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Thread: XTEND Microproducts Renaissance 486 Help.

  1. #1

    Lightbulb XTEND Microproducts Renaissance 486 Help.

    So I am a bit of a Microchannel noob. But I got my first couple IBM PS/2 Microchannel machines yesterday in a huge lot of stuff.

    I got Model 9577, Model 8560, and 2 P70s. But it was the boxes of parts that were really curious. Looks like alot of parts for machines I didn't get sadly.

    But anyways, the topic at hand is something called the XTEND Microproducts Renaissance 486. Which is a curious upgrade card.

    What I'm wondering, is does anyone have any documentation, software, or any information regarding this thing. So far the only information I can find is from Google book copies of InfoWorld magazine.

    I'd like to be able to use it. Someone wrote M50/60 on it. So I'm assuming that means it can work in a Model 60? Be nice since the model 60s CPU and RAM are missing.

    Here are some pictures of the card, and in the box it came with a bunch of XTEND adapters that don't seem to fit with this card.








    Last edited by pinkdonut666; March 31st, 2020 at 09:57 AM.

  2. #2
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    If it's anything like the 8088 to 286 upgrade I have you'll still need to have the original cpu in the machine to use it. I can't say I've seen or heard of one of those before though. That's an awesome upgrade though, it would turn the model 60 into a screamer! Wouldn't mind having that with my 60 lol

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    The thing dangling off the card with the CPU on it looks like a 68 pin PGA grid intended to plug into a 286 socket, so if that thing will line up with the socket in your Model 60 when the MCA part is installed it’s mystery solved why its CPU is missing. (Which it looks like it will if you put it in the right slot.)

    That CPU isn’t a “real” 486, it’s one of those Cyrix designed 386sx-with-pixie-dust-and-unicorns chips, which means it’s almost directly electrically compatible with a 286, so there should be no need to have the original CPU on some missing other piece. Just straighten the pins carefully on that adapter dingus and see if you can get it all lined up.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

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    ... it is interesting that the memory carrier card the CPU card parasites onto has a 32 bit MCA connector and those adapters look like they have a 386 pin out. My guess is the company sold different kits for 386 PS/2s that shared some common parts. But the CPU board you have is definitely a 286-only upgrade.

    RAM boards with 32 bit connectors that would also work in 16 bit MCA slots *were* a thing, so, yeah, I think itís set up as intended for a Model 60. Dunno why you have the other pieces.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eudimorphodon View Post
    That CPU isnít a ďrealĒ 486, itís one of those Cyrix designed 386sx-with-pixie-dust-and-unicorns chips, which means itís almost directly electrically compatible with a 286, so there should be no need to have the original CPU on some missing other piece. Just straighten the pins carefully on that adapter dingus and see if you can get it all lined up.

    Those 486dlc chips are pretty potent for what they are. I'm running one in a formerly standard 386 machine and it's a significant boost in power.

    If you want to put the model 60 back to stock I think I have a spare 512k ram and a 10mhz 286. Would love to have that card for my model 60 if you ever think of selling or trading it off. Mine is gonna have a risc card from an Academic System and I kind of want to make it as ludicrous as possible

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    Quote Originally Posted by RadRacer203 View Post
    Those 486dlc chips are pretty potent for what they are. I'm running one in a formerly standard 386 machine and it's a significant boost in power.
    To be clear, I wasn't really meaning to slag on the 486SLC, they were significantly faster than a regular 386sx, especially if the cache was working properly. (Which is worth remembering: that card may require a driver to work at full speed.) Just noting it's not an according-to-Hoyle "real" 32-bit bus 486, which would require a lot more work to squeeze into a 286 upgrade and would be kneecapped so badly in the process that it probably wouldn't be worth the effort.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  7. #7

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    I was able to find THIS LINK which describes the card being used in a model 50 as a processor upgrade.

    the 32bit interface is only for when the car is being used as a 32bit memory upgrade card without the CPU daughter board.

    as it happens the card does fit into the model 60 & has the model 60 specific CPU cable thingy.

    in the box with the card were model 50 adapters, and adapters that seem to be for a different Xtend adapter i didn't get. as they seem to have either 386 or 486 sockets in different configurations. no idea what card or systems each one is for however.

    interestingly enough, the Model 60 with the Xtend card does not require memory on the planar board to function. (as both my model 60's have no system memory on the planar when i got them)

    I so far have managed to get the model 60 to post with the usual errors you would expect. But I don't have a functional floppy drive as again, both model 60's i got had their floppy drives removed.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by RadRacer203 View Post
    Those 486dlc chips are pretty potent for what they are. I'm running one in a formerly standard 386 machine and it's a significant boost in power.

    If you want to put the model 60 back to stock I think I have a spare 512k ram and a 10mhz 286. Would love to have that card for my model 60 if you ever think of selling or trading it off. Mine is gonna have a risc card from an Academic System and I kind of want to make it as ludicrous as possible
    I ended up with a second Model 60, and it is missing the Ram aswell. so i may be interested shoot me a PM.

    I'd like to have a chance to play with this upgrade card, but if i decide after playing with it I'm not interested and would rather a stock machine I will certainly let you know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkdonut666 View Post
    interestingly enough, the Model 60 with the Xtend card does not require memory on the planar board to function. (as both my model 60's have no system memory on the planar when i got them)
    I have a vague memory that the PS/2 model 50 and 60 could both run without planar memory when fitted with a Microchannel memory card, and that there were actually specific valid reasons for doing that. (Google "QEMM 50/60", the TL;DR I believe was that if you yanked the Planar memory you could use the microchannel RAM to backfill the entire conventional memory space with page-able RAM which was great for use with Desqview and similar software. Of course, having a 386 upgrade kind of negates that because paging is built into the CPU.)
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eudimorphodon View Post
    PS/2 model 50 and 60 could both run without planar memory when fitted with a Microchannel memory card,
    http://ps-2.kev009.com/ohlandl/CPU/xtend.html

    "interestingly enough, the Model 60 with the Xtend card does not require memory on the planar board to function. (as both my model 60's have no system memory on the planar when i got them)"

    I've not looked at this adapter for years. Note the flex cable has pins, and that it plugs into the 286 socket on the system board. So, at first I didn't believe you could bring this up sans systemboard memory, -BUT- the card plugs into the socket... Probably. Unlike the AOX MicroMaster / Kingston McMaster, the Xtend does not have a CPU that is only accessed over the MCA bus [my SWAG, suppose anything is possible].

    Never really grokked that...

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