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Brett B.

Couldn't help myself...

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I have a nice Quicksilver, another one that is in fair condition, plus the new Sawtooth and DA.  And an iMac G4... and a G4 mini.  The only one I really actually want is the first one, the rest are just fluff that I picked up on a whim.

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I took the Tempo-X card out and put it in my nice Quicksilver, replaced the bad drive with a good one, and I now have a perfectly working 1TB RAID array.  So cool!

 

I also scored a free Compaq Proliant ML330 G2 server and had some time to play with it.  Really nothing special, already have a PIII based server but I have a soft spot for old Compaq hardware.  Works great but the 4GB memory upgrade I had in hand for it won't work - it's apparently VERY picky about clocking PC100 RAM up to PC133 specs and just won't boot so I'm stuck at 640MB.  Oh well.

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2 hours ago, Brett B. said:

I took the Tempo-X card out and put it in my nice Quicksilver, replaced the bad drive with a good one, and I now have a perfectly working 1TB RAID array.  So cool!

 

I also scored a free Compaq Proliant ML330 G2 server and had some time to play with it.  Really nothing special, already have a PIII based server but I have a soft spot for old Compaq hardware.  Works great but the 4GB memory upgrade I had in hand for it won't work - it's apparently VERY picky about clocking PC100 RAM up to PC133 specs and just won't boot so I'm stuck at 640MB.  Oh well.

I have one of those ML330 servers but with 1 P3 (is that a G2 or a G1?).

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It's a G2, single processor 1.13GHz Pentium III but has a socket for a second CPU.  I am under the impression that it was pretty low end hardware when it was new but they were pretty reliable.  Too bad it doesn't have an AGP slot, it otherwise might have made a cool retro gaming rig.

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1 hour ago, Brett B. said:

doesn't have an AGP slot

Does it have a ServerWorks chipset? (Google-google... yeah, Serverworks LE.) The lack of AGP is indeed a bummer when it comes to re-purposing those. I had a motherboard with that chipset and an onboard UltraSCSI RAID controller (with a couple Tulatin PIIIs and 2GB of RAM) sitting around on the junk pile for a few years because I didn't have the heart to get rid of it yet couldn't think of any use for it.

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Does it have PCI slots?

 

One can get a decent PCI video card and have an okay system for late 90s games and such, couldn't they?

 

c

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PLENTY of PCI slots!  Yeah, I could throw a Radeon variant in it... I think I have a PCI 7000 with PC firmware and I definitely have a PCI soundblaster card somewhere but... meh.  I still have an AMD Athlon XP based machine from that era that is much better suited for that purpose.  

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Those ServerWorks boards really would be sort of wasted on gaming, especially a dual-CPU one. (Given that most games chronologically suitable for them don't benefit from multiple CPUs, and I don't even know if those boards had drivers for the non-NT variants of Windows.) The motherboard I ended up with I got in 2003 or so, when a dual Tualatin box was actually still potentially a viable solution for a "workstation" (IE, dual 512k cache PIIIs could still give even the fastest single P4s a solid run for their money), but the lack of AGP meant I'd have had to spend money for a really capable lots-of-VRAM video card instead of using a readily available AGP hand-me-down, and while the SCSI RAID controller was cool I *didn't* have SCSI drives to go with it. (And at the time the price differential between the two was massive; I don't remember precisely but I think it was on the order of 250GB PATA hard drives costing well under the price of a 73GB SCSI.) The price-benefit ratio just didn't add up to being worth my time.

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4 hours ago, itsvince725 said:

I wish I had an Athlon XP, I can't find one anywhere. I have a regular Athlon but that only supports PC133 memory so it's for 98 gaming.

They were common as mud back in the day but I haven't run across one in years.  The one I had is actually the first PC I ever built from scratch - it started out as a dead motherboard that had a 900MHz Duron CPU on it that I got for next to nothing.  It just sorta came back to life after several hours of messing with it and has worked great ever since except for one other instance where it appeared lifeless after being unplugged for a couple years.  I ended up putting an Athlon XP chip in it, some sort of cool video card, RAM, don't even really remember now but it's a cool dedicated XP box now.  I blame it for singlehandedly starting my love affair with Gigabyte branded PC parts.

 

As a sidenote, I am just now remembering that old PC hardware and discussions I had with my buddies about it.  A lot of them were Intel guys, but quite a few of us were into AMD pretty heavily, myself included.  It was kinda weird how similar hardware "felt" different running the same software - Intel chips seemed to kinda chug along with brute force but didn't do anything real fast, and the AMD ones would zip through the task and then choke on something odd for a bit.  Just my observation.  Hardware from today doesn't have that same feel.

Edited by Brett B.

