RAM in an Old Computer

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Peter McDonald, Jan 25, 2002.

  1. Peter McDonald

    Peter McDonald Stunt Coordinator

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    We have an old Pentium 100MHz laying around with 32MB of RAM, and I'm trying to figure out a way to bring a little more life to it. I have a spare stick of 32MB PC100 SDRAM. Would this RAM work in such an old computer? Compatability? I don't know the type of RAM that is currently in the p100 though.

    Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Peter
     
  2. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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    A machine that has a 100 MHz Pentium is very unlikely to take SDRAM.

    I would expect that such a machine would require either matched pairs of 72-pin SIMMs, or single 168-pin DIMMs, where the memory on the SIMMs/DIMMs is FPM or EDO RAM. There would also be a speed requirement (xx ns, meaning anything with (speed in ns
     
  3. JohanK

    JohanK Second Unit

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    SIMMs are expensive when new but you can find them used for really cheap. I wouldn't spend $$$ to add more than another 32MB.
    Another way to get more life out of it is to overclock it a bit. http://www.hwupgrade.com/overclock/cpu/
    Other possible options:
    -buy a used P166 or P200 non-MMX processor (MMX cpu has lower voltage spec than 'classic' Pentium so 'classic' Pentium boards send MMX chips too much voltage) and throw this on motherboard
    -buy AMD processor and place on mobo
    http://www6.tomshardware.com/cpu/00q3/000713/
    -a PowerLeap kit http://www.powerleap.com/Products/sockets57.htm
    -buy an ATA100 controller card and new hardrive.
    IMO, only the P166/200 transplant is worth doing (used P166/200 chips w/ heatsinks can be had for $10 or so). Although, an ATA100 controller and HDD can always be used in a future system.
     
  4. Peter McDonald

    Peter McDonald Stunt Coordinator

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    I already have a decent computer (what I am using right now). But we have an old one sitting in the closet, I thought I may be able to get some use out of it. It has a 8.4GB harddrive, so I thought it may work well as a fileserver for our other two computers (MP3 files). I already have the 32MB stick of RAM... when I upgraded this computer (the newer one) I had two 32MB RAM modules, I took one out and placed a 256MB module in [​IMG] I'll probably open up the old one tomorrow to have a look at it, will the type of RAM be stated on the chip? Or will I need to do a bit more detective work? Any programs out there that can do the work for me?
    A processor upgrade for the old one is a good idea. The local schools have a bunch of Pentium 200s so I can see if I can leach one off of them for a decent price. Would it work in place of the p100 easily? Or would it require some BIOS changes? (note: I am not very experienced in BIOS settings)
    Another problem with the old computer is the Cd-ROM won't work. I tested a few CD-ROM's in the system and none of them worked (even though they work in other computers). On startup it says "Found CD-ROM", but it's not listed in Explorer, device manager, and the tray can't be opened. Any ideas? I've seen this problem on other older computers too and I have never been able to figure out how to fix it... the local computer stores can't figure it out either.
    BTW, system is running Windows 95 OSR3 (possibly only OSR2). It's impossible to upgrade to 98 (or anything else) because the CD-ROM won't work (and a p100 is a little slow for win98, right?).
    Thanks again,
    Peter
     
  5. JohanK

    JohanK Second Unit

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    Peter, take the case off the computer and peek inside. A SIMM RAM stick is shorter than DIMM and the on board chips are usually fatter. SIMM memory sockets are usually white w/ little metal stick holders while DIMM memory sockets are usually green with little white stick holders. I expect that you have SIMM memory.

    The next item to look at it the socket for the processor. On the socket itself, it is labelled. You probably have either a Socket 5 or a Socket 7. I only have experience w/ Socket 7 so I'm not sure of what you can do w/ a Socket 5 mobo. Which one do you have?

    The CPU transplant will probably not require BIOS adjustment since older mobos use jumper settings on the actual motherboard. Newer boards use the BIOS (hence, they are called jumperless boards). You will have to move jumpers around according to the small tables on the board. Where you move them to will depend on the CPU transplant. Moving these jumpers will also obtain you some overclocking with your current CPU.

    The CD-ROM not working is tough to decipher. Things to check are CD-ROM drive jumper settings, actual cable (work with different IDE cable?) and IDE controller (work with harddrive?).
     
  6. Peter McDonald

    Peter McDonald Stunt Coordinator

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    If the IDE channel that the CD-ROM is on turns out to be dead, would there be any problems having the CD-ROM as a slave to the hard drive on the other IDE channel?

    Thanks,

    Peter
     
  7. JohanK

    JohanK Second Unit

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    Should be no problem. Run harddrive as master and CD-ROM as slave.

    Are you positive that IDE channel is dead? Have you checked under the device mgr. to see if there is not a problem for the controller?
     
