Upgrading an old computer

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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:01 pm

I must say the 955 overclocks pretty damn good! The stock speed is 3.2ghz and right now I'm at 4.1ghz and it seems to be totally stable. I had it at 4.2ghz and was able to run a Cinebench benchmark just fine but when I ran Prime95 and came back around 20 minutes the PC had rebooted so I went down to 4.1 and Prime95 has been running for around an hour with no issues. If it runs for 2 hours with no errors then I'm going to call that stable. I know some people recommend running it for 12 hours+ but in my experience if an error is going to occur it usually shows up fairly early. I haven't tried overclocking the NB or FSB yet, just raised the multiplier and added a bit more voltage.

Here are my OC results running Cinebench as a test

Stock 3.2ghz- 650 pts
3.5ghz- 708 pts
4.1 with NB oc'ed to 2400mhz - 846pts
4.2ghz - 848 pts
4.31ghz - 881 pts

4.1 with the NB at 2400mhz was the fastest speed I could get that was totally stable. I was pretty surprised I was able to even boot into Windows at 4.31ghz. Let alone actually be able to complete Cinebench! When running Prime95 at 4.31 is crashed after just a few seconds. Being stable at 4.1ghz is pretty good imo. That is a 900mhz increase! After all that what settings am I going to run it on? Stock. Then what was all this for then you may ask. Just for fun, the PC is used by a family member who won't benefit from the increase to 4.1ghz. The main reason I am going back to stock is due to the power savings. When you overclock you lose all the energy saving benefits such as the CPU lowering its power when it isn't needed. It is nice to know I can go to 4.1 on it if I ever need to.
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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Sat Jun 13, 2020 7:08 pm

One thing I learned from overclocking this old PC is how much overclocking really increases the total wattage used of the system. I would have thought increasing the Vcore from 1.37 to 1.47 wouldn't really add that much power usage. I can't remember the exact numbers but at stock it was around 250-260watts. I had the vcore close 1.50 for one or two runs. 1.47 I think is what I had and the wattage was over 350 under load! I shut it down quickly after I saw that since the PSU in it is some old cheap one that is only 380w and it was really really hot. The air coming out of the back fan was hotter than a damn heater! I switched it out for a better quality 450w PSU I had laying around which I should have done before anyways and it ran much cooler under load. I was using a Kill-A-Watt meter to check power usage. I started out only using it out of curiosity on how much power it was using and to make sure it wasn't pushing the 380W PSU. Good thing I did. Well under normal use it only gets to 200 watts or so anyway but still I had the better one just sitting around doing nothing. Plus the old one is filled with dust which isn't helping anything.

I also found that the power savings settings do work when overclocked but only to a certain point. I can go as high as 3.7ghz and it will still lower the clocks and voltage in Windows when it is at idle. Any higher than 3.7ghz and the minimum/maximum processor percentage settings disappears from power settings. So at least I can get an extra 500mhz while still keeping the power saving settings. I wonder why it doesn't work any higher than 3.7ghz? I don't see why it should matter, no matter how high the multiplier or voltage is raised it should still be able to lower itself down when at idle or a light load. Oh well 3.7ghz is better than stock 3.2ghz. Cinebench scores at 3.7ghz are 751 vs 650 at stock.

Another interesting thing I found about this CPU is that the thermal limit is only 62C(144F) That is the lowest limit I've seen for a "modern" CPU. Usually 62C would be considered a decent max temp for air cooling. My stays in the 120s at stock clocks and got up to the high 130s when overclocking. Still I wonder why it has such a low thermal limit? Nowadays CPUs are apparently fine running at 212F(100C)! Even though the manufacturers claim the CPUs can ran at that high of a temp there is no way I'd ever let it get close to that. I'd be getting worried at around 180F(82C). If it was getting hotter than that then it is time for a better cooler.

Here are some RAM overclocking results. I never really mess with RAM overclocking, I don't know a ton about the timings.

