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-   -   Compaq EN P600 w/i820 chipset upgrade questions (http://www.hardwarebanter.com/showthread.php?t=59392)

Eddie Crismond November 24th 04 01:36 AM

Compaq EN P600 w/i820 chipset upgrade questions
 

Hi

A relative has been given a Compaq EN Series. The case is not
a vertical 'tower', but horizontal. The case is meant to be
placed right on top of a desk, with the monitor placed on top of it.

There is a sticker on the top-front-right hand side of the case that
reads:
Compaq END/P600/13d/4/128c US
Compaq serial NO. 6008 DH95 A134

This PC has the following specs:
i820 Chipset
600 Mhz Pentium III
(x86 Family 6 Model 8 Stepping 1 GenuineIntel ~597 Mhz)
128 MB PC800 RDRAM (with blank installed for continuity)
Disk Drive: 13GB Maxtor 91366U4
IDE Controller: Intel 82801AA Bus Master IDE Controller
Video card: Matrox Millenium G400 - English
CD-ROM: Compaq CRD-8400D
Monitor: Samtron 77V
Sound: AC'97 Driver for Intel 82801AA Controller

Upgrade Questions

MEMORY
I would like to remove the 128MB PC800 RDRAM modual and the blank
modual, and add two 256MB PC800 moduals, to give a total of 512MB
of physical memory. Does this Compaq i820 chipset motherboard
require ECC memory, or can I turn ECC off in the BIOS, and install
non-ECC RDRAM? Is the motherboard picky, or can I install any
non-ECC RDRAM? Also, if I choose to go with PC600 RDRAM, will there
be significant drop in performance compared to PC800?

BIOS
I was told by the original owner that the BIOS in this PC is not stored
in a flash ROM but on the hard drive itself. I'm not sure about this
myself. I have read about hardware diagnostics, or something to that
effect being stored on the drive in some user group postings. If I do
a zero fill on the disk, is there an easy way to restore this piece of
software?

NEWER VIDEO CARD AND INCREASED OVERALL POWER REQUIREMENTS
I have an nVidia GeForce 2 32MB (Dell), and a GeForce 3 64MB (OEM)
laying around. I was thinking of swapping the Matrox out for one of
these cards. Will the PSU handle the extra load of the Geforce 3
without reboots or lock-ups?

OS AND APPLICATIONS
The eventual goal is to run Windows XP, while being stable, and snappy.
The current Windows 2000 Pro install from Compaq has developed
some bugs, displays errors a boot, and occasional blue screens
after running for a day. Also she would like to try The Sims! 2 which
needs more memory and a video card with transform and lighting.


Many thanks in advance for a reply to any of these questions. I have
tried a few searches in Google, Google Groups, and Compaq's site, and
have gotten spotty info.

Edward Crismond









Ben Myers November 24th 04 04:48 AM

In response to your questions:

1. Look in the system BIOS setup to see whether or not ECC can be disabled. On
desktop/tower non-server systems, it usually can.
2. Stick with PC800, not PC600. You have no assurance that PC600 will work,
altho it probably will, because the Intel 820 chipset is THE standard for
Pentium 3 RAMBUS motherboards, and the 820 does handle PC600. Once again, you
may run into a BIOS limitation. Yes, PC600 will run slower, but not noticably.
If you can get your hands on a stick of CHEAP PC600, it's worth a try.
3. The Matrox G400 AGP graphics card is plenty fast, unless you are into video
games. Then an nVidia card would be better. But how much faster would a video
game run with a 600MHz processor. The G400 has 16MB or 32MB?
4. If the system has a Windows 2000 ceritificate of authentication sticker
(COA), why not re-install Windows 2000? Also make sure that all the necessary
drivers are installed, starting with Intel's 820 motherboard drivers. Then
install the G400 drivers, any network or sound card drivers. FInally, download
and install all the available Windows 2000 and IE patches, security fixes, etc.
128MB is a little light for Windows 2000, IMHO, and the lack of memory may be
the cause of instability. This class of computer runs far better with Windows
2000 than with the Windows XP bloatware... Ben Myers

On Tue, 23 Nov 2004 20:36:41 -0500, Eddie Crismond wrote:


Hi

A relative has been given a Compaq EN Series. The case is not
a vertical 'tower', but horizontal. The case is meant to be
placed right on top of a desk, with the monitor placed on top of it.

