VOGONS


First post, by aries-mu

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If a manufacturing company wanted to build an old-fashioned motherboard (like a 486 or Pentium) today, not only by assembling the components, but making from scratch everything, including the chipset, etc.

• Would it be possible?
• Would it be legal?
• Are the patents expired? For example, say all those VIA or AMI BIOSes, chipsets, etc.

Thanks

Last edited by aries-mu on 2018-07-25, 18:36. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 2 of 25, by Roman555

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aries-mu,
you gave a link to the site of such manufacture. I've read they still produce mainboards with SoC and RAM on-board:
http://www.esapcsolutions.com/industrial-baby … dram-p-188.html
Yes, this MB hasn't got CPU socket or RAM slots, but their product corresponds to your description.
http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/zf-m … nic-1349608.htm

Last edited by Roman555 on 2018-07-25, 18:36. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 3 of 25, by Errius

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Are those industrial boards fully compatible with old sound cards etc. or will there be problems getting them to play nice with them?

“I like to dissect PCs. Don't you know I'm utterly insane?"

Reply 4 of 25, by aries-mu

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derSammler wrote:

Possible? Yes. Legal? Yes.
As for the last question... why does it matter when "making from scratch everything, including the chipset"..?

Because I was talking about remaking an EXACT CLONE of whatever chipset and stuff was already made by other companies in the old days... I was wondering, can a company take the schematics from VIA, for example, re-do their chip entirely, and sell the motherboards?

Roman555 wrote:
aries-mu, you gave a link to the site of such manufacture. I've read they still produce mainboards with SoC and RAM on-board: ht […]
Show full quote

aries-mu,
you gave a link to the site of such manufacture. I've read they still produce mainboards with SoC and RAM on-board:
http://www.esapcsolutions.com/industrial-baby … dram-p-188.html
Yes, this MB hasn't got CPU socket or RAM slots, but their product corresponds to your description.
http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/zf-m … nic-1349608.htm

But didn't somebody here on the forum say they don't sell that board anymore as the supply of chipset run out? I figured they don't make the chipset, they just purchased them and installed on the boards...

They said therefore to him: Who are you?
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Reply 5 of 25, by derSammler

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Because I was talking about remaking an EXACT CLONE of whatever chipset and stuff was already made by other companies in the old days...

That is not legal, of course. A chipset design is not only protected by patents (which are expired in most cases) but also by copyright. So you need the permission for cloning.

All this aside, while it would be possible, it makes no sense because of the costs. Unless you're planing to make 100,000+ pieces, the production cost of a single one may end up at 500 $ or more.

Reply 6 of 25, by aries-mu

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derSammler wrote:

That is not legal, of course. A chipset design is not only protected by patents (which are expired in most cases) but also by copyright. So you need the permission for cloning

But if they're expired, why would that be illegal?

derSammler wrote:

...the production cost of a single one may end up at 500 $ or more.

Cheers! 😲 😲

derSammler wrote:

All this aside, while it would be possible, it makes no sense because of the costs. Unless you're planing to make 100,000+ pieces...

What's the problem? Let's call uncle Elon... he got plenty of money, tell him make a vintage computing museum on Mars, and with the exceeding units you can gift us all happy!

Let's spec the mobo!

Let's call it the PastFutureTimeWarpElonSuper7 mobo revision 1.0:
• Dual socket
• Socket 7, with voltage and supplemental "adaptor oversocket" to be backward compatible back to Socket 4 for Pentiums 60 and 66
• Socket 3
• Buses settable to 25, 33, 40, 50, 60, 66, 75, 90, and 100 MHz
• 1 MB replaceable (just in case) pipeline-burst 10ns double-banked L2 Cache, covering up to 128 MB RAM
• 4 SIMM RAM slots, FPM, EDO, 60 ns compatible (max. 128 MB total)
• 4 DIMM slots (help me here for the best specs for the Pentium and VX Chipset era) (max. 256 MB total)
• 5 EISA slots (fully ISA-compatible both 8 and 16 bits cards)
• 4 PCI slots, full length, 64 bit, 66 MHz, compliant with ALL PCI specs from 1.0 to the very latest one, able to run all kind of PCI cards, from Adam and Eve's wooden hair comb made with local woods, to the latest cards
• Each single PCI slot settable in terms of voltage, speed, etc., so that a 33 MHz 32 bit card, for example, won't force another 64 bit 66 MHz card to run at lower bandwidth
• 3 VLB slots, just in case you already own or would like to source some VLB cards somebody is fond of
• NO AGP SLOTS: that's too late in the future: the whole point is to make a revival of those years, like squeezing the best performance possible from those components and peripherals. Put an AGP slot and it tastes more like Pentium II or later, and you can start adding a lot of later video cards that makes no philosophical sense
• Integrated via 64 bit 66 MHz (if not direct channel with the CPU!) EIDA UATA 166 compatible, 2x2 devices, fully friendly with any possible additional ATA or SCSI controllers
• NO SATA: same reason as NO AGP, see above
• Both compatible with 5v based old PSUs and with ultra modern PSUs, including fanless and Platinum and stuff like that
• Compatible with all kinds of CPUs that existed on the planet from the day Socket 3 was born to the very last Socket 7 physically soldered on the very last specimen of mobo ever produced, via all kinds of settings, jumpers, combinations of bus frequencies, multipliers, voltages, write-through and write-back L1 cache settings.... etc.
• BIOS software: fully flexible, total and complete in terms of settings and features (help me here.... examples?)

