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Old 09-21-2022, 10:05 AM   #1
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Talking Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

[placeholder post, details to come later]
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- Gateway 80486-DX2/50 - Operational/WIP
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- Main Workstation - Fully operational!

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Old 09-21-2022, 10:27 AM   #2
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

Need a hard disk for my 486DX4/75 laptop... silly pcmcia hdd, it did not like the PCMCIA-CF adapter with a 2G CF card...
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Old 09-21-2022, 01:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

been there - try a different cd-card.
some only id as "removeable media" and not "fixed-disk"
but only if the bios is not so old that it only offers a few fixed geometries for the drive!
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Old 09-21-2022, 02:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

Yeah I also have a 2GB PCMCIA Type II HDD, likewise does not detect properly.
Last drives that actually worked were Type III PCMCIA HDDs.
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Old 09-21-2022, 08:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

hmm...technically speaking a 512MB CF card would be sufficient. Then I need to get win98 or was it win95 back on this machine...
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Old 09-27-2022, 10:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

So here's the background on this system:
It was built on June 13, 1993 and likely delivered to its owner sometime in the not-too-distant future. The original owner said that he used it for his business and that it ran either Windows for Workgroups 3.11 or Windows NT 3.1 until he retired it in late-1999 or early-2000. It has 8MB of RAM, an ATi video card (unknown amount of VRAM), and a Sound Blaster Vibra/16 card. It had a network card installed in it, but it wasn't playing nice with DOS and the drivers for it are long-gone (it's a clone of a clone card), so I pulled it. It also had a 120MB IDE hard disk that was pulled and dismantled after the system was retired. It also has a CD-ROM drive. It may have had a 5.25" floppy drive. If it did, it was removed a long time ago and I haven't been able to find it.

Up until early this month, the system had sat dormant and had not seen power for at least 22 years. I pulled it out of storage, disconnected the power supply from everything, and dry-fired it with good results.

I then reconnected the power supply and fired the system up for the first time in more than 2 decades.

First sign of life!



Unfortunately, it also had one of those Varta 3.6V poison pills of doom that had died decades ago (the system had an old Energizer external battery pack installed that had also died long ago) and it had begun to leak. Thankfully, the damage was not fatal to the motherboard, and the Energizer pack had remained fully intact. And yes, I have long since removed both batteries from the system.


A quick butt shot. All of the expansion cards got shifted down by one because the topmost ISA slot is damaged. The Sound Blaster and network card aren't installed as I just needed the bare minimum to get it to pass POST. Multi-I/O card on top, video card on bottom.


Because the original multi-I/O card was dead (battery damage), I pulled one from another system (a cheap-and-nasty 286 clone from circa-1990), as well as a floppy drive that worked for a bit and then stopped reading diskettes. Here's a front shot with the second floppy drive installed at the top.


Now for some open case shots.




System serial number.


And now for a motherboard shot.


More to come later!
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Last edited by TechGeek; 09-27-2022 at 10:53 AM.. Reason: grammar
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Old 09-27-2022, 11:55 AM   #7
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

Yes but can it play crysis
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Old 09-27-2022, 12:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

it should play Quake - what more do you need!
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Old 09-27-2022, 01:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

Quote:
Originally Posted by stj View Post
it should play Quake - what more do you need!
Indeed.... Choppy in 320x200 without acceleration. This board looks to have no PCI slots, so no means to add even a voodoo1 card to speed things up a little.... This one would likely be more of a Doom machine....

If this turns into a failure, I have dibs on the case!! I've got a dual Pentium classic that would fit gloriously in that!
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Old 09-27-2022, 03:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

Those old Gateways... it probably weighs 90 pounds!


Now an easy way to remember that two-plug power connector:

Black to black, you're OK, Jack...
Red to white, what a fright!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topcat View Post
Indeed.... Choppy in 320x200 without acceleration. This board looks to have no PCI slots, so no means to add even a voodoo1 card to speed things up a little.... This one would likely be more of a Doom machine....
The implementation for PCI on 486 was always a backwards cluster- literally trying to backport () something from early pentium stuff.

