My first DOS build

Showcase your Retro PC / Build logs.

My first DOS build

Postby Wolfus » 2019-6-24 @ 11:10

Hello!
Few weeks ago I decided to build my DOS PC. In nineties I owned Commodore 64 and next Amiga 1200. Then I bought my first PC, but it already came with Windows 98 SE, so this is my firs DOS-building experience. Some time ago my parents in law bought new house. I went there to help them throw out previous owners' "waste" from basement and attic. There I've found old Siemens-Nixdorf PC which I decided to keep. I cleaned it, replaced dead disk with IDE-SD adapter with 2GB card and installed DOS (the biggest pain in the a** ever - Phil's YT videos helped me a lot).
Next step was additional HW sound (ESS 1869F) and network card (3COM 3C509B).
Sooo... now it looks like:

Motherboard with i430HX chipset (https://stason.org/TULARC/pc/motherboar ... S-301.html)
Pentium 75
16 MB RAM
Onboard Cirrus Logic 5436 w/ 2MB RAM
ESS 1869F
3COM 3C509B
2GB SD to IDE
DVD-RW (original CD-ROM still works but does not read CD-RW so it is a bit useless)
PS2 keyboard and mouse
15" LCD (no place for CRT)

Everything works like charm now, every game has music and sounds (normal on Amiga, miracle on DOS PC) so the question is, what should be next step? Do you have any suggestions? I am looking for better VGA (maybe not necessary), more RAM (the more the better, up to cacheable limit) and finally, better CPU.
Wish me luck ;-)
User avatar
Wolfus
Newbie
 
Posts: 67
Joined: 2019-5-24 @ 11:05
Location: Slovakia

Re: My first DOS build

Postby SirNickity » 2019-6-24 @ 21:14

For DOS, you won't do much better than that. 16MB is plenty, and the Cirrus chip is pretty decent as well, provided it's on a 32-bit local bus. If you wanted to dabble in Win95, I would bump the RAM to 32 or even 64MB. Otherwise, no need.
SirNickity
Oldbie
 
Posts: 825
Joined: 2018-11-08 @ 04:51

Re: My first DOS build

Postby Wolfus » 2019-6-24 @ 21:48

SirNickity wrote:For DOS, you won't do much better than that. 16MB is plenty, and the Cirrus chip is pretty decent as well, provided it's on a 32-bit local bus. If you wanted to dabble in Win95, I would bump the RAM to 32 or even 64MB. Otherwise, no need.


Thanks for advice. On the page with MB specs is table with RAM configurations. There is a row: 64MB - (2) 4M x 36, (2) 4M x 36. Does it mean that I have to use modules with 4MB per chip or I can use sth like this?
https://pc.bazos.sk/inzerat/99170009/64MB-EDO-RAM.php
For now I am not sure if I will use this rig for W95. Maybe I'll try WFW3.11.
User avatar
Wolfus
Newbie
 
Posts: 67
Joined: 2019-5-24 @ 11:05
Location: Slovakia

Re: My first DOS build

Postby Katmai500 » 2019-6-27 @ 21:26

430HX is a fast chipset for later Pentium's. If the 75 MHz chip is holding back any software you want to run, a Pentium 133 or 166 would be right at home and period correct in that motherboard.
User avatar
Katmai500
Member
 
Posts: 168
Joined: 2017-10-31 @ 14:08
Location: USA

Re: My first DOS build

Postby Wolfus » 2019-6-27 @ 22:05

I just found a guy in my town who is selling some CPUs and he has P133 and he also has 2x8MB EDO modules for sale. Hope he still has it.
User avatar
Wolfus
Newbie
 
Posts: 67
Joined: 2019-5-24 @ 11:05
Location: Slovakia

Re: My first DOS build

Postby SirNickity » 2019-7-02 @ 17:47

You should check and see if that P75 is one with the FDIV bug. They're a little more collectible. (And, IMO, interesting -- even or especially if you're not likely to ever run into the bug.)

Wolfus wrote:On the page with MB specs is table with RAM configurations. There is a row: 64MB - (2) 4M x 36, (2) 4M x 36. Does it mean that I have to use modules with 4MB per chip or I can use sth like this?


I never really pay that much attention to the topology of the RAM modules, TBH. I can't imagine the 430HX would care what chips are used, provided the RAM PCB is wired equivalently. Just as a heads-up, it looks like this board uses ECC though -- hence x36 and not x32. You might want to check your BIOS settings to see whether there is an option to disable it, or just make sure you get 9-bit RAM.
SirNickity
Oldbie
 
Posts: 825
Joined: 2018-11-08 @ 04:51

Re: My first DOS build

Postby Wolfus » 2019-7-02 @ 18:20

Wow, that's important warning, thanks. I think there is something like PARITY setting in BIOS, I'll check it later. Fortunately, x36 SIMMs are not so rare on ebay.
User avatar
Wolfus
Newbie
 
Posts: 67
Joined: 2019-5-24 @ 11:05
Location: Slovakia

Re: My first DOS build

Postby Wolfus » 2019-8-08 @ 18:22

Today I bought P200, but I realized I have no cooler :) P75 I have now has glued passive one so I have to find something. Maybe this could help?
http://www.akasa.com.tw/search.php?seed=AK-210
It comes with adhesive thermal tape...

I also bought S3 Virge DX 4MB and put it into my PC. Everything works fine, image quality is good and with S3VBE20 installed, Quake runs on higher resolutions (that's why I bought P200 - with P75 only 320x200 runs smooth enough) BUT... Terror from the Deep don't like it. Geoscape is OK but as soon as I start mission, screen turns black. Not out of range, just black. Music keeps playing, PC runs, only screen is black. I have 4 card (integrated Cirrus, S3 Trio V+, Matrox Millennium and Virge) and only Virge causes this problem. After one restart everything worked fine. I thought problem "solved itself". But after another one everything went to "black mission screen"...
User avatar
Wolfus
Newbie
 
Posts: 67
Joined: 2019-5-24 @ 11:05
Location: Slovakia


Return to System Specs

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: DosFreak and 5 guests