VOGONS


First post, by jasa1063

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

When it comes to running classic games, DOSBox is my go to emulator. I use 86Box and PCem for running DOS/Windows applications. I also use them prototyping a retro build to see how they will perform and work. I prefer 86Box as I find it easier to maintain since it has a ROM repository ready to go. I am interested to find out which of these others use and how they use them?

Reply 1 of 20, by underthebridge

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

I used to use DOSBox a lot, but it started getting irritating when I realized it was a PITA to run Windows 9x, and most DOS utilities would not run properly either.
I did not want to delve into the ‘full’ virtual machine emulators though, such as VMware or VirtualBox.
Eventually I settled on PCem or 86Box. They work great for my needs- lightweight, fast enough, and easy to mount drives and images. Only downside is getting files on the virtual machine could be easier.

Reply 2 of 20, by JSO

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

DOSBox was my favorite since 2008 until 2017. On 2017 I've decided to recreate my vintage builds and so far I have multiple builds from 386 to Athlon 64 X2 and a good collection of PGA132, socket 3 (VLB, PCI and ISA), socket 7, ss7, Slot A, Socket 370, Slot 1 and socket 939 motherboards. Some VGA, SVGA, ISAs, VLB, PCI and AGP, CL, Tseng Labs, S3, 3Dfx, Nvidia. Many sound cards, including clones from SB PRo 2.0 to Awe64 and Live! to Audigy series. Also many laptops from Pentium to PIII, all of them Sound Blaster and Adlib compatible.

But...

On April of 2018 I've discovered PCem... But... Some issues on my 1090t and Fx8350 prevented me to use it frequently, but since 3700x became my main rig last August I was delighted! I've created many builds from 386sx to PII 300 MHz for vintage Dos and Windows 3.x / 9x experience... And...

It works just like a real PC, it's just a hardware emulation and that's why it's far better from DosBox.

DOS IS THE POWER OF OUR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES!

Reply 5 of 20, by Caluser2000

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
Jorpho wrote on 2020-12-22, 20:26:

I'm pretty sure PCem would not run at an acceptable speed on my ancient PC.

Doesn't sound like the use case it was intended for...

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 6 of 20, by JSO

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
Jorpho wrote on 2020-12-22, 20:26:

I'm pretty sure PCem would not run at an acceptable speed on my ancient PC.

Windows 3.x / 95 with applications and games until 1996 will run perfect on older machines.
Emulating a Pentium 90 or 100. But I believe Am5x86 is a better option for this period.

DOS IS THE POWER OF OUR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES!

Reply 7 of 20, by Jo22

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

I use both, depends on the applications/games.

Caluser2000 wrote on 2020-12-22, 20:34:
Jorpho wrote on 2020-12-22, 20:26:

I'm pretty sure PCem would not run at an acceptable speed on my ancient PC.

Doesn't sound like the use case it was intended for...

DOSBox on the other hand is a period-correct emulator.
- Because.. It fits the older PC nicely. 😉

Seriously, though. Hopefully, PCem/86Box will still improve.
Performance on older PCs (AMD K9, AMD APU, Core 2 Duo, Atom 525, VIA C7, VIA Nano etc) still leaves a lot to be desired, whereas DOSBox runs quite well already..
The Raspberry Pi 3/4 or the new Raspberry Pi 400 could surely benefit from this.
I mean, ARM/RISC-V are the future, after all, not now popular x86 PCs with Intel i5/i7/i9 or AMD's Ryzen. 😀

Edit : Small edit.

"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 20, by Xanarki

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

86box is great due to the constant updates and closer community (Discord, etc.) but PCem is more practical in other ways.

I can basically run any vintage game up until early 2001/late 2000 on PCem, and I use Win98's MS-DOS Mode for anything older. I haven't touched DOSBox in years as it doesn't provide any advantages for me.

However, DOSBox Turbo on Android is perfect for emulating DOS games, and also isn't too shabby with emulating Windows 95 either. I haven't touched that in awhile though.

