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Thread: Cash Register rebuild - CPU questions (K6, K6-2, Pentium MMX)

  1. #1

    Default Cash Register rebuild - CPU questions (K6, K6-2, Pentium MMX)

    Hi there,

    i have an old Logware Cash Register with a socket7 mainboard in it. When i got it, it had a Pentium 133 on it, but supports other CPUs, that i have laying around.

    The cash register has a weird touchscreen-display, that only supports 800x600 with 16 colors. Other modes, smaller than this, are drawn in a part of the display and the colors are always reduced to 16.
    The only driver i could find for this CHIPS-chipset-equipped-LVDS-graphics-card is for Windows NT 4.0.

    This is the only reason for me to keep that NT4.0. For this cash register software the P133 would be enough. But for playing a few games and for having a usable system i installed a very small Linux to it.
    This means, i need a bit more power. I takes seconds to open up a full-blown and configured bash... (An "empty" bash, without any rc file loads much quicker...). X Systems i didn't try up to now.

    Now I am struggling with all the information on the internet... I don't know which CPU i should choose. The options I have are:

    Pentium MMX 200MHz, FSB 66MHz, PD ~16,40W
    AMD K6 300MHz, FSB 66MHz, PD ~15,40 W
    AMD K6-2 266MHz, FSB 66MHz, PD ~14,70W

    I assume the K6s are faster than the Pentium, but how do i test this? The "login-test" isn't comprehensive, as i couldn't say for sure, it feels faster or not...
    Is a K6-2 266MHz faster than a K6 300MHz? Do you think there are big differences in performance or not?

    I want to get rid of the fan inside the PC part of the register. I slaughtered an old Laptop to get the heatpipe. I'm going to replace the hard disk with a cf-ide adapter, so that i have space for a big big aluminium heatsink. This is why I'm taking power dissipation into account. The max. PD of the K6-2 is 1.7watts difference to the Pentium MMX. You can even make fire or do small soldering with this amount of energy.
    Anyway i have to get rid of a lot of heat, but every watt less is better.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by stecdose View Post
    The cash register has a weird touchscreen-display, that only supports 800x600 with 16 colors. Other modes, smaller than this, are drawn in a part of the display and the colors are always reduced to 16.
    The only driver i could find for this CHIPS-chipset-equipped-LVDS-graphics-card is for Windows NT 4.0.
    I would guess that it has a C&T 65535 VDP, which is very weak. It was a common choice of low end and embedded systems up until the mid 90s because it was cheap and worked when only basic display capabilities were needed. It is possible to get 8 bit color @ 640x480 out of that chip, but that's assuming you have enough VRAM installed.

    Quote Originally Posted by stecdose View Post
    This is the only reason for me to keep that NT4.0. For this cash register software the P133 would be enough. But for playing a few games and for having a usable system i installed a very small Linux to it.
    This means, i need a bit more power. I takes seconds to open up a full-blown and configured bash... (An "empty" bash, without any rc file loads much quicker...). X Systems i didn't try up to now.
    Windows 98SE would probably be a better choice for driver compatibility. NT4 is an odd choice for POS software, back in the day it was usually Windows NT 3.1 with a NT4 server because NT4 workstation was much more expensive to use on every client machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by stecdose View Post
    Now I am struggling with all the information on the internet... I don't know which CPU i should choose. The options I have are:

    Pentium MMX 200MHz, FSB 66MHz, PD ~16,40W
    AMD K6 300MHz, FSB 66MHz, PD ~15,40 W
    AMD K6-2 266MHz, FSB 66MHz, PD ~14,70W

    I assume the K6s are faster than the Pentium, but how do i test this? The "login-test" isn't comprehensive, as i couldn't say for sure, it feels faster or not...
    Is a K6-2 266MHz faster than a K6 300MHz? Do you think there are big differences in performance or not?
    You haven't told us the model of the motherboard or the cash register, but going from the original CPU, I very much doubt that either of those AMD CPUs will ever work. The Pentium MMX 200 is probably your only option assuming the multipliers on the motherboard allow it.

    As for performance, both AMD parts will beat the Pentium MMX 200, with the K6 300 being the fastest in everything except multimedia applications since it lacks 3D Now! instructions.

