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Products => Vintage Computing => Topic started by: precaud on August 28, 2018, 12:20:29 am

Title: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on August 28, 2018, 12:20:29 am
I am putting together a "new" PC for the bench. It will be set up as dual-boot (XP and Win98SE) so I can still use programs I wrote 30+ years ago. The most difficult hardware requirement is that it must have at least one 16-bit ISA slot. Preferably two, but I think I can get along with one.

I presently have two boards that will do the job:
: Tyan S1830 Tsunami AT. My current Win98 machine with a 950MHz P3. Has 4 ISA slots. Not a racehorse, but has been uber-reliable.
: Soyo K7VTA Pro. KT133A based with a 1.7GHz Athlon XP. Has one ISA slot. Recently retired after 16+ years bookkeeping duty. Needs to be recapped.

Anyone know of other mobo's that would be a better choice?
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: mzzj on August 28, 2018, 12:53:52 am
Intel Core i7?  >:D

https://www.amazon.com/Interloper-IHD620-H81-motherboard-Intel%C3%82-Core-processors%C3%82-Core/dp/B01J1LDCV2/ref=sr_1_6?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1535381458&sr=1-6&keywords=isa+motherboard (https://www.amazon.com/Interloper-IHD620-H81-motherboard-Intel%C3%82-Core-processors%C3%82-Core/dp/B01J1LDCV2/ref=sr_1_6?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1535381458&sr=1-6&keywords=isa+motherboard)

Core2duo:
https://www.amazon.com/YAYKON-YH-945A6-Motherboard-chipsets-Support/dp/B07G7BB8RD/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1535381458&sr=1-4&keywords=isa+motherboard (https://www.amazon.com/YAYKON-YH-945A6-Motherboard-chipsets-Support/dp/B07G7BB8RD/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1535381458&sr=1-4&keywords=isa+motherboard)

Not sure how good match either of the boards are for XP or Win98. There is probably no driver support for half of the included features.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on August 28, 2018, 01:05:36 am
Intel Core i7?  >:D

Core2duo:

Not sure how good match either of the boards are for XP or Win98. There is probably no driver support for half of the included features.

Yeah, that would be a concern. The first one is pretty pricey, too. My preference would be something from "back in the day"...
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: dexters_lab on August 28, 2018, 04:34:48 am
personally i would suggest going for something high reliability from the period... so names like supermicro, intel and abit come to mind especially if you want to run the period operating systems.

the ISA16 slots started to disappear from the domestic/gaming boards quite quick but there will be lots of boards aimed at the professional / corporate market that would include at least one of them

Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: Halcyon on August 28, 2018, 10:10:01 am
personally i would suggest going for something high reliability from the period... so names like supermicro, intel and abit come to mind especially if you want to run the period operating systems.

the ISA16 slots started to disappear from the domestic/gaming boards quite quick but there will be lots of boards aimed at the professional / corporate market that would include at least one of them

+ 1 Supermicro. They make excellent products.

You might be able to pick up a Supermicro P4SCA (http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/P4/E7210/P4SCA.cfm) which is a Pentium 4 board. It's now EOL but a quick Google reveals several on ebay and Amazon.

It is highly unlikely you will find an ISA bus on anything post-Pentium 4.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on August 28, 2018, 10:36:10 am
Very interesting board, that. Unfortunately, no drivers for 98SE.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: digsys on August 28, 2018, 11:28:26 am
Been in a similar boat for many years, and always kept a few boards lying around, I may still have 1 or 2 somewhere -
This is what worked for me - I have 1-2 PCI M/Bs with PCI to ISA converter boards  .. I think I even made my own custom one - I can look up the chipset
required, if that is of interest. I think it was Sunix, but not confirmed. There are also USB > ISA converters ie arstech.com/install/ecom-prodshow/usb2isa.html
Not sure about your driver situation though, or some of the unique ISA features.
I've never had a problem finding old ISA PCs on local trading post sites, but for $20+ bucks each, you can afford to reject a few :-)
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on August 28, 2018, 02:04:06 pm
Thanks digsys. I don't want to mess with converters. Don't need to - the two boards I mentioned above will both do the job, I'm just wondering if there's a better one from back then that would be better.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: IconicPCB on August 28, 2018, 02:21:10 pm
Google PICMIG
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: Halcyon on August 28, 2018, 04:16:57 pm
Very interesting board, that. Unfortunately, no drivers for 98SE.

