The K6-2 400 "Forceful" build

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade Worklogs' started by rugger, Mar 20, 2021.

  1. rugger

    rugger Member

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    Having bought myself a K6/2-400 system a few months back, I have been planning a more comprehensive retro DOS/Windows 98 build using this hardware. I purchased the K6/2 mostly for the AT case that it came in, rather than the system itself.

    I have given everything a good clean, so no dirty PC porn here!

    So onto the hardware, starting with the Forceful case:

    Case Forceful.JPG Case front.JPG Case Back.JPG

    This is a fine example of the cheapest sort of case that can be created! Using ultra-thin finger cutting steel, the only reason it hasn't crumpled into a flattened pile is because the motherboard and other hardware holds it in shape.

    The reasons for choosing this case are because it is old and beige, it has USB ports on the front, it fits an AT format motherboard, and importantly I don't have anything in it yet. The USB ports have individual pin plugs, making it easy to rearrange to handle any USB header.

    Onto the internal hardware, lets start with the Motherboard:

    Motherboard Front.JPG Motherboard Rear.JPG

    A Tomat TM-AL100 Super Socket 7 motherboard based on the Aladdin V chipset. While it is an AT motherboard, it also supports ATX PSUs and soft power switching, which means it will work great in an ATX case that I can mount it in. It has AGP, PC100 SDRAM, PS/2 mouse port and diagnostic LEDs. One of the more annoying aspects of this motherboard is that one of the standoffs is underneath the CPU socket.

    Into the motherboard, goes the K6-2 processor I keep speaking of:

    Processor Top.JPG Processor Bottom.JPG Processor Cooler.JPG

    Yep, just a standard K6-2 400mhz and a bog standard fan. All cleaned up and ready to go.

    Next Post will be video and audio
     
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    rugger

    rugger Member

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    Now, for the video, I've been waiting for an opportunity for a while to use this one:

    Video card front.JPG Video card Back.JPG

    A Leadtek WinFast 3D S310, a 3dFX Voodoo Banshee with 16meg RAM. I figured this one would be a good choice for this system, with high performance on slower systems, minimal reliance on AGP and good DOS compatibility.

    For the Audio, I go with an everyday card:

    Soundcard 1 Front.JPG Soundcard 1 Back.JPG

    An Addtronics ESS1868 ISA card. Good DOS compatibility, works ok in WIndows 98, MPU401 support for external MIDI devices. Should have been a shoe-in right ... but unfortunately, I'm going to have to choose a different card. When testing this system under windows 98, this card produced a lot of poping/crackling between sound samples. So, After I finish posting all the hardware for this build, I'll compose a list of the ISA cards I have and see if anyone can make a good suggestion for a replacement.

    For networking, I'll keep the card the system came with:

    Network front.JPG Network Back.JPG

    Its a SMC EZ Card 10/100 PCI ethernet card. Drivers were a pain to find, so now that I have found them, I shall never let them go! It works fine, nothing much other to say about it.

    Next I will go over the drives I have installed.
     
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    rugger

    rugger Member

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    For hard drive, I am using the following Seagate drive:

    Hard drive.JPG

    A barracuda 7200.7 40gb IDE drive. Chosen for it's quietness and reliability, it's production date of 2004 is a few years newer than most the other core components, but I like having faster, larger hard drives with quiet bearings. I could possibly find an 3-5gb drive for it, but I'd have to deal with a slower drive that has whiny bearings (every Quantum Fireball that ever existed) and I wouldn't be able to load whatever I want on it without worrying about space.

    For the CD-ROM drive, using this noisy beast:

    Fast CDROM.JPG Fast CDROM top.JPG

    To make sure you fear for bodily injury each time it's used, a 52x CD-ROM drive, make by someone I have never heard of, "4kus". Chosen because it is beige, and works well with modern burnt CD-Rs. Again, unfortunately, a bit out of date range for this computer.

    Then of course, all old computers need a floppy drive.

    Floppy Disk.JPG Floppy disk label.JPG

    Just a bog standard 3.5inch floppy drive. Works fine.

    Next post is the PSU and assembled computer photos
     
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  4. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    This is looking great, love this era. Those Addonics cards are usually tuff as nails - did you try giving the jacks and contacts a good clean? You could also try turning off the amp - I'm assuming that's what those top right jumpers do.
     
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    rugger

    rugger Member

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    Every system needs some ram, before I totally forget:

    Ram front.JPG RAM back.JPG

    128meg of PC100 SDRAM. Random pairing that works fine at 100mhz 2 CAS latency

    PSU is the one that came with the case. An absolutely gutless wonder ... but the computer doesn't use much, and the caps look fine, so I'll YOLO it:

    PSU top.JPG PSU label.JPG

    A crappy little 300W L&C PSU.

    So unassembled the case looks like this:

    Case Empty.JPG

    Now with everything in it and cables sorta-kinda cable managed:

    Assembled.JPG

    I think it has come out fairly well.
     
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    rugger

    rugger Member

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    yeah, the addonics card works fine in DOS gaming and such, but playing FF7, it's just pop city, when sounds start and stop.
     
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    rugger

    rugger Member

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    Ok, contestants for replacement sound card:

    a) SoundBlaster Vibra-16 CT2260: Pretty decent card for a Sound Blaster 16, True OPL3, but I'm not sure if this has bug-free MPU-401 --- probably not.
    b) Opt32W3D - Opti 82C925 + Crystal CS4231 with Opti QS703 wavetable Card: It has a wavetable, but otherwise unremarkable card. A bit noisy and unbalanced.
    c) MF-1869 - ESS 1869 ISA card: Basically its like the 1868 but with 48khz support. Will probably work fine. Output isn't amazing, but still low noise.
    d) Crystal 4236B - Another decent quality output card, this time with Crystal chipset. Crystal FM is OK on this card (not broken)

    To me at least, I am tossing and turning between the ESS 1869 and Crystal 4236B cards.

