486 VLB build advice ?

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486 VLB build advice ?

Postby Intel486dx33 » 2018-11-16 @ 16:46

I want to build a 486 with a VLB motherboard and cards.
What should I look for in purchasing items ?

What VLB video card should I use ?
What VLB motherboard should I use ?
What CPU ? ( 33mhz - 50mhz )
What ram simm type and speed ?
How much cache do I need ?
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2018-11-16 @ 17:25

Anything you can find cheap.
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby Intel486dx33 » 2018-11-16 @ 17:54

I don't want to build on the Cheap.
I would rather purchase some quality components that are functional and going to last.
What motherboard and bios do you recommend ?
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2018-11-16 @ 18:10

Some ASUS, Soyo or Aopen (VI15G) boards (SIS/UMC chipsets) with voltage regulator for DX4 support. S3 Trio64 of Cirrus Logic 5434, if you can find it. 256kb cache minimum, any 60/70 ns FPM RAM you can find.
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby Intel486dx33 » 2018-11-16 @ 18:29

Allot of these VLB boards only support 5v CPU ( 33-66mhz )
Can I mod the voltage regulator for 3v support ?
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby gerwin » 2018-11-16 @ 18:33

Graphics: S3 Vision or Cirrus Logic 5428/29 are not far behind the above mentioned graphics cards. S3 has better LFB support. Cirrus Logic is like the reference point, with good (but not top) speed, and at least as compatible as S3. S3 Vision is functionally the same as Trio64, except for the RAMDAC specs.
RAM: 60ns gives a noticable boost, when the BIOS timings are adjusted accordingly.
L2 Cache: 256kB gets you covered, anything more is not useful in typical use cases.
Motherboard: I only tried UMC and that works fine, but SiS is usually the most sought-after. Other points are the VRM, ZIF-socket, Coin-cell battery.

Intel486dx33 wrote:Allot of these VLB boards only support 5v CPU ( 33-66mhz )
Can I mod the voltage regulator for 3v support ?

Depends on whether the PCB has reserved space for it.
Why did you mention 33..50MHz? These speeds match the 5 Volt offerings.
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby Intel486dx33 » 2018-11-16 @ 19:55

I have never seen a VLB motherboard that supports 486dx4-100mhz CPU.
What motherboard models support this ?
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2018-11-16 @ 19:58

Any board with a voltage regulator.
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby Intel486dx33 » 2018-11-16 @ 20:03

How can I mod the Voltage regulator to support a 100mhz CPU ?
What type of Voltage regulator do I need ?
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-11-16 @ 22:25

There are a lot of VLB board that support the lower voltage CPUs.

And if you don't have one, you can always use a CPU that has a voltage regulator built on.
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby jheronimus » 2018-11-17 @ 00:31

Just my 2 cents

I would stick to a DX4-100, like an Intel DX4 with write-back cache.

Something like AMD 5x86 might be more common and even cheaper, but VLB boards really do not like the chip. If you still want to go for it, pick an Opti-based motherboard. It could be a bit slower than SIS471, but it will be more stable with a chip like that. At least that is my experience.
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby alvaro84 » 2018-11-17 @ 16:15

cyclone3d wrote:And if you don't have one, you can always use a CPU that has a voltage regulator built on.


I wanted to say the same. DX4 overdrive is such a solution, right from Intel. But there are adapters too for the same purpose.
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby .legaCy » 2018-11-17 @ 16:43

Intel486dx33 wrote:I have never seen a VLB motherboard that supports 486dx4-100mhz CPU.
What motherboard models support this ?

Well my board supports DX4 CPU, and it is vlb.
The build is on my signature, but i can quote the part list
PCChips M912 rev 1.7(cheap mobo but it is working).
CPU Intel 486 DX4 100
16MB of ram
512k of cache(it is real, i bought and socketed the chips myself and cachechk confirm that)
for I/O i have a goldstar prime 2
video is S3 86C805, it is a good card on the value point of view.
also i'm using a SB vibra 16.
for storage is a SD to IDE adapter with a 2GB SD card(the bios can address the whole disk without problem)
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby LunarG » 2018-11-17 @ 22:48

Intel486dx33 wrote:I have never seen a VLB motherboard that supports 486dx4-100mhz CPU.
What motherboard models support this ?


