Best 386 Motherboard?

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby tikoellner » 2016-8-10 @ 20:17

Yeah, those empty sockets to fill are a part of magic. I enjoyed adding cache to my IBM PS/1 2133 486sx today (256K salvaged some damaged motherboard), or adding DRAM to my GUS from an old Trident video card.
User avatar
tikoellner
Member
 
Posts: 405
Joined: 2016-2-27 @ 10:55

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby Jupiter-18 » 2016-8-10 @ 22:06

With regard to video cards, I often see debates about DRAM vs VRAM. What are the differences?
I guess the CL 5436 and 5446 are out, since they are PCI.
Jupiter-18
Member
 
Posts: 272
Joined: 2016-7-20 @ 18:03

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2016-8-11 @ 01:55

Are there 386 boards that can take 512kb cache? I've seen a few hybrid boards that support it, but only when a true 486 CPU is installed. In my opinion 256kb cache on a 386 is a bit of a luxury. 386 motherboards that don't use 486 chips which support 256kb cache are pretty uncommon in my opinion.

That 486SLC2-50 board is very nice. It will give a 486DX-33 a good run for the money. The only real problem is that the VLB slots only have 24 address lines, so you can't put a LFB above 16MB. Despite not being a full implementation of VLB, the slots are infact quite compatible. It took every VLB VGA card I threw at it. Not sure about disk controllers though.
Will the highways on the internets become more few?
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium
User avatar
Anonymous Coward
l33t
 
Posts: 2853
Joined: 2008-3-20 @ 05:37
Location: Shandong, China

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby noshutdown » 2016-8-11 @ 03:37

tikoellner wrote:I think you overstimate the meaning of cache in 386 systems. 256 or 512 kb of cache is a good thing to have, but in a fast 486 or even 5x86 system. And in case of high-end systems the difference in performance is marginal. I am quite sure that in 386 it woun't make any difference. There are even lots of 386 boards with no cache.


i havn't seen it for myself but i've seen some speedsys screenshots of 386 systems, the cache does make some difference on the bandwidth graph.

And why do you need that fastmath socket for? Again, nice and cool feature those FPU's, but how do you use them? Do you perform any particular floating point operations on a 386?


back in 1996 or so i fooled a friend with 386 machine into running 3dstudio on it.
noshutdown
Oldbie
 
Posts: 986
Joined: 2010-7-23 @ 17:04
Location: China

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby Radical Vision » 2018-1-26 @ 16:09

The best 386 board is the working one that you can buy for cheap, also to have on it installed/soldered AMD DX processor.
As the branding of motherboards all under socket 7 does not matter, they were all build very well, so no one cares.
Also the better 386 boards are the ones with auto HDD detection, and if the damn tube battery is not leaked to make a mess...
So far i can`t find single damn CO CPU like they are all gone...
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
User avatar
Radical Vision
Member
 
Posts: 348
Joined: 2017-10-30 @ 07:30
Location: The Bat Cave

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-1-26 @ 16:38

Radical Vision wrote:The best 386 board is the working one that you can buy for cheap, also to have on it installed/soldered AMD DX processor.
As the branding of motherboards all under socket 7 does not matter, they were all build very well, so no one cares.
Also the better 386 boards are the ones with auto HDD detection, and if the damn tube battery is not leaked to make a mess...
So far i can`t find single damn CO CPU like they are all gone...


Where are you located? There are a bunch on the US eBay
https://www.ebay.com/sch/Computers-Tablets-Networking/58058/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=80387
User avatar
cyclone3d
l33t
 
Posts: 2318
Joined: 2015-4-08 @ 06:06
Location: Huntsville, AL USA

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby Jupiter-18 » 2018-1-26 @ 17:02

@Radical Vision
Makes sense. Branding hadn't become a big thing i suppose. But besides HDD detection, are there any other features to look for?
Jupiter-18
Member
 
Posts: 272
Joined: 2016-7-20 @ 18:03

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby Radical Vision » 2018-1-26 @ 18:00

cyclone3d wrote:
Radical Vision wrote:The best 386 board is the working one that you can buy for cheap, also to have on it installed/soldered AMD DX processor.
As the branding of motherboards all under socket 7 does not matter, they were all build very well, so no one cares.
Also the better 386 boards are the ones with auto HDD detection, and if the damn tube battery is not leaked to make a mess...
So far i can`t find single damn CO CPU like they are all gone...


