Off Topic Ramblings
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  1. #1

    Off Topic Ramblings

    Hello All,

    This really isn't directly about Flight Simulators but more about old computer hardware.
    My Development Computer has had intermittent failures for a couple years now.
    The video would occasionally do some really strange things and the computer would sometimes lock up for no reason.
    A reboot would cure most of the issues but sometimes programs just would not run, crash to the desktop or fail with an "Access Violation".

    A few days ago, I had installed a fresh copy of Window 98 Second Edition (Yes, Window Nine-Eight) on a spare hard drive in order to have a clean copy of the OS to pull pieces from.
    I had run the W98 "System File Checker" Utility and it was flagging about 8-10 files as corrupted.
    Having the original installation media did not help; the SFC utility was not smart enough to pull from there or the operator was not smart enough to make that happen.

    I had also had a Hard Drive failure on my Game Machine, so until I could find a new HDD that was large enough, I really could not even begin to rebuild the Game Machine.
    What I had was a functional CPU minus a large enough working Hard Disk Drive so I decided to use it to test installations of Window 98 and Windows 2000 on very small and very old HDDs.

    In the thread "Conspicuous by Their Absence", my last entry was about the failure of my Voodoo 3 3000 graphics card.
    This happened almost immediately after I had replaced all the files flagged by SFC. The video was still behaving strangely, but most programs were running pretty reliably at this point.... As long as the screen did not lock up.

    The next thing that happened was that in the middle of a session, the screen flickered and then went black.
    A cold reboot did not help. The screen remained black with no display although the beeps could be heard as the SCSI controller went through its startup cycle.

    A day later, I decided to try to start up the computer again.
    This time, the BIOS display came on a usual, but about 5 seconds later, the screen was filled with random character blocks before the display went out completely.
    Waiting a few hours and attempting to boot the computer did not help; There was no display at all.

    The soap opera gets even more messy now.
    I ordered a replacement Graphics Card. It arrived today but did not work in any of the machines I tried it in.
    What was even more interesting was that the Voodoo 3 3000 appears to function (mostly) when installed in my Game Machine as does another spare Graphics Card but the new (really just new to me) Graphics Card does not work in anything.
    On the Development Computer there was no display with ANY of the Graphics Cards but I decided to see what would happen after the SCSI controllers went through their test cycle.
    Nothing happened. Normally this computer would attempt to boot from its Floppy Drive and then make very distinctive sounds as it boots from the Hard Drives, but nothing....

    Seems to me that I have a Motherboard failure instead of a Graphics Card failure at this point.

    - Ivan.


  2. #2
    Hello Ivan,
    Itīs difficult to suggest anything, and Iīm sure you have been going through possible solutions to get a "new" motherboard.

    The best solution would be a friend with an old, not-in-use-anymore computer he could let you have out of his dusty basement, or a computer technician friend in a computer shop full of old harware which he thinks would be a pity to throw out, and which was put into storage because it became obsolete, not because it broke down. But you know that already...

    I once bought a Pentium II motherboard and 2x64 Mb DIMM memory from a flea market for 12 dollars but none of it worked, and also an 8Gb HDD from a second-hand shop for 6 dollars, which lasted a month. So 18 Dollars was a cheap price to learn that lesson.

    Perhaps buying a "new" motherboard from eBay from a seller with a good reputation is a reliable enough solution. Bits and pieces Iīve bought the three or four times Iīve bought anything on eBay, have all worked.

    Other second-hand web sites can be a bit dodgy though, not usually because the material is faulty, but because specifications are inexact. Many do let you have your money back when you return what youīve bought, except for the postal charges to and fro, which you have to pay!

    Then Virtualizing your Win98 CD onto a modern computer should be possible, but here the graphics would be a problem: No hardware accelleration for the flight simulator, as fas as I know, because of the drivers, so that can be a bit off putting. But you already know that too...

    If anything else occurs to me, Iīll let you know!

