noticed some mismatching caps so maybe a few were already done, but not all.
    PXL_20210821_103320523.jpg

    edit: Must have bumped something - it ran through 4 benchmark loops and a few demo loops over 40 minutes without issue. That's what I get for slapping it together so shoddily.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2021
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  7. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    Lol hate it when issues are intermittent, makes it terribly hard to track down.

    Nice list, I have most of those. Lol. My personal fave by far is the Geforce 256.

    Very exciting to see what you end up with as a solid system.
     
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  8. OP
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    JaC

    JaC Member

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    My second random Chinese GPU fan arrived and this one bolted straight up to the gf2ti. It's clear instead of black but the sticker peeled off and transferred over nicely. The connector is wrong but the pins are almost the correct spacing so it's just washed in the pins for now. Eventually I'll track down some fresh pins and I'll terminate it properly but it keeps the GPU cool for now.
    PXL_20210901_115707525.jpg

    I had some dramas with the aureal vortex 2 on windows 98 in the CUSL2-C coppermine machine. When I installed drivers the machine would lock up when I tried to restart, but it would shut down cleanly. Spent a while messing with power settings on bios, and applying shutdown patches without luck. Ended up replacing it with another Sb live from hutts24. Had some dramas removing the aureal drivers and installing the creative drivers so I ended up having to do a full windows reinstall. It wouldn't be a windows 98 machine without frequent os reinstalls. But now that machine has sound that works, can shut down and reboot cleanly and a GPU fan that doesn't wake the neighbors.
     
  9. OP
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    JaC

    JaC Member

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    Went and visited my favorite Facebook marketplace seller early last week on my way home from work and picked up 2xAT cases, an ATX case (Aopen HX45A, which I nearly bought back in the day), a hybrid AT/ATX case and an io shield for the CUSL2-C.

    First cab off the rank is this little number.
    PXL_20210910_091310070.jpg

    While it won't get a 486, that badge is *chefs kiss*. I love it. Makes me want to get some JAC computer solutions badges made up.

    I've thrown the low end P2 machine in this box for now. Undecided on whether it will stay or if I should put a socket 7 cyrix 6x86 system into this and put the P2 in the other AT case.

    Speaking of the other AT case... it needs a decent clean up so it won't come in from the shed until the wire wheel and cold gal have seen to it. It has a little more rust than I thought but it's probably salvageable. Another little project to keep me busy.

    PXL_20210911_102122704.jpg

    Anyway, this thing went together ok, but a few niggles. The power switch was too long, but Mr flushcuts made short work of the 8-10mm excess.

    PXL_20210911_095746168.jpg

    Had to trim 2mm off the case side of things a touch as well but nothing too major. I guess this psu will just have to stay with this case. Speaking of the psu, the fan was dead. Bearings were toast. Meant to order a replacement a while ago but forgot, so I have this monstrosity for now.

    PXL_20210911_102126854.jpg

    When I had this system together on the bench the other day it had a vibra 16, but I swapped that out for an AWE64.

    PXL_20210911_105427017.jpg

    So, current system specs for this PC
    Pentium 2 233
    128MB RAM
    Soltek i440lx-w977tf (so cpuz tells me, no markings on the board)
    Riva TNT
    AWE64 CT4520
    8GB HDD
    8x CDROM

    Not a bad little early windows 98 ripper. Plays glquake pretty well. This is pretty similar to my early high school PC when I was playing RTS so I'll have to get some C&C and RA on here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2021
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  10. OP
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    JaC

    JaC Member

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    Didn't really need them but I picked up a couple of radeon cards - 9800XT and X800XT platinum. I've got a socket 478 P4 system to build up so that will probably take the 9800.

    PXL_20211001_234727855.jpg

    Also dad came around for dinner last weekend and I happened to mention I was putting together old computers like I had back in the day. He said he had a bunch of old gear that he hadn't thrown out yet but he needs to get rid of to clear some space so that's pretty exciting.

    Instead of trying to recreate some of the old machines I had, I can actually have the old machines back. I don't know exactly what he has. I did a clean out of a bunch of the stuff I had about 10 years ago but I really only remember giving away some CPUs and video cards (including my voodoo :(). Could be some real gems in there in the 486-P3 range.
     
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  11. hutts24

    hutts24 Member

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    Awesome!

    How did that subject not come up long ago???:wired:
     
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  12. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    I have the exact same card as that x800xt, but in the fireGL format. Great little hot cakes they are. It's in my dual Opteron setup in my BeOS/Haiku box, Nice pickup. It's a great card.
     
  13. OP
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    JaC

    JaC Member

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    Yeah I'm not too sure. I guess the focus is usually on my son when he visits.

    Pulled out the socket 478 gear earlier to take a look at what I've got. CPU wise I've got a Prescott 3.0E which isn't a bad chip. On the motherboard front I've got an Asus P4S800 with the sis 648fx chipset and a gigabyte ga8ipe1000 with an Intel 865pe chipset. I think the Intel chipset is the go (dual channel vs single channel).

    There's plenty of PC3200 memory floating around and with one of those video cards it should make a solid 2003-2004 era machine. I've got a SB live I can throw in until I can get an audigy 2 or something. This PC is from the SATA era so I'm covered for hdd and optical drives, there's a few psus floating around so all I really need is a case and a couple of hours.

    I only ever had Nvidia cards so it's been interesting to go back and play with stuff that wasn't even on my radar. I guess I was firmly on the AMD bandwagon through the P4 years as well so an Intel/ATI build is completely foreign to me.
     
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    JaC

    JaC Member

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    No real updates but I came across this photo of me and 3 mates on our way to a lan ~19 years ago. Those were the days.

    lan.png
     
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  15. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    That's fantastic.
     
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  16. rugger

    rugger Member

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    Brings back memories ... terrible cars ... huge monitors, stuffing computers into cars!
     
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  17. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    lolol love it! :D
     
  18. OP
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    JaC

    JaC Member

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    So it's been a while. Between work, covid scares and other daycare bugs (each resulting in various levels of testing and isolation), and time with the family I've not had a huge amount of time to play with 20 year old computers (and then there was the rain and floods...), however I still have been tinkering away in the background.

    I picked up a period correct Nokia style case off Hutts24 to build up a P4 machine.
    I had a P4S800 and a GA-8IPE1000. I wanted the dual channel memory and SATA so I tried the GA-8IPE1000 but no dice. I couldn't get anything out of it. I ended up coming across another one somewhere (I think in a bulk lot - maybe ebay or facebook?) but it too was unresponsive. I was able to temporarily build it up with the P4S800 and the CPU (2.8GHz) RAM, video card (X800XT), etc I had picked out seemed to all work but I didn't have an IDE disk I could leave in there so it got pulled down waiting for another motherboard. Which reminds me, I was meant to go pick one up a little while ago...

    I also picked up a GF2 GTS from Germany that took forever to get here, as well as a mixed bag of "non-functional" cards off ebay from a guy just up the road. I actually didn't see that they were listed as "for parts" until after the auction was over but oh well, hopefully the seller was wrong about some of them being broken and I can salvage something.

    So today I found a few minutes to do some quick testing. Using my CUSL2/1GHz coppermine machine I've been able to run the German GF2GTS through a 3dMark 2001 test (scored ~3200) and all is good apart from a slightly noisy fan. This one has video out.
    PXL_20220319_022525782.jpg

    After inspecting the broken video cards there was another GF2GTS with some obvious damage to a crystal - looks like it took a knock and it's cracked the solder. A dab of flux, a touch with the iron and it too tested ok (~3200 again), with the same noisy fan. This one has no video out and is a slightly different revision. Not a bad start.
    PXL_20220319_022651925.MP.jpg PXL_20220319_023643628.MP.jpg

    Next cab off the rank was a Radeon 9600XT. It posted and booted windows but with pretty bad artifacts. Caps look fine, no obvious damage and all the major ICs are BGAs so for now it's in the too hard basket. Might attempt a reflow in the oven at some stage. It has a cheap aftermarket cooler which it may donate to one of the GF2s at the very least.
    PXL_20220319_030854816.MP.jpg

    Next cab off the rank is this guy. Can't get any hits on any of the part numbers on the board but with a part number like ANV10A1P-32M and judging by the look of it, I think it's a GF256, probably SDR (NV10, 32MB). I'll pop the heat sink off and confirm later and also take a closer look at the ram part number. Very noisy fan (had to disconnect it for testing, it was so loud I was worried about waking my son) and no video display at all. Shame, I don't have any GF256 cards. Might hang onto it for now but it'll probably end up at ewaste.
    PXL_20220319_031512023.jpg

