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My Dream High-End Intel 486 Build

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Reply 20 of 107, by canthearu

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Very nice build 😀

I have a somewhat similar build, and it is amazing for the software I want to run on it. Although I like the slot loading CD-ROM drive in my 486-133mhz build better!

There is no such thing as a bad processor in the retro world, just badly matched software 😀 (although Atom CPUs are definitely close to being bad!) This processor speed and PCI performance is perfect for running the old Lionking MSDOS game. Run it on too fast a computer, and it breaks. Run it on too slow a computer, and well, it just runs sloooowly.

Reply 21 of 107, by starcube

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badmojo wrote on 2020-05-25, 11:34:
Pfft waste of time. […]
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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-05-25, 08:53:

I like my 486dx4-100 computer.

Pfft waste of time.

Great machine OP! The DX4 is a bit of a beast - definitely a noticeable improvement over a DX2 in DOOM which is, of course, the first game that should be installed on any retro system 😋

I've updated all my AT machines to use new Startech PSUs over the years and feel good about it - I don't think they make them anymore but they're a good unit.

There's a major improvement since you're increasing clock speed 50% over a DX2/66, and DOOM2 does indeed run nicely on it. 😀

But something like Duke3D and Quake really need a Pentium, I can run Quake at 320x200 on the 486 and it's barely playable.

StarTech made excellent power supplies based on original designs from back in the day. Their ATX300/350 models are actually Enermax boards (I compared them to my NOS Enermax units).

Sadly they stopped making the AT units in December 2018, but I bought up a couple spares before they did.

Reply 22 of 107, by starcube

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Anonymous Coward wrote on 2020-05-25, 12:27:
starcube wrote on 2020-05-25, 12:10:
Anonymous Coward wrote on 2020-05-25, 06:38:

Normally I'm against using super fast CD-ROM drives in older systems because they have super ugly front bezels, but this one is great! It matches the grey floppy drives really well. What's the model number and where did you get it?

The case has a nice bezel too. My friends father had one exactly like that on his work computer (a 486SX-33).

Thanks! I'm all for utility over period-correctness. I'd go insane using a 2x or a 4x drive. Mine is a Mitsumi 48x and I got it on eBay.

2X drives can be frustrating, but 4X should be a fairly tolerable experience on a 486.

The other problem is a 4x drive is too old to recognize CDRWs and has trouble reading some CD-Rs, especially ones that were written faster than 16x. Even my 24x drives struggle with CDRWs and only read them at like 2x.

Plus, finding a mint working 4x drive nowadays borders on a miracle. I bought several Toshiba 4x and 8x drives only to find they all had cracked eject cogs and promptly returned them.

I do have a 2x Creative CR-563 as a museum unit but chose not to use it as it's just too damn slow and needs a proprietary interface card.

Last edited by starcube on 2020-05-25, 12:44. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 23 of 107, by starcube

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canthearu wrote on 2020-05-25, 12:28:

Very nice build 😀

I have a somewhat similar build, and it is amazing for the software I want to run on it. Although I like the slot loading CD-ROM drive in my 486-133mhz build better!

There is no such thing as a bad processor in the retro world, just badly matched software 😀 (although Atom CPUs are definitely close to being bad!) This processor speed and PCI performance is perfect for running the old Lionking MSDOS game. Run it on too fast a computer, and it breaks. Run it on too slow a computer, and well, it just runs sloooowly.

Sweet! Slot loaders are really cool. Hmm.... I have never heard of the Lion King game, so now I gotta find it. 😀

Reply 24 of 107, by starcube

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PARKE wrote on 2020-05-25, 10:00:
starcube wrote on 2020-05-24, 15:43:

This is my dream 486 build. Plays all of my early DOS games up to 1995 perfectly. 😎
8><CUT

Very nice !!
I did not know that these cases came with woodgrain covers too.

They don't. I wrapped mine in woodgrain LGR-style. 😀

Reply 25 of 107, by canthearu

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starcube wrote on 2020-05-25, 12:31:

I do have a 2x Creative CR-563 as a museum unit but chose not to use it as it's just too damn slow.

Don't feel bad, the slowest drive I have is a 8x, then everything else I have is like 36 speed and newer.

I choose not to worry too much about exact era correctness ... like who wants to listen to old quantum fireball drives 😀

Reply 26 of 107, by starcube

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canthearu wrote on 2020-05-25, 12:38:
starcube wrote on 2020-05-25, 12:31:

I do have a 2x Creative CR-563 as a museum unit but chose not to use it as it's just too damn slow.

