Building a pentium 1 PC from scratch (or trash)

So, since i have box full of old CPUs i decided to build Pentium 1 rig… i managed to get Asus motherboard, i dont even know where i got it, but here we go…

First i had to figure out, how to set CPU clock and voltage properly…

Luckely there is plenty of databases with CPU info and even a frikin PDF manual for this board…

PDF for the board was a bit confusing, because by look of it, i should set the pins horizontaly, but the board came with them shorted in vertical rows… i tried them positioned horizontaly, it didnt work. First i thought i set frequency incorrectly, but when i switched voltage pins to vertical configucation and board posted ASAP…

For the test i was lucky enough to have some old S3 PCI gpu, since the board came bare-bone without any headers for its iGPU (lol yes, it has built-in graphics) and also had some SIM(?) ram in my “ram box”… a whole 24MB when combined :smiley:

I also had to borrow power supply somewhere and because i didnt have any unused one around, so i just grabbed one of my “backup rigs” (excude for having too many computers) and put it on a bed :smiley: Yes… thats like 600W Seasonic PSU powering a frikin pentium 1 board…

Cooling solution was kindly provided by this old Zalman cooler, which i think, i got at work, when they were throwing some old computers out… its just “weight mounted”, since i dont have any mounting brackets for it and i boudt they would fit on Socket 7 :smiley:

Sadly, when the board posted, i realized i dont have any way of getting further, since it has no USB or regular PS/2 connectors, only the HUGE-WHATEVER-ONE for the keyboard :smiley: … so i gotta get cable for it or maybe try PCI USB card and hope that works :smiley:

Currently waiting for proper CPU cooler to arrive…


Also seems like the CPU is running at 100MHZ instead of 166MHZ, will have to re-check the board PDF or maybe its “the turbo thing”, will probably investigate further when i get an actual case for it :smiley:

Is this the era with Pentium MMX technology thingy? I think this was something like the second PC of my household… After you plug in the keyboard, you can set the bios to ignore keyboard detection on boot if I remember correctly.

Computers were harder back then. I remember setting up jumper pins for “Master” and “Slave” (the designation elicits a more than a cringy feeling these days).

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Ye this board i think supports some “MMX thingy” :smiley: dont know much about that, was too young…

master/slave was how i “broke” my PCs first time i opened them, when i was a kid. We had 2 PCs… one was faster and the other one had bigger hard drive, so i wanted to swap it, but i didnt know i have to set it up properly, so it didnt boot, somehow i managed to put it back together incorrectly too, so we had to pretend the computers “broke themselves” and dads friend had to fix them… good old days :smiley:

Ignoring keyboard on POST wont help, since i need a keyboard to even get to the bios first :smiley:

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It was fun to break things back then. Thats how you learn, assuming there was someone to teach you how you broke it. Which makes me wonder if anyone taught my father how to use computers back then. He was a bigger nerd than I could ever was. He even had a wide ass BASIC programmable Casio calculater with a full QWERTY keyboard.

Also computer magazines was the way to learn if you didnt have dial up back then.

Ah the memories…

Keep us posted on the development of that computer.

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My biggest problem back then was probably language barrier. Maybe like 10 years old non-english speaker trying to navigate all this crap in bios etc… :smiley:


It may be of interest that generally, socket 370 heatsinks will attach to a socket 7 although the clip, not being designed for it may be quite high on applied mount pressure. It may make finding one easier to find, if you had not already.

In illustration

I would agree it was fun to break, fix and learn but, back then you couldn’t get to the internet on your phone to find an answer.

There are adapters for the large kbd to ps/2 connector - (as far as I can tell, they are passive) - of course, depends on having a ps2 keyboard.

I wouldn’t bet high on a usb keyboard working (in bios) through a usb card.

But if you go so far, I’d suggest it’s the mouse, if you can’t get a working usb card, can be the real problem.

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Gotta love the classics. :slight_smile:

Whatcha planning to run on it once you get it up and running?

You should probably run dual boot win95… and maybe Slackware?

Also i dont remember CPUs needing that much cooling back then and a passive heatsink should be sufficient…

Will see, probably gonna try win98 if thats gonna run on this piece of… technology :smiley:

Keyboard will probably have to be ps/2 with cable for the huge DIN connector, already found someone selling that cable brand new sealed for like 4 bucks.

Also found some USB 2.0 card which should work in Win98, so gonna get that and then its “just” matter of getting a AT case for it… not sure about PSU tho, board can run both AT or ATX

Just bought cable that can hook ATX PSU into AT connector + case switch, that way i can get brand new ATX PSU for it and still put it into AT case no problem. Probably better than running 30 years old PSU


CPU coolers arrived, they are actually brand new, unused, paste on them is “dead” tho :smiley: Wonder if i should buy more of these as “investment” for the future, when nobody will have them brand new :smiley:

offtopic, also bought this, may be a bit mad and build “vista era” rig too (kinda already have board with core2quad)… also managed to win auction for lian-li case that will fit this well :smiley:

edit: yes its powered from a server, couldnt find a frikin MOLEX cable for modular PSU in normal PC :smiley:


AT key.

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