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First post, by Vipersan

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So ..I have enough parts to build a decent windows 95 build I think.
It will use a period desktop case.
and a SOYO 4SA2 motherboard ...which has 4 x 72 pin simm slots.
Currently I have 3 sticks of 8mb fitted.
In actual fact I have 4 matching double sided sticks which could in theory add another 8mb ..but according to the manual circa 1996 the last slot can only have a single sided simm fitted so for now only 24mb 70ns.
The CPU is a 486 DX4-S
and that's as far as I've got.
Time to consider slot options.
This mobo has both ISA and PCI so I can mix and match.
There is 1 x VLB socket so I could use my TGUI9400Cxi Vesa Local Bus VLB video graphics 1mb
or another card I'm considering is a fully populated Diamond Stealth 64 PCI.
Choices Choices...which way would you go ?

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Reply 1 of 17, by PcBytes

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Maybe just me, but I'd go with the Diamond Stealth 64 PCI and a VLB IDE controller.

"Enter at your own peril, past the bolted door..."
Main PC: i5 3470, GB B75M-D3H, 16GB RAM, 2x1TB
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Reply 4 of 17, by chinny22

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VLB is 100 times more interesting then PCI but obviously the Diamond Stealth is the better card.
If it was a pure dos rig I'd maybe recommend the Trident VLB where you may not really notice the difference outside benchmarks.
But as your going to install Win95 I'd go with the Diamond.

AlessandroB wrote on 2021-09-20, 11:03:

It is not better to usa a Pentium1 CPU for Windows95 and 486 for DOS/Win3.11 machine?

A fast 486 won't be doing much gaming in Win95 but for system management it's not a bad choice.

Reply 5 of 17, by Vipersan

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Thanx for the input guys..
First things first.
The Desktop case came with no way to easily mount a hard drive.
I guess the 'cage' was discarded along with the hard drive.
..so I am going to do a little metal work.
Keeping tons of crap often pays off ...and I found a suitable steel cage ...and am currently drilling out the support strut and mounting the cage to it..
See photos

Ok it's fitted...but may have to drill a couple more mount holes to line up with the hard drives mount holes.

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Last edited by Vipersan on 2021-09-20, 13:01. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 6 of 17, by Vipersan

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So ..that's the hard drive fitted..
As to Dos and 3.11 ...
I already have a 386 rig running 3.11 and DOS ....and a Pentium MMX running a 98se rig..
This build will fill the gap so to speak.
None of these rigs will be exceptional for gaming ...
that said the Pentium 98SE rig is fitted with my Voodoo 5500 pci card.
A card I repaired/resurrected a while back ...and that card is the pride of my collection.
rgds
VS

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Reply 7 of 17, by jheronimus

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chinny22 wrote on 2021-09-20, 11:05:

VLB is 100 times more interesting then PCI but obviously the Diamond Stealth is the better card.
If it was a pure dos rig I'd maybe recommend the Trident VLB where you may not really notice the difference outside benchmarks.
But as your going to install Win95 I'd go with the Diamond.

I think on PCI+VLB systems PCI usually suffers from some latency compared to VLB because it's not exactly a first class citizen in the system. I haven't tested this on a 486 yet, but on Pentium 100 it gives about 10% (2-3FPS) difference in Quake on an Opti chipset and I've read similar reports for 486 systems.

On a 486 it might be less noticeable because both PCI and VLB cards would be bottlenecked.

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Reply 8 of 17, by Vipersan

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Just ordered a couple of M27C1001 15F1 eproms..
I guess the next stage is to try the 4SAW0911.BIN
The bios on this SOYO mobo is ancient I assume.
The sticker on the eprom being dated 1993

This thread suggests LBA support...nice if true
Latest BIOS for the SOYO 4SA2 motherboard?
rgds
VS

Reply 9 of 17, by chinny22

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jheronimus wrote on 2021-09-20, 12:41:

I think on PCI+VLB systems PCI usually suffers from some latency compared to VLB because it's not exactly a first class citizen in the system. I haven't tested this on a 486 yet, but on Pentium 100 it gives about 10% (2-3FPS) difference in Quake on an Opti chipset and I've read similar reports for 486 systems.

On a 486 it might be less noticeable because both PCI and VLB cards would be bottlenecked.

2-3 FPS isn't enough of a difference to justify the cost of VLB IMHO
Also it'll depend on other factors, VLB cards are usually 2MB or below vs PCI where a 4MB cards can be found cheap.
Finally PCI benefits of newer video chipsets that are faster and make up for the speed lost using in a VLB/PCI based system.

but with all that said and if cost wasn't an issue I'd choose VLB every time! 😀

Reply 10 of 17, by Ydee

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Even for a pure DOS/W3.1 machine, the S3 PCI will be better if connected to an LCD panel, I think. I have a Trident 9400 VLB and there are vertical stripes visible on the LCD, which spoils the impression. I don't have anything like that with any of my PCI S3s (they suffer from light black, which can be treated: viewtopic.php?t=43472 .
I'd stay with Trident for CRT (and DOS rig only).

Reply 11 of 17, by jheronimus

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chinny22 wrote on 2021-09-21, 10:29:

2-3 FPS isn't enough of a difference to justify the cost of VLB IMHO

Pretty much nothing about VLB (or late 486 in general) justifies their price, it's about the cool factor 😀 But I think a lot of people (myself included) try to squeeze everything they can out of 486, defying any kind of logic!

Also it'll depend on other factors, VLB cards are usually 2MB or below vs PCI where a 4MB cards can be found cheap.

I don't think VRAM size matters for DOS games, it's only relevant for Windows (particularly in support for higher resolutions).

Finally PCI benefits of newer video chipsets that are faster and make up for the speed lost using in a VLB/PCI based system.

I'm not sure about that.

Technically, the chips with the fastest 2D performance are available on both PCI and VLB with the notable exception of Tseng ET6000/6100. The VLB itself is also not slower than PCI.

What is true, is that it's much cheaper and easier to find Trio64 for PCI than VLB 😀

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Reply 12 of 17, by waterbeesje

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In a lot of VIP boards the PCI bus was still immature. It suffers from having no solid buffers and very safe timings. Also, VLB and PCI tend to be some kind of matter and slave, with a bridge between them.

I've got this very cool MSI VIP motherboard on which a VLB S3 trio32 card outperforms a PCI Trio64 one. Based on the graphics cards, this definitely should be the other way around.

Stuck at 10MHz...

Reply 13 of 17, by Vipersan

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The 27C1001 chips I ordered just arrived so wasted no time and flashed 4SAW0911.BIN to one of them
My 20gb IDE hard drive is now recognised by the auto detect bios function..
More testing to do ...but definately an improvement.
rgds
VS

Reply 14 of 17, by Vipersan

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Hmm ..that's certainly an oddity..
I can now boot a prebuilt OS or DOS from a hard drive...but cannot boot from floppy ?
There is an on board FDD connector but damned if I can get it to work.
I tried at least 4 known working floppy drives.
3 bootable 1.44mb 3.5 inch bootable disks...
Various single and dual floppy ribbon cables...but as soon as the system detects a floppy it goes for the drive ..then hangs the system.
I even went back to the old bios ..just in case...but it is exactly the same result.
Tried restoring default bios settings in both cases.
I have to conclude this soyo board has a faulty FDD interface.
I guess I could try and fix it ...but it might be easier to fit a controller card in one of the ISA or IDE slots to get a floppy interface of some sort.
Has anyone ever had an issue like this ?
Working bios ...working IDE ports ..and faulty FDD port ?
If only a schematic existed for this board.....I would assume the FDD port would be buffered in some way ...and likely this has failed.
rgds
VS

Reply 15 of 17, by Vipersan

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Now I'm even more confused..
Hooked up a 5.25" drive as drive A: and popped in Dos 3.2 which is as far as I know the only bootable 5.25" floppy I have.
...and it booted...
So now I just wonder why I cant boot a 3.5" floppy ?
A bios setting perhaps ? or one of the many ..many jumpers on this motherboard.
anyone familliar with the SOYO ...advice welcomed.

Reply 16 of 17, by Vipersan

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Been playing with this oddity off and on for a few hours now....and getting nowhere.
So ..Using a single cable with a twist at the end thus designating whatever is after the twist A:
Connecting this to a 3.5 inch floppy ..no boot
Setting in bios changed to 1.2mb 5.25"
Connecting the cable to a 5.25 inch floppy boots.
Oddly it it is irrelevant changing the bios option (floppy swap) ...which I would have expected making the A: drive B:
irrelevant...swap enabled or disabled the setup still boots from the 5.25" floppy ...but refuses to boot from 3.5"
I'm convinced the floppy controller is borked.
I guess my only option to avoid trying to repair this is to turn off both A: and B: in the bios...and fit a controller card...just for floppy.
Is there such a thing as a floppy only controller card ISA or PCI ?

Reply 17 of 17, by TehGuy

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Possibly something like this or this if you dont want to use any of the extra headers

Win98+DOS: C3 Ezra-T 1.0AGHz / P3-S 1.26GHz, 128MB RAM, AWE64 + Orpheus + Audigy 2 ZS, Ti 4200, 128GB SD card
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