PB 486 on the 'net !!

Discussion in 'Packard Bell' started by bobwatts, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. bobwatts

    bobwatts Guest

    Hi Gang!

    After much fiddling around, the 'ol 486 PB tower is on the 'net.
    Sure is a lot slower than a 3+GHz Whizzbang.........

    It is painful to be reminded of how primitive the very early PNP BIOS' were.
    This 486 PB has a 450 PNP Ver 1.1a BIOS that is aggravating in the least.
    The computer came with a 2gig HDD, and it had a DDO. I don't like those, so
    I wiped out the first 10 cylinders, and rebooted. The BIOS "saw" the whole
    2gig drive, but after saving to BIOS, it refused to "see" it again. Nothing
    helped, clearing the BIOS, pulling the 'bat, nothing.

    Re-installed the DDO, installed Win95. Had some problems setting up the
    networking, 'cause I didn't know the NIC card that the computer came with
    was bad. Installed 98 SE, then figured out the NE2000 card was bad,
    installed an ISA 3COM PNP card, and you see the results.

    ( How do I look? :)

    The installed CD-ROM drive was bad also, but everything was an easy fix. Now
    that it's up and running, it's time to put it on the shelf. I'm not used to
    this "speed".

    Still offering a reward for a P60 tower version !

    bobwatts, Jul 12, 2009
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  2. Hi "philo" !

    ( Inserting comments as I go, be sure to read all the way down..... )

    I'm not having problems with the DDO, just don't like 'em. :)
    If a BIOS will detect a drive without it, I prefer to go that way. I have
    seen older BIOS' "see" a HDD, but then not *use* it. Same with this system,
    it sees the HDD fine in the BIOS every, but after booting, the HDD no longer
    exists. I know it's not a 2.1+ GIG barrier problem, 'cause it sees it in
    BIOS ( and the drive is right at 2 gig. Or maybe it's 2.1, I'll check )
    Curiously, this BIOS will translate over 528 meg just fine. Be interesting
    to see if the BIOS screen will "see" up to the 8.4 gig barrier. Waste of
    time since it won't use it though.

    As another matter of curiosity, the exact same day I got this PB 486 tower,
    I received a PB 486 Desktop with the exact same motherboard, and 486DX2-66
    CPU. ( I now have three of the "modern" PB's with 486 ). That machine came
    with a 540 meg drive that is dead. I slapped in a 1.2 gig drive ( to see
    what would happen), and it not only recognized the drive in BIOS, but went
    ahead and booted to it !!!!
    I *thought* the tower computer had the newest 450 Ver 1.1a BIOS, but it's
    possible that it does not, and that could be the reason that the other
    machine uses the drive over 528 meg. Dunno. Even if a BIOS update would
    correct the problem, I probably wouldn't do it for fear of something failing
    and rendering the BIOS/motherboard unusable. Never have had a failed BIOS
    flash upgrade before, but I'm due. :)

    Be nice to find one of these with the PCI slots. They *do* exist. Hey Ben,
    do you know if I can slap a riser in one of these with PCI slots, upgrade
    the BIOS, and it work ? Probably not, 'cause the only risers I have are for
    Pentium's, and I doubt they are the same electrically.

    Early PCI systems are a mess. I have a large collection of Socket 4 Pentium
    60/66MHz boards, and they are tricky to tinker with at best !

    Neato ! What OS and browser are you using ?


    Watts Carburetion Service
    WhizzBang Computers
    " collector of Asian transfat plastic trinkets ! "
    EartH // KlaXXoN
    Robert E. Watts, Jul 15, 2009
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  3. bobwatts

    metronid Guest

    If you are willing to install an exeperimental bios by me and used by
    me than the
    2gb limit is not a problem.
    Just do not remember the size of the HD added.
    I think it was 4.3GB
    I could be wrong as I am still recovering .
    I have also went back with the original 450 bios and it has no problem
    taking that
    if you are not happy.
    I have done the above bios update and than back to the original
    multiple times
    never with a problem.
    In fact there is also boot block with the 450MB that should allow you
    to recover.
    I think it is called boot block or something like that.
    My memory is transitional in its approach at this time.

    If you need an explanation it is akin to allowing the basic functions
    to occur from
    a part of the bios that it not actually written over on the chip.
    Allows ISA video and floppy drive and few other functions to occur in
    case of
    bios compromise.

    In any case it worked for me until the grim computer reaper came.
    metronid, Jul 18, 2009
  4. Hi "metronid" !

    If you are willing to install an exeperimental bios by me

    If I had multiples of this machine, I certainly would, but see below.......

    In any case it worked for me until the grim computer reaper came.


    .....and that is the reason I would not be interested in flashing the BIOS. I
    fight the grim reaper everyday, and only come out a winner about 17% of the

    This particular 486 Packard Bell tower is probably the only one left on
    I'm going to leave it alone, and fully functional. I *have* tinkered with my
    Pentium Packard Bells' extensively. Matter of fact, I installed a Mr. Bios
    BIOS on one of 'em, and it's impossible to go back to the PB BIOS. Even with
    a program designed solely to force flash the BIOS, I can't get it done. But
    no worries, I was just tinkering with that particular motherboard and the
    Evergreen 400MHz CPU ( and stuff ).


    Watts Carburetion Service
    WhizzBang Computers
    " collector of Asian transfat plastic trinkets ! "
    EartH // KlaXXoN
    Robert E. Watts, Jul 19, 2009
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