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cobalt1959
May 26th, 2012, 05:42 AM
This is my first post and I hope this is in the right section. Mods, if not, feel free to move it to the correct section, but if you do please drop me a note via PM so I know how to find it as I am not familiar with the board yet.

I've been "dabbling" with old computers for a few years. The first one I did any work on, on my own, was an old Compaq Prolinea with a 1gb HD. I don't even remember the processor speed anymore. I am bad about picking up orphaned machines from friends or at thrift stores just to see if they work. I haven't always kept all the ones I had, much to my regret, as I never thought I would do anything with them. Shame on me.

Lately, I have been frequenting a little independent computer store not far from my house, and have been re-bitten by the "old computer" bug. At least, they are old to me. A couple of weeks ago, they had an HP 6640C mini-tower that they were giving away. It didn't take me long to get it up and running. But my latest acquisition has taken me 3 days to get going and it still has a few problems. It is the oldest computer I have so far. It is a no-name. There is no brand name on it anywhere, but it reminds me of the old Compaq Prolinea desktops meant to have the monitor set on top, although it's internal architecture is not the same. It has the paper tag for a local computer shop on the bottom, so I assume it was probably used in an office somewhere in town at one time. It did not have any memory in it and I put two 128mb sticks in it that I had laying around. It had a 2gb Quantum Fireball HD in it but I'm not sure it is any good. It would format but Windows 98SE would not install to it, it kept popping up an error message and would not let me continue. The specs:

Motherboard: Asus SP-98N

Onboard sound: Yamaha OPL3-SAx

2 PCI ports and one ISA port.

Slimline CD-ROM and one floppy drive. It has two USB port in the front and one in the back.

It has an on-board video card, but I put a Trident TGUI-9680 in it. This is where the problem comes in. It works fine, but in the Device Manager in Windows 98SE, it has the dreaded yellow question mark next to both the Trident Video card, and the on-board video card. I have disabled the on-board card and installed the Trident drivers, but it is still telling me that there is a port conflict. What next? I also tried installing a Creative ES1373 sound card in it. It would pick it up but I never got any sound out of it.

I gave $10 for it.

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y15/cobalt1959/P1010006.jpg

What is this thing?

Chuck(G)
May 26th, 2012, 07:59 AM
Could well be a generic Chinese case; kind of looks like it.

Look at the motherboard for identification. You can also get the manufacturer from the BIOS ID string that's displayed at boot-up time.

Old Thrashbarg
May 26th, 2012, 08:48 AM
Uh, he already said what the motherboard is. An Asus SP98-N. Quite a rare board, actually... NLX form factor with a SiS 5598 chipset. The manual is available here (http://www.motherboards.org/files/manuals/1/sp98n-103.pdf).

To the OP: About the problems you're having... unless there's some reason you can't use the onboard devices (i.e., they don't work), the most sensible solution would be to just remove those cards you put in. Neither of them is an upgrade from the onboard devices anyway... the SiS video is kinda crap, but that Trident 9680 really isn't any better, and the onboard Yamaha YMF chip is in many ways superior to the Creative AudioPCI cards.

Also, as a side note, you may want to take out one of the sticks of RAM... that thing can only cache 128MB, so any more than that will just slow things down.

Chuck(G)
May 26th, 2012, 08:59 AM
Uh, he already said what the motherboard is. An Asus SP98-N. Quite a rare board, actually... NLX form factor with a SiS 5598 chipset. The manual is available here (http://www.motherboards.org/files/manuals/1/sp98n-103.pdf).

Before my first cuppa--I missed that. :blush:

Caluser2000
May 26th, 2012, 01:14 PM
Welcome to the forum. It's quite a tidy looking unit. What are your plans for it?

cobalt1959
May 26th, 2012, 02:34 PM
Uh, he already said what the motherboard is. An Asus SP98-N. Quite a rare board, actually... NLX form factor with a SiS 5598 chipset. The manual is available here (http://www.motherboards.org/files/manuals/1/sp98n-103.pdf).

To the OP: About the problems you're having... unless there's some reason you can't use the onboard devices (i.e., they don't work), the most sensible solution would be to just remove those cards you put in. Neither of them is an upgrade from the onboard devices anyway... the SiS video is kinda crap, but that Trident 9680 really isn't any better, and the onboard Yamaha YMF chip is in many ways superior to the Creative AudioPCI cards.

Also, as a side note, you may want to take out one of the sticks of RAM... that thing can only cache 128MB, so any more than that will just slow things down.

Thanks for the reply, info and advice. I had found the manual for the motherboard just before I came back here, and found out what the Graphics chipset was and found the drivers on SiS's website. So I have removed the Trident graphics card. I installed the drivers for the SiS 5598 but it will not allow me to go any higher than 16 colors and a 640 x 480 screen resolution. Every time I attempt to go higher, either way, it restarts and then it tells me it cannot change the settings because there is a problem. It says this:


"There is a problem with your display settings. The adapter type is incorrect, or the current settings do not work with your hardware."

Also, virtually every time you restart, you get the Blue Screen of Death and it will say this:


"A fatal exception 0D has occured at 0337:00005603. The current application will be terminated."

Then it will reboot just fine. Don't know why that is happening. I have removed one stick of memory and I suspect one of them might have been bad. Thanks for telling me it will only cache 128mb because I didn't know that!

I am going to put the Trident card back in and see if there is still a conflict since I now have the on-board graphics chipset installed. At least with the Trident card I can actually use 256 colors and a higher screen resolution.

This thing is driving me crazy.

cobalt1959
May 26th, 2012, 02:37 PM
Welcome to the forum. It's quite a tidy looking unit. What are your plans for it?

Old games, mainly. Aces of the Deep, Silent Hunter, and maybe Red Baron 3D. It has issues installing stuff from a CD, however. It seems to have many issues.

I have named it "The Brick."

Caluser2000
May 26th, 2012, 03:03 PM
Lol. Seems appropriate. Hey it could double as door stop if need be ;). One thing you could try on it is a small bootable Linux distro such as Puppy. That'll certainly show up any hardware faults. Another thing you could is remove the cmos battery for a while, refit it and let it the system reset itself.

cobalt1959
May 26th, 2012, 03:33 PM
Lol. Seems appropriate. Hey it could double as door stop if need be ;). One thing you could try on it is a small bootable Linux distro such as Puppy. That'll certainly show up any hardware faults. Another thing you could is remove the cmos battery for a while, refit it and let it the system reset itself.

I changed the CMOS battery. Now I am a neophyte here, and I am asking this question because I seriously do not know. What effect does the CMOS motherboard battery have on the system, overall? If it goes dead, will it cause problems? I assumed it was dead and pulled one out of a much newer machine that is gutted because it has a bad power supply.

With the Trident card re-installed, there are now no hardware conflicts and it seems to be doing better, but still hangs occasionally.

DOS lives on!!
May 26th, 2012, 03:54 PM
IWhat effect does the CMOS motherboard battery have on the system, overall? If it goes dead, will it cause problems?
The CMOS battery stores the settings in the BIOS (hard drive type, floppy configuration) and keeps the system clock running. That's why these batteries are sometimes referred to as "clock batteries." If it goes dead, your system will forget the time and date, and depending on how old your system is, the floppy and hard drive configurations.

