Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-9-23 @ 13:59

Jade Falcon wrote:nice Idea for the jumpers. I like it.

Thanks! It becomes really handy once you start experimenting with the CPU settings and by the same time want to have a clean desk. And it is really fast now, just a matter of a few seconds to change the CPU configuration.

I am just reporting back in from my first testing session this weekend. And it looks good! :)

But first, what did I do? I wanted to rule out incompatibilities etc. between the games and the stuff I've been loading for DOS to keep a very low memory footprint. So I simply reinstalled DOS 6.22 and just used what is there by default. I have added lines for EMM386 and the CD-ROM driver, as well as the mouse driver. I have installed the AWE64G drivers and configured the card. Then I have optimized the config.sys and autoexec.bat, without loading anything "modern" or special from 3rd parties. The result is this:
    retro1_test3_mem.JPG
    Memory Report

Then I disabled the L1 cache and tested Sam & Max again, and everything worked, no system freeze.

Next was Day Of The Tentacle, and now it worked too. I fired up Monkey Island 1 & 2, and they worked flawlessly. Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis too, MIDI and SFX + speech, all working. That's really great news for me :)

Now I can move on to identify the best CPU settings for DOS (the fastest settings on which everything still works). If everything works with a single CPU setting (e.g. Pentium MMX @133MHz), and the rest can be dealt with by disabling the L1 cache in addition, that would be really cool. Then I would just have to change the CPU settings to "DOS" if I wanted to play in DOS, and back to normal (233MHz) when booting into Windows 95. Not too complicated. If I can keep the system bus frequency @66MHz (it worked for now), then I just have to toggle one or two switches to change the CPU internal multiplier.

I still have to test a few more games under DOS but those weren't exactly troublemakers in the past (Monkey Island 1 CD-ROM, Full Throttle, The Dig). Maybe I can get through the DOS testing this weekend. That would be great. I could then aim for reinstalling Windows 95 and setting that up on the next weekend.

Current settings:
    - System bus @66MHz
    - CPU internal multiplier @2.0
    - CPU clock rate @133MHz

Test results (MS-DOS 6.22):
    + The Secret Of Monkey Island (EGA): Soundeffects (AWE64G) + MIDI (CM-32L) working
    - The Secret Of Monkey Island (CD-ROM): TBD
    + Monkey Island 2: Soundeffects (AWE64G) + MIDI (CM-32L) working
    + Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis: Soundeffects & speech (AWE64G) + MIDI & special soundeffects (CM32L) working
    + Day Of The Tentacle: Soundeffects & speech (AWE64G) + MIDI & special soundeffects (CM-32L) working
    + Sam & Max Hit The Road: Soundeffects & speech (AWE64G) + General MIDI (SC-55) working (with L1 cache disabled only)
    - Full Throttle: TBD
    - The Dig: TBD
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-9-24 @ 13:47

I have now tested every game I want to run on Retro 1 (in DOS), and everything seems to work :)

Test results (MS-DOS 6.22):
    + The Secret Of Monkey Island (EGA): Soundeffects (AWE64G) + MIDI (CM-32L) working
    + The Secret Of Monkey Island (CD-ROM): Soundeffects, music & speech (AWE64G) working
    + Monkey Island 2: Soundeffects (AWE64G) + MIDI (CM-32L) working
    + Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis: Soundeffects & speech (AWE64G) + MIDI & special soundeffects (CM32L) working
    + Day Of The Tentacle: Soundeffects & speech (AWE64G) + MIDI & special soundeffects (CM-32L) working
    + Sam & Max Hit The Road: Soundeffects & speech (AWE64G) + General MIDI (SC-55) working (with L1 cache disabled only)
    + Full Throttle: Soundeffects, music & speech (AWE64G) working
    + The Dig: Soundeffects, music & speech (AWE64G) working

There was a little struggle with The Dig. It refuses to run when attempting to start it from HDD. I had all files copied into a DIG directory (on D:), but after starting it, it directly dropped back to the command prompt, stating that it was unable to load MUSCRIPT.SCR. After some testing, all I had to do was to create a DIG folder on C: so it would think it runs from CD (D:) and would just save the IMUSE.INI to that folder. All other files still reside in D:\DIG. After doing that, everything worked.