    P.S. Iīve just looked on eBay, expecting to find motherboards with a Pentium-I at around 20 dollars, but NO! Except for one at 8 dollars, all the rest are between 50% to 100% of what a new, modern motherboard would cost today. Even Pentium II or II type motherboards are between 20% and 100%.
    This shows they ARE still in demand... and contrary to what I was starting to believe, we arenīt the only ones who still need obsolete hardware for their obsolete software!!
    Out of curiosity, I found out the postage costs for sending off stuff from Spain. Quite expensive, as you had already pointed out - 23, 35 or 61 Euros, depending on dispatch type - standard, priority or express postal packets, all normalized at 1 Kg maximum. Also, dispatch from Canary Islands not included, as always. Bloody system!


    Last edited by aleatorylamp; June 8th, 2018 at 02:00.
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  3. #3
    Hello Aleatorylamp,

    IF it really is a Motherboard failure, I am not crazy enough to build ANOTHER Pentium computer almost 20 years after they firt came out. I kept the old Development Machine working because it had all the pieces and software to do what I wanted.
    If I am replacing it, I will replace it with something a bit faster and without that really hard to find Side-Switch IBM AT Power Supply.

    There is also the possibility that it is really a Power Supply failure and if that is "The Case", I can either move the components to a new case or I can rig up a very odd looking power arrangement. I will test out this possibility when I get the chance.

    The Power Supply has also been acting strangely for a while, but it didn't make sense to just move the pieces to a new case earlier because the way the SIMMs are arranged so that they sit under what is typically the drive bay area of most cases. I actually had to cut away some of the case interior to clear the very tall memory modules. I don't think most folks using this motherboard would have been using those particular memory slots.

    I still have a couple old computers in the basement that survived the Great Flood. I even have a couple running computers that might be altered to fit the purpose, but the important thing is to have a system that can accept all the PCI cards that were in my old Development Machine so I can at least recover the data. I know there is at least one AMD K6 computer just sitting around doing nothing but I don't believe it is on a PCI motherboard. It was the old machine I used back when I had a Head-to-Head Gaming setup connected via serial line (Null Modem) in my Living Room.
    This was how I was testing the collision detection in CFS.
    The machine had some kind of failure which is why we stopped using it, but perhaps it is time to see if I can revive it.
    If I remember correctly, it was actually a Vesa Local Bus computer which is really quite old stuff.

    - Ivan.

  4. #4
    Hello Ivan,
    Of course, a bad power supply has to be discarded first, before the motherboard!

    Vesa local bus rings a bell! A friend built me a 486 in 1996 when my Amiga 500 plus HDD and acellerator gave up the ghost. Its 2 Mb ISA video card wasnīt enough for Transport Tycoon, but I found a Vesa Local Bus card to put in one of the two extra long slots it also had - Strange coincidence.

    Some time later I built a 166 Mhz Pentium 1 machine (no MMX), which was stably overclocked to 180 Mhz. It had two double height, double-row 64 Mb DIMMīs modules - another strange coincidence!

    I then connected the 2 two computers with a null modem cable a friend made for me, (a 3rd coincidence...) and I played Transport Tycoon with my daughters, who were 4 and 5 years old and shared one of the computers.

    Later I found an old modem hub and built an all-new-parts computer in 1998, and we played on 3 computers. The new computer was an AMD 300 Mhz K6, (a 4th coincidence), with a 4mb AGP graphics card. That CPU was so robust that it kept on going well even when I put in the dissipator back on badly after a cleaning job, and it didnīt make good contact. I only noticed after a month!

    I suppose by the PCI cards needed for your Date Recovery, you are talking of the SCSI HDD, which needs the Adaptec Cards sitting on the PCI slots. I hope you get something good going!

    The main problem with modern computers seems to me that they are perhaps not so much fun, because there is less you can fiddle around with, and all the hardware and software goodies of the past are incompatible. To compensate, there are interesting things like Freebasic with Open Gl 3D capability, but that is material for a different thread.

