Dos 7.1 Himem/EMS- boot freeze on HP z400 X58 6c/12t - solved+philosophic discussion about machine sense and progress

Getting old software/games running on older hardware.

Re: Need help with Pure Dos 7.0 Himem/EMM386 settings - freezing during booting on HP z400 X58 6c/12t machine

Postby dr_st » 2018-7-01 @ 11:51

agent_x007 wrote:If you want OPL3 native sound, this is the way to do it on modern systems without the need of PCI sound card.
For example : If you want to use Voodoo 1/2 but you got only one PCI port for sound/graphics (if you "catch my drift") ;)
Sure no special effects, but music will work.

I see, so we are talking about a different thing here. And modern systems don't really have parallel ports either. :)
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Re: Re:

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-7-01 @ 19:06

dr_st wrote:Is 45-50 FPS bad for DN3D? The original DOOM is perfectly smooth capped at 35FPS. Maybe it's because of the low 320x200 resolution, or are there meaningful engine differences that make Build less smooth at the same frame rate?

Not really, but some like consistent locked 60 FPS.

dr_st wrote:The point I try to make is actually neither. It is that if you want to experience different sound synths - it is, again, easier to do via emulation than on real hardware, especially on a modern system, where you are inherently limited in what you can connect. Even on a retro system - you still need to get that original hardware.

Whereas DOSBox gives you a pretty-good sounding FM (said by many to be more faithful to original OPL3 than certain clones), General MIDI capabilities (for which you can find sound fonts to mimic the most popular synthesizers of the DOS era), MT-32 capabilities (you need Munt or a DOSBox with that built in). I believe you can also get GUS with the correct Ultrasound patches. And all this is done completely in software, free of hardware compatibility issues. No, it won't sound exactly the same as the original hardware. Yes, it will sound close enough to most people. And in any case it won't be more of a clone than a PCI soundcard + Dreamblaster daughterboard, which is the most you can get on a modern system running DOS (and that's amazing in itself, until recently I did not even know wavetable daughterboards would be possible).


DOSBox with NukeOPL is actually very good, and DOSBox does provide an amazing amount of flexibility in terms of hardware emulated. However, there's plenty of hardware which DOSBox does not emulate (aiming as it does for the most popular configurations, or those of interest to the devs). Some of this will require an older machine to utilize (ISA cards, of course) while some is viable on newer systems. Some is even usable on modern systems. Plenty of wavetable boards and modules don't have good soundfonts available but are enjoyable and distinctive for those who enjoy game music, and you can pass through the interfaces to DOSBox, SCUMMVM, or PCEM.

My point is that variety in terms of this community is a good thing. We can (and probably should) share our knowledge and experience so others know some of the benefits and limitations of what they're trying to do, but I think it's important to avoid being too forceful with our opinions as it will tend to remove some of the strength of that variety.
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Re: Need help with Pure Dos 7.0 Himem/EMM386 settings - freezing during booting on HP z400 X58 6c/12t machine

Postby ruthan » 2018-7-02 @ 00:46

Just a quick message: I won, Yamaha 744 is working well for my system and pure DOS. Every DOS game which i tested is working on my system.. i tested just 7,8 of them usual suspects.. only exception is Golden Axe - where music is working, but sound is getting from PC speaker, but im not sure, maybe its by the design.

I need only one thing some very small mixer board for 2 sound cards output swiching.. 2x1->1 jack or 4x>2 jacks for front and rear audio.

I would say that my setup is much cleaner than Agents , because i have only 1 HDD and 1 boot manager, well on dont have NVMe boot disk, but would classical Sata SSD would be good enough for my retro purposes. Im not sure but Grub / GrubEFI would be probably capable start OS from NVMe drive too, i more likely than make Clover to boot Windows 98 bootloader, of course is always possible start Clover from it Grub and from it everything else - im using it on my notebook because of MacOS - Clover is mainly MacOS bootloader.

