• Please review our updated Terms and Rules here
  • Exhibitor application for VCF West 2022 is now open! If you are interested in exhibiting, please fill out the form here.

My new custom built 386DX40!

jaqiefox

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
22
Location
Oregon, USA
First... I have been a member of 2cpu forums for a long time. Ive known luckybob for a while, but only just today was introduced to this forum by him. I figured since I am a computer hobbyist/tech/collector of IBM compatible x86 PCs from all eras, this may be a good place to post some of my older systems I have and will build!

Let me introduce to you fuzzy my little (mostly) era-correct little 386 hotrod! Still a work in progress as I find more suitable parts.

IMG_0148-t.jpg


IMG_0143-t.jpg


IMG_0129-t.jpg


full photo dump available here.

The case is a micro ATX semi slim I have been saving for a while. I had originally intended to use an enlight AT minitower, but if you look in the picture dump you will see that it was ruined by a moron in shipping and prior storage. The micro ATX case is a temporary setup, though I do plan on using it for somewhat later stuff like a pentium 200 MMX or such.

I have since changed a few things, the HDD is now a 214MB seagate, and the RAM is now upgraded to 4x 4MB simms. I am searching for a good inexpensive ISA 1MB video card (even trident is ok for me for this), another 4MB 4 pack of simms, a period SCSI HDD (already got thanks to luckybob, 1GB 3.5" half height), a 4x SCSI tray load CD drive or 2x-4x ide or sound card (panasonic or sony interface or such) cdrom drive. I already have a serial ballmouse with scrollwheel, and I also already have a GrIP (non usb) gravis gamepad pro, though I want a couple basic gravis gamepads too. Oh, also a 5.25" 1/2MB floppy, which I have already acquired. (again thanks luckybob!)

The system runs DOS 6.22 and will multiboot to win95 as well as a few other OSes, via the old awesome multiboot program called system commander.

~edit~
Forgot to say... the flicker from monitors at 60Hz makes me physically ill, so I only use LCDs. That is why you see an LCD there, otherwise I would really love having a buncha old IBM 8512 monitors around. I loved those things!
 
Last edited:

jaqiefox

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
22
Location
Oregon, USA
back during this era, they made a solder-on option for cpus and a plug-in option, sometimes on the same motherboard. In this case, they chose the solder in without the plug in, but if it had both you could upgrade the cpu to a newer 386... none was ever made newer or more powerful than the 386dx40 that could run in a 386 motherboard, but earlier boards had the socket for upgrades, and sometimes they were sold without a soldered in cpu at all.
 

Caluser2000

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2010
Messages
4,603
Location
New Zealand
You're so modest. I'd imagine you've seen a few over the years Chuck ;)

Welcome jaqiefox. You've reached the right place to brag about your achievements. I'm currently resurrecting a 368DX25. Personally I'm not too worried about period correctness as long as the system functions as I intend it to. What other OS's are you running on the beasty? Its the first soldered DX40 I've seen, but I don't get out much. Don't too worried about using an LCD screen, a lot of us do. Saves space, uses less power, lite compared to CRTs etc. etc
 
Last edited:

commodorejohn

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
3,146
Location
California, USA
Ah, nice. I've been pretty amazed how much of a difference the 386DX-40 makes over even a DX-33. Makes even Doom II playable! I do hope the board has a fair bit of cache?
 

jaqiefox

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
22
Location
Oregon, USA
Ah, nice. I've been pretty amazed how much of a difference the 386DX-40 makes over even a DX-33. Makes even Doom II playable! I do hope the board has a fair bit of cache?
128KB L2 cache. :) I can run various games with "pentium" options, and others with "486/66" options on! Part of the reason is the 40MHz FSB.
The bottleneck is the trident 256KB VGA card... I really need a better one.

I only have DOS 6.22 and win95 OSR 2.1 (c) on fuzzy at the moment, but I plan on more later.
 

vwestlife

Veteran Member
Joined
May 2, 2008
Messages
5,129
Location
central NJ
I'm surprised to see that the ISA slots are vertical, since the case isn't that tall. I assume it is restricted to XT-height cards, and taller AT-height cards won't fit with the cover on?
 

commodorejohn

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
3,146
Location
California, USA
128KB L2 cache. :) I can run various games with "pentium" options, and others with "486/66" options on! Part of the reason is the 40MHz FSB.
The bottleneck is the trident 256KB VGA card... I really need a better one.
Nice :) Video really is the bottleneck with these systems...I'd go dig around at your local recycle center. Keep an eye on the actual RAM chips; I found a Trident SVGA card with fast RAM on it and it made a very noticeable difference in performance.
 

jaqiefox

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
22
Location
Oregon, USA
They don't have ISA anything, and older PCI stuff is beginning to get rare there.

