VOGONS


First post, by JK1984

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I managed to get my hands on an an almost mint condition Acer Acros Model 4309 (P433D) I can't seem to find any information about this model online. No manual no nothing.. This isn't the exact model I was looking for but it was something I couldn't pass up. This model is a year or two older than the one I had growing up and there are some slight differences. Nevertheless I'm trying to get the computer upgraded and as close as to what I had growing up (nostalgic purposes) and have a few questions.

1. This computer doesn't have a ZIF socket. I have swapped out other 486 cpus on a motherboard with a ZIF socket but I have never worked with or replaced a CPU that didn't have a ZIF socket. What do you suggest the best method would be to replace the cpu without damaging anything? Also the current DX/33 cpu has a heatsink glued to it. I'd like to replace it with a DX2/66 but I'm not sure if I can use a bare DX2/66 with no heatsink? I'm debating about getting a DX2/66 overdrive instead, since that's what was in the computer I had and they have a heatsink glued to the cpu.

2. With the onboard video (Cirrus Logic CL-GD5422-75QC-A), I'm pretty much stuck with 640x480 resolution @ 256 colors. I can get 800x600 but doesn't display properly. I know the onboard video is upgradeable. There's 4 DIP sockets labeled VIDEO MEMORY (256k x4 80ns DRAM) Anyone know what memory chips that would work? I always wanted to upgrade the video in the computer I had growing up so this would be a nice bonus if I could do that.
Also, once I get the chips, exactly how do I install them? Just push them in? what about orientation? I assume there's only one way to install them.

3. I'm not a fan of the PS/2 ports for the keyboard and mouse being on the front left side of this model. But this is what I have to work with. There's a header on the motherboard with a pin out, that goes to a small circuit board with the PS/2 ports. Every time I unplug and plug a keyboard and mouse in I feel like I'm going to break it. The whole setup isn't exactly sturdy. It's a very tight squeeze and you really have to push to get it in there. The keyboard isn't as bad as the mouse since the keyboard is original. The mouse is what I have most trouble with. Anyone have any ideas? Maybe there's a different style mouse I can use that doesn't have all the extra plastic around the actual connector? Also If by chance I do break it, I'm not sure what I can do for a replacement? Seems like any information on the board is on the inside that's not visible. So I'd have to take it apart to see what kind of board it is.

4. Two of the IDE pins are slightly bent on the far left side. Getting the IDE cable to fit properly isn't an issue. Should I worry about trying to straighten them out? or am I best to leave it be?

Any thoughts?
Thanks in advance
-John

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Reply 1 of 13, by majestyk

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You can install 4 video-RAM chips with 128K each (256K x 4 / 8 = 128K) for an additional upgrade of 512K. The total video-memory will be 1MB then.
Each socket has a small rounded notch at the top where "Video Memory (256K x 4 80 nS...)" is silkscreened. Memory chips have that notch also, so the orientation is clear.
You just press the DIL chips into the sockets gently - you will probably have to adjust the pins a little bit before inserting the chips.
128K RAM chips with 80nS (or less) in DIL20 package shold be found on Ebay easily.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/363348123281?

Reply 2 of 13, by SSTV2

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The best way to pull the processor out of the LIF socket is to use a special fork-like lever, I don't have such a tool and just use a flat head screwdriver, wrapped in painters tape to prevent dents on socket's ridges.

I've always wondered which computer manufacturer used such 486 CPU heatsinks as in your photo, now I'll know 😀

The heatsink itself should be easy to remove and reused as it is weakly glued with some thermal adhesive film that does not lose its tackiness when heatsink is separated from the CPU. Heat it up to about 50-60*C degrees and pull it up/twist.