For monitor cables, im using DVI-HDMi cables and HDMI switch, so i dont have to fiddle with monitor cables, my board also not support any Profiles, so only change which i had to make is select primary GPU slot, i have HT disabled all the time.
Last edited by ruthan on 2018-7-02 @ 01:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Need help with Pure Dos 7.0 Himem/EMM386 settings - freezing during booting on HP z400 X58 6c/12t machine

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-7-02 @ 00:59

ruthan wrote:i tested just 7,8 of them usual suspects.. only exception is Golden Axe - where music is working, but sound is getting from PC speaker,


One thing to expect, particularly for older titles, is a certain amount of failure in autodetect routines due to the high clock of your CPU. One title where I see detection issues crop up is Carmen Sandiego. In this case, though, Golden Axe only has PC speaker sound effects.
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Re: Need help with Pure Dos 7.0 Himem/EMM386 settings - freezing during booting on HP z400 X58 6c/12t machine

Postby ruthan » 2018-7-02 @ 01:13

One thing to expect, particularly for older titles, is a certain amount of failure in autodetect routines due to the high clock of your CPU. One title where I see detection issues crop up is Carmen Sandiego. In this case, though, Golden Axe only has PC speaker sound effects.


Yeah that is next step, but im mainly 91-97 gamer, so i tested Blood, Quake, Warcraft II and and Dungeon Master - from 1987 and Golden Axe :). Even Ultima 0 from 1979 is running on this machine:)

Somewhere linked some good slowdown program and guide form it, directly from some Intel guy, so if have some problem, i will use it.

Here:
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=60428
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Re: Need help with Pure Dos 7.0 Himem/EMM386 settings - freezing during booting on HP z400 X58 6c/12t machine

Postby agent_x007 » 2018-7-02 @ 05:07

Glad to hear you got it working.
My setup was designed around multibooting.
You don't need more than few things from mine, if you only want two OSes :)
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Re: Re:

Postby dr_st » 2018-7-02 @ 15:34

gdjacobs wrote:However, there's plenty of hardware which DOSBox does not emulate (aiming as it does for the most popular configurations, or those of interest to the devs). Some of this will require an older machine to utilize (ISA cards, of course) while some is viable on newer systems. Some is even usable on modern systems.
Naturallly, there is plenty of hardware that DOSBox does not emulate, but how much of this hardware:
* Can be used and has been used by games
* Can work on a modern system?
* Cannot be just as easily passed through to via DOSBox on the same modern system?
These are the real questions in my view of the problem at hand.

gdjacobs wrote:My point is that variety in terms of this community is a good thing. We can (and probably should) share our knowledge and experience so others know some of the benefits and limitations of what they're trying to do, but I think it's important to avoid being too forceful with our opinions as it will tend to remove some of the strength of that variety.
I agree completely. However, I also think that if something is very far from the "best practices", then it is also a good idea to raise flags to warn the users, and make sure they really know what they're getting to and why. Yes, I sometimes do it "forcefully" as you put it, but, hey, it's often the only way to be noticed. I also hope that the tone and content of my post do manage to convey when things are not to be taken 100% seriously, but of course I could be wrong on that. :(

In this case, as you can see, once ruthan explained his position and presented perfectly valid justifications, I stopped giving him a hard time. :) And, no, he doesn't "owe" me or anyone these explanations, and I don't want to imply otherwise; he is free to do whatever he want for whatever reason. However, sometimes it's good that detailed explanations are given for unorthodox solutions, for the sake of newbies and others perusing these threads.

ruthan wrote:Just a quick message: I won, Yamaha 744 is working well for my system and pure DOS. Every DOS game which i tested is working on my system..
Congratulations! This is an impressive accomplishment. If you have a blog, please document it. :cool:
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Re: Need help with Pure Dos 7.0 Himem/EMM386 settings - freezing during booting on HP z400 X58 6c/12t machine

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-7-02 @ 21:27

dr_st wrote:Naturallly, there is plenty of hardware that DOSBox does not emulate, but how much of this hardware:
* Can be used and has been used by games
* Can work on a modern system?
* Cannot be just as easily passed through to via DOSBox on the same modern system?
These are the real questions in my view of the problem at hand.

