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Tiberian Fiend
March 1st, 2009, 05:43 AM
I'm in the market for a 486 laptop, probably DX4/100, and I was wondering, which laptop was the pinnacle of the 486 era? Opinions? Experiences?

Anonymous Coward
March 1st, 2009, 06:23 AM
http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Category:755CD

chuckcmagee
March 1st, 2009, 06:43 AM
The ABSOLUTE best 486 laptop to buy is one with a WORKING battery that holds a charge!! I can't count the number of times I have purchased a vintage laptop only to find that I need another $189.99 to buy a replacement battery.

So, wall wart gets plugged in, laptop get tested to see if everything works, wall wart is unplugged and laptop sits.

Terry Yager
March 1st, 2009, 08:48 AM
I don't know if there's any one 'best' due to the rich variety of features available. What's best is whatever is best suited to your particular needs. That said, as far as quality, there are many very good brands, and just as many opinions about which is the best, but for the inexperienced buyer, you can't go wrong with good ol' IBM. Try to find a ThinkPad that has features that are important to you. It'll take a bit of comparison, but it's better that way because the shopping is a learning experience as well.

--T

vwestlife
March 1st, 2009, 09:36 AM
I've always liked the WinBook XP, just because Microsoft stole the name from it.

http://www.winbookcorp.com/support/xp/xpspecs.htm

http://www.trailingedge.com/images/winbook.jpg

Chuck(G)
March 1st, 2009, 10:59 AM
I'm curious--why a 486 specifically?

Why not a 386 or P1?

84TAVeRT
March 1st, 2009, 11:05 AM
i always liked the gateway colorbook series :)

there are a few on ebay ... :)

Tiberian Fiend
March 1st, 2009, 12:39 PM
I'm curious--why a 486 specifically?

Why not a 386 or P1?

I'm looking for a cheap laptop, and the first computer I ever owned was a DX4/100, and it was the last generation before the 3D era. I considered a Pentium 90 or Pentium 100, but then I figured I might as well go Pentium II if I went there (and I may, but they're expensive relative to other old laptops because they're on the fringe of modernity and can run XP).

Unknown_K
March 1st, 2009, 01:01 PM
Anything with a real 486 in it plus a nice TFT screen and a working battery works for me. I do have a 486slc2 laptop with a DS mono screen (640x480) and a dead battery.

vwestlife
March 1st, 2009, 01:48 PM
How can we forget the IBM ThinkPad 701-series with "butterfly" keyboard? It's probably the most collectible and sought-after 486 laptop.

http://technologizer.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/thinkpad-butterfly.png

84TAVeRT
March 1st, 2009, 03:14 PM
i have a P100 color laptop in my for sale listing...

i am currently testing the battery to see if it will take a charge...

EddieDX4
March 2nd, 2009, 01:19 AM
If this will be for DOS gaming mostly, then any laptop that:

1) Has a working battery, of course (as many have emphasized)
2) Has built-in audio (Sound Blaster compatible preferably...most were) and a CD-ROM drive (multi-media laptop)
3) Has a TFT color screen and a video chipset that is capable of displaying 640x480/800x600 in 256+ colors (1MB VRAM or more). Preferably one that has VESA support.
4) A decent amount of HDD space (some older laptops were painful to take apart in order to swap hard drives...You want all the space you can get.)

I believe that most DX4 class laptops had these features standard. Anything prior to DX4, depending on when the specific model hit the market, might lack some of the above features.

IBM ThinkPads of the era were among my favorites. Toshiba made great 486 laptops as well.

vwestlife
March 2nd, 2009, 04:43 AM
I believe that most DX4 class laptops had these features standard. Anything prior to DX4, depending on when the specific model hit the market, might lack some of the above features.

IBM ThinkPads of the era were among my favorites. Toshiba made great 486 laptops as well.
There were also some laptops with the transitional 5x86 chip. IBM used the Cyrix-sourced 5x86, which was a Pentium-class CPU scaled down to fit 486 architecture, while most others used the AMD 5x86, which was basically just a speeded-up 486 with a larger internal cache.

Chuck(G)
March 2nd, 2009, 09:39 AM
My gripe with early laptops is the terrible display (in comparison to today's displays).

That being said, I've got a P75 Dell kicking around here that I'd be willing to sell cheep.

barythrin
March 2nd, 2009, 11:52 AM
Yikes, from experience I'd stay away from Cyrix systems. I knew atleast two computer repair shops that would throw away any cyrix chip they came across. Every system they sold would come back due to crashes and other problems which made them a huge monetary loss.

vwestlife
March 2nd, 2009, 12:09 PM
Yikes, from experience I'd stay away from Cyrix systems. I knew atleast two computer repair shops that would throw away any cyrix chip they came across. Every system they sold would come back due to crashes and other problems which made them a huge monetary loss.
Well, my dad's Cyrix MII-based Compaq Presario desktop has been in constant use for ten years with no such problems... and it was a bargain-basement model costing less than $400 (in early '99) when he got it.

Problems with Cyrix chips usually involved motherboards that did not properly support them and/or were unstable at the higher bus speeds that the 6x86 and MII chips demanded (Cyrix was among the first to push bus speeds above Intel's 66 MHz standard).

Mike Chambers
March 2nd, 2009, 12:57 PM
i haven't tried all 486 model laptops, but i absolutely LOVE my Canon Notejet 486C laptop with a 486 SX/25 and 4 MB of RAM (ouch, yeah... not good for win95. i am probably going to upgrade that memory)

excellent vivid color screen that you can even see outside in the sun. easily one of the best screens at the time. what makes it really stand out is that fact that it has a built-in Bubblejet!!!

:D

it's pretty slick, and it prints in surprisingly high quality. fast too. you load the paper one sheet at a time through the slot on the front, directly under the keyboard. it's good stuff, and an extremely unique laptop. iirc, you can get them with much faster 486 chips in them plus more RAM. i totally recommend these. here's a pic of mine:

http://home.rubbermallet.org/personal/notejet486/notejet-small.jpg

tezza
March 2nd, 2009, 02:39 PM
I'm in the market for a 486 laptop, probably DX4/100, and I was wondering, which laptop was the pinnacle of the 486 era? Opinions? Experiences?

Heck, this is a hard ask. There are hundreds of models and people have likes and dislikes of various features. I don't think there is a universial winner, but where people have tried models and found them good, I guess that's a start.

I can't quite remember the Toshiba 486 I used to own but I "THINK" it was a a 4750? It had a colour active matrix colour screen and LCD status diplays instead of the more common lights.

Anyway, I was pretty happy with it. I even liked using the trackball clip-on mouse until I started to get a bit of RSI in the thumb!

One thing it lacked was a resting place for the wrists. The front of the keyboard came right the end of the unit. This was common with a lot of machines those days.

I've had about 7 work laptops, starting with a "greyscale" 386 Toshiba bought around 1992 or so up to my present NEC E6100, which is now due for replacement.

Worst laptop I ever owned: An IBM Thinkpad (I think it was a P2 and I can't remember the model). Anyway, asthetically is was as square and ugly as a junkyard dog (compared to the sleek COMPAQ I'd had before), I didn't like the little joystick mouse, and it was slow (unfair, because this probably was due to Windows 2000) and unreliable.

Tez

EddieDX4
March 2nd, 2009, 02:40 PM
i haven't tried all 486 model laptops, but i absolutely LOVE my Canon Notejet 486C laptop with a 486 SX/25 and 4 MB of RAM (ouch, yeah... not good for win95. i am probably going to upgrade that memory)

excellent vivid color screen that you can even see outside in the sun. easily one of the best screens at the time. what makes it really stand out is that fact that it has a built-in Bubblejet!!!

:D

it's pretty slick, and it prints in surprisingly high quality. fast too. you load the paper one sheet at a time through the slot on the front, directly under the keyboard. it's good stuff, and an extremely unique laptop. iirc, you can get them with much faster 486 chips in them plus more RAM. i totally recommend these. here's a pic of mine:

http://home.rubbermallet.org/personal/notejet486/notejet-small.jpg

http://cgi.ebay.com/CANON-NOTEJET-486-COMPUTER-PRINTER-PARTS-OR-REPAIR_W0QQitemZ250367325597QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLap tops_Nov05

Then again, you'd have to hunt down the AC adapter and a hard drive for it...

But I have seen these before and I agree they're really nice. Canon actually put out decent products in the early to mid 90's.

I have an all black Canon Navigator HD, which is essentially an XT ~ 286 class machine (V30 processor) with a built-in grayscale EGA touchscreen CRT, FAX/Modem (it has a handset phone built-in also), 40mb HD, 1.44mb floppy drive, Canon thermal FAX printer...and came with a separate Canon bubble jet printer.

I got it for 99 cents on eBay a while back. Shipping was $50. :D

I know, off topic, but just trying to talk about the rare and cool products Canon came up with back in the day.

