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JDT
September 1st, 2009, 08:13 PM
Is there anywhere to improve?

FA3 Motherboard w/ 256k cache
AMD 386 DX-40
Cyrix 387 Fastmath 40
16mb ram (board will take 32, but I just dont have 8x 4mb 30 pin simms)
Creative Soundblaster 16
ATI Mach32 (2mb)
Adaptec 1542 floppy/scsi controller
8-bit serial/parrallel controller

also not sdure what to do with it... just wanted to build it. I had been watching the motherboard in feebay for months.... patiently (or not) salivating over it... emailed the seller and offered him half of what he wanted for it, he took it and 4 days later its in a nice chassis i had in my basement.

mbbrutman
September 1st, 2009, 08:21 PM
I think that for a 386 system that is going to be very hard to beat. I though I had a fairly nice 386, but I only have 128K L2 cache on it, not 256. A 386-40 with L2 cache can 'walk away' from lower end 486s in some benchmarks.

Congratulations ..

Dougtronics
September 1st, 2009, 10:27 PM
Is there anywhere to improve?

FA3 Motherboard w/ 256k cache
AMD 386 DX-40
Cyrix 387 Fastmath 40
16mb ram (board will take 32, but I just dont have 8x 4mb 30 pin simms)
Creative Soundblaster 16
ATI Mach32 (2mb)
Adaptec 1542 floppy/scsi controller
8-bit serial/parrallel controller

also not sdure what to do with it... just wanted to build it. I had been watching the motherboard in feebay for months.... patiently (or not) salivating over it... emailed the seller and offered him half of what he wanted for it, he took it and 4 days later its in a nice chassis i had in my basement.

Congratulation, 386 DX is a great machine for lot of things but not for all the gamings. I remember I started with a 286, $85 from a surplus store. All I want at that time is to be able to play the encyclopaedia CD disks. Luckily at that time Media Vision CD upgrade kit was affordable. So it worked but very offen the video was jerking or the sound was trembling. I was advice to change to 386, it improved but still until I get to 486. Then I ran into problem with Windows 95. That OS kept removing files from my system whenever I uninstalled something. To resolve that I created a small partition in the hard drive to hold a copy of the entire OS. After this point, I never look back again but continue to move on. Any way you may be off than me because you have a Creative Soundblaster 16. I found out later that Creative Soundblaster is the sound card worked most of the time.

Dougtronics

TandyMan100
September 2nd, 2009, 04:44 AM
Very cool! The only possible improvement I can see is to get more RAM and maybe upgrade the sound card (16pro?). I have a Soundblaster 16, 16PRO, AWE64, and CT0something. I would like a 486, but the slowest thing I have is a Pentium S. Here's the specs on my wanna-be 486:

Pentium S 133MHz
166MB RAM
SoundBlaster AWE64
2G hard drive
CD drive,
Floppy drive
MS-DOS 5.0
Windows 3.1

per
September 2nd, 2009, 05:47 AM
Is there anywhere to improve?

FA3 Motherboard w/ 256k cache
AMD 386 DX-40
Cyrix 387 Fastmath 40
16mb ram (board will take 32, but I just dont have 8x 4mb 30 pin simms)
Creative Soundblaster 16
ATI Mach32 (2mb)
Adaptec 1542 floppy/scsi controller
8-bit serial/parrallel controller

also not sdure what to do with it... just wanted to build it. I had been watching the motherboard in feebay for months.... patiently (or not) salivating over it... emailed the seller and offered him half of what he wanted for it, he took it and 4 days later its in a nice chassis i had in my basement.

That's really nice. It will very problably beat my 486 SX-25 with only 8Mb of RAM and mostly just OEM cards (except for a real soundblaster 16).

What SB16 do you got in it? Some SB16 variations was better than the others. Assuming everything is included (both CD-ROM interfaces, the ASP/CSP, and version 4.13 of the DSP), I prefer the CT2290 the most. I actually got the complete software package for the soundblaster 16, BTW (if you need drivers).

cgrape2
September 2nd, 2009, 06:11 AM
I built a 386 system back in the early 1990s to be my store's PC.I used it as a database,POS system.It was also used to host my BBS for Mail Order use.It was stable and fairly fast with 4MB ram.
I still have a warm spot in my heart for 386 powered PCs.

cgrape2

Unknown_K
September 2nd, 2009, 07:05 AM
Back in 1992 I had an AMD 386DX/40 with IIt coprocessor, a few years back I built another one (sold the original in the early 90's). I forget what FPU is in it since I have a few 40mhz ones.

They are very nice systems, seems like the prices have been going up in the last few years too.

carlsson
September 2nd, 2009, 07:15 AM
Will you add a network card to the 386?

Anonymous Coward
September 2nd, 2009, 07:25 AM
Nice system. You really can't do much better than that on a 386 without some serious cheating.

lutiana
September 2nd, 2009, 07:50 AM
Very nice.

A bit better than my 386sx-12.

What I really want to get together is a 486DX2-66 or DX4-100.

