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43 votes
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What is a DVD add on card?

Possibly it means a hardware MPEG-2 decoder card. Those were common in the fairly early days of DVD, when typical desktop CPUs were not fast enough to reliably handle software decoding. Here is a ...
Nate Eldredge's user avatar
33 votes
Accepted

Why did Socket 3 have more pins than needed for the 486?

The extra pins were forward-planning, on both Socket 2 and Socket 3. Most of the extra pins are used for power (Vcc) and ground (Vss), which is useful to provide more power to a CPU. The other pins ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
25 votes
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What causes the traces to wrinkle like this and should I be worried

They were most likely wrinkled like that from the start, due to the way they were manufactured, and thus you should not be worried. Until the mid-90s, boards often went through an HASL, or "hot air ...
cjs's user avatar
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24 votes
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What was the first multiprocessor x86 motherboard?

Preface The question is a bit unclear(*1) about the margins set regarding: Must it be a single motherboard or do separate assemblies qualify? Must it be PC-compatible or does any x86 system qualify? ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
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22 votes
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32-bit PCI riser cards: different types?

I have used these passive PCI risers quite a lot and some of them need their "fingers" to be cleaned with something like isopropanol before they work properly. Especially on the top photo ...
Edders's user avatar
  • 861
17 votes

Identifying motherboard and CPU

I inquired about the CPU over on ee.se. The chip appears to be an AMD Am386DX-25. Compare the lower printed number (107M7NX and 107M7NZ), the fonts used, the logo at the bottom-right, and the laser-...
Alex Hajnal's user avatar
  • 9,360
16 votes

What was the first multiprocessor x86 motherboard?

If you’re looking specifically for motherboards directly supporting multiple x86 CPUs, in a multiprocessor configuration, and available for purchase outside the system they were designed for, a likely ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
15 votes
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Small RAM 4 KB on the early Apple II?

Most of the reference material for the Apple II that I have seen refers to the 4116 RAM chip which held 16x1 kbit. Jup, at the time the Apple II really took off, 4116 chips had already dropped to ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 226k
14 votes

25 PIN sound/game ribbon cable

The cable has a motherboard connector on one end and a PCB with metal bracket to mount the audio and game connectors on an unused slot. The cable will likely look like standard gray flat ribbon cable ...
Justme's user avatar
  • 33.9k
13 votes

Identifying motherboard and CPU

Apart from the unrecognized branding on the CPU (ceramic; upper-right in photo) chip, this appears to be a bog standard ISA '386 motherboard, probably running at 25 MHz. CPU looks like the right ...
Brian H's user avatar
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12 votes
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Is there a way to trick my 386SX laptop into thinking there's a floppy drive installed?

The standard algorithm to probe for floppy drives (and tell 1.2MB drives from 360KB drives) is patented by IBM and yet cloned by most BIOS manufacturers. There were litigation lawsuits against Award ...
Michael Karcher's user avatar
12 votes
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25 PIN sound/game ribbon cable

UPDATE: I found it! I knew I had something that looked like that somewhere. It appears to be the same part as pictured in the manual: each 3.5mm jack is in the same place, and the motherboard header ...
Chris's user avatar
  • 136
11 votes

How can I tell if my old PC supports > 137 GB hard drives?

Very briefly: The way harddisks are addressed changed over time. Originally, you'd specify cylinder/head/sector (CHS), then it switched to logical block addresses (LBA), and the commands for those ...
dirkt's user avatar
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10 votes
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What is this socket for in 386 notebook motherboard

Well, it could easy be a socket for a 387 type FPU. Size and number of pins would fit a 387 (or some pin compatible Cyrix FastMath) as PLCC carrier. On the other hand it's rather unusual to place it ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 226k
9 votes

Why did Socket 3 have more pins than needed for the 486?

Socket 3 did not have more pins than needed. It was designed to support the Pentium OverDrive CPUs that Intel released in the mid-1990s. These CPUs could have up to 237 pins, while the Socket 3 ...
Brian H's user avatar
  • 60.8k
9 votes

How do I diagnose a "system board error" on IBM Thinkpad 600E?

