VOGONS


New 486 EISA + VLB build.

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First post, by simon_e_hall

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Well, I thought it was time to start a new build, as my current 486DX EISA build is beginning to show signs of needing to retire.

My first thought was to buy a complete 486 system to do up, but oh, my God, even those in terrible shape are being sold for more than a complete Intel i5 system, which is crazy, those that shows signs of being 'renovated' are going for even crazier prices, so back to building from scratch.

So I plodded around the internet looking for another 486 motherboard (with EISA if possible) and ideas, then I saw this bad boy and in a moment of weakness purchased it.

A few things caught my attention:

1) Only one battery usually EISA has two.
2) No leaks or signs of leaks from that battery, which believe me when I get my hands on it is being removed straight away.
3) That VLB slot, which would address a serious short coming in my current machine, the video speed (currently using an EISA VGA card).

Before I bought the board did some research, as I was not familar with Domino.

The closest motherboard I can find is the JOINDATA SYSTEMS, INC. G486HVL
https://stason.org/TULARC/pc/motherboards/J/J … 86-G486HVL.html
but that has two VLB slots, the pin outs and chip layout pretty much are a mirror image.

There is a label on the board which says MB-4DELI2H, typed that into Google and nothing came back, which is annoying as I found it here:
http://www.win3x.org/uh19/motherboards/9368

Which states Domino, so I will be very interested to get it running (after removal of the battery) and see what CFG the motherboard needs, to clarify who makes it, but at a guess looks like a bespoke cut down (I hope not too reduced) motherboard made by Join Data for Domino.

Also I am sure the serial numbers of the board on that site and the purchase site match.

Now I see mixed information about the HiNT chipset all over the internet when I was researching that, especially as it does not fully implement EISA properly without some tweaks to the CFG files (https://groups.google.com/g/comp.os.ms-window … 2/c/uDh7RWrEltc). However, I did notice the 85C206 chips and a couple of PAL chips, so I am hoping this might be a hybrid (or P-EISA) board, which addresses some of those issues.

Now the direction I am hoping to go with this build is a throw back to the days of beige, my usual builds are normally black inside and out, braided cables, rounded cables, etc. thought I would try and do a throw back instead, I am not too fussed on period correct cards, so hopefully will update you all further as this continues.

So plan is new beige case, might risk a new old stock with original PSU, after a recap and Portable Appliance Test.

3 EISA slots, perfect number, as this will hold networking and SCSI as that is what they are perfect for, SCSI is my main concern with this chipset.

ISA, Good old Sound blaster and IO Card

VLB, graphics, no brainer! Think I have a Dimanond something card with the ability to have 2MB on it somewhere.

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Last edited by simon_e_hall on 2021-10-19, 19:47. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 2 of 23, by simon_e_hall

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Disruptor wrote on 2021-10-19, 14:40:

Try to obtain an Adaptec 2740W or 2742W

Cool, that was my thought process as well, from what I have read Adaptec boards seem to work (some need a tweak with the CFG file), I have a 2742 hanging around I was going to try, before I try putting something more exotic in the system, i.e. DPT

Reply 3 of 23, by NJRoadfan

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The Adaptec board may not work properly with the HiNT Caesar chipset. One of the things that was cut out was properly bus mastering support which the 2740W uses. The older AHA-1740 would work with CFG file changes, check old usenet posts.

Reply 4 of 23, by simon_e_hall

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NJRoadfan wrote on 2021-10-19, 22:37:

The Adaptec board may not work properly with the HiNT Caesar chipset. One of the things that was cut out was properly bus mastering support which the 2740W uses. The older AHA-1740 would work with CFG file changes, check old usenet posts.

Already all over that, that came up in my research and is referenced in my first post, just got to wait for the board to arrive, then I can have a real play to see what this chipset can and cannot do, all I can do at the moment is further research and order some odd bits. Was also going to make some sort of manual for this board and chipset (a bit further than jumper settings) as a lot of the information is dated or lost to time, also a lot of copy and pastes of those original posts for this chipset.

