Reply 20 of 112, by jheronimus
I've actually built a very similar machine (only with 5x86/DX4 from start):
1) getting a good motherboard is difficult and expensive. My requirements were very similar to yours (except for the 3v support);
2) VLB hardware is even more expensive;
3) maybe that's my karma or the desire to use 5x86/DX4 on a VLB motherboard, but that build required A LOT of tinkering and trial and error almost every step of the way. Literally any Pentium (including the notorious Pentium 60) feels like "it just works" after that. You can read my buildlog above — I really needed a lot of hardware for troubleshooting;
4) you do feel like you need more power all the time. Other have mentioned it already: even on DX4 Doom is okay, but any Build-based game will feel sluggish. Besides, if you're anything like me, you will often need Windows 9x for stuff like running anthology disks;
5) there is almost nothing a 486 can do that a Pentium can't.
All in all I've spent a lot of time and money on 486 and I can't say that I use it often. Whenever I get it from my shelves I keep coming back to a Pentium of some sort after a while. At this point I think it's cool that I can build a very high-end 486 with write-back cache Intel DX4 and a VLB S3 videocard, but that's about it.
With that being said, 486 does feel like an "authentic" DOS PC because it stayed the mainstream gaming option for a very long time. And a lot of people probably did play even the latest DOS games on it. It's just by today standards the gaming experience of 486 isn't too great. It also feels more "special" than a Socket 7/Slot 1 because everything is somewhat closer to the original PCs of the 80s (if that makes sense). Everything needs its own expansion card, motherboards are not too integrated and stuff like turbo really works.
So yeah, it's fun to tinker with the hardware, just not very fun for gaming.
Pentium 133, 32 MB RAM, S3 Trio64V+, Crystal 4232, Dreamblaster X2 and Roland MT-32
Pentium III 1000, 512 MB RAM, Voodoo 5 5500 AGP, SB Live 5.1, SB32 CT3930, Gravis Ultrasound Max rev2.1