    Hopefully you can get a satisfactory machine functioning.
    Iīm afraid I can only supply moral support and a story or two!
    Good luck,
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  5. #5
    Hello Aleatorylamp,

    I did a bit more checking of the old Development Computer.
    When I was taking off the connectors for the old power supply, I found that there were burn / melt marks on the connectors between the power supply and motherboard.
    The power supply is finished. The connector is melted and burned enough I do not believe it is suitable to use again.
    I tried a newer AT Power Supply on the motherboard and drives and again got no video or anything past the sound from the SCSI controller check.
    Seems like the motherboard is dead also.

    As for spares, it appears that have about three 80486 class machines that are probably still functional, but they are not suitable donors for anything other than a AT case and floppy drives and CDROM drives.
    One of them is actually the old 486 SCO Unix machine that Anna Honey learned to program on.
    I can still see the sticker on the front with her username and password.
    It only had 4 MB of memory....

    I am also now of the opinion that I absolutely HATE the old Compaq computers.
    There are two carcasses with much more advanced motherboards and processors than the old Development Computer but their cases are missing some pieces and don't really have the room to host the equipment I would want to plug in.
    One of them is / was a 1.2 GHz Athlon which would have been nice to get running again.
    There is nearly nothing salvageable from those machines because they don't use the standard form factor.
    It appears that the K6-2 500 MHz may be used to host the drives from the old Development Computer.
    I know there was a reason I had not used that machine before even though it is faster....

    I have not had a chance to power up a couple more machines for testing yet.

    - Ivan.

  6. #6
    Hello Ivan,
    Sounds like grievous bodily harm suffered by motherboard and computer, and substitution candidates candidates queuing in the basement donīt include an obvious choice. Hopefully there is a useful solution!
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  7. #7
    Hello Aleatorylamp,

    I decided to open up the AMD K6 machine to see what was inside because it will most likely be the new "Development Computer".

    I was wondering what manner of horrors I would find inside that would make me rule out an obviously faster CPU for the old Cyrix 150 MHz or even Pentium 233MMX.
    It even has a pretty fair graphics adapter already installed.
    The Graphics Adapter I bought (that didn't work) was a Matrox G450 with VGA and DVI-D connectors.
    This one appears to be another Matrox card but with dual VGA connectors and only 16 MB.

    The motherboard appears to be pretty good but with a lot of integrated functions onboard.

    The biggest reason I probably didn't use it was because it only has 6 slots - 3 PCI and 3 ISA which isn't enough to install all the equipment I had in the old Development Machine which had 4 PCI and 4 ISA.
    I just did a quick check.... It should be easy, but apparently I will need to find a long internal SCSI cable to make things work.

    - Ivan.

  8. #8
    Hello Ivan,
    I had a 333 Mhz AMD K6 II that came out in 1998, and it was a very solid, very reliable Pentium II type, and I was using it for some months with a second-hand 32Mb Matrox Millenium Accellerator PCI card on it. A dream! ...until it broke because I found out later it had come out of a smoking computer.

    Lucklily I got 4Mb 2D/3D AGP card I traded for an old 150 Mhz Pentium 1 motherboard someone had given me (Ha ha!), and Flight Simulator 98 still worked really well with hardware accelleration and all.

    If the K6 you mention is the K6-II 500 Mhz you mentioned 2 posts ago, it would of course be even better! I hope you find the SCSI cable.

    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  9. #9
    Hello Aleatorylamp,

    Computers really should not smoke.
    When they smoke, they are prone to an early death.
    Just look at mine!
    It started smoking and a minute later, it was dead.

    I did a quick test this evening.
    The cable from the old Development Machine did fit.
    There were a few extra inches tucked in under the drives so it looked much shorter than it actually was.
    I believe it will all fit with around 2 inches of slack.

    For the test, I took out the old drives but didn't have a chance to get the replacement drives installed so I just left them in their mounting brackets and connected everything up.
    Windows 98 booted fine but slow.
    The CPU fan sounds like it is about to die. It is the single loudest thing in the machine.
    It went through a long series of discovering new hardware. (No surprise there.)
    I didn't have much connected other than monitor and keyboard, so I will have to try again tomorrow after I go looking for device drivers.

