Decisions, decisions... (upgrade project, plus 1)

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Decisions, decisions... (upgrade project, plus 1)

Postby Toby B. » Wed Mar 09, 2016 2:24 pm

The decision part involves an significant upgrade to my old beast. The "plus 1" is a mod project of an HP, hoping to tweak the BIOS for extra features.

The old beast was used as a server/workstation for a while, and it ran like a charm. The HP project is something I want to try simply cause I am a Compaq/HP guru of sorts..

The old beast is:
Motherboard: Shuttle AK37GT/R
Processor: AMD XP2100+ (can't recall the specifics)
RAM 2GB Corsair ValueSelect PC2700 (4 x 512MB)

I got given an HP Pavilion a735w with a Kelut board in it. BIOS sticker says 3.10, probably never been updated. Depending on the functionality of the system/board I would love to hack the hell out of the BIOS. The latest version of the BIOS I know of off hand is the v3.15 linked above.

The board in this machine is an Asus A7V8X-LA Rev. 2.02... Spare part # 5187-4913

Considering the processor, etc are upgrades for my old beast..

If it is still alive...

from the HP:
AMD Athlon XP 3000+ 2.10 GHz/400MHz
512MB PC2700 (1 stick)

My ultimate plan is to swap at least the processors. Would be nice to use the 512MB stick out of the HP (if still good), in conjunction with the other RAM, but not sure of ill effects since it would not make a matched pair... Why revive this old clunker you ask? well considering it ran like a champ when I originally built it, I would like to extend the life of it. Plus the fact it has massive storage capacity (I think I have enough hard drives and space to setup at least 1TB), providing the 500W power supply can feed the appetite for power... I think the only thing that might be missing from the shuttle build is the external USB cable that plugs into the motherboard.
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Re: Decisions, decisions... (upgrade project, plus 1)

Postby Karlsweldt » Wed Mar 09, 2016 4:33 pm

Single-channel memory designs are a bit forgiving about non-matched modules.
As long as the slowest module is first-detected, should be no problems.
If hooking a batch of hard drives to that setup, more than 4, might be an idea of a separate PSU for them.
Even an old XT or AT PSU would work, if the right current. Just start the drive power a second before the main system.
My 'ancient' HP Net Server Pro LD50 did that.
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Re: Decisions, decisions... (upgrade project, plus 1)

Postby Toby B. » Wed Mar 09, 2016 5:29 pm

Karlsweldt wrote:Single-channel memory designs are a bit forgiving about non-matched modules.
As long as the slowest module is first-detected, should be no problems.
If hooking a batch of hard drives to that setup, more than 4, might be an idea of a separate PSU for them.
Even an old XT or AT PSU would work, if the right current. Just start the drive power a second before the main system.
My 'ancient' HP Net Server Pro LD50 did that.


Unfortunately the only spare PSU I have is, as near as I can confirm (told by former owner's uncles girlfriend) a Dell.. The box of parts (including the PSU) that I got, I can only confirm the motherboard is a Dell. Absolutely no markings to verify its a Dell. I do not want to risk blowing $%^!@# up.

I could raid the PSU out of the HP, but would rather not as I intend to experiment with it

I know I need to change the CMOS battery, as it does not retain the setting. tower sat for about 4 years un-powered. And then I also have to boot the beast (shuttle board) to verify BIOS build, to insure the XP3000+ compatibility.
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Re: Decisions, decisions... (upgrade project, plus 1)

Postby Toby B. » Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:09 pm

So a quick update. the OS on the Pavilion is hosed.. Not a huge deal, but still a bummer.

I swapped out the CMOS battery on the Shuttle board. got into BIOS once and not doesn't seem to want to boot. no beeps, no nothing. might have set the voltage setting wrong or something but would have expected a error beep code or some sort.

And the other major bummer is the HP slimline (main rig) is not compatible with my KVM switch... :(
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Re: Decisions, decisions... (upgrade project, plus 1)

Postby Karlsweldt » Thu Mar 10, 2016 6:41 am

While a lot of older Dell PSU types have a non-standard ATX power plug pinout, the Molex plugs are standard.
An older non-ATX PSU without the +3.3v source would be ideal for just powering drives.
KVM switches should have a passive load when the port is disconnected, and a make-before-break design to ensure the clock and power are always fed to the mouse or keyboard. Otherwise, lost entity.
The KVM should be ported to the system before being powered up.. or 'no keyboard found'. Been there, done that! :roll:
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Re: Decisions, decisions... (upgrade project, plus 1)

Postby Toby B. » Thu Mar 10, 2016 7:52 am

I should have been more specific... the KVM is ps/2 + video.. the slimline tower USB only.

