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Hello, World! :D - Robert B's PC builds - oogle away freely :) - OLD Hardware Emporium

Jul 3, 2016
325 (0.36/day)
Tseng DUO

This episode features two Tseng video cards. Both of them are the PCI version.

I was searching for a Tseng ET4000/W32P video card for some time. In the end I found it at the good ol' flea market. I would've wanted the VLB or at least the ISA version but beggars can't be choosers, I guess.

The Tseng ET6000 4MB was bought a few years ago, also from the flea market. A test made after that moment, revealed that it was dead, so I put in a box and that was it. At least until this year :D

Let's meet the two video cards:

* Vision Magic Tseng Labs ET6000 4 MB MDRAM


The card was in a rough shape but as soon as I saw Tseng ET4000/W32P written all over it, I knew I had to have it. I paid very little for it and I took it home.

The card took a hit before I got to it and a few pins from the graphic chip were affected but they didnt separate from the PCB. Lucky me!

I took the card apart.

The BIOS chip had a few light scratches which werent removed by IPA 99% and cotton sticks, so, I searched for other options.

It became clear that I would need an abrasive paste which would also have to be friendly with the markings on the chip.

I decided to try a little metal polish paste, the kind I use to restore the shine of the chromed brackets, and a cotton stick. I rubbed gently the graphic chip and afterwards I washed it well with IPA 99%.

After two passes I got the desired results. GOOD AS NEW!!!

The satisfaction I got after this step was off the scale.

I applied this treatment to other IC's on the board.

The final results were notable. The downside is that now I have to apply this step to other cards I restore and the time that I spend with each component will get even longer than already is. Regardless, after these many electronic artifacts recovered from the crusher, one more stage dedicated to the restoration process isn't much. By now, all I do is like a reflex. I'm not kidding. Also, I never say STOP until I am completely satisfied.


gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/jyxc9xso/

Vision Magic Tseng Labs ET6000 4 MB MDRAM

I was so proud when I bought this card. Tseng ET6000 with 4MB, NICE! Lucky find!

After I tested it I was deflated. Dead!

This year, right after I managed to exorcise all the demons from the socket 4 / Pentium 66MHz setup (which will be presented at a later date), amadeus777999, a fellow vogons user, asked me to run some DOOM Shareware 1.9 timedemo tests with some of my graphic cards. These results were needed for a project of his. In the end I made over 100 DOOM Shareware 1.9 runs, so it was obvious that the ET6000 could not miss from the line-up. Needless to say, the P66+ASUS PCI/I-P5MP3 rev. 2.4 combo was rock solid, even if I got a few gray hairs during the process of eliminating all the demons that took over the socket 4 setup, and believe me they were many! (The P66 story will also be very interesting). (The results of the DOOM Shareware tests will be presented at the appropriate time)

I checked the ET6000 and I couldn't find anything wrong with it.

At first, I decided to remove the extra 2MB video memory from the PLCC sockets. This task was unbelievably hard. What could possibly go wrong?

The PLCC exctractor that I have is a cheap chinese model and it didnt grab the memory chips as it should. The plastic of the PLCC was brittle and old. After I applied the force required, I was faced with a disaster. One of the metal hooks of the PLCC extractor, dug into a memory chip, broke off a corner if it and then left a diagonal scratch.

You should've seen my face. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

&*($@#*($&###!!!! Curses, ()&%#*%#&*~)@%~~~!!!

Before I resorted to the chinese PLCC extractor, I tried two small screwdrivers but I couldn't remove the memory chips. The PLCC sockets groaned and flexed and I couldn't remove the chips.

In the end I managed to remove the memory chips. The PLCC sockets were cracked, the chips looks like hell....

I tested the card again. STILL NOTHING!. No change.....^$@#&$*^@*!@!@!!##

Reluctantly, I removed the Vision Magic sticker from the BIOS chip and I verified if the BIOS image was good. I had to know what model the chip was. This information was vital. I placed it into my MiniPro TL866A BIOS programmer and I did a READ and VERIFY test. ALL WAS OK! Foiled again! - ATMEL AT27C256R

I used double sided tape to put back the Vision Magic sticker and I inserted the memory chips I removed earlier.

Damn it!

What could be the problem?

And then IT HIT ME!!!

I saw some marks on the pins of the graphic chip, so, I decided to investigate them thoroughly. Flea market cards usually have a few marks on them and I investigate the chips to see if the pins make contact with each other.

I took a fine needle and I checked the pins. Needless to say that I found out soon why the ET6000 wasnt running. Lots of pins were separated from the PCB.

I knew the cause of the problem and I needed a solution.

Ideally I would've needed a hot air station and the required supplies. At the start of this year I thought of buying a hot air station but in the end I gave up. I couldn't justify the costs as I dont have many card to repair.

The second option was represented by a repair shop but where's the fun in that? :D I think you know me well after the V4-L saga. :D

For some time I wanted to try the drag soldering tehnique. After I got accustomed with the use of flux and I got a little courageous, I said LET'S DO IT!!!

The brain-dead ET6000-ul was the perfect candidate!

I looked at a demo of the drag soldering tehnique.

HowTo: Drag Soldering Demo

I looked a few times over these videos.

Professional SMT Soldering: Hand Soldering Techniques - Surface Mount

Professional Hand Soldering: Surface Mount QFP 208 Fine-Pitch

I couldn't be bothered with the lower stages and I went straight to MASTER class, crash course style :D just the way I LIKE IT!!! :D QFP 208 Fine-Pitch drag soldering. How hard can it be?:D

Because I couldnt find angled tips for my soldering iron I decided to make my own.

Dont forget the sponge.

Let's inspect the pins closer. Not GOOD!!! Some are bent and some are separated from the PCB due to some force applied over them.

Before I took over the main task, I practiced on a dead laptop motherboard.

I used liquid flux branded Topnik RF800.

The results were encouraging so I tackled the ET6000.

I applied Topnik RF800 flux and I placed the tip of the soldering iron over the pins. Unfortunately, the flux was liquid and it wouldn't stay in one place. It quickly evaporated at the contact with the soldering iron and it didnt help me. I used a low quantity of solder.

A few weeks before, I bought from the flea market, some Amtech RMA-223 flux, which in the end proved to be fake. I decided to use it after I saw a comparative video in which it was said that it is OK. To my surprise, I found the exact fake flux at the local electronic shop. YAY!!! :D The label has spelling errors and the packaging is not like the original.

I applied Amtech RM-223-FAKE flux.



After a soldering pass.

The Topnik RF800 flux is a NO CLEAN flux. The Amtech RMA-223-FAKE flux was an unknown quantity so I had to clean it.

The weather was cold during this operation. The lack of experience meant that I used too much flux and I had to clean A TON OF IT!

Cleaning the leftover flux proved to be a challenge. The difficulty was due to the fact that it was behind the pins and in contact with IPA 99% it would turn in a substance like cheese.

I was afraid that some of the pins I soldered back might separate again, so, I placed the card in a IPA 99% bath. I used a container with a lid to reduce evaporation.

The IPA 99% bath didnt remove the flux so I had to use an old tooth brush and a syringe.

After almost an hour, I managed to remove all the flux. DAMN SON!

I inspected the solder job and I was pleased with the results. I didnt straighten any of the pins because I was afraid I might break them. Before I got to solder them back I checked that each one of them made contact with their pad.

I placed the card in the PC and I saw that the orange led of the monitor turned to green but the screen remained black.

It looks like I'm on the right path. I inspected again all of the pins, 208 of them....

I found a few pins that werent making contact. It looks like my solder job wasnt as strong as I thought and during cleaning I separated some of them.


This time I used the right amount of flux.

I soldered again all the pins and I cleaned the card.

Final results.

Close view of the soldered pins.

I DID THIS! When all was said and done, I was satisfied with my results.

I tested the card again and it ran flawlessly, almost.

The image was crips, the drivers installed without a hitch, I ran a DOOM test. ALL OK!

I was happy and I wasnt bothered anymore with the looks of the card. I will remember these battle scars for a long time from now. They look bad from every angle. (One of the soldered memory chips had some chips when I bought it.)

Unfortunately, the victory was bitter sweet. When I ran the timedemo benchmark from DOOM Shareware 1.9, I saw on the lower part of the screen, that some pixels werent displayed correctly.

I removed the extra VRAM and I left the card with the soldered chips. When I booted in WIN 95 I saw that the image wasnt right.

I inspected again all of the pins of the graphic chip. All was well.

After I put back the extra VRAM chips the video card didnt show the anomalies that were present with just the soldered 2MB and I was left with the odd pixels.

At this moment I gave up. There was no way I could recover this card completely.

Some fights you cannot win. I could find some memory chips and try something, but this might come sometime in the far far far future.

The upside is, that I can execute drag soldering at a reasonable level of quality. Practice makes perfect and I'm sure I'll need this skill someday.

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/31f9xa72w/

C ya next time with more good stuff.:D
Last edited:
Jul 3, 2016
325 (0.36/day)
My first 80386!!! Pine Technology PT-321 (M3200793) / AMD 386DX 40MHz / am386DX-40

Nebs Jack - Guys like me (Andre Rizo & Dj Pado remix)

For over three years since I've been going to the flea market, I've never seen a 80386 for sale. The 80286 is even harder to find. Rara avis.

