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Ziggy587
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My Recent Retro Motherboard Acquisitions

by Ziggy587 Sat Jan 21, 2023 9:17 pm

So I might have went a little overboard and picked up a bunch of retro PC motherboards recently. I thought I would share them here, and talk a little about each one and what plans I have for them.

Biostar MB-8500TUD-A (Socket 7) -

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This was the first motherboard that kicked this whole thing off, the one that I posted the thread "I Finally Got a Socket 7 Motherboard" about. It's a baby AT that has a PS/2 mouse port present (not all baby AT's have this, sometimes just a header). It turned out that there was an issue with the keyboard, but that turned out to be an easy fix (just had to replace an inductor). It has a footprint for an unpopulated ATX 20-pin power connector, which I decided to install. And although that does work to power the board, the soft power-on feature does not work. Pretty sure because there's other missing components. This was going to be the motherboard I used for a dedicated DOS machine, that I may dual boot with Windows 95, but I may end up choosing another board.


MSI MS6199VA (Slot 1) -

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Getting the Socket 7 board above, it gave me more of an itch to get a Slot 1 board. So I found this board at a really good price. It's the one that I posted the thread "Oh No! I got Another Motherboard" about. It ended up being a really cool board, it definitely feels like a great system builder's gaming board from 98/99.


MSI MS-5158 (Socket 7) -

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After I got the first Socket 7 and Slot 1 boards, I was on eBay a lot looking for various parts. So I ended up stumbling upon things, and sometimes too good of a deal to pass up. So I came across this board, which was listed well below the going price. The description stated that it turns on, but the keyboard doesn't work. Well I did a keyboard repair to the Biostar Socket 7 posted above, and at the time I was watching a lot of repair videos for retro motherboards, so I kind of wanted to get this board on the cheap and try my luck at the repair. So I sent the seller an offer and they accepted, I got it for a great price!

The board came in and... It appears to work without any issues! Ah, the first time I got something and was disappointing that it wasn't broken LOL. The board has these poly fuses for the PS/2 ports that can reset themselves, so I'm thinking maybe when they were testing the board they hot plugged the keyboard which blew the fuse, then they didn't give it enough time to reset and just assumed there was an issue. Or their testing keyboard was broken LOL. Either way, I got this board for a great price and it appears to function perfectly!

It's a Socket 7, unfortunately not a Super Socket 7 with an AGP slot, but it's a decent board nonetheless. It's a standard ATX form factor, which will be easier to use than the baby AT, so this might be the board I end up using for my DOS/Win95 build instead of the original Biostar Socket 7 I got. I actually had a Pentium 233 Mhz MMX CPU that I didn't realize I had, and this board supports it, so I'll probably leave it in there.


MSI MS-6117 (Slot 1) -

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This board was probably my best deal yet. I know I keep saying that, but I got this one for an amazing price! The seller had a low feedback score and listed the board as "for parts." I messaged him and asked if it was listed as "for parts" because it was untested or known not to work. He replied that the person he got it from said it was in a computer that was dropped and broke the power switch, and he has no way of testing the board himself. So I decided for the price to take the gamble. Again, I was watching a ton of repair videos for retro motherboard and wanted something to practice on, and the price was perfect. So I purchase the auction, and the seller asks me to let him know if it ends up working or not.

I get the board in, and it was packed well, but unfortunately did not work. The board is warped, it rocks from opposite corners, which is a sign it was stored poorly. Warpping can possibly damage traces and solder joints. Also, there was a ton of crusty shit in all of the slots and a lot of dirt and grim all over it. It looks like it was stored in a shed or garage for a while. Luckily, no corrosion though.

So I message the seller and tell him the board arrived safely but does not POST, and I explained the condition above, and that it's fine because I purchased it knowing it may not work and I have hopes to repair it. The seller messages me back and offers to send me another motherboard since the one I got wasn't working. More on this below.

I found a couple of solder joints that looked suspect, but I thought the dirt and grime was the main culprit. So I have the board a good wash in soapy water. After blowing the slots and whatnot out with compressed air, I sprayed an electrical contact cleaner (similar to Deox IT) in all of the slots and connectors, then I left the board to dry for several days. And after giving it another test... Now it works!


Gigabyte GA-5SMM (Super Socket 7) -

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So above I explained that the seller offered me another board since the one I got wasn't working. He explained to me that he had several boards that he acquired (I guess form the same person) and didn't know enough about electronics to properly list them for sale. He asked if there was anything specific I was interested in. I told him a Socket 3 (I always wanted a 486 build) or another Slot 1 would be great. He showed pics of several board he had, which I identified and shed some light on for him. He actually did end up having a Socket 3 board, but it was missing the riser card and would have been totally useless without it. He didn't have any other Slot 1 boards, but he had another Socket 7 that looked interesting, so he sent it to me.

This board was totally unknown if it would work, but again I've been interested in learning to diagnose and repair retro boards, so even if it didn't work it would serve a purpose to me. Well, when I got it in, it seems to work flawlessly!