VLB would be it, though DX2s always ran the busses at half the internal clock; a straight DX50 would be 50 internal and external.

And off the subject- Duke3d over quake any day.
The former has aged like fine wine, esp with the mods & "HRP" stuff, while the latter has aged like milk...
DN still has staying power, not so much because of the "mutants," but its take on "futuristic dystopias," explored more in DNMP.

The "gearbox" disaster of ~10 years ago doesn't exist to us nukem2/duke3d/DNMP diehards...


Beware of those orange/yellow "balloon" tantalums. I've had them short on old boards that were "dormant" for a number of years.
Just replace with modern low-esr electros, like Pana FM or FR or Nichicon HD (or similar).
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Old 09-27-2022, 04:14 PM   #11
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topcat View Post
Indeed.... Choppy in 320x200 without acceleration. This board looks to have no PCI slots, so no means to add even a voodoo1 card to speed things up a little.... This one would likely be more of a Doom machine....

If this turns into a failure, I have dibs on the case!! I've got a dual Pentium classic that would fit gloriously in that!
I'll have to see about that, but if it doesn't work out, it's likely to go to a museum, as it's in otherwise nearly immaculate condition.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kaboom View Post
Those old Gateways... it probably weighs 90 pounds!
Sounds about right... feels like it weighs ~50ish. Would probably weigh 90 fully loaded.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kaboom View Post
Now an easy way to remember that two-plug power connector:

Black to black, you're OK, Jack...
Red to white, what a fright!
I remember it as "Red to red, motherboard dead!"


Quote:
Originally Posted by kaboom View Post
The implementation for PCI on 486 was always a backwards cluster- literally trying to backport () something from early pentium stuff.

VLB would be it, though DX2s always ran the busses at half the internal clock; a straight DX50 would be 50 internal and external.
Nope, no PCI and no VLB. Straight 16-bit ISA all the way.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kaboom View Post
And off the subject- Duke3d over quake any day.
The former has aged like fine wine, esp with the mods & "HRP" stuff, while the latter has aged like milk...
DN still has staying power, not so much because of the "mutants," but its take on "futuristic dystopias," explored more in DNMP.

The "gearbox" disaster of ~10 years ago doesn't exist to us nukem2/duke3d/DNMP diehards...
DN3D for sure on this system. I'd only try Quake on a top-end 486 or a good Pentium system (or better).

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaboom View Post
Beware of those orange/yellow "balloon" tantalums. I've had them short on old boards that were "dormant" for a number of years.
Just replace with modern low-esr electros, like Pana FM or FR or Nichicon HD (or similar).
Should probably do that, but I don't have the time, nor would I want to risk trashing an otherwise good board with a mis-slip. This might be one for TC, but I've not got the $$ to make that happen at the moment. Right now, the system is gonna sit dormant for at least a couple of weeks while I grab a sub-528MB hard disk for it from an eBay auction. (Gotta wait on the auction to end and then for shipping.)
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Old 09-27-2022, 05:14 PM   #12
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

I have an old gateway p5/90 case that looks very similar to this 486dx2-50...full size AT case, board is long gone. It has a K6-233 (with 256MB SDRAM on a 430TX...) board in it now.

Alas no nostalgic value to me, it's still a bit too fast to run my old EPROM burner software...

"Black to black, back to back" ... if they didn't cut out the right keys on the board and plugs.
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Old 09-27-2022, 06:09 PM   #13
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

Quote:
Originally Posted by TechGeek View Post
Right now, the system is gonna sit dormant for at least a couple of weeks while I grab a sub-528MB hard disk for it from an eBay auction. (Gotta wait on the auction to end and then for shipping.)
I read your reply, but ATM, just have time for a quick reply...

re: power plugs. If the reds were together, +5 was grounded via the chassis, if metallic motherboard mounting was intact. Some of those old ones used nylon standoffs & fiber washers, so it wouldn't always trip the power supply- in which case "motherboard dead." And even if the short on +5 shunted that rail, the other voltages could still damage stuff during the brief period they "twitch."

re: HDDs- Maxtor 7xxxAT series were OK, and period correct.
My first real PC had a 7245AT- came to 230ish MB after formatting.
Great spinup sound, too!
The sound that meant "we're firing up the PC & doing serious work."
And they had "artwork" on the PCB; each capacity had its own "feature," IIRC.


