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Project: Retro Pentium 4

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#1
This is how the system looks as of 29/07/2015

IMG_2960.JPG






Hi all.

I'm somewhat new to the site and have decided to take the plunge and join the forums to share with you my love of all things computer related.

I'm am in the process of building my ideal Pentium 4 (socket 478) for my older games/software and as something I can put away for a few years and bring out the loft to show my two kids what I feel was a really cool stage in the desktop PC's evolution.

So a bit of history before we move on to a few pictures. I brought the system from a lad in Cambridge for the sum of £20 as I buy/sell/repair PC's on my own since both me and my other half lost our jobs in the industry do to the company outsourcing. When I got home I took a good look at the PC and realised there could be some potential to build a really hot little system out of something that when new was a pile of rubbish.

The system in question is a HP D230MT a basic little micro tower that was made back in 2005 and retailed here for about £250 new. I wanted too see just how 'modern' I could make the system and see if the old 478 architecture had any real life left in it. A friend of mine called me crazy as he firmly believes that anything more then 4-5 years old is old and no use and he gave me a little challenge and that was too see how far I could upgrade the system and see if an old HP desktop running a 478 chip could still be used today with any form of speed.

The only thing was I could not change the case or the motherboard but everything else was subject to change. So like some sort of wanna-be superhero I flew to the keyboard and just missed stepping on the cat to jump on old eBay and source some parts.

Now the original specs were:

2.4Ghz Pentium 4 with a 400Mhz FSB
256MB of DDR333
40GB Hard drive of some nature (OEM stickers covered up the brand)
Onboard video (about 16MB of shared *shudders*)
DVD-ROM drive that had packed in
and last of all some cheapo 250w PSU

I purchased the following parts:

3.06Ghz Pentium 4 (0.13m)
2GB of Crucial DDR400
250GB Seagate IDE hard drive with a 7000.3RPM rated speed
and finally a nice ATI HD3650 with 1GB of dedicated GDDR2 memory

After a lot of messing about and tweaking the hell out of the O/S the system ran everything thrown at it like a beast but after a few days of playing around I got bored.

I really wanted a Pentium 4 Prescott core, the EE edition would be lovely but they command high prices online so I thought I would just leave it until I get a call. Someone I knew through a friend was giving away his collection of old systems and asked me if I wanted them, of course I said yes. Little did I know one of them would have a Gigabyte GA-8IG1000MK!

This was great news as I could now think about at least upgrading to a 90nm CPU but I was in for one more shock. While lifting the heatsink and rubbing off the old compound with a lint free cloth I nearly wet myself! There was staring me in the face a Pentium 4 EE!! 3.4Ghz of overheating goodness!

So out with the old HP motherboard and after a bit of refurbishment and a good deep clean the system was built with a lot of new parts and is sat on my desk burring away waiting for me to get back on with playing some old GTA3

The system now stands in the HP case (but not for long) with the following:

3.4Ghz Intel Pentium 4 HT EE with a 800Mhz FSB and 1MB of level2 cache.
3GB of DDR400 memory from Crucial
500W Liteon PSU
The ATI HD3650 and 250GB Seagate HDD

Now though I want to over clock the system and sort out thermals so I will be asking for a little advice a bit later :)

One final thing, the front of the system is black and should be silver but I hated the silver and went looking for a fascia from a D220MT as that was black. it took me 4-5 months of hard looking but i finally found one in the U.S and had it shipped over to the UK.
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DSCF1852.JPG
DSCF1853.JPG
DSCF1854.JPG
 
Last edited:
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Case Zalman Z5
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#2
Ok so I am looking at some parts and have settled on the following:

New Case: This as I already have the larger of these cases and they are built really well and have sound proofing everywhere :)

New Heatsink for the CPU: This or This

I have an issue with the GPU cooler. I want to overclock the video card but the stock heatsink is just so bad. So I am looking at the following but I don't know what one to buy.

There is a choice of two:

This one or This one

I also found this but I am not 100% about it.

These will be the parts that really finish the system off. After this I very much doubt I will put any more money toward this system as there is not much more I could do with it.
 

qubit

Overclocked quantum bit
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#3
I'm not surprised that your P4 runs well. I've got a P4 2.8 Northwood with HT which runs Windows 7 just fine. In fact, it's overclocked to 3.5GHz to this day on an Abit (ah, Abit...) AI7 mobo and runs solid as a rock.
 
