VOGONS


First post, by Tenorman

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Hello All,

I recently bought a Tandy 1000 TL/2. The machine came pretty standard (8 MHZ 286, 640K, single 720K floppy drive) with the exception of the hard drive having been disconnected and replaced with an XTCF card.

Not being able to leave anything alone, I quickly set to messing with it after testing it all out.

Added a NOS TEAC 55-BR 5.25" floppy drive. I was a bit disappointed to learn that the floppy controller in the TL/2 doesn't support high density drives, and I would rather have used a white drive to match the case, but this works and looks better than I thought it would.

Bought some 64KX4 DRAM chips and upgraded the memory to the full 768K so that my video ram doesn't cut into the base 640K.

Proceeded to fill up all the expansion slots....

-Added an old HP serial / parallel card. This was mainly to get a second serial port. I need one port for the mouse, and I like to do serial file transfers on my machines sometimes, so I wanted two ports. A plus is getting a "real" parallel port instead of just the edge connector that is standard on the Tandy.

-Added a TexElec SAAYM card. Figured it was a good enough place to try this card out as any. Can play back VGM files just fine using SBVGM and the games I have tried that support CMS work just fine.

-Added a Lo-Tech EMS card. This is where things get a bit messy. The upper memory of these computers is very crowded. The XTCF was using D00h, but I needed that so I could have a 64K contiguous chunk of space for the EMS page frame. Used this procedure to pad 16K in front of the latest IDE_XTP.BIN and relocate it to CC00h. http://www.vcfed.org/forum/archive/index.php/t-65743.html
I also got a nice speed increase from the XTCF by switching to the XTP BIOS. The card had been using the plain XT BIOS which is the most compatible, but quite slow.

Software configuration:
-Using Compaq DOS 3.31. The idea here to maintain as much free conventional memory as possible, while getting around the 32 MB partition size limit. In hindsight, it had been quite a while since I had used pre-5.0 DOS and it is missing a lot of niceties. This version of DOS does work fine however and you are allowed 512 MB partitions, which is a ton of space on a 286 machine.
Only a couple of issues: The Tandy specific MODE command won't work on DOS 3.31 and DOS didn't get SETVER until version 5.0. Found a replacement called DOSVER that seems to work well. Solution of "Incorrect MS-DOS version"
The version of DeskMate that came with the computer would no longer run. Version 3.05 from WinWorld PC works fine however. Supposedly Deskmate can also load part of itself into EMS to free up RAM.

-Installed Windows 3.0. Very slow and pretty pointless. Using the Tandy video driver from WIndows 2.x. Besides being stuck with real mode, having only 200 vertical pixels also causes a lot of software not to work.

I think the best use case I've found for the computer so far are the old Sierra games up to SCI0. These all have good Tandy graphics and CMS support, and can also use EMS.

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[Compaq Presario 633 | DOS 6.22 / Win 3.1 | DX4 100 Overdrive | 28M RAM | SB16 CT2770A | SPEA Media FX (Soundscape S2000) ]
[GA-6BXC R2.0 | Win98SE | Via C3 Ezra 866 | 384M RAM | TNT2 32M | Voodoo2 8M | SB32 CT3670 | Ensoniq Soundscape Opus]

Reply 1 of 10, by Tenorman

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More pics...

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[Compaq Presario 633 | DOS 6.22 / Win 3.1 | DX4 100 Overdrive | 28M RAM | SB16 CT2770A | SPEA Media FX (Soundscape S2000) ]
[GA-6BXC R2.0 | Win98SE | Via C3 Ezra 866 | 384M RAM | TNT2 32M | Voodoo2 8M | SB32 CT3670 | Ensoniq Soundscape Opus]

Reply 2 of 10, by pshipkov

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Great stuff.

Was always curious about these Tandies.
Never owned one - not available in my region back then.

That last Windows 3 screenshot is great.
Today my "Hello World!" executable has bigger memory footprint. 😁

retro bits and bytes

Reply 3 of 10, by Tenorman

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Another Windows screenshot that illustrates probably the biggest problem with running Windows using the Tandy or CGA video modes - lack of vertical resolution.
If I really wanted to run Windows on this computer, the built in video can also do Hercules and that would be a much better experience. I'm just messing around though and obviously the Tandy 16 color mode is much better for games.

Attachments

[Compaq Presario 633 | DOS 6.22 / Win 3.1 | DX4 100 Overdrive | 28M RAM | SB16 CT2770A | SPEA Media FX (Soundscape S2000) ]
[GA-6BXC R2.0 | Win98SE | Via C3 Ezra 866 | 384M RAM | TNT2 32M | Voodoo2 8M | SB32 CT3670 | Ensoniq Soundscape Opus]

Reply 4 of 10, by Benedikt

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Tenorman wrote on 2021-04-08, 18:52:

I think the best use case I've found for the computer so far are the old Sierra games up to SCI0. These all have good Tandy graphics and CMS support, and can also use EMS.

There is an unofficial Tandy high-res driver for SCI1 VGA games, though: http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthread.p ... post279300

Reply 5 of 10, by Tenorman

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Benedikt wrote on 2021-04-09, 16:27:

There is an unofficial Tandy high-res driver for SCI1 VGA games, though: http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthread.p ... post279300

I did run across that. I might try it out sometime, but I think playing these games on an 8 Mhz 286 might be pretty painful.

