View Full Version : Sota 286i and 386i

August 19th, 2013, 01:59 PM
i need info about Sota 286i and 386i upgrade cards... how do theyworks? are they compatible with any xt pc?
performance and price?

August 19th, 2013, 03:23 PM
Check out my site (http://classiccomputers.info/manuals.html) under the Misc section... (yeah, I've a lot of work to do yet on the site). I have floppy images and floppy rips of the driver software for both cards available for download as well as their respective manuals. I've even the drivers available for the hard-to-find 386i memory add-on card (which I'm missing)

These will work in a PC/XT with an 8088 or 8086 processor - you just need to jumper the card appropriately. This means that you can use them to upgrade the IBM PS/2 Model 25, which is an ISA-based PS/2 system, and the main reason that I have these cards (well, that and the low BIN that I found them for!)

For actual reviews of the products, search Google; there are a few in-depth reviews on both cards (mostly from Infoworld, if memory serves)

If you don't have the ribbon cable to run from the card to the CPU socket, you can still order the ends from Jameco and crimp them up yourself.

VCF user Cimvong was attempting to see how far he could push these cards with upgradable CPUs such as the 386->486 chips, etc. I'm not sure how successful he was, but if you use Google to search the forum for his username and sota, I'm sure you'll find the relevant thread.

As far as price, I've only seen them for sale once in the last few years, and that was when I bought them. I paid $40 USD shipped for both cards on a BIN auction. YMMV.

Old Thrashbarg
August 19th, 2013, 03:47 PM
Oh, wow, I didn't know you'd gotten ahold of the software and manual for the 286i. I remember there was an auction for one awhile back that came with that stuff... did you actually manage to contact the buyer, or did you get it from somewhere else?

I still need to make the ribbon cable for mine... I keep meaning to do it, but then I always end up getting sidetracked by other stuff and forgetting about it.

August 19th, 2013, 03:57 PM
Mach-20 from microsoft is more powerfull than sota 286i or 386i? also orchid made accelerator cards, wich is the most performant of all?

August 19th, 2013, 05:45 PM
the SOTA 286i has a socket for the CPU , and it is possible to replace with a TI486 upgrade. Not long ago i did try a TI486 in a MACH20 (5150 motherboard) . But i got a error-beep indicating wrong frequency. Perhaps a BIOS test of internal timing initiates this error ?
The SOTA 386i has a CPU with is soldered to the card , making it "impossible" to upgrade.
Have not data to support this statement, but i think the Mhz of the cpu , combined with amount of cache next to CPU, that determine the speed of the entire system ..:???:
My favorite add on board at this time is the Inboard. It is fast !!!!! Much faster then SOTA, because it runs on local 32bit RAM , rather then 8 bit slow motherboard RAM. But with the Inboard you do not have the "8088" switch, and always runs faster then the original 8088. The SOTA and a few other add on card gives the nice feature of making it possible to switch between a real 8088 and a real 286/386. I believe it gives the best flexibility.
...and yes , a spreadsheet with rows of speed-test data for all the add on cards , would be very interresting :) ...