[FINISHED] My Intel 486DX-33 Build-Log. (The: 90/91-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine)

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[FINISHED] My Intel 486DX-33 Build-Log. (The: 90/91-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine)

Postby brostenen » 2018-6-11 @ 22:11

I have begun to build my 486dx33 system, that I have gathered parts for, during the last year or two. The idea for this build, is to make something that was purchased by those who wanted a highend machine around 1990/early-1991. Of course I can not source strict era correct parts, and because of that, some parts are mid-90's. As an example, then the motherboard is from around 1995'ish and the memory is 72-pin. While other parts are from around 1991. In other words, then I wanted to do a pre-VLB 486 system, that have the spec's of a 1990/91 system. (specwise/featurewise)

Spec's:
- ISA Motherboard with 256kb Cache.
- Intel 80486dx33 with Cooler. (To keep heat from killing nearby components on motherboard)
- 16mb Ram. (Way overkill/expensive back then)
- Tseng ET4000 ISA card.
- Standard ISA Controller card.
- Jazz16 soundcard.
- 512mb CF-Card as harddrive. (Problem sourcing a working 250mb harddrive)
- 8x Speed Goldstar CD-Rom Drive. (Slowest drive I have, that are working)
- Floppy drive. (At least that is era correct LOL)

Note: This is my personal interpretation on what a butt-load of cash would get you around late 1989 to early 1990. And as there is a lot of pictures taken, during this build, then I will be doing this as a kind of build-log.

First up: The hardware selection...

Hardware-01.jpg
Motherboard. Pure ISA-Slots, 486dx33, 256kb Cache and active cooler on the CPU.

Hardware-02.jpg
One stick of 16mb Ram

Hardware-03.jpg
Tseng ET-4000 ISA-Card

Hardware-04.jpg
Winbond ISA Controller

Hardware-05.jpg
Jazz16 SB-Pro-Compatible Soundcard


More pictures in next post...

EDIT:
I have changed the years from 89/90 to 90/91, after some research.
Last edited by brostenen on 2018-6-15 @ 09:28, edited 3 times in total.
Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
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Re: My Intel 486DX-33-Build progress. [The: 89/90-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine]

Postby brostenen » 2018-6-11 @ 22:19

5 more hardware pictures....

Hardware-06.jpg
Brand new old stock Socket3 cooler. I like the looks of it. Kind of gold'ish.

Hardware-07.jpg
CF-Card as HDD...

Hardware-08.jpg
Goldstar CD-Rom drive. 8x Speed.

Hardware-09.jpg
Era correct, non ultra-ata HDD cables, and floppy with the correct number of plugs.

Hardware-10.jpg
Perhaps I will use this as the case badge?!?


I have no pictures of the case to post as of now. However that will be shown during the actual build.
Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick I tell.... (never tried though)

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Re: My Intel 486DX-33-Build progress. [The: 89/90-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine]

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2018-6-11 @ 23:07

If you ever see one, try to get a hold of a full sized AT motherboard with EISA or only ISA slots...and if possible sixteen 30-pin memory slots. Use a 486 CPU that doesn't say "DX", as those are the original ones. I wouldn't bother with a fan or heatsink. They don't get hot enough to need one.
ET4000 is probably about right for 1990. You might consider pairing it with a TIGA or some other type of coprocesser that feeds in through the VGA feature connector.

You definitely need a 5.25" floppy drive. I wouldn't bother with a CD-ROM drive. IF you use a soundcard, it should either be an original sound blaster or an adlib.

Also, you want to make sure you run Windows 3.0.
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Re: My Intel 486DX-33-Build progress. [The: 89/90-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine]

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-6-12 @ 01:30

RAM would probably cost >$100 per MiB at the time. High end, indeed.
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Re: My Intel 486DX-33-Build progress. [The: 89/90-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine]

Postby brostenen » 2018-6-12 @ 10:22

Next step. Fixing up the motherboard...

I had previously installed 256kb of cache on this board and tested it before storage. That was some 2 to 3 months ago. I have not had time to make this build before now. Needed a new table, had no time and I had to source an AT-Case before building the machine.

I recieved the motherboard without any battery. It had slight signs of corrosion were the pins from the barrel battery had been. A slight cleanup with IPA. Then desoldering using a hand operated vacume pump and solder iron. And then another cleanup, using IPA yet again.

I placed a rechargeable 3.6v coincell battery that I have bought over eBay from china, and soldered it in. I was a bit slobby regarding adding the correct amount of tin. Placed a jumper on the motherboard for internal battery operation and cleaned op flux leftovers, using IPA. (yet again, it is a miracle product)

Booted the board, and did a complete BIOS setup with all the cards installed. And waited one night, before checking if the battery would hold the BIOS informations. And success.... :-P Happy champ here. :-)

486-DX33-01.jpg
Choosing cache. I setteled for UMC branded cache, as the board has UMC chipset. Only the tag is not UMC. And yeah.... The UMC cache was 256kb in total. Not bad. :-)

486-DX33-02.jpg
Cache and CPU installed, before first boot.

486-DX33-03.jpg
First test when I had all hardware in store, before fixing the battery issue.

486-DX33-04.jpg
Cleanup - Bottom side.

486-DX33-05.jpg
Cleanup - Top side.


More pictures to come...
Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick I tell.... (never tried though)

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Re: My Intel 486DX-33-Build progress. [The: 89/90-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine]

Postby brostenen » 2018-6-12 @ 10:28

Fixing up the motherboard, second picture post...

486-DX33-06.jpg
Battery bought from China. This is the third motherboard that I have used this type of battery on.

486-DX33-07.jpg
Backside of PCB after solderjob.

486-DX33-08.jpg
Battery finally soldered in, looks ok enough.

486-DX33-09.jpg
Board all fixed up, waiting for the build.


Next up... The actual build.
Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick I tell.... (never tried though)

My blog: http://to9xct.blogspot.dk

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Re: My Intel 486DX-33-Build progress. [The: 89/90-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine]

Postby brostenen » 2018-6-12 @ 10:44

Anonymous Coward wrote:If you ever see one, try to get a hold of a full sized AT motherboard with EISA or only ISA slots...and if possible sixteen 30-pin memory slots. Use a 486 CPU that doesn't say "DX", as those are the original ones. I wouldn't bother with a fan or heatsink. They don't get hot enough to need one.
ET4000 is probably about right for 1990. You might consider pairing it with a TIGA or some other type of coprocesser that feeds in through the VGA feature connector.

You definitely need a 5.25" floppy drive. I wouldn't bother with a CD-ROM drive. IF you use a soundcard, it should either be an original sound blaster or an adlib.

Also, you want to make sure you run Windows 3.0.


I was not used to see 5,25 inch floppy drives on a 486 back then. Not even on a sx25. You could buy them on the side for a 486 system, yet 5,25 inch drives were mostly used on 386 machines and down. Even in the 386 era, 5,25 began to fade away. It was nearly exclusively 3,5 inch drives on 386dx40/486sx25 and up back then. To me, a drive like that, does not feel right in a 486 system.

The Jazz16 card that I am using, is somewhat featurewise correct, if we are talking about first half of 1991. It is not SB16 compatible, though the name has the number 16 in it. And as I stated in the first post about this build, then it is not strictly hardwarewise era correct. More like feature wise correct to an extend. The reason is money. I have a hard time sourcing a SB-Pro/Pro2 card at a reasonable price. So I will be using this Jazz card instead. All I can say, is that it has a physical volume dial and it has an awesome sound quality to it.

All this are also the reason for me using a motherboard like the one I am using. It has nothing but the keyboard connector on it. And it is ISA-Only. I think of it, as a kind of feature correct board, yet I can use dx4-100 CPU's if I for some reason choose to. I just stick with the dx33 CPU, to keep it close to era correct as I can. The same again, goes for the battery. Nearly ever type of battery from back then, were barrel or dallas. And the board was originally sold with barrel type battery. I am just glad that I am using a coin cell now. No more leaks.

CD-Rom drives were expensive back then. They were the new stuff. Naturally I am going to use it. Because that was what we lusted for back then, and when I transfer data to my vintage and retro machines, I use CD's as the medium for transfering data.
Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick I tell.... (never tried though)

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Re: My Intel 486DX-33-Build progress. [The: 89/90-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine]

Postby brostenen » 2018-6-12 @ 10:49

gdjacobs wrote:RAM would probably cost >$100 per MiB at the time. High end, indeed.