Where are you located? There are a bunch on the US eBay
https://www.ebay.com/sch/Computers-Tablets-Networking/58058/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=80387


Ebay is not an option for me, it will cost me way more then im willing to pay... For example i did buy AthlonXP 3200+ for 2.5 euro, as the max i will pay is like 7 euro not more. Or Radeon x1950 pro AGP for 7 euros in about new condition. Im like uncle scrunch i don`t like to pay much, if i can pay small amounts, or not pay at all. This is how i did get 7 3Dfx Voodoo cards for 5 euros all 7 working, but 2 of them having problems..


Jupiter-18 wrote:@Radical Vision
Makes sense. Branding hadn't become a big thing i suppose. But besides HDD detection, are there any other features to look for?


Yeah to be working with only x2 sticks SIMM, and to work with most ISA video cards.. Also not to have damage from the ***king barrel battery... Also is every time better to have socket instead of direct soldered CPU, and if the CPU is soldered to be DX version not SX, as DX = Premium/high end.
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
User avatar
Radical Vision
Member
 
Posts: 348
Joined: 2017-10-30 @ 07:30
Location: The Bat Cave

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby Jupiter-18 » 2018-1-26 @ 19:47

Makes sense. I'm for sure going to look for a socket. No doubt about that.
Jupiter-18
Member
 
Posts: 272
Joined: 2016-7-20 @ 18:03

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby keropi » 2018-1-26 @ 20:14

Anonymous Coward wrote:Are there 386 boards that can take 512kb cache? I've seen a few hybrid boards that support it, but only when a true 486 CPU is installed. In my opinion 256kb cache on a 386 is a bit of a luxury. [...]


Had a board like this, soldered 386DX40 with option to use a 486 in a nearby socket. I upgraded the cache from 128kb to 256kb and did some benchmarks - the difference was almost 0 , wasn't even worth the time to exchange the srams. :lol:
User avatar
keropi
l33t++
 
Posts: 6647
Joined: 2003-9-08 @ 06:45
Location: Greece

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby Jupiter-18 » 2018-1-26 @ 20:43

That brings up a good point. In these earlier systems (286, 386, 486), how much does cache improve performance? Is it worth it to go all out 512kb on like, a 5x86-P75? Does a 286 handle lots of cache well? It's a subject i don't know much about.
Jupiter-18
Member
 
Posts: 272
Joined: 2016-7-20 @ 18:03

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby kixs » 2018-1-26 @ 21:09

Cache size always matters. Not much on low speed 386, but much more on high end 486 (like 5x86-133). It boosts performance ~5% per double the cache size. Tested this a while ago going from 256 to 512 to 1024KB on 5x86-133.

286 and 386sx didn't support cache. Although some 386sx chipsets had some integrated.
My Amibay: SALE | BUY - Updated on 2018-07-17
User avatar
kixs
l33t
 
Posts: 2107
Joined: 2013-1-31 @ 02:08
Location: Slovenia, EU

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby meljor » 2018-1-26 @ 21:43

kixs wrote:Cache size always matters. Not much on low speed 386, but much more on high end 486 (like 5x86-133). It boosts performance ~5% per double the cache size. Tested this a while ago going from 256 to 512 to 1024KB on 5x86-133.

286 and 386sx didn't support cache. Although some 386sx chipsets had some integrated.


Does it even help when you're using just 32mb ram?
asus tx97-e, 233mmx, voodoo1, s3 virge ,sb16
asus p5a, k6-3+ @ 550mhz, voodoo2 12mb sli, gf2 gts, awe32
asus p3b-f, p3-700, voodoo3 3500TV agp, awe64
asus tusl2-c, p3-S 1,4ghz, voodoo5 5500, live!
asus a7n8x DL, barton cpu, 6800ultra, Voodoo3 pci, audigy1
meljor
Oldbie
 
Posts: 1573
Joined: 2014-4-30 @ 19:43
Location: Netherlands

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby kixs » 2018-1-26 @ 22:14

Of course. Imagine a cache as some buffer to hold frequently used data. Bigger it is, more data can be held in this fast buffer. That's why you want cache as big as possible - with old and new cpus ;) More cache = more speed*

