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PCem v17

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First post, by SarahWalker

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PCem v17 is now available. Changes since v16 :

  • New machines added - Amstrad PC5086, Compaq Deskpro, Samsung SPC-6033P, Samsung SPC-6000A, Intel VS440FX, Gigabyte GA-686BX
  • New graphics cards added - 3DFX Voodoo Banshee, 3DFX Voodoo 3 2000, 3DFX Voodoo 3 3000, Creative 3D Blaster Banshee, Kasan Hangulmadang-16, Trident TVGA9000B
  • New CPUs - Pentium Pro, Pentium II, Celeron, Cyrix III
  • VHD disc image support
  • Numerous bug fixes
  • A few other bits and pieces

Thanks to davide78, davefiddes, Greatpsycho, leilei, sards3, shermanp, tigerforce and twilen for contributions towards this release.

As ever, it's at http://pcem-emulator.co.uk

Reply 2 of 30, by leileilol

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Some games that can work with the Banshee emulation now:
- Command & Conquer Renegade
- Dance Dance Revolution
- Empire Earth
- Evil Dead: Hail to the King
- Max Payne
- Oni
...and probably many many more unlisted games from the period of 1999-2001 that ignore secondary video devices, as well as a bunch of indie/free games that use OpenGL.

Also since it's banshee, it's got the big res thing going, of course. Know that it's the PCI versions that are emulated as the bus bandwidth isn't going to be great anyway (a lot of 1998's new video cards were promoting unplayablly high resolutions for the time, like 1920x1440). However, that very bottleneck can be useful for reaching 100% execution in some cases. 😀

I should also remind everyone to uninstall their Voodoo graphics/Voodoo2 drivers if try Banshee or Voodoo3 on existing Voodoo'd PC configs. Issues can happen.

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Reply 3 of 30, by xcomcmdr

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Pentium II and Voodoo 3 !
That's awesome ! 😁
Thank you very much.
I have a lot of old games I'm going to test it with (mainly to see if they work at all in their preferred environment/OS without having to boot up one of my retro PCs).

Reply 4 of 30, by Cyberdyne

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I always admired PCem-s high goals and multitude emulations. But is it realistic that you can emulate all perfectly one day. PCem and even other more mature and older products have not even perfected those basic things we need for retrocomputing. So maybe sometimes less is better. That you specialize making a perfect basic retro computer emulator. Just my two cents.

I am aroused about any X86 motherboard that has full functional ISA slot. I think i have problem. Not really into that original (Turbo) XT,286,386 and CGA/EGA stuff. So just a DOS nut.

Reply 5 of 30, by xcomcmdr

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Pcem fills a very much needed niche for me.
Perfect emulation of 80s and 90s era PCs.
When DOSBox can't install a Windows 3.1/3.11/Win32s game, PCem always works.
When Windows can't run an old Win32 game, PCem can.
When a Glide game won't run or render properly, PCem always works.
For example, Sierra's Power Chess only runs on Windows 9X. That means real hardware, which will fail eventually, or PCem.
Another example : I built a retro system just for Interstate '76. Windows 95, Pentium 120 MHz, 16 MB RAM, S3 Trio 64, 3DFX Voodoo 1, everything required was there. No part was too old nor too new.
It STILL Would. Not. Work. But it works perfectly and in an instant with PCem.

PCem is a godsend.

Reply 6 of 30, by GigAHerZ

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Absolutely amazing! Thank you so much!

I've been using PCem since v14 to play with software configuration in emulation before i go and set up my real hardware. Amazing tool, thank you!

Just put this on my computer and found a sad thing that i need to investigate: Absolutely nothing can be emulated with better speed than 50%.
I have 3570K @ 4,5GHz CPU, which should be enough to emulate 386DX33 or Am5x86-P75 easily, yet, it's constantly stuck at few points under 50% of emulation speed. Task manager also show no single core being utilized 100% or anything like that. (Even, when i set emulator's cpu core affinity to 1 or 2 cores)

Possibly there's an easy fix for it, just need to find it...

"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 7 of 30, by s3freak

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Thank you!

I had been using PCem since v12, where I started to experience all those nostalgic BIOSs, reminding me of my first ever 486 PC, that it made me start building vintage PCs in 2017!

I previously authored DOSBox patches in 2012 to 2013.

I still continue to use DOSBox, PCem, and VMware, but I now primarily use my real PCs.

My 486 is my real DOSBox, as well as my customised DOSBox!
I am not very active on VOGONS, please send a private message if you need a quicker response!

Reply 8 of 30, by GigAHerZ

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GigAHerZ wrote on 2020-12-02, 08:41:
Absolutely amazing! Thank you so much! […]
Show full quote

Absolutely amazing! Thank you so much!

I've been using PCem since v14 to play with software configuration in emulation before i go and set up my real hardware. Amazing tool, thank you!