[Compaq Presario 633 | DOS 6.22 / Win 3.1 | DX4 100 Overdrive | 28M RAM | SB16 CT2770A | SPEA Media FX (Soundscape S2000) ]
[GA-6BXC R2.0 | Win98SE | Via C3 Ezra 866 | 384M RAM | TNT2 32M | Voodoo2 8M | SB32 CT3670 | Ensoniq Soundscape Opus]

Reply 6 of 10, by Tenorman

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I tried out the Tandy 640x200 16 color driver for SCI 1 this morning using the LSL1 VGA remake. The result looks pretty nice, though as I expected this game is more or less unplayable on an 8 mhz 286. The fastest machines with this video mode would only be 10 mhz, so I doubt they would fair much better. It's a fun thing to mess with, but probably of limited use on real machines just because they are so underpowered for this.

LSL1 VGA also has a lot of music and it was "interesting" to hear the CMS rendition of it. Pretty poor compared to Adlib/Soundblaster, but I had never heard it before so that was fun.

Attachments

[Compaq Presario 633 | DOS 6.22 / Win 3.1 | DX4 100 Overdrive | 28M RAM | SB16 CT2770A | SPEA Media FX (Soundscape S2000) ]
[GA-6BXC R2.0 | Win98SE | Via C3 Ezra 866 | 384M RAM | TNT2 32M | Voodoo2 8M | SB32 CT3670 | Ensoniq Soundscape Opus]

Reply 7 of 10, by rmay635703

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Tenorman wrote on 2021-04-10, 22:58:

I tried out the Tandy 640x200 16 color driver for SCI 1 this morning using the LSL1 VGA remake. The result looks pretty nice, though as I expected this game is more or less unplayable on an 8 mhz 286. The fastest machines with this video mode would only be 10 mhz, so I doubt they would fair much better. It's a fun thing to mess with, but probably of limited use on real machines just because they are so underpowered fun.

Games of that era ran slow even on “proper” high end hardware contemporary to the game.people just had much more tolerance for slowness

Worth noting your TL should be over clockable especially if you replace the cpu with a faster speed grade, some reports as high as 15mhz if your ram is fast enough, just get a bag of random crystals and see if it can budge

Also there were “other” font sets for Windows CGA you can cludge in to get more viewable rows of text.
One of the vintage Windows 3.x driver forums had fixed up CGA drivers and fonts to be much more usable

Reply 8 of 10, by dysamoria

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Great thread! I'm excited to see someone else working with a Tandy 1000 TL/2! 😃 That was my first computer. I have one now, again. It was a "recapturing my childhood" kinda purchase, about ten years ago (though the one I have is NOT the original machine my family had when I was a kid). I've bought a bunch of old classic computers for a project I never finished, but here I am working at it, and finally getting somewhere. The Tandy 1000 TL/2, though, is facing an odd problem:

Tandy 1000 TL/2 with Monotech XT-IDE CF: Weird Boot Graphic Glitch

I don't want to hijack your thread, so I made my own new thread. I just thought this was a cool thread where other people might be looking at Tandy 1000 TL/2 computer stuff and might come check out my issue.

I am wondering if it's necessary to pad the ROM when the XT-IDE card has a bunch of address options.

Last edited by dysamoria on 2021-04-27, 00:01. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 9 of 10, by Tenorman

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You don't need to pad the ROM unless you are using EMS (or have something else that needs to be at D000h). My XTCF card will boot the TL/2 just fine at D000h. The problem is if you want to add a Lo-Tech EMS card, you need 64K of contiguous memory and D000 is really the only option for that given the built in DOS ROM and generally cluttered memory map. The only other place you can stick the boot XTIDE ROM and still have the machine able to boot is CC00h. At least on my XTCF card, to do that I had to replace the EPROM with a 32K chip, set the the card to C800, and then pad 16K in front of the boot ROM so it ends up at CC00h.

[Compaq Presario 633 | DOS 6.22 / Win 3.1 | DX4 100 Overdrive | 28M RAM | SB16 CT2770A | SPEA Media FX (Soundscape S2000) ]
[GA-6BXC R2.0 | Win98SE | Via C3 Ezra 866 | 384M RAM | TNT2 32M | Voodoo2 8M | SB32 CT3670 | Ensoniq Soundscape Opus]

Reply 10 of 10, by dysamoria

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Tenorman wrote on 2021-04-26, 18:01:

You don't need to pad the ROM unless you are using EMS (or have something else that needs to be at D000h). My XTCF card will boot the TL/2 just fine at D000h. The problem is if you want to add a Lo-Tech EMS card, you need 64K of contiguous memory and D000 is really the only option for that given the built in DOS ROM and generally cluttered memory map. The only other place you can stick the boot XTIDE ROM and still have the machine able to boot is CC00h. At least on my XTCF card, to do that I had to replace the EPROM with a 32K chip, set the the card to C800, and then pad 16K in front of the boot ROM so it ends up at CC00h.

I don't have any plan to put an EMS card in there. Currently, it's just the XT-IDE card and nothing else.