Motherboard

First, to answer the #1 question popping up in comments after each ordering window closes – yes, there will be more devices available in near future (several weeks). So if you missed it this time just try again later.

Now, I belive I promised some nudes a while ago and today I finally had the time to deliver. This is for those who actually appreciate all the R&D and testing work I put into my devices.

Step 1 – research and secure suitable replacements. The one on the left I bought in unknown condition, the right one was gifted to me. Obviously I’m going to try the faster one first 🙂

Step 2 – disassemble Marty, locate the original CPU. The hard part is actually keeping track of all the screws, I like to put them back in the exact place I removed them from. Marty can have either Intel or AMD 386SX in it, I think AMD was more common since it used smaller process and run cooler with less power. At the very least the Intel one is a low power variant.

Step 3 – remove original CPU. Don’t inhale the flux smoke, label says it causes death or worse. BTW be careful not to short or overheat your CMOS/RTC battery. I have mine replaced with a holder.

Step 4 – retire old CPU. Don’t discard it in case the new one is dead or damaged. This is also why I had 2 to choose from (and a backup solution in form of an AMD 386SX on an old PC board).

Step 5 – so far so good, clean the pads. This is the most stressful step for me as it can be very easy to rip pads/traces on these older PCBs if you’re not careful.

Step 6  – solder the new CPU in, enjoy your 486SX2 Marty.

Do note that the CPU says 50 (as in, 25×2) but the actual clock is what the crystal generator next to CPU provides (32/2=16). So it’s actually 16MHz CPU still but when you enable the internal clock multiplier it will be 32MHz. And this is really the only way of doing it unless you replace the generator too – but then you’ll have problems with the rest of the mobo being overclocked, which it might not like.

Also, the clock multiplier and internal cache is disabled after reset (in order not to cause any compatibility issues) and has to be enabled by software. Which Marty BIOS won’t do, obviously. So you only get a small boost from 486 advanced pipeline but you’ll still be limited by the clock and memory bus. Game images have to be modified to include a small program to be run before the actual game executable – and that will be easier with ODE, obviously.

Advertisements

Null Sheen

Phoebe batch is almost done, sorry for the delay but I run out of bubble wrap and ordered a new roll but it got lost somewhere, I had to order yet another one and wait for it to arrive. On top of that my weekends are quite busy now.

I’m going to take orders for Rhea on Thursday, it’s a free day here. Gives me opportunity to unload the Saturday a bit. Sorry the last batch got sold out in minutes, I really have no idea why, it was actually bigger than usual. I try to plan these things well in advance and with such crazy ups and downs it’s quite difficult to balance the production.

In other news, I’m looking for 386 owners, early Intel pre-D1 stepping. I don’t think AMD ever made those due to Intel lawsuit but if you do have such AMD chip I’m interested in it as well. Basically I’m trying to verify if my CPU bug detection code actually works on other stuff than POPA (which is common even in AMD processors) so I need a known defective CPU to test on. I will ask you to run some DOS executables I prepared and report the results. I can make the tests run headless, booting from a floppy and write the result to a file – that’s in case you don’t have a working monitor or it’s a laptop with dead LCD/backlight.

You can test what stepping your 386 is by running NSSI from here: http://www.navsoft.cz/products.htm (boot your system without EMM386). Value of 8 is D1 (for AMD it’s reported as B but it’s actually a clone of Intel D1). Do note FM-Towns machines can’t run that program (and most of PC DOS stuff actually) and Gen3+ are D1 anyway, though perhaps the very first Towns is actually using something older.

Anyway, if you have an old 386 and would like to help out please leave a comment. AMD 40MHz owners need not apply – these things are too new 🙂

UPDATE: Orders open closed.

Royalty

I’m pretty much done shipping GDEMUs and so now Phoebe is in full swing. Time to plan ahead.

I would like to start the DocBrown batch but it seems there has been a lot of interest in my ODEs lately and I agree it would be unfair if a small batch was sold out in seconds, only to be resold for profit. There’s nothing wrong with that in general but if the actual Marty owners can’t get DocBrown at all then what point is there in me setting a fixed price.

So… I will open orders for DocBrown on Saturday but with a twist. Once you place the order I will contact you and demand a proof of Marty ownership. To make it simple – every Marty has a serial number sticker in the SRAM card bay area. Make a legible photo of that, that’s all. If, for some reason, your Marty has lost that sticker we will work something out – dont’ worry.

This will make sure actual owners get the ODE and if there is still interest I will just make another batch for anyone to buy, that’s in case you’re planning on getting Marty but don’t have it just yet. I think that’s fair and also I can make the batch smaller or bigger if needed. So this will be a true preorder since I don’t have the PCBs ready yet.

Oh and to make this clear, if you try to order DocBrown but can’t provide the proof I need I will remove you from the list. And if there are a lot of such entries I will think of some sort of punitive action – you were warned. I want this to be a nice, slow-paced preorder for once.