Even though it's not officially supported by Supermicro, you still might find Windows 9x drivers for the chipset/NIC directly through Intel. My experience with Supermicro boards in the past is that generally, very few additional drivers are actually needed as most of the components are already supported by the major operating systems.

Failing that, you might have to resort to something older like the Pentium II/III boards. They might not be as fast as you'd like, but if you're running Windows 98SE, it might be your only option.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on August 29, 2018, 12:10:29 am
The P4SCA is interesting but pretty pricey. So far, my Soyo K7VTA Pro is looking like the best choice.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: bob225 on August 29, 2018, 12:28:56 am
The only relatively modern hardware with native ISA I can think of is PC104 - software wise use a modern pc with VMware to run the old systems - I use some automotive software via a XP 32 bit on a VM


What is the ISA card for ? Is there a modern pci/pci-e card replacement for your isa card ?
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on August 29, 2018, 12:54:44 am
What is the ISA card for ? Is there a modern pci/pci-e card replacement for your isa card ?

It's the power, interface, and control card for my AP Instruments 102B network analyzer. They replaced it with USB versions, not compatible and no upgrade path.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: bob225 on August 29, 2018, 04:57:54 am
Replace the analyser ? im sure you can pick up something used cheaply
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on August 29, 2018, 05:11:16 am
Industrial MBs may be worth a look - not sure how available this one is these days but used one for several years

http://www.ibt.ca/v2/items/mb820/index.html (http://www.ibt.ca/v2/items/mb820/index.html)
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: Halcyon on August 29, 2018, 06:32:34 am
Industrial MBs may be worth a look - not sure how available this one is these days but used one for several years

http://www.ibt.ca/v2/items/mb820/index.html (http://www.ibt.ca/v2/items/mb820/index.html)

I've noticed this a bit recently. What makes this board "industrial" ? It's a bog-standard consumer board.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: Nusa on August 29, 2018, 07:15:29 am
In the case of generic motherboards, industrial mainly means a commitment to an availability and support lifetime that is years longer than consumer motherboards.

In this case, I'm guessing there's a significant supply of old stock that is still available, perhaps due to deliberate overproduction to support the fact it's "industrial" vintage. I doubt they're still actually being made.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on August 29, 2018, 07:17:19 am
Please... I'm not looking for options to my plan... I'm looking for a possibly better motherboard to use than the Soyo K7VTA (which will probably work fine)...
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on August 29, 2018, 08:35:05 am
Industrial MBs may be worth a look - not sure how available this one is these days but used one for several years

http://www.ibt.ca/v2/items/mb820/index.html (http://www.ibt.ca/v2/items/mb820/index.html)

I've noticed this a bit recently. What makes this board "industrial" ? It's a bog-standard consumer board.
Long term availability, ISTR it also had a few extra things like hardware watchdog and RS485 options on the serial ports
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: Halcyon on August 29, 2018, 09:12:46 am
Please... I'm not looking for options to my plan... I'm looking for a possibly better motherboard to use than the Soyo K7VTA (which will probably work fine)...

There are a number of options in this thread. Part of the difficulty is that you're limiting yourself to boards with Windows 9x drivers available and is within your price range. Unless you're willing to spend $300 or $400, then you really won't have many options to choose from and you'll have to settle for bottom of the barrel, cheap consumer boards.

If you're after something reliable, well supported and stable, then spend the extra money on a Supermicro board.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on August 29, 2018, 09:30:17 am
Please... I'm not looking for options to my plan... I'm looking for a possibly better motherboard to use than the Soyo K7VTA (which will probably work fine)...

There are a number of options in this thread. Part of the difficulty is that you're limiting yourself to boards with Windows 9x drivers available and is within your price range. Unless you're willing to spend $300 or $400, then you really won't have many options to choose from and you'll have to settle for bottom of the barrel, cheap consumer boards.

