PC compatibility cards

Discussion about old PC hardware.

PC compatibility cards

Postby lolo799 » 2012-3-06 @ 23:32

Before the massive use of emulation (and the performance required), computer manufacturers wanted to have a way for their clients to run x86 software on their hardware, I'm talking of Acorn, Apple and Sun.

Let's start in 1986 with Acorn, they introduced the BBC Master 512, an 8-bit MOS6502 based microcomputer with a 80186 10Mhz cpu add-on.
http://www.cowsarenotpurple.co.uk/bbcco ... tline.html

In 1988, Sun created the 386i, a 386 20 or 25MHz machine with an i387 FPU running a 386 port of SunOS.
Details and pictures:
http://sites.inka.de/pcde/site/sun386i.html
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun386i
http://www.armadillosoft.com/dw/dispart ... eType=full

In 1993, Apple announced the Pc Houdini card for its Quadra line of computers. It used a 486SX25 cpu, no fpu, only basic speaker sound.
It began shipping in march 1994 and it ended in may the same year when Apple began selling the Dos compatibility card for Powermac 6100, that one came with a 486dx2/66 and a Creative Vibra16 soundcard.
ImageImage

Then leaving the PDS/Nubus slot format and going with PCI for its new line of Powermac, they put on the market a new range of PC compatibility cards:
# 7-inch PCI PC Compatibility card with 5x86/100MHz CPU
# 12-inch PCI PC Compatibility card with Intel Pentium 100MHz CPU
# 12-inch PCI PC Compatibility card with Intel Pentium 166MHz CPU
# 12-inch PCI PC Compatibility card with Cyrix 6x86 133MHz CPU (166PR) for PowerMac 4400 and 7220
http://web.archive.org/web/199611132026 ... oducts.htm
http://www.ralentz.com/old/mac/faqs/source/houdini.html
http://homepage.mac.com/olivers/DOScard ... html#types

Going back to Acorn, during the mid-nineties, lots of compatibility cards were sold for the Acorn A3000/4000 and RiscPC.
Ranging from 386SX25 to AMD586 133Mhz cpu, they cover a good range of performances, and by installing a special driver in Windows 3 or 95, the PC card used the Arm cpu as a graphic accelerator.

I have the ACA57 model with an IBM 5x86 cpu clocked at 100MHz:
Image

Infos about all the PC cards:
http://acorn.chriswhy.co.uk/32bit_FI.html#PCCards

Fast forward to the late '90s, Sun started selling its Sunpci range of compatibility cards for Sunblade workstations, using Celeron 300MHz to Mobile Athlon XP 2100 1.6Ghz.
They offer dedicated VGA out, USB, ethernet, line in/line out, serial and parallel ports.
Image
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/SunPCi

Anyone of you using those as a game solution?
Last edited by lolo799 on 2013-5-14 @ 17:54, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby DonutKing » 2012-3-06 @ 23:43

Not using one personally but there were also a lot of Amiga bridgeboards that had an x86 CPU for running DOS/Windows apps.

some big box amigas actually had ISA slots built into the motherboard, which were dormant until an x86 CPU board was installed.
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby keropi » 2012-3-07 @ 00:31

yeah those "bridge" cards were just awesome!
I had a couple of GoldenGate 486slc cards for my amigas (DK is right, all big-box amigas -except the A1000 - had ISA slots too that were connected only to power and nothing more... by adding a bridgeboard then ISA slots would be connected to the bridgeboard bus and in some situations were hardware support+drivers existed one could use an ISA lancard directly from the amiga like it was a zorro lancard. But unfortunately ISA bus could get easily "stuffed" due to lack of bandwidth, after all the whole point was not having a very fast pc... a 486slc2/50mhz bridgeboard was acting like a 386sx/20-25 at best even with the 1kb L1 cache enabled)
Also my ultrasparc5 had a celeron 733 IIRC bridgeboard.... looked like the last pic IIRC
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby sliderider » 2012-3-07 @ 12:38

I really *REALLY* wish I could find the SunPC (not SunPCI) software someplace. You can get the add in boards easily enough, but not the software and Sun hasn't had it available for download for at least 10 (probably more like 15) years and nobody has it archived anywhere that I can find.
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby fronzel » 2012-3-07 @ 14:32

Nice article, i only knew about the Amiga PC cards. These were slow and expensive back in the days. At least that amiga 1000 "Sidecar" card. I think it was 4.77 MHz.
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby keropi » 2012-3-07 @ 14:52

Yeah the first commodore ones where 4.77mhz XT ones, then 286 and finally 386sx/20 ...
The German GoldenGate cards were more advanced and were 386sx/25 , 486slc/25 and 486slc2/50 . They even had an extra monitor switch where you would change inputs via keyboard shortcuts. They actually worked pretty awesomely with a high level on integration to the host (amiga) but were VERY expensive...
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby fronzel » 2012-3-07 @ 15:04

