VOGONS


First post, by 386SX

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Hi,
I bought this genuine disks/manual package of Windows 3.1 and installed into a 386DX40/IIT NPU, UMC481/482 mobo, 16MB 60ns, 256KB L2, 520MB Seagate disk self built machine. Back in those times I didn't even know about drivers or whatever so I usually used the default config for it. Nowdays I'd like to optimize it as much as possible.

1) VGA: Resolution loading in Win was solved reinstalling the drivers but their h/v frequencies are different from the LCD so I've to change them but there're no tools to do that officially; about vga problems remains that every VESA cards having it on bios, seems to make the system unstable.
I got four vga isa card for this machine: an ATI 28800-5 1MB FPM (Wonder+/XL I'm not sure), GD5429 1MB DRAM, Trident TVGA 9000A 512Kb FPM, OAK OTI077 512Kb FPM. I started with the ATI cause in Dos I found the system being unstable with the GD5429 even if I'd be quite sure the card is ok. Anyway I used the ATi drivers with this list:
w31-55b.drv
w31-62b.drv
w31-72b.drv
w31-75b.drv
w31vga.vdd
I also got the vga vvinstall to test the card and is ok. But in Win 3.10 it seems the only monitor config that load correctly is the "VGA 1024x768/256colors" while the lower higher colors ones seems to crash the boot process of Win with a w31-72b.drv or w31-75b.drv error. I'd be ok with this mode but I'm not sure my LCD monitor can handle the freqs correctly (I got flickering depending on the background color example a full red background seems to show much higher noise and I don't know how to change config as the EDID of the monitor).
Any opinions about this? Also this card in Win is comparable to the GD5429 that if I recall should have a better hw acceleration? I don't know why but it looks like the card seems a bit unstable on dos I suppose it might have something to do with the VESA support (cause also the ATi ones seems a bit problematic when loading at boot the VVESA exe).

2) I understand the 3.11 WFW version would be better for network but does an upgrade patch exist or it was a whole different commercial product? and would you suggest the upgrade?

3)EDIT: found that Win3.1 drivers, the card works good and with its tools in Win3.1. 😀
I'm using a YMF719 audio card and in dos I load the setupsa.exe autoinstaller in the autoexec.bat and everything works. What about Win? Do I've to install something also there? Cause Midi files seems to work but I'd like to have the best config and not some generic audio drivers.

4) I know this machine is too slow for multimedia stuff but I was trying some players that tells me that I've no DCI support for video rendering. What was that? Do I've to install some patch to enable it or is a video card related support?

Thanks

Last edited by 386SX on 2020-06-27, 08:38. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 1 of 6, by Caluser2000

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There was a wfw 3.11 upgrade, I have 3 boxed copies, the only difference between it and normal wfw 3.11 was the first disk. Just do a new/fresh install of wfw 3.11.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 2 of 6, by chinny22

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1) I'm not familiar with any of those cards. Win3x is pretty basic though so you may be able to get away with just the standard vga or svga that are included on the disks.
Of course official drivers are always better though what was the name of the archive the files came in? Maybe a earlier or later version.

2) Windows for Workgoups is a different product. you can actually get it in both 3.1 or 3.11 versions. Think of it like Home vs Professional in today's branding
Networking on the non workgoup versions requires you to use non 3rd party networking software (dos, netware, etc)
If you want to connect the PC to your network and have windows accessing network shares then it's worth upgrading to 3.11 WFW
If your using something like FTP to copy files over the network (or no network at all) I could live with plain old 3.1

3) Installing windows drivers will allow you to control volume, etc Been a while since I had one on a 3x machine but may allow you to play around with the XG Midi settings
https://www.philscomputerlab.com/audician-32-plus.html

4) "Display Control Interface" Comes down to video card and drivers

Reply 3 of 6, by 386SX

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chinny22 wrote on 2020-06-26, 13:19:
1) I'm not familiar with any of those cards. Win3x is pretty basic though so you may be able to get away with just the standard […]
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1) I'm not familiar with any of those cards. Win3x is pretty basic though so you may be able to get away with just the standard vga or svga that are included on the disks.
Of course official drivers are always better though what was the name of the archive the files came in? Maybe a earlier or later version.

