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Value in IBM AT vs a 386 for retro gaming?

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Reply 40 of 68, by martinot

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TechDeals wrote on 2020-08-24, 17:28:
That's a solid suggestion... that only doesn't work for me because I lothe the PS/2 line for some odd reason. […]
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waterbeesje wrote on 2020-08-22, 13:32:

You could look into the IBM model 30-286 if you want history. PS/2 brought us a lot of standards, including VGA and the mini din keyboard and mouse connectors.

The model 30 isn't that fast, even for a 286 I'd call it slow. But having 16b ISA on a PS/2 makes it compatible with the market (instead of the never adopted MCA on other models). The VGA also seem compatible with some CGA capable titles I've thrown at it (alley cat, digger, street rod in CGA mode, Grand Prix).

That's a solid suggestion... that only doesn't work for me because I lothe the PS/2 line for some odd reason.

Also, I actually don't want VGA on this, I think its out of place on a 286, but that's me. Tandy graphics maybe, or EGA, but that's it.

However, thanks for the pointer!

I think the problem many had with PS/2 (besides price, but that applies to everything IBM and Apple) was the MCA bus. It is still a big problem today as it is so difficult to find cards for them, and personally I stay away from them. I only collect PS/2 machines with ISA bus.

Agree that EGA is a much better match for a 286! VGA is more for 386 class machines.

I do not like CGA graphics (except the enhanced PCjr/Tandy1K enhanced version), and remember I was so happy in 1987 when my father bought me a second hand 286 clone with EGA card and EGA-monitor (actually the IBM original, as he got a good price from work on a used version). So fantastic to leave the poor CGA graphics and go EGA! Great for both text and games! 😀

Reply 41 of 68, by Horun

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Hmm.. https://www.pcmag.com/news/the-golden-age-of-dell-computers
https://www.pcmag.com/news/the-golden-age-of- … ompaq-computers
Your Dad must have been making some good $ to buy you a used 286 Clone back in 1987 since they were still about a $1000+ new. Cannot imagine it being less than $300 for a good used one. Which translates to about $2100 today. (https://www.inflationtool.com/us-dollar/1968- … o-present-value)
Must have been nice !

Hate posting a reply and have to edit it because it made no sense 😁 First computer was an IBM 3270 workstation with CGA monitor. 🤣 Second computer a 286 12Mhz with real IDE drive ! After that came 386, 486, Pentium, P.Pro and everything after....

Reply 42 of 68, by waterbeesje

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martinot wrote on 2020-08-24, 21:59:
I think the problem many had with PS/2 (besides price, but that applies to everything IBM and Apple) was the MCA bus. It is stil […]
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TechDeals wrote on 2020-08-24, 17:28:
That's a solid suggestion... that only doesn't work for me because I lothe the PS/2 line for some odd reason. […]
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waterbeesje wrote on 2020-08-22, 13:32:

You could look into the IBM model 30-286 if you want history. PS/2 brought us a lot of standards, including VGA and the mini din keyboard and mouse connectors.

The model 30 isn't that fast, even for a 286 I'd call it slow. But having 16b ISA on a PS/2 makes it compatible with the market (instead of the never adopted MCA on other models). The VGA also seem compatible with some CGA capable titles I've thrown at it (alley cat, digger, street rod in CGA mode, Grand Prix).

That's a solid suggestion... that only doesn't work for me because I lothe the PS/2 line for some odd reason.

Also, I actually don't want VGA on this, I think its out of place on a 286, but that's me. Tandy graphics maybe, or EGA, but that's it.

However, thanks for the pointer!

I think the problem many had with PS/2 (besides price, but that applies to everything IBM and Apple) was the MCA bus. It is still a big problem today as it is so difficult to find cards for them, and personally I stay away from them. I only collect PS/2 machines with ISA bus.

Agree that EGA is a much better match for a 286! VGA is more for 386 class machines.

I do not like CGA graphics (except the enhanced PCjr/Tandy1K enhanced version), and remember I was so happy in 1987 when my father bought me a second hand 286 clone with EGA card and EGA-monitor (actually the IBM original, as he got a good price from work on a used version). So fantastic to leave the poor CGA graphics and go EGA! Great for both text and games! 😀

MCA isn't my thing either, I keep it with ISA, VLB and PCI. But the model 25 and model 30 have ISA slots, that's why these are the most desirable ps/2 imo (along with a few others that I can't recall)

Stuck at 10MHz...