Feel like a child waiting for Christmas with a new unusual board on the way!

Reply 5 of 23, by simon_e_hall

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Well, I have started to write my own user manual for this board, still very much a rough draft/ work in progress and some horrendous grammar, still needs a lot of work, but like where it is going

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WsVpnHlKR … of=true&sd=true

EDIT: Link stopped working after a major chop around of the document.

Last edited by simon_e_hall on 2021-10-24, 08:26. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 6 of 23, by DaveJustDave

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Needing to retire? That poor machine's lasted 30 years, if it was going to retire it would have been in the late 90s! 😉

simon_e_hall wrote on 2021-10-19, 14:28:

Well, I thought it was time to start a new build, as my current 486DX EISA build is beginning to show signs of needing to retire.

I have no clue what I'm doing! If you want to watch me fumble through all my retro projects, you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/user/MrDavejustdave

Reply 7 of 23, by simon_e_hall

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Still waiting for the motherboard, joys of shipping accross the pond 🙁
However, my parts are slowly being found and piling up in the corner of the house:

From my collection of parts:
1) Microsoft home mouse (with wheel) and keyboard
2) Cirrus Logic 5429 VLB card 1MB
3) Got mixed information on this chipset, regarding write back, it probably does not, but in my collection is a 486dx-66 with write back, so another experiment for this chipset, but I could also reuse the Am5x86 in my current EISA build.
4) 5.25" and 3.5" floppy drives (beige)
5) 50 pin SCSI CD drive (beige)
6) Got plenty of SCA SCSI drives and 50 pin adapters to choose from for the main drive, but just having the one instead of the multiple ones I usually do

Reuse from my old EISA build,
1) 3Com network card (if it will work with the chipset)
2) Weitek 4167 (used when I play with CAD software which supports it)
3) SB16 (bug free DSP version, but will now have a dreamblaster S2 from my collection attached to it)
4) Generic IO Card (or another fancier one from the collection)
5) DPT SCSI Card (not sure about this yet, again depends if it works with the chipset)

Purchased:
1) Beige case with 200w power supply
2) AHA-1740 (with floppy connector, as I know with a tweak in the config file this will work with the chipset and can at least setup a basic system to begin with)

And when I get the basic system up and running, apart from the the usual benchmarks:
1) Upgrade VLB card to its maximum 2MB

2) Apparently the motherboard can do 128MB, but again heard mixed reviews about the EISA bus having issues with large amounts of RAM, but it would be fun to have a 486 with 128MB, so if I can find it at a reasonable cost in the future 16MB x 9 60ns FPM SIMMs, but I might have some of those in my RAM collection, also intreseted to see how much is fitted to the board as it is coming with RAM.

3) Might try my hand at retro brit as the drives and case are at various stages of yellowing, what are peoples thoughts on that? I have never tried it before as I have always gone for black cases.

4) Beige monitor either CRT or modern flat type, as the one I am using is being donated to my eldest son, as I am building a all chinese parts PC for Christmas, it is complete overkill on a retro PC.

5) Go through the old EISA motherboard with a fine toothcomb to see if I can identify what its issue is.

Reply 9 of 23, by GigAHerZ

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... And if the ram is not covered by cache, you can put a ramdisk on the non-covered RAM area. 😉

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - And i intend to get every last bit out of it even after loading every damn driver!

Reply 10 of 23, by Anonymous Coward

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If the chipset was made before the DX4 came out (early 1994), then you can probably forget about writeback L1...unless it's a Cyrix 486S. Those came out in 1993, and were the first 486s to support writeback L1 cache, but supposedly they used an implementation that is not compatible with the intel chips. Hell, I'm not even sure if it's compatible with Cyrix's later offerings either. Your board appears to made in mid-1992, which is really early for even a VLB board.
A jumper for the P24T could possibly indicate some kind of support for writeback L1, but again, POD83s aren't known to work all that well on boards made before 1995 and it's usually L1 cache related.

