|2012/1995 Creeping Net 486 DX4-100|
BUILT:12/26/2012, Lynnwood WA
LINEAGE:Creepingnet P200MMXT, CN XT-II, Flight 386/CN#1, IBM PC-330/CN#2
CHASSIS:circa.1987 Songcheer XT Clone Chassis, N.O.S., bjsurplus (CA), E-bay, 2004, $45.00
PSU:J.D.R. MicroDevices 200 Watt XT Power Supply
MoBo:First International Computer (F.I.C.) 486-PVT VESA Local Bus Socket 3
CPU:AMD Am486 DX4-100 SV8 (WriteBack Cache Enabled!!)
SYS RAM:64MB Fast Page non Parity 72 pin SIMMS x4
FDD:1.44MB Mitsumi 3.5" Floppy, 1.2MB 5.25" Mitsubishi
HDD:LianLi RH17 Mobile Rack with guts from an RH37 model (black) on Pri IDE Master (PTI-255W VLB) - with the following drives
GFX:S3 805 SVGA VESA Local Bus video card with 2MB VRAM
SND:Creative Labs SoundBlaster AWE64 Bronze, No Wavetable Board (yet)
NET:LinkSys EtherFast PnP ISA 16 Ethernet, 10mbps
O/S:Depends on the Caddy installed....
If these computers were songs on the first Van-Halen record, this would be the "Eruption" in the track listing. It's my vintage tech skills wrapped into a ball and executed at high speed (especially considering the generation and age of the hardware). It's a 486 DX4 that performs on the level of a Pentium 90 while retaining it's "486-ness", my goal all along, while having some modern functionality such as CD-Burning, CD-Ripping, DVD-Ripping, EAD, CAD, Composing in MIDI and DIgital Audio (yes, I have recorded guitar rock with this computer....CakeWalk is a feat of 90's software engineering I swear). It surfs the modern internet via Links and RetroZilla (and I'm toying with making some hacks to Opera 3.62 to bring Windows 3.1x up to the modern level as well, I've done it before back when YouTube was flash). It's got bits of Creeping Net 1, 2, 3, LT4, and the CAT in it. It's only a social media client (Instagram) and a few security protocols shy of being usable as a daily driver - yes a 486 Daily Driver IN 2021!! In FreeDOS no less!
Aside from "claims" that people probably think are outright lies or just downright ridiculous (because they are not, I've been doing this for over 20 years now, I know my stuff), this machine is my favorite desktop, in part because I rolled it myself. About the only way I could make it better is find a GEM 386 DX-20 chassis to put it in (the full AT Deskpro style case), and it would be my perfect retro-PC. I mean who would not want a DOS retro-system that had all of the inconveniences and difficulties of running a Vintage PC weeded out? I mean, I have Windows 95 with a 34 second boot time and virtualized CDs, I have FreeDOS with a TEN SECOND boot time and it uses standard ISO files for virtual CD-ROMs using SHSUCDHD, I have Windows For Workgroups 3.11 so stable the only General Protection Fault I see is when messing with cloning FNaF into Klick N' Play and Foxy gets in the office! This thing is like Project EUNUCH From Temple Ov Thee Lemur - except it's real, and it just might have barely enough oomph to run Half Life (actually, it just might have enough to run FNaF too, lol, I got the startup screen to appear briefly in Windows 95 OSR 2.5 - that's actually quite an achievement for a game that requires a PEntium 1). Basically, the goal with this computer was to take the Pre-Pentium x86 platform and shove it to it's aboslute limits beyond what TCN was doing in the 2000's.
It's called the "Monster Truck" because just like Bob Chandler's original Bigfoot, it's using parts from some pretty unconventional sources to achieve the unthinkable. Currently the highest benchmark is ripping at flat-out with a 128GB SSD in FreeDOS in PIO-Mode 4 with UniVBE loaded into memory via TSR, with a 10 second boot time, or managing to run things that say "Do Not use with 486" like Diablo and having a user experience like you're running that same game on a Pentium 100. Of course, it does help I have Pentium-level cache capabilities (WriteBack vs. WriteThrough), more L2 cache than most PEntiums (the REady 9522 I had and my P/75 both have 256K L2, this has 512K - all three are WriteBack mode). It's also the first PC to use a SATA adapter too (so I can use modern SATA drives with this thing too, yep, a 486 that technically uses SATA....either I've gone fully cracked, or I'm ramping things to the next level). The drives each get MASTER on their own channel so they can screech along at full speed without interference from the DVD-RW drive, which means xfer speeds on this thing, especially with modern drive, remove the one last bottleneck a 486 has - the hard drive.
So what do I actually run on this thing? A heck of a lot actually. In FreeDOS, I run a lot of virtualized CD-ROM games like The 7th Guest, Shivers, A.D. Cop, as well as some of the newest DOS releases such as Post Apocalyptic Petra, or the hilarious "P" (nothing screams ridiculous immature fun than a blocky low-res DOS game, a first person pisser, where a pissed off Scott keeps shouting "I really gotta' pee!"), or even running some much later games such as GTA London, Diablo, or Quake (yes, this thing runs Quake, and it's probably the best 486 for that....at risk of sounding like an episode of Top Gear.....In the world). I surf the internet in just about any browser imaginable, from Links in DOS, all the way to older versions of Mozilla Firefox in windows 2000 (yes, I had a 2011 release running on a 486 - it was slow, VERY slow, but it managed to surf the web surprisingly well considering it's a program that usually uses up about 8x the RAM on a modern system). E-mail (I've found some TLS 1.2 compliant clients for various platforms), IRC, BBSes, PCB Design, Guitar Tabs, MIDI Composing, DIgial Audio Workstation, game development, writing pages for this site - you name it, this thing has done it. So this is not your average "vintage" PC, it's something unique and special.