There is a sticker on the top-front-right hand side of the case that
reads:
Compaq END/P600/13d/4/128c US
Compaq serial NO. 6008 DH95 A134

This PC has the following specs:
i820 Chipset
600 Mhz Pentium III
(x86 Family 6 Model 8 Stepping 1 GenuineIntel ~597 Mhz)
128 MB PC800 RDRAM (with blank installed for continuity)
Disk Drive: 13GB Maxtor 91366U4
IDE Controller: Intel 82801AA Bus Master IDE Controller
Video card: Matrox Millenium G400 - English
CD-ROM: Compaq CRD-8400D
Monitor: Samtron 77V
Sound: AC'97 Driver for Intel 82801AA Controller

Upgrade Questions

MEMORY
I would like to remove the 128MB PC800 RDRAM modual and the blank
modual, and add two 256MB PC800 moduals, to give a total of 512MB
of physical memory. Does this Compaq i820 chipset motherboard
require ECC memory, or can I turn ECC off in the BIOS, and install
non-ECC RDRAM? Is the motherboard picky, or can I install any
non-ECC RDRAM? Also, if I choose to go with PC600 RDRAM, will there
be significant drop in performance compared to PC800?

BIOS
I was told by the original owner that the BIOS in this PC is not stored
in a flash ROM but on the hard drive itself. I'm not sure about this
myself. I have read about hardware diagnostics, or something to that
effect being stored on the drive in some user group postings. If I do
a zero fill on the disk, is there an easy way to restore this piece of
software?

NEWER VIDEO CARD AND INCREASED OVERALL POWER REQUIREMENTS
I have an nVidia GeForce 2 32MB (Dell), and a GeForce 3 64MB (OEM)
laying around. I was thinking of swapping the Matrox out for one of
these cards. Will the PSU handle the extra load of the Geforce 3
without reboots or lock-ups?

OS AND APPLICATIONS
The eventual goal is to run Windows XP, while being stable, and snappy.
The current Windows 2000 Pro install from Compaq has developed
some bugs, displays errors a boot, and occasional blue screens
after running for a day. Also she would like to try The Sims! 2 which
needs more memory and a video card with transform and lighting.


Many thanks in advance for a reply to any of these questions. I have
tried a few searches in Google, Google Groups, and Compaq's site, and
have gotten spotty info.

Edward Crismond










kony November 24th 04 05:19 AM

On Tue, 23 Nov 2004 20:36:41 -0500, Eddie Crismond
wrote:


Hi

A relative has been given a Compaq EN Series. The case is not
a vertical 'tower', but horizontal. The case is meant to be
placed right on top of a desk, with the monitor placed on top of it.

There is a sticker on the top-front-right hand side of the case that
reads:
Compaq END/P600/13d/4/128c US
Compaq serial NO. 6008 DH95 A134

This PC has the following specs:
i820 Chipset
600 Mhz Pentium III
(x86 Family 6 Model 8 Stepping 1 GenuineIntel ~597 Mhz)
128 MB PC800 RDRAM (with blank installed for continuity)
Disk Drive: 13GB Maxtor 91366U4
IDE Controller: Intel 82801AA Bus Master IDE Controller
Video card: Matrox Millenium G400 - English
CD-ROM: Compaq CRD-8400D
Monitor: Samtron 77V
Sound: AC'97 Driver for Intel 82801AA Controller

Upgrade Questions

MEMORY
I would like to remove the 128MB PC800 RDRAM modual and the blank
modual, and add two 256MB PC800 moduals, to give a total of 512MB
of physical memory. Does this Compaq i820 chipset motherboard
require ECC memory, or can I turn ECC off in the BIOS, and install
non-ECC RDRAM? Is the motherboard picky, or can I install any
non-ECC RDRAM? Also, if I choose to go with PC600 RDRAM, will there
be significant drop in performance compared to PC800?

BIOS
I was told by the original owner that the BIOS in this PC is not stored
in a flash ROM but on the hard drive itself. I'm not sure about this
myself. I have read about hardware diagnostics, or something to that
effect being stored on the drive in some user group postings. If I do
a zero fill on the disk, is there an easy way to restore this piece of
software?