All good questions, and they can be generalized even further for older generations of hardware. Much of it breaks down to a question of what people want to accomplish.

dr_st wrote:I agree completely. However, I also think that if something is very far from the "best practices", then it is also a good idea to raise flags to warn the users, and make sure they really know what they're getting to and why. Yes, I sometimes do it "forcefully" as you put it, but, hey, it's often the only way to be noticed. I also hope that the tone and content of my post do manage to convey when things are not to be taken 100% seriously, but of course I could be wrong on that. :(

I'm not sure that there is such a thing as best practice so much as specific strengths and weaknesses for particular approaches. I don't think this hobby is regimented enough for best practices.

Also, using inflammatory statements to get noticed is called trolling, and it hurts puppies. Please don't hurt puppies.
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Re: Need help with Pure Dos 7.0 Himem/EMM386 settings - freezing during booting on HP z400 X58 6c/12t machine

Postby dr_st » 2018-7-02 @ 21:48

gdjacobs wrote:All good questions, and they can be generalized even further for older generations of hardware. Much of it breaks down to a question of what people want to accomplish.
I don't know if the questions are good or not, but you certainly did not answer them. :-S Can you really not provide a single concrete example to all the broad general statements you've been making here?

gdjacobs wrote:I'm not sure that there is such a thing as best practice so much as specific strengths and weaknesses for particular approaches. I don't think this hobby is regimented enough for best practices.
While most things have advantages and disadvantages, there are usually best practices when one wants to accomplish specific, practical goals. Of course, if there are no practical goals, and the tinkering is just a purpose in itself, it's a different story.
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Re: Need help with Pure Dos 7.0 Himem/EMM386 settings - freezing during booting on HP z400 X58 6c/12t machine

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-7-03 @ 04:46

dr_st wrote:I don't know if the questions are good or not, but you certainly did not answer them. :-S Can you really not provide a single concrete example to all the broad general statements you've been making here?

No problem.

dr_st wrote:* Can be used and has been used by games

Pretty much all sound cards were useful. Even Multisound cards which weren't really Sound Blaster compatible could still be used for their synthesizer capabilities. Most video cards didn't really differ except in performance and compatibility with VGA and EGA modes, although some nonstandard modes were capable of squeezing some extra goodness out of a few games (I'm looking at you, FS4).

When it comes to DOS games using the various proprietary HW accel APIs, I encourage you to have a look at the relevant thread. Again, except for 3dfx, pretty much none of them are emulated, some of the titles are unavailable for 3dfx, and even when a 3dfx port was available it wasn't always the best for quality.

dr_st wrote:* Can work on a modern system?

That's important in this case, but not in a general analysis.

dr_st wrote:* Cannot be just as easily passed through to via DOSBox on the same modern system?

When it comes to pushing the performance envelope, I suspect one would have to do some fairly thorough testing of not just the Build games, but Jane's ATF/Navy Fighters, Battlespire, and the like plus a good swath of the late 90s demo scene to see which solution performs better and provides the more pleasant experience. I'm honestly not sure which approach will be better except that DOSBox does scale better for Build games. I would guess that not every codebase has the same limiting factors.

Also, as I noted above, 3d accelerators can of interest and generally won't be supported via DOSBox.
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Re: Need help with Pure Dos 7.0 Himem/EMM386 settings - freezing during booting on HP z400 X58 6c/12t machine

Postby dr_st » 2018-7-03 @ 08:04

Thank you for your answer.
gdjacobs wrote:Pretty much all sound cards were useful. Even Multisound cards which weren't really Sound Blaster compatible could still be used for their synthesizer capabilities
This does strengthen my belief that we are talking about something rather unimportant for the 99.99% of the cases.

gdjacobs wrote:When it comes to DOS games using the various proprietary HW accel APIs, I encourage you to have a look at the relevant thread.
I believe you are referring to this thread? 3D Accelerated Games List (Proprietary APIs - No 3DFX/Direct3D) I will take a look.