The truth is that I wasnt searching for a 80286 or a 80386 as I was pretty sure that I wasnt going to pass the 80486 border and travel further into the past.

Like many times before, all it took was a tiny piece of kryptonite and I was already looking at the 80486 border in my rear view mirror.

I found the PT-321 motherboard at one of my contacts at the flea market.

On 14.04.2018 I went to the flea market to see what was avaialable. The day didnt look promising. All changed when I was faced with a pile of motherboards. :D

I put aside the Pentium 4 and Athlon XP motherbaords and I was left with the 80386 plus 9 CPUs.

After a quick negociation I took THE LOOT and I went home.

The PT-321 is compact and the CPU is soldered on the motherboard. This didnt bother me at all as the CPU is pretty potent.

As soon as I laid my eyes on it, I thought about my Zida Tomato Board 4DPS.

It seems that the PT-321 was sold at a time when the 80386 cycle was coming to an end, and the 80486 was somewhat expensive.

Let's get to the matter at hand.

Eversince I negociated the price for the 80386, I knew that the CMOS battery leaked and all its poison spilled over the motherboard.

This didnt put me off as I was convinced that the motherboard was still alive. In the past I had to deal with far more desperate situations.

I removed the battery using a fine screwdriver. Some gentle persuasion was needed and the battery was free. I kept the battery terminals as I might need them down the road.

Initial state.

I applied the usual treatment for battery leaks: VINEGAR made from GRAPES.

Immediately after I used the vinegar, I could see the bubbles forming and the acid started to lose the fight.

I felt a great satisfaction while I was looking at the bubbles. BEGONE FIEND!!! :D :D :D

When the reaction ended I was pleased to see that the treatment went according to plan. The laquer was a little affected but the traces are in great shape.

Cleaning was business as usual. You know the drill.

The leaked acid left some marks on the back of the motherboard. Nothing too serious.

The passing of time left its mark and on the back of the motherboard we can see a few white spots beneath the laquer. I dont know if these spots are from the manufacturing process or are the result of another factor.

I'm pretty sure, even with the facts mentioned above, that this 386 will continue to work long time from now. I cant say the same thing about some of my newer components though.

The glass half full.

The testing session was a complete success. ALL SYSTEMS ARE GO!

I didnt think it was necessary to use a controller and install an O.S. The motherboard is working well. Even from the first powerup, the PC SPEAKER greeted me with a happy BEEP! I'M ALIVE!!!

BULLETPROOF! I really like these old parts, they work and work and keep on working.

More later.
Jul 3, 2016
325 (0.36/day)
Claptone - No Eyes (feat. Jaw)

The RED Beast!

As you probably already know, my luck regarding ATI cards is legendary ... bad ... yep. I dont see many ATI cards at the flea market and when I find them I think twice before I make a purchase.

The card featured in this episode is A MONSTER. I saw it briefly and that was enough: I WANT IT! I put my hands on it and I loved the weight of the mammoth. I knew well this feeling as I've experienced it many times since all this retro madness has started. There's always something "new" at the horizon. Something that stirs you up. FRESH! FRESH! Fresh from the dumpster, of course.

I bought the ATI Radeon 3870x2 on a Sunday, in July this year. The price was low. I haggled a bit and I managed to drive the price down. The day was rainy but it cleared up a bit after 12.00 o'clock and that was the window I was waiting for. That day I scored more good stuff besides the ATI card.

Meet the ASUS ROG HD 3870 X2 TOP (EAH3870X2-TOP/G/3DHTI/1G)

In the past I avoided many times to buy from the flea market, newer cards and especially PCI-E cards. The reasons are obvious: the danger of missing ICs, the difficulty to restore them, the risk of them beeing dead is far greater than in the case of older parts, etc.

The irony is that I broke this "rule" for an ATI card. Never say never ... they say.

So I was stuck with the little ASUS. :D

Another fact to consider is that the 3870x2 (2008) is the second ATI dual-GPU card after Rage Fury MAXX (1999). I'm talking about ATI factory cards. If it was working it would've been awesome. Only 10 years have passed since it was introduced and it feels old. Life is in overdrive.

I left the card in the trunk of my car, but soon after that I brought it into the house and I decided to clean it and give it a go to see what's what.

The 3870x2 was full of dust and fingerprints. The fingerprints were very stubborn and werent removed by IPA 99%.

Before I bought it, I looked to see if something was missing on the back. At that time I didnt see anything suspicious. Later while I was cleaning it, I saw that it was missing two ceramic capacitors above the PCI-E connector and a third one was hanging for dear life.

I soldered the third one and I decided to find and solder the other two, the following day.

After this cold shower I felt I bought a wreck. My enthusiasm was going down...

Ready for testing.


POWER ON! - nothing, black screen - NO SIGNAL!!!

Damn son, I told you not to buy crap form the flea market.

My gut feeling said it was alive. Was I mistaken?!

I took out the card from the PC and I conducted a thorough examination. Inch by inch.

Soon, I recevied more bad news.

MIA: 1 resitor, 1 transistor with unkown specs, one more ceramic capacitor hanging for dear life, 6 ceramic capacitor missing.

Not a pretty picture.

I didnt gave up and I hatched a rescue plan. I still believed that the card was alive.

I didnt know the specs of the missing transistor and I couldn't find detailed pictures on the internet. In many instances, articles written 10 years ago werent available. Such a shame.

So I looked for a solution.

The missing transistor was marked Q99. I searched for Q98 but I didnt find it so I looked for Q100. Luckily at Q100 I found two resistors and one tranzistor.

The similarity between Q99 and Q100 put me on the right path. I decided to transplant at the Q99 location one resistor and one tranzistor with the same specs as those at Q100.

The donor was a Medion ATI X740 XL.

This was the first time when I had to solder this many tiny components. The results arent my best work but I have accumulated experience and now I can do them a lot better.The solder job was verified and it is as strong as it can be.

In the past I used a soldering iron to remove the ceramic capacitors from the PCB and it was tedious.

Lately, I use gentle persuasion and I remove them flea market style. :D They come off surprisingly easy. A gentle tap with a set of pliers on the head of a fine screwdriver and they are free. A fact to remember when I decide to buy such complex cards from the flea market.

I used NO CLEAN flux when I soldered the missing parts as I wanted to test the card before I cleaned it. Even so, I used cotton sticks dipped in IPA 99% and a soft brush to remove the leftover flux and/or tiny bits of solder.

I put the card in the PC.



The satisfaction I felt was OFF THE CHARTS!!! A highly addictive drug, believe me.

Clean bill of health.

After I found out that the card was A-OK came the moment to clean it properly and restore it to its former glory.

Let's get to work!

Close-up with the problem areas.

First I tackled the heatsinks. Full of dust, hardened TIM and tired thermal pads. I decided to save the pads as they were softer than what I had available and I didnt know the exact width. I didnt need more problems.

I decided to restore the shine of the copper even if I knew that it will not last. I didnt use vinegar as it might've affected the silver fins.

I used small amounts of metal polishing paste and with patience I got the desired results.

The base of the heatsinks was left as it was.

After I finished with the heatsinks I worked on the other metal parts.

I tried to remove the fingerprints from the anodized aluminium shroud but to no avail. I used IPA 99%, tar remover, brake cleaner, metal polishing paste, paint polishing paste and none worked, so I gave up. The upside was that after all of this, the shroud was squeaky clean.

The PCB was cleaned well.

I added a few high res pictures. Maybe someone will find them useful.

I prepared the screws and other small parts.

The fans received some SPA TREAMENT.

Looking good!

I left the problem of the pads, for last.I cleaned them as much as I could with cotton sticks and IPA 99%. I had to be extra careful as the IPA99% softened up the pads and I didnt want to destroy them. I was very gentle with them, fully aware of the problems I was facing in the event of a disaster.

The rest was almost smooth sailing except the fact that I mounted the first heatsink and then the second one. I had to lign up the fixing holes using a source of light without touching the TIM on the GPU or the four pads on the memory. BUMPY RIDE! I used Arctic MX-4 for the GPU's.

The results? He, he, he, watch for yourselves :D

Back from the gutter!!!

Normally this would the happy end of the story but it isnt so. :D

While I was preparing the pictures for this episode I saw that two more ceramic caps were missing on the back of the card.

I soldered back the missing caps. The card is now at 100% :D

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/oohsxgy6/

More later. :D
Jul 3, 2016
325 (0.36/day)
GAINWARD Beyond Your Senses - The MIGHTY 7800GS+

Gainward Bliss 7800GS+ 512MB AGP
Gainward SilentFX Active 7800GS+
Gainward 7800GS+ AGP8X 512MB TV-OUT 2DVI

Back in the day I was a BIG fan of Gainward graphic cards. As usual, they were waaaaayyy out of my price range and all I could do was to read about them on the internet or from magazines and drool freely :D ... Even so, I wasnt put off by this, and I wanted a piece of heaven too and my first Gainward card was a Geforce 4 MX460 when everybody was buying MX440. The card I bought was a Gainward Geforce 4 MX460 64MB Golden Sample. Looking back I should've bought a Geforce 3 Ti 200 but at that time the MX460 brought me a lot of joy. I bought the MX460 together with an ECS K7VTA3 V3.1 – KT333 motherboard. I still remember vividly the moment when I got the package from the courier. It's like it was yesterday... Later I bought an Athlon XP 1900+/Palomino core CPU, after I tricked my father a little, and I was good to go!