NEWER VIDEO CARD AND INCREASED OVERALL POWER REQUIREMENTS
I have an nVidia GeForce 2 32MB (Dell), and a GeForce 3 64MB (OEM)
laying around. I was thinking of swapping the Matrox out for one of
these cards. Will the PSU handle the extra load of the Geforce 3
without reboots or lock-ups?

OS AND APPLICATIONS
The eventual goal is to run Windows XP, while being stable, and snappy.
The current Windows 2000 Pro install from Compaq has developed
some bugs, displays errors a boot, and occasional blue screens
after running for a day. Also she would like to try The Sims! 2 which
needs more memory and a video card with transform and lighting.


Many thanks in advance for a reply to any of these questions. I have
tried a few searches in Google, Google Groups, and Compaq's site, and
have gotten spotty info.

Edward Crismond



I don't mean to be snobbish, but you're suggesting a ~ $50
game, a $30 video card, WinXP, and 512MB of RDRAM for an old
600MHz box...

That's over $300 worth of upgrade just to end up with a
600Mhz system that will be pretty slow at SIMS2 and just
adequate running WinXP at all, let alone more demanding
uses, plus the hard drive is going to be older and a
slowdown, else even more $$ poured into it. Sometimes the
result just isn't worth the cost. You'd have far higher
performance just buying a $55 nForce2 motherboard, an Athlon
XP2000, and 2 x 256MB PC3200 DIMMs. If the case won't
accept these parts you might need a different case too, but
the end result is a much faster system.



David November 24th 04 07:27 PM

Unfortunately, I don't think you'll ever run Sims2 on this one. Bare minimum
CPU is a P3 800MHz (if you have a graphics card which supports T&L) or 2GHz
(if you don't have a graphics card which supports T&L). You shouldn't have
any prob w/ XP if you can up the RAM and find drivers.

"Eddie Crismond" wrote in message
...

Hi

A relative has been given a Compaq EN Series. The case is not
a vertical 'tower', but horizontal. The case is meant to be
placed right on top of a desk, with the monitor placed on top of it.

There is a sticker on the top-front-right hand side of the case that
reads:
Compaq END/P600/13d/4/128c US
Compaq serial NO. 6008 DH95 A134

This PC has the following specs:
i820 Chipset
600 Mhz Pentium III
(x86 Family 6 Model 8 Stepping 1 GenuineIntel ~597 Mhz)
128 MB PC800 RDRAM (with blank installed for continuity)
Disk Drive: 13GB Maxtor 91366U4
IDE Controller: Intel 82801AA Bus Master IDE Controller
Video card: Matrox Millenium G400 - English
CD-ROM: Compaq CRD-8400D
Monitor: Samtron 77V
Sound: AC'97 Driver for Intel 82801AA Controller

Upgrade Questions

MEMORY
I would like to remove the 128MB PC800 RDRAM modual and the blank
modual, and add two 256MB PC800 moduals, to give a total of 512MB
of physical memory. Does this Compaq i820 chipset motherboard
require ECC memory, or can I turn ECC off in the BIOS, and install
non-ECC RDRAM? Is the motherboard picky, or can I install any
non-ECC RDRAM? Also, if I choose to go with PC600 RDRAM, will there
be significant drop in performance compared to PC800?

BIOS
I was told by the original owner that the BIOS in this PC is not stored
in a flash ROM but on the hard drive itself. I'm not sure about this
myself. I have read about hardware diagnostics, or something to that
effect being stored on the drive in some user group postings. If I do
a zero fill on the disk, is there an easy way to restore this piece of
software?

NEWER VIDEO CARD AND INCREASED OVERALL POWER REQUIREMENTS
I have an nVidia GeForce 2 32MB (Dell), and a GeForce 3 64MB (OEM)
laying around. I was thinking of swapping the Matrox out for one of
these cards. Will the PSU handle the extra load of the Geforce 3
without reboots or lock-ups?

