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Packard Bell 486 Legend 38CD Supreme

 
 
Robert E. Watts
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      08-30-2008, 11:25 PM
Hi Gang !

Have found a few more PB's to add to the collection lately, but the most
important one is an "Art Deco" desktop 486 machine.

It's a Packard Bell Legend 38CD Supreme. Originally came with 486 DX2/66 MHz
CPU, 12 meg of ram ( 4 soldered on board ), 2X CD-ROM drive ( proprietary,
works with Galaxy Sound card ), sound card, modem, etc.

It's the 2- 5¼" and 2 - 3½" drive bay case. Good condition, but will need
some cleaning.

Someone had installed a NIC, and had left a 6.4 gig IDE drive just laying
inside the case. Fortunately, it was packed in pretty well, and didn't hurt
anything. Didn't have anything interesting on it, so I pulled it out.

This 486 board is the "450" version:

http://www.uktsupport.co.uk/pb/mb/450.htm

..... and frankly is rather impressive. Has the PNP BIOS, and it natively
translates the original 811 MB IDE HDD, so it might even recognize a 2 gig
drive. The 6.4 gig drive was recognized as a 528 meg drive, which is pretty
normal for an old 486. However, the 811 meg drive is not using a DDO, and
the BIOS is "seeing" it correctly using LBA. I'll do some more research
soon. Interesting.

According to that site above, there was apparently a PCI version. Be nice to
find that ! I wonder if Ben knows if the PCI riser just slides in ? :-)
( and would it work, by just flashing to the PCI BIOS ? )

I have installed 32 meg of ram for a total of 36 meg, and slapped a DX4/100
CPU in there. It's running Win95, and ALL of the drivers are installed
correctly! Win95 actually runs pretty good. I can't get the thing to connect
to my network, and I suspect the NIC to be the problem. I will probably
throw a 3Com in there.

The fact that this "Art Deco" version of an old Packard Bell with a 486
exists re-convinces me that there is a tower version (probably) also. Which
means that a Pentium 60/66Mhz must exist also. I KNEW that I remembered
seeing these in stores brand new back in 94-96.

I'll be doing some more testing of the 486 PB soon. I have backed up any
possible thing I might need off of the hard drive, and will try installing a
different "clean" OS soon. Probably try installing a Pentium Overdrive also.

I'll be looking for some cache chips to throw in there. I have bags of the
things, but must find some that are compatible ( without blowing the thing
up ). Sadly, the cache must be dis-abled when using the POD.

Since this NG appears to be on life support, I'll wait to see if any
interest in this project develops. I'll post some pics if anyone is
interested also.

bobwatts


--
boBWatts®©
EartH
Watts Carburetion Service
Whizzbang Computers
Official collector of: transfat asian plastic junk trinkets !


 
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Ben Myers
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      08-31-2008, 01:05 AM
Bob,

Your memory is correct that a Pentium OverDrive would need to run with external
cache disabled. This is due to a screw-up by Intel, making the POD with a
write-BACK internal cache, incompatible with most 486 boards manufactured to
support write-through cache. Adaptec ISA SCSI adapters were also incompatible
with the write-back caches. (Gateway settled a class action lawsuit on their
486s, which were stickered and marketed as "Pentium Ready." But that is another
story.)

Intel also made an "interposer", a CPU-sized gizmo that installed between the
POD and the CPU socket, and whose sole purpose was to force the POD to boot with
a write-through cache. In all these years, I have NEVER seen an interposer. It
may be as mythological as a purple cow.

Perhaps your best bet to crank up the performance of the old beast is to install
a kit based on the AMD Am5x86-133 486-workalike. I sold a number of
hand-assembled AMD kits, mostly to Gateway owners, at $149 each way back when. I
also sold cache kits.

I do not know if I have any AMD kits still around, either my own or Evergreen's.
I still have tubes of cache chips. If I can find the specs for the board, I'm
100% certain I have chips in the usual DIP configuration used at the time. I
haven't sent them off to the electronic scrap people yet... Ben Myers

