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Pentium Or 486. Can't Decide

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Reply 20 of 34, by squiggly

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feipoa wrote:

Do you think you'd have the longing for a 486, or that you'd be permanently content with the Pentium?

Are there any non-sentimental/emotional reasons someone would choose 486 over Pentium 100? Can you use FSB/mulit/cache tricks on a P100 to get 286/386 performance on early games? Would there still be some games that just don't work on a P100 that might work on a 486?

Reply 22 of 34, by BeginnerGuy

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@Yuuker you seem like the rest of us in your dilemma honestly. I'm willing to bet in the near future you'll have more than one retro PC running 😜.. Welcome to the club.

Duke3d won't run well on a DX2, but nearly everything else you mentioned will, especially on the DX100. DOOM definitely benefits from a DX4 or AM5x86, those are the CPUs where it goes to "butter smoothness" (as long as the graphics card doesn't suffer from horribly slow memory writes). You may want to look for a board that comes with an AM5x86 preinstalled, those usually can be had with a CR2032 battery and 70 pin simm slots, which will save you a ton in memory costs and you won't have annoying issues with corrosion and dead cmos batteries.

Another possibility for you is to build your 486, since you seem to want one. Then in the future go ahead and build a slot 1 pentium 3 system, which will give you quake, duke3d, and anything else late 90s and buttery smooth frame rates. You can skip socket 7 completely there and have two machines that will do anything you want from 1990-2000 without a hitch

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Reply 23 of 34, by .legaCy

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Yuuker wrote:
Hey all, thanks for the opinions so far! […]
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Hey all, thanks for the opinions so far!

I would absolutely love a DX4-100! Best of both worlds in terms of classic feel and speed.

But the problem is finding a good socket-3 board at a reasonable price with good features. At the same price as one of those boards alone, iv seen bundle deals that include a older mobo, dx-33/dx2-66 cpu, cache and 4-8mb of ram (but then i'm capped out at a dx2 or expensive Pentium overdrive). Searching around also shows socket 7 boards going for less too, including the price of a Pentium chip sometimes.

Most of the time the cheaper socket-3 boards out there also seem to be missing things like cache slots 😒

I guess i wouldn't be too picky over it if i wasn't as fixated on weather or not running something like Duke3D at a decent framerate is important. Otherwise i'd guess a DX2 system?

On a dx2 forget about decent framerate on duke 3d, even with cache it will barely playable.

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Reply 24 of 34, by Yuuker

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Thanks again for the opinions everyone!

I think iv kinda wrangled myself down to either a DX2 or 4. With a DX2 i'd just leave those more powerful games to more modern sourceports or a future project.

(not promoting, just post the ebay link for reference) On the Socket3 side though, would someone mind double checking this board for me?
Its (from what i can gather) called the E153314 94V-0 OCCASION (?). American Megatrends bios, factory Coin-cell, VLB/ISA support, looks clean, seems to have built in cache though.

Non-removable cache kinda weirds me a bit, but the price in CAD seems pretty a-ok' considering what its got.

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/222714210116

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Reply 25 of 34, by BitWrangler

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BeginnerGuy wrote:

Vlb graphics only get really bad if you're looking for something high end (which would be nice). Cirrus logic boards will do swell in ms-dos and are usually always on ebay for $25-30US. They are so common because most 486 machines came with them, cheaper systems with low end trident cardss. It's the higher end accelerated cards that can do high res and take 2mb vram that get difficult to come by because they hit the shelves during the transition to PCI,they were generally seen as expensive upgrades to a dead platform.

Forget about finding a mach32 vlb right away for a fair price. A good high end accelerated vlb card for a fair price is about as easy as finding unicorns these days :p. Fortunately I don't think its a big deal until you want to run 9x on your machine or take an interest in mid 90s demos.

The CL 5428 5429 5430 5434 are fine cards IMO, they are even as fast as middling first gen PCI cards. I haven't seen a benchmark that would convince me to spend more on a Mach32 instead. Must be the ATI collectors going after those.... and yah, prices look a bit crazy, $150???!!!

Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. Most recently toyed with DOS era stuff 15 years ago, so memory might be rusty. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 26 of 34, by BeginnerGuy

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Yuuker wrote:
Thanks again for the opinions everyone! […]
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Thanks again for the opinions everyone!

I think iv kinda wrangled myself down to either a DX2 or 4. With a DX2 i'd just leave those more powerful games to more modern sourceports or a future project.

(not promoting, just post the ebay link for reference) On the Socket3 side though, would someone mind double checking this board for me?
Its (from what i can gather) called the E153314 94V-0 OCCASION (?). American Megatrends bios, factory Coin-cell, VLB/ISA support, looks clean, seems to have built in cache though.

Non-removable cache kinda weirds me a bit, but the price in CAD seems pretty a-ok' considering what its got.