    One other thing I noticed this evening after moving a few cables is that this motherboard actually has
    2 x ISA
    2 x PCI
    1 slot that can be either ISA or PCI - no room to mount both cards.
    1 x AGP

    What I really need right now is the motherboard manual.
    I figure memory for this old motherboard is probably very inexpensive, so it is a candidate for upgrade.
    I just need to know what to buy.

    - Ivan.

  10. #10

    Hardware set-up musings.

    Hello Ivan,
    Sounds good, although maybe there arenīt enough slots for everything youīd like to have.
    How many PCI SCSI cards do you need to in your set-up?

    I know itīs none of my business, but itīs like an interesting puzzle to solve!

    I think I remember you mentioned 2, so that would leave the other PCI slot free for a PCI graphics accellerator maybe - so the AGP slot would stay unused. If the motherboard has several on-board functions, that could save on slots for the less important ones - sound, netcard, maybe.

    Then, perhaps a clean Win98 re-install will speed things up.
    Anyway, I hope you find the drivers and the motherboard manual!
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  11. #11
    Hello Aleatorylamp,

    The problem isn't really that bad.
    I WANT two SCSI adapters because the Adaptec AHA-2940 U/UW has a 68 pin connector out of the back and most of my peripherals were 50 pin SCSI-2. That is why I had a second SCSI adapter that had no internal devices attached but could take external peripheral equipment.
    To be honest, I haven't used that port in years, so maybe it is not so crucial.
    There WAS a ZIP drive attached to it at one point and the ZIP drive was still on my table next to the computer when I started taking things apart.

    Old Motherboard:
    Blank - I/O Parallel Port from Motherboard
    PCI - Adaptec 2940 U/UW
    PCI - Adaptec 2930
    PCI - Dual USB
    Shared PCI / ISA - Voodoo 3 3000
    ISA - Slot Fan
    ISA - Sound Blaster Sound Card w IDE controller
    ISA - No Card but slot is used by I/O Dual Serial Ports from Motherboard

    New Old Motherboard
    Blank - I/O Parallel and Mouse Ports from Motherboard
    Blank - I/O Serial Ports from Motherboard
    AGP - Empty
    PCI - Adaptec 2940 U/UW
    PCI - Matrox G45 Dual Head
    Shared PCI / ISA - Sound Card
    ISA - Ethernet Card
    ISA - No Card but used for Dual USB from Motherboard

    Yes, there is motherboard sound, but as we discussed earlier, the necessity is for a MIDI Port and I need a separate sound card for that.
    I need to pull the sound card out to figure out what it is in order to see if I can locate drivers for it.
    I also need to check what kind of memory this beast takes.
    It currently has 192 MB which is what most of the machines have.
    I also have a Parallel Port ZIP drive (if the Great Flood didn't claim it) but it is much older than the SCSI Zip Drive.

    If everything works, this is not too bad of a recovery. I just lose one CPU that wasn't used much anyway.
    I haven't actually used it since the drive failure and before that, it was part of the Head to Head CFS setup that I used to test Collision Bubbles many years back.

    - Ivan.

  12. #12
    Hello Ivan,
    OK, it was just out of curiosity that I was interested in how you would be able to configure something workable without having to go through too much hassle to find extra hardware.
    You certainly had some competent hardware at the time.

    The K6-II 500 would normally do nicely with 192 Mb RAM - my K6-II 333 back then barely had 32Mb, as I was so ignorant as far as hardware was concerned. Do you already know how much the max. RAM is for that mobo?

    I had forgotten about the MIDI that you needed for the joystick, and of course thatīs never on-board, but the distribution you describe sounds quite cool - but only with a new fan, of course!!. Then I suppose thereīs USB on the K6-II so you can port things over to the Internet Computer.

