VOGONS


My 486 Build

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First post, by RetroStorm00

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Hello ALL! This is my first post here so I thought I would show you what I am currently working on, plus I may need some help with configuring this computer as I have no experience in building these classic machines, just new ones 🤣. So first a lil about me, I received my first computer sometime in 1991, it was a Packard Bell 486 but the rest of the details are long forgotten since I was only 7 or 😀 I vaguely remember my parents buying an IBM computer first then returning it the next day and picking up the Packard Bell from a different store since it was cheaper, of course at the time my parents were oblivious to the downfalls of Packard Bells but oh well. I remember they bought a sound blaster 16 and the CH Flightstick pro. I also recieved two games..Math Blaster(I dont even think I ever opened it despite the fact repeatedly assuring my mother that the computer would be used for studying for school...ya that never happened) 😈 Finally the game I purchased was Jetfighter 2 and it was amazing. It took my poor father 3 to 4 hours to figure out how to install it from the floppy 😁 But I must have sunk hundreds of hours into that game, so it will always hold a special place in my heart, but I digress. ON WITH THE BUILD!

Here is the case, some sort of desktop form factor, the colors were kind of mismatched so over the past few days I have been stripping and applying a different color of paint.

IMG_0530.jpg
I will have pics of the finished paint at the end of this build.

First up is the motherboard, I picked up an ASUS VLI-486SV2G Rev 1.4. I believe it has 256k of Cache. I also threw in 32MB of RAM. The processor is an Intel i486DX2 sx955 with write back cache. I found the CPU cheap on ebay but the packaging was less than ideal because about 5 or 6 pins were horribly bent 🙁 I straightened them back out and got it installed though.
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Next the video card is of course VLB as I have read they seem to be a little better than standard ISA video cards. I picked up this S3 Vision868 2mb card as the Tseng ET4000 is just to rare and expensive for me, hopefully this card will preform well enough.
IMG_0535.jpg

Next up I added a Quickshot Smart Game card with dual joystick ports as I also have both the thrustmaster mark 2 throttle and joystick so I needed two ports, also it says it speed adjusts up to 80mhz so yay for that I guess..
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For audio I picked up two cards. First the sound blaster 16 CT 2290. I believe this card has a true OPL chip and listening to some samples I really like the sound. This card needs jumpers set on the board itself and I set the port to 220H, IDE:Teritary, IDE IRQ 11, MPU-401 to 300 and disabled to onboard joystick port as I don't think I will need it.
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Next to combat the intelligent mode MPU-401 bugs I purchased this midiman midi card. For that I set the port to 330H and the IRQ to 2. Hopefully this will fix any audio issues I have with my Roland MT-32(Not pictured yet)
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That's about as far as I've made it into the build process. Also Ive added a 120gb Hard Drive with a SATA to IDE connector. This should work for me as I will be installing MSDOS 7.1 which thanks to PhilsComputerLabs awesome videos I have learned will work with HDD's up to a max of 120gb. Finally I also put in an IDE controller card but the brand and model number escapes me at the moment, no matter as Im sure Ill have to pull it out in order to hook the cables all up. Here is a pic of where I am at currently.
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Up next while painting the case and drives will be to configure up the front panel connectors, this is where I have kind of run into a problem. The computer case included a LED Mhz readout, but I have absolutely no idea how to program it. 😵 The circuit board doesn't list a model number that I can see in order to try and find a pinout for these jumpers. Here are some pics of the board, if anyone has any ideas Id sure appreciate it....
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Thanks so much guys for reading through this and if you have any comments, tips or concerns please share them as I am still a noob at vintage computers 😁. Until next time, Have a great day!

Reply 1 of 20, by Bullmecha

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So far it looks like a nice tidy build. Hope it all goes as planned and we see a finished product sometime soon.

Just a guy with a bad tinkering habit.
i5 6600k Main Rig
too many to list old school rigs

Reply 4 of 20, by einr

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Neat system. Hope you get that LED display working right, it looks really bad-ass with the "MHz" and "HDD" displays. Never seen one like that before. Looking forward to seeing a shot of the case with everything assembled! 😀

Reply 5 of 20, by chinny22

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Your Video card may not be the fastest but you do get extra cool points with VLB, and really that's what 486's are about, coolness, Pentiums are the dos speed demons.
To configure the display just play around with the jumpers on the back, It wont hurt anything to do it while switched on. It'll be much quicker/easier then trying to find any documentation on it.

Reply 6 of 20, by RetroStorm00

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Thanks for the comments guys, I never really even thought it was that clean personally 😁
Einr: I haven't seen any displays quite like this one either. Unfortunately today the solder broke off on two of the wires on the display so Im gonna have to try and re-solder the connections 🙁
Thanks for the tips Chinny22 I didn't know if it was safe or not to change the jumpers with the power on but now I do 😎

I didnt get too much done today just painted the front covers of both the CD and Floppy drives. The floppy is a TEAC combo drive.
IMG_0545.jpg

Also pulled the IDE Controller out to get a pic, does anyone know what brand and model this is? I would very much like to know what all these pins and jumpers do..
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Thanks again for looking!

Reply 7 of 20, by luckybob

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it appears to be a bog-standard isa card. 95% chance it is already setup with everything ON and at the default locations. Jumpers will only turn things on or off, or change the address. For example if you had a 2nd card, you would change some DMA/IRQ/ETC and be fine.

With your other parts, you are going to want to disable the joystick (and on the soundblaster).

I'd start with these settings: http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/hard-disk-floppy- … UPER-I-O-C.html

Can't hurt to experiment. just write the current setting down first and go nuts.

