Something Random

sedrosken

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So, 19.4.1 causes BSODs as well, specifically a SYSTEM_THREAD_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED in dxgmms2.sys. Time to return to my old standby, 18.3.4. Nvidia's not exactly a shining example of driver writer competency either -- I hear one of their newer drivers consumed a whole CPU thread for Pascal cards a little while back, but at least I wasn't scared to use my computer after updating my drivers back when I had my 960. Still getting MEMORY_MANAGEMENT BSODs on rare occasion as well, I hope it's something reseating my RAM will fix, I can't afford a new DDR3 kit that will fit under my radiator. If I can't fix it I may as well sell the board and chip to try to recoup some costs and just bite the bullet and build a cheap R5-1600 based rig -- I can drive up to the Cincinnati area to go to a Microcenter to get the chip for 80 freedom dollarydoos, and the board will be about the same for a half-decent example on the used market. RAM's gonna be the big expense either way because I'll have to get a good kit unless I want my infinity fabric speed to be dramatically cut, and DDR3 is expensive because no one makes it anymore and it's in demand.
 

LunarMist

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I gave up after a couple minutes of a circle rotating. I suppose it is normal to download a half gig just on the front page nowadays.
 

LunarMist

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You are moonlighting from your permanent job to accomplish the secret project?
 

jtr1962

Storage? I am Storage!
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LunarMist

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I don't recall that Dudering ever had a conventional job at a normal employer. ;)
 

Handruin

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Most people are off from my work for an extended weekend. I spent the evening trying to understand how to configure my new pfsense router/firewall. There are so many options; it's very overwhelming.
 

sedrosken

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My problems ended up boiling down to a particular RAM stick. Almost a month's worth of messing around thinking my board was dead too and it was a 35 dollar fix. Ech.

With the new security vulnerabilities coming to light from hyperthreading on pre-8th gen Intel chips, I'm almost glad I have the 3570K instead of the 3770K.
 

Handruin

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You can disable hyper-threading in a 3770K. It's not likely giving you much anyway.
 

Chewy509

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IIRC, most Spectre variants will work even on single core systems lacking HyperThreading... It's all about speculative execution engine having faults reading memory into cache when it shouldn't. IIRC, the last Intel CPU that was immune to both Meltdown/Spectre were the Atom N5x0 series (these have in-order-execution engines similar to the Pentium and Pentium MMX cpus). These were pretty much only used in Netbooks and Nettop systems. (Note: Hyper-Threading only makes the attack easier, and is not a mitigation simply disabling it).
 

sedrosken

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You could consider adding RAM test software, such as MemTest86, to your diagnostic kit.
Already long since done. A large portion of my (admittedly aging) diagnostic toolkit is basically just a Hiren's BootCD, which has MemTest86+ on it already -- I just thought there might have been some issues with my board as well considering I've personally never before this had a RAM stick just go bad out of the blue, and said board has been finicky in the past.
 

sedrosken

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Because as we all know I simply cannot just leave well enough alone, I've elected to undertake the monumental task of getting Windows NT 4 set up and playing nice on the Pentium Pro machine. Thorough testing and troubleshooting have revealed that it really, really does not like my SD to IDE adapter -- I can prepare the disk when bootstrapping setup from the floppy disks and supplying the driver disk for my Ultra66 card, but it seems to hang when trying to actually, y'know, do the first boot and junk. So my solution to this problem is hopefully to set it up onto another drive, and then clone said drive to a partition on the SD card, copy over the MBR and edit the boot.ini accordingly, and finally for good measure drop in the ntdetect.com and ntldr from Windows 2000 so I can expand the size of the partition to take up the whole rest of the card and still have NT be able to boot.

Why I'm not just using Windows 2000 instead is something I ask myself more and more as I keep failing. The CPU is a bit weak for running 2000 day-to-day, since the shell is basically like taking an IE window and running it in the background all the time... but 9x underperforms on first-run P6 anyway. It's a hard decision to make, really. I backed up my original 98 SD card just to have something to fall back to if this experiment ends up being a total wash.
 
