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pav31002

When I think of Pavilions I think of those wooden roofed buildings found at the park. It hardly evokes images of high speed computing or technology. Apparently one definition is also “lower surface of a brilliant-cut gem” so maybe that’s what they were going for with the HP Pavilion line. Anyways this is the HP Pavilion 3100. I received this machine as part of a lot of three PC’s I picked up. Its actually the second time I’ve had this models as strangely enough that last one was also from a lot of three machines I grabbed although that one didn’t work and when I tried booting it up it sparked and caught fire. This machine though worked fine. As you can see there is one 5 1/4 bay for a CD drive as well as a spot for a 3 1/2 floppy underneath. there’s a power button to the left and LED’s for power and HDD activity but no reset button. This is a no frills machine.

pav31001

Mine still had the sticker attached with what were the factory specs, 166mhz MMX Pentium, 16MB SDRAM, 2GB HDD, 16x CD drive, 1MB video RAM, etc… The machine I acquired was upgraded by the previous owner and I’ll get to that.

pav31003

On the rear of the computer we have a assortment of the usual suspect ports. Serial and printer ports with an interestingly placed gameport above them for a joystick or gamepad. Next to that we have two PS/2 ports for keyboard and mouse, two audio jacks for microphone and speakers, two USB port and finally the VGA port. Its not a bad assortment of ports for such a small machine and all your basics are covered. The expansion card options are very limited with only two slots available. One slot here being taken by an ethernet card  (its removable). This computer is very compact and light which is a nice plus.

pav31004

The case top slides off after removing three rear screws. Still has what I believe is the original WD Caviar 22000 2GB hard drive. It uses a riser card for the two expansion slots with 1 PCI and two ISA so you can have either one of each type or two ISA cards. The most logical setup if you don’t care about networking and are going for pure gaming would be a PCI video card and an ISA sound card for DOS compatibility.

pav31005

I guess the lack of expansion slots is the tradeoff for the extremely slim case but it is very limiting.

pav31006

First off there is no l2 cache on this motherboard.

1) CMOS battery

2) Two IDE connectors and one floppy connector

3) S3 Trio64V+ with 1MB of video RAM. A classic stand by for DOS. The nice thing about this chip for on board video is you may not need to bother with adding a video card if your primary concern is DOS since the Trio is pretty much the standard and compatible with just about everything.

4) The on board audio chip from Crystal. there’s no true OPL chip on this machine. It does adequate job but if your serious about sound I would recommend adding an ISA sound blaster or clone.

5) gameport connector

6) Piezo speaker, despite not being a true cone speaker the piezo does a pretty decent job and mine was fairly loud.

pav31007

On the other side of the riser card you have your AT power connector as well as

7) CPU – the 3100 came stock with a 166mhz Pentium MMX chip but mine has been upgraded to a 200Mhz chip. I *think* this may be the top CPU upgrade for this machine as the jumpers only allow for 3x at 66mhz fsb. I did try installing a 233mhz P1 but it was only detected and running at 200mhz. *EDIT* I have been informed that you indeed can get the machine to post to 233mhz with the correct jumper configuration.

8) RAM – This machine came stock with 16MB of SDRAM but mine has been upgraded to the full 64MB

So my thoughts on this machine. On the plus side its a very compact and light machine. If you lack a lot of space or want an old desktop for DOS or early Windows LAN parties or something this one should work. It has all the basics and could be made into a serviceable DOS/Windows machine. adding a voodoo I/II to compliment the S3 trio would help or just placing an all-in-one solution card like a voodoo 3 or a Nvidia or Matrox card would also help. I would say adding an ISA sound blaster 16 or AWE would also be a must for gaming. That said there seems to be better options out there and the expansion possibilities with this machine are just to limited. Windows 95/98 run fine on the machine but later games would seriously choke on it from the CPU bottleneck. no L2 cache always sucks and hinders overall speed. if you want something compact a Compaq EN is a much better option, especially with its speedier CPU options and ability in BIOS to disable all cache to seriously cut speeds and help with old game compatibility. The 3100’s BIOS options are like the rest of this machine, very limited. It does a good job cramming as much as it does into such a light and slim case and as I said DOES play DOS games and early Windows stuff OK but its hard to take seriously as a gaming machine.

Benchmarks for DOS were decent

200mhz Pentium MMX, 64MB SDRAM, NO L2 Cache, S3 Trio64V+

3DBENCH – 152.9

PCPBENCH – 41.9

DOOM – 72.44

Quake – 38.9

It actually barely beat my main Pentium DOS PC under 3dbench by .7 FPS but then that could be a fluke since that machine beat it by several FPS in all the other tests. Or 3dBench may rely more on the video card and I’m starting to suspect the 2d core of the Trio may be ever so slightly more efficient then in the Virge even though there supposedly are exactly the same.

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3 Comments

  1. Another great article. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Brings back memories… This was my first computer as a kid. Thanks for sharing!

  3. thanks guys for the comments. I’m glad I could help with some good memories.


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