Kaypro
March 2nd, 2009, 03:21 PM
That Canon Notebook is pretty neat, I've never seen anything like it before (well, except for maybe the IBM 5140 with attached printer...but that has half the cool factor this thing does :D)

My Favourite 486 laptop so far is probably the AST Advantage! 486SX/25. Not too fast, and the Display isn't great. But it has a good feel to it (and a Trackball!). I've never gone wrong with any of the AST Notebooks I've had.

EddieDX4
March 2nd, 2009, 03:24 PM
That Canon Notebook is pretty neat, I've never seen anything like it before (well, except for maybe the IBM 5140 with attached printer...but that has half the cool factor this thing does :D)

My Favourite 486 laptop so far is probably the AST Advantage! 486SX/25. Not too fast, and the Display isn't great. But it has a good feel to it (and a Trackball!). I've never gone wrong with any of the AST Notebooks I've had.

Since you've brought up the point of a trackball, does anyone have any experience owning/using an AT&T Globalyst laptop? I remember the ones with the trackball on the front edge (vs on the wristpad area). They always appealed to me.

I think I saw a DX4/100 version of it and another one a Pentium 75mhz on eBay just recently.

Tiberian Fiend
March 2nd, 2009, 04:42 PM
I ended up getting a Micron TransPort Trek 2. It only cost about $30 with shipping, but it didn't include a hard drive (ATA-33), which come to find out, will cost 2-3 times as much as the computer itself, so I'm probably going to end up with buyers' remorse after this. Will an ATA-66 or ATA-100 disk work with an ATA-33 controller?

I also saw the NoteJet on eBay while browsing 486 laptops and decided to pick it up for a project later on. :D

I'll definitely keep an eye out for one of those ThinkPad 755CD's. I was hoping I could find a 486 laptop with a CD-ROM drive.

EddieDX4
March 2nd, 2009, 05:06 PM
I ended up getting a Micron TransPort Trek 2. It only cost about $30 with shipping, but it didn't include a hard drive (ATA-33), which come to find out, will cost 2-3 times as much as the computer itself, so I'm probably going to end up with buyers' remorse after this. Will an ATA-66 or ATA-100 disk work with an ATA-33 controller?

I also saw the NoteJet on eBay while browsing 486 laptops and decided to pick it up for a project later on. :D

I'll definitely keep an eye out for one of those ThinkPad 755CD's. I was hoping I could find a 486 laptop with a CD-ROM drive.

Is it a 3.5" ATA-33, or 2.5"?

3.5" ATA66/100 drives should work on ATA33 interfaces (they're backwards compatible).

If the BIOS supports LBA mode, you can use pretty much any 540mb+ drives (I think up through like 40gb), but some early OS's won't recognize partitions larger than 4gb (some even 2gb), so keep that in mind).

You should be able to pick a 1 ~ 4gb drive for less than 10 bucks, including shipping.

Tiberian Fiend
March 2nd, 2009, 05:14 PM
It's 2.5"

I'll either be using 98SE or XP for the system.

EddieDX4
March 2nd, 2009, 05:16 PM
It's 2.5"

I'll either be using 98SE or XP for the system.

Here's an idea...

http://cgi.ebay.com/2-5-Hard-Disk-Drive-HD-IDE-ATA-Compact-Flash-CF-card_W0QQitemZ220369939039QQcmdZViewItemQQptZPCC_D rives_Storage_Internal?hash=item220369939039&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1234|66%3A2|65%3A12|39%3A1|240%3A13 18|301%3A1|293%3A1|294%3A50

chuckcmagee
March 2nd, 2009, 05:20 PM
Go with Win98SE. Does a vastly superior job on the low end. Just make sure to avoid buggy software or you will be doing the 3 hour reboot like I had to do. My fave application had a bad memory leak that they never seemed to fix. So, it was reboot time after around 2 or 3 hours of use.

chuckcmagee
March 2nd, 2009, 05:29 PM
Yep, he better buy it fast!! Before I do. Note the Buy It Now is the same as the starting bid. Those are always my faves. Give you 20 minutes from now.

EDIT: Nevermind!! I see that there are tons available at that Buy It Now price. I will just pick another one.

EDIT2: We should be worried!! The checkout system done by the Hong Kong sellers is excellent!! Does appear to be close to a One World Order already, especially in Internet Land.

