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81ramirez
June 22nd, 2013, 10:20 PM
Hello everybody.
First thread and first post... I hope it isn't against the rules...

anyway.

I'm about to buy an IBM Server 320 to replace my current vintage Pentium era setup (actually my only vintage computer). It has a dual cpu motherboard, probably an IBM 06H2173. The dual processor setup will probably be completely unnecessary, since I'll use it mainly as a retro gaming computer, I just want it to be as cool as possible. My plan is to put my Sb16 (maybe an Awe32 if I find cheap around here), my Voodoo 2 12mb (maybe find another one to pair with it), a new 2d PCI card (since my 1mb Trident is far from cool) and who knows, maybe some day I'm lucky enough to find a 3do Blaster (we can always dream). But I'm having a hard time finding information about it. And since it isn't as cheap as I would like it to be, I'd like to ask you some questions before I jump over it.

The motherboard is probably this one (IBM 06H2173):
14030
It has EISA Architecture. If I understood it right, it's compatible with ISA. Is that truth? If it is, it's one less thing to worry.
How much ram can I use with it?
Do you guys know if it's compatible with MMX processors (preferably 233 MMX)? I already have one and it's cheap to find another. If the board isn't compatible with it, I may skip it (I'm not sure).
Is there some thing else I should know about it?

Thanks in advance.

RWallmow
June 24th, 2013, 04:54 AM
Hello everybody.
First thread and first post... I hope it isn't against the rules...

anyway.

I'm about to buy an IBM Server 320 to replace my current vintage Pentium era setup (actually my only vintage computer). It has a dual cpu motherboard, probably an IBM 06H2173. The dual processor setup will probably be completely unnecessary, since I'll use it mainly as a retro gaming computer, I just want it to be as cool as possible. My plan is to put my Sb16 (maybe an Awe32 if I find cheap around here), my Voodoo 2 12mb (maybe find another one to pair with it), a new 2d PCI card (since my 1mb Trident is far from cool) and who knows, maybe some day I'm lucky enough to find a 3do Blaster (we can always dream). But I'm having a hard time finding information about it. And since it isn't as cheap as I would like it to be, I'd like to ask you some questions before I jump over it.

The motherboard is probably this one (IBM 06H2173):
14030
It has EISA Architecture. If I understood it right, it's compatible with ISA. Is that truth? If it is, it's one less thing to worry.
How much ram can I use with it?
Do you guys know if it's compatible with MMX processors (preferably 233 MMX)? I already have one and it's cheap to find another. If the board isn't compatible with it, I may skip it (I'm not sure).
Is there some thing else I should know about it?

Thanks in advance.

I don't know that particular board, so I cannot comment on its CPU compatibility or RAM (but I bet parity is required, being a server), but I can tell you its a complete waste for vintage gaming, the only OS's that will use more than one CPU are Windows NT or Linux/Unix, and there's not much for vintage gaming on those platforms.

That said, its a cool rig, I would build a vintage NT4 server out of it, and yes, EISA slots will take a ISA cards.

TNC
June 24th, 2013, 02:03 PM
... the only OS's that will use more than one CPU are Windows NT or Linux/Unix, and there's not much for vintage gaming on those platforms.

Or OS/2 for example. :)

RWallmow
June 24th, 2013, 02:12 PM
Or OS/2 for example. :)

My apologies, I forgot OS/2, but my point still stands, not of use to DOS or Windows 9x gaming ;-)

81ramirez
June 25th, 2013, 09:23 AM
My apologies, I forgot OS/2, but my point still stands, not of use to DOS or Windows 9x gaming ;-)

Yes, I'm aware the second processor wont be used in DOS or Windows 9x gaming, that's the reason I want to make sure it supports the 233 MMX processor, so I can use it as a more embracing gaming rig anyway.

RJBJR
June 25th, 2013, 08:06 PM
This link (http://ps-2.kev009.com/p390/$P390manuals/P390_Schematics.pdf) suggests the board will take up to a 200MHz processor.

RWallmow
June 26th, 2013, 01:51 PM
This link (http://ps-2.kev009.com/p390/$P390manuals/P390_Schematics.pdf) suggests the board will take up to a 200MHz processor.

Looks like no MMX, unless you find an uber rare POD MMX, or one of those equally rare socket VRM "shims" (for lack of better description, installs between socket and CPU).

81ramirez
June 28th, 2013, 04:51 AM
This link (http://ps-2.kev009.com/p390/$P390manuals/P390_Schematics.pdf) suggests the board will take up to a 200MHz processor.

Yeah... that's the information I had, but I hoped that maybe it could be more of a bios thing than anything else, that could be updated or something.


Looks like no MMX, unless you find an uber rare POD MMX, or one of those equally rare socket VRM "shims" (for lack of better description, installs between socket and CPU).

But wouldn't the motherboard throttle the performance anyway? I mean, would the MMX instructions pass through the adapter?

RWallmow
June 28th, 2013, 07:47 AM
But wouldn't the motherboard throttle the performance anyway? I mean, would the MMX instructions pass through the adapter?

I know it works with the POD MMX chips, I have a 166MMX POD and it passes the MMX extensions fine, I would imagine the manufacturer of the "shims (http://www.icd.com/adspeed/)" figured out how to do it too. Electrically I think the only difference between the non-MMX and MMX CPUs was a dual plane voltage, which a shim should be able to fix easily.