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In the real world I never noticed much difference between Athlon Thunderbird boxes with DDR vs. SDR. Maybe it was a side effect of the kind of lousy chipsets all too many Athlons were cursed with at the time (looking straight at you, VIA) or maybe in the real world the theoretical increase in memory bandwidth just didn't translate to much of a gain. (IE, there weren't that many things that were memory-bandwidth constrained.)

I still have fond memories of my 1.33ghz Thunderbird. (It was a 1.33ghz instead of the 1.4ghz because, as was typical at the time, buying one speed grade under the fastest saved you a *ton* of money.) In sheer FPU grunt it stayed competitive with Pentium 4's for a good three or four years after I bought it, and it was *crazy fast* compared to the PIIIs that were its major competition when I bought it. I never quite felt the same love for the Athlon XP; I didn't bother upgrading when it was new because the T-Bird was fast enough, and when I encountered them my impression of them suffered because a lot of them ended up in really cheap, lousy machines. (Compaqs, eMachines, etc.) By that point I'd pretty much drifted into the Evil Empire's camp not because I cared for the P4 (I didn't), but because Intel won me over with the relative quality/reliability of their later motherboard chipsets. (The 865 is about when they started getting it right.)

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The Socket A Thunderbirds were 100 FSB so SDRAM vs slow DDR probably didn't matter that much and early chipsets sucked. Later Athlon XP's went to 133FSB/266 DDR, 166 FSB/333 DDR, 200 FSB/400 DDR and internal cache went from 256K to 512K. Once you get into the faster FSB then DDR speeds mattered especially the last generation chipsets with dual channel DDR.

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13 minutes ago, Unknown_K said:

The Socket A Thunderbirds were 100 FSB

There were both 100mhz and 133mhz FSB "T-birds". (The 133mhz variant is sometimes called the "Athlon C".) Originally the only major difference between Thunderbird and "Palomino", IE, Athlon XP, is the latter incorporated SSE instructions (the Athlon C is the last AMD CPU to only have 3Dnow!) and consumes slightly less power. (Thus allowing them to ultimately goose it up to 1700+ mhz.) It's also when AMD went to their Mickey Mouse "PR" rating, which always was something of a turn-off and maybe contributes to my lower level of respect for it.

 

And while there *were* good chipsets for the XP there were also a lot of really bad ones, like the depressingly common SiS products with the horrendous built-in video. My wife had a Compaq equipped with that when we started dating and, yeah, while maybe the CPU was okay the machine it was built into was *trash*. I upgraded (side-graded?) it with a Radeon 7500 I had lying around after seeing how badly it chugged and stuttered and that helped... some.

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Well I collect Athlon XP era motherboards and machines and have quite a few Via KT400a and Nvidia Nforce 2 chipset boards among others. I also have an original Athlon Slot A AMD chipset board running with SDRAM.

 

Back in the day my original Athlon XP board was a SIS chipset SDRAM or DDR1 board that was very popular ECS K7S5A SIS 735 chipset. I ran it with DDR and it worked fine till I upgraded and sold it (ran a Hercules Kyro II video card then a Radeon 9000 in it).

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Yeah, my Athlon is a KT133 chipset that only supports a 200MHz FSB, meaning that I have to buy chips that end with a B (the ones that end with a C are 266MHz). Maxed out with a 1400MHz chip and 1.5GB of RAM it could run XP but I'd rather just use it as a 98 machine.

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My T-Bird had the KT133A that supported the 266mhz bus. I guess to be fair to Via at the time that chipset was decent enough, it mostly got a black eye because the infamous Soundblaster Live! PCI bus issues affected it badly. (It didn't happen to me but some people suffered hard drive corruption.) I probably would have splurged on getting a DDR board and RAM if I'd bought everything separately but the CPU was a Fry's promo bundle that effectively made the motherboard cost about $20.

 

Maybe SiS made some quality products, but in the early 'aughts they'd built themselves a reputation selling their chipset products to the worst most corner-cutting OEMs. I didn't know anyone that would even give their "high end" offerings a second look after experiencing something like that terrible Compaq.

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There are always some corners cut with budget motherboards that you can't really blame the chipset maker for. The ECS K7S5A was one of the better and faster FSB 266 boards out at the time it was sold and was one of the first to offer DDR support plus it was very cheap and stable. I do have a P4 SIS chipset 8x AGP motherboard in my collection and that board is a pain in the rear mostly because it has issues with not liking dual channel RAM ever after a recap (MSI 655 Max SIS 655 chipset).

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I was briefly interested in nForce but Nvidia's lousy attitude towards open source killed that notion pretty quick. Both have improved measurably since but at the time Nvidia and Broadcom were pretty high on my hit list.

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nforce boards were pretty common and decent during that era. No idea how well they run on Linux since I don't use that on vintage systems. I try to sample pretty much all that was around when I collect (and they are cheap enough to give them a try).

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