I have no data on what the price was in 1989/90. I remember paying over 150 US Dollars for 4x1mb 32pin modules in early 1995. 100 dollars for one megabyte in 90, seems like the correct price. I have to dig around for old scans of Danish computer magazines from 89/90, in order to confirm what 1mb would cost at that time.
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Re: My Intel 486DX-33-Build progress. [The: 89/90-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine]

Postby brostenen » 2018-6-12 @ 17:36

The build is done. It was smooth sailing, putting everything together in the case. The case used, was the former case, that I used for my dx2-80 machine. All there is left now, is to make some benchmarks and see how well the dx33 is working.

The-Build-01.jpg
The case. Ready to recieve them goodies. The drives have already been installed.

The-Build-02.jpg
Most of the parts, nicely on display in order to make the build easy.

The-Build-03.jpg
The motherboard installed. I have used two filt-washers. I find them extremely usefull, in order not to tear up the motherboard.

The-Build-04.jpg
The finished build.

The-Build-05.jpg
Another angle.


More to come...
Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick I tell.... (never tried though)

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Re: My Intel 486DX-33-Build progress. [The: 89/90-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine]

Postby brostenen » 2018-6-12 @ 17:39

The last two pictures of the finished build...

The-Build-06.jpg
Front of the case.

The-Build-07.jpg
From behind. All that are missing are the case shield. I have not yet placed it back on.


Next up... Benchmarks.
Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
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Re: My Intel 486DX-33-Build progress. [The: 89/90-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine]

Postby Jed118 » 2018-6-12 @ 20:46

I had that exact CDROM just come in with a DX2-50 machine and it was made in Feb 1997. You're going to want to go with a 2x for this build if you want to make it period correct. 72 PIN RAM at the time too?

CFCARD?!?!

:D

Nice ISA 486 board! Build looks good, would run DOOM on it!
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Re: My Intel 486DX-33-Build progress. [The: 89/90-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine]

Postby brostenen » 2018-6-12 @ 21:26

Jed118 wrote:I had that exact CDROM just come in with a DX2-50 machine and it was made in Feb 1997. You're going to want to go with a 2x for this build if you want to make it period correct. 72 PIN RAM at the time too?

CFCARD?!?!

:D

Nice ISA 486 board! Build looks good, would run DOOM on it!


Well... As I stated earlier, then it is impossible for me to source a cheap reliable and working CD-Rom drive from that period. If I had to go strict era correct, then I would have to source a 1x speed Mitsumi drive. It is the drive, were you push on the entire front, and the drive mechanism comes out in one big tray. Then there is a lid to open, as the drive is basically a top-loading drive.
With this build, I am going as close as possible, on my behalf, to the correct period. The reason why I am using the parts that I am using. If I wanted to with 30-pin Ram, then I would be left with only having two sticks of 1mb at hand. Using 30-pin require at least 4 sticks on a 486dx33. The same with the case, as it is from the Pentium era. The only case I have that has LED on the front, are from around 1994. It houses my 5x86-133 at the moment. The CF card is being used, as I have no working 280mb harddrive at hand. I have a dead 540mb though.

Running Doom on this machine is a big no-no. It is too slow for Doom. For that I have my 486dx2-80/VLB, my 486dx4-120/VLB, my 5x86-133 and my Pentium-166. This build is more geared towards games from 1989 to 1992.
Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
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Re: My Intel 486DX-33-Build progress. [The: 89/90-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine]

Postby brostenen » 2018-6-12 @ 21:37

Finished doing benchmarks....
Took pictures of speedsys, because it is way too much information to write down. The rest of the results are written down.

Bench-01.jpg

Bench-02.jpg

Bench-03.jpg

Bench-04.jpg



Other results:
- 3D Bench 1.0 = 23,2
- 3D Bench 1.0c = 22,9
- Chris 3D Benchmark = Score: 25,6 FPS: 15,4
- PC Player (320x200-8bpp) = 6,1
- Doom Timedemo = Gametics: 2134 Realtics: 5272


486dx33 build finished...
Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
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Re: [FINISHED] My Intel 486DX-33 Build-Log. (The: 89/90-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine)

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2018-6-14 @ 22:09

I would lose the multimedia stuff and just go PC Speaker.
Practically nobody had CD-ROM drives in 89/90 either. That would have been some highly specialised hardware seen only in the back pages of PC Magazine.
Also, I'm pretty sure 5.25" drives were still pretty much required until late 1991 or 1992. Some of the early 486s used 5.25" drives exclusively. You have to remember that in 89/90 most people were still buying 286s.
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Re: [FINISHED] My Intel 486DX-33 Build-Log. (The: 89/90-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine)