I think this is a really cool board. It's a Gigabyte brand, that was apparently available at retail as well as to OEMs. So the board I got has a Compaq BIOS, with a Compaq splash screen and everything. The Retro Web says I can put the retail BIOS on there, which I may end up doing. The board as an integrated SIS 6326 video chipset, as well as an integrated ESS Solo-1 (ES1938S) audio chip. Unfortunately no AGP slot, but that may be just fine depending on what you're looking to do with the board. I'm not sure how well the SIS video chip performs, I would guess not terribly well for late 3D games, but probably OK for most everything else. But the on board audio, the ESS Solo-1, Phil of Phil's Computer Lab says it's OK for Windows 98 but excellent for DOS. So it sounds like a great audio chip if you want to try and do both. The board does have PCI and ISA slots, so you could always put whatever sound card in there.

So I was thinking about what to do with this board, and since it has integrated video and audio and is a microATX form factor, I would want to play up those features and not against them, so I think it would be neat to try and built a Win98 machine as small as possible. I think I'll post a dedicated thread for this.


DTK pam-0055I-E0 (Socket 7) -

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Another board I stumble upon when looking up other random things. I posted more about this board here. It was listed for a really low price, probably because the seller cannot test it. Long story short, when I got it in, it looks like new old stock and worked perfectly. The seller has a few more in stock, and the price is an absolute steal.

I really didn't need this board, and I have no immediate plans for it. I just couldn't pass up a deal that good. And again, if it didn't work, I wouldn't mind attempting repairs.


MSI 845 PRO (Socket 423)

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So I may have a sickness. Whatever, don't judge me! :lol:

This was another board that was a decent price. Not a total steal like some of the other boards, but low enough to make it attractive. I have a fondness for Socket 423, but I have never seen a 423 board that uses SD RAM. All of the ones I've seen use RD RAM. So that just seemed neat to me, and I couldn't resist. The board came with a CPU, heatsink, IO shield, but no RAM. But that's OK, I have a shit ton of SD RAM on hand.

So I get the board in, and I can't get it to POST! But these late 90's / early 00's MSI boards have diagnostics LEDS. So I look up the LED code in the manual and it points to a RAM issue. After trying out several sticks and all the other usual things, I message the seller to ask what kind of RAM they were using. We messaged back and forth a few times, and he offered to send me the RAM sticks that he used to test the board with. I accepted, and now when I test the boards with those sticks... It works! I've come across boards that are fussy with RAM, but never with SD RAM before.

I just posted that thread about the IBM and how the seller was less than stellar. But honestly, having these awesome sellers (this one and the one above that sent me a free board) makes up for it in some way.


DFI WT70-EC (Socket 423)

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When I saw this board listed, I just couldn't pass it up! It wasn't an amazing deal or anything, neither was it expensive. It's just that I'm sentimental to this board and you can't always find it for sale. This was actually the first motherboard that I ever board to build a custom PC with. And this listing was actually the exact configuration of that first board I bought, a 1.5 GHz CPU with stock Intel HSF and 256 MB of RAM.

This model motherboard powered my first custom PC that I used as my main PC for many years. It was outdated when I first got it, which is how I was able to afford it. After having it for a few years, I bought a much more powerful Dell that ended up taking a shit 13 months later (1 month out of warranty). I ended up having to revert back to this DFI build until I finally built an i7 rig in 2009. I did lots of gaming on this PC, and found ways to squeak out performance as best as I could for what it was.

Unfortunately, the original DFI board that I had died. At the time it wasn't a big deal because I already had my next PC. I went on eBay and found another WT70-EC for cheap (as they were at the time) but it would not POST when I got it. I got a refund, and the seller instructed me to keep the board. Unfortunately, this was years ago when I didn't even think to attempt repair on a motherboard. I had to thin my PC parts out at one point, so I ended up throwing away both dead DFI boards. More recently, I wish that I had kept them. Maybe I'd be able to repair them now, who knows?

So yeah, when I saw this board pop up for sale I couldn't resist. I still have most of the parts from that original build, including the case. I'm thinking about reconstructing my first custom PC and posting a thread about it.


So yeah, I picked up a Socket 7 motherboard for an innocent DOS PC build and it snowballed into me getting 8 motherboards! :lol:

I'm not sure how much interest there is in this sort of thing, or how many hardware nuts like me lurk the forums. If there's any interest, I can post about other retro motherboards I have.
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My Sale Thread - I am selling around three quarters of my video game collection as well as some other odds and ends!
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opa
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Re: My Recent Retro Motherboard Acquisitions

by opa Mon Jan 23, 2023 8:18 am

Thank you for sharing. Do I need to start looking for cases on ebay again? LOL
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Nintendork666
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Re: My Recent Retro Motherboard Acquisitions

by Nintendork666 Mon Jan 23, 2023 9:32 pm

oh man this must be fun

kinda flirting with the idea of building a retro PC

im not sure how much time i'd actually spend with it, but it's tempting

thank you for the thread
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Ziggy587
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Re: My Recent Retro Motherboard Acquisitions

by Ziggy587 Sat Jan 28, 2023 12:21 pm

opa wrote:Thank you for sharing. Do I need to start looking for cases on ebay again? LOL


:lol: Well if you find another one that is that good of a deal, you know I wont be able to pass it up!

