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Dell CPI

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First post, by dosquest

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Hey, recently I got for free a dell cpi laptop, it's the 300mhz pentium 2 model with 128 mb ram and 2mb video, is there any way I can make this less crappy and sutible for playing games? also can I force it into 23bit color 1204x768 res?

Reply 2 of 20, by mr_bigmouth_502

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It doesn't sound like too bad of a box for playing some of the later DOS games (provided the onboard sound supports DOS in the first place), but don't expect to be playing too many games made after 1998. 😜

Reply 3 of 20, by elianda

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I don't know this specific Laptop, but 1204x768 at 23 Bit color resolution seems to be a very unusual setting. You would need 2658432 Byte of memory at minimum, whereas 2 MB is just 2097152 Bytes.

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Reply 7 of 20, by Old Thrashbarg

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I have a CPi, same 300mhz PII version in fact. TBH, I could never find any use for it, so it's just ended up sitting on a shelf for the past 8 years or so. It's OK, though not great, for DOS games, but any Windows game more advanced than Minesweeper is pretty well out of that thing's league. It uses that Neomagic 128XD video chip, which is quite impressively slow, and of course has no 3D capability whatsoever.

And anything more than 16-bit color at 1024x768 ain't happening on it. But you wouldn't really gain a whole lot from higher color depths anyway. I suspect the LCD panel in it might not even be able to display more than 64K colors... even in 800x600 24-bit mode, there's quite a bit of color banding.

Reply 9 of 20, by 3DfxNerd

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my modern day laptop only goes up to 32-bit color and its a damn good laptop. its a 2007 Toshiba L300D with 4GB DDR2 RAM and 700MB ATi Radeon graphics, almost a gaming laptop for 2007, 🤣.

you cannot get a CPi to go up to 32-bit color if thats the max for a modern laptop, 🤣.
you can do 24-bit color which is just as good, just a smaller color palette and lower res graphics. I had a CPi a few years ago and the video was terrible. worse than my Trident card in my Pentium 200.

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Reply 10 of 20, by gerwin

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24-bit and 32-bit gives the same result. The extra 8-bits are either unused or used for transparency. It is just that 32-bit is a practical amount to read and write.

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Reply 12 of 20, by swaaye

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I had a Dell Latitude LM way back and that has the Neomagic 128ZV (AFAIR). It doesn't support upscaling so the LCD does a horrid pixel stretch for non native resolutions. If you can't stand the jaggies, try to disable the LCD stretch and run things in postage stamp mode. It also lacks support for many low resolutions in Windows (like running Unreal at fullscreen 320x200). Not a good gaming chip but it is OK for native resolution GUI as it was intended...

Neomagic's brief success was afforded by their chips having the DRAM integrated so they lowered cost. ATI notebook chips like Rage Mobility are of course better for us. Rage 128 was one of the first notebook chips with non-native resolution scaling I believe (called ratiometric expansion).

Reply 13 of 20, by leileilol

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swaaye wrote:

It also lacks support for many low resolutions in Windows (like running Unreal at fullscreen 320x200).

Trident Cyber9xxx series doesn't allow under 640x480 in DirectX either (but handles VGA okay)
It's weird, because some other laptop video chips of the time can, and Powerstrip and Scitech can't even fix this problem.

You'd think gaming in 400x300 or 512x384 would be ideal for the pixel ratio and the screen size... but nope!

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Reply 16 of 20, by Old Thrashbarg

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The screen in the CPi has somewhere around a 50ms response time. Take that for what you will.

Some people bitch about lag/ghosting on 16ms screens, but I personally can't see any even on the old 50ms screens, or really any LCD other than the old passive-matrix ones (which were around 300ms, I believe). So it really depends on the person, whether old laptop screens have 'horrible lag'. I'd say no, others may say it's unbearable.

Reply 17 of 20, by swaaye

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I agree that old active matrix LCDs are noticeably slower than today's screens but it's nothing like DSTN or passive matrix. You just get some more ghosting/smearing when you turn in action games. It is definitely not unbearable.

Reply 18 of 20, by Maraakate

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I have one of these Dell CPiA. It has a NeoMagic MediaMagic 256AV in it. It supports SB Emulation, which does actually work. However, no MIDI works at all. And there is no MIDI in the control panel. I tried installing the Yamaha ZG50 software synth and still got nothing in games. Trying to set General MIDI in iD titles didn't work either.

I really hate to junk this laptop as the games play fine, the screen is good for what it is. I just wanted to play some DOS era titles properly.

Reply 19 of 20, by Pauls comp emporium

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For dell cpi with neomagic, in order to do midi properly and to get music and sound in windows 98 in dos games you need the WDM version of the driver

Yes it says "w/o sb emulation" ignore it you wont see SB emulation in device manager but Dos sound and music works for me running from within windows 98se tested on many games

"Doom waveblaster 330 + SB pro, IRQ5 ,DMA1"

Driver
https://www.dell.com/support/home/en-uk/drive … driverId=R36862

+ get full screen in dos hold FN and one of the Fkeys i think F7

https://youtu.be/4O3zgTgMbrI here is a video i made on the CPi a400xt with neomagic

Last edited by Pauls comp emporium on 2021-04-29, 16:25. Edited 1 time in total.