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My Big Red Switch 486

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Reply 20 of 37, by gdjacobs

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-03-29, 20:19:

Well, The reason Gravis Sound cards and Media Vision sound cards went out of business was because consumers found it to expensive and found better sound quality and compatibility in the Sound Blaster sound cards which are still around today.
Don't blame me. The consumers made the choice.

Reality is a little different and a lot more complex than you think. GUS and MV went out of business for different (multiple) reasons. Competition from CL was only one small part of it.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 21 of 37, by Intel486dx33

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gdjacobs wrote on 2020-03-30, 14:10:
Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-03-29, 20:19:

Well, The reason Gravis Sound cards and Media Vision sound cards went out of business was because consumers found it to expensive and found better sound quality and compatibility in the Sound Blaster sound cards which are still around today.
Don't blame me. The consumers made the choice.

Reality is a little different and a lot more complex than you think. GUS and MV went out of business for different (multiple) reasons. Competition from CL was only one small part of it.

Yes, I have never owned a GUS but from what I have read they are NOT all that great and tried to piggy back on top of the Sound Blaster 16.
With enhancements and emulation which was not that good. I have a few Media Vision card and they sound good.
I am not knocking any sound card only that it came down to software and game compatibility and audio out put.
In comparable to the standard which was Sound Blaster 16.

All I said was that if you can’t afford or find a GUS today the AWE64 sounds pretty good to me and has good DOS compatibility.
Better than the Sound Blaster 16 if you ask me.

Reply 22 of 37, by keenmaster486

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Wow, that's a nice build. I have that same exact case, but it houses a generic 286 machine.

Have you run into any problems with the ET4000? I have one of those and it is not the most compatible card. Does it match well speed-wise with the DX4?

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.

Reply 23 of 37, by firage

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Cool. I've only seen the case once aside from mine. It was listed on a local auction site here.

It's a very fast VLB card, so perfect for the CPU. Haven't had many compatibility issues...

The first issue I've ran into is with Crystal Caves - just no luck whatsoever getting a picture. Keen games work fine in SVGA compatibility mode using a CRT; my modern-ish LCD isn't compatible with their output mode, though.

I am always interested to check these bugs and issues out when people point to specific things.

My Big Red Switch 486

Reply 24 of 37, by keenmaster486

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firage wrote on 2020-03-30, 18:39:

Keen games work fine in SVGA compatibility mode using a CRT; my modern-ish LCD isn't compatible with their output mode, though.

Hmmmmmm interesting! The worst compatibility problems I had were with Commander Keen. Jerky motion all around, and neither the "Fix Jerky Motion" or "SVGA Compatibility" settings did anything to fix it. It was hooked up to a generic Dell CRT.

It is not a VLB card though. It's the 16-bit ISA version of the ET4000, and I had it in my PC/AT, not a 486, so maybe that makes a difference.

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.

Reply 25 of 37, by gdjacobs

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-03-30, 16:17:

All I said was that if you can’t afford or find a GUS today the AWE64 sounds pretty good to me and has good DOS compatibility.
Better than the Sound Blaster 16 if you ask me.

You did say more than that, but it's ok. 😀

The AWE64 is fine as it addresses several of the weaknesses of the SB16. It has it's own limitations, of course, so I would hardly consider it the stone cold nuts. With sound cards, so much depends on what you're intending to use it for.

With the GUS, you've got an interesting design but limited niche application (except in the tracker and demo scene where it's almost obligatory). As a sound card, it's excellent when supported. As a SB compatible, it's generally quite poor.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 27 of 37, by firage

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It is working with write-back L1 enabled.
Issues with WB L1 are specifically to do with bus-mastering controllers, I believe. Such VLB controllers are more likely to be SCSI.

My Big Red Switch 486

Reply 28 of 37, by Intel486dx33

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I am currently testing an AMD K5-100 CPU build because I found the 486dx4-100 just to inadequate for playing modern DOS games.
By disabling the CPU caches I have been able to slow the K5 down to a 386dx@40mhz.