gdjacobs wrote:
dr_st wrote:* Can work on a modern system?
That's important in this case, but not in a general analysis.
Note that I never made the claim that building legacy systems in general is useless. The claim was only in the context of this thread, and it was - that given a modern system where you cannot use the proprietary video/audio devices, and are limited to the same "mainstream" options - emulation via DOSBox is generally superior to running real DOS in all of the key aspects - ease of use, compatibility with games, and breadth of hardware covered.

gdjacobs wrote:When it comes to pushing the performance envelope, I suspect one would have to do some fairly thorough testing of not just the Build games, but Jane's ATF/Navy Fighters, Battlespire, and the like plus a good swath of the late 90s demo scene to see which solution performs better and provides the more pleasant experience.
I suspect that on today's systems, the performance envelope of both solutions (real DOS vs DOSBox) will be already beyond what is needed for pleasant experience, leaving us with pushing it further just for purposes of bechmarking/analysis.
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Re: Need help with Pure Dos 7.0 Himem/EMM386 settings - freezing during booting on HP z400 X58 6c/12t machine

Postby ruthan » 2018-7-04 @ 22:27

agent_x007 wrote:My setup was designed around multibooting.
You don't need more than few things from mine, if you only want two OSes :)

Because i have Linux too, i have probably more OSes even than you have. If it would be race, im able install Mac OS and Android x86 too :)

Congratulations! This is an impressive accomplishment. If you have a blog, please document it.

I had some web pages, even before blog was officially invented, there are done.. for now you could just check some my working sheets.
In this thread we are talking about: HP z400 x58 collumn
https://docs.zoho.com/sheet/published.d ... dc17cafb36

I believe you are referring to this thread? 3D Accelerated Games List (Proprietary APIs - No 3DFX/Direct3D) I will take a look.

Im glad that i never was obsessed by this niche, you cant win this - because buy specific cards for few games and switching them, or have multiple machines for that, its possible, its very hardcore. Emulation would be solution, but because it is niche.. it really needs effort - so you have to code it yourself, or dont be shy and just offer money to find coder(s), because physical machines are investment too...there could be some community finding, working for free sucks and if lots of people invest few bucks, everyone could be happy.

For me 3D started with Voodoo 1 and i took 1 or 1,5 year before i even could play on it.. In that age (in 1994 when pre 3dfx cards started, i was 10) i read some local not english gaming magazines and there wasnt any good analysis of these cards. There some legends about Matrox pictures quality, some news about graphics cards, but it was usually only some translation and 2d stuff - more memory, bigger resolution and refresh rates.. there werent such cards really available and same as skilled editors..
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Re: Need help with Pure Dos 7.0 Himem/EMM386 settings - freezing during booting on HP z400 X58 6c/12t machine

Postby ruthan » 2018-7-05 @ 00:40

Sorry i havent time to proper response until now, i and my mother were babysitting my 7 years nephew for few days.

I see your point - you are advocating not to have a dedicated retro system, but a system that combines retro and modern, so you can have fewer systems overall.

Man, its not so simple. We already agreed that specific 286, 386 are machines etc.. is not good solution. For to say which machine we would need to create some compatible matrix with different machines /games with some pointing system and some subjective weighs for points in different category - to make it per user (subjective) and calculate score per machine. You also need some cells to calculate how much problem is for you invest some time effort, patch the games for modern system (Dos4GW on new machines for example often need some patches there is Pascal runtime error on new machines etc.. you need branched config files), use so slowdown utilities. -
Its lots of work, but it such ultimate evaluation table could be done - its not rocket science.

Who knows maybe X58 could be winner, as i say im quite happy with Core 2 Duo, machine its too slow for modern OSes. Im at the start of investigating X58 pure Dos compatibility - start was very promising , Windows 98 compatiblity is great, Windows Xp+ is near to 100%.
I really like to watch Phils videos, but when i see his 486,super socket 7, slots 1 builds etc.. i fell that is not for me, i mind less to fiddle with software things than with hardware, i dont want to keep multiple MBs and have zillion cards for every build. Im ok with glide wrapper, i have Voodoo 2 /3 cards, but will not use them for my builds its too limiting.
I hope, that is clear what i want to say. X58 could be not best, but i can say that is far form to be bad solution, but its worth to investigating and we will see.
I really like to squeeze maximum from 1 box / machine, all in one retro / modern solution has some additional work for sure, if pure Dos compatibility would be very good, i would tell, that slower machine are how to say it more thing of nostalgia than practical solution.. if pure Dos compatibility would be mediocre i would say that older machines are better solution and price of compromise is too big. Definitely when you not need pure Dos and Windows 98+ (Windows 9x Dosbox exluded) machine is what you want, i already could pronounce X58 as winner.

