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Thread: AMI BIOS on Am386SX-40 == no option ROMs?

  1. #1

    Default AMI BIOS on Am386SX-40 == no option ROMs?

    I borrowed a generic Am386sx-40 PC from a friend for some ISA NIC boot ROM testing. However, the machine doesn't seem to recognize any card's option ROM, even cards I'm certain work. I gave up on the NICs and even tried my trusty Adaptec 1522A to no avail.

    The CMOS setup has options to shadow the system and VGA BIOSes, but that's the only mention of any ROMs. It's a AMI BIOS from '92 (eg, no PnP).

    What am I missing? Is it possible this simple BIOS doesn't scan for option ROMs or have I suffered enough brain bit-rot that I'm missing something obvious?


  2. #2


    Older BIOSes have no means for ISA ROM integration. They are not even compressed.

  3. #3


    Embedding the option ROM in the BIOS would be a pipe dream... I'd just like it to recognize those on ISA cards. You ever heard of a BIOS that doesn't scan for these?
    I need to look through my stock and see if I have an ISA BIOS POST card... I know I've got PCI.

  4. #4


    Any 386 class PC system should scan and recognize option ROMs. VGA was implemented as an option ROM, as are SCSI cards. I think the only machines that do not scan for option ROMs are the first generation IBM PC 5150s with the first BIOS version. (Please, nobody bring up embedded machines - those are corner cases.)

    I have an AMD 386-40 with AMI BIOS. Turn off the ROM shadowing. Turn off the ability to cache those regions of RAM. And turn off any virus protection options, just in case. You can also try setting the bus speed slower; 8Mhz might be too fast for the card.



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