• anything else????

Go uncle Elon, go!!!!

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Reply 7 of 25, by Tiido

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That list has a load of stuff in it that excludes another by its presence. It is like all the buzzwords from surrounding forum threads just got together into a big pile 🤣

T-04YBSC, a new YMF71x based sound card & Official VOGONS thread about it
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Reply 9 of 25, by stamasd

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Apart from a handful of loonies like us nobody would be buying such a thing. That's a market way too small for any company to seriously consider.

Your best bet for doing what you want would be to recreate the chipset in a FPGA. That requires time and knowledge but can be done possibly by an amateur. And since you're at it you could add the CPU and peripherals in the FPGA also. It's been done for other systems; for instance 1:1 hardware clones in FPGA exist of the ZX Spectrum.

I/O, I/O,
It's off to disk I go,
With a bit and a byte
And a read and a write,
I/O, I/O

Reply 10 of 25, by Roman555

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aries-mu wrote:
Roman555 wrote:
aries-mu, you gave a link to the site of such manufacture. I've read they still produce mainboards with SoC and RAM on-board: ht […]
Show full quote

aries-mu,
you gave a link to the site of such manufacture. I've read they still produce mainboards with SoC and RAM on-board:
http://www.esapcsolutions.com/industrial-baby … dram-p-188.html
Yes, this MB hasn't got CPU socket or RAM slots, but their product corresponds to your description.
http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/zf-m … nic-1349608.htm

But didn't somebody here on the forum say they don't sell that board anymore as the supply of chipset run out? I figured they don't make the chipset, they just purchased them and installed on the boards...

Haven't you noticed - the mainboards are different 🤣 The model with CPU socket and RAM slots had an old Ali M1487 M1489 chipset.
But a chipmaker and a mainboard-maker are usually different company. AMD, for example, makes chips and doesn't make mainboards 😀

Reply 11 of 25, by Deksor

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AGP isn't "too new". Why would you want 100MHz FSB without AGP ? That is "too new" as well. You can't squeeze out the best performance from a K6-3 without an AGP slot.
Also, why wanting SDRAM support, ain't SDRAM "too new" as well ?

Trying to identify old hardware ? Visit Ultimate Retro - Project's thread The Ultimate Retro project - a stason.org/TH99 alternative

Reply 12 of 25, by aries-mu

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Tiido wrote:

That list has a load of stuff in it that excludes another by its presence. It is like all the buzzwords from surrounding forum threads just got together into a big pile 🤣

🤣!!!! Okay, I'll give up the VLB slots 😉

Plasma wrote:

Well if you consider the 5150 "old fashioned", it's already been done: http://www.mtmscientific.com/pc-retro.html
There's also Sergey's XT which is more of an original design.

Oh thanks! If it's been done with those, it can be done with 486 stuff!

stamasd wrote:

Apart from a handful of loonies like us nobody would be buying such a thing. That's a market way too small for any company to seriously consider.
Your best bet for doing what you want would be to recreate the chipset in a FPGA. That requires time and knowledge but can be done possibly by an amateur. And since you're at it you could add the CPU and peripherals in the FPGA also. It's been done for other systems; for instance 1:1 hardware clones in FPGA exist of the ZX Spectrum.