Then I created batch files to launch each game without having to memorize which parameters to use on which game's executable.
    retro1_test3_start_folder.JPG
    Game batch files

Next steps:
    - Install Windows 95c & all drivers
    - Install BootMagic 7.0
    - Install Windows adventure games (and configure them to run without CDs)
      - The Curse Of Monkey Island (+ copy all files from CDs to disk)
      - Grim Fandango (+ copy all files from CDs to disk and set registry flag for "good_times")
      - Escape From Monkey Island (+ copy all files from CDs to disk and apply one of the working no-cd patches)
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-9-25 @ 06:54

This weekend's testing was pretty successful, which is a nice change... :cool: The DOS part of Retro 1 is therefore close to being finished! What's left is extensive testing of the installed games to challenge the system, especially for the CPU speed sensitive ones (Day Of The Tentacle and Sam & Max Hit The Road).

    Sam & Max would just freeze at launch with a black screen when the system is too fast, so I'm going to assume that it should be fine now (I'll play through the entire game soon enough anyhow).

    With Day Of The Tentacle the case is somewhat different. From what I've read the game can even crash at random times when the system is just slightly too fast. So, to make sure it works, testing actually means playing through the entire game. Brief testing at my current settings (Pentium MMX @133MHz, L1 cache disabled) at least showed that everything seems to work, all sound, music and speech was there, no animation and scripting issues (before, some animated sequences would just hang, in addition to having garbled sound effects and no speech at all). Basically, all symptoms I previously encountered are gone. Therefore, it looks very promising.

With Windows 95c, everything should be straightforward. Neither The Curse Of Monkey Island nor Grim Fandango are CPU speed sensitive (Grim Fandango had a bug with then very fast CPUs >400MHz making a puzzle impossible to solve, but this was patched and my system is well below that clock rate anyhow), and for Escape From Monkey Island the Pentium MMX @233MHz is fast enough to run it (minimum specification: Pentium class CPU @200MHz). And everything tested OK on the earlier Pentium Pro 200MHz 1M setup.

Then BootMagic 7.0 gets back into the game again, and Retro 1 will be ready to use. At this stage I'm going to make a backup of the entire system and store it on my server. Next in line will be either Retro 2 or Retro 3.

Note: All games on Retro 1 will run directly from disk, so no need for keeping a pile of CDs next to the system and constantly inserting and removing them depending on which game I want to play. In the past, I didn't care, but over the years, more and more games came out that didn't need the disc they came on after installation. I got used to that comfort really fast (this is no absolution for the DRM usually applied to achieve this; I despise that). I always try to get my old games running without having to use the precious original discs. Storage space is no issue anymore today, especially for retro systems, so here we go. One 2GB partiton is enough for all the data of the games I want to play in DOS. Only The Secret Of Monkey Island CD needs an extra treatment. I couldn't find a way to mount *.cue/*.bin images under DOS (this disc has data & audio mixed mode and therefore won't work as *.iso). But it is the only one, and as I don't need the ODD for anything else after everything's installed and running, I'll just keep the disc in the drive all the time. No disc pile, no disc switching, problem solved... ;)
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby Andy1979 » 2017-9-25 @ 14:46

Glad you got everything working, sounds like a real balancing act. Now you can enjoy playing the games :-)
My Retro systems:
1. AMD 386SX-40, 4mb RAM, AVGA1, DOS 6.2
2. Pentium 133, 48mb RAM, Matrox Millennium 2mb, 3DFX Voodoo 4mb, DOS6.22 / Win95
3. Pentium III 650 (to be constructed)
4. Core2Duo E6600 (to be constructed)
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-9-26 @ 06:43

Andy1979 wrote:Glad you got everything working, sounds like a real balancing act. Now you can enjoy playing the games :-)

Thanks! Yeah, I would have never thought that configuring this system would be such a nightmare. But for now it seems that everything's working. I am really looking forward getting back to all those adventure games in their (almost) original hardware and software environment :-)

Retro 1 is by far the most important system of my bunch of retro machines, emotionally. Of course there are many other games I enjoyed almost as much as the Lucasfilm/LucasArts adventure games but these were really something special for me. I have replayed them a lot of times, thanks to DOSBox and keeping a tiny Windows XP system for that and the Windows adventure games.

