VOGONS


First post, by jheronimus

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Hi, all!

Just got a Backpack 167550 (32x CD-ROM) and connected it via LPT to my Compaq Presario 433. Installed 4.0 drivers from this site.

It works, but there are a couple of issues:

1) games like The Dig and Full Throttle stutter or hang at boot.
2) it uses a lot of conventional memory, so Betrayal at Krondor won't start.

I used backpack's tools to determine ECP/EPP capabilities of my port. Looks like it's neither, so it's probably a pretty slow LPT port. But before I get a dedicated LPT card, I'd like to know that slow speed is really the issue here. So, couple of questions:

1) How do I measure the data transfer rate from CD-ROM under DOS?
2) how do I free up more conventional RAM? Looks like I've used up all I could google, so any tips would be welcome. I've attached screenshots for MEM /C /P, AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS.

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The specs are:

Intel 486DX2@66
12 MB RAM
Cirrus Logic CL-GD5420 512K
Creative Vibra 16 CT2940

Thanks!

Reply 1 of 8, by gdjacobs

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Lots of stuff to do here.

DOS=HIGH,UMB
DEVICEHIGH=\BPCDROM\...
SHSUCDX instead of MSCDEX and/or
LH \BPCDROM\MSCDEX instead of just plain \BPCDROM\MSCDEX

Also, neat trick to see if the backpack driver is loaded.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 2 of 8, by alexanrs

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Besides what gdjacobs already said:

  • Please do use the "/E" parameter with MSCDEX if you can't replace it with SHSUCDX.
  • Try using 4DOS 8.0 instead of COMMAND.COM (and then ditch DOSKEY, as 4DOS has all its functionality built-in)
  • Try increasing the "STACKS" command? Like adding "STACKS=9,256" to CONFIG.SYS
  • I've also had weird lockups with CTMOUSE 2.0 and 2.1b in some machines. CTMOUSE 1.9 works perfectly.

Reply 3 of 8, by jheronimus

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Thanks a lot, Krondor runs now.

On a related note, people seem to replace so many standard MS-DOS utilities with FreeDOS stuff one would think it would be better to just install FreeDOS already. But I guess, the compatibility is not that great?

Reply 4 of 8, by alexanrs

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I usually stick to MS-DOS built in utilities, add CTMOUSE (though I keep good old Microsoft's MOUSE.COM handy), VIDECDD.SYS, mTCP (for FTP transfers from my main machine) and 4DOS and I'm good to go. Those give me the best compatibility all around with over 600KB of free conventional memory after some tinkering. I've had issues with stuff like SHSUCDX, UIDE and so on.

Reply 5 of 8, by jheronimus

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So, one question remains. How do I measure data transfer rate? Installation speed seems OK, but Full Throttle does stutter a lot during cut scenes and transitions.

Also had some sound issues (lots of noise in Gabriel Knight) but switching Vibra back to ESS1886F did the trick. Vibra doesn't have OPL3 and for some reason I like ESS better anyhow.

Reply 6 of 8, by gdjacobs

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One of the projects I've currently got on the burner is to evaluate compatibility and resource efficiency of the FreeDOS kernel, FreeCOM, other kernels, command interpreters, and utilities.

So far, compatibility is pretty good across the board, but I have found weird issues with HIMEM.SYS from MS/PC DOS eating large amounts conventional RAM (on my retro DOS PC but not on the VM I use for installing floppy images). I also have problems with CTMOUSE and Allegiance. Therefore, I always use HIMEMX and sometimes use the MS mouse driver. Just two examples where I pick and choose as necessary.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 7 of 8, by jheronimus

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gdjacobs wrote:

the VM I use for installing floppy images.

Whoa, what's your process there? I basically host my own FTP, then download IMG files to my Socket 7 machine and make floppies on it. Pretty time-consuming.

Reply 8 of 8, by gdjacobs

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I pass through my SATA drive and boot it as a VM. That way I can mount ISO files and floppy images without having them in physical form.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder