Discussion in 'Overclocking & Hardware' started by shane41, Jan 28, 2014.
If you can provide a photo from inside each PC, that'll help a huge amount. Just knowing the slot types gives a good indication of the age of the system, and things like formfactor, number of integrated devices, and size of heatsinks will help even more.
I very much doubt that 'project 1' would have PCI slots, based on the look of it and the fact its got a 5 1/4" floppy drive in it. It would most likely have ISA slots.
Definitely need some clear photos of the interior, plus any expansion cards.
As some people know, I am a bit of a "expert" at reviving old stuff like this. I actually still use one which should be in Shane's shed.
My first objectives with these old grunters is to determine what is OK, and what is past worrying about. That is the first pass. That needs to be done with just the bare basics, so strip them right down.
General tips and process...
1. Plug them in.
2. Smoke? (None = good.)
First step is to get them to BIOS and displaying video. If they can do that, and detect a IDE CD Drive, then you can go further. Otherwise, the MoBo is probably shot.
You need a Keyboard - that means DIN for the really oldest ones, PS2 for the newer, and never USB keyboards (USB support is terrible in early stuff, so just forget that.
To boot them, get a copy of Hirens Boot CD. Or even a small and lean Linux build like Puppy. I have a variety of disks in a special folder that I use - Hiren's is the best for what I like to do, but Linux is fine too.
A while back I got a Pentium 3 450MHz with 512MB of RAM to boot to MiniXP off the Hiren CD. Took forever due to lack of RAM (whole thing has to run in RAM but after about 20 minutes it got a desktop screen up! If they will boot and run XP, then they will pretty much run anything. The main thing is to bypass the need to load an OS onto a HDD, hence why MiniXP off Hirens is such an easy solution.
What I then do is use Hirens to run Memtest on them, do the HDD scans, a CPU burn in (gotta watch the temps, old CPUs have dead thermal paste).
Main drama with old PCs is bulging capacitors. If there is any of those, just chuck the MoBo and find a replacement. Even if caps look OK, they are often fucked anyway, and that causes all manner of strange problems like BSOD, memory errors, etc.
Dirty power supply to the critical stuff around the CPU and Memory is what takes most of the old machines down.
Anyway, a PC is a PC - they all basically work the same way. Just remember there is no USB support, so you need to boot to CD ROM. And it's IDE, and you have to remember Master and Slave (not Cable Select, that is too risky).
So, IDE CD, Jumper to Master, make sure detected in BIOS, change boot order, fire it up. Easy.
EDIT: For the highly sensitive souls who take things so very seriously.... The OP has been edited numerous times, and posts #2, #3 and #4 have subsequently been added. My comments above were made prior to Shane adding any internal photos or any info about the machines. Obviously NOW we know that there is 486's and older stuff that won't even support CD Drives in BIOS. Nor would those cope with XP, as they are Dos 3/4/5/6 and Win3.0/3.1 era or even earlier.
I knew I posted pics of my osborne up somewhere on here last time I worked on it . I think its very similar to yours by the sound of it, ISA riser etc?
It's a curious one. 5.25" FDD, and a case that doesn't have a dedicated space for a 3.5" FDD which would suggest a really old system, but it's got a CD drive too. The case is also pretty huge, which would be unusual for the later 486s. The options I can think of are that it's a 286/386 that's had a CD drive added later, or that it started life as an AT and has been upgraded to a 486 or Pentium (where a CD drive would be handy) while keeping the existing case and FDDs.
Well, first step I'd advise is to open it up and visually inspect it - make sure there aren't loose screws or anything floating around that could short it out, make sure no critters have made their home in it...
If these machines are 386/486 or possibly even Pentium there will be no CDROM support in the BIOS. So you won't be able to boot directly from a CD. You'll need to leave that drive as 'none' in the BIOS setup, and load a CDROM driver from a floppy disk. You can boot from the windows 98 boot floppy, which will load a CDROM driver and let you access the CDROM from DOS.
Again, it depends on what's actually in these machines, but it wasn't really until the Pentium era that motherboards started using electrolytic caps. Before that, most caps were tantalum, which rarely had any visual signs of failure (but would usually go BANG when they did fail). Either way, if the caps have failed, its not worth throwing the board out, they can be repaired with a little effort. I've done so myself on dozens of boards.
I'd say the main drama on PC's before the Pentium era was the onboard RTC battery leaking and corroding anything near it. These are much harder to repair if they've already destroyed any traces or components. If the battery hasn't leaked, get rid of it ASAP before it does, and replace it with an external battery (eg AA's in a holder).
Here's the one that I removed from my 386 board, luckily it hadn't leaked yet.
The osbourne, being OEM, may have a Dallas RTC chip instead, which doesn't leak but can go flat. I've seen boards fail to POST at all when this chip is dead. You can buy new replacements on ebay (Dallas 12887+) or hack open the chip and retrofit a coin cell battery.
Systems of this vintage may not even have thermal paste. If its a pentium, or a 486 upgrade/overdrive CPU, it will most likely have a small HSF glued onto the CPU (no paste). If its an earlier 486 or 386 it most likely won't even have any sort of heatsink at all. They probably won't even be able to measure the CPU temps (that didn't really come about until the Pentium 2/3 era).
Yes that's quite standard for these OEM machines. Since the expansion cards are parallel to the motherboard, you can't fit a standard AT/ATX motherboard in the case without a lot of effort, should the board that's in it fail.
subbed for the lols and memories, spare parts = dump or the local salvos shop
Any pics of the internals from your osborne?
wow, i had one of those osbornes, was 1993/4? i think
Osborne - I'm guessing it's a 486DX2-66. Most of the slower 486s wouldn't have bothered with heatsinks, and it appears to be a reasonably high-end system given the VLB slot and filled RAM slots. I guess a DX4-100 or DX4-120 would be possible, but the DX2-66 was more common and the DX4 boards might have had PCI.
#5 - is a Gigabyte PCV2, which is basically Gigabyte's own version of the Via EPIA mini-ITX boards (still using a Via CPU and chipset). CPU is a C3 at 800MHz or 1GHz.
#9 - most of those brand-name systems either have the specs on a label, or have a service tag that you can enter into the manufacturer's website to get the original specs.
Edit: #6 - well, obviously it's an IBM Aptiva. That case style was used for the early Celeron and K6-2 based systems, so I'm banking on a CPU around the 300MHz mark, 32MB or 64MB RAM, and a 4GB or 8GB HDD.
Osbourne looks like its got an ATi Mach32 or similar onboard - this would be a great DOS gaming rig
Give the board a blast with compressed air, remove that expansion card (looks like an IO/IDE controller, at least see if it boots without it), reseat the RAM and try it again.
I had a Digital Venturis which was a somewhat similar OEM machine, that actually had 4MB of RAM on the motherboard in addition to the RAM slots (so it would run with no SIMMs installed). Looking at the four square chips near the RAM slots, I'd hazard a guess that this board might have a similar feature. Try taking the RAM out and booting it, you might be lucky.
As slatye says, being socket 3 its likely to be a 486DX2/66 or similar as these were very popular. You can upgrade this to a DX4/100 Overdrive, Pentium Overdrive 83MHz.
The photo isn't really good so I can't see any markings, jumpers or a voltage regulator near the socket. But if the board supports 3.3V you can upgrade to a 5x86/133. Otherwise, you can use a 5V interposer or upgrade chip such as a Kingston Turbochip to run the 3.3V CPU's but they're a bit harder to come by.
Digital must have had a thing about doing stuff their own way. I (very briefly) had a Venturis too, from which I retrieved a 486SX2-50. I had no idea that clock-doubled SX chips even existed!
Jesus this thread is making me feel nostalgic Dos boot disks Oh Yea
I will keep an eye on this thread.
Slayte and Donut have got the right ideas not much else to say at the moment.
Odd, I thought those had a specs sticker on them. I'm not sure what you get if you feed the service number to Lenovo's website (I don't have a Lenovo serial number handy to try it with) but you might find something.
Haven't got around to it yet bud. Still preparing getting things ready.
+ Got side tracked on my HTPC build.
Gonna do more strengthening of that test bench posted above.
Want to get a peek inside Too Far Gone tomorrow.
Also got some other boxes here ( similar size to Rebirth )
Damn heavy & very old. Might investigate them too.
They work as far as putting text on the screen. Others a blank screen.
I've edited Project 8
Some of you that have been watching the thread,
may guess what I'm up too.
Will post a pic when someone gets it right.
Bonus 2x votes from me.
Pic's of Time Capsule go up tonight. So we can throw around
some idea's over the weekend.
Have fun with this guys + help with useful software etc for testing.
I'd like a top down, clear high res shot of the entire motherboard...
Alright m8, I'll give that a go soon. Thanks reply.
Been doing some edits on the first 4x post.
Worth taking a look.
Adding a point/ vote system to earn kudos
This will tally towards the prize.
Hi, I'm from Osborne, buy my awesome PC that's much cheaper than anyone elses * Payment in advance, wait 2 months.
Suppliers, look how much I order, credits please.
Wow, what an awesome PC, it finally arrived.
Suppliers want to be paid?
oh noes, the dollars crashed!