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Magnavox 386SX-16 Upgrade options?

PeterNC

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
2,694
Location
Miami, FL
At one point I acquired a 486 Magnavox with identical MOBO and DB. Different BIOS (logical: 80486). Instead of a 486SX as indicated on the case it had a 486DX installed. Performance was very poor for a 486 though (286 MOBO really and early VGA). It died so I recycled it. The chances of finding another one are very slim: 486s did not sell that well yet in the early 1990s (extremely expensive). Good luck.

All Magnavox computers and peripherals are really Philips products BTW. Philips was a pioneer in optical media.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_Magnetic_Storage_International
 

bill4

New Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2022
Messages
2
Location
Lansing MI
Sorry about posting on a really old thread but Just picked one of these up tonight and it's a bit before my time. Got the computer where it will turn on now after re seating the cpu daughter board. The hard drive does not show up. My question is do you have to manually set the hard drive settings in the bios? Its has the Seagate st351ax. Also would be interested to know if an adapter exist to do away with the hard drive entirely and convert to a sd card or something.
 

bill4

New Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2022
Messages
2
Location
Lansing MI
Here is a picture of the inside. It's rusty lol.
Prob not great news for the hard drive.
Mine has a co processorsignal-2022-10-05-19-12-22-926.jpg
 

greg.fleury

New Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2023
Messages
2
I recently acquired a Magnavox Headstart SX on eBay in excellent shape. No visible discoloration on the case. Might as well have been NoS.

So far this is what I've done to it:
- I upgraded the ram to 8mb (have to disable the 1MB onboard via a toggle switch on a block of switches on the mainboard)
- Replaced the dead bios batteries with 2 new CR2430 cells
- Added a 2MB Cirus Logic ISA VGA card
- Added a i387 coprocessor (have to short a jumper on the daughtercard).
- Installed Dos 6.22 and WFW 3.11 on the 40MB HDD.

I would love to get a different processor daughtercard for this, but don't even know the part numbers to search. A 386sx CPU is a little anemic. I would love to get a DX33 if the system supports it.

I also saw this gentleman had added a very early external Magnavox CDD-461 CD-ROM drive. Be an awesome era-appropriate upgrade. Curious about the interface on it. Appears like it might be a 15 pin connector? Accessed through game port?

http://www.oldbrokenjunk.com/wordpress/?cat=32
Hi Daniel,

I also just picked one of these up on eBay. Would you be able to provide a picture of the 8MB chip that worked for you, a pic of the 387 processor and your 2MB Cirrus Logic card? I would love to upgrade it to the same as what you have! I also just ordered one of those SD-Card to IDE adapters so that I am able to easily transfer files between PCs. I hope it works =)
 

greg.fleury

New Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2023
Messages
2
Sorry about posting on a really old thread but Just picked one of these up tonight and it's a bit before my time. Got the computer where it will turn on now after re seating the cpu daughter board. The hard drive does not show up. My question is do you have to manually set the hard drive settings in the bios? Its has the Seagate st351ax. Also would be interested to know if an adapter exist to do away with the hard drive entirely and convert to a sd card or something.
Did you ever get this to work?
 

JAXVintagePC

Experienced Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2023
Messages
107
Location
JAX, FL
You can access the BIOS anytime on Magnavox/Philips PCs in that class with CONTROL - ALT - INSERT. You can download the utilities (including BIOS) here: https://vetusware.com/download/Andy Samuels 1991/?id=10018.

The manual can be downloaded here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Xqjl7oJK3_lmUVkaWHsr3_v9d88Bzudf/view?usp=sharing.

These also occasionally pop up on eBay: recent example: http://cgi.ebay.com/394077408417

This is the SIMM that works on Magnavox 286/386SX MOBOs: https://cgi.ebay.com/234384622295. I upgraded a couple this way already. I no longer own any Magnavox machines. This was a workgroup HP LaserJet SIMM also BTW. This is why they are still available and affordable. You will need to set the DIP switch for it to be recognized since it needs to disable the soldered MOBO RAM.

The FPU is already shown on the CPU DB in the picture by bill4.
 
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