If you're after something reliable, well supported and stable, then spend the extra money on a Supermicro board.

Oh c'mon, that's hyperbolic. You're making it sound like anything less than the Supermicro is a POS.

The Soyo has been my daily-driver business computer for the last 15-16 years, running at least 8 hrs/day 5 days/week, with zero issues. In an Antec tower that has also had zero issues.

Never mind. I just ordered the caps to recap them both and I'll go that route.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: james_s on August 29, 2018, 10:28:00 am
If it's going to be running Win98 and XP, how fast does it need to be? Any number of Pentium IV or Athlon systems would probably do the job. Assuming you're not going to be gaming on it or doing a lot of web browsing anything from the mid-late 2000's should do the job.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: Halcyon on August 29, 2018, 11:12:14 am
Please... I'm not looking for options to my plan... I'm looking for a possibly better motherboard to use than the Soyo K7VTA (which will probably work fine)...

There are a number of options in this thread. Part of the difficulty is that you're limiting yourself to boards with Windows 9x drivers available and is within your price range. Unless you're willing to spend $300 or $400, then you really won't have many options to choose from and you'll have to settle for bottom of the barrel, cheap consumer boards.

If you're after something reliable, well supported and stable, then spend the extra money on a Supermicro board.

Oh c'mon, that's hyperbolic. You're making it sound like anything less than the Supermicro is a POS.

The Soyo has been my daily-driver business computer for the last 15-16 years, running at least 8 hrs/day 5 days/week, with zero issues. In an Antec tower that has also had zero issues.

Never mind. I just ordered the caps to recap them both and I'll go that route.

No, not at all. You asked for our advice and we're giving you our suggestions. Supermicro are known around the world for their high quality gear. I've used their products since the 1990's and my Pentium III P6SBA board still works as well as the day I bought it.

You asked for a "better" choice in your original post so we delivered. But as I said, if you're limited in budget, you're also limiting your choices. As they say: Stability, Performance, Cheap... pick two.

If your existing boards do what you want them to, then stick with those.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: BradC on August 29, 2018, 11:25:24 am
Never mind. I just ordered the caps to recap them both and I'll go that route.

I did that with Soyo boards back in the 90's. The originals lasted a couple of years. After replacing the caps with quality Japanese units the boards were taken out of service (retired) last year after ~17 years of 24/7 use. At the time it seemed nuts, but they were the only boards I could find that had the right chipset and form-factor to fit the requirements.

If you already have boards that work, then stick with those. The more pre-heat you can get into the board, the easier it'll be to re-work the caps. Motherboards have huge internal planes and really suck the heat from the joint.

Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: james_s on August 29, 2018, 03:19:31 pm
I re-capped a lot of boards back in the early 2000's, never had one of them fail again.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on September 01, 2018, 03:06:09 am
BEFORE - All 'lytics within a few inches of the cpu have bulging tops, a couple have electrolyte leaking out the top. Fortunately none of it is coming out the bottom, so the pcb is clean...
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on September 02, 2018, 05:14:43 am
Recapping the board went fine. What worked best was to preheat the area around the caps with hot air, remove the caps with a high-mass 700F tip, preheat the area again, and then clean out the holes with the desoldering gun. All of the eight 2200uF/6,3V caps measured around 200uF with 3 to 4 Ohms ESR. This, plus new caps in the power supply and synthetic-oiled all fans, and its one smooth machine again!

I then made a few hardware changes in preparation for its new duty - removed a SCSI card, added 512MB ram, changed the SCSI CDROM with an IDE one, and added a USB 2.0 card. Booted it up, and got the message below. Because of the hardware changes, XP now thinks its a counterfeit version and is forcing a re-activation. All part of "Windows Genuine Advantage". I tried a few workarounds I found on the web but it still puts the same message up. Apparently I made too many changes to the hardware at once, and that triggers their algorithm that it may not be legit.

