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meerkt
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Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Sun May 05, 2019 7:30 pm

Originally, maybe before release, they had in there a lot of small tedious assembly fixes for older 80386 steppings:
http://web.archive.org/web/201101151718 ... 14521.aspx

(A shame on the blog redesign there + deleting years of interesting comments + Wayback Machine having trouble showing comments in newer snapshots.)
Last edited by meerkt on Sun May 05, 2019 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Sun May 05, 2019 7:34 pm

I saw it "running" on a 486 with not enough RAM once, but never a 386. That's interesting.
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Sun May 05, 2019 7:40 pm

"Run" in the style of a wounded sloth, especially if (like many 386 systems) it had only 4 megs of RAM.
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Sun May 05, 2019 7:40 pm

Assuming you had adequate RAM I seem to remember that Windows 95 ran just fine on later 486 processors like the DX2-80/DX4-100/DX4-120.
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Sun May 05, 2019 7:42 pm

I mean, the system requirements list a 386DX so obviously it would run on a 386...

Image
 
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Sun May 05, 2019 7:47 pm

jihadjoe wrote:
I mean, the system requirements list a 386DX so obviously it would run on a 386...

Image


Showing Internet Explorer on the back of the box, that must be Windows 95b then, I believe. IE came with the Windows 95 plus pack originally.
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Sun May 05, 2019 8:43 pm

I have memories of swapping out the many floppies to install Win95 on a friend's 386 way back when. Can definitely confirm it worked... but can't say it was pleasant.
 
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Sun May 05, 2019 9:01 pm

I saw it done once - a friend's father was utterly determined to get it running on a 386 laptop with a bluescale passive matrix screen. I think it might have even fallen short of the minimum requirements, lacking a 386 DX or the like. He was successful(?) in the end, but it threw up errors constantly and was so slow as to be useless even if it was working well. The lag between clicking the Start button and the menu opening was multiple seconds.
 
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Sun May 05, 2019 10:07 pm

Yes, and I saw it running on one personally. A high school friend's parents had a Compaq-manufactured 386 into which they'd somehow shoved 28 MB RAM, and it ran Windows 95... very... very... slowly. It was pretty stable, but working on it required a definition of patience that bordered on the geological.
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Sun May 05, 2019 10:18 pm

The 386DX-33 was 1989, and I know Intel was still releasing new budget 386SX models as late as 1992, so they wouldn’t have been as ancient as they seem in ‘95. Given enough RAM, I’d expect a 386DX to run any of the Win9x variants.

The biggest problem would probably be finding 30-pin SIMMs in high enough density to amount to anything meaningful.
 
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Sun May 05, 2019 11:07 pm

jihadjoe wrote:
I mean, the system requirements list a 386DX so obviously it would run on a 386...

Is that your box? I'm envious - I only have an OEM copy of Windows 95 OSR2, so just the CD + manual.
 
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Sun May 05, 2019 11:48 pm

Remember internal names and folder still called i386 before we now call x86 vs x64.
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Mon May 06, 2019 2:17 am

arunphilip wrote:
jihadjoe wrote:
I mean, the system requirements list a 386DX so obviously it would run on a 386...

Is that your box? I'm envious - I only have an OEM copy of Windows 95 OSR2, so just the CD + manual.

Unfortunately no. Mine got water damage while it was stored in the attic.
I have a few surviving boxes from that era, but they're all of games which I kept displayed inside the house rather than in storage.
 
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Mon May 06, 2019 6:03 am

jihadjoe wrote:
arunphilip wrote:
jihadjoe wrote:
I mean, the system requirements list a 386DX so obviously it would run on a 386...

Is that your box? I'm envious - I only have an OEM copy of Windows 95 OSR2, so just the CD + manual.

Unfortunately no. Mine got water damage while it was stored in the attic.
I have a few surviving boxes from that era, but they're all of games which I kept displayed inside the house rather than in storage.

Thank you.
 
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Mon May 06, 2019 6:47 am

I did have it installed on a 386dx 25mhz with a math co and 4mb ram. slow as all get out but yes it did work.

a 486 dx 33 with the same amount of ram was a marked improvement!

I think the fastest machine I ever had win95 on was a amd 486 dx3 100mhz with 16mb ram. I remember it was a VLB machine but I'm not sure what video card was in it. Tseng maybe?