  8. Peter McDonald

    Peter McDonald Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not completely sure it's dead yet... I just wanted to know in case it was [​IMG]
    Here is the way the network is currently setup: 2 computers, both Win98SE connected to a 4 port hub. Cable modem connected to the uplink port of the hub. Each computer has it's own IP address for connecting to the internet. Both computers only running the TCP/IP protocol. Neither computer has any type of firewall.
    What would be the easiest/cheapest way to set up the old computer as a file/printer server? Should I just plug the old computer into the hub, and set it up with the NetBEUI protocol and file/printer sharing? If I don't set up TCP/IP on it, would this provide (some) security against people gaining access to the computer via the internet? On the newer computers, should I set up NetBEUI on it, and then unbind it from TCP/IP? How would the security of this set up be?
    Thanks,
    Peter
     
  9. Peter McDonald

    Peter McDonald Stunt Coordinator

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    Just thought I'd give an update.

    I have ordered an overdrive processor. It will bring up my current processor to 200MHz MMX... not bad. It has built in cooling too.

    On booting the computer it gives me the message "Secondary Master hard disk fail", anyone know what's up with that? The only thing on that channel was the CD-ROM (no hard disk). I then need to press F1 for it to boot. In the device manager, it says there is a problem with the Secondary Bus. So, I put the CD-ROM as Slave to the hard drive, and all works great (although I still get the same error on boot up). Anyone know what the problem is with the Secondary IDE channel?

    I checked the RAM, but couldn't really figure it out. I have six slots for RAM. Four of them being SIMMs and two being DIMMs. Only two of the SIMMs have RAM modules in them. How can I actually figure out what type of memory they are? (EDO for example)

    Thanks,

    Peter
     
  10. JohanK

    JohanK Second Unit

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    I know virtually nothing about networking so can't help out there.

    The IDE channel failure is a puzzler. It may be something faulty on the board or possibly a driver issue or maybe something in BIOS or ?????.

    Try removing the secondary contoller in the device mgr. and then reinstalling the driver; a restart after removing the controller would be best. If this doesn't work, I'd run through BIOS just to make sure all is set where it should be; I doubt this is the problem but ya never know.

    It could be the board, I guess. If it is, I wouldn't fix it since it is old technology. Money would be better spent on obtaining a newer setup, IMO.

    For the memory, stickers on the sticks are useful; some of my SIMMs state that they are EDO. If stickers are not available, there may be some software that will tell you. SiSoft Sandra is the only one that comes to mind as a possibility.

    Hope this helps a little.
     
  11. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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  12. JohanK

    JohanK Second Unit

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    I thought it was one or the other but I have never had such a mobo to experiment with.
     
  13. Peter McDonald

    Peter McDonald Stunt Coordinator

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    Can anyone help out with the networking problem?

    Thanks,

    Peter
     
  14. Darren Lewis

    Darren Lewis Supporting Actor

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    Hi Peter.
    On the RAM issue, it sounds as though you have one of the later Socket7 motherboards. I've messed about with these types of boards that have facilites for DIMM and SIMM. On both of the boards I had, it said that you could only use one type of memory - SIMM or DIMM not both together.
    Do you know the make of the motherboard? Reason I ask is that some of the later ones could support the faster 100MHz speed. If this is the case you could drop in something like an AMD K6-2 450MHz which go for about £25 over here. You would need to use DIMMs if this was the case (SIMMS don't run at 100MHz).
    If not the 200MHz MMX overdrive is a good option. It will say on the CPU slot what type of socket it is. I've used one of these overdrive processors (This was based on an IDT winchip) and it's still going strong in my mates machine now.
    Sounds like the 2nd IDE control channel is playing up. Can you disable it in the BIOS, or set its device to NONE rather than AUTO?
    Onto the Network issue:-
    When you say "hub", do you mean "router".
    First piece of advice is get a firewall on each machine unless you hub/router has a built in firewall (some do).
    Have a look at this page.
    Practically Networked is a superb site for networking advice. It was actually recommened to me by my cable company when I asked them how to set up my two machines to access the net via a single cable modem!
    Hope this helps. If not I'll try to clarify any problems.
     
  15. Peter McDonald

    Peter McDonald Stunt Coordinator

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    No, I ment to say hub... I haven't gotten around to getting a router with firewall yet. I'm thinking about the 4 port Linksys with integrated switch, what do you think? Also, I've heard that there are problems sometimes with routers and messaging programs (ICQ, MSN, AIM) and file sharing programs... know anything about it?
    It is a socket 7 motherboard, but I don't know it's make or model. Do you know anyway of finding out if I can use a 450MHz processor in it?
    I tried disabling the IDE channel in the BIOS... didn't do anything. If I removed it from the device manager, and forced reinstall, would the drivers for it be default Windows drivers? Because I don't have any of the original documentation or install CD's, we bought the computer used.
    As for networking, thanks for the link, but I already knew about that site [​IMG] That page you linked to is actually the page I used to test file/printer sharing a few days ago. So is it as safe (as it is now) as long as I don't have TCP/IP binded to File/Printer sharing and NetBEUI? Would it open up any security holes?
    Thanks,
    Peter
     
  16. Darren Lewis

    Darren Lewis Supporting Actor

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    Do you have any info about setting jumpers on the motherboard? Often you have to configure the jumpers to set the speed of the board and the clock multiplier. EG to get 600MHz, you configure 100MHz at 6x.