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 11 of 23, by simon_e_hall

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Anonymous Coward wrote on 2021-10-29, 14:03:

If the chipset was made before the DX4 came out (early 1994), then you can probably forget about writeback L1...unless it's a Cyrix 486S. Those came out in 1993, and were the first 486s to support writeback L1 cache, but supposedly they used an implementation that is not compatible with the intel chips. Hell, I'm not even sure if it's compatible with Cyrix's later offerings either. Your board appears to made in mid-1992, which is really early for even a VLB board.
A jumper for the P24T could possibly indicate some kind of support for writeback L1, but again, POD83s aren't known to work all that well on boards made before 1995 and it's usually L1 cache related.

That is what I thought, but while digging around for information on this board, came accross this on the forum:

Help ID-ing 386 EISA/VESA board - jumper settings?

which shows the same chipset, with what appears to be the same dated BIOS chip and further down a screen shot of the the 'Advanced Chipset Setup' with an option for 'Cache Scheme' with 'WR/Back' as an option. But that could be to do with the OPTI 495 on the board, cannot find much information on the SIS 85C206 on my board.

Reply 12 of 23, by Anonymous Coward

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Pretty sure that write back cache option is for L2, not L1.

Those 206 chips just integrated a bunch of stuff that would normally be discrete logic, plus the 82284 clock generator, 82288 bus controller, 8254 system timer, dual 8259 interrupt controllers, dual 8237 DMA controllers, MC146818 clock chip etc. Pretty much all 486 boards have one. Many companies made their own, and they are relatively interchangeable, which is why on your board which has HiNT chipset it is mixed with an SiS part.

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 13 of 23, by pentiumspeed

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simon_e_hall wrote on 2021-10-29, 14:37:
That is what I thought, but while digging around for information on this board, came accross this on the forum: […]
Show full quote
Anonymous Coward wrote on 2021-10-29, 14:03:

If the chipset was made before the DX4 came out (early 1994), then you can probably forget about writeback L1...unless it's a Cyrix 486S. Those came out in 1993, and were the first 486s to support writeback L1 cache, but supposedly they used an implementation that is not compatible with the intel chips. Hell, I'm not even sure if it's compatible with Cyrix's later offerings either. Your board appears to made in mid-1992, which is really early for even a VLB board.
A jumper for the P24T could possibly indicate some kind of support for writeback L1, but again, POD83s aren't known to work all that well on boards made before 1995 and it's usually L1 cache related.

That is what I thought, but while digging around for information on this board, came accross this on the forum:

Help ID-ing 386 EISA/VESA board - jumper settings?

which shows the same chipset, with what appears to be the same dated BIOS chip and further down a screen shot of the the 'Advanced Chipset Setup' with an option for 'Cache Scheme' with 'WR/Back' as an option. But that could be to do with the OPTI 495 on the board, cannot find much information on the SIS 85C206 on my board.

Off topic, what up with this guy with "H" on the forehead?

Cheers,

Great Northern aka Canada.

Reply 14 of 23, by Stiletto

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pentiumspeed wrote on 2021-10-31, 20:31:
simon_e_hall wrote on 2021-10-29, 14:37:
That is what I thought, but while digging around for information on this board, came accross this on the forum: […]
Show full quote
Anonymous Coward wrote on 2021-10-29, 14:03:

If the chipset was made before the DX4 came out (early 1994), then you can probably forget about writeback L1...unless it's a Cyrix 486S. Those came out in 1993, and were the first 486s to support writeback L1 cache, but supposedly they used an implementation that is not compatible with the intel chips. Hell, I'm not even sure if it's compatible with Cyrix's later offerings either. Your board appears to made in mid-1992, which is really early for even a VLB board.
A jumper for the P24T could possibly indicate some kind of support for writeback L1, but again, POD83s aren't known to work all that well on boards made before 1995 and it's usually L1 cache related.

That is what I thought, but while digging around for information on this board, came accross this on the forum:

Help ID-ing 386 EISA/VESA board - jumper settings?

which shows the same chipset, with what appears to be the same dated BIOS chip and further down a screen shot of the the 'Advanced Chipset Setup' with an option for 'Cache Scheme' with 'WR/Back' as an option. But that could be to do with the OPTI 495 on the board, cannot find much information on the SIS 85C206 on my board.

