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Old 03-09-2021, 07:40 PM   #1
ratdude747
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Default Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

...Before y'all ask, no, I'm not Topcat! ...

Anyway, while unsuccessfully hunting down a rig (or parts for such) for my Dad's future gaming rig, I saw something I thought was Topcat's cup of tea... and it was. It also happened to be "local" to me (as a pickup only item), so I was dispatched to fetch this rig until the next time I head out to MO (which is a semi-regular occurance these days, between family and tradebait ).

Anyway, I shot pics, and he said to post them, so here we go!

This is a 1999 AcerAltos 1100 Server/workstation:









This thing was bought in DOA condition... and I confirmed. Nothing's getting power... Looks like it had some water in the bottom for a bit:







The board itself looks clean though...

Rage 128 GPU and SCSI card galore:



500MHZ PIII Katmai's:



ISA Dial-Up Modem:



One of the three SCSI HDDs:



There has been some "modern" hackery. For example, one of the ATA cables was bundled and went nowhere, and the other was one of these:



Also, the fans are newer looking 3 pin deltas... but some bozo spliced on 4 pin pigtails. At least they used heatshrink.

The PSU is weird. Uses ATX/AT mounting, but the mobo connections are AT with aux plugs:



The power button is soft-on... the aux plug (presumably) contains the 5VSB and power-on signals.

Power supply is a nice & beefy (but seemingly dead) Delta 280W:





The case will fit a full ATX board, provided the front edge is low enough to clear the 5.25 bays.

Won't reveal pricing, unless Topcat want's to mention how low he negotiated it (not including RD trucking "fees", which I won't mention either!).

Seem I can't go a few weeks withough accumulating a "bring to Topcat" pile... oh well, as much stuff as he's given/traded me over the years, it evens out.
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Last edited by ratdude747; 03-09-2021 at 08:28 PM.. Reason: Bad Image Link. DOH!
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Old 03-09-2021, 08:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

The last couple "bring topcat piles" have been stellar....except all the work you created for me with those racks (the black one in particular)....but I enjoy it!

Good scoutin'!!!

I have a couple things in mind for this....keep in mind that beige rackmount....or a retro gamer.....but think rackmount....

As for 'trucking fee'...gee, what's a ride in the back of a Ranger worth?!
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Old 03-14-2021, 08:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

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As for 'trucking fee'...gee, what's a ride in the back of a Ranger worth?!
Compared to the Vintage F150 service?

---

Made a typo... the case will fit a full EATX board. A bit tight on the leading edge, but all the standoffs for such are there.
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Old 03-14-2021, 08:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

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Originally Posted by ratdude747 View Post
Compared to the Vintage F150 service?

---

Made a typo... the case will fit a full EATX board. A bit tight on the leading edge, but all the standoffs for such are there.
I have some ideas floating around in the 'gray matter' for that case, assuming it won't be restored as a retro....but I see a lot of sleeper potential in it too!
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Old 03-18-2021, 01:39 AM   #5
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

Nice find, RD!

I have high hopes this system will come back to life without issues.
The "dead" Delta PSU may just have a bad solder joint in there, as I wouldn't be surprised if someone man-handled this heavy PC and something got loose in there from a drop. If not that, I'd suspect the 5VSB likely uses a 2-transistor circuit and has somehow bit the dust. But I guess we will see. I'm keeping an eye here. Looks like a pretty cool retro system. The SCSI HDDs are somewhat similar to a few of the ones I sent to TC, though the ones I sent him were mostly 9 GB (two of them full-height beasts too! )
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Old 03-21-2021, 08:41 AM   #6
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

The motherboard PSU connectors, look very transition-esque, more like I would expect during Klamath! (first-gen Pentium II)

I would have thought that by 1999 and later in 1998, it would have been ATX on the motherboard!

Instead, I see what looks more like I would expect on a 1997 motherboard.
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Old 08-03-2021, 09:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

To wake this up..... RD came by last saturday and dropped this off along with some other things....

Long story short, the motherboard has been pronounced dead. Now it's decision time, retro restoration or really awesome sleeper? hmmmm... I did test fit an eATX board, it will fit with some minor modifications.... I'm leaning more toward sleeper beast.....
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Old 08-03-2021, 10:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

Kind of wish it worked so you could see what was on it. Actually you could get it from the drives assuming the scsi card was good and kept the raid storage config. Wonder if it's NT4 or linux
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Old 08-03-2021, 10:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

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Kind of wish it worked so you could see what was on it. Actually you could get it from the drives assuming the scsi card was good and kept the raid storage config. Wonder if it's NT4 or linux
Good question... The controller was a very common adaptec 2940UW, and I have several SMP capable BX boards here that would boot either kernel without issue...so hold that thought!
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Old 08-03-2021, 10:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

ah it's not raid, at least hardware. You could probably just hook it up and see the data. Might be something interesting on there
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Old 08-04-2021, 01:42 AM   #11
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

All this stuff is really making me want to whip out my P2B and make a nice build out of it.
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Old 08-04-2021, 02:18 AM   #12
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

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All this stuff is really making me want to whip out my P2B and make a nice build out of it.
careful about whipping anything out here
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Old 08-04-2021, 12:12 PM   #13
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100



Quote:
Originally Posted by Uranium-235 View Post
ah it's not raid, at least hardware. You could probably just hook it up and see the data. Might be something interesting on there
More fun to boot from it, and here we go!

