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AMD DX4 100MHz build

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First post, by RetroSpector78

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My AMD 486 DX4 100MHz build.

Love the midi-tower case....

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Part list :

  • AMD 486 DX4 100MHz CPU (8kb L1 cache)
  • ChainTech 486SPM motherboard (256kb L2 cache)
  • 16 MB RAM
  • Seagate 545.5MB ST3660A hard drive
  • Creative Soundblaster Vibra16 CT2260 ISA sound card
  • S3 Virge DX 86c375 PCI video card
  • 3COM Etherlink III 3c509 ISA networking card
  • Philips CM260 single speed cdrom drive
  • Misumi 5.25inch 1.2mb floppy drive
  • Sony 3.5 inch 1.44mb floppy drive

Would love to run some benchmarks on it ... is there a particular format / list of benchmarks / online site that people tend to use and upload results with these types of systems ?
I have Phils ComputerLabs DosBench so I could run that, but was wondering where people tend to share and compare results

Used this S3 PCI card as this should be fairly compatible with all DOS games. Think in terms of speed this is about as much performance as you'll get from a system like this.

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Would love to have had the 16kb version (or an Intel DX4 to compare but this will have to do....)

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Modern 486 motherboard. No Varta battery crap. Clean & simple

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Soundblaster with Yamaha OPL chip

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SpeedSys 4.78 = 37.55
TopBench 3.8 = 192
3dbench 1.0c = 57.9 fps
PC Player Benchmark = 15.8 fps
Doom Max Detail = 34 fps
Quake timedem = 11 fps

Last edited by RetroSpector78 on 2020-11-19, 07:34. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 1 of 23, by RetroSpector78

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Some additional pictures :

Still using the Seagate to boot (love the sound)

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Some extra flash storage.

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The Philips single speed CDROM with interface card

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3COM ethernet card (great support / drivers / config)

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Reply 2 of 23, by PC-Engineer

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Very nice system. I like the composition, very harmonious. Also the old Microsoft mouse and the Typhoon speakers fit very well into the picture. Maybe a S3 864, Mach64 or CL GD5434 would fit a bit better into the time context, but that's high level criticism.

The Philips CD drive was my very first, for 4 months until the host controller broke. I also remember that the cover of the drawer was also slightly bent, which annoyed me a lot at the time. But as I remember it was a double speed drive.

1994/1995 - Socket3 - ASUS SV2GX4 / POD 100MHz / 64MB / SCSI - Windows 95

Reply 4 of 23, by kdr

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Cool, that's the exact same CD-ROM and interface card as what I found in a recent 486 purchase!

When I bought the system I thought I was getting luck and it had a strange or exotic sound card, but nooooooo it was just the CD Audio output jacks on the Philips CD interface card. 😀

Reply 5 of 23, by chinny22

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Good memories, That CPU, HDD combo matches what my mate got in mid/late 95. It was fast compared to our early 95' DX2/66 420 MB HDD although he's was a pure ISA machine and ours was VLB.
none of us had 16MB RAM till years later 😉

Phils benchmark suite used to have a corresponding post, not sure if it's still updated but means you can compare to other machines
Phil's Ultimate VGA Benchmark Database Project

mostly people list the results kind of as a conclusion to their build post.

but yeh very nice machine it's not a best of everything build like most (including me) do with AWE's Rolands, 5x86's, etc, etc.
Rather it's a honest build that closer resembles PC's of the period. I wouldn't change a thing

Reply 7 of 23, by Disruptor

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Oh, you have the write through version of the Am486DX4.

Can you post a picture from the bottom side of your ST3660A please?

Which SRAM and DRAM timing do you have in your BIOS?

Reply 9 of 23, by RetroSpector78

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Disruptor wrote on 2020-11-18, 14:20:

Oh, you have the write through version of the Am486DX4.

Can you post a picture from the bottom side of your ST3660A please?

Which SRAM and DRAM timing do you have in your BIOS?

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Haven't done much tuning yet. Enabling the CPU->PCI mem post write buffer seems to have brought a lot of performance gain.

It's currently running so cannot take a picture of the hard drive ... but you might see it briefly here : https://youtu.be/SX2kbSIbpvM?t=315
Let me know if you need a better picture and I'll get it out of the PC.