I really shouldn't get more cases though, just for a lack of storage space. Not all of these motherboards will turn into builds. I just kind of went off the deep end with collecting.

Nintendork666 wrote:oh man this must be fun

kinda flirting with the idea of building a retro PC

im not sure how much time i'd actually spend with it, but it's tempting

thank you for the thread


It sure is fun! If you're at all interested in building a retro PC, I highly recommend taking a look at that DTK board that I posted. The seller still has some in stock. The price is simply amazingly low. I'd snatch one up before they're gone if I were you. If you decide to not build a PC after all, you can sell the board for at least what you paid for it (more if you can confirm it works).
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My Sale Thread - I am selling around three quarters of my video game collection as well as some other odds and ends!
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Re: My Recent Retro Motherboard Acquisitions

by emwearz Sat Jan 28, 2023 7:01 pm

Zig's, amazing scores. The prices attached to some of these boards / cpu's is insane at the moment, so well done.

What Slot 2 P2's and P3's do you currently have?

What GPU's / 3D accelerators (if any) are you pairing up with these? Software rendering has a fair bit of charm on it's on on these mid 90's boards, but nothing can replace seeing Unreal's draw bridge opening on my Voodoo 2 back in the day.
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Ziggy587
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Re: My Recent Retro Motherboard Acquisitions

by Ziggy587 Sat Jan 28, 2023 8:18 pm

emwearz wrote:What Slot 2 P2's and P3's do you currently have?


Too many. :lol:

For the MSI 6199 board, I'm using a 1 Ghz Pentium III. I must have acquired this CPU a good 10-15 years ago, back when I was collecting PC parts when they were dirt cheap, and I completely forgot that I had it! For the other MSI Slot 1 mentioned above, the 6117, I have a 233 or 266 (I can't recall) Mhz Pentium II, which I believe is the best CPU this board can use. Again, I already had this PII on hand. And I think I may have one other Slot 1 CPU on hand, but I can't remember what it is. Oh, and I have an 800 MHz Socket 370 Pentium III. Since I have no Socket 370 motherboards though, I got a Socket 370 to Slot 1 adapter, so I believe I could use it with the MSI 6199 if I wanted to.

I have 4 other Slot 1 machines (yep, I'm a nut). A Compaq Desktop with a Pentium II, something like 300-400 Mhz. I have two Dell OptiPlex machines, both with a Pentium III around 500 Mhz. Then my newly acquired IBM 300PL, which has a 667 Mhz Pentium III. I may post about the Compaq and Dell systems, if there's any interest (the IBM thread doesn't seem crazy popular, although the forums have been slow these past few weeks).

emwearz wrote:What GPU's / 3D accelerators (if any) are you pairing up with these? Software rendering has a fair bit of charm on it's on on these mid 90's boards, but nothing can replace seeing Unreal's draw bridge opening on my Voodoo 2 back in the day.


So for the Socket 7 machine, which doesn't have an AGP slot, I needed a PCI video card. I didn't have any on hand, so I just grabbed something affordable for the time being (mostly just so I could test the system). I ended up getting a Compaq branded S3 Verge GX. Which, from what I've read, is a good 2D card but not so good 3D card. This machine is intended mostly for straight DOS, but I'm not sure how much 3D I'll do on it since I have the Pentium III machine for that. If interested, you can read more about this build here: viewtopic.php?f=49&t=53873

For the 1 Ghz PIII, which has an AGP slot, currently I'm using a GeForce 5200 with it. Mostly because I had it on hand, and I was reading that I could use it with a Glide wrapper to take advantage of games that support Glide since I don't own a Voodoo card. Before that I was using a GeForce 2 MX, again just because this is what I already own. I couldn't get a Glide wrapper working, so I may swap out the 5200. I'm not sure yet. More about this build can be found in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=49&t=53874

The Gigabyte Socket 7 board has no AGP slot, but has the on board SiS 6326 chipset. From what I've read, it sounds like it's not a horrible video chip for gaming. Again, good for 2D but not the best 3D. I'm going to see how it performs first, because I'm thinking about making a SFF (small form factor) build with this. If I were to get a video card for this, it would have to be low profile, so my options are limited (I saw a GeForce 4 but it wasn't especially cheap).

The above mentioned Compaq Desktop has an AGP slot and came with an ATI 3D Rage Pro. The Dell Optiplex has this same video chip but onboard. And the IBM 300PL came with an S3 Savage 4 AGP card, which sounds not bad.

I have a GeFroce 6x00 (6800 maybe? I forget!) that I picked up a few years ago with the intention of using it in a machine that dual boots Windows 98 and XP, being that this is the last GeForce card to have drivers for 98. Maybe I'll finally do that with the MSI Socket 423. The DFI Socket 423 board though, that I would like to rebuild my original custom PC with, which I had a GeForce 7600 in (and I still have that card).
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My Sale Thread - I am selling around three quarters of my video game collection as well as some other odds and ends!
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