Let's see... Microsoft have dropped support for XP, but they are still policing installations? Seems pretty heavy-handed to me.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: hendorog on September 02, 2018, 06:27:56 am
That's the beauty of playing with old Windows computers. You get to suffer through those stupid licensing issues all over again. |O

I will never go back to that. Battling licensing issues is just a waste of life.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: james_s on September 02, 2018, 09:00:02 am
Even 10+ years ago you could call support, tell them you replaced some parts and they would give you a key to unlock it. I hate the license activation crap too, as with most of this stuff it never did anything to stop the pirates. Cracked versions of Windows have been around for almost as long as the activation crap has.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: aandrew on September 02, 2018, 09:26:33 am
I am putting together a "new" PC for the bench. It will be set up as dual-boot (XP and Win98SE) so I can still use programs I wrote 30+ years ago. The most difficult hardware requirement is that it must have at least one 16-bit ISA slot. Preferably two, but I think I can get along with one.

Just a side question -- win9x is *very* well virtualized - any reason why you can't run something more modern and virtualize the system, including the USB-to-ISA adapter that another person mentioned?

I know this is not directly answering your question but it may be worthwhile, especially because the specific hardware you want is only going to get more and more expensive.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: aandrew on September 02, 2018, 09:28:12 am
I've noticed this a bit recently. What makes this board "industrial" ? It's a bog-standard consumer board.

The price.  :box:
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on September 02, 2018, 11:42:56 am
Just a side question -- win9x is *very* well virtualized - any reason why you can't run something more modern and virtualize the system, including the USB-to-ISA adapter that another person mentioned?

I know this is not directly answering your question but it may be worthwhile, especially because the specific hardware you want is only going to get more and more expensive.
I'm not entertaining that option because:
: I already have the specific hardware needed. I only needed to add a bit more ram.
: I'm only doing this to accommodate a USB scope, which has yet to prove itself. If it doesn't work out, I'll happily stay with my current 98SE setup.
: Remember parallel port security keys?
: I see risk and no real benefit in having a more modern computer with virtualization (which may not be compatible) and a USB->ISA adapter (which may not be compatible).
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: Halcyon on September 02, 2018, 06:40:35 pm
Even 10+ years ago you could call support, tell them you replaced some parts and they would give you a key to unlock it. I hate the license activation crap too, as with most of this stuff it never did anything to stop the pirates. Cracked versions of Windows have been around for almost as long as the activation crap has.

Yep, same with older versions of Microsoft Office. Until Microsoft stopped supporting activation on those product. That was the last straw for me. I refuse to use Office 365, like Windows 10, it's complete and utter garbage.

I've noticed this a bit recently. What makes this board "industrial" ? It's a bog-standard consumer board.

The price.  :box:

Ahh yes of course. I forgot obsolete technology = "industrial", "rare", "new old stock" etc... like it makes a difference.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: bob225 on September 02, 2018, 08:29:15 pm
I have never had a issue activating/reactivating xp (mainly on VM these days) you have to activate it offline - it rarely goes through first time on the automated system so you have to speak to someone what is usually MS India

There are "Patches" I think I may have a cd knocking about still
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on September 03, 2018, 05:43:23 am
Well the reactivation went fine through their automated system, but still... what a ridiculous process to go through for a non-supported, supposedly outdated OS...

Have tested and verified that the 102B's controller card works in the Soyo's ISA slot, and its software with the DDE interface through XP to my programs also works. Last hurdle is the NI GPIB. if that passes, we're all good.   :-+
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: Halcyon on September 03, 2018, 08:15:55 am
I have never had a issue activating/reactivating xp (mainly on VM these days) you have to activate it offline - it rarely goes through first time on the automated system so you have to speak to someone what is usually MS India

There are "Patches" I think I may have a cd knocking about still

Windows XP I don't have an issue with. It generally activates first go (I have an Enterprise licence). I tried to install an old version of office on one of my old computers (it might have been 2010) and I had no way of activating it.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: james_s on September 04, 2018, 01:59:12 am
Yep, same with older versions of Microsoft Office. Until Microsoft stopped supporting activation on those product. That was the last straw for me. I refuse to use Office 365, like Windows 10, it's complete and utter garbage.