    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  13. #13
    Hello Aleatorylamp,

    Actually if you look at the list of hardware that is there, it is quite sufficient for a pretty fair machine.
    There were two things I had to leave out of the new build:
    The Slot Fan that I had that was pulling air from right above the heat sink on the Voodoo 3 no longer has an empty slot to live in. It could fit on the opposite side of the Graphics Card, but makes a lot less sense if it isn't on the components side.
    The second SCSI adapter does not have an empty PCI Slot to live in.
    If the internal cables for the USB ports were longer, I could have put them on a slot about where the AGP Graphics Adapter would live, but there is not enough to reach that far. That means that it MUST take up one of the ISA slots.
    If it did not, I could probably put in a Adaptec 1540 / 1542 controller there and retain the external 50 pin SCSI.

    If you go through the functions that are addressed, you have:
    Video - PCI Graphics Card
    Mouse - Serial Port or Mouse Port (unused)
    Disk Controller - PCI SCSI adapter
    Joystick - PCI Sound Blaster card
    USB - Onboard

    There is also a Parallel Port and 3Com Ethernet Adapter which are present but not likely to be used much.

    I also tried out a few options for Graphics Cards:

    The 16 MB Matrox G450 which was originally installed was giving around 25-27 frames per second with just the Airacobra on screen on the runway. With a view that include some Buildings and Trees in the background, the frame rate dropped to around 17-20. This is pretty comparable to the performance I was getting with the Voodoo 3 on the Pentium 233 MMX or perhaps a touch slower.

    The AGP card is a Diamond Fire GL 1000 Pro and had rather poor performance. It is actually a first generation AGP with only 8 MB of memory. Frame rate with just the Airacobra and runway on the screen gave about 15 frames per second which dropped to about 7 frames per second with a couple buildings and trees in the background.
    The actual display also had a few "Artifacts" and was completely unacceptable.

    The 16 MB NVidia TNT2 was not tested at all. I didn't see a point when the reputation was that the Voodoo 3 was faster.

    The 16 MB Voodoo 3 3000 (The original card) gave 35 to 48 or even 50 frames per second with just the Airacobra and runway on the screen and did not seem to get any slower when Buildings and Trees were in the background.
    This is about 15 frames per second faster than typical performance when installed in the Pentium 233.

    Speed in general with the K6-2 is about 50% faster on some operations and well over 100% faster on other operations.

    The attached screenshots show some of the Artifacts that were seen with the Fire GL and also show a new AF99 compile of the EJ P-39D to show that things are pretty much working..
    I just need to find some metal plates to seal up some openings so air comes into the case from the correct direction and also mount the drives and close everything up.

    - Ivan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails FireGL_AGP.jpg   NewDevelopmentMachine.jpg  

  14. #14
    Hello Ivan,
    OK! I had asked because seeing the difference in the lists, I was wondering how satisfied you would be with the possibilities offered. Great!
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  15. #15
    The K6-2 500 MHz is a substantially faster machine than the Pentium 233 MMX. (Obviously)
    The question is whether it will be a better machine.
    Reliability is more important to me than speed but I would like both.

    The motherboard offers a lot more possibilities with a faster AGP Graphics Card and also with increased memory.
    I also had noticed when I was working with the Athlon 1.33 GHz machine (which I still haven't powered up yet) that with Windows 98, more memory than 512 MB actually worked worse.

    The CPU fan seems to have settled down so that it isn't vibrating any more so I won't bother replacing it.
    The loudest thing now is a Hard Disk Drive. There are two HDD: an IBM 4.3 GB and a Seagate Barracuda 18 GB.
    The Barracuda is a 7200 RPM drive and is quite loud.
    I had a narrow SCSI Barracuda drive in the case before and it was also the loudest thing in the computer.

    So far it looks promising. I just need to put it all back together.

    I also found out that the Bass on my speakers is not working. The Treble works fine though.
    These were not cheap speakers, but they ARE pretty old.

    - Ivan.

  16. #16
    I spent perhaps a half hour poking around and making some settings changes along with checking for asymmetry in the EJ P-39D. At the end of this time, I found that there was a LOT of heat coming from the Voodoo 3.

    The solution is to replace the 3com Ethernet Adapter with a Slot Fan....
    Yet one more piece of equipment goes away and now there is definitely no room for the second SCSI adapter.