As far as use, that system would make a great classic game machine. Also use it to create and manage disks for some older hardware, especially since you can get it going on a network for file transfer.

I think the 386 is powerful enough play MP3s, so use it as a jukebox.

JDT
September 2nd, 2009, 09:57 AM
Will you add a network card to the 386?


Oh I forgot, I have an Intel 16-bit ISA 10/100 NIC as well. Havent yet installed it. A friend of mine gave me a few of these cards, I figure this is as good a use as I'm going to find for it =)

linuxlove
September 2nd, 2009, 10:16 AM
suggestions: Old DOS games and internet using leetIRC or IRCjr and Arachne

:D

matty
September 5th, 2009, 12:36 AM
definately a beast of a 386! I remember I once had a 386sx40 which was pretty impressive considering it was an SX. Only thing I can think of to add to the system is maybe a 16550A UART serial controller? If they take em that is.

Cheers, and congrats on the rig :)

Anonymous Coward
September 5th, 2009, 07:11 AM
I wasn't a big fan of the 386SX-40. The lack of cache and small datapath really kill performance with respect to a DX. I think at the time my benchmarks put it about on par with a DX20 with cache.

matty
September 6th, 2009, 03:06 PM
Funny you say that coward, because I had a 386SX40 at one stage with 8MB of ram, and that ran circles around my mates 386DX33.

Probably because I had a better video card though, and the benchmarks we did wherent FPU intensive. If they where I would have expected his to chomp mine though...

Unknown_K
September 6th, 2009, 04:26 PM
The 386 did not have a built in FPU, there were usualy sockets for an external one (few bothered to get it).

The 386SX used a 16bit memory path and was limited to 16MB because of that, 386DX being 32bit and could generally take more then 16MB.

Back in the day being limited to 16MB was not an issue, and the 386SX40 (surface mounted to the motherboard) was a cheap and fast upgrade for many people.

Anonymous Coward
September 6th, 2009, 06:26 PM
While I agree that the am386SX-40 would have been good value for the money, I don't agree that at the time of release it would have been a very fast chip. That particular model was announced late 1992. At that time a 486DX-33 was considered the mid range chip. According to AMDs own press release, a cached 386sx-40 would perform similarly to a 486SX-20. However, cached 386sx systems (especially at 40MHz) are uncommon, putting it at most at the 486sx-16 level.

http://www.cbronline.com/news/advanced_micro_devices_comes_out_with_40mhz_versio n_of_its_am386sx_microprocessor?print=1

A properly tuned 33MHz 386DX with cache should leave a 386SX at 40MHz without cache in the dust. You are probably correct that some other aspect of your system was responsible for your friend's thrashing. There might also be specific CPU operations that your 386SX at 40MHz would excel at.

Maybe you were one of the lucky ones that had an sx motherboard with cache. I have a 25MHz 386SX board with cache and support for memory interleaving. I can tell you it makes quite a difference. I'd love to have a 40MHz 386SX with cache...and a removable CPU socket too....

Ole Juul
September 6th, 2009, 07:50 PM
Very nice. Like someone else mentioned though - what about a network card? I think you need that to make it tops. :)

PS: can I interest you in some Arcnet cards? :p

Micom 2000
September 7th, 2009, 01:01 PM
I have a box of 30 pin SIMMs , but the old problem of finding the capacity of memory chips arises. While the label gives the speed, for some reason manufacturers never put the cap-acity on the label unlike the earlier chips.

My solution had always been to substitute them in a working computer and then use Check-It. A tiresome process. IIRC there used to be a rig which could check the capacity. Is there a simpler process to identify it ?

Lawrence

[QUOTE=JDT;111813]Is there anywhere to improve?

16mb ram (board will take 32, but I just dont have 8x 4mb 30 pin simms)

framer
September 7th, 2009, 07:25 PM
I used my 386DX-33 w/387 for making image files of my software collection. It has a deluxe floppy card that allow 4 floppys dd or HD so it has 1-1.2M 1-HH360K 1-1.44M and 1-720K I can save the images to the HD and restore them if a disk goes bad.

I'm using MSDOS6.22 and do have WFW3.11 installed and online using ie3.01.

For old AT games this 386 just rocks. It my most used vintage machine. It's really still pulling real duty. I even trade files several times a month with a Vista box.

The 386 to me was the 1st modern computer, it set the standard.

Everyone have a great Labor Day.

framer

JDT
September 8th, 2009, 09:17 PM
Very nice. Like someone else mentioned though - what about a network card? I think you need that to make it tops. :)

PS: can I interest you in some Arcnet cards? :p

I put an Intel EtherExpress Pro/100 LAN Adaptor in, I didn't even know they made 16-bit 100 cards...

Unknown_K
September 9th, 2009, 03:52 AM
Not like you can even get 100Mb speeds over the ISA bus.

lutiana
September 9th, 2009, 09:33 AM
Not like you can even get 100Mb speeds over the ISA bus.

True, but every bit helps, doesn't it.