It is sad that the Pentium Pro setup had to be dropped for Retro 1 but in this case it is more important to me to fully achieve the planned result (running all these games) rather than sticking with the planned solution and having to compromise on the result.
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-9-28 @ 18:11

voodoo5_6k wrote:Then I created batch files to launch each game without having to memorize which parameters to use on which game's executable.

In addition to that I have created a tiny batch file echoing the available commands onto the screen to make it even easier. This file is C:\START\MENU.BAT and called via AUTOEXEC.BAT after navigating to C:\START. I have modified each of the batch files starting the actual games to navigate back to C:\START and call MENU.BAT after exiting the game, effectively returning to the same screen after each gaming session.

    retro1_dos_start_menu.JPG
    "Start Menu"
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-10-02 @ 06:40

voodoo5_6k wrote:Next steps:
    - Install Windows 95c & all drivers
    - Install BootMagic 7.0
    - Install Windows adventure games (and configure them to run without CDs)
      - The Curse Of Monkey Island (+ copy all files from CDs to disk)
      - Grim Fandango (+ copy all files from CDs to disk and set registry flag for "good_times")
      - Escape From Monkey Island (+ copy all files from CDs to disk and apply one of the working no-cd patches)

This weekend I was mainly occupied with repairing one of our front gates, not much time was left for working on my retro computing list.

Windows 95c is now installed, this time directly from disk so that I don't need to insert the Win95 CD each and every time a setting or driver is changed. I have copied the entire CD to the DOM using xcopy32 from the Win95 boot floppy with the /e switch (to include subfolders) on the CD root directory. Then I launched setup directly from the DOM. BootMagic 7.0 (together with PartitionMagic 7.0) is installed too and thus allowing to easily switch between DOS and Windows. Unfortunately, that's about it already.

One interesting observation. First, the background: I wanted to move the virtual RAM to a dedicated DOM with 512MB. The idea was born as some sort of risk mitigation. The constant reads/writes of the swap file will at some point exhaust the available read/write cycles of the flash cells (although the Transcend DOM I am using are made from SLC flash and should therefore live a little longer as cheaper MLC ones). When that point is reached, data will be lost (i.e. the OS installation, configuration, game data etc.) and a lot of time will have to be invested to get the system working again. Moving the virtual RAM to a dedicated DOM will therefore only lead to loss of the swap file (and a BSOD most likely) because there is nothing else on that DOM.

Now the observation: I had this DOM (512MB) partitioned as a single FAT32 partition. Windows Explorer has no issues with that, showing it as a working, empty drive/partition. However, it is only shown as a working but entirely full drive/partition in the virtual RAM manager (all other FAT32 partitions were fine though and could have been used). It was only correctly detected after reformatting it as a single FAT16 partition. Odd.
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-10-04 @ 07:08

Yesterday was a public holiday and I had some free time in the afternoon. I quickly installed all the drivers and Grim Fandango as well as Escape From Monkey Island. I still can remember what difference it made back then when I saw games running on my Voodoo5 with activated FSAA (4x Rotated-Grid Super-Sampling Anti-Aliasing, as close as you can get to image quality perfection... without using a Voodoo5 6000 of course ;)). And in case of those two games which are limited to 640x480 it was even better. You don't see the low resolution anymore, no more blocky edges on characters and objects. A great visual enhancement, this almost feels like a new game :) I have attached a screenshot of each game, showing the lead character in close-up, with many varying edge angles in front of contrasting backgrounds. Compare this to screenshots of how the games look without that...

The reason for having a Voodoo5 5500 PCI in this system:
    grim.png
    Grim Fandango @3dfx 4x RGSSAA
    monkey 4.png
    Escape From Monkey Island @3dfx 4x RGSSAA

Note: When you download the image file and enlarge it, you can have a look at how the edges have been treated by the FSAA. The next time I'm working on Retro 1 I'll try to make screenshots of identical scenes with and without FSAA for better comparison.
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-10-11 @ 07:05

Over the last couple of days I had some spare time available and worked on Retro 1 again. I reinstalled Windows 95 because I saw a resource conflict in the device manager between the MPU-401AT and the AWE64G. In addition, the AWE64G setup routine did some strange things. It turned the MPU-401AT into an SB16 compatible device and configured the SB16 emulation for very odd resources. And it refused to change it. This never happened before (on the VS440FX). There weren't any issues with that, in terms of sound output. However, I got so annoyed that I decided to reinstall Windows 95.