2) Windows for Workgoups is a different product. you can actually get it in both 3.1 or 3.11 versions. Think of it like Home vs Professional in today's branding
Networking on the non workgoup versions requires you to use non 3rd party networking software (dos, netware, etc)
If you want to connect the PC to your network and have windows accessing network shares then it's worth upgrading to 3.11 WFW
If your using something like FTP to copy files over the network (or no network at all) I could live with plain old 3.1

3) Installing windows drivers will allow you to control volume, etc Been a while since I had one on a 3x machine but may allow you to play around with the XG Midi settings
https://www.philscomputerlab.com/audician-32-plus.html

4) "Display Control Interface" Comes down to video card and drivers

Thanks for the answers. The file for the ATi card I've used was w31xl24.exe and the driver readme date them to August 1992. I've seen there was an older Beta driver from some month earlier too but I didn't try it.

Meanwhile I did some test again with the CL-GD5429 ISA card.. installing the drivers specifically named for Windows 3.1x everything seems to run better in Win also cause there're tools to change freqs of the monitor so the gui runs impressively fast and stable. BUT... still sometimes the computer hang..
I've installed also the CLMODE video modes tool into the autoexec.bat for dos but the only thing I can think about it is that I've noticed that this card has VESA built into the bios while the ATi Wonder need an exe to be loaded. It seems the system is unstable also with the ATi when VESA is loaded... do anyone heard about some similar problems with VESA bios/exe loaded even without a specific VESA mode called (Dos run in mode 3 not-vesa, VESA apps like some bench seems to run.. but it's strange that also with the ATi Wonder once I load the VVESA app at boot the system seems to hang sometimes exiting from games, or random...
I've never found such problem in other mainboards, and this looks like new/perfect; in the bios I've few options and all them are to default. The only thing I was thinking was the "Fast Page Mode DRAM: Enabled" but I suppose is referring to the system ram not the vga one. Also clocks are (40Mhz)"/5" for the system, shoud I try to not shadow the video bios in the ram or something like that?

EDIT: interesting I was reading some old frequently asked questions guide that says something interesting about possible VESA problems:


You may have a memory conflict:

Exclude the memory address A000-C7FF from your memory manager.

If you are using Deskview's QEMM386 with Stealth, you must use the parameter XST=C000

Also it talks about a program TSRFONT.COM that should be loaded for Cirrus Logic cards with autoexec.bat if eventually text would become bad because it doesn't support 8 x 14 (EGA) font on the BIOS. I'll try both as long as I leave installed this card until I lost my patience.. 😁
I'm trying to load EMM386 and exclude that area.

Reply 4 of 6, by 386SX

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I followed that guide and I loaded emm386.exe excluding the memory area reserved for the vga bios, also loaded tsrfont.com for the missing ega mode. Also I got to install the Win3.1 Yamaha drivers so I have sound too in Windows with its own drivers. Everything would seems to be complete but still sometimes in Windows the computer hang with no beep but freezed mouse pointer and sometimes strange things happening. I suppose it has something to do with the VESA but I can't say what. Are there any logs somewhere to read about?
I am not sure it may be the l2 cache cause speedsys and cachechk seems to read and test it ok. I'd need some memtest like app only for the vga or the L2 cache memories to esclude instability with that.

Reply 6 of 6, by 386SX

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Caluser2000 wrote on 2020-06-26, 18:48:

Random hangs like that sound more like ram issues. Run CheckIt in Dos and see what it reports.

For the ATi card I solved the lower resolution driver problem after reinstalling the drivers, now it boot but the freqs of the resolution are completely far from the LCD supported ones so I've to change their horizontal/vertical Hz config. Also I can say the GD5429 in Win3.1 is quite better than the older ATi as easily supposed in the windows movements, general speed, visual quality.
But still with the others video cards but the ATi the strange problems happens. I didn't try CheckIt, I sure will. I did try anyway memtest and it didn't found errors but I can't tell for the cache modules. I've sort of excluded being broken video cards cause strange similar things happens also with the Trident TVGA 9000A I tried, first time at boot only the last horizontal line on the screen were updated and the above ones remained uncleared.. but interesting this Trident card has VESA Bios itself on board too like the Cirrus Logic. Looks like both cards having the Vesa bios sure make the system unstable more than the ATi Wonder not having it until loaded the VVESA.exe program (and than also that begin to stress the general stability).
I don't know if ram having fast speed (60ns 4x4MB FPM, 3 modules each, single side) or the fast cache (9 modules 15ns ones two of them are different brand but same speed) but maybe considering the strange behaviours seems mostly "graphic related" (sometimes with the two vesa cards the boot process can't finish loading the autoexec.bat other times run well); would it be possible for a 1991/92 mainboard not supporting modern video cards having vesa in the bios? The mobo bios itself might be quite old (1991).