Oh my goodness I didn't know such a thing existed! But now that you told me, of course, it had to!!!
Well, CPU and peripherals in the FPGA would take all the fun out of it. Let's say that the mobo is the "skeleton" that allows "loonies" like us (LOL!) to play around with our old-times favorite CPUs and peripherals.
So, mobos are most of the times an obstacle, a struggle: bus not allowing a certain card or a certain speed, limited I/O capabilities, compatibility issues with that card or that controller or SCSI device etc., or even the pure and simple sourcing issue: where are you gonna find a motherboard with the specs you want, the bus frequency or timing or cache you want, etc.
So, having a brand new, purchaseable motherboard, able to handle all those technical needs/settings, would be pure gold for us, as whatever we'd like to build, we could.
You'd like to try an ADAPTEC SCSI controller running it on a PCI slot at 40 MHz? You can.
You'd like to try this or that? Here you are.
But if I also were to put CPU and other stuff in the FPGA, no fun.

So, I guess, for the FPGA thing, I should:
• First know PERFECTLY how a motherboard works and ALL its components
• Then know how to build the board, the tracks, and everything
• Then figure what components can be replaced by the FPGA and what cannot
• Source everything that cannot
• Build it

Good luck to me! 🤣

But thanks a lot, this is very interesting!!!!

Roman555 wrote:

Haven't you noticed - the mainboards are different 🤣 The model with CPU socket and RAM slots had an old Ali M1487 M1489 chipset.
But a chipmaker and a mainboard-maker are usually different company. AMD, for example, makes chips and doesn't make mainboards 😀

Yes!!!!! And where's the CPU in the socketless model????

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Reply 13 of 25, by aries-mu

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Deksor wrote:

AGP isn't "too new". Why would you want 100MHz FSB without AGP ? That is "too new" as well. You can't squeeze out the best performance from a K6-3 without an AGP slot.
Also, why wanting SDRAM support, ain't SDRAM "too new" as well ?

🤣!
Good points.

So, I was drawing a temporal line up to the Pentium CPUs, let's say 133 or even 150/166 MHz.
So, the K6-3 would be beyond that.
SDRAM was already available on Pentium mobos, that's why. I loved the VX chipset when it was released!
About the 100 MHz FSB, you're right: that's actually "too new".
So, I'd put an ideological cap at 66 MHz 😉 Thanks!

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Jesus said to them: The beginning, who also speak unto you

Reply 14 of 25, by Deksor

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AGP was released only one year after the SDRAM support, and pentiums could also benefit from AGP motherboards.

Plus some Cryix chip are designed to run at 75MHz FSB or even 83.3MHz fsb, so you can't just limit to that ^^
And ATA 166 is too new as well by that regard.

Also I think 64 bit PCI is much newer than first AGP slots, yet the usefulness of that is pretty limited in comparison to AGP.

Trying to identify old hardware ? Visit Ultimate Retro - Project's thread The Ultimate Retro project - a stason.org/TH99 alternative

Reply 15 of 25, by aries-mu

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Deksor wrote:
AGP was released only one year after the SDRAM support, and pentiums could also benefit from AGP motherboards. […]
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AGP was released only one year after the SDRAM support, and pentiums could also benefit from AGP motherboards.

Plus some Cryix chip are designed to run at 75MHz FSB or even 83.3MHz fsb, so you can't just limit to that ^^
And ATA 166 is too new as well by that regard.

Also I think 64 bit PCI is much newer than first AGP slots, yet the usefulness of that is pretty limited in comparison to AGP.

Good points!
Okay so, 83.3 MHz fsb and let's AGP too, limiting to ATA133 😉 Thanks!

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Reply 17 of 25, by aries-mu

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Deksor wrote:

Even the i440BX from 1998 had only ATA33 ^^

Oh wow man I didn't remember that!

Then, let's limit it to ATA33 😀

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Reply 18 of 25, by wiretap

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Just as an example of cost.. At work I had to get a motherboard (industrial 486 in a data recorder) reverse engineered and built from scratch since there were none remaining on the planet we could find. It ended up costing around $45k for the board, and $20k for the engineering costs. This was done by Paragon. This was actually cheap compared to some of the other components I've had them reverse engineer.

Last edited by wiretap on 2018-07-26, 15:58. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 19 of 25, by aries-mu

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wiretap wrote:

Just as an example of cost.. At work I had to get a motherboard (industrial 486 in a data recorder) reverse engineered and built from scratch since there were none remaining on the planet we could find. It ended up costing around $45k for the board, and $20k for the engineering costs. This was done by Paragon.

😳 😳 😳 😳 😳
Man! What job do you have??? Sounds FANTASTIC!

They said therefore to him: Who are you?
Jesus said to them: The beginning, who also speak unto you