Don't feel bad, the slowest drive I have is a 8x, then everything else I have is like 36 speed and newer.

I choose not to worry too much about exact era correctness ... like who wants to listen to old quantum fireball drives 😀

Definitely not feeling bad. Like I said, I choose functionality over period-correctness any day! What 486 had an 8.4GB hard drive in 1995? 🤣

Reply 27 of 107, by Intel486dx33

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Here are my scores with VLB motherboard and 8mb ram, 256kb cache.
As you can it is very close to your score.
So there was not much improvement in going with a PCI motherboard.
I think that motherboard is best used with an 5x86 CPU or Pentium overdrive in order to get the
Benefits out of the motherboard.
I have a few of these Socket 3 PCI motherboards that I used with 5x86 CPU’s.

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Reply 28 of 107, by starcube

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-05-25, 13:50:

As you can it is very close to your score.
So there was not much improvement in going with a PCI motherboard.

Reading your own benchmark results really, really helps:

  1. My system memory bandwidth is 244% higher than yours.
  2. My system memory and cache memory throughputs are 35% higher than yours.
  3. My video memory bandwidth is 257% higher than yours (PCI > VLB).
  4. My TopBench score is 26% higher than yours (237 > 199).
  5. My disk transfer rates are twice of yours.
  6. Even my CPU score is higher than yours even though we have the same processor.

I am highly amused at your continuing attempts to put my system down. It's becoming rather silly.

Reply 29 of 107, by PARKE

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starcube wrote on 2020-05-25, 12:34:
PARKE wrote on 2020-05-25, 10:00:

Very nice !!
I did not know that these cases came with woodgrain covers too.

They don't. I wrapped mine in woodgrain LGR-style. 😀

Grin... OK !
I was put on the wrong leg after googling it and coming across a couple more, like this one:
https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=t … RaMvRf&usqp=CAU

PS
Your PIII is excellent too, btw. Maybe an SL5QW on the wish list for that extra 5% cpu power ?

Reply 30 of 107, by starcube

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PARKE wrote on 2020-05-25, 14:18:
Grin... OK ! I was put on the wrong leg after googling it and coming across a couple more, like this one: https://encrypted-tbn […]
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starcube wrote on 2020-05-25, 12:34:
PARKE wrote on 2020-05-25, 10:00:

Very nice !!
I did not know that these cases came with woodgrain covers too.

They don't. I wrapped mine in woodgrain LGR-style. 😀

Grin... OK !
I was put on the wrong leg after googling it and coming across a couple more, like this one:
https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=t … RaMvRf&usqp=CAU

PS
Your PIII is excellent too, btw. Maybe an SL5QW on the wish list for that extra 5% cpu power ?

That's an earlier picture of my machine you just Googled. 😀

Thank you! I specifically chose NOT to go for the SL5QW as those had massive stability problems and were recalled.

I do have a few 1.4GHz Tualatins with adapters that make them work in 440BX boards that I might eventually swap the Coppermine for, though. 😀

Reply 31 of 107, by PARKE

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starcube wrote on 2020-05-25, 14:24:
PARKE wrote on 2020-05-25, 14:18:

PS
Your PIII is excellent too, btw. Maybe an SL5QW on the wish list for that extra 5% cpu power ?

That's an earlier picture of my machine you just Googled. 😀

Thank you! I specifically chose NOT to go for the SL5QW as those had massive stability problems and were recalled.

Ouch.... didn't recognize it.

Re. recalled Pentium III 1100.
The version that was called back in summer 2000 was a slot 1 cpu / stepping cC0.
The s370 version that came out a year later is the same cD0 stepping as the one you have and as far as I know there is nothing wrong with it but I have alas not been able to hunt down a working one.

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Reply 32 of 107, by starcube

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PARKE wrote on 2020-05-25, 14:47:

Re. recalled Pentium III 1100.
The version that was called back in summer 2000 was a slot 1 cpu / stepping cC0.
The s370 version that came out a year later is the same cD0 stepping as the one you have and as far as I know there is nothing wrong with it but I have alas not been able to hunt down a working one.1100asm.jpg

Ahh, I did not know this! I learned something new today. 😀

I just looked on eBay, there are a few for sale, but the prices are not very appealing, especially for a CPU with an easily cracked core.

I think my 1.4GHz Tualatins will be a better upgrade. I just need to make sure my graphics card can handle 89MHz AGP.

Last edited by starcube on 2020-05-25, 14:54. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 33 of 107, by Intel486dx33

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starcube wrote on 2020-05-25, 14:00:
Reading your own benchmark results really, really helps: […]
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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-05-25, 13:50:

As you can it is very close to your score.
So there was not much improvement in going with a PCI motherboard.

