VOGONS


First post, by JSO

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Greetings to everyone,

the past two years I spending my free time building various vintage machines for pure hardware experience and to cover the era from 1990 to 2000.
Two years ago I made this presentation : My new 386 build is DOOMED (testing DOOM)

Since then I built an AM486DX4 120 MHz PCI, a Pentium MMx, a K6-3 with SB Live! (CT4620 with CT4660 and SB0010c) and Voodoo 3 3000 and the ultimate Windows 9x/Me build with Athlon XP, Audigy 2 ZS and the 9600XT. I also bought some vintage laptops that are good for DOS gaming (Thinkpad 380z and Armada 1590DT). I purchased several ISA and VLB expansion cards, such as network, sound cards, SVGA and Multi I/O. I went to a friend that used to repair pc's about a fifteen years ago and he gave me various PCI and AGP GPUs. I bought also SS7 ATX (I already had two working AT SS7 motheboards for the past twenty years) and Socket 3 VLB and PCI motherboards, SLOT1 with 440Bx, and cpus from 486 to PIII, optical, HDDs ATA133 and floppy disk drives. Just for spares for the future.

But I've always wanted to build my childhood dream... A 486 Vesa Local Bus machine on a desktop case with LCD MHz display, turbo, reset and keylock... The case was found and it was the time to pick up the parts to complete my dream... About the autumn of 1994 my father promised me that we will buy a new PC before the spring of 1995, but... We stuck with the i386Dx25 until the summer of 1998!

My build has the following parts...

i486Dx2 66 MHz
Soyo 025N2
32 MB FPM RAM
PT-627A Dual IDE Multi I/O card
CL-5428 2MB VLB
AWE64 GOLD
3.5" FDD
5,25" FDD
CD-RW
Compact Flash 16GB HDD

Windows 95b, works great with games and with AWE64...

I wanted to add a voltage regulator to use a DX4 or AM5x86 cpu, but... I'd rather stay on my dream!!!

The PC case was on yellowish awful state, retrobright didn't do the work, so I painted it by my self entirely, even the chassis on black... I also painted the metal parts, the plastics and the drives.

Here's are some pictures...

P.S. I'm cheating, cpu is running without issues and stock at 80 MHz!!!

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DOS IS THE POWER OF OUR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES!

Reply 1 of 24, by SirNickity

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Congrats! This is the build that inspired me to get back into retro PCs as well. I had been saving a ton of old parts "just in case," and the old DX2/66 was the one I missed enough to trigger the avalanche. It's probably one of my least useful, but most loved, in my collection now. 😀

Reply 2 of 24, by chinny22

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JSO wrote:

Greetings to everyone,
We stuck with the i386Dx25 until the summer of 1998!

Jeeze, I was complaining about having a DX2/66 till about the same time!

Was never a fan of the sideways FDD, but that's just personal.
MHz display, Turbo, reset, keylock, VLB, DX2/66 this IS what a 486 should be. Even the AWE was pretty high on a lot of wish lists. You have captured the period well

SirNickity wrote:

It's probably one of my least useful, but most loved, in my collection now. 😀

Yep same here

Reply 3 of 24, by LightStruk

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Look at that chunky desktop case! Three half-height bays tall is just nuts.

Also, your paint job looks great. At least from the photos, it looks clean and original.

No network card? You could get a 3c509 for $10 or so, and then you could use FTP or SMB file sharing to get files onto the box, or even log into IRC.

Reply 4 of 24, by JSO

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Thank you everyone..!

But...

I'm experiencing issues with the AWE64.. No sound and the mouse isn't working sometimes..
The build worked great last time I play with it, two weeks ago.

I think it has to do with IRQ conflicts between the PT-627 and the AWE64. The same happens using the DTC 2278 S/D multi I/O. When I remove the sound card everything works great. Gameport, and second serial port are disabled.

Which IRQ should I use for the serial port? Also I don't know how to change the AWE64 values. Maybe if I use I7 instead of I5, will resolve the issue.
Which DOS creative utility does that? I don't want to remove the PT-627, because it doesn't needs extra driver for the second ide port.

DOS IS THE POWER OF OUR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES!

