VOGONS


First post, by Unrealcpu

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So i have a 486DX 100
K6-2 /K6-3 450mhz processors

P233mhz

but not sure if I should build them all or just build one pc for each era? It would seem I need a 386DX 40 to play some games that are speed sensitive without having to mess with setmul or finding a mobo to disable cache.

I heard t here is a program out there that disables caches but sometimes locks out of the os.

Also should i be using win98se or the latest DOS? Basically boot in pure dos mode?

Reply 2 of 46, by Jorpho

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Unrealcpu wrote on 2020-10-19, 20:51:

but not sure if I should build them all or just build one pc for each era? It would seem I need a 386DX 40 to play some games that are speed sensitive without having to mess with setmul or finding a mobo to disable cache.

That is entirely up to you. Do you expect to be playing speed sensitive games so frequently that you find "messing with setmul" to present an insufferable obstacle compared to building and maintaining an entirely separate machine?

Also should i be using win98se or the latest DOS? Basically boot in pure dos mode?

There is generally almost nothing that you can do with "the latest DOS" that you cannot do just as easily in MS-DOS mode.

Reply 4 of 46, by dionb

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This question comes by quite regularly. Generally there are two camps:

1) of course you can do it with one system, take a relatively fast CPU on a platform that lets you clock way way down and you can do everything from 1981-2000 on the same system.

2) no way, the compromises you need to make to shoehorn it all into one system are far too great, give yourself a break and break it up into multiple systems.

There's truth in both approaches, what determines what is best for you is mainly whether you're purely in it for the software, or whether you also want period correct video and (particularly) sound hardware. If software, there's no real reason not to go with option 1. If hardware, option 1 is really, really tricky/frustrating and option 2 is far more attractive.

I'm a hardware person, I even have two almost identical late 486-era systems simply because I want PCI in the one and VLB in the other, and have more sound cards from that era than you can sensibly fit into a single system. Tbh I spend a lot more time acquiring, testing, repairing and installing hardware than I actually do using it to play stuff. A single system would NOT work for me. But that's me, you need to decide for yourself.

Reply 5 of 46, by Baoran

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I went for 3rd option. I did basically both. I built 3 systems that all can be slowed down to play old dos games. I think I did this because there is more to the experience than the speed of the computer. One main thing is the sound. One system just has the original sound blaster CT1320C because the music and sound in that one is most nostalgic to me and later sound blasters just can't match that for some reason. Second system has SB16 with Roland MT-32 connected to it for that nice 16 bit sound and nostalgic roland mt-32 music. Third system has AWE64 Gold with Roland SC-55 connected to it for getting the best general midi music from latest dos games and it also has pci sound card and voodoo2 SLI for running all the win9x stuff.

They can all run the most of the same dos games and it is actually the fastest of the systems that can be slowed down most with disabling caches and using ACPI with throttle to make even some games that require 4.77Mhz cpu to be playable.

Last edited by Baoran on 2020-10-20, 05:59. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 6 of 46, by foil_fresh

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I think the SS7 / K6-2/3+ builds with a solid DOS compatible yet 3d capable video card paired up with both an ISA and PCI sound card is more than enough to play the majority of games.

If you get the right motherboard, a slot 1 system can also do it - my P2 266 is an early unlocked model and can go from 133mhz to 300mhz by using bios settings. I've got an awe64 for SB16 digital audio, and a pci yamaha card for that sweet sweet opl3 music. the video card (Riva 128) can do vesa extensions meaning later DOS games run quite nice on it too. A Voodoo 4mb is on it's way to take care of the early 3D-in-DOS stuff like screamer/tomb raider. Playing DOS games in Windows allows the Yamaha PCI sound card to stretch its legs - the XG midi is straight up awesome (for it's price).

In Windows, it's good up to early '98 in terms of 3d game performance. The sound card handles Directsound really well as well as a few titles using a3d and eax. OpenGL and D3D are compatible with the Riva128 but the VRAM limits it. Any DirectX 5 game will be easy enough to run.

I'm yet to tackle any super speed sensitive games that need 386 speeds but I think with the right speed settings and also caches off it will probably get to those speeds.

Reply 7 of 46, by chinny22

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dionb summed up the how many PC's question pretty good.

As for the OS Win98 dos mode is fine 99.9% of the time. So if your installing that OS anyway no real need to install dos.
Dos 6.22 or earlier are better choices for around the 486's and below which struggle to run Win9x

Reply 8 of 46, by konc

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This is a recurring question that has no "correct" answer, as many before me already wrote it depends on what you want to do and how.
For example I want hercules and cga, I can't do that with 1 pc no matter how well I can adjust its speed

Reply 9 of 46, by The Serpent Rider

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It's possible to achieve full DOS, Win 9x and competent Win XP universal system. It's hard, but it's possible.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 11 of 46, by Con 2 botones

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I would start by building just one system, based on that nice K6-3 CPU of yours.
I suspect most DOS games you will play are not speed sensitive and run ok in Windows98 Dos mode (Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, Blood, Dune2, Command and Conquer, some graphic adventure titles, etc).
The K6-3 450mhz, paired with a fine video card (Voodoo 3/Matrox G400/TNT2/S3 Savage4/Ati Rage128pro) will be appropriate to play up to ´99 titles.

If the results turn out not to be what you expected (when it comes to DOS compatibility), then go ahead and build a second system with that 486DX 100 .