    Quote Originally Posted by stecdose View Post
    I want to get rid of the fan inside the PC part of the register. I slaughtered an old Laptop to get the heatpipe. I'm going to replace the hard disk with a cf-ide adapter, so that i have space for a big big aluminium heatsink. This is why I'm taking power dissipation into account. The max. PD of the K6-2 is 1.7watts difference to the Pentium MMX. You can even make fire or do small soldering with this amount of energy.
    Anyway i have to get rid of a lot of heat, but every watt less is better.
    I don't recommend removing the fan. You're only taking into account the big heat producers, the chipset, RAM, VDP and VRMs also make a considerable amount of heat. The machine may work for awhile without a fan, but it will eventually lead to thermal death.

  3. #3

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    For a cash register, I'm not sure speed is an issue.
    Dwight

  4. #4
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    Speed is an issue on the more bloated POS softwares like Aloha.

    Aloha is probably the most bloated out of the lot with dozens of background daemons that only do a single function each. They recently released an update which is even more bloated and cripples terminals that were already running painfully slow. If you have to reboot a terminal for any reason, expect even the fastest of the lot to take at least 15 minutes.

    I prefer Focus myself, it's only a single executable that resides on the server and each terminal runs it over the network. The number of things that can go critically wrong is drastically reduced and updates are a breeze.

  5. #5
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    You didn't mention what it was using for storage. That could be a bottleneck in itself.

  6. #6

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    Okay, I see I haven't given enough information... Mostly, because i hadn't at the moment of writing. Now i have my notes with me...

    The Mainboard is marked with P5TX3, but the manual I found for a board called this, has a slightly different layout, but is almost the same. The BIOS says on POST it is a "I430TX3 Rev A". I can't find anything with this name. I assume ordered a bunch of boards with their own modifications/default configuration/bios/....

    I figured out how to jumper for the K6-2 266 correctly, didn't try the K6-300. There are enough markings and description printed on the board. The BIOS correctly recognizes the CPU as a K6-2 266.

    I found other cash registers of the same model with a 266MHz CPU on the internet.
    It is called "Logware K1-2000". It is a german vendor, that does not exist anymore as far as I can see.

    I got it with the original harddisk as well as some backups and installation media. It was shipped with NT 4.0 along with the drivers only for NT 4.0, the other folders for Win95, Win16, ... are all empty.

    The graphics card is implemented on a huge ISA card, that also has a quad-UART, HD44780 interface, LAN SMSC91C94. This board almost hast 2/3 of the size of the mainboard an has a 90 connector, so it's directly above most of the mainboard.
    The graphics chip is a "Chips F65545 B2" and driver identifies as "Chips Video Accerlerator 65545"
    A dump of the VGA ROM showed me a string "Universal VESA VBE 6.5" (amongst some more...).
    This gave me a clue. I wrote a small program for issuing (video) interrupts. I tried all the standard VGA and VESA ints to change video mode and tried all reasonable options to them.
    I figured out 3 graphic modes to be working:
    * 640x400x8bpp
    * 640x480x8bpp
    * 800x600x4bpp
    The only resolution that the display itself can handle is 800x600x4. The video card isn't scaling other video input and smaller video modes are displayed in the middle left of the display and I get a border.

    As long as I don't figure out another OS that can show me it's user interface in 800x600x4, i will keep NT4.0 at least in a dual boot configuration.


    Original specs => My Upgrades:
    Pentium 133 => K6-2 266 (I'll take the 300)
    32MB RAM (PS/2) => 256MB (SD-RAM, board has both)
    20GB IDE HDD => 40GB limited to 32GB by jumper

    The CF card i tried was very old, it was not faster when loading a shell. This was the point when I got bored of waiting and decided to do something. First I have put 128MB RAM in it, but changed this to 256MB. This boosted things up a lot.

    I hope the 300MHz CPU will speed up things also. The only thing left to change would be replacing the IDE disk, but fast 32GB cards aren't that cheap and I don't know when I'm going to buy one...

    The LAN card is a SMSC91C94 that has this configuration:
    IO 0x300, IRQ 3, MEM 0xD0000
    Is this some kind of default for an ISA lan card or is it something special?
    Bochs' ports.lst shows me some very old IBM network adapter on address 0x300. What was default for most ISA lan cards?

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