In order to avoid the resource issues I had reserved IRQ09 in the BIOS. And after installing Windows, I didn't use any setup routine for drivers. This time, I installed all drivers via the device manager (Voodoo5, AWE64G and Intel network card). Hence, I don't have any Creative Labs software installed and don't use the 3dfx Tools (and could therefore skip the Internet Explorer update).

For the Voodoo5, I'm doing all driver configuration within the registry. Assuming you are using Windows 9x, the relevant keys are under "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\Display\000x\D3D" and "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\Display\000x\Glide" respectively (whereas "000x" is the placeholder for your card's actual identifier in your system; in mine it is the "0001", "0000" being the initial standard VGA adapter device).

Note: Not all keys are there after installing the driver. The document attached below lists all available keys. In case the key for the setting you are wanting to tweak is missing in your system's registry you have to create it.

All details in regards to the available keys are documented here (the document could formerly be found on the FalconFly 3dfx Archive):

Since I'm not really changing any settings after the initial configuration (both 3D games are D3D and use identical settings), that's fine for me. However, I have exported my settings from the registry and have a batch file on the desktop which will write the settings back into the registry. Command: regedit /s mysettings.reg (the /s switch surpresses the notification pop-up before actually writing to registry; "mysettings.reg" is obviously a placeholder for the real filename). This way, driver profiles can be created if needed for other games.

So, the Windows 95 installation is now almost pristine. The only additional software is PowerQuest's PartitionMagic & BootMagic, and the three Windows based LucasArts adventure games, plus the aforementioned drivers.

All three games are running directly from disk. Escape From Monkey Island needed a no-cd patch. Normally, I would have used the replacement launchers from bgbennyboy (Quick and Easy Software) for all three games, but they don't work under Windows 95. These launchers are, in the truest sense of the word, a quick and easy way of getting these games running from disk without the need for CD swapping. I can highly recommend them to everyone (well, except for the Windows 95 users of course ;)). Since these launchers were not an option now, I had to deal with the task manually.

    For Escape From Monkey Island I still had a working no-cd patch in my archive ("working" means, that in addition to running the game from disk you still have the music, which is the biggest issue for this game), from the time when the replacement launcher did not yet have the no-cd feature. So, no big deal.

    Grim Fandango just needs to be installed and patched. Then you just copy the contents of the Grimdata folders on the CDs to the disk, overwriting everything except for the patched files (these files can easily be identified because they of course have a different date/time stamp after being patched). Then you need to create the "good_times" entry in the registry with a value of "trUE", and that's it.

    The Curse Of Monkey Island basically doesn't need anything. The easiest way is just copying everything to disk. Then create a shortcut to COMI.EXE (not CURSE.EXE, the launcher, that won't work) and you're set (on NT based systems you most likely will need to set compatibility to Win95). Another way is to install the game, then copy everything to disk, delete the registry entries and change the game's shortcut to COMI.EXE instead of CURSE.EXE (the launcher will complain about not finding the CD; you can work around that by changing the "source" registry entry from pointing to your CD drive to the game's root folder on the disk; but after that the game will complain about not being able to load font0.nut; I haven't found a way around that yet). After having launched the game this way I found that I could restore the registry settings and it would continue to launch without issues.

Current state is that all games, under DOS & Windows, are launching, all sound effects, music, speech etc. seem to be working correctly. Both DOS and Windows are configured, BootMagic is doing its job... Basically, Retro 1 is about finished :)

Next thing is extensive testing a.k.a. playing all games :cool: Then, setup either Retro 2 or Retro 3.
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-10-17 @ 07:17

A first update from testing...

I had selected Day Of The Tentacle to start with because it gave me the most headaches in the last couple of weeks... Unfortunately, I could reproduce the feared random crashes others had experienced (the game stops working but the music keeps on playing), usually within 5-10 minutes of gameplay (including cutscenes). Testing the game with the MMX @133MHz (66MHz x 2) and all caches off wasn't enough (usually, I just let SetMul deactivate the L1 cache and keep the L2 activated). I tested with the MMX @100MHz (50MHz x 2) which is the lowest supported setting because the 1.5 multiplier is treated as 3.5 by the MMX. But this still wasn't enough. I did try increased 16-bit and 8-bit I/O recovery times, but this too didn't yield any positive results.