* when data fits into smaller cache size, bigger cache won't make any difference. This can be observed in some benchmarks. While real game and apps benchmarks (Doom, Quake, ACAD,...) show better performance with bigger cache size.
My Amibay: SALE | BUY - Updated on 2018-07-17
User avatar
kixs
l33t
 
Posts: 2107
Joined: 2013-1-31 @ 02:08
Location: Slovenia, EU

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby keropi » 2018-1-26 @ 22:39

There are 386sx systems with an extra cache controller , rare but they exist. The Kingston SX Now! 386sx upgrades have 16kb of cache for example, it really makes a huge difference.
User avatar
keropi
l33t++
 
Posts: 6647
Joined: 2003-9-08 @ 06:45
Location: Greece

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby Radical Vision » 2018-1-26 @ 22:44

Maybe but still is really hard to find big chips for cache, ram or other, all good stuff are hard to find, or at least it will take lot of time, and even some money...
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
User avatar
Radical Vision
Member
 
Posts: 348
Joined: 2017-10-30 @ 07:30
Location: The Bat Cave

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby feipoa » 2018-1-26 @ 22:56

This post will be a bit of a brain dump upon reading this thread to-date.

VLB slots on a 386 board only seem to be of performance benefit when using clock doubled CPUs. I recall there were some results in the 386 Speedsys post.

If you are looking for a 386/486 hybrid board, most of them have the 486 socket as well. To me, it feels a little lame to use a 386upgrade CPU, like a DRx2 in the PGA132 socket when you have a PGA168 486 socket sitting next to it. Very few of the 386/486-chipset-containing boards with VLB slots do not have the 486 socket, but some do. The UMC 481/482 chipset is a hybrid chipset. It is an OK chipset IFF you use the MR BIOS bios. There are plenty boards with this chipset which do not contain the 486 socket when it is ISA-only.

386 boards, in my opinion, are the most difficult to work on. There are so many flavours and they are quirky when paired with SXL2 and DRx2 CPUs. You have to be willing to dedicate a lot of time to figuring out what combination will work.

For the most part, an SXL2-50 will run you around $80, perhaps double or triple for a DRx2-66. For the most part, these quantities probably pale in comparison to your daily salary and if you are really passionate about the hobby, probably won't hinder you much. There are even faster upgrade options for the 386 socket, such as the BL3-75/100 on interposer and SXL2-66 on interposer. These are particularly difficult to find and may require years or decades of searching, the latter of which I may have just acquired.

If going for a board with a VLB slot, it seems much better suited to use a proper 486 board with VLB slots.

keenerb, did all versions of Scorched Earth use a math co-pro? Would be interesting to see a video of a system with and without a FPU playing that game.

If you are after a real 386 board, that is a board which does not contain a chipset which went both ways, and are wanting the best performer, the SiS Rabbit and VLSI, I think its called 'Tomcat', are the way to go. They sport do require software to enable the L1 cache though. On all boards, you need to play with the cacheable range and holes setting, especially when using SCSI DMA cards.

For hybrid boards with VLB slots, there are some interesting results in this thread. Start reading here: viewtopic.php?p=473641#p473641

dirkmirk, how far did you get with the overclock of your SXL2-50? I find 55 MHz to be the ceiling for stable performance. Use a cooler. I hoped that the IIT x2 50 MHz FPU would also run stable at 55 MHz, but it would not. Looks like a lot of these clock doubled chips were at or near their design limits.

If you get a board with a C&T CHIPS chipset, of all the examples I've seen (2 from me, plus 1 elsewhere), none of them were able to use 256 K properly, even though they have jumper settings and sockets which allow for 256K. On one of my boards, 128K was max, and 64K on the other. I recommend boards which support double-banked cache as these tend to interleave the cache, allowing you to use faster timings reliably.

