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My Gateway 2000 P5-120 is stuck at 90MHz. What setting fixes it?

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    My Gateway 2000 P5-120 is stuck at 90MHz. What setting fixes it?

    Hi guys,

    I found a Gateway 2000 P5-120 fulltower that looks just like the one pictured below. It was manufactured in Feb 1996. The system works great and all, but the CPU speed is reported at only 90MHz, not the 120MHz we want. I checked under the hood and the CPU is indeed a real Pentium 120.

    The motherboard has several dip switches to control settings instead of jumpers. I saw a row for CPU speed and the only options are 75, 90, and 100. This is the original motherboard for the system because it has a sticker with the same exact date as on the back of the PC tower, being Feb 29, 1996. Does anyone have a manual handy, or has a Gateway like this that has the switches set correctly so I can find out what the right settings are please?

    Thank you very much for any answers.

    p5-120.jpg

    #2
    Which motherboard is in it? Gateway used a couple of different boards at that time.

    You may want to get a speed testing tool. 90MHz might be the correct setting. The 90 MHz Pentium has a 1.5 multiplier so the bus speed is 60 MHz. The 120 MHz Pentium has multiplier of 2 which means the correct bus speed is 60 MHz. Yeah, it means the motherboard design did not get new labels when the new processors were made.

    Comment


      #3
      According to this Vogons thread:
      https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?t=51703

      This is the motherboard it uses:
      https://stason.org/TULARC/pc/motherb...ANCED-ATX.html

      It should support non-MMX Pentiums up to 166 MHz.

      If you can find one of the now rare Evergreen Spectra upgrades, you can get the machine up to 333/400 MHz AMD K6/2. I had one back in the day, and it was nice. The 66 MHz FSB is limiting though, it won't perform the same as a motherboard with a native 100 MHz bus.

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        #4
        I hang out with my bff on Wednesdays, so I'll try to remember to check what motherboard it has when I'm at his place.

        Comment


          #5
          Depending upon how old the BIOS is, it might not be able to report speeds faster than 90MHz. I've seen this with some laptops I worked on way back then. A BIOS update sometimes solved the issue, but a few motherboards just couldn't handle the faster CPU's even with an updated BIOS. Rare, but it did happen. AMD K6 processors used tricks with the multiplier table Intel used for the Pentiums in the socket 7 motherboards and used the 3x or 4x (haven't checked - too many years ago) as a 6x multiplier for their CPU's. So even if the mobo didn't support 6x you could kick it up a notch. Assuming the K6 played nice with the BIOS and mobo.
          Crazy old guy with a basement full of Pentium 1 laptops and parts

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            #6
            Depending upon how old the BIOS is, it might not be able to report speeds faster than 90MHz
            Unlikely, since that is not a custom-built PC but one actually sold as a P5-120 by Gateway 2000.

            Of course, the mainboard may no longer be the original one. Post a picture of it, please.

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              #7
              Originally posted by Timo W. View Post
              Of course, the mainboard may no longer be the original one. Post a picture of it, please.
              That's kind of what I was suspicious about. Could be that the original MoBo failed and someone dropped in something close that only supported up to 90MHz.

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