My Visual Workstation 540

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GL1zdA
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My Visual Workstation 540

Unread postby GL1zdA » Thu Mar 19, 2015 2:23 pm

Not sure whether this should go here or to the hinv section.

I have upgraded today my VW540 from 2x Pentium III Xeon 500 MHz with 2 MB cache to 2x Pentium III Xeon 900 MHz with 2 MB cache. It works (Windows 2000 booted). PROM reports 256 kB cache, but all the cache works. I'm attaching a screenshot now, will attach some photos and add info about the upgrade to our wiki later. Next step: fill the 2 other CPU slots, but first I have to find Pentium III Xeon heatsinks and VRMs.
Attachments
cpu.png
VW540 info and cache test
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Re: My Visual Workstation 540

Unread postby mopar5150 » Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:05 pm

Well done!
Do those systems use an ATX motherboard or is it a SGI specific board?
If the thing isn't on fire it's a software problem.

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Re: My Visual Workstation 540

Unread postby GL1zdA » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:21 pm

The 320/540 use SGIs own designs. The later 230/330/550/Zx10 use ATX parts (basically of the shelf PC parts).
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Re: My Visual Workstation 540

Unread postby GL1zdA » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:11 pm

After several months of waiting I've finally found another VW540 CPU to get the heatsink. Now my 540 has three CPUs. Yes, I know it's an odd number but I still miss one heatsink to have all four.

I don't know if anyone tested it before, but when you use 700 and 900 CPUs in the VW540 you don't have to install all the VRMs that are normally required. The older Pentium II/III Xeons used 2 VRMs: one for the CPU and one for cache. The one for cache could be shared by 2 CPUs. That's why the manual states that you need 2 VRMs for 1 CPU, 3 VRMs for 2 CPUs, 5 VRMs for 3 CPUs and 6 VRMs for 4 CPUs. Since the 700 and 900 MHz CPUs don't have external cache they don't need the VRMs required to power it, so you need just 1 VRM per CPU. I'll update later our Wiki to include information about which VRMs can be removed after such upgrade.

The problem I have now is Windows. I see the third CPU in the PROM, but Windows 2000 Professional doesn't see it. I know this is because W2K Pro supports normally only 2 CPUs and I've done a clean installation from my own W2K CD. I've heard that if you upgrade the VW540 4 CPU Windows NT Workstation edition then W2K Pro will see the additional CPUs. Unfortunately my VW540 came without any software and I couldn't find the CDs nor an image of them anywhere. Has anyone checked the differences between a clean W2K Pro installation and a W2K Pro upgrade for the 4 CPU NT Workstation edition? I guess all I need is a registry modification, but the last time I've tried hacking the SKU specific values in Windows' registry was when I switched XP from Professional to Server and that was I think in 2005, so I don't remember much about which keys to use.
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Re: My Visual Workstation 540

Unread postby GL1zdA » Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:16 am

Is it OK to post here the 4 CPU hack for Windows 2000 Professional on the Visual Workstation 540? This would basically obsolete the need for the damn 812-0860-001 Silicon Graphics Recovery CD which is nowhere to be found and the only thing it does is changing one value in the registry.
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Re: My Visual Workstation 540

Unread postby chicaneuk » Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:38 am

Sure it would be fine to post a registry key! :)
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Re: My Visual Workstation 540

Unread postby dexter1 » Tue Dec 29, 2015 4:44 pm

I would prefer a link to an external site which provides the info for generic Win2K systems and 4 processors/cores/whatever , but if the hack is specific for the 540, i guess i'll allow it.
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Re: My Visual Workstation 540

Unread postby thegoldbug » Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:06 pm

Nice, looks like I need to dust of my 540 this weekend and start looking for a couple more CPUs as well.

Maybe I can get your cast-offs since you upgrade to 900Mhz?
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Re: My Visual Workstation 540

Unread postby GL1zdA » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:42 pm

dexter1 wrote:I would prefer a link to an external site which provides the info for generic Win2K systems and 4 processors/cores/whatever , but if the hack is specific for the 540, i guess i'll allow it.

It's generic, I'll make a guide, post it on a website and link it here.

thegoldbug wrote:Nice, looks like I need to dust of my 540 this weekend and start looking for a couple more CPUs as well.

Maybe I can get your cast-offs since you upgrade to 900Mhz?

It will probably be cheaper for you to get some on eBay locally than ship mine from Poland and then look for heatsinks (I had to transplant them on to the 900s) ;) They still have boxed ones in the US for about $20.
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