Reading your own benchmark results really, really helps:

  1. My system memory bandwidth is 244% higher than yours.
  2. My system memory and cache memory throughputs are 35% higher than yours.
  3. My video memory bandwidth is 257% higher than yours (PCI > VLB).
  4. My TopBench score is 26% higher than yours (237 > 199).
  5. My disk transfer rates are twice of yours.
  6. Even my CPU score is higher than yours even though we have the same processor.

I am highly amused at your continuing attempts to put my system down. It's becoming rather silly.

Yes, but your CPU score is only 2% higher than mine. That is the point the CPU is topped out at about 40 points in Speedsys CPU test
I am using an Intel Over drive 486dx4-100 CPU NOT the Standard 486dx4-100 CPU.

Reply 34 of 107, by starcube

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-05-25, 14:49:
starcube wrote on 2020-05-25, 14:00:
Reading your own benchmark results really, really helps: […]
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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-05-25, 13:50:

As you can it is very close to your score.
So there was not much improvement in going with a PCI motherboard.

Reading your own benchmark results really, really helps:

  1. My system memory bandwidth is 244% higher than yours.
  2. My system memory and cache memory throughputs are 35% higher than yours.
  3. My video memory bandwidth is 257% higher than yours (PCI > VLB).
  4. My TopBench score is 26% higher than yours (237 > 199).
  5. My disk transfer rates are twice of yours.
  6. Even my CPU score is higher than yours even though we have the same processor.

I am highly amused at your continuing attempts to put my system down. It's becoming rather silly.

Yes, but your CPU score is only 2% higher than mine. That is the point the CPU is topped out at about 40 points in Speedsys CPU test
I am using an Intel Over drive 486dx4-100 CPU NOT the Standard 486dx4-100 CPU.

Why did you ignore everything else I wrote in that post? We're not comparing processors.

I'm really begining to think you don't fully understand the things you're talking about and you refuse to acknowledge anything that disagrees with what you want the world to be.

I can't have a meaningful discussion with you so I'm done here. Good luck with your Pentium build!

Reply 35 of 107, by PARKE

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starcube wrote on 2020-05-25, 14:48:

I just looked on eBay, there are a few for sale, but the prices are not very appealing, especially for a CPU with an easily cracked core.

They are in general prohibitively expensive and maybe only worth it if you are seriously after the fastest s370 coppermine for an in-spec 440bx system.
Anyway, for general interest here an image of the failed Intel attempt to market a >1000 Mhz cpu in 2000:

1113Mhz2.jpg
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Reply 36 of 107, by starcube

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PARKE wrote on 2020-05-25, 16:00:
starcube wrote on 2020-05-25, 14:48:

I just looked on eBay, there are a few for sale, but the prices are not very appealing, especially for a CPU with an easily cracked core.

They are in general prohibitively expensive and maybe only worth it if you are seriously after the fastest s370 coppermine for an in-spec 440bx system.
Anyway, for general interest here an image of the failed Intel attempt to market a >1000 Mhz cpu in 2000:1113Mhz2.jpg

I agree, they're more of a collector's item than a practical upgrade.

Reply 37 of 107, by Intel486dx33

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starcube wrote on 2020-05-25, 14:54:
Why did you ignore everything else I wrote in that post? We're not comparing processors. […]
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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-05-25, 14:49:
starcube wrote on 2020-05-25, 14:00:
Reading your own benchmark results really, really helps: […]
Show full quote

Reading your own benchmark results really, really helps:

  1. My system memory bandwidth is 244% higher than yours.
  2. My system memory and cache memory throughputs are 35% higher than yours.
  3. My video memory bandwidth is 257% higher than yours (PCI > VLB).
  4. My TopBench score is 26% higher than yours (237 > 199).
  5. My disk transfer rates are twice of yours.
  6. Even my CPU score is higher than yours even though we have the same processor.

I am highly amused at your continuing attempts to put my system down. It's becoming rather silly.

Yes, but your CPU score is only 2% higher than mine. That is the point the CPU is topped out at about 40 points in Speedsys CPU test
I am using an Intel Over drive 486dx4-100 CPU NOT the Standard 486dx4-100 CPU.

Why did you ignore everything else I wrote in that post? We're not comparing processors.

I'm really begining to think you don't fully understand the things you're talking about and you refuse to acknowledge anything that disagrees with what you want the world to be.

I can't have a meaningful discussion with you so I'm done here. Good luck with your Pentium build!

