Upgrading EduQuests

Introduction
Memory Upgrades
Processors
Video Upgrades
Hard Disks

Based on content by William R. Walsh (original HERE). Edited by Major Tom.


Introduction

The EduQuest models covered here include Thirty, Forty and Fifty. I don't have any other EduQuest at the time, so if yours isn't listed, have a look inside and compare to the notes here. Your system may only be slightly different and might be able to use the same memory that a model listed here uses.


Memory Upgrades

Models 30 and 40 both use the same type of memory. They take 30-pin SIMMs with or without parity. There are four SIMM slots on-board. You can use up to a 4 MB 30-pin SIMM. These models also have soldered memory chips (they're located underneath the floppy drive) and these can give you either 1 MB or 4 MB of RAM depending upon model. The easiest way to check and see how much soldered memory you have is to power the machine with all SIMMs removed or look carefully at the planar — sometimes there is a small table with two RAM configurations in it and it will have one of them marked with a dot.

The EduQuest Model 50 is a vastly different design internally and uses 72-pin SIMMs, parity or non-parity is your choice. I don't know at this point what the maximum size is, but I would think the machine could handle at least two 16 MB SIMMs in the sockets. There is no on-board memory in this system.


Processors

For the Model 30, no upgrade for the soldered IBM 486SLC CPU is known to exist. IBM doesn't seem to have implemented the disable pin as Intel did with the 386SX and clip over upgrades don't work.

Model 40: In addition to the soldered 486SX CPU, IBM provides what is called a 487 socket. This socket can be used with any 486 CPU — in fact, the 487 chip is just a 486DX with a different name and it turns the soldered CPU off. While some systems may require the use of a 487 or a CPU that is wired to ground the soldered the 486SX CPU's disable pin, IBM seems to have taken a more "intelligent" approach with this system and any 486 CPU that can be inserted into the socket should work just fine.

Warning: To avoid damage to your CPU, make sure that if it runs on 3 volts that you have an appropriate voltage regulator installed. Otherwise the CPU may be destroyed over a period of time or immediately when the power is turned on.

The Model 50 is by far the most upgradeable EduQuest. It features a Zero Insertion Force (ZIF) CPU socket and it has the needed extra pin row to accommodate the Intel Pentium OverDrive 66 and 83 MHz processors. This socket can also handle 3 volt 486 CPUs with no additional voltage regulator as one is built on the board.

Note: While it is believed (at this time) that the EduQuest Model 50's 3 volt regulator for the CPU is automatically enabled when needed, this has not been proven. Proceed at your own risk.


Video Upgrades

For the Model 40, video is provided with an on-board ATI Mach32 Graphics Accelerator chip. 512 KB of video RAM is provided with both systems, and an open socket exists where you can install an upgrade memory chip to presumably reach 1 MB VRAM, which will give you more colors on screen at once for all supported resolutions.

William's bitter experience:
   I have installed countless VRAMs into the upgrade socket with no change in the detected amount of video memory by ATI diagnostics. These same VRAMs have worked in many other video cards with no problems.

Cathode Ray Dude reports success:
   I recently received an EduQuest 40, and it arrived with an upgrade chip installed in the VRAM socket. The additional memory appears to be recognized by the system! HWiNFO reports 1024 KB of DRAM. It will be some time before I can test to see if it fully functions, but since the machine was dusty and in otherwise-stock condition I doubt this was the work of a modern hobbyist, especially since it's the exact same part that's soldered to the board — Samsung KM416C157AJ-7. So it appears that this upgrade *is* possible, and the machine may even have shipped that way.

The Model 50 uses a Cirrus Logic 5434 video chip. This comes with 1 MB VRAM and you can upgrade to 2 MB. I have attempted this upgrade using VRAMs that didn't seem to work in the 30 & 40 and the new VRAM was detected and set to work immediately.

An external monitor can be plugged into all models for dual display of the same screen or the internal display can be disabled in setup if desired. This is handy if you want to run a display mode beyond the abilities of the built-in screen.


Hard Disks

The EduQuest Model 40 has on-board Future Domain TMC-950 SCSI. This SCSI system is bootable, but maximum size limits for the hard disk are not known at this time and it may be better suited to devices like CD-ROM drives as opposed to actually being used as a bootable device.

All other EduQuests can use any standard IDE hard disk you can find. For sizes larger than 528 MB, you will need to use a disk manager program to help the system use your hard disk to its fullest capacity.

Note: For some reason the EduQuest 30 and 40 are unable to boot the DR-DOS operating system as used by many disk manager programs. This issue can be resolved by hacking the boot disk on which the disk manager is stored and replacing the system files with those from DOS or Windows 9x. I had originally intended to place a disk image up here, but it would only work for a limited brand of hard drives and might be subject to copyright protection or some other condition which would not allow redistribution. So you'll just have to make your own if the disk manager available to you doesn't boot on the EduQuest like it should.

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

Ardent Tool of Capitalism - MAD Edition! is maintained by Tomáš Slavotínek.
Last update: 28 Sep 2022 - Changelog | Legal Info & Contact