I still have Office 2003 on my personal machine, I haven't tried activating an install recently so I don't know if it will work but I think it should be a legal requirement to release a patch that bypasses the license activation if the servers supporting it are ever to be shut down. I paid for the software and should be entitled to use it for as long as I please.

I use Office 365 at work and it has gotten ok, but not great. Even the Mac version now lacks a proper menu and only offers that godawful ribbon, I've had to deal with that on work computers for around a decade and I still loathe the ribbon. Takes me twice as long to find anything as it does using a real menu.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: bob225 on September 04, 2018, 05:16:57 am
office 2007 still activates no issue, people get sucked in to 365 not knowing the standalone versions are still available but not freely known about (one time purchase)

iirc 2016 was the last version, and there is a new one due next year

I use to deal with a secure network what was internal with no access to the outside world so everything was offline, all updates where pushed from the network server
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: Halcyon on September 04, 2018, 08:38:33 am
I still have Office 2003 on my personal machine, I haven't tried activating an install recently so I don't know if it will work but I think it should be a legal requirement to release a patch that bypasses the license activation if the servers supporting it are ever to be shut down. I paid for the software and should be entitled to use it for as long as I please.

Absolutely. If I physically buy a copy of the software with a perpetual licence, then I'm entitled to run it for however long I want to. Alternatively, if Microsoft want to give me my money back, I'll take that.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: james_s on September 04, 2018, 10:20:01 am
It's pretty clear why they pushed so hard to a subscription model, Office is such a mature product that it's hard to imagine what they could add to it that would compel a large number of people to upgrade. Even Office 95 had more features than probably 75% of people ever use. I'm sure upgrading had tapered off sharply and would continue to do so with the shrinking PC market and steadily increasing time between hardware upgrade cycles. A 10 year old PC is still powerful enough for most people who are not gaming or doing other heavy duty stuff. Up into the mid 2000's a 10  year old PC would have been hopelessly outdated.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on September 06, 2018, 11:35:46 pm
After three more days of wrestling with this, I now have both systems working. On the Soyo K7VTA Pro, I couldn't get the USB 2.0 card and GPIB card working at the same time. Tried all the normal stuff of BIOS tweaks, moving cards into different slots, reinstalling drivers, etc without any joy. I thought, maybe this is "finicky VIA chipset" syndrome. So I concentrated on getting the (slower) Tyan S1830 going in dual boot. That was big fun too.

A few months ago I had bought a dead XP system for cheap off Craigslist, I wanted the XP Home product key, knowing I would need it for just this purpose. But when I installed XP Home on the Tyan using my install disk, it would not accept the product key! WTF?!?! It turns out M$ is very persnickety about XP versions, it won't accept an XP Home OEM key for an XP Home Retail install. So I used my present known-good key just to complete the install, and did an immediate "Home to Pro SP3" upgrade over it. (Yes, it can be done as long as the Home doesn't have SP3 installed.) I then used the same product key as the Soyo computer, which gives me 30 days to sort out which computer to use.

The Tyan is a very solid and stable motherboard, but its only a 900MHz P3. That takes a toll on update rate when using the USB scope. Maybe not a big deal, but I looked again at solving the problems on the Soyo. Yesterday I had the idea to start the whole process from scratch - remove the scope software, all USB and GPIB devices, uninstall their programs, delete all of their folders, go into Regedit and delete all entries having to do with them. There were multiple hardware keys in the registry for both cards.

I then installed the GPIB driver first (it is the older card) and then the USB 2.0, then the scope software. And voila, it worked.

So now I have 29 days to decide which system to use, and register the XP key with that computer. And I can happily boot to DOS, 98SE, or XP as needed.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on September 09, 2018, 08:43:24 am
I thought it would be interesting to post the results of my efforts. Frankly, it's a bit disappointing.

The purpose of ths exercise was to be able to use a USB scope I acquired recently, a Cleverscope CS320A. I ordered the CS701 isolated sig gen for it and planned on using it mostly for FRA stuff. The sig gen arrived yesterday, so now I can see it how it performs with the computer systems. Bart at Cleverscope warned me in advance that the system ran faster with faster computers. Now I get to see how much.