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/222714210116

I avoid soldered on cache like that at all costs, chances are it's fake (I'm near positive it's fake but don't want to say for sure). There aren't even any jumpers for it. Also, it looks like that board has no keyboard controller??? See the silk screen for the 8742? Personally, I would keep on lookin! Maybe somebody a bit more up to date on 486 boards can comment, I haven't had one running for ages.

also, just to add, DX4 processors use 3.3V. If you plan to run one, make sure you can find the documentation for the board and see if it has a voltage regulator on board (or just stated support for a DX4 / AMD enhanced DX4 or even 5x86). The earlier 486 processors (including the DX2) take 5v straight from the power supply and will require a special socket adapter to run a DX4.

I've come across a few boards recently with the voltage regulator gutted, this one looks like it's possibly missing it too (see that blank spot up and to the right of the CPU?) though I could be wrong, it's hard to see.

BitWrangler wrote:

The CL 5428 5429 5430 5434 are fine cards IMO, they are even as fast as middling first gen PCI cards. I haven't seen a benchmark that would convince me to spend more on a Mach32 instead. Must be the ATI collectors going after those.... and yah, prices look a bit crazy, $150???!!!

When you move up to win9x the mach32 and s3 cards start to leave the CL cards in the dust afaik, but for a straight DOS machine the cirrus logic cards look more than capable. I'm personally just sitting back until a VLB ET4000 shows up on ebay or local for a good price.

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Reply 27 of 34, by feipoa

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Looks to me like the motherboard manufacturer may have been trying to cut costs. I would pay a little more for a quality brand name board.

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Reply 28 of 34, by BitWrangler

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What kind of deal is this, considering it's got the board, AMD DX2-80, heatsink/fan and 4MB of RAM, for $88.89 CAD and shipping would be Canada Post, no customs crap ???
http://legacycomputersnparts.com/catalog/prod … 03d0a55da3a3fa2

Just stumbled across that place the other day, no connection with them, I have not been in touch with prices generally apart from what I see recently, but mostly looks like about 80% of the high eBay pricing would you say? and thus maybe fairly good for Canadians who don't want to wait and wait for the bargains?

Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. Most recently toyed with DOS era stuff 15 years ago, so memory might be rusty. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 29 of 34, by Yuuker

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BitWrangler wrote:

What kind of deal is this, considering it's got the board, AMD DX2-80, heatsink/fan and 4MB of RAM, for $88.89 CAD and shipping would be Canada Post, no customs crap ???
http://legacycomputersnparts.com/catalog/prod … 03d0a55da3a3fa2

Just stumbled across that place the other day, no connection with them, I have not been in touch with prices generally apart from what I see recently, but mostly looks like about 80% of the high eBay pricing would you say? and thus maybe fairly good for Canadians who don't want to wait and wait for the bargains?

Actually, that would not be too bad of a price for a socket3 IMO, Iv paid a whole lot more for my old socket2 combo with a basic dx-33. Seen alot of other basic bundles go for more too.

The only issue i'd have with that particular model is the barrel battery, which...well unless there is absolute proof it hasn't contaminated the board and the mobo can support it being removed n' replaced with an external battery ASAP is kinda less-then-adequate.

Reply 30 of 34, by jade_angel

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Incidentally, regarding the CPU itself, I've found that the AM5x86 is often less expensive and more available than the i486DX4. It's also faster (x4 multiplier, they should have called it DX5, for 25x4=100, 33x4=133, 40x4=160), which draws the gap even closer relative to a Pentium.

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Reply 31 of 34, by matze79

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i would recommend getting a pentium, its more flexible, maybe get a K6-2 so you can use setmul and speed down as needed.
its also cheaper to build a pentium.

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Reply 32 of 34, by SW-SSG

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Yuuker wrote:

The only issue i'd have with that particular model is the barrel battery, which...well unless there is absolute proof it hasn't contaminated the board and the mobo can support it being removed n' replaced with an external battery ASAP is kinda less-then-adequate.

Dead NiCad CMOS batteries will be cleanly removed to prevent leakage damage. It can simply be replaced with another or a 4-AA holder with the proper connector.

So sayeth the storefront. Hard to tell if the board(s) had already been leaked on without nicer photos, though.

Reply 33 of 34, by Maleckii

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I struggled with this decision for awhile, since I've got both a solid Socket 7 board and a solid Socket 3 board (an Asus p/i-p55t2p4 and a Shuttle hot-433p). I went with the 486 just for that sweet nostalgia.

Honestly, it might be useful to build a system based on year rather than what you're going to do with it. My Socket 3 setup is using all 1994 components, with the exception of the CPU (I'm swapping between a Intel 486DX2/66, an AMD X5-133ADW, and a Cyrix 5x86-100GP). The Socket 7 build is probably going to use all 1996 components.

That said, the Socket 7 boards are a lot easier to work with, because standards were a lot better then. A 486 is a finicky beast.

Reply 34 of 34, by Yuuker

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Maleckii wrote:

Honestly, it might be useful to build a system based on year rather than what you're going to do with it.

If we go by year, anything early 90s, before and around the time Doom 2 came out. A few games after, i guess, But mostly a 90-94' era machine is what iv settled down to look at.

Regarding those AMD 486DX2-80s....

Do you need to have special jumpers for them on the motherboard '(including the older 5v boards that support dx2s) like you'd do for the higher end AMD \ Cyrix processors? Getting conflicting reports online of motherboards needing something like that for proper operation outside of Intel.