VOGONS


Restoring a small form factor 486

Topic actions

Reply 20 of 27, by jakethompson1

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
kaputnik wrote on 2022-07-04, 22:45:
keenerb wrote on 2022-07-04, 20:49:

For what it's worth I have switched over to sbc systems exclusively for my retro computing, and I have yet to see a 486 sbc with L2 cache, out of about a dozen I have gathered over the years.

Ah, well, no need to grieve at not having any L2 cache on my board then at least 😀

Can see why you did that switch btw, really started liking the SBC concept while working with this rig. Incredibly convenient, small desktop footprint.

Did you figure out whether your SIMMs are EDO?
If you go by wikipedia part of the motivation of EDO was to close the gap between cacheless and having L2 cache... would be interesting to see some benchmarks vs. other cached 486DX-33s if yours is EDO and you can tune the BIOS to take advantage of it.

Reply 21 of 27, by kaputnik

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
jakethompson1 wrote on 2022-07-04, 22:47:
kaputnik wrote on 2022-07-04, 22:45:
keenerb wrote on 2022-07-04, 20:49:

For what it's worth I have switched over to sbc systems exclusively for my retro computing, and I have yet to see a 486 sbc with L2 cache, out of about a dozen I have gathered over the years.

Ah, well, no need to grieve at not having any L2 cache on my board then at least 😀

Can see why you did that switch btw, really started liking the SBC concept while working with this rig. Incredibly convenient, small desktop footprint.

Did you figure out whether your SIMMs are EDO?
If you go by wikipedia part of the motivation of EDO was to close the gap between cacheless and having L2 cache... would be interesting to see some benchmarks vs. other cached 486DX-33s if yours is EDO and you can tune the BIOS to take advantage of it.

Never did, and I'm on my way to bed now. Will try to remember checking it tomorrow though 😀

Reply 22 of 27, by keenerb

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
kaputnik wrote on 2022-07-04, 22:45:
keenerb wrote on 2022-07-04, 20:49:

For what it's worth I have switched over to sbc systems exclusively for my retro computing, and I have yet to see a 486 sbc with L2 cache, out of about a dozen I have gathered over the years.

Ah, well, no need to grieve at not having any L2 cache on my board then at least 😀

Can see why you did that switch btw, really started liking the SBC concept while working with this rig. Incredibly convenient, small desktop footprint.

Like most vintage systems, the window for affordable collecting has long passed, but many sbc sellers will accept reasonable offers despite the crazy high buy it now prices.

I would recommend Teknor boards, they have external replaceable batteries and all documentation is still available from the company that bought them out, Kontron I believe it is. Most other sbc documentation has been lost to history and many many have the ds clock chips with built in batteries that are a pain to fix. Just determining the keyboard connector pinout can be a challenge with non teknor boards...

There is also a big gap in the super socket 7 class, k6 and higher chips in the sbc market.

Reply 23 of 27, by kaputnik

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
jakethompson1 wrote on 2022-07-04, 22:47:

Did you figure out whether your SIMMs are EDO?
If you go by wikipedia part of the motivation of EDO was to close the gap between cacheless and having L2 cache... would be interesting to see some benchmarks vs. other cached 486DX-33s if yours is EDO and you can tune the BIOS to take advantage of it.

Had a look at this. While I couldn't find a specific datasheet for the particular chips on my SIMMs (OKI M514400C-70SJ), everything from OKI with similar part numbers seems to be FPM memory.

I don't believe I have any other EDO memory either. Went through the few 72-pin sticks I have looking for it before building my P233MMX. Will test if I get my hands on some EDO memory at some point though 😀

Reply 24 of 27, by kaputnik

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
keenerb wrote on 2022-07-04, 23:03:
Like most vintage systems, the window for affordable collecting has long passed, but many sbc sellers will accept reasonable off […]
Show full quote
kaputnik wrote on 2022-07-04, 22:45:
keenerb wrote on 2022-07-04, 20:49:

For what it's worth I have switched over to sbc systems exclusively for my retro computing, and I have yet to see a 486 sbc with L2 cache, out of about a dozen I have gathered over the years.

Ah, well, no need to grieve at not having any L2 cache on my board then at least 😀

Can see why you did that switch btw, really started liking the SBC concept while working with this rig. Incredibly convenient, small desktop footprint.

Like most vintage systems, the window for affordable collecting has long passed, but many sbc sellers will accept reasonable offers despite the crazy high buy it now prices.

I would recommend Teknor boards, they have external replaceable batteries and all documentation is still available from the company that bought them out, Kontron I believe it is. Most other sbc documentation has been lost to history and many many have the ds clock chips with built in batteries that are a pain to fix. Just determining the keyboard connector pinout can be a challenge with non teknor boards...

There is also a big gap in the super socket 7 class, k6 and higher chips in the sbc market.

Given the intended application of those SBCs, I'd guess they're hoping for a business buyer desperately needing a replacement to keep some critical system running. Those will just pay whatever it costs if they can find one.

Personally I don't think it's too bad to mod those Dallas RTCs. The hour in the soldering corner it takes is quite meditative if anything 😀 I do however fully agree about manuals. Guess I was lucky to immediately find one for my SBC.

Yeah, can imagine there's almost a requirement for a PCI connection in addition to the ISA one for newer CPU architectures. Complicates the design somewhat. Would guess it also more or less cancels out the size advantage ISA only SBC builds has over say a Baby AT build too?

Reply 27 of 27, by kaputnik

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
keenerb wrote on 2022-07-05, 19:26:

I have just been using isa backplane. They all seem to have quite capable vga integrated video.

Ah of course. You'll miss out on Voodoo cards and have to live with 10Mb/s network speeds though.

Hezus wrote on 2022-07-05, 19:30:

Have you considered respraying or modding the case? It's a nice form factor but I can't say it looks very good 😅

Maybe you could do a cool vinyl wrap or something.

Oh yes, I have 😀 Been thinking of designing and 3D printing overlay panels in typical AT case style for it. Could be a nice autumn project. It'll probably take some time paint job included, and time is short for indoors projects during the summer.

It's quite well hidden behind my main monitor in the command center now though, I barely see it. And for some reason I find a certain charm in that strictly utilitarian - hrm - soviet style design. Can live with it for a while 😁

Replacing all those protruding screws with countersunk ones is a quick fix that probably would make small wonders with the looks though.