VOGONS


First post, by Mattyice1994

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Hey everyone,

I've been pouring over forum posts, the wiki, and Googling a bit, and I still can't quite come to a decision on whether to go for a Dx2-66 or Dx4-100 for my 486 I am building. Either way, I want to go Intel.

My priorities for this build:
1. I intend to *at the least* play games like Jazz Jackrabbit, Hocus Pocus, Alien Carnage, Jill of the Jungle, etc, BUT I would love to explore the spectrum of DOS gaming! Also, I really do want to enjoy the Win 3.11 experience again.
2. Something that is on the higher end of performance would be cool, but it doesn't have to have an absolute speed demon. I want to make sure that it is stable / compatible, but I'd still love to build a higher end 486.
3. Something that is correct for the era. I don't want to build something that wouldn't have been possible or likely at the time.

Current hardware I have:
Acer/ Aopen Vi15G mobo
Soundblaster 16
PTI-255W VLB controller card

Questions I'm looking for some advice on:
1. Should I go for a Dx2-66 or Dx4-100 cpu?
2. Should I go for the Overdrive variety or not, and why?
3. My mobo documentation shows "3.45v" instead of "3.3", does this matter?

Thank you all for any advice! It really has helped so far.

Reply 1 of 12, by Horun

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Dx4-100 is not a "speed demon", runs at 33Mhz bus like DX2-66 but does have more CPU power.
1: A DX4-100 would be the better choice over Dx2-66 if you have one.
2: If your board supports 3.3 -3.45v then a regular Intel DX4-100 will work fine (the Intel spec calls for 3.3V +/- 0.3v) so 3.45 is OK
DX4ODPR100 that runs at 5V would also be a good choice but not neccesary.
3: See #2

If you plan on running some old Mono/CGA games designed for XT/286 then you may have some timing issues no matter the 486 CPU, but those games generally look like crap on a 486 with VGA anyway.

Curious...What VGA card are you going to use ?

Hate posting a reply and have to edit it because it made no sense 😁 First computer was an IBM 3270 workstation with CGA monitor. 🤣 Second computer a 286 12Mhz with real IDE drive ! After that came 386, 486, Pentium, P.Pro and everything after....

Reply 2 of 12, by Mattyice1994

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Horun wrote on 2020-07-06, 01:31:
Dx4-100 is not a "speed demon", runs at 33Mhz bus like DX2-66 but does have more CPU power. 1: A DX4-100 would be the better ch […]
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Dx4-100 is not a "speed demon", runs at 33Mhz bus like DX2-66 but does have more CPU power.
1: A DX4-100 would be the better choice over Dx2-66 if you have one.
2: If your board supports 3.3 -3.45v then a regular Intel DX4-100 will work fine (the Intel spec calls for 3.3V +/- 0.3v) so 3.45 is OK
DX4ODPR100 that runs at 5V would also be a good choice but not neccesary.
3: See #2

If you plan on running some old Mono/CGA games designed for XT/286 then you may have some timing issues no matter the 486 CPU, but those games generally look like crap on a 486 with VGA anyway.

Curious...What VGA card are you going to use ?

Awesome info, thank you!

If I were to use an overdrive, I know it has the heatsink already attached, would this be able to keep the CPU cool enough? Is it possible to still attach a fan?

I honestly don't have a VGA card yet.. I want to go VLB, and I was leaning towards a Cirrus Logic 5428 or similar. Maybe an S3? What do you think?

Thanks again!

Reply 3 of 12, by SodaSuccubus

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Mattyice1994 wrote on 2020-07-06, 02:20:
Awesome info, thank you! […]
Show full quote
Horun wrote on 2020-07-06, 01:31:
Dx4-100 is not a "speed demon", runs at 33Mhz bus like DX2-66 but does have more CPU power. 1: A DX4-100 would be the better ch […]
Show full quote

Dx4-100 is not a "speed demon", runs at 33Mhz bus like DX2-66 but does have more CPU power.
1: A DX4-100 would be the better choice over Dx2-66 if you have one.
2: If your board supports 3.3 -3.45v then a regular Intel DX4-100 will work fine (the Intel spec calls for 3.3V +/- 0.3v) so 3.45 is OK
DX4ODPR100 that runs at 5V would also be a good choice but not neccesary.
3: See #2

If you plan on running some old Mono/CGA games designed for XT/286 then you may have some timing issues no matter the 486 CPU, but those games generally look like crap on a 486 with VGA anyway.