Postby brostenen » 2018-6-14 @ 22:28

Everybody that I saw using computers in 89/90, used 3,5 inch drives exclusively. About 70% of all computers that I saw, was Amiga's anyway, so PC's were had 3,5 inch drives too. 5,25 inch were a thing of the past here in Denmark. Or at least among those few PC users that I knew. Even my parents 286 machine from 1987, used an 3,5 inch 1.44mb drive. Those few that still used 5,25 inch drives, were eighter 8088/8086 users or Commodore64 users. CD-Rom drives were expensive, yet I wanted to use one, as it was expensive back then. And everyone owning a PC, wanted a soundcard back then as well. We were all envious at Amiga users.
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Re: [FINISHED] My Intel 486DX-33 Build-Log. (The: 89/90-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine)

Postby r.cade » 2018-6-14 @ 22:46

June 1989
Apricot Computers announces the first 486-based PC, in London, England. The VX FT system uses the 25 MHz Intel 80486 chip, IBM's MCA bus, and is priced starting at US$18,000. [310.8] [1093.38] (August [12])
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Re: [FINISHED] My Intel 486DX-33 Build-Log. (The: 89/90-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine)

Postby brostenen » 2018-6-15 @ 09:14

Now I got qurious. I clearly remember the 486 as being from 1989. So to be shure, I dug up some issues of PC-Mag on google books. And I think that I have gotten the years all wrong. The main feature of this machine, was to build something that represents an 486-early-adopters machine. You know, for those that had the cash. I must have gotten the years mixed up by a year or one and a half.

The thing about 486's not being sold with 5,25 inch drives are still correct here in Denmark. Nobody wanted them, unless you needed to move old data to the new 3,5 inch disks. And I clearly remember even sx25's being sold with soundcards and CD-R drives as premium line machines.

I will change the years from 89/90 to 90/91.

EDIT:
Dell had a 33mhz 486 for sale in jan 91. It was on sale for just under 11.799 US Dollars or 12.199 (depending ram). For that amount of money you got the 486, and you got some 4 or 8mb Ram. Then you got 128kb Cache and 330 or 650mb HDD. In other words, this machine is a butt-load of cash machine, feature wise and to some degree spec wise. I only got the timespan wrong by one year.
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Re: [FINISHED] My Intel 486DX-33 Build-Log. (The: 89/90-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine)

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2018-6-15 @ 15:28

brostenen wrote:Now I got qurious. I clearly remember the 486 as being from 1989. So to be shure, I dug up some issues of PC-Mag on google books. And I think that I have gotten the years all wrong. The main feature of this machine, was to build something that represents an 486-early-adopters machine. You know, for those that had the cash. I must have gotten the years mixed up by a year or one and a half.

The thing about 486's not being sold with 5,25 inch drives are still correct here in Denmark. Nobody wanted them, unless you needed to move old data to the new 3,5 inch disks. And I clearly remember even sx25's being sold with soundcards and CD-R drives as premium line machines.

I will change the years from 89/90 to 90/91.

EDIT:
Dell had a 33mhz 486 for sale in jan 91. It was on sale for just under 11.799 US Dollars or 12.199 (depending ram). For that amount of money you got the 486, and you got some 4 or 8mb Ram. Then you got 128kb Cache and 330 or 650mb HDD. In other words, this machine is a butt-load of cash machine, feature wise and to some degree spec wise. I only got the timespan wrong by one year.


I think it's fair to say that North America at the time would have been the largest market for PC compatibles, and you should use stuff like old issues of PC Magazine to gauge what was standard equipment for the era. I recommend having a look at PC Magazine Sept 11, 1990. Although the 486 chip debuted in 1989, it was late 1989, and it wasn't really until 1990 when they became available for non-server applications.
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Re: [FINISHED] My Intel 486DX-33 Build-Log. (The: 90/91-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine)

Postby Jed118 » 2018-7-25 @ 04:06

Hah, I played DOOM on a 386 DX 40 with little problems ;)
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Re: [FINISHED] My Intel 486DX-33 Build-Log. (The: 90/91-Buttload-Of-Cash-Machine)

Postby oohms » 2018-7-25 @ 05:06

If you really want to go for a 'buttload of cash' from that era, look at EISA and SCSI - there is some crazy hardware from that era but I can imagine it would be hard to source
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