My Ultimate VL/EISA 486

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My Ultimate VL/EISA 486

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2010-2-18 @ 21:53

I've been working on this system for what seems like forever. I've made a few small changes recently. Here's what I've got so far:

-Inwin H500 ATX Chassis
Converted to AT using an ebay kit. I previously used a huge full tower case, but I decided to downsize since I moved overseas. The Pentium that previously occupied this case was decommissioned.

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-Nice/Lion/MCCI SuperEISA V1.2 w/1024kb cache
My favourite 486 board. 8 EISA slots, 1 VLB. Supports up to 256mb RAM (fully cached???). I upgraded the three 64kx4 TAG rams to 12ns. This is a very fast board for such an old design.

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Here's a closeup of the 128kx8 cache chips:

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-AMD 5x86-133ADW @160MHz
My ADZ didn't cut the mustard at 160MHz, but the ADW did. (Now running a 486DX5-16BGC with 2000 date code). It's currently sitting on a VRM, which sits on an interposer to force WT cache mode. I use a very nice industrial style clip on heatsink with a fan just to be safe. Here's a breakdown of all the components. Transposer + VRM + CPU + Bracket + Clip + Heatsink + Fan:

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This is the CPU after all the adapters are installed:

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-128MB 60ns FPM 30pin SIMM
I don't think this much memory is really necessary, but 16mb 30-pin SIMMs are niftyt. I would like to upgrade to 256MB if I ever find the modules at a low price.

-Hercules Dynamite Power VL w/2MB DRAM
I've tried just about every VLB card worth trying, and I always come back to the ET4000W32P. It's quite fast in DOS (but just so-so in Windows)....which is why I have a SuperMac Spectrum/24.

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-SuperMac Spectrum/24 w/3MB VRAM EISA
This card is an accelerator only, no VGA core. It connects to the VGA passthrough on the Hercules card (also needed to build a VGA terminator). It only does 24-bit colour modes, but for the the Windows programs that require 8-bit, I can still fall back to the Tseng just by changing the driver in windows setup.

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-Adaptec AHA-2742W Wide SCSI EISA
I didn't feel a caching controller was necessary as I already have so much main memory. Bus mastering on EISA is supposed to work pretty well.
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-STB ECP & 16550 I/O
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-3com 5c597TX 10/100mbps EISA
I still haven't really gotten much use out of this card, so I am not totally sure if it can get up to speed.
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-SoundBlaster Pro 2.0 (Now replaced with Yamaha YMF-719)
[s]I sacrifice sound quality for good DOS game compatibility. I also considered SB16, AWE32 and AWE64 (which I have), and CS4232 +OPL3 (which I couldn't find)[/s]

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MPU-401AT + DB60XG
I finally got one of these damn Roland cards, which solves the hanging notes problem on creative cards, or in the case of the SB Pro the lack of MPU-401 header. I would have preferred LAPC-I, but I couldn't find it. For now this DB60XG seems to do what I need. Perhaps I can upgrade to Soundscape later.

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BAY1: 5.25" 1.2mb FDD
BAY2: Plextor PX-32CSI 32X SCSI Caddy loader
BAY3: Empty
BAY4: 3.5" 1.44mb FDD
BAY5: Empty
BAY6: Seagate Barracuda 2GB Wide SCSI HDD (loud as hell)

This is an older photo I had on file of the motherboard, before I installed the new cache chips and added the CPU fan. Last year "lamcsales" on eBay was selling a bunch of these boards, but they all had the Everex BIOS installed. Mine has the regular AMI 6/6/92 BIOS installed with all the bells and whistles:

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Last edited by Anonymous Coward on 2016-1-02 @ 00:43, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby keropi » 2010-2-18 @ 22:48

nice!!!!
post some pics of the mobo + cpu :D too!
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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby TheLazy1 » 2010-2-19 @ 00:44

Nice 486, how much did that set you back?
What OS are you running?
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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2010-2-19 @ 00:58

It's hard to say how much it cost me, because I've been working on it for 7 years...but probably something like $400.

I'm running PC-DOS 2000 and WFW311.
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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby keropi » 2010-2-19 @ 06:41

ah, pc-dos, the choise of win :) too bad 2000 does not have FAT32 support...
thanks for the pics too:)
so the transposer is just a bridge between 2 legs? is this fix specific to this mobo?
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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby Amigaz » 2010-2-19 @ 08:24

@Anonymous Coward

i see you ditched the socket 4 mobo which you in this case and the full tower you had the Everex Eisa mobo in?
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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2010-2-19 @ 14:58

Yeah. The socket4 motherboard developed some loose solder joints, and I just don't have the time to repair it.

The interposer in the photo fits in between the socket3 and the VRM. It's purpose is to hard wire write thru cache. It's not specific to this motherboard, but to the am5x86 chip. If you try to run WB mode on a board that only supports WT, it can cause DMA problems.
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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby Mad-Lunatic » 2010-2-23 @ 08:09

Converted to AT using an ebay kit.


Nice rig!