Curious...What VGA card are you going to use ?

Awesome info, thank you!

If I were to use an overdrive, I know it has the heatsink already attached, would this be able to keep the CPU cool enough? Is it possible to still attach a fan?

I honestly don't have a VGA card yet.. I want to go VLB, and I was leaning towards a Cirrus Logic 5428 or similar. Maybe an S3? What do you think?

Thanks again!

DX4 Overdrive user here. The heatsink and VRM underneith it get quiet hot. Using a fan is much recommended 😀

Dx4-100 >DX2-66 anyday. DX2 might be more historically important to people. But a DX4 will actually let you start getting into games like Descent. It's a good balance between being a nostalgic 486, and having enough speed to not be an slug.

Cirrus Logic 5428 or S3-805 should be on par with eachother. I'm running a Cirrus Logic in my build and it's served me fine.

Reply 4 of 12, by Mattyice1994

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SodaSuccubus wrote on 2020-07-06, 02:30:

DX4 Overdrive user here. The heatsink and VRM underneith it get quiet hot. Using a fan is much recommended 😀

Dx4-100 >DX2-66 anyday. DX2 might be more historically important to people. But a DX4 will actually let you start getting into games like Descent. It's a good balance between being a nostalgic 486, and having enough speed to not be an slug.

Cirrus Logic 5428 or S3-805 should be on par with eachother. I'm running a Cirrus Logic in my build and it's served me fine.

Sweet, I think I'll go for the Dx4-100 then! You do have a fan on it? Is it easy to attach?

Good to hear on the video cards. Any recommendations otherwise? What are you running with your Dx4-100?

Reply 5 of 12, by amadeus777999

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The DX2 and the DX4 both carry a different feel - latter, with WriteBack cache, being the more profound processor as in what's possible with a 486 and former representing The workhorse of the 90ies... no matter if it was powering PCs for moms, (spare time) scientists or teenagers exploring the halls of Doom.

Both the S3 and the CL are pretty fast so I would always go with the one that has the better ramDAC.

Reply 6 of 12, by SodaSuccubus

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Mattyice1994 wrote on 2020-07-06, 03:04:
SodaSuccubus wrote on 2020-07-06, 02:30:

DX4 Overdrive user here. The heatsink and VRM underneith it get quiet hot. Using a fan is much recommended 😀

Dx4-100 >DX2-66 anyday. DX2 might be more historically important to people. But a DX4 will actually let you start getting into games like Descent. It's a good balance between being a nostalgic 486, and having enough speed to not be an slug.

Cirrus Logic 5428 or S3-805 should be on par with eachother. I'm running a Cirrus Logic in my build and it's served me fine.

Sweet, I think I'll go for the Dx4-100 then! You do have a fan on it? Is it easy to attach?

Good to hear on the video cards. Any recommendations otherwise? What are you running with your Dx4-100?

I'm running a SB16, 8mb ram and (well previously anyway) an VLB IDE card.

For the DX4 Overdrive. I honestly just glued the fan down a bit. My current Noctua was slightly too big.

But iv been having troubles with the VL IDE lately. Lots of forgetting my hard drive mid game or not wanting to pick it up entirely.

Iv heard duel VLB is a pain. But it could entirely be something on my system's end. So don't let that scare you from using VL IDE if it works for ya 😀

For Sound. Anything Sound Blaster Pro to even an AWE would be fine. But I like real OPL on 486s. So a genuine OPL SB16 is a must!

Reply 7 of 12, by chinny22

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As your not trying to be period correct or relive some specific nostalgia trip faster is always better 😀
There really isn't much difference between the 2. Both are already too fast for earlier speed sensitive games but as the DX2/66 was minimum spec for a lot of games the slightly more power the DX4 gives won't go missed.

Game wise Duke3D is about as demanding as you would go on a 486 and even that's going to struggle. Doom on the other hand can run on lesser systems so video card isn't going to be holding you back that much. With prices for VL cards not what I'd call cheap I'd go with what you can get for a fair price. As reference I've a ATI Mach 64 which isn't a fast dos card but plays games just fine in the real world.