Elvi
May 26th, 2012, 04:56 PM
I use 2 programs to test the ram and the hd's on computers i get to ensure they are ok.
for ram memtest86 or memtest86+, the latest none plus version seem to have issues with the older hardware but version 3.5 seems to be ok.

for hdd i use hdd regenerator, even thought it isn't free it's very usefull to see if the hard drives are okay or not and if there are magnetic issues with the surface it "might" fix them without disturbing the info on the drive, used it a few times to save stuff off a bad drive and copy it over to a fully working one :)
and i know what these olders techs are gonna say, this program can't work but hey it works for me :D i've even started using drives that were in a very bad shape but NOTE it DOES NOT fix the hdd's IF the surface is scratched but if it's magnetic errors it might :)

cobalt1959
May 28th, 2012, 03:49 PM
I use 2 programs to test the ram and the hd's on computers i get to ensure they are ok.
for ram memtest86 or memtest86+, the latest none plus version seem to have issues with the older hardware but version 3.5 seems to be ok.

for hdd i use hdd regenerator, even thought it isn't free it's very usefull to see if the hard drives are okay or not and if there are magnetic issues with the surface it "might" fix them without disturbing the info on the drive, used it a few times to save stuff off a bad drive and copy it over to a fully working one :)
and i know what these olders techs are gonna say, this program can't work but hey it works for me :D i've even started using drives that were in a very bad shape but NOTE it DOES NOT fix the hdd's IF the surface is scratched but if it's magnetic errors it might :)

I'm going to try that memtester. It seems I have finally eliminated all the hang-ups and fatal exception problems. It boots, re-starts, etc. with no more hiccups.

As an experiment, just because I was curious, I loaded Windows 7 Home premium on another hard drive and tried to run it on "The Brick." It refused. Then I did the same thing with Windows XP Media Edition. That was a no-go as well.

Chuck(G)
May 28th, 2012, 04:28 PM
Do you mean that you attempted to boot an already-loaded hard drive (from another system) on your box? That won't work. First off, you have no assurance that this machine will map the hard drive the same way. Second, just about anything after NT 4.0 will already have a lot of hardware dependencies from the hardware it was installed on.

Try a Debian live CD if this thing lets you boot from CD-ROM.

deadcrickets
May 28th, 2012, 08:40 PM
Do you mean that you attempted to boot an already-loaded hard drive (from another system) on your box? That won't work. First off, you have no assurance that this machine will map the hard drive the same way. Second, just about anything after NT 4.0 will already have a lot of hardware dependencies from the hardware it was installed on.

Try a Debian live CD if this thing lets you boot from CD-ROM.

Mostly correct on the NT line. NT can only, normally, move computer to computer if it's the same chipset. AMD to AMD, nVidia to nVidia, SiS to SiS, Intel to Intel, etc.

Chuck(G)
May 29th, 2012, 12:09 AM
Mostly correct on the NT line. NT can only, normally, move computer to computer if it's the same chipset. AMD to AMD, nVidia to nVidia, SiS to SiS, Intel to Intel, etc.

Yeah, I remember getting the bluescreen when moving hard disks with NT 4.0. Fortunately, NT 4.0 still had a generic HAL.DLL that could be copied onto a boot drive and at least get you booted. That didn't work any more in Win2K, if I'm remembering correctly.

cobalt1959
May 30th, 2012, 12:17 AM
I installed Windows 98SE on the HD that's in it from an HP 725n, because The Brick would never finish completely installing Windows. I just had to go through it re-doing all the hardware.

I've swapped out HD with an install done on one machine and then put in another one. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.

Today I am re-doing a Sony Vaio PCV-RZ54G for a friend at work who somehow bricked it badly. It is the ugliest computer I have ever seen.

cobalt1959
July 26th, 2012, 09:10 AM
I don't know if this would count as a Pentium I equivalent, but today at the local DAV I found a Compaq Presario 7940 in the original carton with all the original paperwork, the original keyboard, mouse, webcam, mic and restore discs. Whoever had it tried to upgrade it with a bootleg copy of XP and it was locked in the "no activation" loop. So I did a restore on it and now it is back to it's original Windows 98SE splendor. It's running an AMD Athlon K7 600 mhz chip in it.

Chuck(G)
July 26th, 2012, 09:30 AM
Athlon K7 is more akin to P2 or P3, K6 is closer to P1.

cobalt1959
July 26th, 2012, 10:02 AM
Athlon K7 is more akin to P2 or P3, K6 is closer to P1.

I've got a 400 mhz K6 in one of the white boxes.