Reply 43 of 68, by martinot

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Horun wrote on 2020-08-25, 03:12:
Hmm.. https://www.pcmag.com/news/the-golden-age-of-dell-computers https://www.pcmag.com/news/the-golden-age-of- … ompaq-computer […]
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Hmm.. https://www.pcmag.com/news/the-golden-age-of-dell-computers
https://www.pcmag.com/news/the-golden-age-of- … ompaq-computers
Your Dad must have been making some good $ to buy you a used 286 Clone back in 1987 since they were still about a $1000+ new. Cannot imagine it being less than $300 for a good used one. Which translates to about $2100 today. (https://www.inflationtool.com/us-dollar/1968- … o-present-value)
Must have been nice !

I do not think he paid that much. He got the 286 clone from used spare parts from an old very good friend of him which had a computer shop.

It was a good machine, and used happily until 1990 when I upgraded to a 386 machine (got a good sale out price on a big Intel branded 386 motherboard). 😀

Reply 44 of 68, by martinot

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waterbeesje wrote on 2020-08-25, 06:58:
martinot wrote on 2020-08-24, 21:59:
I think the problem many had with PS/2 (besides price, but that applies to everything IBM and Apple) was the MCA bus. It is stil […]
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TechDeals wrote on 2020-08-24, 17:28:

That's a solid suggestion... that only doesn't work for me because I lothe the PS/2 line for some odd reason.

Also, I actually don't want VGA on this, I think its out of place on a 286, but that's me. Tandy graphics maybe, or EGA, but that's it.

However, thanks for the pointer!

I think the problem many had with PS/2 (besides price, but that applies to everything IBM and Apple) was the MCA bus. It is still a big problem today as it is so difficult to find cards for them, and personally I stay away from them. I only collect PS/2 machines with ISA bus.

Agree that EGA is a much better match for a 286! VGA is more for 386 class machines.

I do not like CGA graphics (except the enhanced PCjr/Tandy1K enhanced version), and remember I was so happy in 1987 when my father bought me a second hand 286 clone with EGA card and EGA-monitor (actually the IBM original, as he got a good price from work on a used version). So fantastic to leave the poor CGA graphics and go EGA! Great for both text and games! 😀

MCA isn't my thing either, I keep it with ISA, VLB and PCI. But the model 25 and model 30 have ISA slots, that's why these are the most desirable ps/2 imo (along with a few others that I can't recall)

Yes, besides the Model 30, I also got a Model 35, a Model 40 and the great little PS/2 E - all ISA machines! 😀

Reply 45 of 68, by appiah4

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Personally, I can find no justification for owning or collecting 286 hardware when 386SX hardware in the same speed bracket are so much more abundant to obtain, and easier to handle/service.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 46 of 68, by Jo22

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appiah4 wrote on 2020-08-26, 11:48:

Personally, I can find no justification for owning or collecting 286 hardware when 386SX hardware in the same speed bracket are so much more abundant to obtain, and easier to handle/service.

Well, in essence, that might be true.
Later 286 mainboards were intelligent, though. NEAT etc. Some early 386SX mainboards still use 286 chipset, though.
286 CPU can run Concurrent DOS 286 and IBM OS/2 1.x and supports LOADALL natively.
386+ emulates LOADALL through the BIOS.
286 has native support for ISA, since the predecessor, AT-Bus, is based on the 286 front-side bus.
386SX thus is slower at same clockspeed.
Windows 3.1 Standard-Mode via KRNL286 is executed on 286 only.
On a 386+ true Standard-Mode has to be invoked by manually calling DOSX.
If not, the pseudo Standard-Mode via KRNL386 is used (WIN /2;runs with disabled VXDs etc) .
😇

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In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 47 of 68, by appiah4

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Is there a point to running Windows 3.1 in Standard Mode as opposed to Enhanced Mode that I am not aware of?

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 48 of 68, by Jo22

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appiah4 wrote on 2020-08-26, 13:18:

Is there a point to running Windows 3.1 in Standard Mode as opposed to Enhanced Mode that I am not aware of?