Reply 9 of 20, by Norton Commander

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

I wasn't much of a PC gamer until Windows XP so I can't comment on how one performs over the other for Windows 9x. I did lots of DOS gaming in the 386/486 era and when comparing ease of setup DOSBOX is superior. I have a lot of (mostly unpleasant) memories of how much 'fun' it was tweaking DOS to work with games that required too much base RAM, didn't like EMS, didn't like my video card, etc. PCEM/86BOX, VirtualBOX, VMWare all duplicate this experience.

DOSBOX is breeze - No virtual HD images or DOS required. Copying/updating your DOS game is a breeze since you are mounting a subdirectory in your host OS. Some games will work out of the box with the default configuration. Other will require fine tuning the CONFIG file (DOSBOX allows you to have individual config files for each game). I have been able to play all my old favorite 386/486 DOS games in DOSBOX on my Windows 10 PC. I haven't tried DOOM/DUKE3D/WOLF3D/DESCENT2 because
A) I read that performance-wise the experience isn't good
B) I have modern Windows ports of those games

I may at some point try and setup Win9x in PCEM just to see if I could get it to work. One thing I don't like is having to rely on a third party tool such as WinImage just to be able to import/export files to/from the HD image.

I did manage to setup PCEM with DOS 6.22 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and networking. I wanted to duplicate the setup I had in MS Virtual PC (Ok, I cheated, I imported the MS VPC .VHD image into PCEM and just changed a bunch of drivers). Still, I did get it to work.

WFW 3.11/IE5

image.png

WFW 3.11/Netscape Navigator Gold 3.0

image.png

Arachne for DOS Web Browser with DOS PKT driver

image.png

The best performer was Arachne for DOS - IE5 kept choking on scripts, Netscape was only slightly better. Sadly, there isn't much more you can do as fas as surfing the web because no DOS/WFW browser supports HTTPS so only Google, VOGONS and few other websites will work. Ahh Netscape 3 - my fav browser back in the days of simple HTML, before javascript-orrhea, when website would actually load over a dial-up connection.

Reply 10 of 20, by JSO

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

PCem is just superior.

I've abandoned DOSbox the last couple of years.

I have a 386, 486, Am5x86, PII builds with DOS 6.22, PC DOS 2000, DOS 7.1, Windows 95b and Windows 98SE and I don't need anything else and I have the feeling of my childhood.

DOSbox is being used only for Gravis Ultrasound and some other tweaks and also on GOG games.

DOS IS THE POWER OF OUR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES!

Reply 11 of 20, by Malik

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Dosbox for "just run the game" feel, along with DBGL frontend. I just display the box shots of the games I have set up in the launcher and simply double-click the game box to run them.

As for the feeling of tinkering and running DOS and games from the BIOS boot-up, down to autoexec.bat and config.sys and memory tinkering, I go for 86Box. Along with 86Box Manager frontend, it's almost like managing so many vintage systems with ease.

I've used PCem but I feel 86Box is much better. Yes, it's a fork but I prefer this. More options, thoughtful hotkeys, separate MPU-401 emulation and so on. More cards emulated. More tinkering. And the maintainers are more open to suggestions and and more helpful. Just .... more everything. 😉

5476332566_7480a12517_t.jpgSB Dos Drivers

Reply 12 of 20, by digger

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

For those running Linux, another option to consider is dosemu2. It's a continuation of the old dosemu, with quite a few improvements, including support for 64-bit host machines.

It's under active development.

https://dosemu2.github.io/dosemu2/

Reply 13 of 20, by saiyaman23

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Hi all, speaking about DOSBox and PCem. I recently set up PCem V17 with this configuration in order to install DOS 6.22 and play some games:

-Machine: [486] Award SiS 496/497
-CPU: i486DX2/66 (not sure if I should check Dynamic Recompiler or not)
-Memory: 16 MB
-Video Device: VGA
-Video Speed: Default
-Sound Device: Sound Blaster 16
-HDD: Standard IDE 152 MB
-FDD1: 3.5" 1.44M
-CD Model: PCemCD
-CD Speed: 8x
-Microsoft 2-button mouse (serial)

The first game I tried which is the one I wanted to play the most was Ultrabots / Xenobots but it didn't work correctly. When the game goes to the "login" screen it's all black and if you type in anything and press Enter it just shows garbled graphics and can't go on from there. I tried switching different processors and video devices but all had the same result. I remember I was able to play this previously on DOSBox (on one of its many versions) but wanted to give PCem a try and have a more "realistic" experience.