I was able to download the Thinkpad 600E service manual from this site. If I am understanding the info in the section "How to Use Error Messages" correctly, the FRU = 3610 part says the ...
user224727's user avatar
8 votes

What causes the traces to wrinkle like this and should I be worried

This is actually a comment, but images cannot be inserted in a comment, so I wrote an "answer", just to point out that this kind of trace looking is already known in other computers, like the ZX ...
mcleod_ideafix's user avatar
8 votes

Small RAM 4 KB on the early Apple II?

The following information comes mainly from pages 70-72 of the Apple II Reference Manual, 1979 edition. The Apple II had three rows of eight sockets for DRAM: rows C through E from front to back. Each ...
cjs's user avatar
  • 26.7k
8 votes

What was the first motherboard with UEFI?

The first x86 implementation of UEFI was Insyde Software’s InsydeH2O, and the first system to use that was Gateway’s 610 Media PC, which shipped in late 2003. So technically, the first PC motherboard ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
7 votes

CPU slaves on a PCI card to retrofit single processor to multiple processors. Any ideas how?

how I can add additional slave processors (and possibly RAM) to this system through the mainboard's PCI card slots While DMA works through PCI, this is not practical to sustain to have additional ...
dirkt's user avatar
  • 28.3k
7 votes

32-bit PCI riser cards: different types?

Unfortunately I can't give you specific search terms, but I can say what stands out to me about those risers from an EE perspective. The goal of a good quality riser is to minimise impact on ...
Peter Green's user avatar
  • 2,908
7 votes

What was the first multiprocessor x86 motherboard?

The DEC Rainbow (1982) was built with two CPUs on the motherboard. One was an 8088 and the other was a Z80. It could run 8 bit CPM, 16 bit CPM, or MS-DOS. When running MS-DOS, the 8080 was used ...
Walter Mitty's user avatar
  • 6,158
6 votes

What was the first multiprocessor x86 motherboard?

If you expand the criteria to include systems where the two CPUs are not on the same circuit board, the Intel ISBC 86/12 from 1979 is a Multibus-compatible single board computer. Later, the Compaq ...
snips-n-snails's user avatar
6 votes

What was the first multiprocessor x86 motherboard?

Does an Apple II motherboard count? Back circa early 1981, I used a design similar to that of the Z80 Softcard to prototype an 8088 softcard that could do asymmetric shared memory multiprocessing ...
hotpaw2's user avatar
  • 8,277
6 votes
Accepted

Can you help me identify this AMD 386-DX40 motherboard?

Not a full identification, but a hint from the chipset: It's an Acer (ALI - Acer Lab Inc) M1429, a somewhat late (1993+) ISA/VLB chipset for 386 and 486 systems. South Bridge is M1431 of the same ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 226k
6 votes

How can I tell if my old PC supports > 137 GB hard drives?

That BIOS screen clearly says that it detects the drive as roughly 8 GB. The parameters say 16383/16/63 as so this BIOS cannot detect or provide the extended disk services that would allow the drive ...
Justme's user avatar
  • 33.9k
6 votes

Identifying motherboard and CPU

Going by pinout and socket type it's a pretty generic 80386DX (*1) board based on the VIA FLEX I chipset (SL90xx). Probably 1990/91ish. It would need a better set of photos - especially of the ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 226k
5 votes

Award BIOS error code meaning

Found it! It was the CPU voltage setting, and the onboard VGA had to be disabled too, for some reason it didn't detect the VGA card. It turned out to be a little tricky. Now it works!
Tamás Polgár's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

CPU slaves on a PCI card to retrofit single processor to multiple processors. Any ideas how?

CompuPro did this in the olden days, with 8-bit and 16-bit CPU slave cards with a 16-bit or 32-bit main CPU. But there were a few differences from what you are suggesting: Each CPU had its own RAM. ...
manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact's user avatar
5 votes

What is a DVD add on card?

In old days of early DVD drives, CPUs were so slow that even high-end CPUs would struggle to play an MPEG-2 stream from the DVD disc, so an add-in card with an MPEG-2 decoding ASIC was required by ...
alkhalaf's user avatar

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