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System Name Nightblade / Dell Latitude / Wife's Rig
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#4
for the cpu cooler go with the tower design so you can position the airflow to the back of the case and out its exhaust fan. for the gpu, the akasa cooler looks great and actually lists your card as compatible, though any overclock you get on the gpu part will be limited, as far as actual performance gains, by the DDR2 memory. If you can find a model with DDR3 that would help quite a bit. as for that power supply, 500w is enough but what are the specs on the 12v rails? keep in mind using any of those 2 gpu coolers may require you to move that sound card down a slot, don't worry about the LAN card, you can get a USB network adapter if needed. or if the cooler fits with the sound card in its current location, but is starved for airflow, just swap the sound card and LAN card around, the low profile LAN card will allow the fans to get more airflow. You may want to save the money from the gpu cooler and get this instead... http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HIS-ATI-R...698?pt=PCC_Video_TV_Cards&hash=item4d16cd531a

yea i remember my 775 days... had a Pentium D 920 overclocked to 3.5ghz on an AsRock 4CoreDual-VSTA. I got a custom bios for it from some german programmer and it allowed official support for 2x2gb ram. though i later found out that a Pentium DualCore e5300 at stock out performed my 3.5ghz Pentium D. either way, it played Crysis just fine with a 9600GT and ran at Med-High settings at 1280*1024 with avg 30fps. I could go on and on about all the things that asrock board has been though, but that'd be quite a wall of text, needless to say its still running after 6 1/2 years. hmm... come to think of it my ram is getting pretty old... 4 yrs now

edit: if you decide to go with that 4670, this may be of interest... http://www.hwcompare.com/3057/geforce-9600-gt-512mb-vs-radeon-hd-4670-512mb/
granted they may have a more powerful cpu, but that EE is still pretty capable
 
Last edited:
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#5
for the cpu cooler go with the tower design so you can position the airflow to the back of the case and out its exhaust fan. for the gpu, the akasa cooler looks great and actually lists your card as compatible, though any overclock you get on the gpu part will be limited, as far as actual performance gains, by the DDR2 memory. If you can find a model with DDR3 that would help quite a bit. as for that power supply, 500w is enough but what are the specs on the 12v rails? keep in mind using any of those 2 gpu coolers may require you to move that sound card down a slot, don't worry about the LAN card, you can get a USB network adapter if needed. or if the cooler fits with the sound card in its current location, but is starved for airflow, just swap the sound card and LAN card around, the low profile LAN card will allow the fans to get more airflow. You may want to save the money from the gpu cooler and get this instead... http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HIS-ATI-R...698?pt=PCC_Video_TV_Cards&hash=item4d16cd531a

Must say I have been looking at that video card but money is a bit tight. The system as it is now will do just fine or at least it will have to as the other half is getting ever nearer the knife draw lol

The way the PCI cards are will be changed completely as the network card is not needed (I was testing something out) and the sound card will be booted down to the very bottom of the new case. The PSU is covered up at the moment but I'm very much thinking about replacing it with a nice Corsair semi modular from their builder series as this PSU seems to 'hum' a bit.
 
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#6
Uh, while it is cool, you are starting to pour a lot of money in it lol. I mean ~70 quid just for the coolers is way to much for my taste. You can get c2d based system for that :/ Sure, C2D may not be retro but neither is your hd3650 hehe. How are the ati agp drivers treating you btw? Last time i played with one of those it was a complete nightmare. Try to get some second hand cheaper coolers that would do the job, but if money is no issue hey..the world is yours ^^

I too have got a P4 system running for my parents to browse and play some games from time to time. Its a P4 2.4C northy on Intel 875PBZ mobo with 1.5GB DDR400 and a radeon 9200 card. Had an idea to beef it up a lil bit, but couldnt find adequate parts in my country and if i did, ppl wanted fortune for them so i gave up. My idea was to get 3.2ghz northwood coz its not THAT hot (have a zalman 7700cu) and a 6800GT coz i always wanted one of those but couldnt afford it back then hehe. I also have an AC NV5 silencer to pair it with. ACtually my first idea was to get the gainward 7800gs+ (remember the disguised 7900GT beast?), but had no luck finding one hehe. Thats my advice to you if you want to keep the retro spirit. ATI HD cards are nice (at least on paper), but i can find em in stores today - not retro :)
 
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Cooling tower style cooler, plus one 120mm fan / stock blower / CNPS7000V
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#7
their builder series is nice, ... i've got a CX500 powering my current setup.
 
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Case Zalman Z5
Power Supply Corsair Builder series 750w semi modular
#8
Uh, while it is cool, you are starting to pour a lot of money in it lol. I mean ~70 quid just for the coolers is way to much for my taste. You can get c2d based system for that :/ Sure, C2D may not be retro but neither is your hd3650 hehe. How are the ati agp drivers treating you btw? Last time i played with one of those it was a complete nightmare. Try to get some second hand cheaper coolers that would do the job, but if money is no issue hey..the world is yours ^^

I too have got a P4 system running for my parents to browse and play some games from time to time. Its a P4 2.4C northy on Intel 875PBZ mobo with 1.5GB DDR400 and a radeon 9200 card. Had an idea to beef it up a lil bit, but couldnt find adequate parts in my country and if i did, ppl wanted fortune for them so i gave up. My idea was to get 3.2ghz northwood coz its not THAT hot (have a zalman 7700cu) and a 6800GT coz i always wanted one of those but couldnt afford it back then hehe. I also have an AC NV5 silencer to pair it with. ACtually my first idea was to get the gainward 7800gs+ (remember the disguised 7900GT beast?), but had no luck finding one hehe. Thats my advice to you if you want to keep the retro spirit. ATI HD cards are nice (at least on paper), but i can find em in stores today - not retro :)
Yeah the GPU is a bit OP for the system but the system was built just to give me the best from an era of tech and gaming that I really enjoyed. The drivers for the card work just fine to be honest I have had no issues at all with any games thrown at it and have sat and run the ATItool from here for ages and the card sat running at just over 200fps and gave no errors at all.