You've never come across a VLB board for 3.3V? That's really unlucky :(
I currently have 3 VLB boards; an A-Trend OPTi-895 486 Green, a Legend QDI V4P895P3 and a (probably) OEM board, manufactured by Iston Corp. called S486G. They all support DX4.
It seems to me, that most of the board with a ZIF socket, also come with the voltage regulator for 3.3V CPUs. It's a very distinct looking three legged fellow with a screw-bracket on the top. Sometimes they have a heatsink mounted to them, but not always.
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby torindkflt » 2018-11-18 @ 18:57

The motherboard in my current 486 build is a QDI V4P895GRN/SMT with VLB running a DX4-100 (albeit AMD instead of Intel like everyone else). This is an as-exact-as-possible recreation of my family's computer from 1995, and the original also had the same model of motherboard and CPU. It has a built-in voltage regulator, thus it supported DX4 right out of the box.
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby Intel486dx33 » 2018-11-18 @ 19:24

torindkflt wrote:The motherboard in my current 486 build is a QDI V4P895GRN/SMT with VLB running a DX4-100 (albeit AMD instead of Intel like everyone else). This is an as-exact-as-possible recreation of my family's computer from 1995, and the original also had the same model of motherboard and CPU. It has a built-in voltage regulator, thus it supported DX4 right out of the box.


Yes, that is what I would like to do but my original VLB motherboard had a 486dx-33 CPU or maybe I upgraded it to a 486dx-50.
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby brostenen » 2018-11-19 @ 10:20

Intel486dx33 wrote:I don't want to build on the Cheap.
I would rather purchase some quality components that are functional and going to last.
What motherboard and bios do you recommend ?



If a 486 board are working today, then it has lasted. Just think of how old this stuff is. So anything cheap with the basic stuff you need, are good enough. I mean. You can buy that 150 dollar 486 board with all the bells and whistles, and it might stop working the next day. And then you have that 486-ISA-Only board that costs some 40 dollars, and it will work 5 years from now. Or it might be the other way around.

Just keep the age aspect to mind, when you click that buy-button.
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby LunarG » 2018-11-19 @ 12:33

brostenen wrote:
Intel486dx33 wrote:I don't want to build on the Cheap.
I would rather purchase some quality components that are functional and going to last.
What motherboard and bios do you recommend ?



If a 486 board are working today, then it has lasted. Just think of how old this stuff is. So anything cheap with the basic stuff you need, are good enough. I mean. You can buy that 150 dollar 486 board with all the bells and whistles, and it might stop working the next day. And then you have that 486-ISA-Only board that costs some 40 dollars, and it will work 5 years from now. Or it might be the other way around.

Just keep the age aspect to mind, when you click that buy-button.

This is an important point. There are no shops selling a selection of new 486 boards in various price brackets. We have to settle for what is available out there. Beggars can't be choosers and all that. Just keep on the lookout for a board with the minimum specs you need, and be happy with for any feature that exceeds your requirements. Sometimes it can take ages finding the parts you want.
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby Scali » 2018-11-19 @ 12:46

I would avoid a 486DX-50 on a VLB system. A 486DX2-50 would be fine though.
Reason is that the VLB bus runs synchronous with the bus speed. However, at 50 MHz most VLB cards will choke. The main reason why Intel moved to DX2 is exactly that: it was too costly to develop motherboards, chipsets and expansion cards that would run reliably at more than 33 MHz.
33 MHz VLB generally works with all cards. 40 MHz may or may not work. 50 MHz requires careful cherry-picking of motherboard and cards.
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Re: 486 VLB build advice ?

Postby brostenen » 2018-11-19 @ 18:42

Scali wrote:I would avoid a 486DX-50 on a VLB system. A 486DX2-50 would be fine though.
Reason is that the VLB bus runs synchronous with the bus speed. However, at 50 MHz most VLB cards will choke. The main reason why Intel moved to DX2 is exactly that: it was too costly to develop motherboards, chipsets and expansion cards that would run reliably at more than 33 MHz.
33 MHz VLB generally works with all cards. 40 MHz may or may not work. 50 MHz requires careful cherry-picking of motherboard and cards.


True that. And to top it, then 486dx50 systems are slower than dx2-66. The reason for a dx50, is to make a "challenge" machine or project machine. The challenge is to see if you are able to make a 50mhz fsb system on a 486 platform. It has no practical use as such, compared to what the pricetag might be. I have however, a dx2-80 system, and I have never seen any issue with VLB cards on that system. I have run two cards all the time, and I have had a couple of CL cards and a couple of S3 cards in that system. Controllers as well. Anything from the basic Goldstar/UMC single channel without BIOS to the more advanced SCSI-VLB cards. And I have always had two VLB cards running in this machine. It is rock stable.

The rule goes like this: 33mhz FSB can run up to 3 VLB cards, 40 can run two VLB cards and 50 can only run one. And yet, there may be extremely rare cases, in wich a 50mhz FSB have two VLB cards. I have just not seen it to this date.
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