First post, by enaiel
Hi, long time lurker here.
I decided to use my quarantine-time to build my first retro DOS PC with parts I had accumulated over the years. I first installed my applications and games on DOSBox and was pretty impressed that most worked quite well. I then started building my PC with the following specs:
Compaq Deskpro EXD P866:
- CPU: Intel Pentium III 866 MHz (Coppermine)
- Chipset: Intel 815
- RAM: SDRAM 133 MHz 512 MB (256 MB x2)
- GPU: ATI Radeon 9600 XT (128 MB) (RV350 AR)
- Audio: Sound Blaster Audigy 1 [SB0090]
- FDD: 3.5" 1.44 MB
- HDD: WDC WD100BA 10 GB
- HDD: Maxtor 32049H2 20 GB
- DVD-RW: LITE-ON LDW-811S 8x
- NIC: Linksys ADMtek NC100 Network Everywhere Fast Ethernet 10/100
- Keyboard: Logitech Y-BE22
- Mouse: Logitech M-BE58
- Zip: Iomega SCSI Zip 100
- Joy: Gravis PC Gamepad
The only part I purchased was the gamepad for $8 USD shipped from eBay, as I never had a DOS gamepad before. I liked the Deskpro because it was a P3 in a pretty small form factor and hoped it would make a powerful DOS workstation. I knew I would face some incompatibilities from using a P3 PCI system for DOS, but was surprised at how much worse it was than I imagined.
The best part of this retro DOS PC was playing games. With the use of throttle.exe and the gamepad, I enjoyed the tactile and low-latency retro DOS gaming experience, with pictures much crisper than what I got from DOSBox.
Unfortunately, with DOS applications it was much worse. Many crashed when started, or crashed when running, or they crashed when quitting. The few applications that worked flawlessly were sea.exe, mpxplay.exe, and dosmid.exe. The good news was that I got FM working through the Audigy's SB16 emulation, but for some reason every MOD player like glx.exe and opencp.exe had tons of noise and distortion.
I am using Win98SE DOS instead of MS-DOS 6.22, so I'm not sure if the crashes are because of that, or because of using a P3 PCI system. And the noise and distortion from the MOD players is surprising since I have no such issues in games, or with mpxplay.exe. Any help or suggestions on how to fix these two issues would be most welcome.
I had to get this itch of building this retro DOS PC out of my system. And now that it's done, I feel that if it's just for playing games, DOSBox does a good enough job. It would be worth keeping around only if I could run more applications, or I could get the MODs playing without distortion. So for now at least, it's sadly, most probably, going to go back in it's shelf.