OS AND APPLICATIONS
The eventual goal is to run Windows XP, while being stable, and snappy.
The current Windows 2000 Pro install from Compaq has developed
some bugs, displays errors a boot, and occasional blue screens
after running for a day. Also she would like to try The Sims! 2 which
needs more memory and a video card with transform and lighting.


Many thanks in advance for a reply to any of these questions. I have
tried a few searches in Google, Google Groups, and Compaq's site, and
have gotten spotty info.

Edward Crismond











Eddie Crismond November 24th 04 08:14 PM

Ben Myers wrote:

Thanks for the reply.

In response to your questions:

1. Look in the system BIOS setup to see whether or not ECC can be disabled. On
desktop/tower non-server systems, it usually can.


There is a setting for ECC in the BIOS. Just asked to make sure.

Once again, you
may run into a BIOS limitation. Yes, PC600 will run slower, but not noticably.
If you can get your hands on a stick of CHEAP PC600, it's worth a try.


Ok, I'll consider PC600 as well. It seems like the FSB would be the
bottleneck on this system, since the FSB runs at 133Mhz.

3. The Matrox G400 AGP graphics card is plenty fast, unless you are into video
games. Then an nVidia card would be better. But how much faster would a video
game run with a 600MHz processor. The G400 has 16MB or 32MB?


I just did a brief Google search on the G400. Looks like most of the
hits mention 16MB SGRAM. Not only does the G400 not have enough memory
for The Sims2, I don't think it has hardware transform and lighting.

4. If the system has a Windows 2000 ceritificate of authentication sticker
(COA), why not re-install Windows 2000?


I may do that, then I might be able to get by with 256MB of memory. I'm
also considering Windows 98SE, since 98SE may work better with 128MB
than a later Windows version, and RDRAM is still almost prohibatively
expensive.





Eddie Crismond November 24th 04 08:39 PM

kony wrote:


I don't mean to be snobbish, but you're suggesting a ~ $50
game, a $30 video card, WinXP, and 512MB of RDRAM for an old
600MHz box...

That's over $300 worth of upgrade just to end up with a
600Mhz system that will be pretty slow at SIMS2 and just
adequate running WinXP at all, let alone more demanding
uses, plus the hard drive is going to be older and a
slowdown, else even more $$ poured into it. Sometimes the
result just isn't worth the cost.


WinXP and the RDRAM are the only things that could not be transfered
over to another system. And because of that, I agree that it is hard to
justify the upgrade because of the cost of those two components. But the
Sims!2, video card, and even a hard drive (although any modern HD I
install will be limited by the IDE controller, which I think is ATA-66
in this PC), could all be used in another system. I also might get some
geek satisfaction from taking an old system and making it better. Hey,
some people have more expensive hobbies.

I am still afraid however, that she may not be happy with the
performance of The Sims! 2 + Windows XP/2000 on this 600Mhz system. The
Sims! 2 + Windows 98SE may be a consideration.

You'd have far higher
performance just buying a $55 nForce2 motherboard, an Athlon
XP2000, and 2 x 256MB PC3200 DIMMs. If the case won't
accept these parts you might need a different case too, but
the end result is a much faster system.


I may consider building her a new system. I doubt I will be able to use
the Compaq EN Series case. The Compaq MB has a PCI riser card.

But, I also have a Dell Dimension with Pentium III 866Mhz, 384MB SDRAM,
ATA-100 hard disk controller and what ever else I decide to throw in it.
This may be more suited for The Sims!2. So trading her the Dell for the
Compaq is worth considering.

Thanks for your reply





Eddie Crismond November 24th 04 09:03 PM

David wrote:

Unfortunately, I don't think you'll ever run Sims2 on this one. Bare minimum
CPU is a P3 800MHz (if you have a graphics card which supports T&L) or 2GHz
(if you don't have a graphics card which supports T&L). You shouldn't have
any prob w/ XP if you can up the RAM and find drivers.


Thanks for the reply

The Sims2 should run on a 600Mhz system with enough RAM and a T&L video
card. How well is the question.