    - Ivan.

  17. #17
    Hello Ivan,
    Perhaps if you put in an extra case fan to suck air out, you can forget about the slot fan, and can keep your other card in.

    I installed a large power-supply fan as an extractor case fan on the side, apart from the case fan that blows fresh air in. I drilled 24 holes in a circle into the side of the metal computer box, cutting away the metal between the holes, plus 4 extra holes to screw on the fan. I also put a grid on the outside to prevent any scraped fingers.

    Then I made a cardboard duct inside so than the air coming in the front forked, to go to the video card, and to the CPU. From there it forked again: a) straight on to be sucked through the power supply and out, and b) up and over the duct, towards the case fan on the opposite side. This way there were no areas in the computer with no air flow.

    Just an idea to save on a slot...
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  18. #18
    Thanks Aleatorylamp,
    The issue is that this is actually a Desktop case and not a Tower case.
    I actually have a preference for Desktop cases because I set the monitor on top to bring it to proper height.
    If it were a Tower, it would either need more desk space or floor space.

    The top of the case comes off and there is a brace that the muffin fan could not clear if it were bolted to the top which comes off. Maybe I can work out a better method later.
    My current hunt is for a bracket for the 3.5 inch Hard Drives in a 5 1/4 inch bay.
    I don't need it if I am willing to have each drive supported by just one screw but for more than one screw it is necessary because the hole spacing is different between the two sizes of drives.
    The drives that were in the machine before were just held in place with one screw each. Yes, I put that together also.
    Just found the appropriate set of brackets. They are still attached to a spare drive, but that just means I don't have to go looking for extra screws or anything. I figure using one side of the bracket for each drive should be good enough.

    - Ivan.

  19. #19
    Hello Ivan,
    I have a desktop case too, that I called tower instead. My use of
    computer terminology is lamentable, I know! I prefer desktops too, as
    towers sit on the floor and get knocked by the knee.

    Mine sits on a rack next to the desk under the stairs, with a wooden shelf and other clutter on the desktop. On the shelf thereīs a scanner, and under it, a tray of paper. The air coming out the side happens to blow through some feng-shui chimes hanging from the shelf, that also gently knock against a night-table lamp on the desk...

    Its 1996 metal case-top includes the sides, so when it comes off there is good access to all the parts, and the muffin fan (bakerīs terminology here) doesnīt catch anywhere, and I only have to watch out that the cable and the connector donīt get torn off.

    In your case you could screw the fan onto the outside of the case top,
    with a grid on the outside as well... Just an idea...

    Then I have a 3.5 inch SSD glued onto a sponge, which in turn is glued
    onto a 3.5 inch HDD, screwed onto the case floor with home made "L"
    brackets at angles, that screw into available case-floor threaded

    This Desktop case allow for lots of DIY and is quite spacious. The
    vertical disquette bay is taken up by a frontal USB with sound Jacks
    connector, whose cables go through the case and out the back to plug
    into the on-board sound, and the big HDD is screwed verticaly onto
    that holder on the inside.

    Anyway... Itīs more practical than any other computer box Iīve ever
    seen, specially now!

    The server is always busy just at 6.30 in the morning. It wasnīt when I
    started typing at 6, and the cat jumped on the desk, just when I was
    going to post this at 6.15, and the right mouse-button which canīt be
    ripped out, got pressed and deleted the message.

    Thankfully the second one now didnīt get lost because I saved it onto
    a copy.

    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  20. #20

    Modern Software Problem

    Hello Ivan,
    As life is meant to keep you on our toes, and thereīs no rest for the wicked,
    hereīs another whopper:

    First the good part:
    Given that Microsoft Servers are still allowing any legal licence owners of Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 to upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge with their Windows Media Tool, and that the new Windows 10 O.S. is now stable, and slightly faster than Win8.1, and considerably faster than Win7 (which will be obsolete in 2020), I proceded to upgrade my laptop from Win8.1 to Win 10.

