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I really didn’t need another Pentium 1 system but I have a soft spot for the Gateway 2000 especially when they come with matching monitor and keyboard.  Gateway 2000 is what Gateway used to call themselves up until the late 1990’s and they made some pretty quality Pentium 1 and 486 machines. The one I picked up here is from the middle of the 90’s. This is a solid machine that I received from a family and from what I was told had seen much use and still was almost stock with almost all the parts coming from about 1995 with the exception of the CD-Rom drive and some added RAM. The machine still booted up fine from what appeared to be the original hard drive and ran like a champ without having to do anything.

g2k1201

The version I have is a desktop case. I think most of their models also came in a tower configuration as well. Its a nice sturdy case and is nice and high to allow for 3 5 1/4 bays which is really nice. I’m not a huge fan of the vertical orientation slots for the floppy drives but its okay. Its good for saving space but this case is large enough that I don’t think a traditional horizontal orientation would of made any difference except maybe interfering with the gentle aesthetic  “bump” the left side of the case that protrudes. Unlike the Packard Bell machines Gateway had a sane model naming scheme.  P5 I assume designates  a Pentium Processor inside and the 120 after that should designate the CPU speed or mhz. So unless someone has changed CPU’s this machine should sport a Pentium 120mhz CPU. Power button is on the right and we have a big round reset button on the left next to the never used case lock. Below that you have your standard power and HDD light but there is also a turbo light but there’s no turbo button on the case and no keyboard combo I can find that initiates the turbo (slows the computer down). So until I discover otherwise I assume this is just because they used the same case with a different badge for the 486 line.

g2k1202

The rear of the machine is pretty standard. We have two ps/2 ports for the keyboard and mouse though the ports are not color coded on this machine. Above them are two serial and one parallel port. We have 7 expansion ports on the back. A few are specifically labeled for video, joystick/sound and network but you don’t have to put those cards in those slots but I have for looks reasons.

g2k1203

This is actually how the board looked when I first opened it. Covered with years of dust. At least there were no dead insects or mice.

g2k1204

And here is the board after removing most of the dust.

1) CPU – The motherboard uses socket 5 as well as a Pentium 120 which is just as well as that’s the fastest commonly available CPU for that socket. The Pentium 120 is a solid CPU being fast enough for earlier Windows stuff and more then sufficient for most DOS applications without being to overkill. As you can see mine did not come with a fan on the heatsink which though I wouldn’t recommend is apparently fine since this thing ran for a long long time without. I suppose if you had one lying around you could toss in a uncommon Pentium overdrive or Pentium overdrive MMX for a boost of up to 180mhz maybe 200mhz. This motherboard uses the Intel 82430fx chipset.

2) RAM – my machine came with some odd amount of RAM, I want to say 40 something but originally from what I found they came factory with 8 or 16 mb of RAM. I have expanded mine to 64MB but the total the board can take is 128mb. This machine can accept FPM or faster EDO. I went with FPM because I have so much of it here.

3) CMOS battery to keep Bios settings

4) connectors for the serial/parallel ports

5) AT power supply connector

6) floppy drive connector

7) Two IDE connectors

as for L2 cache my particular board came with none and no sockets to add any. There are some vacant suspicious spots right above the CPU that looks like cache chips may belong there but running cachechk program confirms no l2 cache is present on the board.

The board also sports three PCI and four 16 bit ISA slots which is nice for DOS/Win 9x expansion options.

g2k1205

Here are the expansion cards that originally came with this machine. I highly suspect these are also what came factory with this machine. Top left is the modem and to the right of that is the video card which is a PCI S3 Trio64V+ which is an earlier s3 trio card but still very compatible for DOS games but offers no 3D acceleration. On the bottom is the sound card that was installed which is a Sound Blaster 16 CT2800 that uses the less noisy Vibra chip and has a OPL chip for FM. Its a good DOS sound card and adequate for Windows 9x.

I did end up doing some upgrading. I added a fan to the CPU heatsink. I replaced the SB16 with an AWE32 since I have a few of them lying around. I originally switched the tri64V+ with a tri64v2 thinking the same drivers would work for both but I was wrong. In the end I stuck in a Matrox Mystique I had left over from my vintage 3d article to give the machine a nice graphical boost (while hurting the DOS compatibility somewhat) and add some 3d acceleration capability. I also transferred the original HDD which was still running the origional Windows 95 that came packaged with the machine (I think it was about 1.5GB) to a removable bay. so the new loaded motherboard now looks more like this.

g2k1207

Its a nice sturdy system. Personally I like the classic G2K machines and this Pentium 120mhz rig has potential to be a great DOS box for someone.

g2k1208

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6 Comments

    • Tomislav Zaninovich
    • Posted January 18, 2017 at 09:36
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    Is this computer for sale? I am looking for a PC as a backup for our Gateway P5 120 still running some software with DOS 6.22

    • afraid not, its been awhile since I had this machine

  1. I have a stock P-120 in great shape.

  2. I need help with my P5-90… today I had the DS12887 removed and a socket put in… and now I can’t get it to post. The hard drive works, but I can’t do much else when the monitor is blank. I should have just bought a retro system that had a motherboard with a battery socket like the one shown here.

    • having a Lithium battery or external battery is always more convenient then a DALLAS RTC battery. I’ve had different machines react differently to having the RTC removed. some continue to work without issues and some become unstable or refuse to go pat POST. Did you replace the battery in the socket you installed?


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