To Intel or not to Intel, that is the question. (And hardware compatability)

Jason Burrell (
Sat, 22 Nov 1997 13:43:57 -0600 (CST)

I'm looking to spend a few hundred bucks to upgrade my P133. Basically
what I'm going to do is buy probably 64MB of RAM, a new motherboard, a new
processor, and a pair of Ethernet cards. I'll use the P133 as an auxillary

Anyway, I've run into a lot of questions regarding hardware compatability,
which processor would be the best (for lack of a better way to phrase it)
for what I want to do, etc. I'm not much of a hardware guy. Given the
postings concerning processors and the fact that both processor support
and hardware support take place primarily in the kernel I'm posting here.

First, network cards. I'd eventually like to network the P133, the new
box, and another new box together, all of which bounce between Linux, DOS,
Winblows 95, and Winblows NT boots. The P133 and one of the new boxes will
probably end up sharing disks and such. I've found two places selling
Ethernet cards (10BaseT and BNC) for about $30. I believe they're "D-Link"
brand. The problem is that the blasted things are PnP. The Linux kernel
wouldn't like this very much, I don't think, because 'isapnp' is a
userspace utility. Is there an easy way to get around this with Linux or
can I forget booting the P133 with its root partition on NFS? Not a real
big deal in any case since I can slop a 540MB drive in the P133 and mount
everything else under NFS. I'd like to use IP masquerading to let the P133
talk to the net. My new box will call my ISP and get one IP address and
the P133 bounces the traffic off of the new box.

The big issue isn't network cards, but rather the processor and
motherboard. I was looking into getting an SMP motherboard and slopping
two Cyrix 6x86 200s on it. I can get the 6x86s for about $130 or so but I
haven't been able to find a decent SMP motherboard for a reasonable price.
It might also cause problems with MS-DOG and Winblows '95 I hear, so I've
pretty much dropped the idea and decided to spend the cash on more memory
and cache.

P-IIs are too expensive particularly after you add in the motherboard
cost. It would be a shame to go buy a Genuine Intel Pentium with the
F00FC7C8 bug. The Cyrix 6x86-PR200s are around $130, but have their fixed
the FPU suckage yet? A year or so ago the Cyrix had an absolutely horrible
FPU from what I heard, read, and saw. I don't know anything about the K6.

Assuming I want to play the occasional game under Winblows 95, Winblows
NT, and DOS, run the occasional graphics or CAD app under 95/NT/DOS, do
some raytracing from time to time, do some software development under
Linux and NT/95/DOS, run random Linux apps (LaTeX, lout, newsreaders,
ghostscript, yada yada yada) and run X11 but don't want to spend an arm
and a leg which processor would be the best to get (opinions, of course)?
I'd prefer to get out of the processor and motherboard situation for
somewhere under $500. I'd prefer to stay away from mailorder; due to a bad
experience I had once I'd much rather have the retail store I buy the
stuff from slop the processor on the board, and the board in the case.

I just want the most bang for my buck. Doesn't everyone? :)

If I get a lot of private responses which aren't copied to the list I'll
summarize and post.