FSB 200(Stock)
Timings 6-3-3-9-12(Auto)
Read 4594 MB/s
Write 2194 MB/s
Latency 14.9 ns
---------------------
FSB 225
Timings 6-6-6-18-24
Read 4857 MB/s
Write 2309 MB/s
Latency 15.5 ns
---------------------
FSB 250
Timings 6-6-6-18-24
Read 5359 MB/s
Write 2561 MB/s
---------------------
FSB 266
Timings 6-6-6-18-24
Read 6853 MB/s
Write 2687 MB/s
Latency 14.4 ns
---------------------
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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Thu Jun 18, 2020 3:48 am

Since this PC will only be used for streaming and web browsing overclocking the CPU wouldn't see much of a benefit. I was mainly overclocking just for fun to see how far the chip could be pushed. The settings I decided to stick with are stock speed (3.2ghz) undervolted. The motherboard set the default Vcore to 1.375. I've never really messed with lowering the Vcore before so I really didn't know how low I should expect it to go. I was thinking anything 1.3 or lower would be pretty decent. I ended up being able to lower the Vcore all the way down to 1.15v and it is completely stable! Idle temps are now around 79F-84F (26C-29C) When under 100 percent load in Prime95 for an extended amount of time it only gets up to around 105F(40C). So it should pretty much stay under 100F(38C) during normal use. The system's power usage now maxes out at around 160watts under load and about 110w at idle.

So I think these settings should be pretty good for awhile. If I ever need extra power I know I can crank it up 1ghz over stock speeds which is a pretty amazing overclock imo. But like I said this PC is just used for things like Youtube,Netflix and web browsing. I'd like to pop in a GPU that would at least be able to run Dolphin at 1080p, but until there is a card capable of that for around $20-$30 it probably isn't going to happen.

Besides a GPU the only other upgrade it will probably need someday is RAM. I've got 4GB of DDR2-800 in it right now but according to the specifications of the board on the ASRock website it can support up to 16GB of DDR2-1066. With the 955 overclocked to 4ghz+, 16gb of DDR2-1066 and a modern video card I bet you could game fairly decently on it. As long as the game didn't require the SSE4 instruction set. Pretty crazy that a system from 2008-2009 could still be used for gaming. I wonder what the best GPU for it would be that wouldn't be bottlenecked by either the CPU or PCI-Express 2.0 interface.
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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Fri Jun 19, 2020 10:38 am

Since I have the 5400+ just laying around as an extra chip now I thought why not pop it into a board? It could still make for a decent extra PC. Turns out the only AM2 board I have is a Gigabyte GA-M51GM-S2G . I got it from an "interesting" place. I was leaving my friends apartment one day and the garbage for everyone around there was this long wooden box thing. There was no cover so you could see right into it. Right on top was a black IBM CRT monitor and a black computer case with this motherboard inside. Of course I took them! The motherboard had no CPU or RAM. The monitor worked perfectly but I had never tried the motherboard until a few days ago. To my surprise it started up and recognized the CPU,HD,RAM and PCI-E GPU just fine. The problem is that when you restart the board it freezes. For example the CMOS battery is dead but if I go into the CMOS and change the settings then hit save it will actually save the settings but the board freezes when restarting. I hooked an XP drive my another PC to it and surprisingly it booted fine and ran with no issues. It is an odd issue but for something that came out of the trash what can you expect? I'm surprised it works at all! I'm going to mess with it a bit more and see what I can figure out. The bios is about 10 versions behind the latest one so I'm going to try and update that and see if it helps.
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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Sat Jun 20, 2020 4:04 pm

I have a question about RAM if anybody would care to answer. Like I said I don't know much about RAM timings and what not. In the above post I changed the timings from 6-3-3-9-12 to 6-6-6-18-24 because I figured I would have to lower them to OC and basically didn't really know what I was doing as far as timings were concerned. Anyways the RAM is DDR2 800 and I was able to increase the FSB to 260 stable. I obviously had to lower the CPU multiplier to do this but I ended up with a CPU clock speed a little above 4.1ghz with the FSB at 260. So that overclocks the ram to DDR2 1040. I ended up not needing to even change the timings. I was able to achieve this with the settings at the stock 6-3-3-9-12.