    It was fine, and Cortana is fun too even though she spies even more than any OS did before, but so what. Sheīs the AI Character from the film Halo 4, where she was very pretty, and now works for Microsoft. The voice is nice on the computer, and she comes up with funny comments according to some U-Tubers.

    So, I decided to also upgrade the second HDD / OS in my desktop (not tower) from Windows 7 to Windows 10, expecting the benefits of modern life.

    Now, the whopper:
    Every time I start up from the Win10 HDD, the next time I start up from the WinXP HDD, it causes endless CHKDSK checks on all drives, that end up eliminating extended attributes of the WIN10 HDD, but everything continues working after endless useless clean-ups.

    Looking on Internet, I found a solution. I managed use Regedit to correct some BootExecute register, and it was OK until I used Win10 again.

    Now the mess is back, but this time Regedit says BootExecute is fine, although the CHKDSK flags for all hard discs and partitions are dirty again, and CHKDSK always wants to run all the time, and never finds anything.

    Win10 wants to do it too!

    Now, how obnoxious can software get?
    Get free upgrades which will mess everything up for you!

    I wonder if Cortana is worth all this trouble? Will I have to kill her?
    Or seriously now, though:

    I had to repair WinXP ONCE AGAIN. So, Iīm re-formatting WIN10. Maybe instead of updating Win7 to Win10, that leaves debris, a clean installation would not cause this CHKDSK mania, although on the Laptop, the update went OK. Maybe Win10 is a predatory species, if co-habitating in a machine with others.

    Trying to modernise to keep up with the times and not become obsolete oneself should be a good idea, but not in this case.

    Last edited by aleatorylamp; June 17th, 2018 at 02:35.
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  21. #21
    Hello Aleatorylamp,

    We shall see how much I can accomplish today.
    There are some holes in the case for various things like DB25 serial and parallel ports, DB15, and DB9 ports which I need to close up for good airflow but don't have the right size plates to cover them. I guess it is time to make a few.

    Attempting to update Internet Explorer (which was necessary to install MS Visual Studio) was actually the most likely cause for the general system unreliability and crashes (besides disk and video weirdness).
    The occasional missing volumes issue started a few years ago but was generally manageable with a reboot.
    I don't know the cause, but perhaps it was the motherboard hinting that it was having problems.
    We shall see if the new motherboard fixes those issues.
    The odd program crashes pretty much started with the attempt to update Internet Explorer.
    I hope that those issues were fixed with replacing files as recommended by the SFC utility.
    The video problems probably started a few months ago and ended a couple weeks back.

    I actually don't mind having extra muffin fans in the case and possibly even extra fans mounted on the case surface, but to have a fan mounted externally is really asking for trouble. My Desk is usually quite cluttered and the Computer needs to be as snag free as possible.
    At this point, I want to just get it put back together to see how well it performs and then consider improvements.
    There are also the possibility of getting a couple more machines in place and then maybe I will go back to the replacement Development Machine.

    - Ivan.
    - Ivan.

  22. #22
    Hello Ivan,
    An outside-portruding fan would have its drawbacks and be a bit make-****f too!

    I hope you get it all sorted out. With Pentium I and Pentium II computers,
    software and hardware compatibility was quite an issue. You couldnīt get away with generic drivers like on Win-XP. The worst were the video-card drivers, as clashes here could seriously crash the system and corrupt it on the HDD so much that you had to re-install Windows!

    The "new" computer innards I got today are actually the CPU and Motherboard and other bits from an AMD K8: Sempron 3000+ at 1.8 Ghz, the equivalent of a 3 Ghz Pentium-4. These were just prior to the dual Core CPUīs. At that time AMD were getting higher efficiency per clock-cycle, so they labelled their CPUīs with the Pentium-equivalent frequency.

    This "new" one will probably become my fall-back computer - itīs faster, better at multitasking and stabler than the Pentium-4 at 2.66 Ghz I have here - which has also developed a strange lagging, though it isnīt connected to the internet. I suspect itīs the hard disk.