This is one of the bad parts of living here in oregon, things are pretty current and the old stuff is E-cycled (as the oregon state law calls it).

As for the case height, the sound blaster 16 non PNP card gets awful close to the case cap (3/16 inch?), and it's top edge is about 1/8 inch above the top of the backplate tong.
 

Chuck(G)

25k Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Messages
39,074
Location
Pacific Northwest, USA
You're so modest. I'd imagine you've seen a few over the years Chuck ;)

I probably even have one stashed away--I haven't checked lately. My first 386 was a Mylex full-sized AT board and I still have a Micronics board with no memory on the motherboard--it's all in a plug-in expansion slot, all 13MB of it. There are no integrated peripherals on either board--it's all ISA plug-ins. The 486 boards were so much better.
 

Unknown_K

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2003
Messages
8,527
Location
Ohio/USA
386DX40's were nice machines. In the early 90's my first home built machine was a 386/40 and I upgraded it to 16MB RAM and IIt FPU so I could run Excel in Win 3.1. These days I have a 386/40 DOS box and a few spare motherboards since they are hard to find anymore.

P.S. AMD also sold a 386SX/40.
 

jaqiefox

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
22
Location
Oregon, USA
386DX40's were nice machines. In the early 90's my first home built machine was a 386/40 and I upgraded it to 16MB RAM and IIt FPU so I could run Excel in Win 3.1. These days I have a 386/40 DOS box and a few spare motherboards since they are hard to find anymore.

P.S. AMD also sold a 386SX/40.
I want to find a 387-40 for this... I would so love to see how it performs with it. Partly, because quake 1 for DOS requires a mathco and I would love to see how it runs on this box. I don't expect miracles, but running quake 1 on a 386 would be awesome!
I had to order this motherboard from some guy selling them in israel or something, for $55 usd. He sent the first one in a plastic shopping bag O.O and it was fried, DOA. After getting no small measure of static from him about it (pun not intended) I finally got him to send me a replacement in an anti static bag, and this is it.

My second 386 was actually a 386SX 40 in a 1/3 baby AT form factor. I really loved it. It wasn't so common, though.
It looked just like this:

386sx40.jpg


Note I no longer have it.
 

Great Hierophant

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2006
Messages
1,920
Location
Massachusetts, USA
I want to find a 387-40 for this... I would so love to see how it performs with it. Partly, because quake 1 for DOS requires a mathco and I would love to see how it runs on this box. I don't expect miracles, but running quake 1 on a 386 would be awesome!

No, it really wouldn't. Download every screenshot of Quake you can find, assemble them in an animated GIF that goes to the next picture about once a second and you will get an idea of how Quake plays on a 386 + 387.
 

Stone

10k Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
12,814
Location
South Jersey, USA
386DX40's were nice machines. In the early 90's my first home built machine was a 386/40 and I upgraded it to 16MB RAM and IIt FPU so I could run Excel in Win 3.1. These days I have a 386/40 DOS box and a few spare motherboards since they are hard to find anymore.
I have a 386-40 board but the battery leaked and I haven't been able to get it working. Really a shame as I liked that board a lot. Back in the early 1990s when I was using it a lot I had a Maxtor XT-1140 (AKA TANK) connected to it. The tank still works. :)
 

jaqiefox

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
22
Location
Oregon, USA
No, it really wouldn't. Download every screenshot of Quake you can find, assemble them in an animated GIF that goes to the next picture about once a second and you will get an idea of how Quake plays on a 386 + 387.
As someone who does vintage computers, I am rather saddened that you take such a view on it.

I want to see it actually running, not some random gifs of it. You know the difference, or should anyway.

It's to DO it and SEE it for yourself, not to just find out a few numbers. otherwise, why would anyone collect old hardware instead of just running emulators? :rolleyes:
 
Top