    Not sure about the security of NetBEUI in what you mention. I'd rely on any info and recommendations on that link above.
     
  17. Peter McDonald

    Peter McDonald Stunt Coordinator

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    I couldn't figure out any of the jumper settings. They are there, but they aren't labeled (no way to tell what multiplier it is on).

    I managed to fix the IDE channel problem. I went into the BIOS and cleared out everything in it relating to the Secondary IDE Channel (it seems to think there is a hard drive in there), anyways, on restart it worked... no error messages.

    I'm thinking about buying a switch to replace the current hub - more speed. I checked out some of the routers, and the reviews of them, there seems to problems with direct connections (ICQ for example). I don't think I will be getting a hardware firewall anytime soon (I may install a software firewall).

    Anyone have any ideas on the RAM? Would EDO RAM look a certain physical way (that I could tell it apart from other types).

    A few more questions: What is the BUS speed of ISA? I have an ISA network card in the old PC, and I am wondering if I should put a PCI card in. Is USB (1.1) fast enough to transfer a DVD's bitstream over a network? The reason I ask is because one of my computers has a USB network adapter (all the PCI slots are used), and I want to be able to play a DVD on any computer on the network - with only one computer actually having a DVD-ROM drive.

    Thanks Again,

    Peter
     
  18. Darren Lewis

    Darren Lewis Supporting Actor

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    The RAM SIMM may say on it "EDO" but it may not - only the branded modules tend to give that type of info. When the machine boots up, do you get any info on the intial boot screens. Some BIOS types list everything in a table at the top asn the machine is booting and it will say there if the RAM is EDO or not.
    Not sure what speed the ISA bus is, but it can sometimes be harder to configure cards in these slots as they tend not to be Plug-n-Play (some of the later ISA cards were though). A PCI network card is fairly cheap - I got one for about £12 over here. 3-COM cards can be very expensive, and I'm not sure they justify the extra cost.
    USB1.1 is a slow bus - 12Mbps I seem to remember. OK for slow devices like mice and scanners, but for DVD? Probably not fast enough. I've never tried watching a film over the network, but data transfer of files from CD is OK on a network.
    Don't know enough about the different types of hub/switch/router so can't help there [​IMG]
    Software firewalls are good - check out ZoneAlarm (I think that's what it's called), or the Norton 2002 products (Personal Firewall, or Internet Security).
    Darren.
     
  19. Roy C.

    Roy C. Second Unit

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    The ISA bus' speed is 16-bit, in other words, half the speed of PCI plus it is IRQ and DMA dependent. One of the biggest gains from PCI is that the OS will almost "install" it for you rather than having to find a free IRQ and worrying about the card only allowing IRQs 5 and 7. Those two were pretty much always used by something else like sound cards and video cards.

    About the "firewall" issue all I can say is that if you buy one of the Cable/DSL routers out there you should be pretty much protected from intrusion. Some routers function as a firewall on their own because it only allows traffic in that originated on the inside. In other words, if someone tries to get inside your network they won't be able to because they were not part of it to begin with. I can't think of a good analogy right now to explain it better!!

    The DVD issue is a little simpler because not only is speed a concern but also software (decoder) and video cards. You said you'd like to be able to play DVD's over the network; what you also have to think about is whether the PC "playing" it has the proper decoder and horsepower to do it. I wouldn't attempt it on a P100 with 32MB RAM and a 4MB ISA video card... You get my meaning.

    By the way, your first step is to replace the hub with a switch. The biggest difference between the two is that each switch port is a dedicated 100MB connection rather than sharing the same bandwidth. SWITCHED vs. SHARED.

    Anyway, enought talking already!!!! Good luck,

    Roy C.
     
  20. Peter McDonald

    Peter McDonald Stunt Coordinator

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    I wouldn't be playing DVD's on the p100 [​IMG] Do you think I'm crazy?!? Ok, don't answer that.
    I want to put our DVD-ROM in the old PC, and network that drive. So others on the network (Celeron 400 & 600) can play DVD's using a software player on their computer (WinDVD for example). The old p100 wouldn't have any DVD playing software on it, it would just be transferring the data. I may take a PCI card out of my current system, and stick a faster NIC in it. So I can get more speed on the network (instead of using USB 1.1).
    About the hardware firewall, I've heard about problems with those. Mainly direct connections (chat programs, file charing), I don't use these very much (if at all) but other people in my house do and they would be p*ssed if they couldn't use these programs (I realize there is limited port forwarding, but then what's the point of a firewall?)
    So a switch would work fine in place of my hub (using 2 IP addresses, 1 for each comp on the net)? Just connect the cable modem to the uplink port of it? Just like my hub is connected now? Any problems I may encouter?
    There is a screen on start up with config on it... it goes by really fast though (hard to see anything). But I did notice that next to EDO it had 0. So I guess there isn't any EDO RAM. I'll restart the computer a few more times to see if I can see anything else [​IMG]
    Thanks Again Everyone,
    Peter
     

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