The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby udam_u » 2011-5-19 @ 20:28

swaaye wrote:Ok this is definitely the best 486 CPU study that I've seen. :D


I think it would be a good idea to stick this thread. (;
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby Tetrium » 2011-5-19 @ 23:18

sliderider wrote:...and that drives the bids up.

PC-Chips driving the prices up...these are strange days :P
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby feipoa » 2011-5-24 @ 17:18

Let me see if I can drive the PC Chips prices down a little. I am in no way advocating the use of an M919 v3.4. It is an okay board for the features, but I wouldn't pay more than $15 for a working one. In my opinion, a HOT-433 may be worth $20, and an MB-8433UUD v3.X may be worth $25. If you pay more than this, you may be getting raped by eBay sellers praying on your retro obsession.

Cons

1) You are limited to 256 KB L2 cache, and that is if you even could find the cache module.

2) No PS/2 port

3) I actually had to use two identical M919 v3.4 B/F boards with the same revisions and BIOS to complete this study because one of the boards forces AMD X5 CPUs into Write-Thru mode, while the other board worked in Write-back mode for the X5. So why not just use only the other board that works with the X5 in write-back mode? Because it sometimes puts the Intel DX4-WB into WT mode, so I had to go back to board 1. From reports witnessed elsewhere, this may be a BIOS bug associated with using a PCI SCSI card, but I have not independently verified this. I am hoping that the 1998 dated BIOS flash fixes this. The M919 gives the least problem with the Cyrix 5x86 line of processors.

4) The board sometimes forgets it has L2 cache after X amount of soft resets, especially if you Ctrl-Alt-Del during initial turn-on. This has to do with the L2 cache auto-detection logic and sequencing.

5) Certain RAM might kill your Northbridge. I don't recall now what certain RAM that was; it was IBM 256 MB FPM memory -- maybe wrong voltage, or ECC?


Pros

1) Once setup with the appropriate hardware and left alone, it does its job without crashing. The board is good for long-term use, but not the best for testing different processors.

2) Has a coin style battery instead of a RTC.

3) BIOS is user flashable, usually.

4) Most versitile motherboard for Cyrix 5x86 enhancements features, something the HOT-433 lacks. The M919 actually has BIOS options to enable LINBRST and LSSER.
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby sliderider » 2011-5-24 @ 20:09

feipoa wrote:Let me see if I can drive the PC Chips prices down a little. I am in no way advocating the use of an M919 v3.4. It is an okay board for the features, but I wouldn't pay more than $15 for a working one. In my opinion, a HOT-433 may be worth $20, and an MB-8433UUD v3.X may be worth $25. If you pay more than this, you may be getting raped by eBay sellers praying on your retro obsession.

Cons

1) You are limited to 256 KB L2 cache, and that is if you even could find the cache module.

2) No PS/2 port

3) I actually had to use two identical M919 v3.4 B/F boards with the same revisions and BIOS to complete this study because one of the boards forces AMD X5 CPUs into Write-Thru mode, while the other board worked in Write-back mode for the X5. So why not just use only the other board that works with the X5 in write-back mode? Because it sometimes puts the Intel DX4-WB into WT mode, so I had to go back to board 1. From reports witnessed elsewhere, this may be a BIOS bug associated with using a PCI SCSI card, but I have not independently verified this. I am hoping that the 1998 dated BIOS flash fixes this. The M919 gives the least problem with the Cyrix 5x86 line of processors.

4) The board sometimes forgets it has L2 cache after X amount of soft resets, especially if you Ctrl-Alt-Del during initial turn-on. This has to do with the L2 cache auto-detection logic and sequencing.

5) Certain RAM might kill your Northbridge. I don't recall now what certain RAM that was; it was IBM 256 MB FPM memory -- maybe wrong voltage, or ECC?


Pros

1) Once setup with the appropriate hardware and left alone, it does its job without crashing. The board is good for long-term use, but not the best for testing different processors.

2) Has a coin style battery instead of a RTC.

3) BIOS is user flashable, usually.

4) Most versitile motherboard for Cyrix 5x86 enhancements features, something the HOT-433 lacks. The M919 actually has BIOS options to enable LINBRST and LSSER.


There's a HOT-433 on ebay right now for $200. 486 motherboards of any kind aren't cheap. They are used in a lot of industrial processes in addition to vintage computers. That's why the prices are so high. If you have a mission critical piece of equipment go down and you must have a 486 motherboard to get it up and running again, where else are you going to go for one? If someone lists a 486 motherboard for under $100, it usually doesn't last enough to be listed a second time.

Oh, and I got a whole computer minus the hard drive with a M919 in it for $135 a few months ago but that had the CPU (5x86 133 ADW), power supply, memory, case, a video card, power cable, and all the internal cables. It probably would have cost me at least $75 just to get an empty AT case after shipping is calculated, so i didn't consider it such a terrible price especially considering the seller originally wanted twice as much for it.
Last edited by sliderider on 2011-5-24 @ 20:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby swaaye » 2011-5-24 @ 20:22

There has to be some company making industrial replacement boards if they are in demand... What company would want to rely on some 20+ year old ebay found-in-the-basement mobo to run their equipment!?

Didn't Intel just stop making 486 CPUs in the past few years?
Last edited by swaaye on 2011-5-24 @ 20:23, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby sliderider » 2011-5-24 @ 20:23

swaaye wrote:There has to be some company making industrial replacement boards if they are in demand... What company would want to rely on some 20 year old ebay purchase to run their equipment!?


Nope. Nobody makes AT form factor, Socket 3 motherboards with ISA slots anymore. The IT department has to scrounge them up any way they can.
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby swaaye » 2011-5-24 @ 20:24

I bet there's a company making boards with ISA slots though if that's what's needed. Something with DOS compatibility, serial ports and ISA slots could definitely still sell to industry today I think.
Last edited by swaaye on 2011-5-24 @ 20:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby Tetrium » 2011-5-24 @ 20:27

swaaye wrote:I bet there's a company making boards with ISA slots though if that's what's needed. Something with DOS compatibility, serial ports and ISA slots could definitely still sell to industry today I think.

There was actually an ISA board made well into the 90's. Iirc they only stopped producing them because they ran out of chipsets.

The boards had TONS of ISA slots and like 1 PCI slot lol
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby sliderider » 2011-5-24 @ 20:27

swaaye wrote:I bet there's a company making boards with ISA slots though if that's what's needed. Something with DOS compatibility, serial ports and ISA slots could definitely still sell to industry today I think.


The only thing I have seen that is still for sale is an ISA slot breakout box with a PCI adapter card and those things go for thousands of dollars and have a footprint as big as an original IBM PC, so space may be an issue and if your original motherboard does not have a PCI slot, it's useless to you anyway. It's cheaper to buy a used 486 motherboard on ebay, even if you have to pay $300 for one.
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby swaaye » 2011-5-24 @ 20:28

sliderider wrote:It's cheaper to buy a used 486 motherboard on ebay, even if you have to pay $300 for one.

Yeah I suppose that does make sense.
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby feipoa » 2011-5-24 @ 22:27

I am curious where you get the information that 486 motherboards are currently being used in industrial (automation) processes? I can perhaps see that a pre-pentium era 486 board being used back in the early 1990's, which may have made it to the present and is still in use, but would be surprised if ones with PCI slots were ever implemented. Industrial automation control is big business with expensive machinery, so I couldn't see a company saving $200 to buy a late-model, and often buggy PCI-based 486. Maybe someone who has sold a 486 motherboard on eBay could let us know what the customer wanted it for?

I assume that industrial automation companies might want a PC over an ASIC design so that a new software program can easily be implimented when the process changes. If the 486 dies, how would a socket 5/7 not be a sufficient replacement? PCI-based 486 motherboards and like-era socket 5/7's had similiar numbers of PCI and ISA slots.

I am very skeptical that any company in operation today would insist on an identical replacement; maybe someone can provide cummulative evidence to support this? It is my suspicion that a few retro geeks with deep pockets may be the culprits paying the ridiculous one-off high prices for 486 motherboards. Most of the overpriced motherboards I see on eBay have been relisted for years. You don't have to be wired for service to figure out which seller's listings I'm talking about either.

At any rate, it seems my post to decrease M919 prices may have backfired!
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby Tetrium » 2011-5-25 @ 09:37

feipoa wrote:I am curious where you get the information that 486 motherboards are currently being used in industrial (automation) processes?