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sedrosken

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Is this project for a class on computer history or something like that?
Nope, purely for my own masochism entertainment. I've figured out that NT 4 does have an option to install plug and play support, or at least a preliminary version of it, and I plan to make use of that on my next off day as I follow the old adage and if at first I don't succeed, try, try again; if only to prove my own insanity.

If this doesn't work out Windows 2000 and litestep replacing Windows Explorer seems like a slightly viable option, if only for something more off the beaten path. My problem is that I've used 2000, XP and 98SE on enough machines that not only do I know them like the back of my hand, I find them boring. There's no conflict with any of them. Well, on this machine there may be conflicts with XP -- mainly that I barely meet the minimum requirements for running it. That might be something fun to see sometime when I'm really bored. :devilish:

Basically, my goals at this point are thus:

- Dual boot MS-DOS 7.1 with NT 4 on my SD to IDE adapter, this can be accomplished by making the proper partitions, installing the operating systems, expanding the partitions to meet my needs and then installing the Windows 2000 NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM so that it'll boot without fuss on such a large drive.

- Start with a bare NT 4 system. No drivers other than for my outboard IDE controller. Install the PnP service and then work on getting drivers installed for everything. Apply the registry fixes that come with the unofficial Banshee driver 1.05, as this will hopefully re-enable my second TMU for D3D stuff.

- Install SP6a, the Post-SP6a Update Rollup, and all the hotfixes that come after it. The first go-around at this ended in tears as NT 4 randomly decided to swap my zip drive's drive letter with that of my boot drive and make all my system services sad. That the Disk Utility's drive letter assignment thing is more of a suggestion than anything didn't help.

- Install the unofficial distribution of DirectX5. This will hopefully enable me to run all those Windows games that demand Direct3D instead of having Glide or OpenGL options, that will actually run properly on such a slow machine.

- Install my games and junk as per normal. Enjoy the slightly increased responsiveness and greatly increased stability of NT 4 over 9x.
 
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Chewy509

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- Install the unofficial distribution of DirectX5. This will hopefully enable me to run all those Windows games that demand Direct3D instead of having Glide or OpenGL options, that will actually run properly on such a slow machine.
I remember doing this (back in the day when I was still running my P233MMX based system with NT4**), a lot of that games had weird checks for OS version and would fail to run despite having everything that was needed. Most complained about not being WIn98... Also note, you'll also need gfx drivers that supported the DX5 feature set for this to usable for gaming...

My system at the time:
Intel Pentium MMX @233MHz (overclocked to 266MHz) - I could get to 300MHz, but was unstable.
i430TX based motherboard. (Tekram IIRC).
256MB SDRAM. (2x 128MB).
52x CDROM / 8x CD-R
Matrox Mystique 220.
2x 3dfx Voodoo2 12MB SLI.
2.1GB UMDA33 Seagate HDD.
NT4 SP6a / Redhat Linux 5.2 (later 6.1) dual boot.

It could run Windows 2000 (mainly because of the RAM, but was slow), so tried the DX5 patches...

Games that did work:
QuakeGL
Quake II
Total Annihilation

Re: Zip drive - known issue. Best to detach all devices other than boot drive when doing the hotpatches, and reconnect once it's all installed.
 

sedrosken

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I remember doing this (back in the day when I was still running my P233MMX based system with NT4**), a lot of that games had weird checks for OS version and would fail to run despite having everything that was needed. Most complained about not being WIn98... Also note, you'll also need gfx drivers that supported the DX5 feature set for this to usable for gaming...
Duly noted. I do think my drivers support DX5 as they're from 2001-ish I think, but I could be wrong. That'll be the first thing I look at when things inevitably go wrong. The OS-checks are another matter entirely -- I do believe most of the games I've got queued up to run on this thing support NT 4 either explicitly (Diablo II, idTech engine games) or are known to work (Jazz Jackrabbit 2, UT99). I think I may lose out on The Sims, but given how utterly awfully that performs on there it's no big loss.

