PowerBoard Experience

Model 60/65/80 PowerBoard
Model 50/70 PowerBoard

Content created by Sandy. Edited by Major Tom.


You can download BIOS update program, Reference/Diag and drivers for Reply products HERE.

There are several planar upgrades for Models 70 and 80 - such as TurboProcessor, PowerBoard, Replay OEM planar and such. I got my Reply upgrade planar together with associated manuals (original for M80 and a copy set for M70). Both manuals clearly states they are for "PowerBoard". So I refer Model 80 Replay planar with 4 SIMM slots and Model 70 planar with 3 SIMM slots as "PowerBoard".

CPU Support

M70/M80 PowerBoards are capable to handle DX2-50 to DX4-100, 5x86 and PODP. DX4-100 and Cyrix 5x86 can be used without an interposer. If you want to use AMD 5x86-133 you need to use an interposer. I personally feel Cyrix 5x86 is the targeted CPU for these planar.

Manual says:
   486SX/2-50 *1, 486DX/2-66, or 486DX4-100 processors (standard options at time of order) along with supports for future OverDrive compatible processors.
Note: *1 is not listed in M80 manual.

Cyrix 5x86
Just put it on the ZIF socket directly and set J15 "speed" jumper unplugged. If you run DOS, Win3.1, Win9x or NT4, you'd better use appropriate cache programs to activate L1 cache W/B feature. I've been using ET586.exe by Evergreen which is contained in et9603.exe.

et586.exe setting on my M80 P/B:

/CCR2=56 /CCR4=1D /PMR=3 /WBE

You may remove the "/PMR=3" and "/WBE" arguments.

AMD 5x86/133-ADZ
I tested AMD 5x86 together with a PowerLeap interposer (and some Japanese made interposers). AMD 5x86 in 133MHz operation will give higher performance result under DOS and Windows 95 bench programs than Cyrix 5x86. But I feel Cyrix is faster than AMD 5x86.

PODP5V83 (PODP or P24T)
Runs nicely on the board. L2 cache problems are reported here and there. I don't have experienced any trouble with a 126K L2 cache pulled from PC720 (Japanese domestic 486 class hybrid MCA-PCI system).


EIDE interface
I vaguely remember that PowerBoard FAQ in Neo Interactive said that the board didn't support ATAPI CD-ROM. But actually I connected a Sony CDU-511 x8 drive on my M70 P/B and installed Win95 with the drive.

Max. amount is limited to 64MB. (and actually system will not recognize RAM more than 64MB neither Win95 recognize actual RAM beyond 64MB. I don't think himem.sys in PC-DOS7 will help.)

Onboard CL-GD5434 is a nice chip. You'd better use additional VRAM's and expand to 2MB. Performance will be boosted with additional 1MB of SOJ chips.

L2 Cache
Haven't ever seen a genuine Reply option for this socket. Socket itself is same with that of 9585 and Lacuna. I have an 126KB L2 module pulled from Japanese system which is called "L2 SuperCache". It works nicely so far.

P/B and SCSI /A

I had no remarkable problem with this adapter. In order to use SPOCK SCSI under Win95, do not attach any IDE devices off from onboard IDE interface.

F/W SCSI II/A (Corvette)
Most possibly Corvette may not be properly configured on the board. So far I haven't ever heard about successful installation.

AHA 1640
I failed to use and haven't heard any success report.

Future Domain MCS700
Not yet tested but maybe OK.

OS Compatibility

MS-DOS compatibility mode under Windows 95

System run in MS-DOS compatibility mode even you don't have IBM SCSI.

Windows 95 uses wrong resource table for HD interface for MCA system.
To solve this problem, go Start>setting>controll pannel> system>device maneger>
Thenselect standard ESDI/HD controller, open properties and check resource table.
Most possibly configuration #1 with IRQ 15 is automatically assigned by Win95.
Change the configuration set #1 to #0 which has IRQ 14, select OK and reboot system.
PowerBoard will run in full featured mode.

Windows 98
ODPRDX4-100, AMD5x86 and PODP can't be used together with SPOCK SCSI even if any IDE devices are not connected off from onboard IDE connector.
Change your CPU to a Cyrix 5x86 (x3 model).
I don't know why but Cyrix solved this problem for me.

Without IBM SPOCK, P/B can take any of above CPUs .
You'll get trouble if you use AMD 5x86 in x4 speed with x4 capable interposer such as PL586 or Evergreen's one (I could not even configure Cx5x86-133 x4 under Win98).

CL-GD5434 can be configured properly for 16 bit color depth in 1024x768 resolution.
TokenRing /A's are OK ( but haven't tried Streamer family ).

I myself haven't ever tried any OS2 flavors on my M80 PowerBoard. It was told ( among people in MCA forum here ) that Warp4 will crash during installation.

But here is a comment from Hakan to the PS2 News Group.
"I run Warp 4 + FP15 successfully on several PS/2-80 machines with
Reply Powerboards, each with a Cyrix-586 processor and 64MB of
memory. No problems, they all work very well. Despite the larger
footprint of Warp 4 over Warp 3, I prefer the updated Warp 4 UI and
the ability to run the latest code. "

Runs nicely. ET9603.exe contains cache driver for NT4 - et586nt.exe.

Please do not ask me about Linux.

I've seen many defective M70/M80 PowerBoard planars. Seems like they are not that well designed. If you get a good one, you are just *lucky*.

Overclocking (8570 PowerBoard) - You can change the base clock from 33MHz to 40MHz if you are a good soldering iron man click here.

Content created and/or collected by:
Louis F. Ohland, Peter H. Wendt, David L. Beem, William R. Walsh, Tatsuo Sunagawa, Tomáš Slavotínek, Jim Shorney, Tim N. Clarke, Kevin Bowling, and many others.

Ardent Tool of Capitalism is maintained by Tomáš Slavotínek.
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