Then I gave the TR12 options of SetMul a try. I just had read recently that those do in fact work on supposedly all MMX CPUs. I didn't have time to run actual benchmarks on this but after disabling all the available options, I could play Day Of The Tentacle for way over 30 minutes without any crash! Unfortunately, I didn't have time to play any longer, I'll have to do this on the weekend. If this turns out to be working (i.e. no more random crashes) I'll try to isolate the combination of individual settings that actually makes it working...

Available settings:
    - System bus (SPDT switches on the back of the case):
      50MHz, 55MHz, 60MHz, 66MHz
    - Multiplier (SPDT switches on the back of the case):
      2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5 (1.5 for non-MMX)
    - Internal cache (L1) (BIOS or SetMul):
      Enabled/Disabled
    - External cache (L2) (BIOS):
      Enabled/Disabled
    - TR12 (SetMul):
      BPD (Branch Prediction disable),
      VPD (V-Pipeline disable),
      L1DX (L1 cache disable exclusively),
      CCD (Code Cache disable),
      DCD (Data Cache disable)
    - 16-bit I/O Recovery Time (BUSCLK) (BIOS):
      1 (default), 2, 3, 4
    - 8-bit I/O Recovery Time (BUSCLK) (BIOS):
      1 (default), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-10-24 @ 13:59

I have performed several tests with Day Of The Tentacle and the bottom line is that there is no way to play it on Retro 1 without random crashes. Even with the MMX @100MHz and all TR12 options turned off those crashes still occur. The frequency is lower but they do occur.

This basically disqualifies the current Retro 1 setup. It can run Sam & Max - Hit The Road what couldn't be done on the Pentium Pro configuration, but now I have another game that doesn't run properly. It would have been really nice to have this set of games on a single machine with real DOS and Win95. But with the parts at hand it can't be done, unfortunately.

Now I'm back at square one or the drawing board, thinking about how to achieve my goal. I have to admit that I am considering dropping DOS and in lieu using DOSBox.

One concept I have in mind is using a socket 370 motherboard with ISA slots (e.g. Intel BX, like the Asus CUBX-E) and a 1.4GHz Tualatin CPU (in the BX example that would be a Celeron 1.4GHz, keeping the FSB @100MHz). That way I could at least use the available set of add-in cards including the MPU-401AT although it wouldn't be doing all that much when applying DOSBox. The 1.4GHz Tualatin CPU should be powerful enough to emulate a 486 @66MHz in DOSBox according to this information, the CPU requirement for The Dig, the latest of the DOS based adventure games. Once Retro 2 has a working Win98SE installation I can test what DOSBox performance can be expected from a comparable setup (on a modern machine running DOSBox I use 30,000 cycles for The Dig to allow for a litlle headroom).

I wouldn't necessarily have to dual-boot anymore using this concept as DOSBox can run on Win9x, like the remaining adventure games. This way, all games can be launched from a single OS which is definitely a nice touch. The downside is that this would then just be another DOSBox machine; it would just be using more old hardware then my other ones (and a way older OS).

If I decide to go down that route I will however have to acquire a few "new" parts.
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby Cyrix200+ » 2017-10-24 @ 14:20

voodoo5_6k wrote:<snip>

One concept I have in mind is using a socket 370 motherboard with ISA slots (e.g. Intel BX, like the Asus CUBX-E) and a 1.4GHz Tualatin CPU (in the BX example that would be a Celeron 1.4GHz, keeping the FSB @100MHz). That way I could at least use the available set of add-in cards including the MPU-401AT although it wouldn't be doing all that much when applying DOSBox. The 1.4GHz Tualatin CPU should be powerful enough to emulate a 486 @66MHz in DOSBox according to this information, the CPU requirement for The Dig, the latest of the DOS based adventure games. Once Retro 2 has a working Win98SE installation I can test what DOSBox performance can be expected from a comparable setup (on a modern machine running DOSBox I use 30,000 cycles for The Dig to allow for a litlle headroom).
<snip>


DOTT not working might be a fluke? If it is just that maybo some more troubleshooting is needed?