    I should say, that I am expecting to use the MT32-pi on this machine fairly extensively, so onboard wavetable isn't important, but MPU-401 is important.
     
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  8. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    CT2260 has the bug (depends on DSP as usual). Someone has created a launcher called FixMPU for the affected games.

    Opti - would seem a shame to 'waste' a wavetable setup on the rig when you've got that great external MIDI setup.

    ES1869 - the premium option for my money.

    Crystal - no input. My first Crystal card experience will be testing my street find next week, but it's the 4235 with the apparently borked FM.
     
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  9. BiggusDickus

    BiggusDickus Member

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    Seems to be the best option there.
     
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  10. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    The ISA Crystal chip-sets are pretty great in my experience but it depends on the implementation of course, same as ESS. You get nice WSS support with the Crystal - something I value but only useful for later DOS era. But with the ESS you get ESFM which rocks.

    Arg the ISA sound card boogie, I love / hate that song! I don't need to sing it anymore now that I have my modded YMF718 :cool:
     
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  11. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    love this build!!! After you sort which sound card your going with, youll be on the long roads to pure dos/win98 gaming bliss.. are you going to dual boot 6.22? Nice case Rugger. What areb you going to be using as monitor/keyboard/mouse?
     
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    rugger

    rugger Member

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    Looks like the ES1869F is the one I'll be using
    IMG_0677.JPG

    Need to chuck it in and test now!
     
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    rugger

    rugger Member

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    The clicking seems to be about 95% less prominent. So success.

    Nope, the next system (Pentium 75 with DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.11) is going to have that, when the parts come in. Will document in due time. Otherwise I'll just use the DOS that comes with Windows 98SE for it's FAT32 filesystem support.

    Monitor is a Sony Multisync E200 17inch CRT monitor (or Samsung 19inch LCD, whatever is convenient)
    Keyboard is an old AT keyboard ... or PS/2 with AT adaptor, whichever is in front of me.
    Mouse is going to be an Optical PS/2 mouse no matter where or what it is plugged into, because ball mice are the worst! Currently some HP one I got cheap from a Tip Salvage store.
     
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    rugger

    rugger Member

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    The process I used for setting up windows 98 on the Forceful build goes somewhat like this:

    1) Make sure UDMA is switched off in the BIOS. This lets me turn it on in Windows 98 later on.
    2) Boot off Windows 98 CD-ROM and partition then format hard drive, using the /s switch to make sure the system files are copied across from the Windows 98 CD-ROM
    3) Copy contents of the WIN98 directory on the CD-ROM to C:\WIN98. This makes reinstalling windows 98 and adding stuff to it easy.
    4) Boot from the hard drive, goto C:\WIN98, run XMSMMGR then run setup to install Windows 98.
    5) Follow through the prompts, make sure disk compression is not installed and install Windows 98. Making sure disk compression is disabled means it can't accidently eat conventional RAM later for no reason when I setup DOS.
    6) Once Windows 98 is setup, I enable turn DMA mode on for the hard drive. It doesn't work
    7) I install the following driver so I can use USB drives in WIndows: https://www.philscomputerlab.com/windows-98-usb-storage-driver.html -> File nusb33e.exe. I have this file burned to a CD that I use whenever I install windows.
    8) Install drivers for other hardware:
    a) Network card. I downloaded them for this SMC card from some dodgy driver site, but stripped the malware out.
    b) Sound Card. VXD drivers are best for Windows 98SE, they are typically lower CPU usage. I have found these drivers to be best for the ESS1869 in WIndows 98, without hanging note bugs on the MPU-401: http://ftp.usal.es/software/windows/drivers/TSonido/Ess/Es1869/1869w95.zip. Some other versions of the ESS1869 drivers cause notes to hang on the MPU-401 interface.
    c) Graphics. Raziel64' s Evolution Driver for the Voodoo banshee Graphics card. http://falconfly.3dfx.pl/banshee.htm.
    9) Install DirectX 8.0a
    10) Install Games and Fun!

    This computer run Final Fantasy 7 really well, and sounds fantastic with MIDI through the external MPU-401 connected to the MT32-PI running the SC-55 soundfont.

    IMG_1186.JPG
     
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  15. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    MC lovin it!! Nice setup. Your way more organised than me, I have a bunch of drivers on part of the Nas I have in my house, and I just start installing shit willy nilly.. I got a nice malware with Deamon tools too, which I caught waaay too late..

    Really nicely done man.. :)
     
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    rugger

    rugger Member

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    I keep all my drivers/software/utilities on my NAS server as well, and it did take a little while to work out what was best for this hardware. It took a few tries to get the sound driver right and learn how to tame the beast :)

    But yeah, my windows 98 install procedure is pretty streamlined. I have done it very many times now :)
     
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    rugger

    rugger Member

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    Rediscovered out last night that power saving really is the devil in WIndows 9x. I had sleep disabled, but computer would still crash if it turned the monitor onto power saving mode. Could be the video card driver I choose.

    So just disabled that anyway.
     
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  18. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    thats funny, i discovered the same withn WinME yesterday on my box, it hates coming back from from sleep...hmm..
     
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