BinaryDemon wrote on 2020-02-26, 06:59:
The integrated vga (Western Digital paradise) feels a little slow, but I don't have plans to try an isa vga card. The isa bus i […]
The integrated vga (Western Digital paradise) feels a little slow, but I don't have plans to try an isa vga card. The isa bus is running at 10mhz.
I did try some multimedia titles like Living Books, but most of the animation was choppy. Even when playing the Win3.1 version of Wheel of Fortune,
I find it more enjoyable if I disable the animations. Dos games like Wolf3D feel fine tho.
I think my plan is to load the 386sx up with classic edutainment software for my daughter (Where in World is Carmen Sandiago, Oregon Trail, ect).
Nothing that will really push it hard.
Hm. I don't have a copy of these titles, but judging from the video at YT, the frame rate back then wasn't high.
However, they shouldn't be choppy. Maybe it helps running SmartDrive with the CD-ROM parameter, so it will cache the CD-ROM, too.
Or maybe the CD-ROM drive is spinning up and down ? If so, running it a constant speed might help making things more smooth.
Programs like CDSPEED can do that, I believe. https://www.sac.sk/files.php?d=14&p=8
If nothing helps, try running Windows 3.1x with a permanent swap file and the 32-Bit Disk Access (aka FastDisk) turned on.
That should keep Windows running in Protected-Mode all the time (it will handle int13h calls).
If the HDD is a modern type, you can try the MicroHouse driver; works up to 8GB.
Anyway, these are just some ideas. Maybe you can also find a recent Paradise VGA driver that works better.
Modern decendants of the PVGA1A/WD90C00, such as the WD90C24 /WD90C31 can accelerate GDI, if they appropiate driver is used.
(In either case: The Paradise is not bad IMHO, even if it is an ancient model. Has Win 2.x drivers, good signal quality, can emulate CGA/Hercules via utility etc..)
Edit: Another idea - Does turning the sound/music off have any positive effects on performance ?
If so, choosing another type of sound card or driver could help.
Many of the old "clone" sound cards had both SB Pro and WSS (Windows Sound System) support.
So if you tell Windows to use "another mode", it will maybe help to get rid of some of the issues.
If that still doesn't work: Some non-IDE CD-ROM drive had DMA-capable controller cards, like the Mitsumu LU005S (ancient single-speed drive)
While data transfer via DMA is slower than PIO with a fast CPU, it *may* help a weak CPU.
So if you've got an ISA-based SCSI controller around (not that from the PAS16; it's very slow), you could try to get a cheap CD-ROM drive for it.
Anyway, that's just another, farfetched idea. The most efficient thing would be to upgrade the 386SX-20 by a 386SX-40 (+80MHz crystal).
Or a 486SLC2-40 (has internal cache and can run at same 386SX-20 clock). Unfortunately, the SX chips are often soldered.
Some clip-on (English term ?) upgrade boards existed, as well, but I do know little about them. Sorry. 🙁
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