On Sat, 30 Aug 2008 19:25:02 -0400, "Robert E. Watts" <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>Hi Gang !
>
>Have found a few more PB's to add to the collection lately, but the most
>important one is an "Art Deco" desktop 486 machine.
>
>It's a Packard Bell Legend 38CD Supreme. Originally came with 486 DX2/66 MHz
>CPU, 12 meg of ram ( 4 soldered on board ), 2X CD-ROM drive ( proprietary,
>works with Galaxy Sound card ), sound card, modem, etc.
>
>It's the 2- 5¼" and 2 - 3½" drive bay case. Good condition, but will need
>some cleaning.
>
>Someone had installed a NIC, and had left a 6.4 gig IDE drive just laying
>inside the case. Fortunately, it was packed in pretty well, and didn't hurt
>anything. Didn't have anything interesting on it, so I pulled it out.
>
>This 486 board is the "450" version:
>
>http://www.uktsupport.co.uk/pb/mb/450.htm
>
>.... and frankly is rather impressive. Has the PNP BIOS, and it natively
>translates the original 811 MB IDE HDD, so it might even recognize a 2 gig
>drive. The 6.4 gig drive was recognized as a 528 meg drive, which is pretty
>normal for an old 486. However, the 811 meg drive is not using a DDO, and
>the BIOS is "seeing" it correctly using LBA. I'll do some more research
>soon. Interesting.
>
>According to that site above, there was apparently a PCI version. Be nice to
>find that ! I wonder if Ben knows if the PCI riser just slides in ? :-)
>( and would it work, by just flashing to the PCI BIOS ? )
>
>I have installed 32 meg of ram for a total of 36 meg, and slapped a DX4/100
>CPU in there. It's running Win95, and ALL of the drivers are installed
>correctly! Win95 actually runs pretty good. I can't get the thing to connect
>to my network, and I suspect the NIC to be the problem. I will probably
>throw a 3Com in there.
>
>The fact that this "Art Deco" version of an old Packard Bell with a 486
>exists re-convinces me that there is a tower version (probably) also. Which
>means that a Pentium 60/66Mhz must exist also. I KNEW that I remembered
>seeing these in stores brand new back in 94-96.
>
>I'll be doing some more testing of the 486 PB soon. I have backed up any
>possible thing I might need off of the hard drive, and will try installing a
>different "clean" OS soon. Probably try installing a Pentium Overdrive also.
>
>I'll be looking for some cache chips to throw in there. I have bags of the
>things, but must find some that are compatible ( without blowing the thing
>up ). Sadly, the cache must be dis-abled when using the POD.
>
>Since this NG appears to be on life support, I'll wait to see if any
>interest in this project develops. I'll post some pics if anyone is
>interested also.
>
>bobwatts

 
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Robert E. Watts
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      08-31-2008, 09:07 AM
Hi Ben !

( I was hoping I would stir things up a bit :-)

Inserting as I go....

"Ben Myers" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> Bob,
>
> Your memory is correct that a Pentium OverDrive would need to run with
> external
> cache disabled. This is due to a screw-up by Intel, making the POD with a
> write-BACK internal cache, incompatible with most 486 boards manufactured
> to
> support write-through cache. Adaptec ISA SCSI adapters were also
> incompatible
> with the write-back caches. (Gateway settled a class action lawsuit on
> their
> 486s, which were stickered and marketed as "Pentium Ready." But that is
> another
> story.)
>
> Intel also made an "interposer", a CPU-sized gizmo that installed between
> the
> POD and the CPU socket, and whose sole purpose was to force the POD to
> boot with
> a write-through cache. In all these years, I have NEVER seen an
> interposer. It
> may be as mythological as a purple cow.
>



I actually have at least two. ( I'll include a picture when I post pics of
this 486 PB ) Back when I had serious IBM PS/2 addiction, they were
necessary on *some* IBM PS/2 Model 76i, 77i, and 9585 machines to use the
POD. ( I still have these in my collection. ) I was one of the few people to
get these computers working with a POD and an L2 cache stick. Strangely, I
and others found that some machines would allow this, and some wouldn't.
Also, some machines required the interposer, and some didn't. In the absence
of an interposer, simply bending over one pin on the POD ( or removing it )
would do the same as using an interposer, which was just a socket that
disabled that one pin.

I meant that I have a couple of interposers, not purple cows. Although I
have every other color cow, I have not managed to find a purple one.



> Perhaps your best bet to crank up the performance of the old beast is to
> install
> a kit based on the AMD Am5x86-133 486-workalike. I sold a number of
> hand-assembled AMD kits, mostly to Gateway owners, at $149 each way back
> when. I
> also sold cache kits.
>



I probably have every 486 upgrade "kit" ever made, ( and also made my own.)
:-)
Including 3 or 4 versions based on the AMD 5x86-133.
That was one of my favorite CPU's back in the mid/late 90's, and I routinely
ran them at 160MHz with no problems. Still have a few of those computers
actually.
I'm sure you remember the "competition" between people who liked the AMD,
Intel, and Cyrix CPU's back then.
Personally, when the POD's became available at reasonable cost ( way after
the P II's were out. :-), I found that using them at 40MHz FSB speed,
running them at 100MHz was definitely the fastest Socket 3 combination
around. I was never that impressed with the Cyrix versions, but the AMD
running at 160MHz was also pretty damn good.


> I do not know if I have any AMD kits still around, either my own or
> Evergreen's.
> I still have tubes of cache chips. If I can find the specs for the board,
> I'm
> 100% certain I have chips in the usual DIP configuration used at the time.
> I
> haven't sent them off to the electronic scrap people yet... Ben Myers



Be interesting if you find some cache. I have a box filled with DIPPS, but
knowing PB, I doubt if I would ever find a working combo.

boB


 
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