That’s what I am getting at. Even with my slow motherboard and ram the CPU score is almost the same.
I am in the process of rebuilding my 486dx4-100 motherboard with a faster graphics card and faster cache and 16mb ram.
I am also going to optimize the memory settings as I don’t think it is optimized for performance right now.
But I want to keep my build as it was in 1993/94
I am using a conventual hard drive.
Your motherboard is from about 1997

Reply 38 of 107, by Doornkaat

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-05-25, 16:07:
That’s what I am getting at. Even with my slow motherboard and ram the CPU score is almost the same. I am in the process of rebu […]
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starcube wrote on 2020-05-25, 14:54:
Why did you ignore everything else I wrote in that post? We're not comparing processors. […]
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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-05-25, 14:49:

Yes, but your CPU score is only 2% higher than mine. That is the point the CPU is topped out at about 40 points in Speedsys CPU test
I am using an Intel Over drive 486dx4-100 CPU NOT the Standard 486dx4-100 CPU.

Why did you ignore everything else I wrote in that post? We're not comparing processors.

I'm really begining to think you don't fully understand the things you're talking about and you refuse to acknowledge anything that disagrees with what you want the world to be.

I can't have a meaningful discussion with you so I'm done here. Good luck with your Pentium build!

That’s what I am getting at. Even with my slow motherboard and ram the CPU score is almost the same.
I am in the process of rebuilding my 486dx4-100 motherboard with a faster graphics card and faster cache and 16mb ram.
I am also going to optimize the memory settings as I don’t think it is optimized for performance right now.
But I want to keep my build as it was in 1993/94
I am using a conventual hard drive.
Your motherboard is from about 1997

Correct me if I'm wrong but afaik the CPU score is a synthetic score based on CPU calculations alone and not necessarily indicative of system performance.
Seeing as the overdrive DX4 chips use the same core at the same frequency as regular DX4 CPUs it is to be expected to score the same in this benchmark (within margin of error).
Of course the whole system would perform higher with a 5x86 or similar seeing as the motherboard is capable of running those but I don't think this is the point here, this is not a "fastest Socket 3" deal. Also the same level of performance can be achieved on Socket 5/7 - maybe for a lower price even, but I don't think that's the point either.
I think starcube simply wanted to build a PC that'll get the fastest Intel 486 to perform really well. I think he did a good job at that.👍

Reply 39 of 107, by Intel486dx33

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Doornkaat wrote on 2020-05-26, 09:30:
Correct me if I'm wrong but afaik the CPU score is a synthetic score based on CPU calculations alone and not necessarily indicat […]
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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-05-25, 16:07:
That’s what I am getting at. Even with my slow motherboard and ram the CPU score is almost the same. I am in the process of rebu […]
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starcube wrote on 2020-05-25, 14:54:

Why did you ignore everything else I wrote in that post? We're not comparing processors.

I'm really begining to think you don't fully understand the things you're talking about and you refuse to acknowledge anything that disagrees with what you want the world to be.

I can't have a meaningful discussion with you so I'm done here. Good luck with your Pentium build!

That’s what I am getting at. Even with my slow motherboard and ram the CPU score is almost the same.
I am in the process of rebuilding my 486dx4-100 motherboard with a faster graphics card and faster cache and 16mb ram.
I am also going to optimize the memory settings as I don’t think it is optimized for performance right now.
But I want to keep my build as it was in 1993/94
I am using a conventual hard drive.
Your motherboard is from about 1997

Correct me if I'm wrong but afaik the CPU score is a synthetic score based on CPU calculations alone and not necessarily indicative of system performance.
Seeing as the overdrive DX4 chips use the same core at the same frequency as regular DX4 CPUs it is to be expected to score the same in this benchmark (within margin of error).
Of course the whole system would perform higher with a 5x86 or similar seeing as the motherboard is capable of running those but I don't think this is the point here, this is not a "fastest Socket 3" deal. Also the same level of performance can be achieved on Socket 5/7 - maybe for a lower price even, but I don't think that's the point either.
I think starcube simply wanted to build a PC that'll get the fastest Intel 486 to perform really well. I think he did a good job at that.👍

Well, I fine tuned my 486dx4-100 VLB motherboard computer and the CPU score did not improve. So the CPU has reached it's peak performance.
Yes, this is a nice build and points out the limitations of the 486dx4-100 CPU. He has both a nice Pentium build too. So I am sure he knows the performance difference between the two computers. I did not know that the PCI motherboard with EDO ram could make much of an improvement in performance. Nice build.