PDA

View Full Version : help identifying 386 motherboard with Arche BIOS



mikey99
November 10th, 2007, 06:45 PM
I have a very old school 386 motherboard. The BIOS chips say Arche (1990)
and the board has Turbo Bus 386 Motherboard (Made in USA) printed on it.

This may have been one of the first 386 motherboards made. The thing is huge and doesnt even have any on board memory. It does have a socket at the edge of the board , which looks to be for a proprietary memory card. It has a large socket (about the size of a 16 bit socket) near the front of the board, and another small socket with 10 pins, near the rear.

Does anyone recall this brand of motherboard ? I'd like to get this thing working but I think it's hopeless without the special memory card. I tried powering on the board, but without memory I get nothing as I would expect. It does have a green LED on the board which lights up. I've never seen a 386 motherboard without some type of onboard memory.

SwedaGuy
November 10th, 2007, 07:16 PM
A picture might help...

Big Blues
November 11th, 2007, 10:44 AM
Any motherboard that says 1990 on it, isn't one of the first 386 boards (unless the BIOS was upgraded). The Compaq 386 came out in 1986.

Big Blues
November 11th, 2007, 10:46 AM
Here's another indicator (note the date)...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Byte_magazine_September_1989_cover.png

mikey99
November 11th, 2007, 11:44 AM
The actual board doesn't have any date, just the BIOS chips say 1990.

I've never seen a 386 motherboard with zero onboard memory.

I'm wondering if theres any way to get this working using another
ISA memory card.



Here's another indicator (note the date)...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Byte_magazine_September_1989_cover.png

Mad-Mike
November 11th, 2007, 12:57 PM
Some 386 boards did not have memory on the board, the original 386 (Compaq Deskpro 386) did not have one on the board, it a 16-bit proprietary memory card initially, and when version 2.0 came out, they had a 32-bit card made for the new fully 32-bit board (save for the ISA bus).

My GEM PIII was originally an 80386 originally, it had a 20 MHz 80386 on a system board that supported up to 8 SIP Slots AND a proprietary memory slot (Where the first ISA slot from the right would be), and had a proprietary memory slot. Also, I'd look at those chips to see if they don't say Phoenix, Award, or American Megatrends/AMI on them somewhere in small lettering, because that board I had for the GEM also had BIOS chips labeled Addonics Corporation, and knowing Addonics made monitors and not BIOS chips, I looked closer and found out that they were in fact made by American Megatrends, and a BIOS date of sometime in late 1986 (like 10/26/1986 or something like that).

Here's a picture of that motherboard, from many many many years ago....
http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c362/creepingnet2001/oldie%20pictures/gemmotherboard.jpg

Druid6900
November 11th, 2007, 08:46 PM
I have a 386 motherboard that has no on-board memory at all and takes a proprietory 32 bit memory card.

It had no CPU either (which Nige was nice enough to supply. Chip worked, board didn't) and I described it in this thread;

http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?t=8033

Maybe you have the same one.

The picture was lost, but, if it sounds like the one you have, I'll take another.

mikey99
November 12th, 2007, 08:25 AM
I was able to take a few pictures and post on my isp space.

Please take a look at the following links, this board has only TTL logic.
I think the proprietary memory card goes in the second slot from the end
of the board, one large and one small connector.

Full board view:
http://home.nc.rr.com/mwcompu/DSCF0050-small.jpg

BIOS chips:
http://home.nc.rr.com/mwcompu/DSCF0062-small.jpg

Some closeups:

http://home.nc.rr.com/mwcompu/DSCF0057-small.jpg


http://home.nc.rr.com/mwcompu/DSCF0058-small.jpg

http://home.nc.rr.com/mwcompu/DSCF0059-small.jpg

http://home.nc.rr.com/mwcompu/DSCF0060-small.jpg

Anonymous Coward
November 12th, 2007, 11:25 AM
I think I've seen a memory card that fits this motherboard recently. Infact, I've found it several times over the last year. It's sitting in an online store somewhere. The card is very distinctive because it has that tiny edge connector at one end. I remember it was mislabelled as an 8-bit card for XT computers. I'll let you know if I find it again.

Druid6900
November 12th, 2007, 02:40 PM
Someone posted a picture of a card with that configuration on here a couple of months ago too. People missed the little set of connectors on the end and thought it was an 8-bit card too.

The BIOS does say ARCHE, but, beneath it, it clearly says AMI as well.

Terry Yager
November 12th, 2007, 03:05 PM
Someone posted a picture of a card with that configuration on here a couple of months ago too. People missed the little set of connectors on the end and thought it was an 8-bit card too.

The BIOS does say ARCHE, but, beneath it, it clearly says AMI as well.

I remember, the main slot was slightly longer too. Didn't we establish that it was for an AT&T/Xerox/Olivetti 6300 desktop?

http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?t=8558&highlight=memory+board

--T

Druid6900
November 12th, 2007, 07:41 PM
Yes, I guess you're right. I couldn't find the damn thread to check.

As Unknown says in a new post in the original thread, the board connectors are not only reversed end to end on this board, but the connectors are the wrong size.

Oh well :)

Anonymous Coward
November 13th, 2007, 08:48 AM
Heh, that's strange. I meant to post that message in this thread, but somehow I messed up. I came back to look for my post about 30 minutes later and was really confused about where it went.