Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

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Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby vladstamate » 2019-9-11 @ 13:52

Hi folks,

I am looking for a performant 386 motherboard that has a 387 socket. So few questions:

- what chipset is good?
- how much is good amount of cache? 128Kb? 256Kb? According to the post hereby HighTreason, 256Kb cache actually lost 10% of Doom performance (that could be chipset specific).
- what memory slot type am I looking for?

My intention is to transplant my 386 build (40Mhz, 32Mb of memory, FPU, etc) to a known good motherboard.
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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2019-9-11 @ 15:04

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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby GigAHerZ » 2019-9-11 @ 17:33

While i don't have much to compare with, i do like the M321 motherboard: https://stason.org/TULARC/pc/motherboar ... VER-2.html

It has cache with writeback capability. This is a feature many boards don't have.
"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - And i intend to get every last bit out of it even after loading every damn driver!
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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2019-9-12 @ 02:48

Just get a name brand board with a UMC chipset, and you should be good.
I recommend UMC boards, because they're fast, fairly common, relatively inexpensive, have good feature support, AND you can get a MR-BIOS for them.

My favourite 386 board is the AMI Mark V Baby screamer (VLSI not UMC), but it's because I have a thing for the older designs. I like full length boards with true 386 chipsets. Almost all the later 386 boards used chipsets designed for 486s.
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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby pshipkov » 2019-9-12 @ 03:10

Another vote goes for M321 here.
Or pretty much any of the late super-compact 386 boards - they look common, but are doing the job and cost much less these days.

@Anonymous Coward
I have seen that Screaming Baby mobo - looks real good.
Wonder how it performs ?
If you have some benchmark results laying aronud - please share.
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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby maxtherabbit » 2019-9-12 @ 03:39

there's a baby screamer on ebay right now for only $300US what a deal :dead:
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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby pshipkov » 2019-9-12 @ 07:15

Mmm ... i am cool. Thanks ;P
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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2019-9-12 @ 13:04

It's "Baby Screamer" not screaming baby! The board that preceded it was the Mark IV "Screamer" (as in fast). That board was full sized AT. The "Baby" in baby screamer refers to smaller form factor (Baby AT).

I think the Baby Screamer is up there in terms of DOOM scores, but not by a considerable margin. It's simply not worth it to spend hundreds of dollars for a 1-3% speed advantage. What's surprising is that it's able to do so well considering that it only has single banked cache...and possibly working in just write through mode (forget if it supports write back or not).

There are other downsides to this board. It takes fairly uncommon cache modules which are hard to find. It doesn't have support for DLC type chips (at least not my revision), and the BIOS is really sparse on features. So far a replacement BIOS hasn't been found, because VLSI was mostly used in OEM machines.

There are no perfect 386 boards. A lot of them support one or two good features, but suck in other ways. If I had it my way, I'd have a VL/EISA 386 that supports 64MB+ RAM with a large cache, DLC support, MR-BIOS, interleaved memory, writeback double banked cache and a PS/2 mouse port with a cherry on top. No such beast exists.
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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2019-9-12 @ 13:44

a PS/2 mouse port with a cherry on to

Lack of PS/2 is not a problem anymore, if you really need it.

that supports 64MB+ RAM with a large cache

Which is entirely pointless.
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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby HanJammer » 2019-9-12 @ 14:21

vladstamate wrote:Hi folks,

I am looking for a performant 386 motherboard that has a 387 socket. So few questions:

- what chipset is good?
- how much is good amount of cache? 128Kb? 256Kb? According to the post hereby HighTreason, 256Kb cache actually lost 10% of Doom performance (that could be chipset specific).
- what memory slot type am I looking for?

My intention is to transplant my 386 build (40Mhz, 32Mb of memory, FPU, etc) to a known good motherboard.


You may want to take a look at my benchmark here https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1wjRqDBMUF-dq9sZOoH61pJZgtZ6K4aK2DLBWAb1vGiM/edit#gid=0

Since then I've got at least 5 another DX40 boards with different chipsets, I just need time to test tchem...
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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2019-9-12 @ 15:01

Which is entirely pointless.

Well, this entire hobby is entirely pointless, so there's that.
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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby imi » 2019-9-12 @ 15:09

Anonymous Coward wrote:
Which is entirely pointless.

Well, this entire hobby is entirely pointless, so there's that.

the entire universe is pointless

if you tell me what to bench I can test my HOT-327, I finally have it up and running now, I haven't put a FPU in (yet) though.
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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby maxtherabbit » 2019-9-12 @ 21:10

bench 225x10 for 3 sets
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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby pshipkov » 2019-9-13 @ 00:08

@Anonymous Coward
The "Screaming Baby" was for fun, don't take it seriously. :)

@imi
The usual - wolf3d, superscape, pcp benchmark, doom, wintune2 maybe. A rendering tests if you have the patience to deal with that stuff.

@HanJammer
Thank you for sharing the stats.
Something feels off with the Doom FPS - i am usually seeing scores that are 2 times higher than what you listed. That's on multiple different 386DX@40 systems. I think i have the second motherboard as well.

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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby maxtherabbit » 2019-9-13 @ 01:04

pshipkov wrote:@Anonymous Coward
The "Screaming Baby" was for fun, don't take it seriously. :)


literally everyone who reads "Baby Screamer" associates the name with screaming babies, that's what makes the name so funny (and maybe why the board is sought after??)

even those who know the "real" derivation of the name
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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2019-9-13 @ 02:19

Even doing an image search for "Baby Screamer" shows mostly pictures of screaming babies.
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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby PC-Engineer » 2019-9-13 @ 11:20

Whats about the Shuttle HOT-307H?

- Its from 1992
- Am386DX40 (soldered on)
- OPTI 82C391/392
- AMI BIOS
- 256kB cache support (WB)
- FPU Socket (387 / Weitek)

Benchmarks (ATI Mach32 2MB VRAM, 256kB Cache 15ns, 16MB RAM 70ns, BIOS: 0WS)
- PCPBench VGAmode: 4.0 FPS
- 3DBench 1.0c: 17.5 FPS
- DOOM: 9681 Realtics / 7.7 FPS (full screen, no frame, with status bar)
- Quake (Cyrix FasMath FPU): 512s / 1.9FPS
Last edited by PC-Engineer on 2019-9-13 @ 16:12, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby maxtherabbit » 2019-9-13 @ 13:05

I was *this* close to buying a HOT-307 on ebay, but it got bid up way over $50 so I didn't keep bidding. Seems like all the nice 386 boards are expensive as hell now
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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2019-9-13 @ 16:05

I've never used an OPTi 381, but it has interleaved DRAM with write through cache. The OPTi 391 doesn't support interleaved DRAM, but has write back cache. I'd be curious to see how they compare, but I wouldn't be surprised if the 381 is slightly faster...of course, it probably has an older BIOS.
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Re: Good 386 motherboard with FPU socket

Postby PC-Engineer » 2019-9-13 @ 16:11

You are right, the HOT-307H has the 391, had double checked it ... and corrected. The WB cache has no dirty tag.
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