This same machine also ran redhat linux, windows 98, windows nt 4.0, and os/2.

My amd athlon 1000mhz was the last machine with multi-boot. which ran Windows 2000, windows xp 32bit, os2, and linux. (I have no idea why I installed os2 on it I never used it.)
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Mon May 06, 2019 7:20 am

The Egg wrote:
The 386DX-33 was 1989, and I know Intel was still releasing new budget 386SX models as late as 1992, so they wouldn’t have been as ancient as they seem in ‘95.

I'm guessing later 386 releases were for specialized markets, and not consumer products. Yet, the blog post recounts Microsoft spending time on workarounds, by the sound of it somewhat extensive, for pre-1987 80386 hardware bugs.

The cadence of the hardware market may have been different in the early 90s, but still, Win95 on 386 is a bad match, probably even 486.
BTW: Funny-sad to think how much progress CPUs made during the 80-90s, compared with more recently.

Flying Fox wrote:
Remember internal names and folder still called i386 before we now call x86 vs x64.

I took it to mean the 32-bit architecture that started with the 386, but indeed, perhaps.

Aranarth wrote:
I think the fastest machine I ever had win95 on was a amd 486 dx3 100mhz with 16mb ram.

Fastest? Ouch.
 
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Mon May 06, 2019 7:43 am

meerkt wrote:
The Egg wrote:
The 386DX-33 was 1989, and I know Intel was still releasing new budget 386SX models as late as 1992, so they wouldn’t have been as ancient as they seem in ‘95.

I'm guessing later 386 releases were for specialized markets, and not consumer products. Yet, the blog post recounts Microsoft spending time on workarounds, by the sound of it somewhat extensive, for pre-1987 80386 hardware bugs.

The cadence of the hardware market may have been different in the early 90s, but still, Win95 on 386 is a bad match, probably even 486.

486's were still being sold in 1995. While most probably originally came with Win3.1/DOS, they ran Win95 just fine with enough RAM. Indeed, The Egg's Main Rig v1.0 (the first PC which was specifically "mine") was an AMD 5x86 133mhz -- a glorified maxed-out 486 with a little extra cache. It ran Win95 with ease. The "Pentium 75" rating sounds about right, depending on the circumstance. It wasn't as fast as the family Pentium 100, but wasn't terribly far off either.

As probably the fastest non-Pentium x86 chip, now I'm kindof curious as to how far that chip could've gone.
 
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Mon May 06, 2019 8:01 am

Aranarth wrote:
I think the fastest machine I ever had win95 on was a amd 486 dx3 100mhz with 16mb ram. I remember it was a VLB machine but I'm not sure what video card was in it. Tseng maybe?

This same machine also ran redhat linux, windows 98, windows nt 4.0, and os/2.

My amd athlon 1000mhz was the last machine with multi-boot. which ran Windows 2000, windows xp 32bit, os2, and linux. (I have no idea why I installed os2 on it I never used it.)

When I got to university and had a fast Internet connection in my dorm room, I would download and check out all the operating systems I could get my hands on: Red Hat, FreeBSD, some Linux distro that had themed KDE to look exactly like MacOS, - I remember trying the BeOS 5 preview on an AMD K6-2 400, just to see what it was.
 
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Mon May 06, 2019 8:07 am

Yep, I've tried Windows 95 OSR2 on my second hand Am386 DX 40MHz, and it did run. I think I had something like 32MB of RAM in there at the time (only 8MB now). It does crawl on a 386, but it does run.

I run DOS/WFW 3.11 on that machine normally.

Windows NT 3.51 should also run on a 386. Actually Windows NT 3.51 and Windows 95 are the last MS OSs that will run on the NexGen Nx586, due to that Pentium Competitor only having a 386 level instruction set.

The Egg wrote:
As probably the fastest non-Pentium x86 chip, now I'm kindof curious as to how far that chip could've gone.


The fastest Socket 3 chip actually released in any volume I think was the Cyrix 5x86 120MHz (40MHz bus speed). Faster clock for clock than a 486.
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Mon May 06, 2019 8:41 am

srg86 wrote:
Yep, I've tried Windows 95 OSR2 on my second hand Am386 DX 40MHz, and it did run. I think I had something like 32MB of RAM in there at the time (only 8MB now). It does crawl on a 386, but it does run.