This is how a worn ACER's heatsink looks like underneath:

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Reply 3 of 13, by JK1984

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majestyk wrote on 2022-01-08, 09:45:
You can install 4 video-RAM chips with 128K each (256K x 4 / 8 = 128K) for an additional upgrade of 512K. The total video-memory […]
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You can install 4 video-RAM chips with 128K each (256K x 4 / 8 = 128K) for an additional upgrade of 512K. The total video-memory will be 1MB then.
Each socket has a small rounded notch at the top where "Video Memory (256K x 4 80 nS...)" is silkscreened. Memory chips have that notch also, so the orientation is clear.
You just press the DIL chips into the sockets gently - you will probably have to adjust the pins a little bit before inserting the chips.
128K RAM chips with 80nS (or less) in DIL20 package shold be found on Ebay easily.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/363348123281?

Thank you for the info I will look into this seems rather simple.

SSTV2 wrote on 2022-01-08, 15:23:
The best way to pull the processor out of the LIF socket is to use a special fork-like lever, I don't have such a tool and just […]
Show full quote

The best way to pull the processor out of the LIF socket is to use a special fork-like lever, I don't have such a tool and just use a flat head screwdriver, wrapped in painters tape to prevent dents on socket's ridges.

I've always wondered which computer manufacturer used such 486 CPU heatsinks as in your photo, now I'll know 😀

The heatsink itself should be easy to remove and reused as it is weakly glued with some thermal adhesive film that does not lose its tackiness when heatsink is separated from the CPU. Heat it up to about 50-60*C degrees and pull it up/twist.

This is how a worn ACER's heatsink looks like underneath:
1.jpg

I assume the cpu comes out relatively easily? I may look into getting this fork-like lever. I'm afraid ill break something with a screw driver. Very interesting, I have seen people removing these heatsinks before. I just didn't know how easily this could be done.

Reply 4 of 13, by JK1984

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SSTV2 wrote on 2022-01-08, 15:23:
The best way to pull the processor out of the LIF socket is to use a special fork-like lever, I don't have such a tool and just […]
Show full quote

The best way to pull the processor out of the LIF socket is to use a special fork-like lever, I don't have such a tool and just use a flat head screwdriver, wrapped in painters tape to prevent dents on socket's ridges.

I've always wondered which computer manufacturer used such 486 CPU heatsinks as in your photo, now I'll know 😀

The heatsink itself should be easy to remove and reused as it is weakly glued with some thermal adhesive film that does not lose its tackiness when heatsink is separated from the CPU. Heat it up to about 50-60*C degrees and pull it up/twist.

This is how a worn ACER's heatsink looks like underneath:
1.jpg

I have been looking around on ebay for these and most I have seen are shipping from china or internationally. I'm from the US. I have found some shipping from the US, but is there much of a difference from 70ns or 80ns? I'm thinking there wouldn't be much difference?

Reply 5 of 13, by JK1984

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Got the video RAM chips. Ended up finding a set of 70ns chips at a reasonable price. Just was a different brand.

I was wondering if someone can help me identify the specs for this motherboard? I am interested in adding cache but I haven't seen these types of sockets before? (located on the left side of the motherboard) Also I'm not sure what the max supported RAM would be. I tried 8 & 16mb sticks but the system only recognizes 4mb for each stick. For the time being, I swapped those out and put 4mb sticks in for a total of 16mb + (4mb onboard) --The Acros I had before had a max of 36mb (2x16 sticks +4mb onboard) So I'm not sure if this model is limited to 16mb?

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Reply 6 of 13, by snufkin

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Once of these maybe: https://www.ultimateretro.net/en/motherboards/8960

The settings sheet there says it should support 16MB modules, but also that bank 0&1 need to have the same size, and also bank 2&3. Interesting that the photo on UR had the 1st SIMM slot soldered in place. Also the components for the SCSI port.

Reply 7 of 13, by JK1984

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snufkin wrote on 2022-01-18, 12:04:

Once of these maybe: https://www.ultimateretro.net/en/motherboards/8960

The settings sheet there says it should support 16MB modules, but also that bank 0&1 need to have the same size, and also bank 2&3. Interesting that the photo on UR had the 1st SIMM slot soldered in place. Also the components for the SCSI port.