ST3660A was OK too, had one of those alongside the Maxtor.
Was interesting setting the jumpers- these weren't simply "master-slave," etc.
You should be able to find charts to jumper them for operation on the same cable.
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Old 09-27-2022, 09:10 PM   #14
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

That socket next to the CPU might be for a Weitek FPU. I don't know the best place to find information about these old motherboards.

It seems weird that the I/O card would have its own battery, but I would guess that it was replaced at some point with whatever was available.

If you get around to cleaning the corrosion off that motherboard and removing the model rocket igniters, you can still buy new ISA slots. I don't think it will last too long with that kind of corrosion, but at least it works for now. That's an improvement over some of the leaking battery repairs I've seen.
https://www.digikey.com/en/products/...WN-S420/927281

Last edited by lti; 09-27-2022 at 09:14 PM..
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Old 09-27-2022, 09:14 PM   #15
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

Quote:
Originally Posted by TechGeek View Post
I'll have to see about that, but if it doesn't work out, it's likely to go to a museum, as it's in otherwise nearly immaculate condition.
Meh, not a museum piece unless it's complete with all the original hardware....strangely enough the old 'Holstein cow' boxes are more sought-after collectables than what was in them....but no worries either way.

A gateway I was given a few years ago; complete enough to keep around:
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/showpo...postcount=5102

I've got a DX4 system I need to get back to one of these days.
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Old 09-28-2022, 10:05 AM   #16
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

Quote:
Originally Posted by eccerr0r View Post
I have an old gateway p5/90 case that looks very similar to this 486dx2-50...full size AT case, board is long gone. It has a K6-233 (with 256MB SDRAM on a 430TX...) board in it now.

Alas no nostalgic value to me, it's still a bit too fast to run my old EPROM burner software...

"Black to black, back to back" ... if they didn't cut out the right keys on the board and plugs.
Watch out and make sure that you don't end up with CIH on that thing, as the Intel 82430 series of chipsets *WILL* be exploited by CIH, and the end result is a trashed BIOS. Or make sure that you're running an NT-flavored OS, as CIH's BIOS-wipe payload doesn't work on Windows NT.


I didn't even know that some boards had keying, not that I'd trust it anyways. Black to black and you'll be back! Red to red, motherboard dead!


Quote:
Originally Posted by kaboom View Post
I read your reply, but ATM, just have time for a quick reply...

re: power plugs. If the reds were together, +5 was grounded via the chassis, if metallic motherboard mounting was intact. Some of those old ones used nylon standoffs & fiber washers, so it wouldn't always trip the power supply- in which case "motherboard dead." And even if the short on +5 shunted that rail, the other voltages could still damage stuff during the brief period they "twitch."

re: HDDs- Maxtor 7xxxAT series were OK, and period correct.
My first real PC had a 7245AT- came to 230ish MB after formatting.
Great spinup sound, too!
The sound that meant "we're firing up the PC & doing serious work."
And they had "artwork" on the PCB; each capacity had its own "feature," IIRC.