If you were able to amass 32MB, I'm slightly jealous of that system. Any idea on whether AMD chips played nice with Intel 387 co-processors?

srg86 wrote:
The Egg wrote:
As probably the fastest non-Pentium x86 chip, now I'm kindof curious as to how far that chip could've gone.

The fastest Socket 3 chip actually released in any volume I think was the Cyrix 5x86 120MHz (40MHz bus speed). Faster clock for clock than a 486.

I built alot of Cyrix/IBM 6x86 systems back in the day (for a family thing we had going on), but for some reason I thought they were all Socket 5/7. In any case, it sounds like they were more "Pentium class" chips, shoehorned to fit on an older socket, ala Pentium Overdrive. I think I'd still rather have the AMD 5x86, as my experience with Cyrix chips was that they were steaming piles of unstable crap. :x
 
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Mon May 06, 2019 9:04 am

Fastest super socket 7 machine I had was a amd k6-III 450mhz.

I don't remember if it was over clocked to that speed or if it came that way.
It had a massive cooler on it and the case had lots of fans.

I had 512kb cache on board as a level 3 cache plus the onboard l2 cache on the chip.
I remember it had dimms so it might have had 512mb ram. I think it had EDO but might have had sdram.

All that along with a nvidia TNT made for a fast gaming machine.
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Mon May 06, 2019 9:26 am

The Egg wrote:
The Egg's Main Rig v1.0 (the first PC which was specifically "mine") was an AMD 5x86 133mhz -- a glorified maxed-out 486 with a little extra cache. It ran Win95 with ease. The "Pentium 75" rating sounds about right, depending on the circumstance. It wasn't as fast as the family Pentium 100, but wasn't terribly far off either.

As probably the fastest non-Pentium x86 chip, now I'm kind of curious as to how far that chip could've gone.

Pretty reliably to 160MHz as indicated in the Wikipedia article, if you had a motherboard that would do 40MHz bus. I stumbled across one well after it was current, but before I got rid of my last VIA-based 486 motherboard and accessories. It did 160 with nothing but a decent heatsink. Usually the problem usually wasn't the CPU, it was PCI devices balking at the higher bus.
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Mon May 06, 2019 9:33 am

Aranarth wrote:
Fastest super socket 7 machine I had was a amd k6-III 450mhz.

I don't remember if it was over clocked to that speed or if it came that way.
It had a massive cooler on it and the case had lots of fans.

I had 512kb cache on board as a level 3 cache plus the onboard l2 cache on the chip.
I remember it had dimms so it might have had 512mb ram. I think it had EDO but might have had sdram.

All that along with a nvidia TNT made for a fast gaming machine.

Sounds pretty similar to my last Super 7 rig, except I managed to snag a K6-III+ for a final upgrade. The III+ ran much cooler than the original K6-III, and would overclock to 600MHz with ease (no heroic cooling measures required). Beyond 600MHz it would start to get MMX errors. OCed it was capable of performing on par with the lower-clocked Durons in many applications.

That III+ rig got moved to Starfalcon's hoard "museum" a few years ago...
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Mon May 06, 2019 10:17 am

ludi wrote:
The Egg wrote:
The Egg's Main Rig v1.0 (the first PC which was specifically "mine") was an AMD 5x86 133mhz -- a glorified maxed-out 486 with a little extra cache. It ran Win95 with ease. The "Pentium 75" rating sounds about right, depending on the circumstance. It wasn't as fast as the family Pentium 100, but wasn't terribly far off either.

As probably the fastest non-Pentium x86 chip, now I'm kind of curious as to how far that chip could've gone.

Pretty reliably to 160MHz as indicated in the Wikipedia article, if you had a motherboard that would do 40MHz bus. I stumbled across one well after it was current, but before I got rid of my last VIA-based 486 motherboard and accessories. It did 160 with nothing but a decent heatsink. Usually the problem usually wasn't the CPU, it was PCI devices balking at the higher bus.

Yeah....I remember the Cyrix 6x86 chips I mentioned above using a non-standard 83mhz bus. The resulting non-standard PCI bus clockspeed was likely the cause of most of their instability.