I believe the failed boot issue with the shuttle board is wrong setting for the processor. I set the fsb to 133. I believe I should have set the multiplier instead.

with stock settings (cleared CMOS state) the 2100+ is recognized as 1500+.. The good news is the BIOS version of the shuttle board is S00Z so it is the latest and there was 3000+ compatibility in S00T, so it should work.

Damn, I have been out of the hardware groove far too long.. :oops:

This morning I was looking at things and noticed some signs of "the plague" (i.e. bulging capacitors)
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Re: Decisions, decisions... (upgrade project, plus 1)

Postby Karlsweldt » Thu Mar 10, 2016 5:11 pm

A lot of those older AMD type boards did have a jumper to set for 100 or 133 FSB base. No auto-set.
Hope that the 'bad caps' plague is not too serious with that board!! Bummer!!
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Re: Decisions, decisions... (upgrade project, plus 1)

Postby Toby B. » Thu Mar 10, 2016 7:23 pm

Karlsweldt wrote:A lot of those older AMD type boards did have a jumper to set for 100 or 133 FSB base. No auto-set.
Hope that the 'bad caps' plague is not too serious with that board!! Bummer!!


From what I can see. There are three bloated capacitors, of witch one has burst or has dust strategically collected where the joints meet on the silver top. But at $100+ I cannot justify dumping that kind of money to get it recapped.

As far as the settings. There are indeed no jumper settings, all bios. I vaguely remember making the same error 8+ years ago when I got the board.

If the Corsair RAM is compatible with the a735w, I could just cannibalize the power supply, drive cage, RAM and other parts out of the beast and build the HP up. The problems I see in doing that, the A7V8X-LA only has 2 ram slots so I would lose a GB of ram. and I would have to figure out jump the power supply as there would be nothing connected to the main ATX header (if that is not modular)... I cannot remember at this time how modular the unit is..
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Re: Decisions, decisions... (upgrade project, plus 1)

Postby Mr T » Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:12 pm

Toby B. wrote:I should have been more specific... the KVM is ps/2 + video.. the slimline tower USB only.

I believe the failed boot issue with the shuttle board is wrong setting for the processor. I set the fsb to 133. I believe I should have set the multiplier instead.

with stock settings (cleared CMOS state) the 2100+ is recognized as 1500+.. The good news is the BIOS version of the shuttle board is S00Z so it is the latest and there was 3000+ compatibility in S00T, so it should work.

Damn, I have been out of the hardware groove far too long.. :oops:

This morning I was looking at things and noticed some signs of "the plague" (i.e. bulging capacitors)
You can get a USB to PS2 adaptor that works with KVM's - I use this one - Aten UC10KM PS/2 to USB Adaptor, and its worked with all my KVM's... Should cost no more than $10...
I have been programming on computers since the ZX81.
I am an apprentice trained Electronics Engineer with qualifications to back it up.
I have been repairing computers since 1996.
Yet to some people I still know nothing...
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Re: Decisions, decisions... (upgrade project, plus 1)

Postby Toby B. » Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:36 pm

Mr T wrote:
Toby B. wrote:I should have been more specific... the KVM is ps/2 + video.. the slimline tower USB only.

I believe the failed boot issue with the shuttle board is wrong setting for the processor. I set the fsb to 133. I believe I should have set the multiplier instead.

with stock settings (cleared CMOS state) the 2100+ is recognized as 1500+.. The good news is the BIOS version of the shuttle board is S00Z so it is the latest and there was 3000+ compatibility in S00T, so it should work.

Damn, I have been out of the hardware groove far too long.. :oops:

This morning I was looking at things and noticed some signs of "the plague" (i.e. bulging capacitors)
You can get a USB to PS2 adaptor that works with KVM's - I use this one - Aten UC10KM PS/2 to USB Adaptor, and its worked with all my KVM's... Should cost no more than $10...


I actually got one with the HP, but it is backward to what I need. I need PS/2 to USB what I have is USB to PS/2..
Toby B.
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