System building experiences
I built one recently with mostly positive results. I simply went to Fry's
and bought all of the pieces I needed. I had a monitor, disks, etc. I'll
comment on some of the pieces:
IWILL P54TS Motherboard
This is a Triton MB with a CPU socket type 7, I think 3 PCI and
4 ISA slots, on-board dual BUS-MASTER IDE, on-board Adaptec
7850 SCSI, 2 16550-compatible serial ports, bi-directional
Linux and FreeBSD still can't drive the Adaptec 7850. I think they
will eventually, but the driver developers are having a hard time
and I think they are short on documentation.
The bus-master IDE works fine. It makes an IDE drive work almost
as well as a SCSI. Some IDE drives won't do DMA, and some are faster
than others. I'm using a 1GB Quantum Fireball for the system drive.
Some sort of Conner for the swap drive. Of course I am running them
one drive per controller.
This motherboard refuses to work correctly if I put 2 32x2 SIMMs
in one bank and 8MB of old-style SIMMs in a SIMM-adapter in the other
bank. Either bank works fine alone! The symptoms are the notorious
signal 11 in GCC, or a P.O.S.T. failure. Note that the new SIMMS are
60ns and the old SIMMS are 70ns, but I was running the system with
70ns timing when was trying to make both RAMs work together.
There is 256K of asynchronous static RAM for the cache. I can put
burst RAM in the COAST socket (Cache On-A-STick) if I want to spend
I am running APM but could not tell you that it's doing anything.
Pentium-S 90 MHz clocked at 100 MHz
I used heat-sink grease and a heat-sink with fan. I have one of the
Radio Shack indoor/outdoor thermometers on the front of the system
with the "outdoor" probe clipped on to the CPU heat sink. Those
electronic thermometers are cheap and work great for this. It says
the CPU is at 90 F. at the hottest.
The P-90 was cheap. I'll get a Pentium-Pro when the price comes down.
PCI SVGA Card with 1MB RAM
Cost $60. I think it has an S3 chip. I haven't even tried X yet.
Too darned busy with the boot floppy development.
Generic Tower Case with Power Supply
The new disks don't use nearly as much power, so power-supply size
isn't so important any longer.
I think next time I'm getting a case with a swinging door on the side.
This one has the entire box lift off, which means I have to get it out
from under the table to service it. I need to keep the cover on to
keep the radio noise from the computer out of my ham radio.
Nameless 32x2 60ns non-EDO SIMMs
These were $118/ea at NCA Computer. $14/MB! They work fine, but won't
work with my old SIMMS in a SIMM adapter in the other bank. I don't
think it's the RAM - more likely the motherboard can't deal with the
Quantum Fireball 1GB
They are cheap and fast, and work fine with the Triton bus-master DMA
Pixar Animation Studios: Reality is not our business.
Pixar's "Toy Story" $184,592,498 domestic, $49 million overseas and counting.