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Erik
July 2nd, 2006, 09:00 PM
I booted up my old 486 to see how it looked after 8 years of neglect and, once I reset the CMOS, it was as good as new. Running WFW 3.11 and a 2X external CD ROM drive, etc. I was disappointed to realize it didn't have a network card in it. I'll have to dig one up to get it on my home network. That and a CD burner and it's going to be my new media conversion machine.

I remember back when this machine was a rocket. Now I've got 16 times more RAM on my video card.

NathanAllan
July 2nd, 2006, 10:47 PM
I booted up my old 486 to see how it looked after 8 years of neglect and, once I reset the CMOS, it was as good as new. Running WFW 3.11 and a 2X external CD ROM drive, etc. I was disappointed to realize it didn't have a network card in it. I'll have to dig one up to get it on my home network. That and a CD burner and it's going to be my new media conversion machine.

I remember back when this machine was a rocket. Now I've got 16 times more RAM on my video card.
If it works, put it to work. Sounds like a great application for that machine.

Nathan

mbbrutman
July 3rd, 2006, 06:14 AM
My 486 was my first 'nice' system. Before that I had a Timex Sinclair 1000, a PCjr (new), an a used IBM AT that I converted to a 386-40. (It kept all of the old 1984 vintage peripherals, so it was basically used as a very fast AT.)

The 486 was purchased used in 1994 when it was about a year and a half old. It is a 486-66DX/2 with 16MB of RAM, ATI Graphics Ultra Pro video card with 2MB on the Vesa Local Bus, and a 400MB Fujitsu hard drive on a Buslogic BT445S on the Vesa Local Bus. Add an 8 bit SoundBlaster, external NEC SCSI CD-ROM (2x) driven by a Trantor T130B, and that was the system.

I ran OS/2 on it for years. Along the way it picked up a SCSI Zip drive, an HP 4C SCSI scanner, a Connor TR-4 SCSI tape drive, and a few other goodies.

The nice thing about a machine like this is that when you are done with it for one purpose, it is pretty easy to get it to do something else. Redhat Linux 6.1 had no problem getting on the system once I replaced the CD-ROM, which was suffering from old age. After that the machine was my cable modem firewall for another 5 years. Besides filtering the bad guys out, it was a Samba server, DHCP server, and general kick-around programming box.

Unless your machine has a SCSI card or IDE card on some sort of fancy bus (EISA, VLBUS, or PCI) you are going to have a hard time finding a CD burner that will work. Those machines are kind of challenged .. unless you had a very good drive controller it wasn't using DMA back then, and the throughput of the earlier busses is kind of low to be reading from a hard drive and shuffling to a burner. The only good thing is that modern burners have buffer underrun protection, so the situation might actually be better than I'm thinking.

I really should dust my machine off, at least just to get the drive spinning again. It still thinks it is the firewall, so I can't plug it in to the network until after it has booted. :-)

Unknown_K
July 3rd, 2006, 08:08 PM
You can use a 486 to burn just fine if you have a SCSI HD and SCSI VLB card along with a SCSI HD. You can get by with an ISA SCSI card as long as the burner isn't burning faster then 1MB/Sec or so (4x cdr is 600K/sec).

I currently have (2) 486 systems up and running , one is a 486/133 and the other is a 486/100 (both VLB) and stuffed wiht cards running DOS/Win3.11 and someday soon OS/2. In my collections I have some nice VLB video cards, VLB scsi cards, and sone caching VLB IDE cards so these system are laid out (64MB RAM EACH).

Terry Yager
July 3rd, 2006, 08:20 PM
My first CD burning setup was a 2x Pyramid external unit, hung off from an Adaptec 1542D, installed in a 486 DX-2/66. Worked just fine, if ya have the time (even then, it took a lot less time than a backup on the Colorado tape drive).

--T

Mad-Mike
July 4th, 2006, 02:22 AM
I've Had quite a sampler of the 486, everything from Packard Bells to unknown white box clones, to an IRQ conflict nightmare of a Quantex, to my old Flight that was my first decent computer (which is now an AMD K-6).

None is as good as the one I have now though. I went to a pawn shop to check out the guitar selecton a few weeks ago, and just as I was on my way out, I looked over and saw a computer that had an identical case to my old Flight, it was trying to find a boot diskette and had the AMI BIOS screen up that said it was a 486 DX/40. Probably the funniest thing about the computer was the stickers on the monitor. One said "TOP OF THE LINE!!!!!" the other said "original price $119.95, today's price $19.95". Needless to say, I bought it just for the story alone. The shop said they got it in 7 years ago without an O/S on it, and tried to sell it as/is. However, I brought it home and found it had a DX4 compatible board, and supported up to 64MB of RAM, so needless to say, It's pretty hopped up now (VESA SVGA card, SoundBlaster Vibra 16, more RAM, 100 MHz CPU). It sits next to my main, I use it for IRC, custom computer graphics, and playing old DOS games.