Now to me that seems like a pretty good overclock and timings. I was surprised I was able to get this kind of overclock on it because it is from a lot I bought on Ebay awhile back of 50 identical sticks of 1GB DDR2-800 for $20. For that price I assumed they would work ok but most mostly likely wouldn't OC at all. Here is a picture of one of the sticks.

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So is this overclock and timings pretty good for DDR2-800? One thing I forgot to add is that I also never changed the voltage, it is at stock. I'll have to check and see what the stock voltage is because I can't remember off hand.
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Dr. Zoidberg
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Dr. Zoidberg » Sat Jun 20, 2020 5:43 pm

Calavera wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 4:04 pm
So is this overclock and timings pretty good for DDR2-800?
1040 is a decent boost.

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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:51 pm

Dr. Zoidberg wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 5:43 pm
Calavera wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 4:04 pm
So is this overclock and timings pretty good for DDR2-800?
1040 is a decent boost.
I actually had it all the way to 1064 but dialed it back a bit just to be sure it was stable. The next step up was above 1066. If I went above 1066 when Windows would go to load it would give a different load screen with a progress bar, but then wouldn't load. :dontknow" 1066 is the maximum the board supports so maybe going over that causes some kind of weird problem.

Oh and the AM2 Gigabyte board I was talking about in the previous post, I think I found the problem. A couple of the capacitors are slightly bulging so that could be the problem. Still if the capacitors were bad I'd think it would just not work at all. Not still work but with weird issues. Like I said when I hooked up an HD with Windows XP installed it seemed to work fine. Oh well who knows? I'm not too worried about it.
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by melancholy » Sat Jun 20, 2020 10:43 pm

Calavera wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:51 pm
Oh and the AM2 Gigabyte board I was talking about in the previous post, I think I found the problem. A couple of the capacitors are slightly bulging so that could be the problem. Still if the capacitors were bad I'd think it would just not work at all. Not still work but with weird issues.
That’s actually exactly what blown capacitors do. They still get electricity, but output at a inconsistent rate that sends wrong voltages to other parts of the board. That’s why a PC with blown caps will sometimes not turn on, sometimes work fine, sometimes freeze or become buggy, etc.

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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:04 pm

melancholy wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 10:43 pm
Calavera wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:51 pm
Oh and the AM2 Gigabyte board I was talking about in the previous post, I think I found the problem. A couple of the capacitors are slightly bulging so that could be the problem. Still if the capacitors were bad I'd think it would just not work at all. Not still work but with weird issues.
That’s actually exactly what blown capacitors do. They still get electricity, but output at a inconsistent rate that sends wrong voltages to other parts of the board. That’s why a PC with blown caps will sometimes not turn on, sometimes work fine, sometimes freeze or become buggy, etc.
Ah I see. This is the first board I've ever had with blown capacitors so I wasn't sure what the symptoms are. I could probably get replacement capacitors pretty cheap but I don't even have a soldering iron. I'll probably just throw it back in with the other random motherboards to maybe fix one day but more then likely to just sit there.
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:02 pm

I was messing around with overclocking the Phenom II X4 955 again just for fun and I was able to pass a score of 900 on CinebenchR20!

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The stock score on CinebenchR20 for the X4 955 is 650 and I was able to get an extra 266 points from overclocking. The overclock I used to get this score I would not even consider running all the time. It was just to see if I could get over 900. On the daily driver overclock settings at 3.8ghz I scored 811. The 916 points settings was 4,332ghz and a 262mhz FSB speed.

