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First post, by Almoststew1990

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Obviously it is not going to happen. But today I just had a thought that, given the rise of retro gaming popularity, why doesn't a manufacturer (even if it is a "new" one, not a big player) release a motherboard specifically for Windows 9x that has S370 / Slot 1 with AGP, PCI, ISA, SATA, USB 2/3, wifi, with their own, modern but W98 focused chipset? The SATA, USB and Wifi could be very basic or even optional given that the rest of the system would be a huge bottleneck. Would it be expensive or is the technology so basic now that it would be do-able?

Then I got a bit carried away! Do you ever see manufacturers and OEMS ever re-making some legendary, legacy old hardware?

I'm thinking Intel making a Celeron 300A, Nvidia resurrecting 3DFX just for re-releasing a Voodoo card at original spec? ASUS making an original spec P2B? And I don't mean re use the name like the i7 8086K. I mean re-make the original components, or perhaps re-making the specification but with utilizing current technology - Imagine a "5800 Ultra" that is just a little SoC that doesn't even require a heatsink but is on a large AGP slot PCB. Kind of like this Altair 8800 clone. But maybe that is entering emulation / VM territory.

Ah well back to work.

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Reply 1 of 18, by BeginnerGuy

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I highly doubt you'll see any manufacturer do such a thing with individual hardware parts requiring drivers for operating systems that went EOL decades ago.

What we will probably see is a single board "dos/9x" x86 PC with adlib/glide "emulation" shipping from Asia.

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Reply 2 of 18, by Almoststew1990

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BeginnerGuy wrote:

I highly doubt you'll see any manufacturer do such a thing with individual hardware parts requiring drivers for operating systems that went EOL decades ago.

Yes the fact that you'd need a variety of manufacturers on board to make one retro PC does ruin my plan somewhat. Which is why I thought that a motherbaord would be a good idea - I think motherboards are the most easily broken part of a retro PC but they're also the heart that you can plug in a variety of specifications of each part so it would still allow for customising your build. RAM for this era is plentiful for now and HDDs can be replaced with CF cards (and certainly would be for my imaginary motherboard).

Wouldn't the EoL nature of 95/98 make it easier / cheaper to 'develop' the firmware/software? "We guarantee that we don't guarantee any security, WHQL certification or support whatsoever!" (on that note perhaps it shouldn't include wifi built in...) Drivers only have to work with one or two, fixed, versions of Windows (heck, even a set selection of games to be focused on) and won't ever need to update to keep up with OS updated.

Ryzen 3700X | 16GB 3600MHz RAM | AMD 6800XT | 2Tb NVME SSD | Windows 10
AMD DX2-80 | 16MB RAM | STB LIghtspeed 128 | AWE32 CT3910
I have a vacancy for a main Windows 98 PC

Reply 3 of 18, by nforce4max

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It is wishful thinking that one of the established conglomos would pitch in and reintroduce 9x compatible boards but there is a real need for ATX style 386/486 boards as there is plenty of expensive equipment still out there that requires old PCs in order to run.

On a far away planet reading your posts in the year 10,191.

Reply 4 of 18, by Unknown_K

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There isn't a market big enough for such a thing to be profitable. There are still plenty of boards out there that work to keep the price low enough to not be worth the effort.

Somewhere down the road there will be reprogrammable chips fast enough and cool enough to reproduce your favorite old CPU and GPUs as well as sound for that retro experience.

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Reply 6 of 18, by cyclone3d

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oeuvre wrote:

Everyone should just buy a Ryzen Threadripper board with 32GB RAM and 2 ISA slots.

The fastest available with a large number of ISA slots is a PIAGP backplane and SBC setup. The newest board can support Pentium D CPUs. Good luck finding one of those SBCs though. I have a setup, but the SBC I have "only" supports up to a S478 P4 3.4.

The only real other option would be to have a special motherboard made that has a PCI bus and also an ITE-8888 ISA bridge.. which gives full ISA compatibility.. even DMA.

It may be possible to do a PCI to ISA exapansion chassis setup, but I am not sure if the motherboard BIOS would have to support it or not.. Most, if not all, older motherboards with PCI slots had the PnP/legacy option for IRQs in the BIOS so it may just work.

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Reply 7 of 18, by The Serpent Rider

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I highly doubt there's enough demand for such investment.

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Reply 8 of 18, by jheronimus

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I think noone would bother to make a "NES Mini" of PC gaming for the same reasons retro PC gaming is niche even compared to retro console gaming:

- there are no iconic PC machines besides maybe the IBM PC 5150. You can describe a typical 90s PC, but it won't be pretty — you'll end up with a boring beige tower PC. Sure, there are exceptions, but they were never mainstream. It's the same reason why it's easy to explain collecting retro consoles as a hobby, but not PC collecting — everybody thinks you're just hoarding junk.

- it's nearly impossible to make the experience both authentic and easy. There is DOSBox and GOG, everything else just makes things less stable and user-friendly.

Reply 9 of 18, by Zup

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What about licences? Maybe some hardware can be released because the manufacturer does not have the licence anymore (i.e.: MPEG licences, licences to sell CPUs and the like). I dont think that Microsoft would grant licences to put MS-DOS on new computers anymore...

OTOH, I always wondered why nobody sold a computer for kids based on 286/386 technology. It would be easy to put some DOS edutainment games, and costs would be low.

jheronimus wrote:

- there are no iconic PC machines besides maybe the IBM PC 5150. You can describe a typical 90s PC, but it won't be pretty — you'll end up with a boring beige tower PC. Sure, there are exceptions, but they were never mainstream. It's the same reason why it's easy to explain collecting retro consoles as a hobby, but not PC collecting — everybody thinks you're just hoarding junk.

Here in Europe the iconic machine would be the Amstrad PC1512. Also, in late 80s there were a trend of "computers in a keyboard" (Sinclair PC200, Schneider EuroPC) that are easily recognizable.

P.S.: There are some FPGA systems that you can buy and can behave like XT clones, using a SD card like hard disk. The ZX-Uno emulates a PC-XT with VGA (although the first ZX-Uno model had only 512Kb RAM, there are models and a expansion module with 2Mb RAM). Other systems like minimig have their own cores with CGA support.

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Reply 10 of 18, by appiah4

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Aren't there any MS-DOS PC cores for FPGA computers like Mist?

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Reply 11 of 18, by badmojo

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jheronimus wrote:

I think noone would bother to make a "NES Mini" of PC gaming for the same reasons retro PC gaming is niche even compared to retro console gaming

I'm not so sure you know! I reckon that could go OK - a little classic 90's beige case, minature of course, that did HDMI out and accepted a USB mouse / keyboard. It would boot directly to FreeDOS and have some simple SoundBlaster support - I'd buy one!

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Reply 12 of 18, by Plasma

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badmojo wrote:
jheronimus wrote:

I think noone would bother to make a "NES Mini" of PC gaming for the same reasons retro PC gaming is niche even compared to retro console gaming

I'm not so sure you know! I reckon that could go OK - a little classic 90's beige case, minature of course, that did HDMI out and accepted a USB mouse / keyboard. It would boot directly to FreeDOS and have some simple SoundBlaster support - I'd buy one!

There was Flea86 but it's been discontinued.

As far as OP's question, could they? Yes. Would they? No. The demand for vintage hardware rounds to zero on the scale required for it to be profitable.

Reply 13 of 18, by LSS10999

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cyclone3d wrote:
The fastest available with a large number of ISA slots is a PIAGP backplane and SBC setup. The newest board can support Pentium […]
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oeuvre wrote:

Everyone should just buy a Ryzen Threadripper board with 32GB RAM and 2 ISA slots.

The fastest available with a large number of ISA slots is a PIAGP backplane and SBC setup. The newest board can support Pentium D CPUs. Good luck finding one of those SBCs though. I have a setup, but the SBC I have "only" supports up to a S478 P4 3.4.

The only real other option would be to have a special motherboard made that has a PCI bus and also an ITE-8888 ISA bridge.. which gives full ISA compatibility.. even DMA.

It may be possible to do a PCI to ISA exapansion chassis setup, but I am not sure if the motherboard BIOS would have to support it or not.. Most, if not all, older motherboards with PCI slots had the PnP/legacy option for IRQs in the BIOS so it may just work.

A PCI bus with PCI-ISA bridges (such as IT8888) will only work up to ICH5 (except 6300ESB). Only LPC ISA bridges (like those made by Fintek) would hopefully work post-ICH5 with some configurations, but actual motherboards with such are rather rare. A backplane/SBC solution sounds nice, too, but it's not easy to find the better ones...

There were some PCI-ISA riser/expansion cards from Costronic. However, it's up to the user to figure out how to drive those cards as Costronic does not provide drivers or option ROMs for their cards.

And as for the Threadripper joke... well... it seems as modern boards evolve even SuperIO is starting to become history as some modern boards don't even have PS/2 and other legacy ports anymore (such as UART). USB nowadays can fulfill the roles of almost all those legacy ports. (USB to UART, USB to PS/2, etc)

Reply 14 of 18, by Jo22

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Plasma wrote:

There was Flea86 but it's been discontinued.

As far as OP's question, could they? Yes. Would they? No.
The demand for vintage hardware rounds to zero on the scale required for it to be profitable.

There's a bit of demand in industry and business still. There are x86-based Single Board Computers (SBCs, sample) and Thin Clients..
Not exactly what the OP was asking for (no ISA slots), but some of them could run DOS *natively*, at least.

What I'm more worried of is the planned downfall of the BIOS in 2020.
It would also affect graphics cards in so far as they would loose their VGA/VBE-BIOS.
Without the BIOS (or CSM), the need for Option-ROMs will end. But that's another story.

Edit: Some of the Vortex86 CPUs have an "ISA Bus Interface".
http://www.vortex86.com/?p=152

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Reply 15 of 18, by Plasma

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There is virtually zero demand for the stuff OP is talking about, which is late 90s consumer gaming hardware. Celeron 300A, Voodoo, Asus P2B...nobody outside a very small group of collectors wants those.

Reply 16 of 18, by root42

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You can now build your very own Amiga 4000:

https://github.com/Acill/A4000RevB

Maybe this counts as well? 😀

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Reply 18 of 18, by chinny22

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First thing I thought of when I read this was they already do! industrial PC's
Gotek after all was developed for industrial use not retro, we just benefit from it.

But I think industrial demand is the best chance for any new developments in legacy hardware.
We are even divided in our own community, limiting demand more so, I love slot 1 but others hate it, Super Socket 7 gets talked a lot about here but doesn't interest me (and I'm sure others) at all.

At least with consoles or even things like Amiga's hardware was the same so anyone interested in a say a NES wont have a different opinion on what a NES should be

I'm keeping an eye on the GUS project here, things like that and the dreamblaster is where anything interesting will happen