VOGONS


First post, by maxtherabbit

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Windows 95? From what I've read it should run OK with limited disk caching and a CF card as HDD

Windows NT? Both 3.51 and 4 require 12MB to install, but that can be manually edited out of the setup. Supposedly NT 4 runs a bit faster generally?

OS/2? Literally know nothing about this one

This is just a fun project, to find an "advanced" OS that will run acceptably on such limited hardware. I lean toward NT, but I'm curious if its performance would even be tolerable.

Reply 1 of 59, by jesolo

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A 386SX-16?
Apart from the very low clock speed, you are also hampered by the 16-bit external data bus.

I doubt you will find that any 32-bit OS will run satisfactory on your setup.
But, since you're doing this for fun, try Windows 95 (without the Active Desktop Update).

Last edited by jesolo on 2019-12-06, 06:59. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 3 of 59, by Jo22

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DESQView/X ?

Though 16MB might be better, I guess (also for OS/2).

"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 4 of 59, by appiah4

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OS/2 2.0 would run OK with ample RAM (4MB+) I would guess.

(7) What hardware do I need to run IBM OS/2 2.0? Do I need a PS/2? […]
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(7) What hardware do I need to run IBM OS/2 2.0? Do I need a PS/2?

You need any PC, PC compatible, PS/1, or PS/2 with at least an 80386SX
CPU, 4 MB (6 MB or more strongly recommended) of RAM (configured as 640K
base plus the remainder as extended memory, with at least 3968K total
RAM after system use), a 60 MB or larger hard disk (with 15-30 MB free),
a supported video adapter (CGA, EGA, VGA, 8514/A, XGA, or third party
driver) with appropriate display, and a high density 3.5 or 5.25 inch
floppy drive for installation. A mouse or other pointing device is
strongly recommended. Allow extra RAM and hard disk space for OS/2-
based networking, ES/2, and/or extra system loads (i.e. an extraordinary
number of large applications running simultaneously). When calculating
hard disk space requirements, subtract space occupied by files already
on the hard disk which are functionally included in OS/2 2.0 and may be
deleted, e.g. DOS, a 386 memory manager, Windows, Adobe Type Manager
with base typefaces, etc.

The WPS will not operate with the Monochrome Display Adapter or the
Hercules Monochrome Graphics Adapter. Usually the WPS will fail to work
with monochrome EGA. However, some EGA adapters (e.g. Paradise
Monochrome EGA Card, ATI EGA Wonder) will emulate all color EGA modes on
TTL monochrome monitors and, thus, will work with the WPS.

On (E)ISA bus machines, OS/2 specifically supports hard drive adapters
which conform to the Western Digital chipset interface standard (i.e.
nearly all MFM, RLL, IDE, and ESDI adapters) and Adaptec, Future Domain,
and IBM SCSI adapters. In addition, "generic" INT13 support is provided
for all other hard disk adapters. This "generic" support even embraces
such devices as Iomega's Bernoulli and SyQuest's removeable media
products. CD-ROM support is included as well. At present the OS/2 CD-
ROM driver does not work with all brands, but the DOS device drivers,
when suitably configured and installed, will still provide CD-ROM
services to DOS/Windows programs. Printer and plotter support is
discussed in Question 12.

Version 2.0 is explicitly supported on PC compatibles. IBM is offering
a money back compatibility guarantee in the United States. Should OS/2
2.0 fail to work on your compatible within the first 90 days of use, and
should IBM be unable to fix the problem, your purchase price will be
refunded. To date over 200 non-IBM models have been tested in IBM's own
labs.

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

Reply 5 of 59, by Anders-

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maxtherabbit wrote:
Windows 95? From what I've read it should run OK with limited disk caching and a CF card as HDD […]
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Windows 95? From what I've read it should run OK with limited disk caching and a CF card as HDD

Windows NT? Both 3.51 and 4 require 12MB to install, but that can be manually edited out of the setup. Supposedly NT 4 runs a bit faster generally?

OS/2? Literally know nothing about this one

This is just a fun project, to find an "advanced" OS that will run acceptably on such limited hardware. I lean toward NT, but I'm curious if its performance would even be tolerable.

Give QNX a try? It's significantly less bloated than the other options listed here.

Reply 7 of 59, by GigAHerZ

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I've run Windows 95 on 386sx-20 with 8MB of ram - Cool experiment, but not usable.

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - And i intend to get every last bit out of it even after loading every damn driver!

Reply 8 of 59, by maxtherabbit

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Jo22 wrote:

DESQView/X ?

Though 16MB might be better, I guess (also for OS/2).

I don't believe I can upgrade the RAM further, the mainboard only has 8 SIMM slots and RAM size is set through jumpers. Max setting is 8MB, Id'd be shocked if 4MB SIMMs would just drop in and work. Additionally, the chipset will only work with 9-chip SIMMS.

I suppose I could use an ISA RAM card, but it would run at half the CPU clock and I'm really not interested in pursuing that.

Reply 10 of 59, by appiah4

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maxtherabbit wrote:

is there any interesting software at all for OS/2?

It is MS-DOS and Win3.x compatible.

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

Reply 12 of 59, by maxtherabbit

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derSammler wrote:
maxtherabbit wrote:

is there any interesting software at all for OS/2?

What's your definition of "interesting"? There's quite a bit of software available for OS/2.

Not sure really... How about we'll go with "not spreadsheet or word processing"

Reply 14 of 59, by Anders-

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maxtherabbit wrote:

I guess WFW 3.11 + Win32s is an option too, but meh

You wanted a "fun" project, not a boring one - go for the system you have no previous experience of.

Reply 19 of 59, by maxtherabbit

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Scali wrote:
maxtherabbit wrote:

I'm envisioning an entire OS with the UX of vi

Seems like a good match for the abilities of a 386SX-16 😀

I'm not necessarily opposed to a CLI-only experience, but I was referring to the counterintuitive nature of vi specifically

like maybe it's not like that at all I really don't know, but the thought has always stuck in my head that you'd have to be shaped like richard stallman to enjoy a 1980s UNIX 🤣