Yeah it is strange. That’s the board but mine like you said has those components soldered. So for instance i only have 3 memory banks. So bank 0 & 1 and 2 & 3 need to have the same size memory but I only have 3 banks 🤣 so I’m still confused as to why only 4mb was recognized.

Maybe my board is a slightly different revision

Last edited by Stiletto on 2022-01-18, 22:51. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 8 of 13, by chinny22

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I'm not Acer expert, but the motherboard 55.40401.0612490074D seesm to have also been used in the ACROS 4655 if you find any info on that?
Do you know what RAM is currently installed? Fast Page, EDO, Parity. Some motherbaords can be kinda picky and demand say Fast Page Parity sticks for example
But i suspect your right and 16MB is the limit as I'd expect the ram not to work at all if that was the case.
8MB is perfect for a Dos/Win3x rig anyway, 16MB is a nice slightly overkill amount. Only benefit of more would be if running Win95

I must of worked on at least 1 Acer in the past as I remember that stupid PS/2 setup. An easy fix is to get a PS/2 extension cord. I use extension cords on anything I unplug often to save wear and tear on the port itself.

DX2/66 is right on the boarder of needing a heatsink I'd feel better with one. Often you'll get a CPU with heatsink already attached as they are such a pain to remove, if not any old heatsink roughly same size as the CPU and bit of thermal tape to hold it on will be enough, they don't need much. Make sure the motherboard can support DX2 chips before spending money though!

I'd be more worried about snapping the IDE pins when straightening then the pins themselves. If the IDE drives work then I'd leave it, not like anyone knows once you attach a cable!

Reply 9 of 13, by snufkin

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JK1984 wrote on 2022-01-18, 12:52:
snufkin wrote on 2022-01-18, 12:04:

Once of these maybe: https://www.ultimateretro.net/en/motherboards/8960

The settings sheet there says it should support 16MB modules, but also that bank 0&1 need to have the same size, and also bank 2&3. Interesting that the photo on UR had the 1st SIMM slot soldered in place. Also the components for the SCSI port.

Yeah it is strange. That’s the board but mine like you said has those components soldered. So for instance i only have 3 memory banks. So bank 0 & 1 and 2 & 3 need to have the same size memory but I only have 3 banks 🤣 so I’m still confused as to why only 4mb was recognized.

Maybe my board is a slightly different revision

I'm wondering if the person who the board for the photo had modified their board. There is an extra column of chips in the right hand on board memory area, which I can convince myself look slightly different from the other two columns. Unfortunately the resolution isn't quite there to check the BIOS label for the version. What happens if you disable the on board RAM, then put 16MB sticks in 2&3, and what are the markings on the existing on board RAM?

Last edited by Stiletto on 2022-01-18, 22:52. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 10 of 13, by JK1984

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snufkin wrote on 2022-01-18, 14:13:
JK1984 wrote on 2022-01-18, 12:52:
snufkin wrote on 2022-01-18, 12:04:

Once of these maybe: https://www.ultimateretro.net/en/motherboards/8960

The settings sheet there says it should support 16MB modules, but also that bank 0&1 need to have the same size, and also bank 2&3. Interesting that the photo on UR had the 1st SIMM slot soldered in place. Also the components for the SCSI port.

Yeah it is strange. That’s the board but mine like you said has those components soldered. So for instance i only have 3 memory banks. So bank 0 & 1 and 2 & 3 need to have the same size memory but I only have 3 banks 🤣 so I’m still confused as to why only 4mb was recognized.

Maybe my board is a slightly different revision

I'm wondering if the person who the board for the photo had modified their board. There is an extra column of chips in the right hand on board memory area, which I can convince myself look slightly different from the other two columns. Unfortunately the resolution isn't quite there to check the BIOS label for the version. What happens if you disable the on board RAM, then put 16MB sticks in 2&3, and what are the markings on the existing on board RAM?