Where did you find this kit, how is/was it called ?
I see lots of kits to convert Power Supplies, but I can't seem to track down a kit to convert an ATX case. Would be fun to get a reference.
http://homenet.gnu-linux.net/ -- My computer collection, past and present
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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2010-2-23 @ 14:58

My understanding is that the mounting points in ATX cases should still line up with AT motherboards. However, I have only ever used Inwin cases, so perhaps they were designed with AT boards in mind. Try mounting an AT board into a random ATX case and see how it goes. If it fits, all you need is the power adapter cable and one of these:

http://store.thirtyday.com/atioshbaplal.html
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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby retro games 100 » 2011-3-25 @ 19:17

Anonymous Coward, I would love to see some benchmarks for this incredible looking machine. If possible:

Speedsys, 3DBench (1.0 and 1.0c), PcpBench, Shiny "CPU/Video Gamers Performance Test v1.4" benchmark program, Quake timedemo demo1 [full screen], Doom -timedemo demo3 [full screen], WinTune 2 [for Windows 3.whatever], and anything else you can think of.

Thanks a lot if possible.
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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2011-3-25 @ 23:57

I won't have access to the machine until June. But I'd be more than happy to do this for you.
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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby WolverineDK » 2011-3-26 @ 13:56

Anonymous Coward: since you mentioned. That you took a Soundblaster Pro 2.0

What about making a midi box like Silent Loon made in his thread in his thread ?

viewtopic.php?t=18185

Since I seriously doubt you want to buy miditemps expensive DoXintheBox "box".
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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby sliderider » 2011-4-30 @ 21:03

Anonymous Coward wrote:Yeah. The socket4 motherboard developed some loose solder joints, and I just don't have the time to repair it.

The interposer in the photo fits in between the socket3 and the VRM. It's purpose is to hard wire write thru cache. It's not specific to this motherboard, but to the am5x86 chip. If you try to run WB mode on a board that only supports WT, it can cause DMA problems.


I've never seen a socket 4 motherboard. Any pics?
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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby DonutKing » 2011-4-30 @ 21:38

sliderider wrote:
Anonymous Coward wrote:Yeah. The socket4 motherboard developed some loose solder joints, and I just don't have the time to repair it.

The interposer in the photo fits in between the socket3 and the VRM. It's purpose is to hard wire write thru cache. It's not specific to this motherboard, but to the am5x86 chip. If you try to run WB mode on a board that only supports WT, it can cause DMA problems.


I've never seen a socket 4 motherboard. Any pics?



There's a thread about socket 4 here viewtopic.php?t=27886
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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby sliderider » 2011-4-30 @ 21:42

DonutKing wrote:
sliderider wrote:
Anonymous Coward wrote:Yeah. The socket4 motherboard developed some loose solder joints, and I just don't have the time to repair it.

The interposer in the photo fits in between the socket3 and the VRM. It's purpose is to hard wire write thru cache. It's not specific to this motherboard, but to the am5x86 chip. If you try to run WB mode on a board that only supports WT, it can cause DMA problems.


I've never seen a socket 4 motherboard. Any pics?



There's a thread about socket 4 here viewtopic.php?t=27886


I realized after I posted that I was thinking about Socket 6 and not Socket 4. I've seen the P60/66 motherboards before. Wikipedia says Socket 6 was a very late update to the Socket 3 for 486's.
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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby Tetrium » 2011-4-30 @ 22:50

I don't think Socket 6 was ever produced. Wouldn't be very sensible, Socket 3 was already capable of supporting virtually all Socket 3 class cpu's ever made and 486 was nearing the end of it's life anyway.

Iirc Socket 6 would've been 3.3v only?
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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby SavantStrike » 2011-5-01 @ 00:09

Can you elaborate more on that ATX conversion?

How does this work exactly. I'm guessing the screw holes line up for the standoffs to work internally, but AT/baby AT had 8 expansion slots, and ATX has 7. Does your case have 8 slots, or is the first or last slot just not available to put cards in?
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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby GXL750 » 2011-5-01 @ 07:01

I remember in the late 1990s, having a case that was ATX but it came with a motherboard back plate that allowed me to install an AT motherboard as well.
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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2011-9-30 @ 04:36

I have some speedsys results for those interested. I didn't test the HDD, because it's slow as hell. I'd really like to get a Cyrix 5x86-120 working in this system, but it just isn't cooperating.

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Also, sorry about my slow reply to your question about ATX. The case has 7 slots, and the 8th slot is not available (externally at least). Here's what it looks like at the back (this is an older picture with a different guts in the same case)

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Re: My Ultimate 486 (Almost Finished)

Postby Amigaz » 2011-9-30 @ 06:17

@Anonymous Coward

Might be time to throw in a modern, fast and silent 68p SCSI HDD like a nice 10k rpm of faster 18gig drive...they are quite cheap nowdays and the last one's made are quite silent
Another idea is top use an IDE drive with an acard SCSI->IDE adapter

Still haven't got around using my Everex version of your mobo, lol
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