Off topic, what up with this guy with "H" on the forehead?

Cheers,

It's from another one of my sci-fi television faves:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Dwarf

"I see a little silhouette-o of a man, Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you
do the Fandango!" - Queen

Stiletto

Reply 15 of 23, by Anonymous Coward

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Come on, man. You're Canadian and you've never seen Red Dwarf?

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 16 of 23, by simon_e_hall

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pentiumspeed wrote on 2021-10-31, 20:31:
simon_e_hall wrote on 2021-10-29, 14:37:
That is what I thought, but while digging around for information on this board, came accross this on the forum: […]
Show full quote
Anonymous Coward wrote on 2021-10-29, 14:03:

If the chipset was made before the DX4 came out (early 1994), then you can probably forget about writeback L1...unless it's a Cyrix 486S. Those came out in 1993, and were the first 486s to support writeback L1 cache, but supposedly they used an implementation that is not compatible with the intel chips. Hell, I'm not even sure if it's compatible with Cyrix's later offerings either. Your board appears to made in mid-1992, which is really early for even a VLB board.
A jumper for the P24T could possibly indicate some kind of support for writeback L1, but again, POD83s aren't known to work all that well on boards made before 1995 and it's usually L1 cache related.

That is what I thought, but while digging around for information on this board, came accross this on the forum:

Help ID-ing 386 EISA/VESA board - jumper settings?

which shows the same chipset, with what appears to be the same dated BIOS chip and further down a screen shot of the the 'Advanced Chipset Setup' with an option for 'Cache Scheme' with 'WR/Back' as an option. But that could be to do with the OPTI 495 on the board, cannot find much information on the SIS 85C206 on my board.

Off topic, what up with this guy with "H" on the forehead?

Cheers,

Yep, Rimmer off Red Dwarf, childhood nickname that has stuck forever....

Well tracking has informed me motherboard is in the UK! Now it has to weave its way West, old case and PSU completly torn down, cleaned and inspected over the weekend, no point trying to retro brite it in this weather, PSU looks good, keylock replaced with one with a key as well. Then hopefully figure out the good and bad bits about this chipset and get some answers about its capabilities.

Reply 17 of 23, by Disruptor

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Anonymous Coward wrote on 2021-10-29, 14:03:

If the chipset was made before the DX4 came out (early 1994), then you can probably forget about writeback L1...unless it's a Cyrix 486S. Those came out in 1993, and were the first 486s to support writeback L1 cache, but supposedly they used an implementation that is not compatible with the intel chips. Hell, I'm not even sure if it's compatible with Cyrix's later offerings either.
...

Indeed.
The old Cyrix DX and DX2 support writeback in their own layout but the new ones like the DX4 implement write back in an Intel compatible layout . They have printed "STANDARD LAYOUT" on the ceramics.

Reply 18 of 23, by Anonymous Coward

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Can the old Cyrix DX2 use the 486S implementation?

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 19 of 23, by simon_e_hall

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Motherboard arrived last night, battery was just beginning to show signs of leaking, so one motherboard saved from Varta, the destroyer of worlds.

Board posts nicely. However, the BIOS ID String does little to resolve where this motherboard comes from, looks like another mangled ID, was at least expecting to see CAESAR at the end of the string, very odd.

40-0000-816276-00101111-031692-F

Nothing more that I am a 486, no major/ minor BIOS revisions, cannot find anything on that manufacture ID, last few digits at least seem right for the year 16th March 1992, keyboard controller revision F.

A little concerned about the corrupted character at the start of the VGA ID String on every boot, hope that is just a slight configuration tweak needed with timings.

The EISA Configuration Utility says it needs !HIT001.CFG so that is cool, as it is easily available on the Mr. Slug archive.

Identified most of the jumper settings now, just two I cannot identify, more testing to follow but on the late shift tonight and want to give the board a bit of a clean.

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