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Thread: Turning a $20 Craigslist purchase into a respectable DOS/Win9x gaming rig

  1. #1
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    Default Turning a $20 Craigslist purchase into a respectable DOS/Win9x gaming rig

    I picked up a P133 system on Craigslist for $20. It was nothing special:

    AT Case, PCChips M572 Motherboard (Intel 430TX chipset), Pentium 133 CPU, 40GB IDE hard drive, 128MB SDRAM, ATI Rage XL 8MB PCI graphics graphics, and Sound Blaster AudioDrive PCI sound card

    I was planning on a parting it out and using the case for another retro build, then it dawned on me that this motherboard can be flashed with a patched BIOS to support a K6-3+ CPU. I had all the parts laying around so this is what is in it now:

    AMD K6-3+ CPU @500MHz (83.3MHzx6), 256MB SDRAM, 80GB IDE hard drive, 3dfx Voodoo3 2000 PCI graphics card, Sound Blaster 16 ISA sound card, Intel Pro/1000 PCI network card, & Logictech Wingman gamepad.

    The only issue I had is that I could not get any Compact Flash or SSD to work while running the FSB at 83.3MHz. If it were not for the patched BIOS, I don't think I would have even bothered trying do anything with this motherboard, but in this case I am glad that I did.

  2. #2
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    Need to be careful when using the 83 MHz bus because most motherboards don't have proper dividers for cascaded clocks off the FSB. Everything will be alarmingly out of spec, including memory and PCI, which can make the system very unstable.

    Many Socket 7 motherboards only have a 1/2 divider for the PCI bus, running it at 41.6 MHz and since ISA is usually cascaded off on a 1/3 divider for ~10 MHz. It would explain why you can't get CF or SSDs working on the IDE controller, because the timings for all transfer modes are way off. Old mechanical drives are generally more tolerant to weird bus timings, but can experience corruption issues as well.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by GiGaBiTe View Post
    Need to be careful when using the 83 MHz bus because most motherboards don't have proper dividers for cascaded clocks off the FSB. Everything will be alarmingly out of spec, including memory and PCI, which can make the system very unstable.

    Many Socket 7 motherboards only have a 1/2 divider for the PCI bus, running it at 41.6 MHz and since ISA is usually cascaded off on a 1/3 divider for ~10 MHz. It would explain why you can't get CF or SSDs working on the IDE controller, because the timings for all transfer modes are way off. Old mechanical drives are generally more tolerant to weird bus timings, but can experience corruption issues as well.
    That is what I was thought that the timings were over spec causing a compatibility issue. I tried a different Compact Flash to IDE adapter and it is working. Keeping my fingers crossed that there won't be any issues with data corruption. Only time will tell and keeping plenty of good backups.

  4. #4
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    I started having issues again with the Compact Flash drive so I put the 80GB IDE drive back in, but with the 32GB space limiting jumper set. That has fixed the remaining of my compatibility issues with the 83.3MHz FSB. Everything is now stable.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasa1063 View Post
    I started having issues again with the Compact Flash drive so I put the 80GB IDE drive back in, but with the 32GB space limiting jumper set. That has fixed the remaining of my compatibility issues with the 83.3MHz FSB. Everything is now stable.
    You can use Ontrack Disk Manager to install a DDO to be able to use the full 80GB.

  6. #6
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    There are also add-in PCI cards that support ATA6. I have one such from Maxtor; I believe that Promise made them also.

  7. #7

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    I have a maxtor one as well and it is just a rebadged promise unit

  8. #8
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    I've long suspected that, but never bothered to check. Maxtor packaged the things with their retail 160GB ATA drive package. Not half bad, as I recall.

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