Happy times.

A few years later I sold the MX460 to a cousin and I bought it back from him only to sell it to someone else. When I write these lines I wish I didnt sell the card, well..., I was young and foolish... :D

The Gainward 7800GS+, featured in this episode, was bought from the flea market together with the ASUS ATI Radeon HD 3870x2 PCI-E, from the previous episode.

Like many times in the past, as soon as I laid my eyes on the 7800GS+, I knew I HAD TO HAVE IT! The initial price was steep, around 55 EUR but I was at the right time and in the right place, Sunday at the end of the flea market day, somewhere around 12.00 o'clock and I managed to drive down the price. In the end I paid for the card the hefty sum of 11 EUR. :D

After I had my way with this card and I found out what has in the engine bay, the selling price, IF I decide to sell it, went well beyond what I paid for it.

From what I read on the internet, the GW 7800GS+ with the G71-GT2-H-N-A2 core was a limited edition. It has a Geforce 7950GT core with 24 pixel shaders / 8 vertex shaders but only 8 ROPs instead of 16. This model is quite overclockable. I didnt try to see what it can do because I dont have a powerfull AGP setup yet.


What were the odds to find such a card at the flea market? Pretty small! 11EUR well spent!

When I bought the card I didnt know if it was working. It had many scratches but after I conducted a through PCB inspection and I didnt saw anything suspicious I decided to do all I could to make it mine.

When I got home I stared at it for a few minutes and after this I said to myself : MINE ALL MINE!!!

Smookin' HOT beastly AGP video card! I love that GAINWARD LOGO! Such a shame Gainward isn't what it once was...

Beastie Boys - Sure Shot

Lets clean this sucker!

Hi! It's me the 7800GS+!


Hefty cooler!

What do we have here? FUR? Nope. Dust, some animal hairs, cigarette smoke and God knows what! YUCK!

Cool looking fan and a nice shroud.

I washed the plastic shroud and I was pleased with the results.

I still didnt know if I had the full 24/8 setup. I didnt want to power it up and I decided to cleant it first. If you ask yourselves how I managed to restrain myself I can say that it took will and many other situations like these experienced in the past. The moment when you power-up a cleaned/restored card has some similarities with moment when you first power-up a new card. The feeling is intense and addictive.

After I removed the hardened TIM I was greeted by the string G71-GT2-H-N-A2. THE REAL DEAL!

Fatboy Slim - Push The Tempo

After this discovery I started the cleaning process and first I tackled the heatsink.

Initially I wanted to remove the thermal pads but they were glued in place and any attempt to take them off was met with a failure. I even put the heatsink in the freezer for a few minutes but still NO DICE!

In the end I decided to leave them in place. If it aint broken why fix it? They were clean, undamaged and reusable. Why bother?

The card has Samsung DK4J52324QC-BC14 GDDR3 memory chips that are rated up to 700MHz. From factory they run at a pedestrian 550 MHz.

On your mark, get, set, GO!

The heatsink was cleaned thoroughly. I flatened a few cotton sticks and I dipped then in IPA 99% and I cleaned each and every fin. The end result was quite good .

Because the backplate nuts have a fine thread and they were quite hard to remove, I decided to put them in my trusty rust remover solution.

I prepared the backplate and the bracket for cleaning. A little polishing paste and they came out like new.

All this time the rust remover solution did its job.

Some metal shards were left on the bottom of the container.

I took out the screws from the rust remover solution and I washed them well with IPA 99%.

The nuts were much easier to thread on the screws.


Because the plastic shroud of the cooler has a mirror finish, I decided to use a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching it further.

The most difficult part was to clean the fan. I didnt want to take it apart and I used various tools to clean it well. I managed to clean only 95% of the dirt from under the fan. The rest of the fan and surrounding area was easier to clean 100%. If I removed the sticker on the back that meant losing the factory look. A NO NO in my book. In the end my efforts were enough and the final results were very good. The fan is still silent and spins easily.

Some battle scars. Nothing too serious.

I took the required measures to eliminate the rattle of a few fins.

Cooling system DONE!

Next came the cleaning of the PCB. My favourite part.

Ready for assembly.


As I mentioned above, I dont have a potent AGP test system, yet, so I had to use my trusty KT333.

In one of my visits at the flea market I found an Athlon XP 2400+/266MHz Thorton core CPU. Because the 3.1 revision of my ECS K7VTA3 motherboard doesnt support 333MHz bus CPUs, the Athlon XP 2400+/266 Thorton core was better than my Athlon XP 1900+/266 Palomino core, so I did a BIOS update and I was ready for a test.

The mainboard ECS K7VTA3 3.1, uses an AMD 462-pin Socket A that has the following features:
· Supports 100(200)/133(266) MHz frontside bus (FSB)
· Accommodates AMD Athlon XP/Athlon/Duron processors

Was the 7800GS+ alive and kicking?

2001: A Space Odyssey Theme • Also Sprach Zarathustra • Richard Strauss



That's a wrap!

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/l4i5t1w2/

More later.
Jul 3, 2016
325 (0.36/day)
Imagination - Just An Illusion

ASUS K7M v 1.04 AMD 750/VIA 686A Slot-A motherboard

Until not long ago, I wasnt interested in SLOT A stuff. I knew about them but I didnt see them in the flesh. This changed after I bought my first slot A motherboard with the AMD 750 Irongate chipset and a few Slot A CPUs. Now, they are a must for me and I buy them without blinking.

The motherboard featured in this episode was found in a tired old case, at the flea market, in my city, right under my nose. The icing on the cake was that it came with an AMD K7 - AMD-A0800MPR24B A 800MHz Thunderbird core CPU. My first and only Thundebird Slot A CPU. What were the odds of me finding these goddies in a place like that? I'm sure I've seen that case a few times on separate visits to the flea market before I decided to see what's inside.

Because I found this motherboard in a case, its condition is almost perfect. Besides some dust and grime there was nothing to be repaired or replaced.

A perfect candidate for the cleaning operation.

While I prepared the motherboard for cleaning I also removed the northbridge heatsink because it moved freely. To my amazement I saw that it didnt have any thermal paste, thermal adhesive or even a thermal pad. What the ....

I cleaned well the elements that I removed.

I protected the PCB ink stamps against IPA 99%.

I did my magic. I took my sweet time and I didnt rush anything. I took more time to clean this particular board. With each componet I clean, I get better and the steps I take have almost become a reflex. Experience tells me where and how much I have to insist to obtain the desired results.


Arctic MX-4. 'nuff said!

Dream build candidate sometime down the line...:D

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/1vu9g3zma/


More later.
Jul 3, 2016
325 (0.36/day)
Trans-X - Living On Video (Official Music Video)

S370 - Revisiting an old friend. Abit SA6 V1.1

Ahhh, S370 takes me back a long time ago, when I bought my second PC. After the AMD 586-133MHz I switched over to Intel.

Taking into consideration that the price of Pentium II CPUs was stratospheric, I had to choose the next best thing, THE MIGHTY CELERON A!. K6-2 was not for me. :D

Uh yeah! I bought a MSI-6154 / 440ZX motherboard and a Celeron 366MHz. Nearly 20 years have passed since that moment...sheeshhh getting old suxx BIG TIME!

In January, this year I went to the local flea market and to my surprise I bought an Abit SA6 V1.1 motherboard for under 3 EUR. I couldnt believe that I found an Abit motherboard, there, of all places. Usually the motherboards that escape the crusher are low end and the chances to find something nice are very low.

I bought it without blinking. There she is on the trunk of my car :D

The motherboard came with a CPU and a heatsink. A few days later I removed the heatsink and under it I found.....a Pentium III 733MHz/133/256 - SL4CG CPU.

I expected something better but I said to myself that the "little" one is still good to have.

Some time later I bought three Tualatin CPUs, one at 1.2GHz and two at 1.3GHz, only to find out that the motherboard doesnt support Tualatin CPUs....I should've RTFM BETTER!!!

Lets return to the the Abit SA6.

I tested the motherboard with the 733MHz PIII and BEHOLD: It's ALIVE!

Immortal relic of times gone by even if it is full with crappy capacitors...

Some battle scars, as expected. Nobody at the flea market treats PC components with velvet gloves.

Beside the "small imperfections" from above, the board was also missing a jack and I bought a damaged Creative SB Live! SB0060 sound card just for this.

Obscure asian stuff: Yang An, V0.41 and HIGH QUALITY JACKCON caps...BLISS!....yeah right...what could possibly go wrong? I WONDER!

The flea market was good to me and I also found a Celeron la 1.1GHz/100/128 - SL5XU CPU. I bought it even if I saw that it was missing a few pins. I really dont know what I was thinking...

After I straightened a bunch of pins, three more pins broke off and I said to myself that it was the right time to see if I can solder them back. The third one separated completely so I wasnt able to solder it back and I was left with two pins to attach.

The pictures are self explanatory.

After I inserted the CPU in the socket a few times, one of the two pins broke off again. The thin copper layer onto which I added the solder, was already separated from the textolite/fiber, so all my effort was for nothing.