The original board on the left and a Supermicro P6DGU on the right....nearly identical core hardware.



These boards have the same mount points are are the same size.



The weird proprietary PSU removed.



A freshly recapped PSU that a local shop gave me...





Dropped the board in.





This is a good start!



All the drives showed up.



...and here goes NT4 SP6



Well fudge....password.



I rebooted it off another media and cleared the password. Of course a plethora of errors & unreachable network drive paths.



Reconfig'd everything. The old motherboard has an onboard NIC, this one doesn't....so I added one.



A few reboots later.....no more errors, in true color, and LAN working.



...and like Al Capone's vault, there really wasn't anything to see. This thing was apparently a scan/print server. All data that it handled was stored on one of the network drives, there's nothing really on this machine except the software for some old world legacy scanner.



So I tossed FF2.0.0.2 on it and yay, BCN!



The upside, all the drives were checked & verified good, 2x 18gb and 1x 9gb. The 2x 18gb HDD's are in some kind of software RAID, NT shows it as a 36gb volume in disk manager; as a stripe array. Not sure how that was accomplished; as the controller doesn't support any kind of RAID functions whatsoever....so if NT4 supported soft RAID's, I never knew that....so I suppose I did learn something.

I still haven't solidified what I'll do with this thing.....but this case is screaming out to be a mega sleeper system!
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Old 08-04-2021, 01:51 PM   #14
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

I'm still not 100% sure the motherboard is bad. The power supply powers up, has voltage in the primary (AT side is fed by DC voltage from the ATX side; read 107vdc)...but information on this PSU (Delta DPS-280bb Rev 2) is pretty much nill; such as pinouts, standby voltages, schematics, etc..... I have no idea what triggers it, it may be the issue, not the motherboard. I fired the board with an AT power supply, it did power up but did not POST, which is what led me to conclude the board was bad....but that may not be correct.

Here's a few pics of the PSU inside:







There is no voltages present on any of the PSU output pins.... Nothing was jumping out at me as being faulty. Logic tells me that the green wires in the smaller ATX connector would/should have a +5v STBY voltage, as that's the color code for this voltage on a normal ATX PSU, however there's nothing present. Yes, I did try it with a good CMOS battery in it; there were some systems from the days of yore that the CMOS battery provided the startup voltage until the PSU fired off and took over....but it wasn't the case here...so odds are this PSU is the issue and the board is good....
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Old 08-04-2021, 03:32 PM   #15
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

wish there was an easy way to shoehorn in extra refresh lines so my 440BX dual slot-1 could deal with 512M SDRAMs...
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Old 08-04-2021, 04:06 PM   #16
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

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wish there was an easy way to shoehorn in extra refresh lines so my 440BX dual slot-1 could deal with 512M SDRAMs...
The P6DGU is a GX chipset (there's a P6DBU that's a BX); which supports 2gb RAM....but is otherwise the same as the BX....it was intended for the P2/P3 Xeon, but Supermicro was being rebellious and built a model that would run the normal P2/P3's.
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Old 08-04-2021, 04:35 PM   #17
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

see if there is anything juicy scans that were stored. For all you know this might have stored SSN's or belonged to a porn publishing business
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Old 08-04-2021, 08:55 PM   #18
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

the BX board I have does not like "AMD" 256M or 512M SDRAMs that I've started to collect... so they get dumped into 3-slot VIA S370 board, alas this is only 1.5G. Would be nice to put all my 512M SDRAMs into the 4-slot 440BX board. *sigh*

BTW Linux had a cow when I had a P2-233 and a Celeron-500 in this BX board. It booted but lots of stuff failed spectacularly.
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Old 08-05-2021, 02:21 AM   #19
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topcat View Post
There is no voltages present on any of the PSU output pins.... Nothing was jumping out at me as being faulty. Logic tells me that the green wires in the smaller ATX connector would/should have a +5v STBY voltage, as that's the color code for this voltage on a normal ATX PSU, however there's nothing present.
Many power supplies have written text on the PCB showing what the wires are for, did you check for that?
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Old 08-05-2021, 07:48 AM   #20
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Default Re: Topcat's Acer Dual Slot 1 Server? - The Acer Altos 1100

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Many power supplies have written text on the PCB showing what the wires are for, did you check for that?
That would have been too easy.... Nothing of the sort on this one.
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