Of course I realize this is just a number and doesn't really mean anything overall since I doubt the system was very stable at the speed, but I'm just impressed I was able to get 916 points out of it. It even beats out the stock score for Phenom II X6 1055T which is 913.
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:13 pm

So I got that itch to mess with an old PC again. :olol: I've got it hooked up out in the pole barn. I was about to say it isn't all that old but I just checked the release date of the CPU (February 15, 2005) and yeah I guess 16 years is fairly old! It is running at 1835mhz up from the stock speed of 1800mhz! :whoa: I know, I went a bit overboard with the overclocking. :osmile:

The motherboard is a socket 754 K8M800-M7A. I originally bought it from Newegg and the product page for it is still up. BIOSTAR K8M800-M7A 754 VIA K8M800 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

I am running two sticks of 512MB Patriot PC3200 RAM. Despite running two sticks it still only runs in single channel mode. I checked in the manual to see if you had to manually set something and their is no mention of dual-channel at all. So I suppose the board doesn't support it.

The operating system is Windows XP SP3. I guess I should mention that I'm posting this from it right now. :olol: I am using Firefox 47.0.2 but as I just checked the version number it is downloading an update. I'm not sure how new it will go. On the official mozilla site it says "download Firefox 43.0.1 and then update to the current release​" I doubt it is going to update all the way to the current 87 release but I'm not for sure how high up it will go because it has already updated before now. *edit It ended up going to 52.9.0 Extended Service Release.

As far as the actual usability of the computer in 2021 I must say I'm actually really impressed. I am able to have multiple tabs open in Firefox with no issue. Youtube actually works just fine which I was not expecting. The highest quality you can go and it still be watchable is 480p but really you are better off sticking to 360p. Still for a 16 year old CPU that isn't bad!

What about Facebook? Nowadays people can't live without Facebook so if that doesn't work that then the usability test is basically over. Well don't fret because Facebook runs totally fine! You may be calling bullshit on that statement because Facebook.com is a hog of a site and there is no way that a single core 1.8ghz cpu from 2006 with 1gb ram can load it. Well you are right. Facebook.com is too slow to actually be usable. But mobile.facebook.com works just fine! It isn't as fancy as the standard website but it still has most of the features you want. The timeline and images load up fine. Messaging also works but you have to manually reload the page to see if you got a reply. That can be annoying if you do a ton of messaging but just talking to one person it was fine.

Now for gaming, pretty much the number one thing people use old PCs for. The GPU is a Radeon X1650 256MB. So far the games I've tried are Civilization 4,Max Payne,Miami Vice,Driver's Education '99 and Driver. They all ran fine but they aren't exactly demanding titles even for a PC like this. I've been meaning to install NFS Most Wanted Black Edition but haven't yet, maybe after I post this.

Here are some specs I left out. The monitor I'm using is a Dell M782 manufactured in November 2002. Here is the C-Net page on it with the specs. Dell M782 Monitor I notice it says the native resolution is 1600 x 1200 at 65 Hz. It is a 17" 4:3 CRT monitor! That is way too high of a resolution to be usable as your desktop. I've always heard you should run the monitor in its native resolution but there is no way on this. I currently have it running at 800x600 at 120hz. That's right 120hz, just like these fancy new gaming monitors! :olol: It looks great at this setting though.

I also forgot to mention how I'm accessing the internet. I'm just using a $10 USB Wi-Fi so not too exciting but I do have a couple of things to say about. So like I said I'm in a pole barn which is made from aluminum. When I'm in here with the door closed I can't get a Wi-Fi signal on my phone. On the $10 adapter I can actually get a very weak signal with the door closed. It bounces between 1Mbps and 5Mbps in the network status. My internet speed is only 3Mbps :grr: so 5 would actually be good enough. I wanted a better signal so I hooked it into 3 75cm(2 feet 5.5 inches) usb extension cables. So a total of 225cm(7 feet 4.5 inches). I then hung the adapter out the door as the door is able to shut on it without damaging it. It worked better and I got around 10-15mbps.