It's faster and needs less memory.
Other than that and certain compatibility things (latency/timings, old drivers, 16-bit s/w only 386 CPUs), likely not.
My point simply was that the true Standard-Mode is based on krnl286, which is executed on a 286 only - by default.
Windows 3.0 was different. It always ran krnl286 for Standard-Mode.
For some reasons, likely to handle the quirks of both of each processors best, things were changed in 3.1.
Oh, and Standard-Mode almost always works under circumstances when 386 "Enchanted" Mode fails. 😉 That's about all, I guess. VMs and task-switcher might also be a thing, but most require a 386 or later, anyway.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 49 of 68, by TechDeals

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appiah4 wrote on 2020-08-26, 11:48:

Personally, I can find no justification for owning or collecting 286 hardware when 386SX hardware in the same speed bracket are so much more abundant to obtain, and easier to handle/service.

From a cost/performance/function point of view, you're 100% correct.

An IBM AT... A REAL one, is about the collection aspect. It's about putting it on the desk with a Model M keyboard, an IBM EGA monitor, and having that real 1980s experience. It has nothing to do with value, cost, or speed.

Reply 50 of 68, by dionb

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TechDeals wrote on 2020-10-31, 04:45:
appiah4 wrote on 2020-08-26, 11:48:

Personally, I can find no justification for owning or collecting 286 hardware when 386SX hardware in the same speed bracket are so much more abundant to obtain, and easier to handle/service.

From a cost/performance/function point of view, you're 100% correct.

An IBM AT... A REAL one, is about the collection aspect. It's about putting it on the desk with a Model M keyboard, an IBM EGA monitor, and having that real 1980s experience. It has nothing to do with value, cost, or speed.

Surely you mean a Model F AT keyboard? 😉

But that's the thing, everyone is in this game for their own reasons. The big divide is hardware vs software focus. Appiah4's arguments are mainly from the software side (not many good reasons for 286 there), yours are from the hardware, a nostalgic heavy piece of steel with matching peripherals on your desk. Both equally valid even if they come to different conclusions.

Personally I have little nostalgia for the 286. Grew up with Sinclair stuff, first PC in our house was a 1988 PS/2 model 70, 386-16 with 4MB (we weren't that rich, but my mum worked at IBM at the time...). A year or two later one of my friends' father got a Laser 286-12 with 2MB EMS. Performance was marginally better on ours, but big difference was memory management. EMM386 made life a lot more flexible than EMS-only. Also I have similar distaste for CGA (and EGA) as already mentioned, so for me, the only pre-VGA I'm interested in is Hercules on an XT. But that's me; I also have an irrational nostalgia for turn-of-the-millennium Packard Bell stuff, as I worked for their helpdesk at the time and had to support that crap 😉

Reply 51 of 68, by Anonymous Coward

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I can understand the hate for CGA, because even when it was new people knew it sucked. EGA on the other than could pull of some pretty impressive graphics even in the basic 320x200 mode with no palette...not like Amiga obviously, but it was still pretty decent in the 80s.

With the AT, you've gotta have a quirky model F to go with the equally weird 80286 CPU and EMS memory.

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V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 52 of 68, by TechDeals

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I'm super pleased to report... we did it!

I've finally got a real, honest to goodness, vintage IBM 5170 AT, complete with IBM 5154 EGA monitor... 640K of RAM, the 30MB hard drive works like a champ, 1.2MB floppy drive, DOS 3.3 installed. Sweet!

Now... the REAL adventure begins!

I need a 3.5" drive in a 5.25" bay with 5170 rails, a Sound Blaster (non-Pro, non-16), or maybe an Adlib card, and... maybe that's about it?

The fan is louder than I expected, I forgot how loud these could be, need to find a fix to that at some point...

Reply 53 of 68, by Caluser2000

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martinot wrote on 2020-08-24, 21:59:

Also, I actually don't want VGA on this, I think its out of place on a 286, but that's me. Tandy graphics maybe, or EGA, but that's it.

However, thanks for the pointer!

