Restoring my Cyrix PC

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Restoring my Cyrix PC

Postby fierarul » 2018-1-02 @ 06:19


I'm restoring my first PC, a Cyrix 6x86 with 16MB of RAM.

I have an A-Trend ATC-1030 motherboard which is more capable than I remembered it: supports upto 128MB RAM and even has pins for USB.

The machine boots but sadly I don't have an ATC keyboard so I'm waiting for the PS/2-AT adapter.

I also bought an USB board because I don't have a serial mouse either.

I read here for the first time the 'period correct' term which is interesting. Indeed, my first idea was to upgrade it as much as possible and maybe replace the IDE drive with some IDE-SD card adaptor or somesuch. But after thinking a bit, it does make more sense to reduce such 'modern' improvements.

One thing I would like to improve is the RAM: 16MB was always a pain, even back then. I'm looking to buy some EDO RAM (found a seller with some Compaq DeskPro that has EDO RAM, I might buy the whole machine just for the memory and spare parts).

I'm also attaching some pictures. Feel free to give me any hints about how to proceed.

I used Windows 98 on the machine, but I'm thinking about giving 3.1 a try first. It would be interesting to see if I can actually use the machine for anything (which means I would need some Ethernet first too?)
Graphics card
Cyrix CPU
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Re: Restoring my Cyrix PC

Postby BSA Starfire » 2018-1-02 @ 07:29

Nice to see another Cyrix 6x86 being restored, they are done a lot less often these days. That's a more unusual ST made version too. I'd go with a DOS 6.2/Win 3.1 on that machine myself, the S3 Trio 64 is a VERY good card for DOS games & Win 3.1 will feel snappy on that machine, you also don't need to bother upgrading the RAM then either, 16MB will be more than enough.
I don't think you'll have much luck with getting USB working unless you go to win95B however(I could well be wrong, there may well be modern patches for DOS I don't know about). Serial mice arent expensive or hard to find(last time i looked) though if that is your main reason for having USB.
make sure you have a good heatsink & fan for the CPU, also I'd use thermal paste. Those original 6x86 did run pretty warm & I've heard stories that the ST made ones due to manufacturing ran hottest of the lot.

Best regards,
386SX 33MHz,4MB Ram,ALi M1217 motherboard,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A.
386DX 25MHz,IIT 387,8MB RAM,Opti,32K cache,WDC90C30 512K.Conner CF170A.
IDT Winchip C6 200MHz,DFi P5BTX/L,Number Nine S3 ViRGE 2MB,SoundBlasterCT2260,1.2Gb Fujitsu.
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Re: Restoring my Cyrix PC

Postby fierarul » 2018-1-02 @ 07:42

The fan is actually kinda not working. It seems to wobble and stops spinning every few seconds. I ordered another 50mm fan to replace it.

I read somewhere that while hot the Cyrix CPUs don't really need much cooling (ie. they can take the heat). That's why they didn't even use thermal paste back then...

I did buy already some cheap Deep Cool Z3 "Thermal greese" but I'm having doubts about 'dirtying' the CPU with it. How easy do these things clean up?

The new fan seem to have some sort of sticky pad in the photo. Not sure how easy to remove that is going to be either.

The USB extension board was cheap and I ordered it just because I was amazed the motherboard had USB 1 pins! Then I figured I could use it for the mouse. I will also buy an used serial mouse probably (new ones seem too expensive for a mouse).

The motherboard also has PS2 mouse pins but I'm unable to find a separate port with motherboard pins.
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Re: Restoring my Cyrix PC

Postby chinny22 » 2018-1-02 @ 22:16

Not sure where you are from but EDO ram shouldn't be that rare, specially if you have to pay for shipping of the entire Compaq!
If you go with BSA's recommendation of a dos only PC you wont need a mouse unless its for a game anyway.
Personally I would duel boot with Windows of some sort, just makes system management bit more easy.

Cool you still have your first PC, I'm also one of the lucky ones that kept his, people here spend lots of money to recreate theirs and usually have to compromise on things like the case.

With my PC (a 486) even back then I upgraded the RAM to the maximum 64MB, larger HDD, added a network card, this was more out of necessity then anything, but when I restored it few years ago I upgraded the SB16 to a AWE32, the CPU, Floppy to a gotek, but it just didn't feel right and removed all the stuff I added.
Thing is I have a P3 that's better suited for my dos gamming anyway. If I relive my childhood I'll fire up the 486, If I want to play the game with everything on high settings I'll use the P3.

No matter which you OS you choose, add a network card. alot of people use ftp, but I like Windows for Workgroups for dos PC's, Its about the only reason you'll ever go into windows and works all the way upto WInXP without any problems.

Large HDD is also nice, or again what I do, C:\ is a authentic old IDE drive for all those authentic startup sounds. D:\ is a IDE to CF/SD card with plenty of space for all my games, you'll know when you get the balance right for you
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Re: Restoring my Cyrix PC

Postby fierarul » 2018-1-03 @ 04:39

I will certainly use Windows. Originally I had Windows 95 on the machine, then 98. But I believe Windows 3.1 might be a better fit.

> If I relive my childhood I'll fire up the 486, If I want to play the game with everything on high settings I'll use the P3.

Oddly enough I didn't even play that many games but I *made* a few small ones. We were not allowed games on the school PCs so I wrote some in Pascal which we compiled from source to play in recess. So... I might enjoy Turbo Pascal more than Quake.
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Re: Restoring my Cyrix PC

Postby matze79 » 2018-1-05 @ 16:24

95 is just fine for a 6x86 :)

I like Cyrix :)
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