Even so, now I have the required experience and I can save other CPUs that have better chances of survival. Soldering back pins is not too complicated. The fact that older CPUs have far less pins, allows for a higher rate of success. All in all I do not recommend that you waste your time with CPUs that have missing pins. I didnt try to see if the 1.1GHz Celeron was alive...too many missing pins...

Before and close to the end of the straightening process. If you ask yourselves why I bought the 1.1GHz Celeron, I really dont have an answer :D sometimes I believe I can save them all...

Later I found a nice Pentium III la 1GHz/133/256 - SL4C8 CPU and I vanquished all my demons. Now the Abit SA6 has a decent CPU under the hood. Case closed.

I can make a Tualatin mod for my three CPUs or I can modify the CPU socket but I dont want to do this right now.

I prepared the Abit SA6 for cleaning. BEHOLD no TIM under the northbridge heastink. This was also the case when I cleaned the Asus K7M V1.04 motherboard, what the F.........KKKKKKKK!!!

Ready for action!



Work in progress!

Results? Robert B Trade Mark! :D

Byte my shiny metal a$$...ahem shiny metal bits.

Arctic MX-4 - serious business!

Glamour shots. I take great pride in my "work"!

V for VICTORY!!!

Who paid attention has seen that the stamped ink marking under the northbridge was removed by IPA 99% because I didnt protect it. So I had to do something about it. A few tries later I managed to get a result close to the original.

Attention to detail is very important!

I dont have to bother you further with my obsessions ...

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/1uzxs218y/

More later.:D
Last edited:
Jul 3, 2016
325 (0.36/day)
Eminem - Bitch Please II (Feat. Dr. Dre & Xzibit & Snoop Dogg)

Central Processing Unit

In this episode we will get to meet a few CPUs.

One part was bought from the flea market. The other part came from one of my retro HW suppliers :D

CPU cleaning doesnt allow me to demonstrate all I know in regard to HW restoration, but even so, I got some pretty good results. I was accustomed to more difficult tasks but sometimes I enjoy the occasional "easy" stuff too :D

From rags to riches.

Batch 1 - flea market

1. Pentium 166MHz SL27H
2. Pentium 200MHz SL23W
3. Pentium 200MHz SL27J
4. Celeron 400MHz SL3A2
5. AMD Athlon 64 3000 - ADA3000DAA4BW - 2 buc.
6. Athlon XP 2800+ / AXDA2800DKV4D

Batch 2 - my contact

1. Slotket 370SP Rev 1.0
2. Celeron 300MHz - SL36A
3. Celeron 400MHz - SL3A2
4. Celeron 433MHz - SL3BS
5. Celeron 433MHz - SL3BA
6. Celeron 500MHz - SL3FY - 2buc

The CPUs from the first batch were a little rough.

Besides the fact that I had to deal with dust, dirt, grime, hardenned TIM, I also had to deal with a lot of bent pins. A "FUN" job let me tell you...

The first on the operating table was the Pentium 200MHz - SL23W. Unfortunately it came without the original fan.

At first, no matter what I tried, I didnt get the results that I desired. In particular, the black fiber/ textolite Pentium and Celeron CPUs, still looked like hell after a few cleanup procedures.

I took out the BIG GUNS, the rust remover solution, Szuper Evipass, and all the "garbage" bought from the flea market took a nice long bath :D This way, I also removed some corrosion that was present on some of the pins. Some marks were left in the places were the corrosion was present but otherwise the pins were untouched and were shiny after this operation. This rust remover is not so aggresive like other products.

A few hours later I washed the CPUs with water and dish soap.

Afterwards they took a long bath in IPA 99%.

I cleaned them well, I used a little metal polish paste, then came even more IPA 99%...

Results? HHHHhhhmmmm...acceptable by my standards :D

While I cleaned the CPUs I also received some bad news.

One Athlon 64 3000+ CPU was missing a pin and the Celeron 400MHz was also missing a pin...this is what happens when you dont have your eyes peeled when you buy stuff from the flea market!

I searched the pinout for Athlon 64 and Celeron PGA CPUs.

In the case of the Athlon 64 3000+ CPU the identification of the missing pin, took a while, because I could pinpoint it exactly. In the PDF document, the pinout was presented in following way. Initially I thought that the pinout is like when the heatspreader is in the back and the pins are facing you, when in fact, the pinout is like when the CPU is inserted in the socket. The missing pin is AJ-1.

Page 22-23 in the document: AMD Functional Data Sheet, 940 Pin Package - https://support.amd.com/TechDocs/31412.pdf

The missing pin is THERMDA - A Anode (+) of the thermal diode. The CPU will run without it :D I dont have a 939 motherboard ATM, but I'm sure that the CPU is alive. It seems that the Venice core has a good OC potential. I'll see if it is so when I'll find a nice 939 motherboard and I'll take them for a spin.

The Celeron 400MHz was missing the pin 4-D which is a VSS pin. I tested the CPU on the Super P6DLS V2.1 motherboard and it runs well.

Page 81 in the document: https://www.intel.com/design/celeron/datashts/24365820.pdf

Huh. That was a close one.

Cleaning the CPUs from the second batch was straight forward. I also had to straighten some pins but not so many like in the case of the CPUs from the first batch.


After IPA 99% and elbow grease.

Group shot.


Exploded view.

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/2q5f3aet8/

More later.
Jul 3, 2016
325 (0.36/day)
Flea market surprise!

Yes! It is the time for another FMS episode!

Remember, in these episodes I will keep the details at a minimum and you will have to fill in the blanks. The pictures will tell the story.

I'm sure that you will not encouter any difficulties, so without any further ado, let's get on with THE SHOW!!!

Esther Duijn - Eavalon Rises

1. AMD K6-2/450AFX CPU
2. EPOX EP-61LXA-M/440LX + Pentium II SL2HD 233MHz
3. Pentium III SL35E - 500MHz
4. WANG 3050 ISA
5. AMD Sempron 2200+ SDA2200DUT3D 1.5GHz/256KB/333 MHz - Thoroughbred - damaged / AMD Sempron 2500+ SDA2500DUT3D 1.75GHz/256KB/333MHz - Thoroughbred / AMD Athlon XP 2000+ AXDA2000DKV3C 1.65GHz/256KB/266MHz - Thoroughbred / AMD Athlon XP 2400+ AXDC2400DKV3C 2.00GHz/256KB/266MHz - Thorton / Western Digital Caviar 140 / WDAC140 / 42.7MB


Ben Buitendijk - Promised Land


gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/37oen0bw8/

EPOX EP-61LXA-M/440LX + Pentium II SL2HD 233MHz

Vid Vai - The Daytripper

Love at first sight! Instant purchase from the good ol' flea market.

It's ME the first PENTIUM II !!!

I didnt dismantle the CPU with my regular method, using a flat nose pair of pliers, because both of the sides between I wedge the pliers, was made from plastic and I didnt want to damage something. In general, in the case of Pentium II CPUs, the metal heatplate covers the connector but in this case it didnt. Better safe than sorry. So I decided to keep it simple, as a smart fellow :D Besides, the heatsink was glued to the heatplate so well that I really would've done some damage if I tried to seaparate them. PII=1 - Robert=0. At least I walked away to tell the story. My first SECC cartride that I didnt open :D


Main course...ahem board.

After I cleaned the moterboard I had to use gloves while I took pictures, otherwise all the PCB would've been covered in oily finger prints. :D I guess I went toooo far with the cleaning :D


gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/2wuu9pc8o/

Pentium III SL35E - 500MHz

Anton Zap - Do It

Business as usual...

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/fp3pu914/


Plastic - Untitled

I bought this thing after I saw it week after week dumped in a pile of old electronic waste so I decided to save it from the crusher.

It's missing: the bracket and two quartz/crystall oscillators 40.00 MHz and 28.322MHz.

It might be alive...I tried to find quartz oscillators but it prooved to be more difficult than I expected. The 28.322MHz is especially hard to find...

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/2a2vabtx4/

AMD Sempron 2200+ SDA2200DUT3D 1.5GHz/256KB/333 MHz - Thoroughbred - damaged / AMD Sempron 2500+ SDA2500DUT3D 1.75GHz/256KB/333MHz - Thoroughbred / AMD Athlon XP 2000+ AXDA2000DKV3C 1.65GHz/256KB/266MHz - Thoroughbred / AMD Athlon XP 2400+ AXDC2400DKV3C 2.00GHz/256KB/266MHz - Thorton / Western Digital Caviar 140 / WDAC140 / 42.7MB

Altitude - Framework

The 42MB WD works, sort off... it has a few bad sectors andt the motor is past its prime...

I did all I could and about 20 MB are usable...sort off...

The sponge underneath the PCB disintegrated after I touched it...I improvised something but it is not my best work...

Someone took care of this HDD because patches of laquer are visible on scratched traces.

I like the wire bridges between components aka FIX IT IN POST. I'm talking about the blue wires.

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/2e5vi2e60/

More later :D

So Inagawa - Logo Queen
Jul 3, 2016
325 (0.36/day)
Black Sabbath - "N.I.B." from The End


I was in high school when I first heard about the Pentium CPUs with the FDIV bug. This was happening around 1994-1995, I cant remember exactly. Back then, I didnt have a PC. My first PC came much later, in 1996. One thing is certain though, I couldnt even dream about a Pentium powered PC and truth be told, I didnt know what the damn thing was. I had to buy my first PC like you buy potatoes at the market. Only after this purchase I was able to know what I need and how I can spend the hard earned money that my parents gave me.