Well you are losing out big time then. Not only is vga easier to set up and get monitors forit emulates CGA and EGA. I have a EGA screen and card on my Redstone XT Turbo. Everything else is vga. My Zenith 286/12 LP Plus shipped with vga in 1990. My first system x86 , a clone 286/16 at about the same time, had vga card and monitor from new.

Last edited by Caluser2000 on 2021-01-10, 07:41. Edited 1 time in total.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 54 of 68, by Caluser2000

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appiah4 wrote on 2020-08-26, 13:18:

Is there a point to running Windows 3.1 in Standard Mode as opposed to Enhanced Mode that I am not aware of?

Yes.
And it has been mentioned numerous times in recent months.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 55 of 68, by Intel486dx33

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Proprietary IBM hardware vs Open IBM PC standards.

The IBM XT 286 uses Proprietary IBM hardware and Bios.
Leading to hardware compatibility limitations and capacity limitations.

An open systems IBM PC clone 386 uses non-proprietary hardware and bios.
Leading to a larger selection in hardware compatibility and larger capacity in ram and hard drive size.

Also availability and costs should be considered.

Reply 56 of 68, by Robin4

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286 is only better for speed sensitive games. like wings of fury (dos). Its running to slow on a XT class machine, but its to fast on a 386 DX machine.
Other benefit is, you could install all 1989 - 1991 games on it instead of your 386, so it uses less disk capacity on the 386 machine so you could spread it over 2 machines.

Do you really needs a IBM..?? I think if you are only fan of that machine maybe yes. Otherwise no.

~ At least it can do black and white~

Reply 57 of 68, by dionb

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TechDeals wrote on 2021-01-09, 19:16:
I'm super pleased to report... we did it! […]
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I'm super pleased to report... we did it!

I've finally got a real, honest to goodness, vintage IBM 5170 AT, complete with IBM 5154 EGA monitor... 640K of RAM, the 30MB hard drive works like a champ, 1.2MB floppy drive, DOS 3.3 installed. Sweet!

Now... the REAL adventure begins!

I need a 3.5" drive in a 5.25" bay with 5170 rails, a Sound Blaster (non-Pro, non-16), or maybe an Adlib card, and... maybe that's about it?

How good are you with a soldering iron?

The cheapest and (unless you're very lucky) fastest way to get your hands on an original Sound Blaster or Adlib is to make one - or rather: a replica - yourself. I've done both (and some more obscure stuff as well) and can recommend it. Even with almost no experience, the AdLib is so simple you can hardly go wrong. If that goes well, you can look into making a Snark Barker or similar.

The fan is louder than I expected, I forgot how loud these could be, need to find a fix to that at some point...

After a few decades, at the very least the internals need cleaning and lubricating. Yes, they were loud in the day, but not as loud as with sticky grease, worn bearings and dragging that through caked dust.

Reply 58 of 68, by Intel486dx33

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Robin4 wrote on 2021-01-10, 13:41:

286 is only better for speed sensitive games. like wings of fury (dos). Its running to slow on a XT class machine, but its to fast on a 386 DX machine.
Other benefit is, you could install all 1989 - 1991 games on it instead of your 386, so it uses less disk capacity on the 386 machine so you could spread it over 2 machines.

Do you really needs a IBM..?? I think if you are only fan of that machine maybe yes. Otherwise no.

By disabling CPU cache and Motherboard cache in bios I was able to slow down my Intel 486dx4-100mhz CPU to a 286@20mhz.
So no need for a 286 computer. And everything still works well ( Audio and Video )
Link : Re: 486 Multimedia dream build ( 1993/94 )

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Reply 59 of 68, by TechDeals

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Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-01-10, 07:37:

Well you are losing out big time then. Not only is vga easier to set up and get monitors forit emulates CGA and EGA. I have a EGA screen and card on my Redstone XT Turbo. Everything else is vga. My Zenith 286/12 LP Plus shipped with vga in 1990. My first system x86 , a clone 286/16 at about the same time, had vga card and monitor from new.

That rather misses the point of it... I mean sure, I could put VGA on it, and maybe an IBM VGA monitor, but what IBM VGA monitor looks right on a 5170? Maybe an early PS/2 monitor? Those aren't easy to find.

Also, this isn't a 286/12, it's a 286/8, so there is that. It isn't fast enough to run VGA really... and I have a 386DX/40 for that...