I remember how badly i wanted the "Power PC Board" for my amiga 500, an NEC V30 with 1 MB of RAM, VGA, Soundblaster and adlib emulation. Unfortunately at that time a comparable PC with these specs costed less. XD
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby keropi » 2012-3-07 @ 15:12

yeah, those were nice little buggers that leeched on the 68000 socket :D
you can get one now to heal that "wound" though! :D
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby dr.zeissler » 2016-4-21 @ 22:33

Is there an overview of the NUBUS-PC-Cards that were available and in what machines they are working?
I am currently search for an orangePC Modell 340 NUBUS PC-Card but I think it would be really hard to find one.
Perhaps there are alternatives?
CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby CelGen » 2016-4-22 @ 04:39

The OrangePC boards were incredible. They could beat the pants off the Apple cards. I have a 540 board which is one of the late PCI versions and with a Powerleap adapter it's oddly shaped but it eliminates the need for a 95 machine on my desk.
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby dr.zeissler » 2016-4-22 @ 05:05

That's the idea. But for the Dos-PC.
CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby lolo799 » 2016-4-24 @ 09:41

dr.zeissler wrote:That's the idea. But for the Dos-PC.

What NuBus computer do you need the card for?
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby dr.zeissler » 2016-4-24 @ 09:51

Quadra 700 :)
CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby dr.zeissler » 2016-7-31 @ 12:29

I currently put an Apple 166hz PCI Card in my 7300 that has a G3/400 Update.
The card is working but I will have to change the cpu to a P75 for retro-dos gaming.

Can the cpu be changed like on orange cards?

In my opinion the mouse emulation under dos seems to be "delayed"

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CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby dr.zeissler » 2016-8-08 @ 09:53

Perhaps someone here knows something about those cards, because they are quite usefull and so a retro-486/pentium could be in an ppc-/mac, so perhaps one machine less for collecting.

Interesting is that the 630-Dos-Compatible has a VGA that has 8Bit-Connection to the bus according to "pc-config". That seems to be slow. It only has 512KB, so 640x400@256 Colors seem to be max. I don't know what Vibra-Chip ist used, so no idea if hanging-notes-bug is present, if using softmpu.

The fast PCI-Dos-Card has a Pentium166 and an ATI-Gfx-Card with Vesa 2.0.

I am currently searching for the drivers...
CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby JidaiGeki » 2016-8-08 @ 13:48

dr.zeissler wrote:Perhaps someone here knows something about those cards, because they are quite usefull and so a retro-486/pentium could be in an ppc-/mac, so perhaps one machine less for collecting.

Interesting is that the 630-Dos-Compatible has a VGA that has 8Bit-Connection to the bus according to "pc-config". That seems to be slow. It only has 512KB, so 640x400@256 Colors seem to be max. I don't know what Vibra-Chip ist used, so no idea if hanging-notes-bug is present, if using softmpu.

The fast PCI-Dos-Card has a Pentium166 and an ATI-Gfx-Card with Vesa 2.0.

I am currently searching for the drivers...


I have a few of these cards, mainly the Apple ones but also a couple of cloned cards made by Reply Corp (PDS) and Radius (PCI).

Have you got the software, or tried the variants available from Macintosh Garden? Apple offical downloads seem to have gone AWOL in the past 12 months. Not sure if direct links to the software is allowed but try macintoshgarden.org and search for PC Setup. Hope it's of use!
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby dr.zeissler » 2016-8-08 @ 15:17

PC-Setup 1.6.4 is not the Problem. The Disk2 contains some dos stuff, but not the gfx, or the audio drivers.
According to http://network54.com/Forum/30406 i should go for "64W95303.EXE/64MPG303.EXE" but
that does not help for the 630dos-compatible, because it has another gfx-chip.
CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby lolo799 » 2016-8-09 @ 20:35

Is the 630dos-card the same as the one for the PowerPC601, with the Chips&Tech graphic chip?
I might have the drivers somewhere...
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby Jo22 » 2016-8-20 @ 22:22

Nice thread! Just seen a video about these cards on youtube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OcORkw2rJI
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Re: PC compatibility cards

Postby dr.zeissler » 2016-8-25 @ 15:29

According to the first post, my Performa-630-DOS should have a VIBRA16 (CT2501-TD0)
I got the DriverDisk for the sound with an upgrade package for the 6100/66 DOS-Card,
which should be the same soundchip/card.

I used a joystick-midi cable and got the joystick (gravis gamepad) to work.
But softmpu does not work. I can't get a signal to the MT-32. I don't know why :(

Any idea for that ?

The gfx chip is a 82c450 Chips&Technologies. I found the drivers to. Win31 should
be no problem with these drivers, but there is no Win30 1x/2x driver :(

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CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000
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