    Never a dull moment!
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  23. #23
    Hello Aleatorylamp,

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleatorylamp
    An outside-portruding fan would have its drawbacks and be a bit make-****f too!
    I actually have no idea what you mean.

    It is interesting that you are getting discards that are faster than any of the Desktop machines I have in the house.

    As I mentioned in the other thread, I finished putting the "New" Development Computer together last night.
    There were no real problems but it took a while because of all the things I had to move and connect.
    I ran it for a few hours with the case off before concluding that it probably would not overheat.
    There is actually another muffin fan in the case that is really serving no useful purpose
    There isn't that much air being moved by any of the fans, but nothing seemed to get more than just a bit warm.
    Even the heat sink on the Voodoo 3 barely got warm.
    After that, it was a matter of tying down the wires inside the case so that they would not foul the fans or bounce around.
    I have plenty of small zip ties, but prefer to do it with plastic twist ties because they are easier to adjust and remove.

    After I had everything installed and running, I noticed that the Power LED was not coming on.
    Normally with a less cramped work area, I would probably take it apart to look but at 2 AM, I just wanted to test things out.
    The Speakers seem to have an issue and the narrowing display turns out not to be the monitor rather than the Graphics Card. CRTs are a little hard to come by these days, but that is my preference if I need a replacement.

    Things are hardly perfect, but they are quite useable at this point.

    I also found out that the latest ZIP Drive I had sitting by the computer was actually a USB device and not a SCSI or Parallel Port device which makes things easier.

    As for making computer case modifications, I actually have a pretty heavy duty sheet metal nibbler. I have used it before to get pieces of sheet metal from old computer cases, so I know it will cut through the stuff pretty easily. Besides that, there are Dremel Tools and a Bench Grinder for the heavy stuff.

    While discussing case modifications, I have always wanted to rebuild a reasonably modern CPU into an old IBM PC/AT case.

    - Ivan.

  24. #24
    Hello Ivan,
    I had added the beginning of my previous post just before posting, and it got garbled at the end. I had to go before I noticed it had gone wrong. It was meant to read "makeshift", referring to the muffin fan mounted outside the case.

    Your workshop sounds very well equipped. Iīm having great trouble under the stairs, and expanding onto the dining-room table, with the cats jumping everywhere and my wife complaining about so much old stuff strewn about.

    The discards I usually get are always about 10 years old. I used to be much more into re-building old computers, and in about 2005 most of what I would get were Pentium II or III types, and before that, around 1998, it was Pentium I`s.
    Nowadays, I can only come by only Pentium 4īs or early Dual Cores, and normally I donīt go for this "hobby" any longer for reasons of space, but yesterday was an exception - I quite fancied re-building something!

    I recognize several of the little issues during such a job, that you mention!
    Now it needs a new O.S. installation, and hopefully then Iīll be able to clear the dining-room table!

    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  25. #25
    Hello Aleatorylamp,

    Even 10 years old would be pretty good.
    If you think about it, what I just put together out of old computers is essentially a very fast Pentium I or a very slow Pentium II. You certainly newer and more spares than I do.

    I ran into yet another twist last night.
    I was noticing that the supercharger on the old P-39D AIR file was not working.
    This is easy to see because power is highest at Sea Level on the Take-Off fun and starts to drop even 1000 feet up.
    At 8000 to 10000 feet, power has dropped to less than half the Sea Level value.
    This is not a Gauge problem. It is obvious that speed cannot be maintained.

    The interesting thing is that this is happening with OTHER AIR files as well and those were working earlier.
    In other aspects, besides the wacky video and noise, the computer is behaving well, but this one factor is a serious show stopper.
    It also seems to be putting out quite a bit of heat: much more than the old Pentium 233 MMX.

    I also see that the Joystick problems I had experienced earlier seem to have gone away. Perhaps those too were a part of the old motherboard behaving badly.

    I just did a quick check on the Game Machine that I set up a week or two ago and it seems to be having the same problem..... I wonder where the problem might actually be.

    - Ivan.
    Last edited by Ivan; June 19th, 2018 at 08:44.

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