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.

Reply 8 of 20, by RetroStorm00

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Thanks for the tips luckybob, I found what I believe is the correct interface card on that stason.org link.I have disabled the joystick on both the sound blaster and the interface card(at least I think so 🤣).

A tiny update for today. I finished installing just about everything and hooking the power up. I also go the LED display to correctly state the appropriate mhz. Only thing is that the turbo switch wires soldering broke off and the HDD activity lights wires looked burnt close to the connection point so i snipped those off as well and I am currently waiting on some desoldering wick to arrive to attempt my first de/re-solder job 😜.

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Finally I got it to post, woohoo!!
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but I can go no further as I thought I had a AT to ps/2 keyboard adapter but couldn't find it so I had to order one... 😒 Who knows when that will arrive, probably at the end of the week so I'm effectively awaiting parts.

In the meantime I'm thinking about making some stickers or vinyl for the front. I saw a video on youtube by nocito87 that had the same thing done on a 486. Here is the image sorta blown up, i just screen capped the youtube video in question as I could not find any high quality version of this logo.
Capture.jpg

I'm thinking color wise either gold/yellow/silver or purple. Anybody out there a pro at using photoshop?

Thanks for looking!

Reply 9 of 20, by Robert B

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I'll fix you up with a CorelDraw logo. You'll have to fill in the colours though.... 😁 I''ll save the logo in as many extensions as the programs will allow....😁 I'll post the link.

Last edited by Robert B on 2016-09-24, 10:43. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 11 of 20, by Robert B

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Here you go. I attached to this post, the archive with the files. CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator, PDF, JPG,WMF, AutoCad dwg, dxf, ... 😀 I used the trial version of CorelDraw...it took me about 20 minutes 😁 I used the image file you uploaded above.

L.E. - Nice system you have there 😁

Attachments

  • Filename
    486-DX2.rar
    File size
    2.45 MiB
    Downloads
    68 downloads
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception

Reply 12 of 20, by RetroStorm00

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Thanks man, very awesome and so many different formats to boot 😁 Deff gonna get this printed soon, dunno if i should do it myself with transparent sticker paper or go professional vinyl, decisions decisions.

In the mean time...everything is just about done... there is a touch-up paint job I will do sometime in the near future to the floppy drive as some scuffed off when putting the front cover on, but its really small. I did my first soldering job today and despite burning myself I got the HDD light and turbo switch wires re-soldered onto the mhz display board.
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I just set the the display to read 33 mhz when the turbo button is pressed as i remember reading the turbo feature on these actually limits the speed instead of increasing it.

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Assuming this all works that will be about it for this build. Only thing is of course the decals which I will take some more pics down the line. Also if I by some miracle come across a Tseng ET4000 or a Gravis Ultrasound ACE I will post more pics as well.

Thanks for looking!

Reply 13 of 20, by feipoa

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That is a very nice motherboard and an overall clean system. I like how you are using a DX2-66 with write-back L1 cache. Not many builds with that particular CPU. Have you given any thought to,

1) using a PS/2 mouse? This board appears to have the PS/2 mouse header
2) using a VLB IDE or SCSI controller?

Plan your life wisely, you'll be dead before you know it.

Reply 14 of 20, by dirkmirk

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chinny22 wrote:

Your Video card may not be the fastest but you do get extra cool points with VLB

Curious you say this, do you know for a fact that this card is not as quick as any VLB card in dos?

The Trio64 and 64V+ are essentially fully integrated solutions based upon the earlier Vision 864 and 868 accelerator chipsets. Like the 868, the 64V+ has a video acceleration engine that can perform YUV to RGB color space conversion and horizontal linear filtered scaling. Unlike the Vision964/968, the Trio chips do not support VRAM, and are limited to FPM DRAM and EDO DRAM only. The 2D graphics hardware was later used in the ViRGE.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S3_Trio

I passed on a S3 Trio64 because I thought they were essentially the same card as the 868 which I already own and presumed these cards were as good as any ET4000W32/p

Reply 16 of 20, by feipoa

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It would be interesting to see some VLB benchmarks of the S3 868 vs. Trio64.

The Trio64 is a marginally faster than the S3 968 in DOS, while the S3 968 is a fair bit faster than the Trio64 in Windows. Trio64, ET4000/W32P, and ARK1000VL are all approximately equal with DOS performance.

Plan your life wisely, you'll be dead before you know it.

Reply 17 of 20, by chinny22

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dirkmirk wrote:
chinny22 wrote:

Your Video card may not be the fastest but you do get extra cool points with VLB

Curious you say this, do you know for a fact that this card is not as quick as any VLB card in dos?

No not at all, that's why I said may Seen too many times a system that should perform amazingly do poorly with a bit if hardware or visa versa to say anything for certain when it comes to these things.

Reply 18 of 20, by LunarG

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Fantastic choice of graphics card. For some really old titles, an ET4000 might be as good, perhaps marginally better, but for the slightly more modern DOS games, the S3 Vision 868 should make mincemeat out of the ET4000.

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, SW1000XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, Diamond Stealth64 DRAM, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 19 of 20, by SW-SSG

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Build looks nice so far!

RetroStorm00 wrote:

... First the sound blaster 16 CT 2290. I believe this card has a true OPL chip and listening to some samples I really like the sound. ...

Not a "true" discrete OPL, but a licensed core built into the CT1747 ASIC. Which is the next best thing; it's truer to the sound of a real OPL3 chip (if not exactly the same) compared to the CQM synth imitation that certain other SB16 cards use.