Reply 10 of 23, by Disruptor

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Your ST3660A is a model without a chip from Creative Labs.

Oh you have lots of wrong settings.

Your ISA bus is overclocked to 11 MHz. ISA BUS clock should be 1/4 PCLK.
All timings below should be set to minimum.
You may enable DRAM Slow Refresh.
You may enable CPU Burst Writes.

PCI IRQ Activated By: Level
The last 3 IDE Settings: Enabled

However, when you see your board is running instable you may undo some speed bumps, starting with DRAM Read Options.
I'd start optimizing the cache timings first.

Reply 11 of 23, by maxtherabbit

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Disruptor wrote on 2020-11-18, 21:13:

Your ISA bus is overclocked to 11 MHz. ISA BUS clock should be 1/4 PCLK.

Bullshit, if it is working at 11MHz he should leave it be

I always overclock my ISA when possible, 11 is tame - it's when you get up over 12 that things stop working

Reply 12 of 23, by RetroSpector78

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Disruptor wrote on 2020-11-18, 21:13:

Your ST3660A is a model without a chip from Creative Labs.

Anything special about that combo ?

Disruptor wrote on 2020-11-18, 21:13:
Oh you have lots of wrong settings. […]
Show full quote

Oh you have lots of wrong settings.

Your ISA bus is overclocked to 11 MHz. ISA BUS clock should be 1/4 PCLK.
All timings below should be set to minimum.
You may enable DRAM Slow Refresh.
You may enable CPU Burst Writes.

PCI IRQ Activated By: Level
The last 3 IDE Settings: Enabled

With minimum you mean the lowest CCLK's values ( = should translate to higher throughput / performance) ?
Cause all the ones you see are the lowest values.

Haven't done much "tuning", just put everything to the lowest value and that gained me some percentage points in some benchmarks.
The biggest gain came from enabling the cpu->pci mem post write buffer (3dbench jumped from 51 to 58)

Disruptor wrote on 2020-11-18, 21:13:

However, when you see your board is running instable you may undo some speed bumps, starting with DRAM Read Options.
I'd start optimizing the cache timings first.

Haven't seen any instability yet with the settings below. Some BIOS combo's result in a failure to boot.
But haven't spent too much time on the performance front. Just looked around online at some benchmark results, noticed mine was underperforming in some benchmarks (even with aggresive timings in the bios), but forgot to enable the cpu->pci mem post write buffer. After that I get results that compare well to most what I find online.

Reply 15 of 23, by Intel486dx33

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Those CPU benchmark scores seem low.
I have seen higher scores using the Lucky star LS-486 motherboard.
Even my VLB motherboard with Intel overdrive 486dx4-100 CPU scored a little higher.

Are you using EDO ram ?

Reply 16 of 23, by Disruptor

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-11-19, 21:37:

Even my VLB motherboard with Intel overdrive 486dx4-100 CPU scored a little higher.

Any Intel 486 DX4 / 100 should be faster than the AMD 486 DX4 / 100 NV8T.

The Am486DX4 / 100 NV8T is the slowest of all 100 MHz 486 CPUs. (8 KB cache instead of 16 KB, write-through instead of write-back; and the Intel ones should have more IPC too)

Last edited by Disruptor on 2020-11-20, 18:45. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 17 of 23, by Disruptor

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RetroSpector78 wrote on 2020-11-19, 07:13:

...
With minimum you mean the lowest CCLK's values ( = should translate to higher throughput / performance) ?
Cause all the ones you see are the lowest values.

That is sad.

Reply 18 of 23, by Intel486dx33

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Disruptor wrote on 2020-11-20, 18:37:
Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-11-19, 21:37:

Even my VLB motherboard with Intel overdrive 486dx4-100 CPU scored a little higher.

Any Intel 486 DX4 / 100 should be faster than the AMD 486 DX4 / 100 NV8T.

The Am486DX4 / 100 NV8T is the slowest of all 100 MHz 486 CPUs. (8 KB cache instead of 16 KB, write-through instead of write-back; and the Intel ones should have more IPC too)

Well, I read the Intel 486dx4-100 overdrive CPU is actually slower than the standard Intel 486dx4-100 CPU.