Tiberian Fiend
March 2nd, 2009, 05:29 PM
Here's an idea...

http://cgi.ebay.com/2-5-Hard-Disk-Drive-HD-IDE-ATA-Compact-Flash-CF-card_W0QQitemZ220369939039QQcmdZViewItemQQptZPCC_D rives_Storage_Internal?hash=item220369939039&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1234|66%3A2|65%3A12|39%3A1|240%3A13 18|301%3A1|293%3A1|294%3A50
Forgive my ignorance, but doesn't flash memory wear out faster than a hard disk?


Go with Win98SE. Does a vastly superior job on the low end. Just make sure to avoid buggy software or you will be doing the 3 hour reboot like I had to do. My fave application had a bad memory leak that they never seemed to fix. So, it was reboot time after around 2 or 3 hours of use.

My biggest problem with Win98SE was that I had to re-install it every six months or so because it gradually degenerated into instability.

EddieDX4
March 2nd, 2009, 05:36 PM
Forgive my ignorance, but doesn't flash memory wear out faster than a hard disk?

Get a microdrive. Solve all your problems.

OR

Look at it this way... For the cost of an ATA 2.5gb drive that would work with your laptop (e.g. an old one), you could get the adapter + a couple of 1gb ~ 4gb compact flash cards.

Your non-sequential reads will also be much faster with compact flash. :)

EddieDX4
March 2nd, 2009, 05:38 PM
Yep, he better buy it fast!! Before I do. Note the Buy It Now is the same as the starting bid. Those are always my faves. Give you 20 minutes from now.

EDIT: Nevermind!! I see that there are tons available at that Buy It Now price. I will just pick another one.

I'm contemplating picking one up myself.

Tiberian Fiend
March 5th, 2009, 01:33 PM
My NoteJet 486 was delivered today. I must say, it's in awfully good physical condition for its age. One of the screen latches is broken, and it has the sort of smooth-scraping that occurs on dull-rough surfaces, but other than that, all its doors, covers, and even feet are intact. I'll have to wait until I can get an AC adapter before I can make a full assessment, though.

Raven
March 7th, 2009, 06:53 AM
I didn't read the whole thread, but my Toshiba T4400C kicks ass.

Mad-Mike
March 8th, 2009, 10:51 PM
1994 IBM Thinkpad 755CD

It was $8000 brand new, was the first model with a CD-ROM in it, and was capable of running darned near everything from CP/M to Windows 2000 Pro under a 75 or 100 MHz 486 processor (later upgraded to a bus-castrated Pentium 75)

Tiberian Fiend
March 9th, 2009, 12:31 PM
Would a 755CD run Win98?

vwestlife
March 9th, 2009, 04:59 PM
Would a 755CD run Win98?
The official Microsoft requirements for Windows 98 are a 486DX2-66 and 16 MB RAM. In reality, it will run on any 486 CPU if you bypass the speed check during setup, and it is highly recommended to max out your RAM.

I wouldn't recommend it on the 486SLC-series CPUs which IBM used on many of their 486 ThinkPads, though, as the SLC maxes out at 16 MB RAM. Even with Windows 95, that means you'd be constantly swapping virtual RAM to and from the hard drive. A 486SLC-based laptop is therefore (for better or worse) really at best a Windows 3.1x machine.

Mad-Mike
March 9th, 2009, 11:41 PM
Would a 755CD run Win98?

Yeah, I actually have run 98SE on mine in the past, it was my main laptop circa 2006-2007ish.

Tiberian Fiend
March 10th, 2009, 01:03 AM
The official Microsoft requirements for Windows 98 are a 486DX2-66 and 16 MB RAM. In reality, it will run on any 486 CPU if you bypass the speed check during setup, and it is highly recommended to max out your RAM.

I tried it on my 486DX4-100 back in the day, and it took 15 minutes to load, so I assumed it was impossible. I guess now I know I didn't have enough RAM. Actually, I pulled a different 486DX4-100 out of my closet today and tried Win98 on it, but it only has 8 megs in it, so it's not running properly. I've forgotten the terminology used for RAM back then... there are two sockets next to the eight rows of the SIMMs... what were they called? 72-pin EDO? How much memory can I stuff into an Am486Dx4-S system?

vwestlife
March 10th, 2009, 02:07 PM
If you really want to cut down on the memory usage of Windows 98, get 98Lite (http://www.litepc.com/98lite.html) using its "Sleek" configuration. 98Lite allows you to install 98 using the original Windows 95 Explorer, which eliminates the need to load Internet Explorer every time you just want to go to "My Computer" and browse a directory. You can even remove all traces of IE if you wish.