I set up three systems with the Cleverscope software: the two I've been working on, and a faster one to compare to.
System A:  A Lenovo T420 laptop with 6GB ram and 2.5GHz cpu. (64 bit memory bus @ 400MHz, I believe)
System B:  The Soyo K7VTA Pro with 1.5GB ram (32-bit 133MHz bus) and 1.8GHz cpu.
System C:  The Tyan S1830 with 1GB ram (32-bit 100MHz bus) and 900MHz cpu.

Since FRA mode is more computation-intensive, and is the mode I'll be using most, I set up the software identically for the same FRA measurement on each computer: a simple 10Hz to 100KHz gain/phase log sweep with 10 points/decade. (10pts/dec is roughly equal to 1/3 octave spacing, so this not a very hi-res sweep...). The stopwatch was started when "Sweeping" appeared in the status window, and was stopped when the message changed to "complete".
The Results:

Sys A:  24.7 sec
Sys B:  62 sec
Sys C:  97 sec

By the numbers, B should be roughly twice as fast as C, and A three times. So its pretty clear that there's more going on than cpu speed. Memory bus speed makes a huge difference.

The results for the Tyan and Soyo boards are both pretty disappointing. That's a really long time to wait for a sweep like this. For comparison, my AP102 analyzer does the same sweep in 12 secs, regardless of the computer it is connected to.

So that's the rub of these USB scopes (not just the Cleverscope). They are intensely dependent on the computer for satisfactory performance.

I haven't decided what I'm going to do about this yet.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: james_s on September 09, 2018, 12:53:04 pm
That's pretty much expected. There's a lot more to the overall performance of a system than the CPU clock frequency.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: Rasz on September 23, 2018, 06:06:44 am
you should put your w98 requirement in the title

all ISAs are not equal, on modern boards they are hanging off PCI-ISA or LPC-ISA bridges. PCI ones cant do DMA. LPC depend on configuration, often hacks required.
Even PCIs are not real PCIs any more, if you can find one at all. Problems above ICH5 with certain cards.

you are left with 865/ICH5 (maybe 875?) and Pentium 4(lol)
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on September 23, 2018, 06:45:22 am
you should put your w98 requirement in the title

Woulda shoulda coulda in hindsight. It's in the second sentence of the first post; not good enuf?

For the time being, I will probably just live with the longer processing time of the Soyo, until requirements change.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: drussell on September 23, 2018, 07:14:58 am
Yeah, I thought that the A7A266 had an ISA slot on it, but I went and pulled one out and no, it only has one of those AMR sockets.  Those take both PC133 and PC2100 DDR and I could have sworn they still had an ISA slot but no joy.  :)

So, essentially you are stuck with the KT133 chipset since VIA dropped the ISA bus in the KT266, or the PII/PIII like P2B on the Intel side I believe for ISA support in the chipset and you can probably find faster AMD processors than Intel for that last generation.  I don't know of anything that has DDR and ISA support.

The best you can probably do is try to overclock some good memory in a good PC133 board, I guess.  That or use a PCI->ISA converter or something, of course, assuming your software will work with one.  (Reasonably transparent ones should be available, so they should work.)

Any newer board that has ISA (and those do exist, of course) will be using a built in converter bridge chip of some kind.  Most of those are way more expensive than just getting a converter, though.  :)
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: Macbeth on September 23, 2018, 07:33:55 am
... it only has one of those AMR sockets.

Thank you for reminding me of this hell I had blocked from my mind. You have triggered me, I now remember the god awful WinModems too  :palm:
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: drussell on September 23, 2018, 08:05:49 am
Thank you for reminding me of this hell I had blocked from my mind. You have triggered me, I now remember the god awful WinModems too  :palm:

Yeah.  At least I never sold any of that junk.  If a customer wanted a modem, they got a real, true USR hardware modem, none of that WinModem rubbish.  Not once.  Ergh... Yuck!
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: drussell on September 23, 2018, 08:15:48 am
The AMD 761 (which does DDR) datasheet does explicitly talk about being able to support southbridges with ISA ability, perhaps there were some motherboards that still had ISA or EISA/ISA slots on them but I don't know of any off the top of my head.  :)

If you could at least get to DDR memory speeds, that would help your performance significantly.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on September 23, 2018, 09:01:17 am
Yeah, the Soyo K7VTA Pro is one of the best of the KT133A boards with an ISA slot. Its main drawback is the 133MHz memory bus.