ST3660A was OK too, had one of those alongside the Maxtor.
Was interesting setting the jumpers- these weren't simply "master-slave," etc.
You should be able to find charts to jumper them for operation on the same cable.
The drive that I'm looking at right now is a ~425MB Seagate drive from late-'94/early-'95. It reports a CHS geometry of 899/15/62, so it should work in this system.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lti View Post
That socket next to the CPU might be for a Weitek FPU. I don't know the best place to find information about these old motherboards.
According to THIS link, the socket is for a Weitek FPU. Not sure what kind of performance benefit that it would have, given that the system already has a full-fledged DX-series 486.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lti View Post
It seems weird that the I/O card would have its own battery, but I would guess that it was replaced at some point with whatever was available.
Damage from the motherboard battery. The same battery that inflicted damage on the 1st ISA slot.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lti View Post
If you get around to cleaning the corrosion off that motherboard and removing the model rocket igniters, you can still buy new ISA slots. I don't think it will last too long with that kind of corrosion, but at least it works for now. That's an improvement over some of the leaking battery repairs I've seen.
https://www.digikey.com/en/products/...WN-S420/927281
Battery got clipped off not long after I found it. I cleaned up the damaged ISA card, and if it's anything like the motherboard, it should clean up with little to no collateral damage, ISA slot included. I've tested it, and while the slot still works, it's flaky. Still has lots of tension left in the contacts, so I think it'll pull through. If it ends up destroyed during the cleaning process, I'll probably have TC drop a new one in.


P.S.: Eaten trace is what seems to have killed the I/O card. It and the ISA slot took the brunt of the damage, as the system was stored upright for all of its life. I don't think that I'm going to risk pulling the 8042 keyboard controller, unless it's an EPROM (the UV-windowed things). I've powered the external battery connector off of an external supply and it holds time and settings fine, which is a good sign. I'll lug the beast home this weekend and clean the motherboard up and put an end to the corrosion.
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Old 09-28-2022, 10:35 AM   #17
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

Windows? What's Windows?
The K6-233 is running Linux (and DOS...)

BTW seems a lot of older 486 boards have a coprocessor socket for 487's... which only makes sense if the main processor socket had a 486SX in it. Of course the 487 was an entire 486DX and simply disables the 486SX.

What would have been fun is that the board was SMP capable and ran two 486 integer cores and the FPU of the second CPU...alas, nope.
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Old 09-28-2022, 10:41 AM   #18
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

Just photos with this post.

Starting off with a shot at the upper half of the case.


Temporary hard disk. Due to BIOS bugs, it doesn't work properly in this system. In fact, no hard disk above 528MB will work with this system.


Working I/O card pulled from the cheap-and-nasty 286 clone system.


A better view of the extent of the corrosion. Battery long gone by this point.


Damaged I/O card, not cleaned up.


Here's the cheap "NE2000-compatible" clone-of-a-clone network card that doesn't work with hardly anything I can throw at it.


Sound Blaster Vibra/16 card.


Lugged it home last weekend. Here's it all set up, running SpinRite 6.0 because I suspected hard disk problems.


As I said, this large of a drive just doesn't work on this system. This was the end result after trying to install MS-DOS 6.22.


And this is the end-result of trying to run Windows 98 setup because why not.


That's all I've got for now. More to come later.
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Old 09-28-2022, 10:45 AM   #19
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

Quote:
Originally Posted by eccerr0r View Post
Windows? What's Windows?
The K6-233 is running Linux (and DOS...)

BTW seems a lot of older 486 boards have a coprocessor socket for 487's... which only makes sense if the main processor socket had a 486SX in it. Of course the 487 was an entire 486DX and simply disables the 486SX.

What would have been fun is that the board was SMP capable and ran two 486 integer cores and the FPU of the second CPU...alas, nope.
Not an entire 80486 in the upgrade chip, not to mention that it imparts a performance penalty when installed in tandem with an 80486-DX2. Looks like that upgrade socket is staying empty.


https://www.cpu-world.com/CPUs/4167/index.html
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Old 09-28-2022, 10:55 AM   #20
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Default Re: Gateway 80486-DX2/50 Revival

If you want to make a bigger drive behave on this, you can use an overlay; like Ontrack Disk Manager; with DOS or NT it would be fine up to 2gb @ the point of the install. With NT4, you could go even bigger but the install partition can't be any larger than 2gb. Once installed, you can partition the rest from within the OS. I've used this on stuff as far back as 386's that pretty much had zilch for HDD support.
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