In 1991 Intel found itself in a relatively uncomfortable position, at least when it comes to the bottom end of the market. The main competitor - AMD has won a series of legal battles and was about to repeat what happened in 286 days -flood the market with cloned 386 chips which were cheaper and [...]Continue reading "The Slowest 486 vs Fastest 386"
I was wondering what would be the ultimate upgrade for my 386 motherboard. It has a 386 CPU soldered-in, an unpopulated 386 PGA socket and a socket for either 387 FPU or 486 PGA or (might take a Weitek as well - not quite sure) and even might have a soldered-in 486SX PQFP. Plenty of [...]Continue reading "Pentium on a 386 motherboard"
In mid-'90s buyers could find themselves having surprisingly many options when it comes to buying a Pentium-class CPU. The original Socket 4 60 and 66 MHz Pentiums were replaced by more efficient 90 and 100 MHz models for Socket 5, but some old stock was still available for some time. Shortly after that Intel introduced [...]Continue reading "The Perfect Pentium"
I've recently acquired an interesting motherboard with Intel 430FX Triton chipset. It has a feature I particularly wanted - sockets for asynchronous SRAM chips as well as a slot for COAST modules. Due to this, it allows for an interesting comparison of these two cache technologies. Test environment: Freetech 485F61 motherboard in different cache configurationsIntel [...]Continue reading "Intel 430FX Triton L2 Cache"
In this post, I am comparing several options from the first wave of Pentium chipsets. The subject of the test is loosely defined as Socket 4 and Socket 5 PCI chipsets from Intel and other vendors from the 1993-1995 period. Specifically the following chipsets will be compared: Intel 430LX (Mercury)Intel 430NX (Neptune)Intel 430FX (Triton)Intel 430HX [...]Continue reading "Early Pentium Chipsets"
Let's say you have four retro systems: Socket 3 - 486DX2-66 P24D on MSI4144 board with SiS496 chipsetSocket 4 - Pentium-60 P5 on Intel Batman's Revenge board, 430LX chipsetSocket 5 - Pentium-75 P54C on Intel Plato board, 430NX chipsetSocket 7 - Pentium-120 P54CQS on Gigabyte GA-586HX board with 430HX chipset Original systems They share the [...]Continue reading "Pentium Overdrive Competition"
Everybody knows the P75 is better right? The Triton Bonus Most benchmarks comparing these two are biased in favour of the P75 by running it with a mature P54-era chipset, such as the Intel 430FX (Triton). The Triton chipset was a big hit. It introduced pipelined-burst L2 cache significantly improving performance. Also present was EDO [...]Continue reading "Pentium 66 MHz vs 75 MHz shoot out"
This is my ongoing project to assess the performance of various VESA Local Bus cards. Management summary In DOS type of use, which is defined as CPU originated low-resolution memory writes to Video RAM through VGA registers, there is only a little difference between various VL-BUS cards. Some chip designs are more optimised than others [...]Continue reading "VLB VGA Group test"
In this article I upgraded my ECS Si5PI motherboard to whooping 2MB of L2 cache. I was interested to see how much improvement the extra cache brings. I remember reading advice in old Pentium era magazines that further cache upgrades beyond 256kB give only small returns. So let's find out. The testbed is as follows: [...]Continue reading "L2 Size Cache Benchmarks"
I've just got my hands on this beautiful Socket 4 motherboard - the ELITEGROUP (ECS) model SI5PI. The motherboard is using SiS 501 series chipset. It has one really unique feature - 16 DIP sockets for L2 cache + 2 extra sockets for cache tag chips. Furthermore, all these sockets are DIP32 sockets. That means [...]Continue reading "ECS SI5PI 2MB L2 cache upgrade"