thinking of the "ultimate" retro x86 PCs - what bits to seek/keep ?

william degnan billdegnan at
Fri Jun 3 08:39:51 CDT 2016

In the late 80's early 90's all PCs, obviously, were nothing like the plug
and play we have today.  Most the major players who made controller cards
provided driver disks with their hardware.  You're going to have issues
with any manufacturer, drivers are always an issue when working with
orphaned hardware slapped together into a single system that was never
originally built that way.

The reason I am suggesting Dell in particular is that their 386/486 stuff
was when they were "the best" growing company with the best value.
Compared with contemporary Compaq or HP stuff of the same years I'd always
find Dell easier to work with.

EISA?  You'd better start snapping up spare parts now, this is not a bus
that I would pick as my ultimate 386/486 bus if I planned to support it in
the future, too hard to find parts.  Go with what's cheap now on Ebay, iSA
and SCSI.

Just so you know, I have Dell from this era but also Compaq, Gateway, IBM,
HP, Digital Equip Corp, Packard Bell (it was good then too).  No clones.
Quietly I have been waiting for 386/486 to become "vintage"....I remember
when on this list you'd get your head snapped off if you brought up an IBM
5150...time moves on.


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