good business laptops with docking station support can be hooked to an external monitor+keyboard+mouse+everything setup via the dock, and then it feels exactly like a desktop setup

I have one, but there limited to CPU TDP - 35W / 45W and i all are too noisy at full load in comparison with proper cooler desktops with big CPU heatsink and fanless PSU which i have.

Space - is not only thing which argues against mores machine, time is money and there is maintenance overhead, especially on slow machines, manage let say Windows 7 on Core duo is simply slow, and there some good apps which are not for XP / Linux to make Windows 7 sense, when on such machine, especially when Xp is out of support.
Even manage new fast machine take time, there are always some problems with updating, drivers etc.

I don't believe you can reliably get it down to just a single system and still keep pure DOS compatibility. It seems that sound in DOS is not working on your setup, which means you are at this point is stuck a few generations back. Plus, you needed to stick the SATA controller in IDE mode, which is sub-optimal for newer OSes.

You could look at Agents videos and benchmark, i would say that X58 is fast enough for even newer games, it could handle Geforce 970 / agent has Geforce its pretty same. If you need lots of weakers cores, there are cheap HP z800 dual xeon machines, otherwise is better Core i7 for single thread performance.
Now we know that pure Dos sound is not issue, that it is working.
Sata controller in IDE mode - i originally thought with my Core 2 Duo system, that IDE HDD/SSD performance would be limited to theoretical 133 MB/s what is slow to need SSD, but i find out, that performance is bigger. I did some investigation and i found out that these newer PCI boards, had multiple PCI buses and for disc transfers you it using multiple ones in parallel. Yeah there se still some AHCI new features, but performance difference is not so big.
I did not tested, but its worth to try to test, if pure Dos will work pure Dos controller in IDE mode and others controllers in AHCI modes - i guess is that it will if there will not some Dos readable partition for pure Dos on other disk connected to AHCI controller.. By the way Agent i thing proven it with his NVME disk, which is probably not blocking pure Dos and older OSes, because there are just ignoring it.. Other option would be multiple bios profiles and just to have IDE mode for pure Dos and Windows 98 and AHCI mode for modern OSes its working for sure.. with additional Sata controller - it need some testing and we will see, problem has solution. Agent has x58 board with IDE port, i havent, but if X58 machine project would get better, i will get one, i could use IDE controller - but its wasted slot and such build are slots hungry.

I would say than all presented possible problems, which you described, could be mitigated. I faced much more complicated problems, this is easy in comparison to other things.

As I see the current status of the reserach, agent_x007's first generation Core-i system is the farthest you can go with pure DOS games, and it is already many years behind the current top-of-the-line systems, so you probably want at least one newer than that. Furthermore, assuming that one wants a primary system which is always fairly modern, you will have to upgrade that system from time to time, and more and more things will keep breaking.