My system at the time:
Intel Pentium MMX @233MHz (overclocked to 266MHz) - I could get to 300MHz, but was unstable.
i430TX based motherboard. (Tekram IIRC).
256MB SDRAM. (2x 128MB).
52x CDROM / 8x CD-R
Matrox Mystique 220.
2x 3dfx Voodoo2 12MB SLI.
2.1GB UMDA33 Seagate HDD.
NT4 SP6a / Redhat Linux 5.2 (later 6.1) dual boot.
Jesus that's a sweet little machine for the day. Makes me very jealous. :p The Voodoo2s in particular I look at with envy -- but alas, I don't have the PCI slots to throw around to have a 2D card and two 3D cards hogging my PCI bus. That reminds me, I've got a 233MHz MMX chip just laying around for when I get ahold of a decent socket 7 board. I should pit that against my PPro head-to-head just to see what really matters, MMX or more advanced architecture/much more cache. Also, you probably had performance issues from the 430TX chipset and large amount of RAM -- it's known for only being able to cache 64MB.

It could run Windows 2000 (mainly because of the RAM, but was slow), so tried the DX5 patches...
Ah, ok. You did already know.

Re: Zip drive - known issue. Best to detach all devices other than boot drive when doing the hotpatches, and reconnect once it's all installed.
Thank you for this tidbit! It'll definitely come in useful. Wish I'd have thought of that last time.
 

sedrosken

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Well, due to the rather "dirty" way NT 4 setup formats NTFS drives (in an extended FAT partition unless you pre-partition the drive, and starting in FAT and then converting to NTFS on the first boot into setup proper) it really, really, really hated my SD to IDE adapter. The bootloader seemed to just hang. I'm thinking it never properly wrote the MBR? Well, anyway. I'm setting it up on a separate drive and I plan to clone it over to my SD adapter once that's done. I'll hope it works, because I'm not swapping away from this SD adapter permanently. It seems the only operating systems with problems with it are NT 3.x and 4, because even DOS works just fine with it, though it occasionally needs some prodding on pre-7 versions to actually write the MBR.
 

Chewy509

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it really, really, really hated my SD to IDE adapter. The bootloader seemed to just hang
IIRC WinNT4 could be really picky about UDMA modes for controllers and drives, you could try limiting the SD/IDE adaptor to PIO4 mode?

(My system at the time would hang 95% of the time during boot when UDMA33 was enabled in NT4, otherwise UDMA worked fine with Linux, so I know it wasn't hardware combination).

Re: the i430TX only being able the cache the first 64MB of the address space. I didn't really find this an issue, as the increased RAM made up for any short comings. (Also remember, the L2 at the time were chips on the motherboard, so high latency to begin with).
 

sedrosken

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IIRC WinNT4 could be really picky about UDMA modes for controllers and drives, you could try limiting the SD/IDE adaptor to PIO4 mode?

(My system at the time would hang 95% of the time during boot when UDMA33 was enabled in NT4, otherwise UDMA worked fine with Linux, so I know it wasn't hardware combination).
Well, that explains an awful lot. I don't know how to force it down to a PIO mode on my controller card (it autodetects and doesn't seem to let me change anything), and wouldn't want to anyway -- the increased CPU load for file transfers would render the entire point of installing NT 4 -- i.e., a slightly quicker and more efficient system (remember I'm on first-run P6 here) -- entirely moot.

What I don't get is that my experimental drive is running in a DMA mode as well -- not UDMA4 like the SD adapter, but DMA2. It works just fine, and seems to be running about as fast as drives of that day came. I.E., not very fast at all, but at least it doesn't peg the CPU while it's moving stuff around.

I may try to obtain a different controller and see if that'll work any better, but I may end up just going back to 98SE out of sheer frustration with this whole endeavor. Thankfully I kept a backup image of the drive just before experimentation began.
 
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