Until 1994 when I entered the computer science high school from my city, I didnt know what the heck was with these computers. Because the computers were very expensive, until 1996 my contact with the magic PCs took place only at high school and sometimes at few of my friends which had a better financial situation. An internet connection was out of the question. What the hell was that?!?! Internet serious business.

I remember that we were thoroughly amused that those that paid a lot of doe for the first Pentium right at its introduction, bought a “defective CPU”.

Fast forward to more recent times. In December 2017 I found the following Pentium setup:

* ASUS PCI/I-P5MP3 Rev. 2.4
* CPU Intel Pentium 66MHz - SX837 - A8050166 - L4102613 - 94025376AA MALAY

From the seller's add, by the looks of it, I was pretty sure that it was about a P66 with the famed FDIV BUG! The pictures were blurry and I couldnt see well the model number. Even so, I decided to buy the damned thing as it was LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT! (If you want to find out continue to read.)

I had to wait almost two weeks until the package arrived through the local Post Office Courier service. I was very annoyed because the parts should've arrived in two or three days but after I put my hands on the relics, all my anger vanished in thin air.

I saw the add on the local OLX site and it specified that the motherboard was considered defective. The asking price represented the value of the Pentium 66MHz CPU and the motherboard was bonus. I wouldn't've paid so much for just a CPU even if it was the first Pentium CPU, if I wasnt sure that I could recover the motherboard. This sounded way easier in my mind than in reality.

I didnt spend too much time pondering as the add was quite old and I didnt want someone else to steal my thunder, so I put my hands on the phone and I took care of the delivery details. The seller was kind and he also said that he had the original RTC/CMOS battery - Benchmark BQ3287MT, the controller that worked with the kit, plus two old modems and an old graphic card. For all of this I had to pay around 50 EUROS. NO BRAINER! Albeit with the high probability that the motherboard was toast…little did I know how much effort will be required to awaken THE BEAST! OH BOY!

After I found out that I was going to receive the RTC battery, the only thing that still was nagging me was the fact that the BIOS chip looked kind of suspicious as it didnt have the original silver sticker. As I wasnt going to back off, I said F@K IT! My gut feeling was telling me that all was OK but even so I couldnt be too calm. Good luck finding a BIOS chip replacement when the information about this motherboard is so limited.

Eversince I saw the add, I wasnt thinking straight and I left my passion take control.

Right after I receveid the parts, I removed the black stickers from the chips of the motherboard. I also had to straighten a pin from one of the chips, because it made contact with a neighbouring pin, an absolute NO NO when I was going to power it up. The whole operation was stressful, as always. In the end I got the desired results. Another bullet dodged.

Initial state.

Little did I know that the picture bellow, made in a weather so cold that I couldnt feel my fingers, will be the solution to my problem with this kit, which will prove to be quite stubborn and it will refuse until the last moment, to BOOT from a HDD, as if it didnt want to be brought back to life...REMEMBER! Always take pictures before you do anything with any component. Very often the jumper settings arent well documented and you will search in vain for a manual or additional information on the internet. I KNOW HOW IT IS because I've been there and trust me, IT SUX BIG TIME!

After I received the kit I powered it up but I wasnt greeted by a HAPPY POST BEEP and the screen remained BLACK.

Initially, I thought that the culprit was the RTC battery and I decided to make my first RTC BATTERY MOD. This procedure was presented in the episode:

"Hey Grandpa, do you still lose track of time?!?!? "


Another POST test, with the modded RTC battery, didnt bring anything new. The kit still didnt POST. The chips from the motherboard were getting warm, sign that it received current, but the screen was still BLACK. I tried other RAM sticks, video cards and PSUs but to no avail.

In the end I got to the conclusion that maybe the data from the BIOS chip was corrupted and there was nothing else I could do until I bought a BIOS programmer.

After this, I started to restore the controller, another vital piece of the P66 puzzle, that would render the kit useless if it didnt work. These old motherboards dont have a buil-in FDD/HDD/SERIAL/PARALLEL controller. In the past I ran away from motherboards that need separate controllers or have RTC batteries. Not anymore.



In January 2018 I bought a MiniPRO TL866A BIOS programmer for almost 120EUROS. It took me a while to pull the trigger. I wasnt too happy that I had to pay so much for a BIOS programmer, but I knew that I will need it in the future, so I bought it. With this programmer I was also able to recover the PowerColor EvilKing IV L-card 3dfx Voodoo4 4500 32MB AGP, after many have said that it is beyond rescue...aaahh sweet memories...what an adrenaline rush I had when I saw the screen light up and the image was crispy and flawless...3dfx VooDoo4 4500.....PRICELESS!!!

The identification of the specs of the BIOS chip was difficult as the markings were all but gone.

I used a powerful source of light and I wetted the surface of the chip with IPA 99%. This way I found the exact model number : CAT28F010


I made a copy of the existing BIOS and I had to choose between three versions that I found on the ASUS site. ASUS, a company that respects itself! I was able to find BIOS files for a motherboard that is over 20 years old right on the manufacturer's site! GG!!! This doesnt happen very often today.


I tried the first BIOS version, 0205/25.05.1994, even if it was meant for a motherboard with Revision 2.3 and my board was Revision 2.4. I didnt want to use a BETA BIOS or a BIOS for a board with the Revision 3.1 or greater.



The RTC battery MOD for the Benchmark BQ3287MT was executed correctly and it retained the BIOS settings at POWER OFF and after the system was disconnected from the mains. AWESOME NEWS!

The system booted from the FDD and I was able to access the contents of my floppy disks.

Next, I connected a HDD to the controller and I tried to make the system boot from it. No matter what I tried, I wasnt able to make the system, identify, format or boot from the HDD. Hours were spent trying different things. The HDD was identified in BIOS but that was it. Even in BIOS, from the built in menu, Hard Disk Low Level Format Utility, I wasnt able to format the damned thing! I tried many HDDs to no avail.

I took a moment and I thought about all the steps I took until I got the system to POST and I got to the conclusion that maybe the RTC battery wasnt what it was supposed to be as the silk screen on the motherboard specified that a Dallas DS1287 is required. I knew that the BQ3287MT is compatible with the DS1287 but I paid 13 EUROS for a DS1287 which also had to be MODDED.


Another test, this time with the DS1287 and I still couldnt BOOT from the HDD. W@T THE F.........................K!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The situation was worse, as the DS1287 didnt retain the BIOS settings after I disconnected the system from the mains or it was powered off. I thought that maybe I didnt mod the battery correctly and I separated both the "+" and "-" terminals even if this wasnt required. All was for nothing. Two additional modifications later, I came to the conclusion that the DS1287 was either busted or it wasnt what I needed. Hours lost ...shheeeshhhh....

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/2vylqdx0c/

BACK TO BQ3287! https://www.dataman.com/media/datasheet/Benchmarq/BQ3287x.pdf

I removed, checked and tried anything I could think of. CACHE chips, RAM sticks, HDDs, FDDs, PSUs, you name it, I tried it. STILL NOTHING!

After sleepless nights, moments in the day when parts of my brain were locked trying to solve the P66 puzzle, together with the accumulated stress, I said that maybe I need a smaller HDD as the JPN CORPORATION CA8302E-1 controller has a limit of 10 Heads / 1024 Cyl / HDD up to 528MB.

I found at the flea market two small HDDs: a Western Digital Caviar 140 AT Compatible Intelligent Drive WDAC140 980 cyl * 5 heads * 17 spt * 42.7MB!!! - Produced in 21.01.1992. MDL: WDAC140-32M and a CONNER CP30251 - Conner Peripherals 240MB.

These two HDDs brought nothing new. I still wasnt able to BOOT from them. ALL THE EFFORT WAS FOR NOTHING!

RTC BATTERY.NO! HDD.NO! Maybe I should try other BIOS versions?

I programmed the BIOS chip with the version 0401/21.07.1994 for motherboards that are REVISION 3.1. Surprisingly the board POSTED and now I had support for HDDs greater than 528MB: "PCI/I-P5MP3 (for Rev. 3.1 or above) BIOS 0401 Support 4 IDE HDD & >528MB size (LBA)" plus more settings in BIOS. Even so, I didnt get any results.

As the BETA BIOS 0402/17.11.1997 was newer than the version 0401/21.07.1994 I tried it too. STILL NOTHING! F@K!F@K!F@K! I couldnt BOOT from THE HDD.



When I was ready to throw in the towel it hit me!

When I cleaned the motherboard I took off all the jumpers and when I put them back I put them as it is specified on the internet and not how they were when the I received it. I couldnt find a PDF with the manual so these schematics were all I had. To make matters worse, the data from the silk screen settings on the motherboard wasnt intuitive and it didnt help me.


I think that you already know where I F@KED UP!

I put the jumpers how they were when I got the motherboard and reluctantly I pressed the POWER button...

ALL SYSTEMS ARE GO! I was able to boot from any HDD and I even connected a Western Digital Caviar SE - 80GB/7200rpm. The speed of this 80GB HDD was dizzying coming from snail type HDDs that were measured in Megabytes.

Well...that was easy...

The motherboard went through two cleaning stages. One before testing and the final one before it was placed in its box together with her sisters.

Ready for a good cleaning.

