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Slowing Down a Pentium Class Processor and Motherboard

Posted on 2000-03-27
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I know a lot of people are going to ask, "Why would anyone want to do this?"

Here's the deal.  I currently have a piece of hardware connected through an ISA AT-GPIB board.  The computer that is controlling this equipment is a 386.  I know that this PC is going to take a dive on me one day and I would like to be able to use a Pentium Class CPU and Motherboard to control this equipment.  The problem is that the bus speeds on these motherboards are too fast and do not allow proper control of the slower hardware that I'm working on.  Since I'm only slightly familiar with how all of this works, can someone tell me if it's possible to slow the I/O bus speeds down on the newer motherboard?
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Question by:jamesclancy
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10 Comments
 
LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:Zoplax
ID: 2661163
Ewww...  

Well, most motherboards ship with a set range of bus / CPU speeds, so in the majority of cases you're stuck with the minimums of either.

Would it be possible to retool the software so that it won't be so dependent on the system clock?
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Author Comment

by:jamesclancy
ID: 2661325
Yes.  That is possible, but I know it will cost some big coin.  I was hoping there was an easier way around it.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:sorgie
ID: 2661786
If you shop around, especially small computer stores you may be able to find a socket 5 or 7 Pent MB.
Socket five can be set as low as 50mhz bus speed.
Socket 7 can run at 60 and 66 mhz

If that is still too fast then I think you will have to spend the big coin
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:rayt333
ID: 2662011
Shop around for an old 386 or maybe even a 486 that you can pick up for the shipping costs and maybe 10 or 20 dollars. These older machines are not worth much and most companies that have them will give them away for nothing, most are sitting around not being used and taking up space, but since nobady wants them they can't give them away. The last auction I went to had several 386 and 486 for sale, the 386's didn't even get a bid. The 486's went for 10 or 15 dollars.
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Expert Comment

by:jerad
ID: 2662426
I dont know if this will help your problem but there is a program out there that slows down your processor in order to play older games. Its called "MoSlo". I do notg have a URL. Will get back to you on this.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:RoadWarrior
ID: 2662836
Hummm, if it's in a 386 it's on an ISA bus right? and ISA bus speeds are usually locked on pentium class motherboards, at a compatible 8mhz or so. There is a chance that some 386s will actually have FASTER ISA bus speeds than a lot of pents, since one could set the divisor of system clock speed in bios, this continued thru 486s and died out when the pentium came along. So if one time you tried it on a 486 and it seemed "too fast" it was probably the setting of the ISA bus clock divisor.

If you really do have a speed issue, it is probably more down to the software than the hardware, but since I guess you are locked into both, it boils down to the same thing. Classic pentiums will really crawl when you turn off internal and external cache in bios, faster pents will be on a go slow if you do this, but they will stil l be faster than you would like I suspect. You might also try using power management features to turn the CPU speed down. There is software around that slows the computer down by running pointless loops, some even hack the clock.but how well these will work depends on the application and the particular processor (some old "cycle eater" progs fit inside the cache of newer procs and only cause a performance hit of a fraction of a percent)

regards,

Road Warrior
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 2663101
I go with RoadWarrior.

I can't see that there's any problem myself.  On some Pentiums you can play withe the ISA speed in the BIOS so you should be able to get something compatible with your hardware.

Why do you need a Pentium to run it anyway?  You should be able to find a cheap 486 to keep the equipment running or for that matter why not a 286?  They should be paying you to take them away.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:vikiing
ID: 2663248
>>there is a program out there that slows down your processor

Moslo, AT-Slow and other slow-down programs, diminish processor response time only, but don't reduce bus speed.

Besides that, friend Clancy, ¿could you tell us what kind of equipment is what you're handling with that machine?
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Author Comment

by:jamesclancy
ID: 2665632
The equipment I'm running is this:
Tektronics Digitizer with and AT-GPIB interface.(Can't remember model number.)

The software(DOS version)interfaces with the digitizer through the AT-GPIB card.  I'm told that it's possible that the software vendor can add some wait cycles to the software to make it work on faster PC's.  However this is going to cost a couple of thousand dollars.  
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Accepted Solution

by:
SuperKirker earned 300 total points
ID: 2671356
Jeez?  A couple grand for new software???

If it's the software that has the problem, MoSlo will probably help.

Like someone has said, I/O bus speeds are all locked...ISA is around 8mhz, PCI 33, AGP 66 (or more depending on bus/setting), USB 40?  So the hardware should be OK...
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