I tried tinkering around a bit real quick before work. Disabled the onboard ram, and reinstalled the 16mb modules. Tried different banks, every other bank, but regardless the system would boot with the onboard RAM disabled and these larger 16mb modules installed. They are "16MB 50NS TIN EDO" which maybe the system just doesnt like. I'm currently at work, but when I get home i'll take some pictures of what I'm using. I'll probably stick with the 16mb total RAM with the 4mb modules. Should be more than enough for what I'm doing with it. I'm just curious to try and figure this out.

Last edited by Stiletto on 2022-01-18, 22:52. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 11 of 13, by JK1984

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chinny22 wrote on 2022-01-18, 13:40:
I'm not Acer expert, but the motherboard 55.40401.0612490074D seesm to have also been used in the ACROS 4655 if you find any inf […]
Show full quote

I'm not Acer expert, but the motherboard 55.40401.0612490074D seesm to have also been used in the ACROS 4655 if you find any info on that?
Do you know what RAM is currently installed? Fast Page, EDO, Parity. Some motherbaords can be kinda picky and demand say Fast Page Parity sticks for example
But i suspect your right and 16MB is the limit as I'd expect the ram not to work at all if that was the case.
8MB is perfect for a Dos/Win3x rig anyway, 16MB is a nice slightly overkill amount. Only benefit of more would be if running Win95

I must of worked on at least 1 Acer in the past as I remember that stupid PS/2 setup. An easy fix is to get a PS/2 extension cord. I use extension cords on anything I unplug often to save wear and tear on the port itself.

DX2/66 is right on the boarder of needing a heatsink I'd feel better with one. Often you'll get a CPU with heatsink already attached as they are such a pain to remove, if not any old heatsink roughly same size as the CPU and bit of thermal tape to hold it on will be enough, they don't need much. Make sure the motherboard can support DX2 chips before spending money though!

I'd be more worried about snapping the IDE pins when straightening then the pins themselves. If the IDE drives work then I'd leave it, not like anyone knows once you attach a cable!

I'll look into the ACROS 4655 when I get home from work. Just wish I could find info on this exact board, but with certain components soldered it makes me wonder if the previous owner did that or if it came that way from acer? Regardless as I mentioned in my other post I'll probably be sticking with 16mb RAM.

The PS/2 extension cord is a good idea. I can't believe I didn't think of that. As far as the IDE pins go I gently bent one back slightly. But left it as is. The IDE drives work, so I'm leaving it. I'm pretty sure this system supports DX2 chips so if I find one for a decent price I may jump at it.

Anyone have any info on the cache sockets?

They are very similar to the ones pictured in this post. Acer Acros Cache Question

Reply 12 of 13, by snufkin

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The entry on UR says it uses FPM, doesn't say if it supports EDO or not. But if you're sticking with 16MB then it's fine. Pretty sure the 486 I got to use had all of 8MB, although I think that was eventually upgraded to 32MB. Which was so much that some of it got used for a RAM disk.

Reply 13 of 13, by JK1984

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snufkin wrote on 2022-01-18, 18:20:

The entry on UR says it uses FPM, doesn't say if it supports EDO or not. But if you're sticking with 16MB then it's fine. Pretty sure the 486 I got to use had all of 8MB, although I think that was eventually upgraded to 32MB. Which was so much that some of it got used for a RAM disk.

Yeah, I'll be sticking with 16mb for now. I found info on a similar board and the supported ram configurations were a little wonky to begin with. Certain size modules in certain sockets. Plus I believe this board doesn't accept EDO, only FPM
https://web.archive.org/web/20030718162157/ht … rticles/644.htm

As far as the cache goes... again similar board, with similar configuration.
https://web.archive.org/web/20030718155104/ht … ticles/1789.htm

These proprietary cache boards will be almost impossible to find.