Reply 5 of 24, by chinny22

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This link gives an idea on what devices can be usually be found on what address.
http://www.geocities.ws/ferds3/standard_irq.htm

setup.exe that comes with driver package is used to change the awe resources.

Reply 6 of 24, by JSO

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Thanks..

But, I believe that AWE64 Gold is an overkill for my setup and may be incompatible. Bios has no option for PnP setup or ICU.
When I'm inserting the ESS 1868F I have no issues at all, even with the Terratec 16/96 Gold.

I've tried with the CTCU.EXE to change the resources but the problem still persists. I also tried another two multi I/O VLB controllers with single IDE port and another chipset. I don't know why it worked the first time when I installed the AWE64.

I also have an AOpen VI15G+ motherboard (same chipset with the Soyo but with voltage regulator) with AMI Bios which may be more compatible, but I want to use it for an AM5x86 setup, or the DX4 120 MHz.

These are the jumper settings for my controller, https://stason.org/TULARC/pc/hard-disk-floppy … ives-PT-62.html
do you have an idea what else to try?

If I can't find a solution I will add a Dreamblaster to the 1868 and I will use the AWE64 to another setup on future.

DOS IS THE POWER OF OUR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES!

Reply 7 of 24, by chinny22

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This video of Phils may help on what you should be seeing. I'd place money on it been a conflict rather then incompatibility and we just need to find a working combination
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaf4lWI2TEk

For starters I'l leave the controller alone, just confirm what IRQ (JP20, JP21) and DMA/DRQ (Jumper A, B, C) are and set the sound card to something else till you find a working combination.
If that doesn't work you can try the other way around but controllers are known to be more selective then sound cards.

I'd also agree that the AWE is better off in a faster PC as its loads more useful in Win9x, but its your dream PC, its why I have an AWE in a 486 as well 😀

Reply 8 of 24, by SirNickity

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PnP card on a non-PnP system is not a problem. They had to start SOMEwhere, and there are a lot of PnP cards that were released while the market was still transitioning to PnP BIOSes. I have an AWE32 (upgrade card) installed in a 486 as well. It'll work, you just have to get it configured correctly. Also, the Creative PnP manager is poo. Use the Intel one.

Reply 9 of 24, by JSO

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Thank you for your answers.

Hmm...

I'll give another try today to solve the issues...

Which Intel ICU application should I use?

DOS IS THE POWER OF OUR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES!

Reply 10 of 24, by SirNickity

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I had in my stack of disks from back in the day, two Creative Labs disks for their PnP CM, which failed to configure my Goldfinch; and two rather generic white-label disks that had some kind of Intel PnP CM on them, which not only worked for the Creative card but also the NIC I had in that system. I never really looked at it much more than that, but I will try to remember to image those disks and chuck them into the Vogons Driver Library, if they're not there already.

Reply 11 of 24, by JSO

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I used the 1.45 version of Intel ISA PnP Configuration Utility, disabling the Creative's one, it found every hardware and port... But... Mouse didn't work at all again. I used every slot available... No sound from the AWE64 also...

I've tried using only ISA VGA and I/O controller, not VLB and still the issue insisted.

I can't find what is really the issue. With ESS1868F, a Terratec 16/96 Gold and a Yamaha YMF719 no issues...

I will try another psu, this one is from 1995, if isn't providing enough power anymore to the hardware.

DOS IS THE POWER OF OUR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES!

Reply 12 of 24, by Intel486dx33

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My build has the following parts... […]
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My build has the following parts...

i486Dx2 66 MHz
Soyo 025N2
32 MB FPM RAM
PT-627A Dual IDE Multi I/O card
CL-5428 2MB VLB
AWE64 GOLD
3.5" FDD
5,25" FDD
CD-RW
Compact Flash 16GB HDD

Compact flash is not your dream 486 build.
The 486-66mhz was most common from around 1993 thru 1994.
An IDE 120mb thru 340mb probably would have been more period correct.
( Conner , Seagate, Western Digital hard-drives ).

And a Sound Blaster 16 with Yamaha OPL-3 like the CT1740 or Sound Blaster Pro 2.0
4x CDROM
16mb ram.
DOS / Windows 3.11

My first 486 computer in 1993 was an all ISA motherboard which I later upgraded to VLB board with a VLB
Controller and graphics card SVGA.