Now for the interesting part. It started raining a little while ago and I didn't want the Wi-fi adapter to get ruined in the rain so I brought it in. I looked around for something I could put it in to protect it from the rain. I ended up using the package it came in, just your standard plastic on a cardboard back. Just like a Hotwheel would be. So I put the adapter inside the plastic then taped around it to keep the water out. I put it back outside the door like I had it before and checked the computer to see if the case was affecting the signal. It seemed to affect it quite a bit! I am now getting a 39-52Mbps. Does anybody have a guess as to why the signal would have improved? All I did was put it in a cardboard and plastic case and tape it up. I don't see how that could act as an antenna. I'm just glad it worked. $10 well spent.

That is all I have to say about my 16 year old PC for now. Enjoy the pictures!

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ian
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by ian » Mon Mar 29, 2021 12:35 am

Can we get some close ups of the hardware? I don’t like how the monitor and speakers don’t match, but I’ll allow it.
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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Fri Apr 02, 2021 6:32 pm

ian wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 12:35 am
Can we get some close ups of the hardware? I don’t like how the monitor and speakers don’t match, but I’ll allow it.
Sure, I'll get some better pics next time I go out. You'll be happy to know I have replaced the speakers. However, you will still be unhappy overall because they still don't match. :olol: I hooked some little speakers from a surround sound into a radio/switcher then hooked that to the PC.
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by ian » Sat Apr 03, 2021 3:33 am

I’m particularly interested in that case.. pretty sure My dad had a computer in a case just like that at one point.
Hank Azaria not playing Apu on the Simpsons will make the role as irrelevant as the Simpsons has been as a series since 1999!

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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:07 pm

ian wrote:
Sat Apr 03, 2021 3:33 am
I’m particularly interested in that case.. pretty sure My dad had a computer in a case just like that at one point.
I'd forgotten about it until I just now seen this reply. So I went out and took a couple pictures for you just now.

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ian
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by ian » Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:24 pm

Holy shit yeah, that’s the same case my dad had when he died in 2013.

His had a beige panel around the power buttons (identical to the rest) and non yellowed drive panels, but was otherwise identical.

It was housing a Pentium 4 System though.

Think I even still have that stupid USB door even though the case was gotten rid of ages ago.
Hank Azaria not playing Apu on the Simpsons will make the role as irrelevant as the Simpsons has been as a series since 1999!

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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:33 pm

ian wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:24 pm
and non yellowed drive panels, but was otherwise identical.
I've been wanting to try retrobrite something to see how it comes out. Those drive panels would be a good small item to test with.
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ian
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by ian » Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:16 am

Could also just flat out bleach them.

I bleached some panels recently because I couldn’t be assed with the whole retrobrite process.
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by melancholy » Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:13 am

I tried retrobrighting some of my stuff recently. I used off-the-shelf hydrogen peroxide and a IR LED light strip I bought off Amazon. It kinda worked, my SNES mouse definitely looks better. But if you do it, get the salon grade hydrogen peroxide. The stuff I bought in the medical aisle of Walgreens works but it took forever and wasn’t as close to the original color as I was hoping.

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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by ian » Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:46 pm

So this is what bleach did for my Celeron's ODD face panel:
NO... DRINK THE BLEACH.JPG
the bottom panel was the same in both shots, and had been bleach bathed a little bit earlier.
50/50 cheap bleach/water, then sat and forgotten about for like a week or so. Not perfect, but much better than it was and it looks better in person than in my photos.

the reason I used bleach was because it was set and forget... not fucking around with mixing solutions, or expensive peroxide, or UV lights or fucking sun, and then not worried about reapplying several times, or cling wrap or splotches if it wasn't applied evenly.

a panel that is supposed to be white... a bunch of bleach, and do other projects while it does it's thing! :olol:
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Hank Azaria not playing Apu on the Simpsons will make the role as irrelevant as the Simpsons has been as a series since 1999!

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