Well, it seems 486 boards are still being made, even with an ATX PSU connector! How useful those are for us retro guys is another matter though.
Link: http://dmnnewswire.digitalmedianet.com/ ... id=1252803


Edit: Uhm...wowzers?
http://www.esapcsolutions.com/electroni ... -p-81.html
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby GXL750 » 2011-5-25 @ 09:46

If I'm not mistaken, Intel still produces the 486. Of course we'll never again see it being sold new on the shelves at MicroCenter but for retail POS and other applications, the 486 is still not only sufficient but also quite useful as some things simply don't get more demanding.
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby sliderider » 2011-5-25 @ 11:46

feipoa wrote:I am curious where you get the information that 486 motherboards are currently being used in industrial (automation) processes? I can perhaps see that a pre-pentium era 486 board being used back in the early 1990's, which may have made it to the present and is still in use, but would be surprised if ones with PCI slots were ever implemented. Industrial automation control is big business with expensive machinery, so I couldn't see a company saving $200 to buy a late-model, and often buggy PCI-based 486. Maybe someone who has sold a 486 motherboard on eBay could let us know what the customer wanted it for?

I assume that industrial automation companies might want a PC over an ASIC design so that a new software program can easily be implimented when the process changes. If the 486 dies, how would a socket 5/7 not be a sufficient replacement? PCI-based 486 motherboards and like-era socket 5/7's had similiar numbers of PCI and ISA slots.

I am very skeptical that any company in operation today would insist on an identical replacement; maybe someone can provide cummulative evidence to support this? It is my suspicion that a few retro geeks with deep pockets may be the culprits paying the ridiculous one-off high prices for 486 motherboards. Most of the overpriced motherboards I see on eBay have been relisted for years. You don't have to be wired for service to figure out which seller's listings I'm talking about either.



At any rate, it seems my post to decrease M919 prices may have backfired!


A company that invested heavily in equipment 25 or 30 years ago that is still running fine doesn't just replace still functioning equipment, especially since the replacement cost today is much higher than it was 25 years ago. It takes time to remove the old equipment and install the new which means the company will be basically idle for the entire time. When you are working to a contract with deadlines, idle time is something you cannot afford. There is also retraining of employees to consider. Once the new equipment is installed and running, your employees have to be retrained to operate it which means even more idle time. I worked in a printing plant that had presses running in it that were that old or older and if they broke down they were repaired, not replaced. Also, what if all your peripheral cards that your equipment uses are ISA slot design? What motherboard still in production today has 5 or 6 ISA slots on it that you can plug those cards into? There may not be a PCI or PCIe card that does what you need it to if the cards are designed specifically for the equipment you are using.
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2011-5-25 @ 12:01

NASA apparently uses plenty of ancient computers.

Here the issue isn't so much the hardware, but all the software that really smart engineers wrote. Many systems are interconnected, written in machine code / assembler and have stood the test of time.

Ask anyone here what they think is more reliable in terms of uptime:

a. Application running on Windows

b. Application running some form of DOS
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby udam_u » 2011-5-25 @ 15:16

Mau1wurf1977 wrote:NASA apparently uses plenty of ancient computers.

Here the issue isn't so much the hardware, but all the software that really smart engineers wrote. Many systems are interconnected, written in machine code / assembler and have stood the test of time.

Ask anyone here what they think is more reliable in terms of uptime:

a. Application running on Windows

b. Application running some form of DOS


I vote for c:
c. Application running on QNX :P
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby Tetrium » 2011-5-25 @ 15:57

I still say they should make an ATX 486 board :D
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby nemesis » 2011-5-25 @ 16:04

Tetrium wrote:I still say they should make an ATX 486 board :D

A buddy of mine was drawing up designs for a custom board for that idea a while ago but he moved and I haven't heard from him since. He was going to include 2MB cache with 4 PCI and 4 ISA/VLB slots and he wanted a dual cpu option too... so if you ever see such an animal on the market, it's probably his lol .
I wonder how hard it would be to build your own 486 board and how much it would cost. I'm assuming you'd have to program all of your firmware and probably have the chipset custom made.
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby sliderider » 2011-5-25 @ 16:12

Tetrium wrote:
feipoa wrote:I am curious where you get the information that 486 motherboards are currently being used in industrial (automation) processes?

Well, it seems 486 boards are still being made, even with an ATX PSU connector! How useful those are for us retro guys is another matter though.
Link: http://dmnnewswire.digitalmedianet.com/ ... id=1252803


Edit: Uhm...wowzers?
http://www.esapcsolutions.com/electroni ... -p-81.html


But does it Quake? At $319 in quantities of 10, it's not very likely any of us is going to be finding out anytime soon even if a group buy could be arranged.
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Re: The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

Postby sliderider » 2011-5-25 @ 16:21

Tetrium wrote:I still say they should make an ATX 486 board :D


With PCie slots!!!
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