It did improve the video and hard-drive access time significantly.
In Windows 3.11 you have to select to use enhanced IDE mode 32-bit in order to take advantage of the VLB card.
It’s in computer properties menu.

Reply 13 of 24, by JSO

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I don't want to use mechanical old drives that would die for sure someday.

I finally found twenty days ago my ST3660a from 1995 which it was installed on my i386Dx25, which it was in use until July of 1998, when I switched to Pentium MMx, it was withdrawn on 2001 from the MMx which it had my fathers personal file, for Lotus 1-2-3, dBase, Professional Write and etc. It died when i tried to copy all the files to another drive... So... No way to use an old mechanical drive to a revived vintage machine. Compact flash is IDE compatible and does the job without issues.

I gave up the AWE64 project, couldn't found a solution for the conflicts as I mentioned to a previous post. I'll keep the ES1868F with a Dreamblaster X2 wavetable installed. It does the job just fine.

The AWE64 will be installed to my 5x86 (PCI) project... When I will find the appropriate case...

I will replace the VGA with a SPEA V7-MIRAGE P64 VLB (S3 Vision864) of 2 MB, I think it has better compatibility for Windows 95 and DOS gaming and it's overall faster.

DOS IS THE POWER OF OUR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES!

Reply 14 of 24, by JSO

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I've replaced the motherboard with the QDI V4P895GRN/SMT V1.0 (S1.1) and everything works without issues. I think it's a very good motherboard for my purposes and has a voltage regulator, but It doesn't run the Dx2 to 80 MHz like the Soyo, the system hangs, so I running it to stock 66 MHz.
I removed the AWE64, installed the S3 I mentioned to the previous post and I kept the ESS1868F with the X2 installed.

The AWE64 better suits to an Am5x86 or K5 project which I have on my mind.

DOS IS THE POWER OF OUR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES!

Reply 15 of 24, by Intel486dx33

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Thats more a Win3x build. Will it play MP3's?
For Win95 you really want a Pentium 200mhz or better.
Even the AMD 5x86-133 will NOT play MP'3's very good.
Win 95 is more a PCI slot computer with PCI cards.

In 1995 the Pentium CPU or AMD 5x86-133 was the standard for OEM computes and builders.

See if you can find an AMD 5x86-133-P75 CPU or Intel Pentium overdrive for Socket 3.

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Reply 16 of 24, by JSO

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I know many people during the 1995 to early 1997 period that they were using Windows 95 on their Dx2 or Dx4 486 cpu.

I have Windows 3.11 FWG installed to my 386Dx40.build.

It's the B version and runs great on this system. Only for DOS gaming.

I own the Am5x86 you mentioned.

I have an MMx.build for Windows 95, but my primary Windows 9x gaming rig is my K6-3 with Voodoo 3 3000 and SB Live!.

DOS IS THE POWER OF OUR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES!

Reply 17 of 24, by BinaryDemon

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Intel486dx33 wrote:

Thats more a Win3x build. Will it play MP3's?

It's simple enough to batch convert your mp3's to wav. That was my preferred music format in 1993. Sure it wastes a ton of file-space, but that's much less an issue now than it was back then.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 18 of 24, by SirNickity

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I used Win 95 on my DX2/66 back in the day. Aside from the fact that I had it shoehorned into 8MB of RAM for a while, it ran fine. I continued using it on my Cyrix 6x86, and then my Pentium II. I seem to remember WinPlay3 being able to play MP3s on the DX2, for whatever that matters.

I wouldn't sweat the new motherboard not running at 80MHz. That probably means you're running the bus at 40MHz, and VLB can be touchy even at 33MHz. A real or effective DX2/66 is pretty much the sweet spot for 486s, especially with VLB.

Reply 19 of 24, by Intel486dx33

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I don't want to use mechanical old drives that would die for sure someday.

Yeah, But old drives like the "Connor" give you that old retro sound of "ticking" when the drive is seeking or writing.
It sounds very retro if you ask me.
For a DOS/Win3x computer it works fine.
Maybe to slow for a Win95 computer.

Thread:
What Hard-drives have the best retro "ticking" sound ?