Either way you go, both are about as rare as hens teeth these days, your best, and cheapest bet, for a gaming rig is to build around a MMX supporting socket 7 motherboard, that along with a bog standard 200MMX or 233MMX chip are both pretty darn common.

bear
June 28th, 2013, 03:06 PM
Max RAM is 256 MB (8x 64 MB, parity or non-parity - the non-IBM Micronics version of the board is parity only). The "shim" just functions as a voltage regulator to provide the 2.8v the MMX chips require.

The bigger problem is unless you have exactly the right hardware revision, the 320 might be clock limited to 133 or even 100 MHz, and if it has the above motherboard (a Micronics M54Pe with PS/2 keyboard and mouse, and customized flash ROM) 133 MHz is the max.

Note also that the cache sockets take 3.3v parts, not the more common 5v parts. It might appear to work, but will be unreliable, and I have had issues with certain makes of cache chips shipped with these boards having a higher failure rate. Fortunately I have yet to see a failure in the base 256 KB cache, which is soldered to the board.

I ran one of these as a NEXTSTEP system for many years, before I migrated to OS X. It's a solid board, but if you want it to run games, look elsewhere.

81ramirez
June 28th, 2013, 08:00 PM
I know it works with the POD MMX chips, I have a 166MMX POD and it passes the MMX extensions fine, I would imagine the manufacturer of the "shims (http://www.icd.com/adspeed/)" figured out how to do it too. Electrically I think the only difference between the non-MMX and MMX CPUs was a dual plane voltage, which a shim should be able to fix easily.

Either way you go, both are about as rare as hens teeth these days, your best, and cheapest bet, for a gaming rig is to build around a MMX supporting socket 7 motherboard, that along with a bog standard 200MMX or 233MMX chip are both pretty darn common.

It would be cool for future reference if you post a photo of your 166MMX POD, I didn't found anything about it... so yeah, it must be very rare... way out of my league.
I already have a socket 7 motherboard with a 233MMX, I was just trying to build something cooler.


Max RAM is 256 MB (8x 64 MB, parity or non-parity - the non-IBM Micronics version of the board is parity only). The "shim" just functions as a voltage regulator to provide the 2.8v the MMX chips require.

The bigger problem is unless you have exactly the right hardware revision, the 320 might be clock limited to 133 or even 100 MHz, and if it has the above motherboard (a Micronics M54Pe with PS/2 keyboard and mouse, and customized flash ROM) 133 MHz is the max.

Note also that the cache sockets take 3.3v parts, not the more common 5v parts. It might appear to work, but will be unreliable, and I have had issues with certain makes of cache chips shipped with these boards having a higher failure rate. Fortunately I have yet to see a failure in the base 256 KB cache, which is soldered to the board.

I ran one of these as a NEXTSTEP system for many years, before I migrated to OS X. It's a solid board, but if you want it to run games, look elsewhere.

If it accepts 8x 64 MB it would be 512 MB I believe?... But anyway, I can't afford to buy something (it would cost me about U$140 with shipping included for the case, motherboard, one P75, 96MB edo and some other uninteresting things) that I wont use (since it will be inferior to what I already have), even as cool as it is, so I'll abort this project.

In my mind NextStep were all 68000 based, but it actually also used Intel x86, SPARC and PA-RISC... very interesting machines.

Guys, thank you very much for your assistance, I signed here in a rush, just to try to know more about this system, to see if it would fulfill what I was expecting, but even if the project is aborted, I'm very thankful for your help. If I eventually build something that I feel is worth it, I sure will post here in the forum.

bear
June 29th, 2013, 06:49 AM
You are correct; I was suffering from Arithmetic.

Max is 256 MB, which is 8x 32 MB.

RWallmow
June 30th, 2013, 03:03 PM
It would be cool for future reference if you post a photo of your 166MMX POD, I didn't found anything about it... so yeah, it must be very rare... way out of my league.
I already have a socket 7 motherboard with a 233MMX, I was just trying to build something cooler.

I will see what I can do for a photo, right now I have it installed in my "i-opener (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-Opener)", which I have not yet made a page for on my virtual museum, so some photos are probably in order.

81ramirez
July 4th, 2013, 09:34 AM
I will see what I can do for a photo, right now I have it installed in my "i-opener (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-Opener)", which I have not yet made a page for on my virtual museum, so some photos are probably in order.

Isn't it a POWERLEAP PL-PRO/MMX Plus? I found some photos in a Vogons thread (penultimate post):
http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=17341&hilit=3do+blaster&start=2180

RWallmow
July 4th, 2013, 12:40 PM
Isn't it a POWERLEAP PL-PRO/MMX Plus? I found some photos in a Vogons thread (penultimate post):
http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=17341&hilit=3do+blaster&start=2180

Here's photos of my Pentium OverDrive 166MMX
1417314174

To fit my i-opener the back case had to be modified to accommodate the heatsink/fan on the POD, but it was worth it for the improvement over the stock IDT WinChip 180, even at a slower clock the POD166 blows the IDT out of the water on floating point.

81ramirez
July 8th, 2013, 09:19 AM
Here's photos of my Pentium OverDrive 166MMX
1417314174

To fit my i-opener the back case had to be modified to accommodate the heatsink/fan on the POD, but it was worth it for the improvement over the stock IDT WinChip 180, even at a slower clock the POD166 blows the IDT out of the water on floating point.

Thanks for taking the time to photograph it. Very interesting to say the least, and different from the PowerLeap solution. Its a shame I'll probably never find a cheap one (much less two).