Sound is a rabbit hole of debate. But basically you have a late dos gaming PC so any of the better ISA card's will be a good match.

Windows 3.11 is a good match for a 486, It's what I run even if you don't really need it in this day and age. I would recommend a network card so you can network with other systems or mess around on the net if for no other reason that it gives an excuse to load windows up from time to time

Reply 8 of 12, by appiah4

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Do you want to play Doom II and Duke3D comfortably? Then go with the DX4. But even the fastest 486 in the world will not play 'The spectrum of DOS games' as some DOS games are just too slow on anything below a Pentium (Quake, Terminal Velocity, Tomb Raider, Jane's ATF or USNF, Screamer, etc.)

Regardless, the only DX2 system I have is a PS/1 and that is because its original configuration shipped with one. I always either go for an SX/DX-33/40 (can be slowed down rather well) or a 486DX4/5x86 (can run more demanding DOS games). The mid performance 486 chips are not really good for anything as far as I am concerned.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 9 of 12, by red_avatar

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appiah4 wrote on 2020-07-06, 11:20:

Do you want to play Doom II and Duke3D comfortably? Then go with the DX4. But even the fastest 486 in the world will not play 'The spectrum of DOS games' as some DOS games are just too slow on anything below a Pentium (Quake, Terminal Velocity, Tomb Raider, Jane's ATF or USNF, Screamer, etc.)

Regardless, the only DX2 system I have is a PS/1 and that is because its original configuration shipped with one. I always either go for an SX/DX-33/40 (can be slowed down rather well) or a 486DX4/5x86 (can run more demanding DOS games). The mid performance 486 chips are not really good for anything as far as I am concerned.

I used to really really want a 486 DX2 66 as a retro DOS machine but then a friend gave me their Pentium 75 and I realized that there's still hundreds of DOS games that don't run all that well on a Pentium so a 486 DX2 or a DX4 really barely covers 1995-1997 which still has tons of DOS games.

If you're going for the biggest support of DOS games, I'd go with a Pentium 133 or higher instead. Duke 3D was a very demanding game - VGA will run decently on a high end 486 but anything using VESA will be slow as hell and you can forget about Quake. As for compatibility: besides some games needing slow down (which can be fixed by disabling cores) it's mostly down to other components (graphics chip, sound card, ...).

Retro game fanatic.
IBM PS1 386SX25 - 4MB
IBM Aptiva 486SX33 - 8MB - 2GB CF - SB16
IBM PC350 P233MMX - 64MB - 32GB SSD - AWE64 - Voodoo2
PIII600 - 320MB - 480GB SSD - SB Live! - GF4 Ti 4200
i5-2500k - 3GB - SB Audigy 2 - HD 4870

Reply 10 of 12, by BinaryDemon

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I would choose the DX4 unless you have a specific need or reason to choose the DX2.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 11 of 12, by Intel486dx33

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Depended on your priority ?
1) Best DOS game play ?
2) Period correct build ?

For period correct build go with the 486dx2-66 but this will not give you the best DOS game play.

For best DOS game play use an Intel Pentium 83mhz overdrive CPU in your socket 3 motherboard
Or build from scratch a Pentium 75 thru 233mhz computer.

I am using a Pentium 233mhz computer right now and it is Awsome.
I was using a 486dx4-100 before but it did NOT play games to good.

The pentium is powerful enough to play most DOS games at good performance as the game was intended to be played.

The Pentium 233 just plows thru and DOS game I have tried so far it is great.
Much better than my 486dx4-100.

My motherboard has:
256kb cache
32mb ram because that is all I had but only 16mb is needed.

Reply 12 of 12, by zyga64

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Get DX4 which can be jumpered to 3x and 2x multiplier and you will have 2in1 😀

1) VLSI SCAMP /286@20 /4MB /TVGA9000C /CMI8330
2) i420EX /486DX33 /16MB /Trio64V+ /AZT2316
3) i430HX /P233MMX /64MB /VirgeDX+3DFX /YMF701
4) i440BX /P II 400 /256MB /FX5500/AWE64
5) i865G /E5800 /2GB /Ti4200 /YMF724