No detail was overlooked.

Smile at the camera you BIG LUMP OF GOLD!

Final cleaning.

Extreme attention to detail. I preffer cotton sticks when I want to make the PCB shine, because I can apply more "pressure" when I have to remove the adherent dirt which isnt bothered at all by IPA 99% and a soft brush. This is the difference between clean and super clean. All in all, my cleaning procedures give me about 95% of what I want. I'm never satisfied.

Clean! Clean! Clean!

I replaced all the black jumpers with new, white ones, a new white zip tie for the 66MHz quartz oscillator and the motherboard was better than new.

The seal of approval. Gloves are needed while handling the motherboard.


If I knew how much effort will be required for the restoration and recovery of the P66, I might've not bought it, who knows... In many cases it is better to let passion take over but you should also make a analysis for what is required to achieve your goal.

After this, the kit worked flawlessly.

A fellow vogons member, amadeus777999, asked me to run a few DOOM v1.9 Shareware tests. After 100+ runs made to quantify the performance of the 66MHz Pentium, I must say that I am quite impressed. It ran stable and I didnt have any trouble at all. The results were needed for a project of his.

Test setup:

*P66 with FDIV bug
*ASUS PCI/I-P5MP3 Rev. 2.4 with latest beta BIOS / 256KB CACHE
*16MB 4x4MB
*7200rpm 80GB HDD 8MB buffer

STARTING POINT: https://www.complang.tuwien.ac.at/misc/doombench.html

DOOM Shareware V1.9: https://www.doomworld.com/idgames/idstuff/doom/doom19s

Video cards used during testing:

* 3D BLASTER BANSHEE - Creative CT 6760 - PCI
* Matrox Millenium 4MB MGA-MIL/2B - PCI
* Jaton Tseng B54/ET4000W32P - PCI
* Black Magic ET6000 - PCI
* Cirrus Logic CL5446 - PCI
* Creative CT6950 - TNT2 M64 - PCI
* Diamond VIPER V330 BIOS 1.50 RIVA 128 - PCI
* SIS 6215C - PCI
* Trident TGUI9440 - PCI
* Colormax S3 TRIO64V+ - PCI
* S3 TRIO64V2/DX - PCI
* Cirrus Logic CL5430 - PCI
* Trident TVGA9000C -ISA

The following cards didnt work on this motherboard: Creative CT6950 - TNT2 M64 *** Diamond VIPER V330 BIOS 1.50 RIVA 128 - PCI *** ATI RAGE LT PRO - PCI. Fore sure it is a case of PCI version incompatibility.

Before I saw how the P66 and the video cards would perform, I had to optimize the BIOS settings.

* MS-DOS 6.22 stock.
* TURBO ON via jumper.
* In BIOS: WB is a few clicks faster decat WT so I used WB for all tests.(WT-Write Through / WB-Write Back)

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/154fcylyg/

After I set up all I could and I got some nice SpeedSyS 4.78 results, I was ready for the main course.

Next came the testing of the video cards. Three runs each, FULL SCREEN and SCREEN DECREASED TWO TIMES.

I was already fed with the same timedemo on and on. Also I had to write doom -nosound -nomouse -timedemo demo3 many many times ... ... ...


After this I ran other tests.



gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/1jq9g3yg8/

Some FUN and misc stuff.


All this adventure spanned across months. All this time wasnt used just for the P66 as I had other ongoing projects. I had the setup on my test table for a few days and then it spent weeks in its box.

More months have passed until I was able to tell you the story.

Looking back, I can say that it was all worth it, even if it took a lot of time, money and effort.


It brings me great pleasure to own this kit, as it is the FIRST PENTIUM and the cherry on top it is also "defective" FDIV bug and all. The ASUS motherboard with the Intel chipset completes the picture. Add to this the fact that it is speedy, I wonder what could I possibly want more. Retro HW digging at its best! WIN! WIN! WIN!

Meanwhile, I got my hands on two RAM FPM kits one of 2x16MB=32MB and one of 2x32MB=64MB.

In the future I will be able to build an awesome PC in which pulsates a PENTIUM 66 heart!!!

More later.
Last edited:
Jul 5, 2013
3,969 (2.00/day)
OG Pentium and 72 pin SIMMs. Wow that takes me back. Way back..
Meanwhile, I got my hands on two RAM FPM kits one of 2x16MB=32MB and one of 2x32MB=64MB.
You've got 4 slots, why not use both sets? You'll have 96MB of RAM which is quite a lot for that time. As long as you have your config.sys setup right you will be very unlikely to have any RAM problems..
Jun 8, 2011
2,622 (0.96/day)
Bridgwater, Somerset
System Name Not so complete or overkill
Processor 5960X @ 4.20Ghz @ 1.06v - For Crunching!!
Motherboard MSI X99 Titanium Gaming
Cooling Custom loop with old bits and pieces that I need to replace
Memory G Skill TridentX 3466 non RGB..
Video Card(s) 2 x EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC Black Edition
Storage Sandisk 120Gb SSD, 2 x 2Tb Sammy 3.5" drives - Need more drives!!
Display(s) 3 x 23" LG IPS panels (can't remember model!!)
Case 10mm thick MDF on plastic risers.. It's kinda a case??
Audio Device(s) Onboard
Power Supply EVGA T2 1200w
Mouse Corsair thingy
Keyboard Corsair thingy
Software Windows 10
Benchmark Scores It's not to bad.. More importantly, it works!!
My god @Robert B - RESPECT!! :D :respect::respect::respect::respect::respect::respect::respect::respect:

Love reading your posts and all the effort that goes in them, man you are seriously hardcore :D I love it!!

As for all the benchmarks... Man after my own heart :)
Jul 3, 2016
325 (0.36/day)
@lexluthermiester - those RAM kits came a some time after I finished all the testing, and all my stuff was put in boxes. Even finding 4x4MB that worked was quite hard. In my two bags-o'-rams they were all I could muster, at least capacity wise. The motherboard was quite picky even when it comes to brand of FPM RAM. At that time, my other two 16MB FPM sticks that might've worked, were in the 5x86 build but I wasnt going to take it apart no matter what. My first PC will stay as it is indefinitely :D Even so, 16Mb was pretty good. I'm sure that those pesky jumper settings also had something to do with my troubles regarding RAM. Now at least I know what was the problem.

@phill - I knew that you will like this story :D Took me a while to post it. I wrote this one in around 5 or 6 hours and I tried to present it in a readable manner but even so it came out HUGE! Gathering all the data, preparing the pictures, reapairs, debugging and all other required additional stuff took waaaaayyyy longer. I thought that I wasnt going to be able to post it and it was haunting me for quite some time. I'm glad that I got it out of my system :D Regarding the testing, only the DOOM part was planned, the rest was spontaneous and I wanted to cram as much as I could into the available time.

Things to come:

More later.
Jun 8, 2011
2,622 (0.96/day)
Bridgwater, Somerset
System Name Not so complete or overkill
Processor 5960X @ 4.20Ghz @ 1.06v - For Crunching!!
Motherboard MSI X99 Titanium Gaming
Cooling Custom loop with old bits and pieces that I need to replace
Memory G Skill TridentX 3466 non RGB..
Video Card(s) 2 x EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC Black Edition
Storage Sandisk 120Gb SSD, 2 x 2Tb Sammy 3.5" drives - Need more drives!!
Display(s) 3 x 23" LG IPS panels (can't remember model!!)
Case 10mm thick MDF on plastic risers.. It's kinda a case??
Audio Device(s) Onboard
Power Supply EVGA T2 1200w
Mouse Corsair thingy
Keyboard Corsair thingy
Software Windows 10
Benchmark Scores It's not to bad.. More importantly, it works!!
Such :respect::respect::respect::respect::respect::respect::respect: for you @Robert B and all the effort you put into these amazing posts :) It's amazing :)

I can't wait for the next batch :)
Jul 3, 2016
325 (0.36/day)
Dire Straits - Sultans Of Swing

Geforce 256 SDR - THE FIRST GPU

I've been searching for a Geforce 256, for some time but all of my efforts returned a big fat ZERO. I was thinking that all I'll ever do will be to stare at pictures on the internet and sigh a little, like it is the case of a VooDoo 5 5500 card which is stubborn and doesnt want to enter my collection. For sure it will be punished with intensive cleaning procedures and long baths in IPA 99% plus a full disassembly and other tortures, no wonder it doesnt want to get caught :D The prices are ridiculous and I dont want to buy repaired cards. My point of view is: ALL OR NOTHING. I'm sure this is old news, as you might've already suspected that :D

I have in my collection many components that are fully restored, parts that have marked many of my years, parts that I have owned and many that I've read about back in the day, but it's still not enough :D There is always that certain something that makes you say: I WANT IT!

At the begining of October I found my first GF256 SDR: Eagles Geforce 256 32MB AGP - 30-155AD-155-41A / 128 bit SDRAM - Winbond W986432DH-5.

Even if it wasnt made by a big manufacturer, I wanted to have it and I bought it for a very low price. A GF256 is still a GF256 no matter the manufacturer.

I was lucky to find a GF256 SDR with a 128 bit memory bus instead of 64 bit. So, I have in my possesion a fully fledged GF256 SDR. The original GF256.