Finding a BX board that can handle a Tualatin will be hard (impossible?), because of the lower voltage. Maybe a Slot 1 system with a PowerLeap PL-ip3/T or one of those Socket 370 adapters (lin-lin or something like that?). I use an Asus P2B with a PL-ip3/T. Maybe you also need a modified BIOS.
Chaintech 6ITM | Pentium Pro 200MHz | Matrox G200 | SCSI | Windows NT4
AOpen AX59Pro | AMD K6-3+ 450MHz | Windows 98SE
Tyan Tiger 230T | 2x Pentium III-S 1.4GHz | ATi Radeon 9100 | Aureal Vortex 2 | Windows 2000
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-10-24 @ 17:11

Cyrix200+ wrote:Finding a BX board that can handle a Tualatin will be hard (impossible?), because of the lower voltage. Maybe a Slot 1 system with a PowerLeap PL-ip3/T or one of those Socket 370 adapters (lin-lin or something like that?). I use an Asus P2B with a PL-ip3/T. Maybe you also need a modified BIOS.

Native Tualatin support on a BX motherboard? Yeah, that's most likely impossible. But I already have a modified BIOS for CUBX-E with added Tualatin microcodes. Now I need to pin-mod a Tualatin from FC-PGA2 to FC-PGA (or buy one) and it should work... In my Retro 2 I already have a Tualatin on a FC-PGA only motherboard (D815EEA2 with Tualatin supporting BIOS). Works great!
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby agent_x007 » 2017-10-24 @ 17:34

You only need a dual adapter (Slot-1 to 370 + this : LINK) ;)

Example :
9800 XT 440BX + Tualatin mini.png
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-10-29 @ 14:45

Just a quick update today. I'm now evaluating a new motherboard. If the system turns out to be fast enough for DOSBox I might decide using that instead of trying to get everything working on a single machine in real DOS...

Asus CUBX-E, with latest BIOS (+ added Tualatin microcodes), Intel 440BX, socket 370:
    retro1_test4_cubx-e.JPG

I will try to get a Tualatin Celeron 1.4GHz (pin-modded), but until then I will use my fastest 100MHz FSB CPU, the Pentium III 1.1GHz.
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-11-08 @ 20:13

Still no real update, I'm currently busy with other things, unfortunately. At least the system is now fully assembled and a basic Win98 installation is running. Drivers and tools are still missing though. I'm planning to get back working on this on the weekend (at least let it run a few hours of Prime95 to check whether everything's still OK under full load). Until then, a few pictures of the system.

Quick specifications: Pentium III 1.1GHz, Asus CUBX-E, 2x 256MB Micron PC100 CL2, 32GB Transcend IDE SSD (the rest is the previous Retro 1)

    retro1_test4_system.JPG
    System Overview
    retro1_test4_post.JPG
    POST
Note: Exhaust fan and the large CPU heat sink plus 8cm fan was a really tight fit :cool: I have already flashed the Tualatin supporting BIOS for the CUBX-E in case I should get my hands on a Tualatin Celeron 1.4GHz... On the other hand I don't really want to disassemble the CPU heat sink... I'm hoping that the 1.1GHz Coppermine is fast enough for DOSBox (for The Dig specifically, 486 DX2/66 is the CPU requirement on my boxed copy).
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-11-12 @ 19:50

Today, I have installed the missing drivers and set up the system so it at least could execute DOSBox. I only wanted to test The Dig in DOSBox, because it is the most demanding game of the few I want to run (in DOSBox). As I mentioned before, I already have a DOSBox setup on a modern machine, and I use 30,000 cycles in the The Dig config. Well, 30k is too much for the Pentium III 1.1GHz on Win98, but the game ran fine when I slowed it down to 20k cycles. Well, that's looking good. Videos played smoothly and sound and speech were there, no audio issues. Seems to run fine! I'll do more testing in the next days. Now, the system is running Prime95 for 4h already, no issues so far. The CPU is running @43-44°C at the moment, the CUBX-E has a temperature of 36°C (PC Probe readout). Overall, I'm happy :cool: Maybe, I won't even try to get the Tualatin Celeron. Everything seems to run pretty fine and I do like the Pentium III 1.1GHz somehow ;)

I'll try to get some photos uploaded tomorrow when I find the time for that, it'll be a pretty busy week unfortunately :blah:
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-11-13 @ 07:18