I have sat and had a think about it and really all I need (NEED lol) to change is the CPU cooler as this P4 sits at 65-70 degrees C on idle so I think the nice Scythe Mugen will do for now and I'll retro fit a 40/80mm intake fan in the front. At least then the system will be a bit of a 'sleeper' in that it looks stock until you go under the hood :)
 
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#9
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#10
I got a real nice EVGA 9800GT 1MB PCI-E card for $20 shipped off ebay. You can find 7800GX2's and ultras for real cheap if you really want to go retro p4.
 

Aquinus

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#11
I got a real nice EVGA 9800GT 1MB PCI-E card for $20 shipped off ebay. You can find 7800GX2's and ultras for real cheap if you really want to go retro p4.
Pretty sure that board has an AGP slot, not a PCI-E slot.
 
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#12
Congrats on the build mate.

I too have a soft spot for that era.

I've currently got an ic7 max3, P4 Prescott HT @ 4.25, ddr500 and 3850 agp all setup waiting for the (ON) button to get pushed.

BTW my cpu is water cooled via an extremely old and probably one of the first socket 478 blocks!!

Good luck with the build mate and enjoy. :)
 
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#13
I've got a couple of old junkers specifically for playing games made during their era, haven't fired them up in a while though.
Nice work, it's fun tinkering around with older hardware.
 

Aquinus

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#14
I've got a couple of old junkers specifically for playing games made during their era, haven't fired them up in a while though.
Nice work, it's fun tinkering around with older hardware.
Absolutely! It almost makes me want to pull out my old 478 Northwood Celeron. :p
 
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#15
This past year I upgraded some family members main PCs. Couple P4s and some socket A AMD setups.
Was thinking about using the old parts and setting up a beowulf cluster just for kicks.
 

brandonwh64

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#16
LOL my router at home is a P4 northwood with 1GB of ram and a PCIX dual gig nic card running IPcop Linux distro
 
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#17
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Benchmark Scores Suggestions.
#18
This is funny. I recently decided to get my P4 2.4Ghz Northwood as well up and running in a case i had a while ago. Built a P4 2.4Ghz 2x512mb DDR400, and an FX5900XT card. Cant find my cooler though so ill need to look for one.
 
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#19
I have a P4, see specs, that is in storage. I maxed it out for Crunching WCG, on Linux Mint. Can't wait to get that, and my Socket A, back running. Not to mention the Mad Cruncher... One of these days...:D
 

FreedomEclipse

~Technological Technocrat~
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#20
Tempted to find parts to resurrect a skt 939 build
 
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#21
Tempted to find parts to resurrect a skt 939 build
I wish i could find a 939 motherboard but they are a bit expensive if you look for a decent one. Still have my x2 3800+ and i cant find a good board to use it.
 

FreedomEclipse

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#22
I wish i could find a 939 motherboard but they are a bit expensive if you look for a decent one. Still have my x2 3800+ and i cant find a good board to use it.
I have the exact same cpu. There are a few boards on ebay floating about. Quite a lot of them are from Australia and collection only - at least for M-ATX boards which is what im looking for
 

rtwjunkie

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#23
And I was beginning to wonder if I'd be able to sell my two P4 3.2Ghz Northwoods, LOL! I guess somebody on ebay will want them!
 
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#24
Put a bullet in that worthless chip and find an athlon XP (if you're going for that 2002 era). I have one in the basement LOL. At least it's a respectable piece of hardware.

I'm still using my socket 939 as a test PC.

I wish i could find a 939 motherboard but they are a bit expensive if you look for a decent one. Still have my x2 3800+ and i cant find a good board to use it.
Buy a used Lanparty. I miss DFI :( I made a gaming rig with a 3800+. Oced to 2.8 GHz. One core would do 3+ stable, but the other crapped out at 2.9.
 
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#25
Tempted to find parts to resurrect a skt 939 build
Do it and ill join you lol as Ive had 3 939 systems in the past and still own 1.5 of them. One I sold the CPU out of to a mate (x2 4600+) the 2nd is on lend to a friend and its a X2 3800+ with a ATI 3850 GPU powering it. The third I still own and its the FX-57 with a 9600GT. I still have the mobo that the X2 4600+ came out of and its a SLi Gigabyte board and its for sale when I can be bothered to pull it of the case haha.

P4 systems I have a good 3here at the moment also that Ill be stripping and selling soon. If you live in AUS give me a call and I might be able to help you out. (Skt 478s)