Much time has elapsed since this thread started. Jupiter-18, what did you end up sourcing and putting together? If it were me, I wouldn't skimp on any of your desires, because, later on, after you have a system up and running, you may be left yearning for more. If you are fully maxed out, then the yearning on that particular platform will subside and you'll be left with a feeling of completeness. If you skimp on features now, you will likely have to buy more later, which requires further cash expenditures.
User avatar
feipoa
l33t++
 
Posts: 5605
Joined: 2011-3-07 @ 13:54
Location: Canada

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby Radical Vision » 2018-1-26 @ 23:33

Texas instruments 486 CPU nice to see the other brands from the old days, too bad today only AMD and Intel are in the game, this is why the old parts are so interesting, there was so much brands, while today not so many did left...

You seems like really old hardware enthusiast is all under slot 1, while im mostly the opposite (or at least i was before) today i collect everything i can get my hands on, while i did start from socket 462 and later on to slot 1, bcuz i did know it will take me lot of resources and money. And the other thing is i collect all things today, form 8086 up to socket 939, and even AM2+, and i can`t pay much only for one system, this is why i just wait and search for people that have great high end parts, but they don`t know how much the parts cost on ebay and i buy them for cheap or just make a trade that is in my favor.
For example now im waiting to get ASUS P3B-F even with MSI slotket adapter for 15 euro, as this price is much for me, as i like to pay for them like 5 euro max, to have money for other things, but still 15 euro for that board is ok, as i did hunt that damn thing last 4 years (same with the AWE 64 Gold no luck so far) and now this price is reasonable if the board work on 100%, bcuz the seller says it have some problems.

So i can`t pay 80$ only for one damn CPU, hell i even will not pay 80$ for like many more things, as i prefer to wait some time and in the end i will have what i want, or at least similar, im collecting too much things, can`t spend much resources only on one platform, not to mention only a part..
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
User avatar
Radical Vision
Member
 
Posts: 348
Joined: 2017-10-30 @ 07:30
Location: The Bat Cave

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby bakemono » 2018-1-27 @ 00:16

External cache can make a big difference on pre-486 CPUs, since they have no cache on the processor. It depends on how fast the RAM and memory controller are, because if they impose any waitstates for memory access it will slow everything down.

A fancy memory controller with 60ns FPM DRAM can mostly keep up with a 33MHz 386 without needing cache. But older boards didn't have such fast RAM, for instance the IBM PS/2 model 70 with 386DX had 80ns RAM and used a waitstate (and no cache). A 386DX with one waitstate is about as fast as a 386SX with no waitstates, or a 386SX with cache. Having cache is almost the same thing as having no waitstate, although cache misses can still cause a delay. But the most important thing on a 386 is just to avoid waitstates for instruction fetch, so even a small external cache helps.

I ran some benchmarks like SNOOPER and MEMSPD on a few 386s a long time ago, and I remember that a 386SX-16 with only 4KB cache came out the same or slightly faster than the PS/2 model 70 at 16MHz.

Increasing the size of the cache can make a big difference or none at all, just like with modern CPUs. It all depends on whether the program's code and/or data fit in there or not.
bakemono
Member
 
Posts: 127
Joined: 2018-1-15 @ 06:56

Re: Best 386 Motherboard?

Postby feipoa » 2018-1-27 @ 00:22

There are certainly deals to be had, but they are becomming harder and harder to scores for older rare hardware. A TI486SXL2-66/PGA132 sold for $20 on eBay recently. This occured because the seller didn't know what he had and just so happened that nobody else saw it, which is hard to believe because quite a few people are looking for it.

My core interests are 386/486, but go up to dual PIII Tualatins. Like most users here, I have fond memmories of the 386/486 era and this shapes my interest today.

bakemono, I find the older 386 chipsets, like those based on CHIPS and SIS tend to have faster memory throughput, particularly with read (according to the speedsys graph) compared to 386/486 hybrid chipsets, e.g. VIA 495, UMC 481, etc. Some results in brief here, download/file.php?id=20091&mode=view

Also, for some reason, AMI BIOSes for the UMC 481/482 chipset implement more wait states for the main memory compared to using MR BIOS for the same chipset. The results above are when using MR BIOS, but still not nearly as good as CHIPS or SIS.
User avatar
feipoa
l33t++
 
Posts: 5605
Joined: 2011-3-07 @ 13:54
Location: Canada

PreviousNext

Return to General Old Hardware

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baoran, BLEXBot [Bot], Google [Bot] and 13 guests