PDA

View Full Version : My old/new Pentium tower build



Half-Saint
March 24th, 2013, 11:14 AM
Hi all,

long time no see.

I pulled this rig out of storage just to see what's inside. I actually have two very similar systems but this one had a nicer looking albeit generic case. After successfully booting Windows 98, nostalgia kicked in and I decided to mod it.

It's a Pentium based system with 32 MB of EDO RAM, 1.2 GB hard drive, a 3dfx Voodoo 1 card and a 3.5" floppy.

First thing I had to do was clean everything, then I removed the power supply and cleaned it inside and out. Sleeving the cables was quite time consuming but it turned out better than expected. I didn't like the clutter so I ended up sleeving one IDE cable which was first cut in 8-wire strips. I also sleeved the PSU fan cable and replaced the original fan with a tri-color LED fan.

The project is not finished yet. I will be sleeving all the internal serial/parallel cables and I'm also planning to add a Sound Blaster AWE32 and a 5.25" floppy at a later time. If possible, I will be making a case window to show off the internals.

The finished computer will be used as a working exhibit in my computer repair shop. Keeping it company will be a Commodore 64 and a ZX Spectrum 48k :)

Hope you guys like it. Comments welcome.

1241712418

orion24
March 24th, 2013, 02:01 PM
A similar to that system is a Pentium 120 MHz an old friend from school gave me. I gave it all tuning I could:

- 128MB EDO RAM
- Overclocked to 133 MHz
- Added an 8.4GB HDD
- USB 2.0 PCI card (NEC chipset, WIN98 compatible)
- PCI ATA133/SATA
- LAN 100Mb/sec
- CD-RW + CD-ROM
- 1.2 - 1.44 floppies
- LS-120, IOMEGA-ZIP 250

Things the system could do:

- Windows 98 SE
- Burn a CD at 4x maximum speed
- Internet browsing
- Office
- All DOS-related things were just flying

Things it couldn't do:

- Burn a CD at 8x speed. It needed more CPU performance. Overclocking at 133 was not enough
- Play an .mp3 file. Again not enough CPU performance.
- Utilize the full speed of USB2.0, ATA133 and SATA. While all these needed later versions of the PCI bus to work full-speed anyway, the bottleneck was not the PCI or the chipset, it was the CPU again.

noppa
March 24th, 2013, 04:40 PM
- Play an .mp3 file. Again not enough CPU performance.


Quite strange.
Winamp played tons of mp3 flawlessly on my old P100.

Old Thrashbarg
March 24th, 2013, 06:22 PM
- Burn a CD at 8x speed. It needed more CPU performance. Overclocking at 133 was not enough
- Play an .mp3 file. Again not enough CPU performance.

Yeah, there was something wrong with your system... I never had any troubles doing either of those things with a P133.

orion24
March 24th, 2013, 09:51 PM
In my case the CPU raw performance was the limiting factor and to some degree maybe the chipset as well. It was a SiS 5511-5513. One of the things I couldn't get to do, is enable DMA for the CD-RW drive, that would BSOD whatever driver I used. The DMA could decrease the CPU requirement for the IDE channel usage and maybe it would allow burning the CD at 8x, but I had no luck with it and was stuck in PIO MODE 4. As for the MP3 file, the luck of DMA could have an impact there as well, but there are also several other factors that can come into play. For one, what kind of mp3 files were you using? Were they 128 kbps or less? If they are less that 128 it makes a very big difference in required CPU performance. And also what kind of sound card were you having? High-end for the time sound cards were doing such kind of calculations on their own and unload work from the CPU, while budget versions do not. Specifically I had a cheappy Opti 931 ISA card, sound blaster PRO compatible and I'm pretty sure it didn't help the CPU at all.

Half-Saint
March 25th, 2013, 01:44 AM
Sounds lke a decent system. Maybe an upgrade to a P200 wouldn't hurt as well as adding a proper Sound Blaster :)

angel_grig
March 25th, 2013, 05:47 AM
Quite strange.
Winamp played tons of mp3 flawlessly on my old P100.

You can also try winplay3 http://www.sonicspot.com/winplay/winplay.htmlthat works with a 486DX-33 even with LPT-DAC (home made covox)

orion24
March 25th, 2013, 09:24 AM
You can also try winplay3 http://www.sonicspot.com/winplay/winplay.htmlthat works with a 486DX-33 even with LPT-DAC (home made covox)

Now that has my attention. A Windows 3.11 compatible mp3 player is what I really like.

Half-Saint
March 26th, 2013, 03:48 AM
Well I just maxed out the RAM in this machine to 128 MB. Now i need to dig up a network card...

offensive_Jerk
March 26th, 2013, 06:23 AM
Pretty clean system. I never had the patience to make all the cables look nice. Of course now a days there are tons more cables...

Old Thrashbarg
March 26th, 2013, 07:14 AM
Well I just maxed out the RAM in this machine to 128 MB.

You might want to re-think that. The 430VX can only cache 64MB of RAM, and depending on what you're doing with it, there can be a pretty significant performance hit by having more than that.

Half-Saint
March 26th, 2013, 10:41 AM
I know that the VX chipset can only cache 64 MB but does it really impact performance that much?

I'm currently running Windows 98SE on the system and I'm planning to use it mostly to play old games.

Old Thrashbarg
March 26th, 2013, 11:36 AM
It depends entirely on the specific software you're running... a lot of people like to quote the 5-15% difference that synthetic benchmarks of the time usually showed, but in real-world usage it could even be 30% or more. ISTR games like Quake and Unreal being particularly affected by it.

However, that's also assuming that 64MB is enough RAM in the first place. Uncached RAM is still considerably faster than the hard drive, so if you're hitting the swap file all the time then adding more RAM will help overall performance.

Half-Saint
March 27th, 2013, 03:14 AM
Pretty clean system. I never had the patience to make all the cables look nice. Of course now a days there are tons more cables...

Thanks. Yeah, I wanted it to look nice plus it served as practice for any future sleeving I might have to do for customers :)

Half-Saint
March 30th, 2013, 08:43 AM
What I learned from this computer that I didn't know in 1996-1998..

82371SB has built in USB support and the board also has a PS/2 mouse port!

Half-Saint
June 30th, 2013, 10:43 AM
Update: added a Creative Sound Blaster AWE32 that I picked up at the flea market last weekend. Now I'm ready to try some games :D

RaptorZX3
June 30th, 2013, 12:38 PM
nice

I did put a Sound Blaster 32 (CT3600) in my P100, strange thing is sometimes it seem to detect all 2mb (2x 1mb i guess) of installed RAM on the card, sometimes less than that.

The card i used in this one is a Cirrus Logic 5446 2mb, enough for DOS gaming, and DOS/Windows 3.1 seem to like Cirrus Logic cards. Though i found that some DOS games doesn't run on this P100, while they run alright on my P200MMX, and those games are made for DOS, and should run fine on both PCs.

dan951
July 3rd, 2013, 12:59 PM
Nice work looking good so far.

81ramirez
July 4th, 2013, 09:42 AM
nice

I did put a Sound Blaster 32 (CT3600) in my P100, strange thing is sometimes it seem to detect all 2mb (2x 1mb i guess) of installed RAM on the card, sometimes less than that.


I don't know if people would have something against it, but I used to clean the contacts of some components with a soft eraser rubber. You could try it on the memory sticks.