I could argue that modern games are much more about GPUs that about CPU, but i dont have too.. Agents benchmarks results are impressing - but yeah his machine is overclocked and noisy - it could be solved by CPU all in one water block for $100 or less. X58 is workstation platform, you can use Core i7-990X its quite best even in these days: https://ark.intel.com/products/52585/In ... -Intel-QPI
For cpu power demonstration, im always using Geekbench 3 numbers, there is -Core-i7-990X stock result:
https://browser.geekbench.com/geekbench3/8249391 - 3300 single thread / 19400 - multi thread
My fastest normal "peasant" desktop available 8700K:
https://browser.geekbench.com/geekbench3/8626373 has single - 4489 / 24 400 // And its DDR3 vs. DDR4 expensive 3000 MHz comparison
More typical beefy gamer pc now have Core i7 Skylake quad Core i7-6700K:
https://browser.geekbench.com/geekbench3/8643408 - and guess what.. performance is 3660 single / 14885 multiple.. so again single is same as X58 fastest CPU and multiple score is 1/4 slower and again its with DDR4.. and i X58 system probably using slower rams and you could invest to faster DDR3 ram too, if performance would be problem.
Just for example my Core i7 5960X - 8c /16t much newer architecture https://browser.geekbench.com/geekbench3/8480195 - 3000 / 22 000 - with Dual channel memory, it support quad channel, but had only 2 sticks.. with quad numbers would be i dunno 10% faster, maybe, maybe 15% in mutlicore..
I always filtered Windows 32 (more scores because 32bit version is free) Geekbench 3 score with stock CPU speeds..

Im lazy too search Ryzen gen1 results, but games performance at low res and high framerates would be probably same or better due Ryzen weak single point.. I dont even talk about some legacy SW performance problems, yeah even with Dosbox, some Ryzen unconditional lovers really dont like Dosbox testing..
https://pctuning.tyden.cz/ilustrace3/ob ... dosbox.png
https://pctuning.tyden.cz/ilustrace3/ob ... 0X/dos.png

These CPU are really fast because have lots of cache and have there is triple channel vs dual channel for normal desktops, and Intel generations performance boost is small.. and x58 faster CPUs has TDP 135W vs. desktop 95W for desktop - it making difference too (i saw in Agents bios that it could be level dont - if prefer silence in front of performance, i dont care about it - for older OSes- Bios profiles are your friends). Problem of these CPU is worse power saving - you need good cooler and not TSX instruction support, which you give you up to 20% boost in apps, which would be TSX heavy.

So really not problem in CPU speed..

Dosbox:
As i already wrote with such machine you could have the best result from both worlds..

To me, the most interesting part of these research projects is the fundamental ability to get working Sound Blaster + General MIDI audio in DOS via a PCI sound card + wavetable daughterboard / MPU-401 via gameport. Because this capability is generic useful for many, many generations of systems, that have PCI but not ISA which will allow many people to add DOS game support to whatever system they happen to have, without chasing a specific configuration (other than the audio hardware). Thus, the specific tweaks required to push compatibility one generation forward are not so exciting for me.

Sorry im not really someone who understand sound.. i only hate if there is noise or some unwanted sounds and want games to play sounds and music. As i write above SB emulation is working with Yamaha 744 and Agents 724, Adlib emulation working too. General midi - i tried Blood and Warcraft II - device is found, test sample is playing, but not hear anything.. i dunno maybe some bad configuration, some jumper on card - or maybe this is not working, im ok with SB for game music.
Agent could try it too.
Wavetable daughterboard - well, my Aopeon yamaha has not that special header for cards like Dreamblaster.. but i saw some awfull gameport wavatable adapter, maybe it would work. Agent is using Aureal Vortex 2 instead of Yamaha why that is why..

I am specifically keeping the "early Windows" games out of this discussion, because it's a whole different world compared to DOS. For starts, you do not need ISA audio or SB emulation, so you have a wider variety of audio hardware available, and less compatibility requirements. Also a lot of these games can still run in XP and even NT6+ versions of Windows (sometimes with specific patches).

To be honest there is not probably too much good Windows 3.xx games or significant number of Windows 95 games, which are not working in Windows 98, yeah this niches.. where i dont hesitate to use DosBox, where you can run Windows 95 image, or PcEm emulator.

If Agent dont mind we can continue in his X58 thread with some compatibility reports are discussions.. because this thread name is already very misleading and more philosophical discussion and discussion under what X58 could or couldnt do..

Update X58: Some Dos compatibility results:
viewtopic.php?f=61&t=61044
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Re: Re:

Postby ruthan » 2018-7-12 @ 21:38

dr_st wrote:@gdjacobs
P.S. I wonder if you can get AHCI mode and EMM386 functioning together by using a clever combination of I= and X= switches. Would you like to investigate? :-D

I still would like to try it..
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