AMD AM386 DX-40 MOTHERBOARD

Am386DX-40.jpg

AMD introduced some new 80386 compatible processors and a new motherboard with the AM386 DX-40 was procured to improve the overall system performance. A Cyrix FasMath 387DX-33 Coprocessor was then installed on the FPU socket which provided much improved floating point performance.

AMD 80386DXL is a fully static microprocessor, object-code and pin-compatible with 80386DX CPU. The DXL processors had lower power consumption than Intel 80386DX CPUs. Power consumption could be reduced even further by reducing CPU frequency. If necessary, the CPU could be stopped completely without losing the content of CPU registers. In this mode maximum power consumption of the CPU was less than 0.001 Watt.

SLOTS

  • XT form factor
  • 5x 16-bit ISA slots
  • 3x 8-bit ISA slots

The AMD 386-40 is a powerful CPU that runs MS-DOS very well. The motherboard has 8 slots of memory which can bring the RAM to as much as 8 MB which enough for Windows, 1MB RAM is still expensive so most installed the cheaper 128KB, 256KB or 512KB modules. RAM is still very expensive and no real relief is in sight.

The ISA slots are industry standard. Fewer cards are needed with the integrated IDE and floppy controller. The VGA card and a modem were about all that was needed. 16-bit sound cards popular as well.

Some motherboards like the OEM model I bought have soldered processors. Some motherboards had the CPU soldered on a pin grid board to be used on Intel based motherboards. The soldered processor was not a major problem as the board was very powerful and I believed it would be viable for a long time.

Hard disks are now widely available and MS-DOS and Windows both work well on the hard disk. With a pair of IDE headers its possible to use dual hard disks or a CD-ROM which is a growing option.

CYRIX 387 CHIP

The Cyrix FasMath FPU is a powerful floating point processor that is actually very affordable. Intel’s logic is very expensive so Cyrix sold a lot of 387 compatible chips. Other FPU chips performance poorly compared to the Cyrix which won the market.

The 384-40 and FPU was powerful enough to handle ray tracing. Images now could be done in under an hour even at 800×600. 1024×768 images are still an overnight affair. POVray is procedurally defined so its not impossible to make some very interesting images.

courtesy POV ray gallery
This POV-Ray picture of a beach of pebbles was generated entirely using POV code. No modelers were used at all. The image features radiosity and focal blur to give it that realistic feel, and took 4.5 days to render on an Athlon 5600+.
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