VOGONS


Ast Bravo

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First post, by Marbo

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Hi, guys new to the forum.

I picked up a couple of Ast Bravo LC 4/66 desktops today. This is my first foray into the 486 world., so I'm on a bit of a learning curve.

They had been in a store room for over 20 years and were used to teach CAD during their working life.

At first look, apart from dust, they seem to be in good shape.

From what I can see before I take it apart for cleaning up the specs are.
486dx2 cpu
16mb ram (initially 8mb)
210mb WD Caviar hdd
Telesound DXLSK81 cards
325w psu

I have powered them up briefly and they both post, but not having a keyboard and mouse that are compatible the test screen is as far as they go.

I'm sure I'll have plenty of questions.

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Reply 2 of 18, by chinny22

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Looks like a damn fine machine, ps2 mouse port, always a nice bonus on a 486.
You may already know but if you have spare PS2 keyboards lying around you can just get an adapter rather then a whole new keyboard.
Success rate is much better then mouse usb to p2s adapters

Reply 4 of 18, by Marbo

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chinny22 wrote on 2020-06-26, 21:47:

Looks like a damn fine machine, ps2 mouse port, always a nice bonus on a 486.
You may already know but if you have spare PS2 keyboards lying around you can just get an adapter rather then a whole new keyboard.
Success rate is much better then mouse usb to p2s adapters

I only have usb so I'll look for a reasonably priced 5 pin keyboard. If not then it will be modern peripherals with adapters.

Reply 5 of 18, by Marbo

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maxtherabbit wrote on 2020-06-26, 21:56:

ast made good shit

I honestly knew very little about them. I bought them because I thought it was a good price for any 486 machine.

If they both work then I'll move one on and hopefully cover the cost of both.

Reply 7 of 18, by Intel486dx33

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I have a couple 486 AST computers. However i was unable to get them to recognize the motherboard cache upgrades.
I would like to know if you are able to upgrade your cache.

Reply 8 of 18, by Marbo

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-06-27, 11:54:

I have a couple 486 AST computers. However i was unable to get them to recognize the motherboard cache upgrades.
I would like to know if you are able to upgrade your cache.

Not sure I'm going to take them that far, but I'll let you know if I do.

Also got a couple of projects I need to finish before I get to these. So could be a while.

Reply 9 of 18, by Intel486dx33

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maxtherabbit wrote on 2020-06-26, 21:56:

ast made good shit

Ummm, Not really. It was very cheap. There cases where nice but the motherboards was there own design and cheap.
They used media vision sound cards and Sony Cdrom Drives.

Reply 11 of 18, by Intel486dx33

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maxtherabbit wrote on 2020-06-27, 15:29:

yeah ight

Yes, those first gen Sony 2x speed CD-ROM drives that everyone was using back in 1993/94 had cheap capacitors that would start leaking
The acid would eat away at the circuit board. That is why there are so few of them around today.

AST used a proprietary bios and the motherboards where not easy to repair or upgrade. Even the coin batteries are soldered on.
You could not swap out the motherboard for another because it was a proprietary size. Not a standard motherboard.

That’s why there are so few of these computers around today.

Reply 12 of 18, by maxtherabbit

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ok so blame sony for the shitty disc drive

just because AST used proprietary motherboards does not mean they were bad, quality is not the same as convenience

nothing wrong with media vision either

Reply 13 of 18, by Marbo

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I've read a few conflicting reports about them.

1 was a period magazine article about the Bravo. That did say they were the weakest and also cheapest when compared to their Compaq and Gateway equivalents.

The other was a general article about the brand. That claimed because many things were done in house they had more control over quality. And in the end that lead to their demise, due to the increased costs.

All I know is that these 2 seem to be in working condition after over 25 years, and only cost me £27.50 each.

My CD drives look to be a later addition. I know at least 1 of them isn't a Sony 🤣

Reply 15 of 18, by Intel486dx33

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Yes, The Cheap capacitors in the Sony 2x CDROM drive was NOT AST fault. As allot of people where using this drive back in 1993 because it was one of the fastest on the market.
Gateway 2000 486 computers are not much better as they used Micronics motherboards which where very picky when it came to hardware.

Reply 16 of 18, by Anonymous Coward

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Err...I don't thnik these Sony drives were the fastest on the market at the time. They were probably the *cheapest" on the market, which is why I got one. They were good value for your money. Among 2X drives, something with SCSI should be fastest (probably Texel/Plextor). I think the Sony SLCD drives had pretty high CPU utilisation.

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 17 of 18, by Intel486dx33

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Anonymous Coward wrote on 2020-06-28, 00:44:

Err...I don't thnik these Sony drives were the fastest on the market at the time. They were probably the *cheapest" on the market, which is why I got one. They were good value for your money. Among 2X drives, something with SCSI should be fastest (probably Texel/Plextor). I think the Sony SLCD drives had pretty high CPU utilisation.

I had one too in 1993. It costs about $120 new.
And I did not have any problem with it and it served me well. But after about 15 years the capacitors start to leak
And begin to eat away at the PCB and traces. The Capacitors literally end up falling off.

That’s why I try to use a newer IDE CD-ROM drive if possible.

But I really liked this 2x CDROM drive when it was working.

Reply 18 of 18, by Anonymous Coward

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I admit, the drive did have some character. The loading sound was pretty unique for sure. The spring loaded door was crap though. I guess these days a lot of people are used to that because of laptop drives, but at the time I was kind of like "WTF?", because it just seemed like cost cutting gone too far. I wish I hadn't sold mine, but it was a creative OEM version, and the plastic bezel was white during a time when all the computers were beige...thus it never matched my cases.

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium