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Alaris Cougar Fastest 386

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First post, by Warlord

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Welcome 😎

Originally I thought about making a 486 becasue I didn't have one. 😵
The backstory of how I got the board was an accident on the ebay seller who didn't know what he had, and I jumped on it for a few dollars. 😲

I guess I wont be making that 486, but this will be good enough. 😊

I just now am testing it and it works. I tried to overclock it to 100mhz and it wouldn't post. Hopefully someone can help me understand what I'm doing wrong. 😢
So i put it back to 25mhz cpu speed and its fine. 😐 people said it can do 33 and be 100 and that doesn't work for me. 😐
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Reply 1 of 26, by pshipkov

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50-ish MHz seems to be the practical OC limit for 386 hardware. Past that you will probably have to "frankenstein" stuff.
Start with 40MHz and see how far you can get past that.

Never owned one of these Alaris mobos, but remember looking them it up online and the reported performance figures were ok at best.
Recently somebody posted about his "doom" 386 rig running stably at 55 MHz.

Last edited by pshipkov on 2019-10-27, 07:31. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 5 of 26, by DNSDies

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I have this mobo too.
It was a gift from someone who was trashing their old computers. The com port on mine is busted, won't recognize mice.

It's very interesting, and makes for a great machine for late 286 stuff all the way up to early 486 stuff just with the included processor. I haven't tried to use the socket on it, but apparently it does fairly well with a Pentium Overdrive in there as well.

The BL3 isn't quite a 386, and isn't quite a 486 either. It's a weird beast. It can do 486 instructions, but lacks a math compressor, but you should be able to install one.

I especially love the factory installed bodge wiring on the motherboard. Gotta love cost-saving fixes.

Reply 6 of 26, by Warlord

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I think its perfect. late 286 to early 486 covers just about all the cpu speed sensitive titles or games that I have any interest in. Early 286 stuff is like pong or those reading games... anyways anything that needs a fast or later 486 plays fine on a socket 7 so i think its is a pretty great motherboard. I just need to finish fixing the the case I'm going to put it in and Ill update the thread.

Reply 7 of 26, by Jo22

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There just one more thing to keep in mind..
Classic "AT" motherboard designs go from 286 to 486 (max 586).

Starting with the 586, they move to ATX. It's not just about speed, form factors or power supplies.
At this point. classic PIC, PIT and other timer stuff gets slowly replaced by APIC, ACPI and stuff.

In addtition, on 586 motherboards onwards, the BIOS starts to get new features, but also looses older ones.
So stuffing a 586 in a classic PCI-less 486 motherboard isn't the worst you can do (in terms of backwards compatibility). 😉

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In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 8 of 26, by matze79

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Hm i also know 686 and Pentium IV AT Mainboards

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Reply 10 of 26, by Caluser2000

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Warlord wrote:
My USA motherboard is Colluding With Russian ISA PS2 card. Making 386 great again :lol: […]
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My USA motherboard is Colluding With Russian ISA PS2 card. Making 386 great again 🤣

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Damn Ruskies. And they said it never could be done.

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Reply 11 of 26, by Jo22

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^Is that an MS Basic Optical Mouse v2.0 ? 😀

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In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 15 of 26, by feipoa

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Warlord wrote:

It's fine if my bluelightning will not overclock to 100mhz. my ram, cache and video are all at zero wait states so it should be plenty fast enough at 75mhz.

The most I could get out of one of these IBM Blue Lightning BL3 chips and still have stable operation was 110 MHz. That was from a 75 MHz rated part. My 60 MHz rated part wouldn't even run at 80 MHz, if I recall right.

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Reply 16 of 26, by Warlord

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I believe this is a 75mhz part as it runs at 75mhz with the 25mhz jumper by default. Could it be because my ram is 60ns parity or my cache is 20ns I do not have other ram or cache chips to test with so its hard to know.
I did get it to turn the video card on at 100mhz but when it did its memory count/ initialization at the beginning it threw an error.

Reply 17 of 26, by DNSDies

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Warlord wrote:

I believe this is a 75mhz part as it runs at 75mhz with the 25mhz jumper by default. Could it be because my ram is 60ns parity or my cache is 20ns I do not have other ram or cache chips to test with so its hard to know.
I did get it to turn the video card on at 100mhz but when it did its memory count/ initialization at the beginning it threw an error.

BL chip is triple-clocked, so a 25mhz FSB correlates to a 75mhz CPU.
Try setting the FSB to 33mhz.

Reply 18 of 26, by kixs

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Your chip just won't do 100Mhz. Usually you have to increase Voltage to get stable overclock. DRAM and cache speed doesn't matter as the board runs at standard 33Mhz when you overclock to 100Mhz.

Sometimes you can get away with POST problems with de-turbo and re-enable turbo when it successfully boots.

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