Speaking of my AMD 5x86, I believe my board had PCI slots. I used it to play many hours of C&C Red Alert, Duke Nukem 3D, and Diablo. I don't quite remember what type of memory tech it had, but for some reason I feel like it was something better than 72-pin SIMMS. Maybe I'm wrong.
 
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Mon May 06, 2019 10:22 am

ludi wrote:
The Egg wrote:
The Egg's Main Rig v1.0 (the first PC which was specifically "mine") was an AMD 5x86 133mhz -- a glorified maxed-out 486 with a little extra cache. It ran Win95 with ease. The "Pentium 75" rating sounds about right, depending on the circumstance. It wasn't as fast as the family Pentium 100, but wasn't terribly far off either.

As probably the fastest non-Pentium x86 chip, now I'm kind of curious as to how far that chip could've gone.

Pretty reliably to 160MHz as indicated in the Wikipedia article, if you had a motherboard that would do 40MHz bus. I stumbled across one well after it was current, but before I got rid of my last VIA-based 486 motherboard and accessories. It did 160 with nothing but a decent heatsink. Usually the problem usually wasn't the CPU, it was PCI devices balking at the higher bus.


I've heard people swear up and down that there was a tiny handful of 5x86's which - when very well-cooled and installed in great motherboards - could manage 200 MHz. In the era of the Pentium that had to be the strangest mixture of impressive and underwhelming to see firsthand. Integer performance wouldn't have been half-bad, but I'd be surprised if the floating point managed to match that of a Pentium 90.
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Mon May 06, 2019 10:36 am

As I recall some chips of the era just had their heatsinks plonked down on top with no thermal interface material at all, and TDPs were usually below 35W as an absolute max.
I bet we could get some awesome OC out of older hardware just by mcgyvering a modern heatsink onto it.
 
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Mon May 06, 2019 10:49 am

jihadjoe wrote:
As I recall some chips of the era just had their heatsinks plonked down on top with no thermal interface material at all, and TDPs were usually below 35W as an absolute max.
I bet we could get some awesome OC out of older hardware just by mcgyvering a modern heatsink onto it.


It was very common for slower 486s to not have a heatsink at all. I expect the same was true of older Intel chips.
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Mon May 06, 2019 11:06 am

Concupiscence wrote:
ludi wrote:
The Egg wrote:
The Egg's Main Rig v1.0 (the first PC which was specifically "mine") was an AMD 5x86 133mhz -- a glorified maxed-out 486 with a little extra cache. It ran Win95 with ease. The "Pentium 75" rating sounds about right, depending on the circumstance. It wasn't as fast as the family Pentium 100, but wasn't terribly far off either.

As probably the fastest non-Pentium x86 chip, now I'm kind of curious as to how far that chip could've gone.

Pretty reliably to 160MHz as indicated in the Wikipedia article, if you had a motherboard that would do 40MHz bus. I stumbled across one well after it was current, but before I got rid of my last VIA-based 486 motherboard and accessories. It did 160 with nothing but a decent heatsink. Usually the problem usually wasn't the CPU, it was PCI devices balking at the higher bus.


I've heard people swear up and down that there was a tiny handful of 5x86's which - when very well-cooled and installed in great motherboards - could manage 200 MHz. In the era of the Pentium that had to be the strangest mixture of impressive and underwhelming to see firsthand. Integer performance wouldn't have been half-bad, but I'd be surprised if the floating point managed to match that of a Pentium 90.


Found a couple articles:
Socket 3 Motherboards And Pushing Their Limits
The Ultimate 486 Benchmark Comparison

You're more or less right on the money. Integer performance is good, but even with lots of clocks (200mhz), the FPU probably falls somewhere between a P90 and P100. Some of the results are mildly questionable; it'd be nice to see a professionally done roundup (though getting the parts would be quite difficult at this point, and I doubt anyone would spend the time).
 
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Mon May 06, 2019 11:11 am

Windows 95 can run on a 386. I have seen it before and it sure wasn't a pleasant experience.
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Re: Did you know Win95 could run on 386?

Mon May 06, 2019 12:05 pm

jihadjoe wrote:
TDPs were usually below 35W as an absolute max.

Checking some Pentium 133MHz, it's 11W TDP and 12W max.

30-35W was end-of-generation Pentium II/IIIs, like Pentium 3 1GHz with 33W max (the nominal is probably less).

No heatsink goo is such a nice bonus.

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