VOGONS


First post, by Anaxagoras

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Hi.

This is my 486.

The first computer that I bought with my own money, and still works!!! 😀

- It's an Intel 486DX4 @ 100Mhz and no needs a CPU fan, only a little heatsink.
- The mainboard is a VIP (VESA, ISA, PCI... I think).
- 32MB of RAM (2x8, 1x16), more than enough for me.
- SIS SVGA (PCI) with 1MB of memory.
- Sound Blaster 16 CT2830 (ISA).
- Serial / parallel ports and floppy controller (ISA).
- FDD 5,25" DD (1,2Mb).
- FDD 3,5" HD (1,44Mb).
- IDE to CF adapter:
1 CF 2GB (1 FAT partition).
1 HD 4GB, CF card size, pulled from broken MP3 player device (2 FAT partitions).
- CDROM 4x Panasonic.
- SONY Trinitron Multiscan 200GS (17").
- Standard keyboard (since 1995).
- Logitech 3 buttons serial mouse.

The original hardware specs (1995):

- CPU 484DX4 @ 100Mhz.
- 4MB RAM.
- FDD 3,5"
- No CD, no Audio Card.
- 14" monitor (MIA).
- Serial mouse (MIA).

A few months later I build the first upgrade, a "Multimedia Kit":

- CDROM 4x Panasonic.
- Audio Excel 16 DSP a Sound Blaseter Pro compatible PCI card.
- Stereo powered speakers.

I remember the first game that I use to test the sound... Pinball Fantasies. I could not believe what I was hearing. Awesome. My previous PC (a XT clone) only has internal speaker.

During more than a decade this 486 was boxed and stored, with some exceptions, for example when was running as a firewall.

Recently I rescue it from a wardrobe to make some changes on it to back to live.

- The HDD was replaced by two CF cards.
- Audio Excel sound card replaced by Sound Blaster 16.
- New battery.
- Added a second FDD, 5.25"
- Fixed a CPU Clock Speed Display.

17" CRT monitor, new 2.1 speakers and new manufactured serial mouse completes this 486 setup.

Mainboard.jpg
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486 Mainboard
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Sound_Blaster_16_CT2830_ISA.jpg
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Sound Blaster 16
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CF cards
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Last edited by Anaxagoras on 2018-01-09, 21:25. Edited 1 time in total.

My computers

1vgz8s-6.png

Reply 1 of 10, by Anaxagoras

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More pictures...

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Running.jpg
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Running @100Mhz with turbo
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My computers

1vgz8s-6.png

Reply 4 of 10, by chinny22

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Nice, Still got our first PC as well, DX2/66 with 8MB of ram in early 95. (before Windows 95 was realised )
So you guys went with faster CPU rather then RAM, probably the smarter idea. Ours did come with a SB16 and 2x Panasonic CD drive.

I couldn't bring myself to upgrade the CPU, Soundcard when I brought it back to life a few years ago as they were original to the system.
RAM, HDD's CD-ROMS had been upgraded over the years so happily replaced when necessary.

Playing games on this PC brings me most joy. even if the game runs a bit slow I'll prefer to use this PC more then a more suited one.

Reply 5 of 10, by Anaxagoras

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oeuvre wrote:

Very cool! Pretty high end for a 486.

Thank you 😊

amadeus777999 wrote:

Very nice - especially the monitor!
Be aware that your mainboard has fake cache(PC Chips board) and you could solder on sockets if traces are present.

Fake cache? really? 🙁
I need to learn more about this before put the hands on it.
Thanks for your advice... More than 20 years with my 486 and it is a fake!!!

chinny22 wrote:

Playing games on this PC brings me most joy. even if the game runs a bit slow I'll prefer to use this PC more then a more suited one.

Me too!

My computers

1vgz8s-6.png

Reply 6 of 10, by amadeus777999

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No worries, it's not that bad... you didn't mind the last 20 years so don't be too concerend.
Your srams bear the dreaded "WriteBack" signature which is known to signal fake ic-placeholders usually planted in boards made by PC Chips. Also your chipset "features" stickers which hide the original manufacturer's identity and code - most likely UMC.

If you're not playing games which push your 486 then just leave the board as is.
It's a nice rig nonetheless.

Reply 7 of 10, by Anaxagoras

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amadeus777999 wrote:
No worries, it's not that bad... you didn't mind the last 20 years so don't be too concerend. Your srams bear the dreaded "Write […]
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No worries, it's not that bad... you didn't mind the last 20 years so don't be too concerend.
Your srams bear the dreaded "WriteBack" signature which is known to signal fake ic-placeholders usually planted in boards made by PC Chips. Also your chipset "features" stickers which hide the original manufacturer's identity and code - most likely UMC.

If you're not playing games which push your 486 then just leave the board as is.
It's a nice rig nonetheless.

Hi again,

I have been reading about the fake cache and I have to say that my mainboard has not external cache.
Stickers, BIOS chip soldered directly in the mainboard, and after read this excellent article from Redhill and others threads I think that Write-Back "chips" seems to be a fake 😢

Well, once I understand the meaning and tricks of this fake I continue with several test to be sure.

1.) Both caches enabled.

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2.) Internal cache enabled and external cache disable.

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As you can view the cachecheck report is the same in both cases. Only one cache with 16KB size.
The only thing that changes is a message in startup... Write Back Cache On 😠 😠 😠

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Because of this I leave the external cache disable from BIOS since it no have any but report true info to DOS (I hope).
The performance falling down when L1 is disable, more than when I turn off the turbo button. For example, Doom is unplayable.

My computers

1vgz8s-6.png

Reply 8 of 10, by amadeus777999

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The WriteBack chips are obviously fake not only for the reason that there was never a vendor with said name but also because they are soldered onto the board - this was not common for 486 era "stuff" which featured cache chips in "sdip" format.
As already mentioned you can take them out, put sockets in and improve the board's performance - given there are traces leading to the rams and you're in for some tedious groundwork.

Reply 9 of 10, by Srandista

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Nice machine!

Could you please make photo of that Audio Excel 16 DSP card? I had it when I was young, and unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of it.

Socket 775 - ASRock 4CoreDual-VSTA, Pentium E6500K, 4GB RAM, Radeon X800 XT, ESS Solo-1, Win 98/XP
Socket A - ASRock K7S41GX, AMD Athlon XP 3000+, 512MB RAM, GeForce4 Ti4200, SB Live!, Win 98

Reply 10 of 10, by Bige4u

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I seriously wish i knew what i did with mine, my very first... i also had a dx4-100mhz system, i bought it new back in mar1996 for my b-day from computer shopper when i was stationed overseas in the azores.

Sadly, this is the only picture i could find, and this is from mid 1997 when i came back to the states.

Specs - intel dx4 100mhz / 8mb edo / unknown motherboard-chipset with isa and pci slots / 850mb hdd / cirrus logic 1mb pci video card / opti930 isa sound card / 4x cdrom / at keyboard / serial 3button ball mouse / ctx 14'' crt / 3.5" floppy / mini at case with pwr-rst-trbo buttons and 2.5 digit led display showing cpu clock speed / 250w at psu and a set of generic speakers(not the yamaha ones pictured), only came with dos6.22, and all for $1200 shipped.

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Pentium3 1400s / Asus Tusl2-c / Kingston 512mb pc133 cl2 / WD 20gb 7200rpm / GeForce3 Ti500 64mb / SB Live! 5.1 / 16x dvdrom / 3.5'' Floppy / Enermax 420w / Win98se