    Next up is an Innovision Voodoo Banshee - this is the card that made me buy this bulk lot. In a surprise to absolutely nobody, this one is dead too. No obvious damage, and no caps to go bad, no video output. Might hang onto it, give a closer look under a microscope and maybe reflow all that I can and hope for a miracle.
    PXL_20220319_033247269.jpg

    MGA100 AGP - no video output, no obvious damage, no big loss. Off to ewaste.
    PXL_20220319_034815172.MP.jpg

    S3 Trio V+ 1MB PCI - video output works, boots to windows. Not the most exciting thing but may be useful, and at least proves the PCI slot I'm using to test with works and this machine will run with a PCI video card. If I'm feeling saucy next time I'm buying something from utsource I'll grab another 1MB of ram for it so it can run 1024x768@16 bit.
    PXL_20220319_034823880.jpg

    And curiosity got the better of me. After booting with a PCI card for the first time, I decided to try that banshee again just in case I'd knocked some oxidation off the PCI connector or something. Well it posted and booted to windows where it was picked up as a VGA card - not a bad start. Got some drivers installed and still looking good aside from the hard drive starting to click, spinning down and then back up again. Ran 3dmark 2000 and it hard locked 5s in. Rebooted and tried dxdiag D3D tests - success. Tried to load 3dmark 2000 again and the hard drive clicks and spins down and it hard locks. And that's where I ran out of time today. Further investigation required but at least it's not absolutely dead. At the very least I have hard disk issues, but I could also have driver issues (all the cards before this were nvidia, maybe some old driver remnants left over?). Either way I'll be doing a fresh install on a new disk drive (probably something sata with an ide adapter).

    Other cards still to test:
    SIS6326 3d Pro AGP - not very exciting
    MVGA Trident T9440 - not very exciting
    Inno3d 7600GS AGP - Might be useful for an early XP machine with an agp slot. Not officially supported for win98 though a quick Google found some mentions of some mythical modified drivers? Probably not worth the hassle though.

    So at the very least I have a working GF2GTS and a test s3 trio v+ out of that dud lot. If nothing else works then it's just a slightly expensive GF2. The banshee would absolutely make this a bargain though...
     

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  19. hutts24

    hutts24 Member

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    Hey Jac, you really are making me jealous with those V7700s. They look just like the one I bought new years ago and put into a 2nd hand PC to lend to my cousin, who then traded it in for something better. Now that you have a spare, maybe we can do a deal in the future.... I've got an Elsa GF2GTS in Canberra that's missing SMD ceramic capacitors in a gang of 3. I think they are 3 independent capacitors but attached together side by side. I have never seen them before. I'm hoping I can replace them with individual capacitors because I don't have the equipment to solder something with 6 contacts at once.

    Now, now hold on with the urge to throw everything in eWaste. You've got some pretty iconic parts there. Those parts were pretty finicky so they may just not work with the boards you're testing them in. If you haven't tried yet, USE THE PENCIL ERASER TECHNIQUE on the gold edge contacts. I've fixed a good number of cards and RAM chips with this tip, as have others on this forum. Also clean the cards thoroughly with a toothbrush or something similar and check the pins on the ICs aren't shorted together.

    That Banshee has at least one tantalum SMD capacitor. They can go bad without any visual indication. Could be worth trying to replace that. The Matrox has SMD electrolytic capacitors and they also do go bad (more likely than tatalum) and will leak out onto the board in some cases. They are not too hard to work with so you could try replacing them if all else fails. This is going to cost time which you probably don't want to spend, so why not offer them up for grabs here before throwing them in eWaste? Somebody will be keen for the NV10 even if it is the SDR version.
     
  20. OP
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    JaC

    JaC Member

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    No dramas on the V7700, take your pick and it's yours. I reckon I owe you quite a few bits and pieces. Let me know when you're back in town and I'll drop it off. I actually have a third one that has some issues but I reckon I can fix it. I'm pretty handy with a soldering iron from my uni days where I worked in electronics manufacturing and I've got access to some decent gear at the current job. Let me know if you want me to take a look at that card.

    I'll give the eraser trick a shot. Kind of forgot about it even though I've had good luck with it on ram before. Definitely haven't given up on the gf256 or 9600xt yet, though I'm not exactly optimistic. Pretty optimistic about the banshee though. My neighbour had one back in the day and I was super jealous.

    I'm probably being a little hasty with ewaste as well. Whatever I can't get going I'll offer up here first in case anyone else wants to have a crack.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2022
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