The video memory is running at 150MHz instead of the default 166MHz but that doesnt bother me at all. The Winbond W986432DH-5 memory chips are rated for up to 200MHz and they run at 166MHz any day of the week.

The moment I received my first GF256 was a special one. The Holy Grail, the first GPU, was in my hands. I had to remove the cooler as soon as possible and take a few pictures with the graphic chip like I saw back in the day on the internet or in magazines. The string: Geforce and a tiny 256 was there and all my doubts were gone.

I'm already on the trail of a GF256 DDR but I dont know if I'll buy it. We'll see...

The Eagles card arrived in good condition and kind of clean by some standards. Some dirt and dust in the cooling system and on the back. Nothing too bad.

As soon as I received the card, I removed the cooler which was held with a thermal pad. Given the age of the card I didnt power it up as soon as I put my hands on it and I wanted to be sure that the cooler will do its job.

I raised an eyebrow when I saw how thin the heatsink was.

To remove the cooler, I left the card in the sun for a few minutes, I put lots of IPA 99% under the heatsink using a syringe then and I gently twisted the cooler left and right a few times. Soon the cooler was free.

The thermal pad was like a thin black sponge.

At first I wanted to replace the cooler with one of the many that I have in stock but none fitted well. The distance between the holes is a few milimeters bigger than the standard.

What to do???

I searched again in a few boxes with spare parts and I found a green heatsink from the northbridge of an old motherboard.

PERFECT FIT! I think that back in the day, they used whatever they had in stock, so the distance between the fixing holes on the PCB wasnt always STANDARD.

I applied some Arctic MX-4, I oiled the fan and I powered up the card.

Purring like a kitten.

I ran 3dmark 99 and 3dmark 2000. All went well. Clear image and ZERO artifacts. (PIII-800MHz, 384MB RAM, Slot 1 motherboard).

After I knew that the card was alive and kicking came the part that I like the most. I think that you already know what I'm talking about...

I cleaned the metal parts and the card received a well deserved IPA 99% wash.

Microfiber cloth and attention to detail.

Bracket attached and some pictures with the cleaning results. Looking good.

Because I didnt find another cooler that would fit the card and I didnt want to use the green heatsink, I decided to retain the originality of the card and I replaced only the tired push-pins that came with the card with a fresh spring loaded pair.

Arctic MX-4, 'nough said :D.

I cleaned the fan. It works well without rattling or other problems.

Flawless victory.

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/s0kvk0k8/

I need to clean two more motherboards. The rest of the parts that I have aquired are ready to tell their story. I must say that there will be a few interesting stories ahead :D

The past days I cleand 4 slot CPUs:D 3 Pentium II/66MHz and a K7 700MHz. The K7 was a little over 1 EUR at the flea market. NO BRAINER!:D

I also did a little organization : ODDs, FDDs, HDDs, plus 10 socket 7 coolers and an external ZIP drive. The box is quite heavy: 20-25 kg :D All parts are squeaky clean!

Next: I need to buy 200 ESD bags for the hoard of other cards I have gathered.

More later.
Jun 8, 2011
2,622 (0.96/day)
Bridgwater, Somerset
System Name Not so complete or overkill
Processor 5960X @ 4.20Ghz @ 1.06v - For Crunching!!
Motherboard MSI X99 Titanium Gaming
Cooling Custom loop with old bits and pieces that I need to replace
Memory G Skill TridentX 3466 non RGB..
Video Card(s) 2 x EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC Black Edition
Storage Sandisk 120Gb SSD, 2 x 2Tb Sammy 3.5" drives - Need more drives!!
Display(s) 3 x 23" LG IPS panels (can't remember model!!)
Case 10mm thick MDF on plastic risers.. It's kinda a case??
Audio Device(s) Onboard
Power Supply EVGA T2 1200w
Mouse Corsair thingy
Keyboard Corsair thingy
Software Windows 10
Benchmark Scores It's not to bad.. More importantly, it works!!
Just a pleasure to see you posting again @Robert B !! Beautiful work!! Love this thread!!
Jul 3, 2016
325 (0.36/day)

This episode will feature two nVIDIA Geforce 2 GTS graphic cards.

One required a lot of work to be returned to a state as close to 100% as possible, the other one was just a walk in the park. The difference was like that between night and day.

Both have been bought from the flea market for a very low price.

Even if they have different product numbers/names, there is no doubt that they are identical. Both have been manufactured by Creative, one called 3D Blaster Annihilator 2 the other one a Compaq OEM model.

* Creative Labs 3D Blaster Annihilator 2 GeForce 2 GTS / GB0010
* Compaq OEM GeForce2 GTS / WAIMEA 316903700001 R01 / 179642-004 / 231023-001

Let's get to nut cutting.

Creative Labs 3D Blaster Annihilator 2 GeForce 2 GTS / GB0010

When I bought this card it seemed that I'll have no problems returning it to its former glory. A few scratches, the fan full of dirt, the usual stuff.

When I quickly checked the card at the flea market, all seemed to be in order. I haggled a bit and I managed to drive the starting price down. After this, I was the happy owner of a nice GF2 GTS card. A CREATIVE card nonetheless.

When the moment to restore the card came, I checked the PCB again. This time I was thorough. Each component was scrutinized.

To my amazement, I saw that a memory chip somehow survived a massive blow which also affected a few neighbouring ceramic capacitors, which suddenly have become a little thinner. :D

I checked each ceramic capacitor and each pin of the memory chip and because I didnt find anything bad I decided to leave everything as it was. THANK GOD for leaded solder!

I said to myself: LUCKY ME!!! You still need to work on your end and CHECK each part BETTER, before you BUY!!!

I dodged a bullet.

Usually I clean a card before I test it, to ensure that it has the best chances to work but in this instance I decided to just clean the cooler and see if it is alive.

I knew that the fan didnt turn smoothly so I took it apart to see what's what.

SURPRISE, the steel shaft of the propeller ate into the sleeve bearing due to the lack of lubrication.


I have no ideea as to what has caused the corrosion. Maybe the card took a bath somewhere down the road...

I cleaned well the sleeve bearing and the propeller, I used a thicker oil and I assembled back the fan so that I could test the card.

When I put the fan back I managed to rip off a piece of the frame of the fan. Super Glue to the rescue...OLD STUFF IS OLD...

All was not OK.

After I removed all the dirt and God knows what was inside the sleeve bearing, the propeller had a wobble like it was facing a hurricane. I have never seen such a massive wobble and I must say that a quite a few of fans have passed through my hands. Maybe the accumulated dirt on the propeller and the lack of lubrication are the culprits here.

GREAT!!! NICE!!! OUTSTANDING!!! What could I possibly want more?!

More problems.

I assembled the fan as best as I could and I was ready for the real test.

Clear image. ZERO artefacts.

I looked inside the case to see if everything was alright and what did I see? The fan didnt spin at all. I tried to move it with my finger but it didnt start to spin.

SUPER!!! This GF2 is driving me nuts!!!

I took out the card from the PC and I checked the area near the fan connector.

I didnt like what I saw. A tranzistor was showing signs of damage.

A cotton stick dipped in IPA 99% confirmed what I suspected. The stuff on the top of the tranzistor wasnt dirt but a burn mark.

GREAT!!! Will I find more damaged parts?! I WONDER?

I removed the dead tranzistor form the PCB.

Because the tranzistor was TOAST, the identification number was also TOAST.

I couldnt find on the Intenet a clear picture with a good card. Blurry pictures all over the place.

I checked the tranzistor again and I saw the number "1".

I took a moment off and I tried to remember where I saw this number?

Hmmmm. The way the number "1" was placed on the tranzistor meant that only one more character would fit right on it. This made me remember the humble 1P tranzistor! This part was also busted on the EPOX EP-58MVP3C-M motherboard which I also managed to save some time ago.

The modern equivalent of the 1P tranzistor is MMBT2222A - SOT-23 package.


I searched on the Internet and I found a supplier for the required MMBT2222A tranzistor. The only problem was that to justify the price of the tranzistor and shipping I also had to buy a bunch of electrolytic capacitors.

At that time I didnt want to buy anything even if I had a lot of other pacients on the operating table.

I remembered that I saw a lot of 1P tranzistors on the PCB of old fans, so I started to dig in various boxes to find damaged fans that I didnt throw out.

BEHOLD! FULL of 1P tranzitors. No purchase needed! GREAT NEWS!

Time for a transplant.

When I tested the card again, I used another fan which I knew for sure that it worked.


A close-up with the fallout resulted after the blow that the memory chip and the ceramic capacitors registered.

Dont think even for a moment that I was out of the woods...

I wanted to preserve the originality of the card, being Creative and all, so I decided to save what could not be saved, the fan.

PITA! PITA PITA! with a burst of RAGE at the END.

The broken piece from the frame of the fan needed to be glued back again...

This time I was more careful.

After I glued back the broken piece I said F@K THIS! and I wanted to change the fan with another one.

Said and done. I took from a box a dead ATI Radeon 8500 AIW which had a similar fan.

A great replacement....but IS IT?

NOPE! The voltage is different...5V vs 12V

I returned to the pacient on life support...the original fan...Because the card wasnt supposed to run 24/7 the originality was way more important.

I cleaned the original fan again and I used a mix of a thicker oil and a little grease. I took all the required steps to ensure that the mix wasnt too thick.