Reply 12 of 46, by debs3759

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I don't care how many PCs it takes to do everything I want to do. I need enough to test every generation of CPU, socket and graphics card, just because. I also need another room to store them all in 😀

Got pretty much everything to achieve this, just no longer got room to set them all up 😀

Reply 13 of 46, by Law212

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I like to have multiple machines, I have a 486, a Pentium 1, 2 pentium 2s and a pentium 4 (and a modern gaming PC)
I dont have enough room in my place right now unfortunately to have the setup I want, but i make it work for now.

Im still setting up my computers to get them how I want them and running well (the 486 i just got the 5.25 inch floppy drive working, and now need to get the cdrom and soundcard working... )
the pentium 1 seems to overheat....
the p2s and p 4 work fine.

Reply 14 of 46, by The Serpent Rider

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Whether that is possible completely depends on your definition of "full."

Full means full. You can launch practically anything from XT to late DOS era and any Win9x game.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 15 of 46, by Doornkaat

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2020-10-20, 18:33:

Whether that is possible completely depends on your definition of "full."

Full means full. You can launch practically anything from XT to late DOS era and any Win9x game.

Does full also imply a good, playable experience with all features avaliable at acceptable fps?
And will this be possible with only officially released off-the-shelf hardware that's been regularly avaliable to consumers and not require designing your own ICs or PCBs?
If so please post your method or link to a comprehensive guide.

Reply 16 of 46, by Joseph_Joestar

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2020-10-20, 13:02:

It's possible to achieve full DOS, Win 9x and competent Win XP universal system. It's hard, but it's possible.

Agreed. For example, an AthlonXP CPU in a SocketA motherboard which has an a ISA slot can serve this purpose reasonably well. ACPI Throttle and SetMul can be used to slow down such a system to a wide range of desired speeds (386, 486, Pentium etc). Pair it with a GeForce4 Ti4600 or an FX5950 Ultra and you have a decent rig for early WinXP games as well. Throw in a Voodoo2 for Glide exclusive games and you have Win9x covered too.

That said, even though I own such a build, I still prefer to use a dedicated rig for WinXP gaming. Mainly because it's much easier to source parts if maintaining DOS and Win9x compatibility isn't an issue.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 17 of 46, by Baoran

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I was actually surprised I could run dos games that require 4.77Mhz cpu on my pentium 3 build because I didn't plan it that way when I built it. It makes it most versatile pc I have built even though I would not call it perfect.

Reply 18 of 46, by Unrealcpu

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dionb wrote on 2020-10-19, 23:15:
This question comes by quite regularly. Generally there are two camps: […]
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This question comes by quite regularly. Generally there are two camps:

1) of course you can do it with one system, take a relatively fast CPU on a platform that lets you clock way way down and you can do everything from 1981-2000 on the same system.

2) no way, the compromises you need to make to shoehorn it all into one system are far too great, give yourself a break and break it up into multiple systems.

There's truth in both approaches, what determines what is best for you is mainly whether you're purely in it for the software, or whether you also want period correct video and (particularly) sound hardware. If software, there's no real reason not to go with option 1. If hardware, option 1 is really, really tricky/frustrating and option 2 is far more attractive.

I'm a hardware person, I even have two almost identical late 486-era systems simply because I want PCI in the one and VLB in the other, and have more sound cards from that era than you can sensibly fit into a single system. Tbh I spend a lot more time acquiring, testing, repairing and installing hardware than I actually do using it to play stuff. A single system would NOT work for me. But that's me, you need to decide for yourself.

Thank for your input. I too have collected everything as well but have not had time to make a system with software. Even though I grew up during this era I have to relearn how to edit autoexc.bats and install drivers. I have several CT1600 cards, awe32 , awe 64 gold etc. 3dfx vooodoo 2000-3000 and a 5500 card as well as one VLB card. My collection of processors are extreme from 486 to k6-3 plus and higher. I am just not collecting 286-386 era processors although it would seem a good 386DX 40 is the way to go but maybe i can reduce cache on the 486 mobo idk. My goal is to play as many games as possible in the most accurate way i remembered. I did aquire a mt-32 also. I basically have been collecting anything that can run 80s to mid 90s programs accurately . I am not too concerned about p2 -p3 era games

Reply 19 of 46, by Unrealcpu

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Baoran wrote on 2020-10-19, 23:58:

I went for 3rd option. I did basically both. I built 3 systems that all can be slowed down to play old dos games. I think I did this because there is more to the experience than the speed of the computer. One main thing is the sound. One system just has the original sound blaster CT1320C because the music and sound in that one is most nostalgic to me and later sound blasters just can't match that for some reason. Second system has SB16 with Roland MT-32 connected to it for that nice 16 bit sound and nostalgic roland mt-32 music. Third system has AWE64 Gold with Roland SC-55 connected to it for getting the best general midi music from latest dos games and it also has pci sound card and voodoo2 SLI for running all the win9x stuff.

They can all run the most of the same dos games and it is actually the fastest of the systems that can be slowed down most with disabling caches and using ACPI with throttle to make even some games that require 4.77Mhz cpu to be playable.

I remember seeing an original sound blaster in the box at a good will a few years back dammit i didnt buy it. I just was not educated enough in the retro dos scene. I did not opl chips were different basically so i passed on it.

Also i do own like 4 sound blaster CT1600s and wanted to know if this is a good substitute for CMS /or adlib?