This site:  https://flaterco.com/kb/ISA_chipsets.html (https://flaterco.com/kb/ISA_chipsets.html) shows a Biostar M7MIA that has one ISA slot, uses the AMD 761, and DDR memory. Limited to 1GB of memory, though (the Soyo does 1.5GB).

http://www.biostar-usa.com/mbdetails.asp?model=m7mia (http://www.biostar-usa.com/mbdetails.asp?model=m7mia)

The M7MIA runs the same cpus as the Soyo (up to Athlon XP 2600+) but would have faster total thruput due to the DDR memory. I think the 1GB limit is workable for me, so I'll keep an eye out for one.

EDIT: Well its not all that rosey... it appears Biostar never updated the BIOS to support the faster XP+ cpus, so the fastest cpu it supports is 1.4GHz. The Soyo will run a XP 2600+ (1.91GHz). Grrrrr...   |O
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: bob225 on September 24, 2018, 01:26:30 am
ah the joys of old hardware, those where the days when you had to properly diagnose problems not just click a box and software fixes it for you

Any IRQ, I/O or DMA conflicts between the cards ?
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on September 24, 2018, 01:45:20 am
Any IRQ, I/O or DMA conflicts between the cards ?

No problem there, the ISA card only uses a couple IO ports and doesn't use IRQ or DMA, its all programmed IO controlled by the software.
I sense you're heading toward suggesting a USB->ISA adapter. I have confirmed with the mfr that it won't work, those converters require some software changes.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: bob225 on September 24, 2018, 03:15:23 am
not at all, the usb - Isa just adds another layer of complexity and another driver in the mix, as you need Isa you have to stick with a chipset that natively supports it (agp graphics era)

iirc some of the older usb chipsets dont play nicely with others (winbond springs to mind)
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: drussell on September 24, 2018, 03:20:29 am
...shows a Biostar M7MIA that has one ISA slot, uses the AMD 761, and DDR memory. Limited to 1GB of memory, though (the Soyo does 1.5GB).

The specs I saw said 2GB maximum, but maybe they were wrong.

Quote
EDIT: Well its not all that rosey... it appears Biostar never updated the BIOS to support the faster XP+ cpus, so the fastest cpu it supports is 1.4GHz. The Soyo will run a XP 2600+ (1.91GHz). Grrrrr...   |O

You might be able to cobble together a custom BIOS but that is a lot of effort.  :)

There are also Intel 845 based boards (ick, P4) that do up to 333 MHz DDR supposedly with a "real" ISA slot with working DMA, etc.

Although... since you say:

Quote
No problem there, the ISA card only uses a couple IO ports and doesn't use IRQ or DMA, its all programmed IO controlled by the software.
I sense you're heading toward suggesting a USB->ISA adapter. I have confirmed with the mfr that it won't work, those converters require some software changes.

... that you don't need DMA, then any newer board that has a PCI->ISA bridge or LPC->ISA bridge on it should work, though it has been so long I don't remember how the IO ports would get mapped in there.  It is usually DMA that causes the problems when trying to do ISA since newer chipsets simply do not support mapping that stuff to where it needs to go.

Not USB...  That is icky.  PCI, though, you should be able to use your own PCI->ISA bridge and have success (or any motherboard that has one built in like some of the SuperMicro boards, industrial boards, etc.)

I guess I need to go back and do some more reading and re-learning.  :)
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: bob225 on September 24, 2018, 03:31:44 am
oops i missed 2 posts on page 2 - i see you had to get the drivers in the right order - i forgot that was a thing back then


It surprising what you forget, new info in - old redundent info out  :-\

Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on September 24, 2018, 04:33:40 am
iirc some of the older usb chipsets dont play nicely with others (winbond springs to mind)

Yeah, I disabled the onboard USB before installing a USB2 card.

