Packard Bell 486 Legend 38CD Supreme

Discussion in 'Packard Bell' started by Robert E. Watts, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. 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:

    ..... 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.


    Watts Carburetion Service
    Whizzbang Computers
    Official collector of: transfat asian plastic junk trinkets !
    Robert E. Watts, Aug 31, 2008
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  2. Robert E. Watts

    Ben Myers Guest


    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

    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
    Ben Myers, Aug 31, 2008
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  3. Hi Ben !

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

    Inserting as I go....

    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.

    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
    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.

    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.

    Robert E. Watts, Aug 31, 2008
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