Just put this on my computer and found a sad thing that i need to investigate: Absolutely nothing can be emulated with better speed than 50%.
I have 3570K @ 4,5GHz CPU, which should be enough to emulate 386DX33 or Am5x86-P75 easily, yet, it's constantly stuck at few points under 50% of emulation speed. Task manager also show no single core being utilized 100% or anything like that. (Even, when i set emulator's cpu core affinity to 1 or 2 cores)

Possibly there's an easy fix for it, just need to find it...

Yup, just confirming that v16 runs easily @100%, while v17 never goes over 50% on emulation speed...

EDIT: Found the problem! It's also present in v16 still - When you add a NE2000 network card to a machine, it's never going to emulate the machine at higher speed than 50%. 🙁

"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 9 of 30, by Xanarki

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The Pentium II and Banshee implementation is awesome, but also of importance, I've noticed a performance increase from v16 to v17. On v16 my limit for a consistent 100% was with the p166, but with v17 I'm getting a consistent 100% with the p200 mmx. Which makes me think that performance was tweaked a bit for the better. (for reference, my host CPU is an Intel I5 7400 3.4ghz)

Am curious about that ne2000 bug, I'll have to try it when I get home. I could've swore I chose it instead of Realtek in my fresh install, but I could be wrong.

Reply 11 of 30, by Bruninho

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I gonna try it this weekend if I manage to compile a macOS version. I had one for v16 months ago before giving up and moving to QEMU. I like the concept and the fact that it emulates some voodoo cards.

"Design isn't just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
JOBS, Steve.

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Reply 12 of 30, by kjliew

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Still pretty slow, it just *run* the games, to really play them, nay. The emulation of Pentium II/Banshee/Voodoo3 addition is nothing more than useless for games from that eras, unless one enjoys playing the games in slideshow. Banshee/Voodoo3 OpenGL sucks! It is one of the reasons that NVIDIA won and ATI was finally slapped with a wake-up call.

Reply 13 of 30, by GigAHerZ

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kjliew wrote on 2020-12-05, 03:23:

Still pretty slow, it just *run* the games, to really play them, nay. The emulation of Pentium II/Banshee/Voodoo3 addition is nothing more than useless for games from that eras, unless one enjoys playing the games in slideshow. Banshee/Voodoo3 OpenGL sucks! It is one of the reasons that NVIDIA won and ATI was finally slapped with a wake-up call.

It depends a lot on host machine's CPU performance...

"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 14 of 30, by Bruninho

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With a M1, I am pretty sure it will be lightning fast.

"Design isn't just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
JOBS, Steve.

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Reply 15 of 30, by GigAHerZ

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Bruninho wrote on 2020-12-07, 13:08:

With a M1, I am pretty sure it will be lightning fast.

... for an iPad, of course... 😁

"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 16 of 30, by SarahWalker

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It'd be interesting to find out how PCem fares on an M1. There is an ARM64 backend for the CPU recompiler (though currently not for the Voodoo code generator), but it's only ever been tested on a Pi3 running Linux, wouldn't be entirely surprised if ARM64 Mac OS threw up issues.

Reply 17 of 30, by DosFreak

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Please keep speculation out of this thread. No one cares if you think something will be fast. This isn't wccftech. Post useful benchmarks.

kjliew wrote on 2020-12-05, 03:23:

Still pretty slow, it just *run* the games, to really play them, nay. The emulation of Pentium II/Banshee/Voodoo3 addition is nothing more than useless for games from that eras, unless one enjoys playing the games in slideshow. Banshee/Voodoo3 OpenGL sucks! It is one of the reasons that NVIDIA won and ATI was finally slapped with a wake-up call.

That's just like your opinion man. Pcem has a niche just like qemu has a nich. None of the emulation in pcem is useless.

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Reply 18 of 30, by Stiletto

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Balrog, one of the MAME developers, worked with Dominus (and maybe someone else?) on generating some Apple M1 MAME benchmarks. I think the end result was posted to http://www.mameui.info/Bench.htm - it's very impressive, SarahWalker. Maybe Balrog and Dominus can be your people to test out PCem?

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Reply 19 of 30, by GigAHerZ

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GigAHerZ wrote on 2020-12-04, 11:28:
GigAHerZ wrote on 2020-12-02, 08:41:
Absolutely amazing! Thank you so much! […]
Show full quote

Absolutely amazing! Thank you so much!

I've been using PCem since v14 to play with software configuration in emulation before i go and set up my real hardware. Amazing tool, thank you!

Just put this on my computer and found a sad thing that i need to investigate: Absolutely nothing can be emulated with better speed than 50%.
I have 3570K @ 4,5GHz CPU, which should be enough to emulate 386DX33 or Am5x86-P75 easily, yet, it's constantly stuck at few points under 50% of emulation speed. Task manager also show no single core being utilized 100% or anything like that. (Even, when i set emulator's cpu core affinity to 1 or 2 cores)

Possibly there's an easy fix for it, just need to find it...

Yup, just confirming that v16 runs easily @100%, while v17 never goes over 50% on emulation speed...

EDIT: Found the problem! It's also present in v16 still - When you add a NE2000 network card to a machine, it's never going to emulate the machine at higher speed than 50%. 🙁

Found more specifics - it's only, when on host configuration, PCAP is chosen.

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