Has anyone been able to run this game successfully on PCem and if so what configuration did you use?

Thanks.

Reply 14 of 20, by creepingnet

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

I tend to stick with DOSBox just because that's what I'm familiar with. I have my Linux installs setup to allow me to click on an EXE and run it in DOSBox if it's a known DOS Program. Which is a nice convenience when I'm auditing software that I store on my 1TB second HDD where all the DOS and early Windows software and stuff is stored.

~The Creeping Network~
My Website - https://sites.google.com/site/thecreepingnetwork/home
My Youtube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/creepingnet

Reply 15 of 20, by mothergoose729

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Dosbox is a lot more compatible with software than real DOS ever was. Especially if you are into DOS games from the 80's, DOSBox is a real life saver.

Obviously, there are things that mainline DOSBox does not do, like GLide emulation.

I do love PCem though. Tinkering with hardware virtually is pretty great. There are a few things you can do with PCem that you can't do quite the same in DOSBox. Like toggle CGA composite. I really wish DOSBox supported that feature better.

Reply 16 of 20, by JSO

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
saiyaman23 wrote on 2021-02-10, 21:17:
Hi all, speaking about DOSBox and PCem. I recently set up PCem V17 with this configuration in order to install DOS 6.22 and play […]
Show full quote

Hi all, speaking about DOSBox and PCem. I recently set up PCem V17 with this configuration in order to install DOS 6.22 and play some games:

-Machine: [486] Award SiS 496/497
-CPU: i486DX2/66 (not sure if I should check Dynamic Recompiler or not)
-Memory: 16 MB
-Video Device: VGA
-Video Speed: Default
-Sound Device: Sound Blaster 16
-HDD: Standard IDE 152 MB
-FDD1: 3.5" 1.44M
-CD Model: PCemCD
-CD Speed: 8x
-Microsoft 2-button mouse (serial)

The first game I tried which is the one I wanted to play the most was Ultrabots / Xenobots but it didn't work correctly. When the game goes to the "login" screen it's all black and if you type in anything and press Enter it just shows garbled graphics and can't go on from there. I tried switching different processors and video devices but all had the same result. I remember I was able to play this previously on DOSBox (on one of its many versions) but wanted to give PCem a try and have a more "realistic" experience.

Has anyone been able to run this game successfully on PCem and if so what configuration did you use?

Thanks.

Try to use a Virge DX for VGA and if the problem still exists select another 486 motherboard. A VLB one like AMI 486 and GD5429 for VGA. Also try a 386Dx40 build with ET4000AX.

DOS IS THE POWER OF OUR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES!

Reply 17 of 20, by gerry

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
mothergoose729 wrote on 2021-02-10, 23:27:

Dosbox is a lot more compatible with software than real DOS ever was. Especially if you are into DOS games from the 80's, DOSBox is a real life saver.

that alone makes it the primary choice for any games

a vm is more fun for experimenting or running software that really needs you to be on an 'actual' machine

Reply 18 of 20, by BjornHeimdall

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

DOSBox is the most compatible one for DOS era games and demos. I try to run demos with PCem and it failed many times. Some demos requires exact type of vga bios, some of them needs specific type of memory etc. DOSBox never got any problems with them. I run PCem for operating systems needs HDD images to run. Like Geoworks Ensemble, like V2OS, like BeOS... And i like to see old BIOS POST screens in PCem.

Reply 19 of 20, by mgtroyas

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

I also ended using 86box over PCEm for the better interface, but v17 brings optimizations that make it run much faster, and don't seem to be applied on current 86box builds. On my PC 86box can run POD on Windows 98 without CD music skipping on a P166MMX... PCEm v17 can do it on a P233MMX. Same with Dungeon Keeper 2 and any other games I've tested.