Which reminds me of something I wondered about briefly when putting this together. (Pls correct me if any of this is wrong).

Max xfer rate of USB 2.0 is spec'ed at 480Mbit/sec, or roughly 48MByte/sec.
To achieve that rate, it has to be attached to a mboard bus that supports that xfer rate.
But PCI busses are clocked at ~ 33MHz.
This suggests that no PCI plugin USB 2.0 card will ever achieve 48MB and will be limited to < 33MHz xfer rate. It may be protocol-compliant, but is transfer-rate limited.
If so, then this is also playing a big role in slowing things down. And no machinations of cpu or memory speed will make up for it. It probably explains why the Soyo was not more than 2X faster than the Tyan combo. By all rights it should have been.

You might be able to cobble together a custom BIOS but that is a lot of effort.  :)

Definitely not worth it !

Quote
There are also Intel 845 based boards (ick, P4) that do up to 333 MHz DDR supposedly with a "real" ISA slot with working DMA, etc.

... that you don't need DMA, then any newer board that has a PCI->ISA bridge or LPC->ISA bridge on it should work, though it has been so long I don't remember how the IO ports would get mapped in there.  It is usually DMA that causes the problems when trying to do ISA since newer chipsets simply do not support mapping that stuff to where it needs to go.

PCI, though, you should be able to use your own PCI->ISA bridge and have success (or any motherboard that has one built in like some of the SuperMicro boards, industrial boards, etc.)

There is indeed a SuperMicro P4 board (the P4SCA) with two 16-bit ISA slots that looks like it would work well. But they're industrial darlings and pull a minimum of $400 used...

oops i missed 2 posts on page 2 - i see you had to get the drivers in the right order - i forgot that was a thing back then

Yeah, wasn't that fun?!?!

Quote
It surprising what you forget, new info in - old redundent info out  :-\

Maintaining sanity (or some semblance thereof) requires that we forget such things  :)
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: drussell on September 24, 2018, 04:42:31 am
But PCI busses are clocked at ~ 33MHz.
This suggests that no PCI plugin USB 2.0 card will ever achieve 48MB and will be limited to < 33MHz xfer rate. It may be protocol-compliant, but is transfer-rate limited.

You forgot that it is 32 bit, not 8-bit, so the standard 33 MHz PCI bus gives you 133 MB/s transfer rates.  (So an ATA-133 card with a modern disk on it uses the whole dang bus...  :) )

Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: Wan Huang Luo on December 06, 2018, 05:33:07 am
Never mind. I just ordered the caps to recap them both and I'll go that route.

I did that with Soyo boards back in the 90's. The originals lasted a couple of years. After replacing the caps with quality Japanese units the boards were taken out of service (retired) last year after ~17 years of 24/7 use. At the time it seemed nuts, but they were the only boards I could find that had the right chipset and form-factor to fit the requirements.

If you already have boards that work, then stick with those. The more pre-heat you can get into the board, the easier it'll be to re-work the caps. Motherboards have huge internal planes and really suck the heat from the joint.
For DIYers, Soyo boards used to be the duck's guts way back then.
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: precaud on December 06, 2018, 11:47:57 am
For DIYers, Soyo boards used to be the duck's guts way back then.
[/quote]

Yes, but very stable too, not as tweaky as, say, the Abit's which gave you insane overclocking options...
Title: Re: Fastest motherboard with at least 1 ISA slot?
Post by: Wan Huang Luo on December 07, 2018, 01:33:24 am


Yes, but very stable too, not as tweaky as, say, the Abit's which gave you insane overclocking options...
Ah yes, to be back in the heady days of 200...1? with an Abit KT7A-RAID, and an AMD Duron  with pencil graphite over the multiplier traces, enabling unlock and bringing 600MHz to 1GHz, stable with some $25 heatsink. And twin IBM Deathstar drives in RAID-0  :scared: :-BROKE