My goal is to go as slow as a 286@10 mhz which I was able to do with my 486dx4-100 CPU.

here is a link to an LGR video where he compares the performance of a 486 to Pentium in game playing.
https://youtu.be/jISmJG8QK0A

Reply 29 of 37, by firage

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So regarding the performance of LGR's build (I'm a big fan, btw) - you really shouldn't look at it as reference level. The Doom demo on the video runs at 28.0 fps (2664 realtics) after the Pentium upgrade. People have actually posted faster results than that with 486DX2-66's.

There are DOS games that run best on something faster, but to me a 100MHz DX4 extends far enough for a pure DOS/Win3.1x machine.

My Big Red Switch 486

Reply 30 of 37, by Intel486dx33

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Yes, that is a really nice computer. A dream build for some back in 1993/94. It would have cost allot of money back then about $5000.
But still would not have meet your expectations as modern DOS games play better on a Pentium CPU.

That is my primary to have a good computer for playing DOS games as they should be played.
it’s the same story today with 4K video games. Many computers just cant handle it

You can always plug in an intel Pentium over drive cpu
I guess.

I tested the 486dx4-100 computer and find it inadequate for idea dos game play. So i am going to move on to a Pentium cpu
Because best performance dos game play is most important to me.
I want to play the games as the developers would have liked it to be run.

I am starting with a Pentium class cpu and going to see how slow I can go for older cpu critical dos game support.
.

Reply 31 of 37, by K1n9_Duk3

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firage wrote on 2020-03-30, 18:39:

The first issue I've ran into is with Crystal Caves - just no luck whatsoever getting a picture.

Just out of curiosity, would you mind testing the executable I posted here and see if that makes any difference?

Reply 32 of 37, by firage

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I tried it just now and it has no effect, unfortunately. 🙁
Thanks for the effort to fix these games, it's appreciated.

It's the same whether the game's just loaded or jumping around in the game itself, flipping the alternate video mode on and off. Just a black screen and some vertical lines and stripes.

Apogee's Secret Agent, which uses the same graphics engine, has the same display problem as Crystal Caves.

I've now tested a bunch of these games encountering no further issues: Bio Menace, Dangerous Dave 1-2, Catacomb Abyss 3-D, Vinyl Goddess from Mars, Jill of the Jungle, Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure, Duke Nukem 1-2, etc. Dangerous Dave 2 has the same SVGA glitch as Keen, and in its case the compatibility mode is enabled with the "/COMP" command line parameter.

My Big Red Switch 486

Reply 33 of 37, by firage

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Great news on this front - K1n9_Duk3 has successfully developed a fix that works for Crystal Caves and Secret Agent! I've been playing all three episodes of both games using the ET4000/W32p today and it all looks fantastic. 😀

My Big Red Switch 486

Reply 35 of 37, by firage

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According to K1n9_Duk3 the part in the games' code that sets the "virtual screen width" has to be patched.

Here's his post: Fix Display Problems in Crystal Caves and Secret Agent

Last edited by firage on 2020-04-09, 05:58. Edited 1 time in total.

My Big Red Switch 486

Reply 36 of 37, by Baoran

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I really like that type of red switch too and that is why I just couple months ago moved my 486 33Mhz system to a case that has a similar switch. My system is similar to your in some other ways too, it has a VLB ET4000/W32P 2Mb video card and is also connected to roland MT-32. It is definitely my favourite retro system and the big red switch case is perfect for it.

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Reply 37 of 37, by foil_fresh

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@firage - WOW! that thing is stacked and packed. features on features. hope you got a lot of cd rom games with FMV, this is a multimedia powerhouse 😁

Pentium MMX 166MHz / Shuttle HOT591-p / S3 Trio3d2x / SB 16
Pentium II 266MHz / Lucky-Star 6ABX2V / Riva128 / AWE64 / AW744L
Pentium III 950 MHz / SY-7VBA / Voodoo 3000 / Aureal Vortex 2
Pentium IV 3.4GHz/ GA-8S655FX / Geforce 6800 GT / Audigy