The round white plastic part, is very important as it keeps the magnet of the propeller in alignment with the winding of the motor of the fan. After this I was ready for another test.

IT WORKS!!! ... but IS IT?

More fiddling and fine tuning until all was PERFECT. The fan must turn smoothly.

Time for the finishing touches: transparent Poxipol and fresh 0.2mm TESA double sided tape for the sticker.

I managed to obtain what could not be obtained, the recovery of a damaged, consumed, tired, fan...

Something still bothered me though.... The fan still didnt run as I wanted it to. Go figure...sometimes it didnt start or it didnt run well.

I took it apart again and this time I separated the motor from the plastic frame...Cypress Hill - Insane In The Brain (Official Video)

DISASTER: craked tranzistors and a torn/burned wire from the winding of the motor.

Even if I saw the damage I still thought that I could save it...unfortunately this time another part of the frame of the fan broke off...


I dumped the fan on the floor and I stepped on it. All that was left after this were small bits of plastic. When I calmed down I looked at the results of my rage and I slowly said: there is no coming back from that.

I didnt take pictures...and even if I did I wouldnt've posted them.

After I composed myself I was ready for another round.

I must finish what I have started. No loose ends this side of the border.

I took the card in my hands and I stared at it for a few moments.

What the F.....K?!?! A ceramic capacitor was hanging for dear life...solder that son of a gun back! How did I miss that???

Another person could've just attach another fan and would've called it a day.

NOT ME! I had to exchange the cooling system no matter what!

The heatsink was glued well.

I tried: to put the card in the freezer, dental floss and IPA 99%, baths in IPA 99% for hours and hours, I left the card in the sun, I used a hair dryer and ...ALL WAS FOR NOTHING!!! The thermal glue didnt budge.

I started to look for a solution on the good ol' INTERNET.

I found a method that involved the use of a freeze spray. 3Dfx Voodoo 5500 Heatsink Removal - The safe and easy way

After I read some more, I found out that I could buy the freeze spray from local electronics repair shops or I could use a can off compressed air that was held with the head down.

The question was if I could find these in my city.

I found a can of compressed air and a can of freeze spray. The freeze spray can be used to detect damaged PCB components, broken PCB traces, etc. Clever stuff the freeze spray is.

iPhone 7+ Finding a Short on VDD Main Using Freeze Spray
Finding a shorted component with freeze spray. Samsung HLN5065

The YT clip was straight forward but me being me and because I had a few mishaps in the past meant that I had to take precautions before I used the freeze spray. You can never be too careful, trust me.

Gloves, glasses and a thick winter jacket. FULL BODY ARMOR!!! The freez spray can cool down to -55C. The contents of the freeze spray can splash and you dont want that stuff in your eyes, skin or on your face. The vapors must not be inhaled. After I read the precations on the can and the internet I was close to give up.

Even with the freeze spray I needed three tries until I managed to remove the damned heatsink.

Initally I didnt use the clear plastic extension tube that came with the spray and I was enveloped by vapors when the contents of the spray touched the fins of the heatsink.

The spray I bought was way stronger that the one in the YT clip.

I attached the clear plastic extension tube and I was ready for another round.

I pressed until I could see that some liquid came out of the can.

I waited for a few seconds until I saw frost forming, then I took a credit card and I put it between the graphic chip and the heatsink, in an area free of ICs, and I applied force, quite a lot of force.

You should've seen my face when I saw that the markings from the graphic chip remained on the glue that was stuck on the heatsink. Regardless, I was pumped that I managed to remove the heatsink. In YO' FACE MOTHER...

Frosty pic.

Did the card survive this ordeal?

Apply AC MX-4, DeepCool V50 and fire that $hit UP!!!

I need a drink...Cypress Hill - Tequila Sunrise

Different but are they?

GF2 GTS vs GF2 Ti

The finishing touches.

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/29rbwqkku/

The recovery of this card took several days and it obsessed me. I didnt let up until I did all I could and then some. This restoration almost destabilized my daily balance. I was truly on the knife's edge.

After this endeavour I took some time off. I didnt want to look at another component for more than a month.

I was tired. The obsession almost ate me. A few of you might understand this.

After this experience I came to the conclusion that I should slow down a little even if I still dont know the true meaning of this.

Still it's my way or the highway. 100% or NOTHING.

The upside is that after this downtime, somehow I came BACK STRONGER. I still want to inject myself with old HW only that this time I know how to protect myself and I wont dedicate so much effort for just any old part.

This was intense. In many aspects it is close to the VooDoo 4 4500 story and even above it in other.

Almost Annihilated and almost an Annihilator.

Lets return to the matter at hand.

I still have to present one more card.

Compaq OEM GeForce2 GTS / WAIMEA 316903700001 R01 / 179642-004 / 231023-001

Just SMOOTH SAILING...the pictures are self explanatory.



gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/e94zbl4e/

Didnt I tell you that these stories are different like night and day?

True story.:DDr. Dre - Still D.R.E. ft. Snoop Dogg

Last edited:
Jul 3, 2016
325 (0.36/day)
Creative CR-563-B 2x CD-ROM / Creative SB 16 Value CT2770

In one of the many trips I made to the flea market this year, I came across a Creative CD-ROM unit. At first I didnt want to take it, but after I got home I went back and I bought it.

I paid the hefty sum of 1.1EUR and it was mine. Because I have cleaned and reconditioned many ODDs and my success rate was a flawless 100%, I knew what to expect.

A Creative 2x CD-ROM unit is nothing to sneeze at, I said to myself...

The unit was made by PANASONIC and the model is CR-563-B.

The follwoing day I did a quick test to see if it is alive and kicking.

I already knew that it wasnt a regular IDE CD-ROM unit and if I was going to see if it works I would need a sound card or an add-on card with a PANASONIC interface. Because at that time I didnt have a single card with such an interface, I wanted to see if at least worked. I inserted a CD, I saw that the tray still worked well despite the fact that the unit was 24 years old, I saw that the LED lighted up and the unit tried to read the disc.

Everything seemed well.

After all of this, I stored the CD-ROM unit and I started to look for a sound card with a PANASONIC interface. Back in the day, before the IDE interface became the MASTER BLASTER, there were a few competing standards when it came to ODDs. SONY/MITSUMI/PANASONIC/IDE. A real jungle. This fact alone made me reluctant when I had to buy old parts that dont come in the form of a kit. The probability that I would be missing a piece of the puzzle is greater and I might not be able to find it!

In the end I found a Creative SB 16 Value CT2770 sound card at a decent price and I anxiously waited her arrival.

I think that you already know what came after I received the sound card...A lot of cleaning, of course.

Peeling off the layers of dirt and grime. Patience was the word of the game.

Clean as a whistle.


Armed with the missing piece for this puzzle I was ready for the real test. I already cleaned the laser lens well and the unit received a mild cleaning.

The CD-ROM unit was correctly identified by WIN 95 and it seemed that I might be in for a session of smooth sailing. I knew that it might have some problems with certain CD-R/CD-RW discs or with different coloured discs so I already prepared a bunch of silver and audio CDs if this was going to be the case.

20+ CDs later, all that I could muster, was a correct identification of the length of the track in CD SPeed 99 and the reading of the names of the tracks on an audio CD. No matter what I tried, the unit wasnt able to play a song from an audio CD.

Well...this SUX...

I knew that this units had a flaw. The sprocket that is in contact with the motor that moves the laser head back and forth, has the bad habit of cracking so I dismantled the unit completely.

Observe the extremely soft black brush which has the role of maintaing the laser lens clean of dust. I raised an eyebrow when I saw it. A first for me.

Well... the sprocket and the worm sprocket from the motor were ALL OK!

I used a little silicone grease where it was required and I placed the laser head at the middle of the metal shaft onto which it travels, to see if when I would power-up the CD-ROM unit it would travel to its initial position.

After I powered up the unit, the head traveled to its initial position. This meant that all the sprockets and the motor were in good working condition. The micro-contact placed in the zero position was also OK.

WARNING Do not work on a CD-ROM unit or any other ODD when it is taken out of its casing or has the top cover removed and it is powered up . All the operations described above were done with the unit disconnected from electric current or with the unit assembled in its casing. Under no circumstance was I going to do stupid things and maybe suffer some form of eye damage. REMEMBER! It doesnt pay to be STUPID! All in all I DO NOT recommend that you do any kind of work on this type of electronic devices unless YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. Even if it seems simple, you might end up in a world of hurt. (Just my 2 cents)

I searched for DOS drivers hoping that it might be a case of an obscure incompatibility somewhere.


The unit was correctly identified under MS-DOS. Even so, I still wasnt able to make it read a single CD.

In the end I turned my sight to the elephant in the room.

The laser head itself.

I read on the internet that in some instances you can a adjust a trimpot from the laser head and give it a new lease of life.

I did two adjustments. I used a small bit from a screwdriver set and the first time a turned the trimpot just a hair and the second time 25% more.

I had to take apart and assemble the unit each time I adjusted the trimpot. Tedious work I tell you...

After the second adjustment I could hear that the CD was identified faster and the unit sounded healthier.

In the end all was for nothing as the unit didnt read a single disc. After the ordeal with the Creative GF2 GTS from the previous episode I said THAT'S IT and I prepared the unit for cleaning. In the future I might try again to revive this old dog...for now it will be put into storage.