Pimpium 166 – AST Advantage 9310

The Backstory

I happened to have been talking to a chap and the subject drifted to what I do for a living, being in IT. We drifted back to the early days of our computers we owned and this chap mentioned an AST computer. He also said he still had it. I was interested to hear about it. He did one better and offered it to me.

How could I say no?

What did I get?

It turned out to be an AST Advantage 9310.  I have only ever seen a handful AST computers and worked on some desktop models but I had not seen a tower like this.

Here are the starting specs:Here are the current specs:
  • Intel Pentium 166 (non MMX)
  • 32 megs of ram
  • Quantum (speedy 4500 rpm)
  • Onboard S3 Trio 64v Graphics
  • Onboard Yamaha OPL3-SA Soundcard
  • Viking 56k DFV Modem ISA
  • Windows 95 loaded
  • Intel Pentium 166 (non MMX)
  • 96 megs of ram
  • 2.1 Gig HD Seagate ST32122A (speedy 4500 rpm)
  • Onboard S3 Trio 64v+ Graphics
  • Onboard Yamaha OPL3-SA Soundcard
  • Viking 56k DFV Modem ISA
  • Windows 98 SE

Additional Software I added:

Abyss Web Server – Adobe Acrobat 4.0 – Open Office 2.4

Typsoft FTP Server –  Internet 6.0 SP1

Directx 7 – Sword of Fargoal

Winrar

 

What is the deal then?  You want to see the beast.  I know,  but I have to preface the viewing.  This machine was not in pristine condition.  It was dirty and the front face plastic was held on with clear packing tape.  Someone broke all the front face plate clips probably assuming it was like many other cases.  That is not the “case”.  See what I did there?    🙂  

So…  If I had to have to look at the metal behind the face plate so be it.  I got creative.

I started with the drive bays which incidentally sits at the rear of the machine and is accessed from the back by a removable metal cover as seen on the table next to the drive bays.

Next, I opted to paint the front of the metal case. If the front plastic won’t be able to clip and stay in place then I want something fun to gaze upon longingly. At least something other than dull aluminum drive bay covers. Be forewarned, I did not go buy a bunch of product and run up a cost ridiculous to the purpose of the retro machine. I used what i had on hand for paint because, Pimpin’ on a budget! So here we go… Primer and Paint.

External Stuff

Right!  So it’s not pretty but it is different and I felt like doing something different.  So I did.  Love it,  hate it,  whatever.  It is mine and I got a chance to try something and learn a thing or two I would do different in the process if I did it again.  Also,  I have another 166Mhz machine (See AMDROID K6 article)  so this became the experiment.

Internal Stuff

As you can see in the image above we are able to set 66MHz fsb to 3x which is the setting for a 200MHz non MMX Intel CPU.  Technically this equates to 198 MHz,  but what’s a megahertz or two between friends?

In the following picture you can see the heat-sync and the riser card in the background.

This AST has embedded S3 Video and you can see room to expand the video memory:

There is also Yamaha OPL3-SA audio integrated.  But not all things are built in.  There is a Viking 56k ISA modem and a ISA Network card with BNC added.  Oh yes, I can browse the network and some internet!

I installed both cards into the riser card, they really do hang upside down!

The hard drive caddy is reinstalled and the optical drive installed good progress is being made. The bottom of the case will go on next; didn’t get a decent picture of it; It is painted gold.

Will definitely need some cable management after we get the boot test and OS loaded.

You access the hard drive from the back, behind the silver plate, once it is all back together.
Looking good so far

While the colors of my experiment might not be to everyone’s or anyone’s, liking, it is my experiment. As I stated the front bezel will not stay on. I will devise a way to get that done in the future. The end results of this fantastic AST Pimpium 166 with Windows 98SE are truly satisfying.

This project was a lot of fun.  This model AST is something I had never worked on before in my long career and enjoyed how well made this system is. 

I look forward to each and every project as I make my attempt to save the history.
Thanks for checking out the AST Pimpium 166