Quick update: The system ran Prime95 over night with its case being closed. I stopped execution before heading to work. It completed over 14h without errors or warnings, and the temperatures were stable all the time (max. 45°C for the CPU and 36°C for the CUBX-E). The system should be fine to run some games!
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-11-13 @ 10:11

Since both earlier incarnations of Retro 1, a Pentium Pro and a Pentium MMX, were not able to run all the games in scope of this system (especially the DOS portion of games), I (re-)turned to DOSBox for that part. Trying to keep it at least somewhat "retro", DOSBox should be executed on a system with ISA slots to allow usage of all planned add-in cards. A fast socket 370 system seemed like the way to go. Real ISA slots on an Intel chipset meant 440BX, and that defined the CPU as a 100MHz FSB CPU. My available Pentium III 1.1GHz CPU will be used and tested. In case it should not be fast enough, I'll have to get a Tualatin Celeron 1.4GHz CPU. The BIOS already has the respective microcodes included.

Retro 1:

System specifications:
    CPU: Intel Pentium III 1.10GHz
    Cooler: Thermaltake Silent Boost + Noctua NF-A8 FLX
    Mainboard: Asus CUBX-E (BIOS 1008 with Tualatin microcodes)
    RAM: Micron 512MB PC100 CL2 (2x 256MB)
    PSU: Enermax EG301AX-VE(G) 303W
    Case: Compucase CI-7106W ATX + Noctua NF-A6x25 FLX

Add-in cards:
    PCI1: 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 PCI 64MB + 2x Noctua NF-A4x20 FLX
    PCI4: Intel PRO/100+ Management Adapter
    ISA1: Roland MPU-401AT
    ISA2: Creative Labs Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold

Drives:
    FDD: Alps Floppy Drive
    SSD: Intel SSDSC2CW060A310 60GB
    ODD: Plextor PX-740A

I/O Devices (via KVM):
    Display: Eizo FlexScan F520
    Keyboard: Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro
    Mouse: Logitech S96
    Speaker: Canton Plus Media 3

MIDI Devices:
    Roland Edirol UM-550 (5 in/5 out MIDI patcher, provides access to the CM-32L and SC-55 for currently three systems)
    Roland CM-32L
    Roland SC-55

A few pictures of the system:
    retro1_mb.JPG
    System Overview
    retro1_cpu+ram.JPG
    Pentium III 1.1GHz + 2x 256MB Micron PC100
    retro1_vga.JPG
    Voodoo5 5500 PCI
    retro1_mpu-401.JPG
    MPU-401AT
    retro1_sb.JPG
    Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold

Edit:
- Corrected ISA slot numbering
- Updated SSD model & pictures
Last edited by voodoo5_6k on 2017-11-19 @ 08:56, edited 2 times in total.
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Re: Reconfiguring my retro machines to remove OS redundancy…

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-11-13 @ 10:11

...Continued from above. More pictures:
    retro1_ssd.JPG
    Intel SSD
    retro1_psu.JPG
    Enermax PSU
    retro1_fdd+odd.JPG
    Alps Floppy & Plextor DVD
    retro1_detail.JPG
    Case Badge

And the MIDI rack...
    retro1_midi.JPG
    MIDI rack

Tasks already completed for Retro 1:
    + Install Windows 98 SE
    + Install drivers
    + Install DOSBox
    + Copy DOSBox game data folders from current DOSBox machine
    + Check system stability with Prime95 (completed 14h+ run with closed case, no errors or warnings)
    + Install The Curse Of Monkey Island, Grim Fandango & Escape From Monkey Island

Tasks left for Retro 1:
    - Testing of DOSBox configurations and all games

Edit:
- Updated SSD picture
- Updated task list
Last edited by voodoo5_6k on 2017-11-20 @ 08:06, edited 2 times in total.
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: P3 1.1, 512MB, Voodoo5, AWE64G, MPU-401AT (CM-32L+SC-55)
2: P3-S 1.4, 512MB, Voodoo5 (6000), Audigy2 ZS
3: P4 3.4EE, 4GB, FX 5900 Ultra (Ti 4600), X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro
4: X5470 3.33, 8GB, GTX 580 3G, X-Fi Ti Fatal1ty Pro
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Posts: 138
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