VOGONS


First post, by King_Corduroy

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Hello all been a long time since I've really dived into vintage computers and especially 80's machines. Might be getting my hands on a pretty mint 8086 IBM PS/2 Model 30 with the original display and I'm thinking about slapping either an 8 bit Sound Blaster card, Snark Blaster or a Radlib (Adlib clone) card in it. What kinds of games could I run on a machine like this? Obviously anything I could run on my old PCjr would work (Elite, Roadwarrior 2k, Empire Wargame of the Century, etc.) but what other games would work? Just looking for a big list of suggestions basically because I basically don't remember what's out there anymore as far as software that'll run on an 8086. 🤣

Also any suggestions for a good word processor for this machine would be appreciated. 😁

Check me out at Transcendental Airwaves on Youtube! Also wtf, why are whoppers so good?!

Reply 1 of 13, by Pierre32

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This thread has had a recent revival. Should be a great start for game suggestions. The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Reply 2 of 13, by Cyberdyne

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Only real problem is the MCGA. So absolutely no EGA games. Only the bare minimum CGA support. And only pure 320x200x256 that is too slow anyways.

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 3 of 13, by Grzyb

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It's easy to add a VGA - no need to change any settings, just install the VGA card, and the onboard MCGA gets automatically disabled.
I'm not sure, however, if it would make sense - the perfect match for 8088/8086 are CGA games, for EGA games a faster CPU would be nice...

Reply 4 of 13, by Jo22

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Early VGA cards (ISA) do have CGA/EGA/MGA emulation modes in silicon.
A mode utility can activate them. Composite CGA is out if question, though. 😔

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 5 of 13, by King_Corduroy

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So what I'm hearing is it's not really suitable for anything. Bummer. 😒 I would certainly prefer a 286 model anyway.

Check me out at Transcendental Airwaves on Youtube! Also wtf, why are whoppers so good?!

Reply 6 of 13, by waterbeesje

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My favourites on my model 30 8086:
Prince of Persia (beautiful music, real mcga!)
Street rod
Digger
Jumpjet
Grand Prix racing
PC man
SIM city
Space Invaders

So it's totally suitable for some nice gaming, hours and hours and hours long!

Yet it isn't pure VGA. For that you'd want a 386/486 any way to make things run as smooth as possible 😀
I've added an ATI VGA wonder and that works for EGA as well, on top of the CGA/MDA modes that were already supported, but it's really just for kicks and not really as must have.

My 8530-021 setup currently:
V30 CPU (15% faster than the original Siemens 8086)
i8087-8 (nearly useless)
ATI VGA wonder (because I can)
Sound blaster
2MB EMS (useless but because I can)
Original FDD+hdd

Stuck at 10MHz...

Reply 7 of 13, by Jo22

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King_Corduroy wrote on 2022-07-07, 15:16:

So what I'm hearing is it's not really suitable for anything. Bummer. 😒 I would certainly prefer a 286 model anyway.

Nah, don't despair. I'd recommend checking the games you would want to play in an PC/XT emulator first.
That would give you a "worst-as-possible" experience.
An 8086 system is quite a bit faster than that, at the same clock speed.

Generally speaking, 286 titles are no problem, either, if a V30 is installed:
If the 286 games don't need Windows or XMS, they should run (Windows 3.0 in RM runs, but not all games like that).
With enough conventional memory, things should be fine, I tnink.

Some games do also support EMS to some degree (I know of Commander Keen IV, MegaTron, later Sierra interpreters?).

Personally, I'd really use PCem/86Box to do some tests.
Check how your favorite games run on an XT, a Turbo XT and a 8086 PC.
Maybe also an 6 or 8MHz AT. 🙂

Edit: I'm an owner of a 4,77 MHz PC/XT and some 286/386 PCs.
From what I can say, things aren't always as expected. Sometimes, a lower specced system runs faster, actually.

Example: Playing my old MIG-29 flight sim works nicely on my 10MHz 286 (OAK OTI67 VGA), but was a slide show on my former 12MHz (ATI VGA Wonder).
On top of that: My 10MHz system with a fine VGA roughly equaled my father's 386DX40 PC with a (not so fast) VGA.
That's at least how I remember it. The flight sim runs as well as on my father's PC.
With merely a 10MHz 286! 😃

Edit: "The original Model 30 ran an Intel 8086 at 8 MHz, with no wait states."
Source: Wikipedia

That doesn't sound too bad to me.
This PC should be faster than the usual Turbo XT! 🙂
The only downside would be 4,77MHz ISA with 8-Bit I/O bandwith.
But that may or may not matter so much for VGA.
It's merely a 64KB memory segment that must be updated for VGA in 320x200 games.
Maybe some experts can provide some feedback from experience.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 8 of 13, by rmay635703

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Seems like a version of Jill of the Jungle can be made to run on an 8086, albeit slowly
Test drive the dual
And a bunch of other shareware like chopper.

There are others that will run on an XT albeit again slowly

Reply 9 of 13, by Jo22

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rmay635703 wrote on 2022-07-07, 17:39:

Seems like a version of Jill of the Jungle can be made to run on an 8086, albeit slowly
Test drive the dual and a bunch of other shareware like chopper.

That's cool! There's also a patch on vcfed.org that patches Windows 3.0 VGA driver for 808x compatibility.

rmay635703 wrote on 2022-07-07, 17:39:

There are others that will run on an XT albeit again slowly

And an 8086 can be about twice as quick as an 8088, due to 16-Bit I/O.
If a V30 is installed, it's *close* to a 286 at same clock speed.
- Under ideal circumstances, I mean.
There are several factors that can cause a slower performance in practice.
Not just hardware, but also certain x86 instructions. The 80286 has a real MMU, after all.

That's why I recommended testing certain configurations in PCem or some other, specialized IBM PS/2 emulator.

If the circumstances are good, that 8086 system might be close to an early 286 one.
And for VGA games, a quick VGA card might be the crucial part.
VGA (MCGA) modes have less overhead than CGA modes, sometimes.

And a real CGA card is slower than a VGA card, too. No hardware buffers like on ET4000, slow CGA routines that are part of the PC BIOS..
By contrast, a VGA card has a more optimized VGA BIOS made by not so conservative non-IBM people.
On a slow system, this small improvement might be even more noticeable.

Edit: Quotes fixed.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 11 of 13, by BitWrangler

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You might want to take a wander through this thread also..
Best CGA & Hercules monochrome games

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 12 of 13, by pipmastah

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I saw Jo22 mention composite CGA. I can do you one better: Did you guys know that MCGA on a Model 30 can actually natively output a 15KHz RGBS signal through its DB-15 connector?
If you jumper the monitor sense lines 0 and 1 to ground the video subsystem will switch to and undocumented "reserved" 15KHz mode at startup making those old MCGA games look amazing on a PVM or Color TV espcecially if you own a Model 30 or 25 with a ceramic gold Inmos RAMDAC.
I modded my 8530 by making a switch that connects to the feature connector header allowing me to swtich between 15 and 31KHz mode and it's really something else! 😀

Reply 13 of 13, by Grzyb

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pipmastah wrote on 2022-10-29, 19:55:

I saw Jo22 mention composite CGA. I can do you one better: Did you guys know that MCGA on a Model 30 can actually natively output a 15KHz RGBS signal through its DB-15 connector?

Yes!
MCGA monitor at 15 KHz?