Quoted from this site...
http://thesims2.simshost.com/systemrqts/

/quote

The Sims™ 2 Minimum System Specs

If you have a T&L capable video card with at least 32 MB of video RAM
(such as nVidia GeForce 2 or better or ATI Radeon 7200 or better) then
you need at least:

* 600 MHz P3 processor
* 256 MB RAM if Windows XP, Windows ME, or Windows 2000
* 128 MB RAM if Windows 98

If you have a non-T&L capable video card (such as TNT2 or Intel
Integrated) then you need at least:

* 1.5 GHz processor
* 256 MB RAM if Windows XP, Windows ME, or Windows 2000
* 128 MB RAM if Windows 98

/end quote

I realize this is the bare minimum. But I'm hoping other factors like
FSB, and the bandwidth of both the system memory and video memory, if
they are high, may be an advantage. Installing the less bloated Windows
98SE instead of 2000/XP may also be an advantage.

This other site does suggest as you say, 800Mhz as the minimum CPU speed...
http://compsimgames.about.com/od/the...mrequireme.htm

/quote

If you have a T&L capable video card with at least 32 MB of video RAM
then you need at least:

* 800 MHz processor
* 256 MB RAM if Windows XP
* 128 MB RAM if Windows 98, Windows ME, or Windows 2000
* At least 3.5 gigs of free hard drive space

If you have a non-T&L capable video card then you need at least:

* 2.0 GHz processor
* 256 MB RAM if Windows XP
* 128 MB RAM if Windows 98, Windows ME, or Windows 2000
* At least 3.5 gigs of free hard drive space

/end quote

I have a Dell System just sitting here with an 866Mhz P3 and 368MB of
SDRAM. I could trade her the Dell for the Compaq.






Ben Myers November 24th 04 09:17 PM

On Wed, 24 Nov 2004 15:14:05 -0500, Eddie Crismond wrote:
SNIP

3. The Matrox G400 AGP graphics card is plenty fast, unless you are into video
games. Then an nVidia card would be better. But how much faster would a video
game run with a 600MHz processor. The G400 has 16MB or 32MB?


I just did a brief Google search on the G400. Looks like most of the
hits mention 16MB SGRAM. Not only does the G400 not have enough memory
for The Sims2, I don't think it has hardware transform and lighting.


Oh, yes. The G400 is a 16MB card. The G450 is the 32MB card.


4. If the system has a Windows 2000 ceritificate of authentication sticker
(COA), why not re-install Windows 2000?


I may do that, then I might be able to get by with 256MB of memory. I'm
also considering Windows 98SE, since 98SE may work better with 128MB
than a later Windows version, and RDRAM is still almost prohibatively
expensive.


RDRAM will continue to be more expensive than SDRAM or DDR for some time to
come. If anyone is manufacturing it any more, the quantities are small. Intel
was the prime supporter of RDRAM with its chipsets and belief that it was the
only way to fix the memory access bottleneck that inhibited faster system
performance. Then the Rambus company threw patent infringement lawsuits at
everyone (except Intel), and the entire industry soured on RDRAM. Intel saw the
disenchantment with RDRAM and the high price compared to SDRAM and stopped
designing RAMBUS chipsets in favor of today's DDR SDRAM.

So expect to pay a premium for RDRAM almost forever, or until demand drops way
down to almost zero, whichever happens first. The usual rule of thumb for most
memory these days is around $25 for 128MB. RDRAM can't be touched for that sort
of price... Ben Myers

kony November 24th 04 11:17 PM

On Wed, 24 Nov 2004 15:39:21 -0500, Eddie Crismond
wrote:


WinXP and the RDRAM are the only things that could not be transfered
over to another system. And because of that, I agree that it is hard to
justify the upgrade because of the cost of those two components. But the
Sims!2, video card, and even a hard drive (although any modern HD I
install will be limited by the IDE controller, which I think is ATA-66
in this PC), could all be used in another system. I also might get some
geek satisfaction from taking an old system and making it better. Hey,
some people have more expensive hobbies.

I am still afraid however, that she may not be happy with the
performance of The Sims! 2 + Windows XP/2000 on this 600Mhz system. The
Sims! 2 + Windows 98SE may be a consideration.


It's not 2K or XP that'd be slowing it down, it's the CPU
and amount of memory, memory bus speed, etc (maybe video
card too?). Win2K or XP might need a few dozen more MB of
memory than Win98, but putting that into context of a system
that has 512MB and SIMM games which are notorious for
needing piles of memory (usually 1GB is a good target), and
the OS isn't going to be enough of a difference to matter
during gaming, expecially due to DirectX/GL the OS itself
will have minimal impact.

If the IDE is ATA-66, is that a Via 693 chipset board?
I ask because that chipset has very poor memory performance
already, it's sort of the opposite of the ideal board for
SIMMin' even ignoring the slow CPU. In other words an
Intel BX or Via 694 chipset board with all other components
same might SIMM 10% faster just due to that issue alone.
10% isn't much on a box that can do it @ 50 FPS, but might
be on a box that does it @ 14 FPS.



You'd have far higher
performance just buying a $55 nForce2 motherboard, an Athlon
XP2000, and 2 x 256MB PC3200 DIMMs. If the case won't
accept these parts you might need a different case too, but
the end result is a much faster system.


I may consider building her a new system. I doubt I will be able to use
the Compaq EN Series case. The Compaq MB has a PCI riser card.


You might be able to buy an upgradeware Tualatin Celeron
adapter and get the system up to ~ 1.4GHz or so, don't know
for sure if the board would be compatible or not. Otherwise
it might make a router, fileserver or ??? someday.


But, I also have a Dell Dimension with Pentium III 866Mhz, 384MB SDRAM,
ATA-100 hard disk controller and what ever else I decide to throw in it.
This may be more suited for The Sims!2. So trading her the Dell for the
Compaq is worth considering.


MIght be though 384MB is a little light for the SIMMS too,
someone I know is playing on a box with 768MB and wondering
if they should upgrade to 1280MB. 384MB is a nice size for
moderate WinXP use though.

kony November 24th 04 11:25 PM

On Wed, 24 Nov 2004 16:03:37 -0500, Eddie Crismond
wrote:


The Sims2 should run on a 600Mhz system with enough RAM and a T&L video
card. How well is the question.

Quoted from this site...
http://thesims2.simshost.com/systemrqts/

/quote

The Sims™ 2 Minimum System Specs

If you have a T&L capable video card with at least 32 MB of video RAM
(such as nVidia GeForce 2 or better or ATI Radeon 7200 or better) then
you need at least:

* 600 MHz P3 processor
* 256 MB RAM if Windows XP, Windows ME, or Windows 2000
* 128 MB RAM if Windows 98

If you have a non-T&L capable video card (such as TNT2 or Intel
Integrated) then you need at least:

* 1.5 GHz processor
* 256 MB RAM if Windows XP, Windows ME, or Windows 2000
* 128 MB RAM if Windows 98

/end quote



Well, Geforce 2 is not hardware T&L, Geforce 3 was the first
gen. to do that, so the GF3 should be substantially better
at making most of the slow CPU, but then obviously the video
card isn't so fast these days either. From what I vaguely
recall of that era system/video, a GF3 might be at least 60%
faster at typical games.


I realize this is the bare minimum. But I'm hoping other factors like
FSB, and the bandwidth of both the system memory and video memory, if
they are high, may be an advantage. Installing the less bloated Windows
98SE instead of 2000/XP may also be an advantage.


What do you mean by FSB and bandwidth?
A P3, even using Rambus, is still very slow in these
regards, it's not like it's making up any ground in those
areas. While Rambus memory has higher throughput, even
faster memory than yours uses still loses it's much of it's
edge due to higher latency.



This other site does suggest as you say, 800Mhz as the minimum CPU speed...
http://compsimgames.about.com/od/the...mrequireme.htm

/quote

If you have a T&L capable video card with at least 32 MB of video RAM
then you need at least:

* 800 MHz processor
* 256 MB RAM if Windows XP
* 128 MB RAM if Windows 98, Windows ME, or Windows 2000
* At least 3.5 gigs of free hard drive space

If you have a non-T&L capable video card then you need at least:

* 2.0 GHz processor
* 256 MB RAM if Windows XP
* 128 MB RAM if Windows 98, Windows ME, or Windows 2000
* At least 3.5 gigs of free hard drive space

/end quote

I have a Dell System just sitting here with an 866Mhz P3 and 368MB of
SDRAM. I could trade her the Dell for the Compaq.


That's nice of you but probably not going to help enough for
semi-modern games.


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