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486 vs pentium dos computer


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#51 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:51 PM

All this talk about 486 speed reminded me of a pic I D'L from back in the BBS days.

 

486chip.png



#52 Hatta OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:45 PM


Avoid also any soundblaster clones. Get a genuine Creative Labs. Preferable a Soundblaster AWE32 or 64, if you manage to fit it in the case.

Sound cards are a pretty big topic.  A lot of Creative cards had pretty noisy output, and many have MIDI bugs.  But then a lot of clone cards have terrible FM synthesis.  IMO, the perfect DOS soundcard is a Yamaha YMF718 or similar.  It has a real OPL3 and cleaner digital sound than Sound Blasters.   Another good option is an ESS1688.  They have an OPL3 clone, but it's a very good clone, and the digital audio is also very clean.  



#53 Torr OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:37 PM

Another good option is an ESS1688.

 

I second that!


Edited by Torr, Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:37 PM.


#54 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 13, 2014 5:58 PM

yea I prefer real soundblasters, but all the ess audio drives I have had have been quite top end



#55 gozar ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:51 PM

I really enjoyed my Ensoniq card. The orchestral score in X-Wing sounded fantastic!



#56 jmetal88 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:47 PM

Sound cards are a pretty big topic.  A lot of Creative cards had pretty noisy output, and many have MIDI bugs.  But then a lot of clone cards have terrible FM synthesis.  IMO, the perfect DOS soundcard is a Yamaha YMF718 or similar.  It has a real OPL3 and cleaner digital sound than Sound Blasters.   Another good option is an ESS1688.  They have an OPL3 clone, but it's a very good clone, and the digital audio is also very clean.  

 

I have a Diamond Opti-929 based sound card in my current AMD K6-II build.  It's technically a Windows Sound System card, but it has a Sound Blaster Pro compatibility mode.  Now, I don't have a real Sound Blaster Pro to compare it to (although I'd very much like to get one) but I've noticed that its digital audio output sounds lower in pitch (in DOS games at least, haven't tested much else) than the pitch output by a couple of early Pentium laptops I have with ESS Audiodrive chipsets.  Since neither device is an actual Sound Blaster, I have no idea which one to believe.  Since the two Audiodrives are the same pitch, though, I guess I'd believe them more readily, currently.  Again, I wish I had a real Sound Blaster in my K6-II build.



#57 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 14, 2014 1:07 AM

I'm of the original SoundBlaster camp. I thoroughly enjoyed (and still do) my SB16 + ASP & DSP addon chip + WaveBlaster daughtercard + 150KB/sec 1x Creative cd-rom drive.

 

Sure the SB series used (and still does) the cheapest possible crap for the A/D & D/A but back in the day they were the standard to have. You got one, and you didn't worry about compatibility. To me that was more important than the slightly better sound quality of other generic and 3rd party cards. Besides, you needed good speakers if you were really getting into PC audio.



#58 dashv OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 14, 2014 2:14 AM

You asked about good games:

One Must Fall
Blake Stone
Halloween Harry
Jazz Jack Rabbit
Terminal Velocity
Duke Nukem 3D
Heretic

You'll want a DX2 66 or a DX4 100. The 100 would be better for games like Terminal Velocity in "high" res.

I think I still have some DX2 66 chips my DX4 100 chip and board somewhere.

I wonder if they still work.

Edited by dashv, Tue Oct 14, 2014 2:18 AM.


#59 RodLightning OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 14, 2014 7:27 AM

You asked about good games:
...I think I still have some DX2 66 chips my DX4 100 chip and board somewhere.
I wonder if they still work.


I recently dug out a few pieces of 486 hardware. I have 2 motherboards and a laptop. All are suffering from failed CMOS/ real time clock batteries. Only one uses a proper 3.6v coin battery. The others have crappy and corroded NiCd batteries. I'm having trouble with two which refuse to boot from floppy or anything else, without a live battery. It's a major design flaw, IMHO. Replacing the "vintage" batteries is a rip-off, so I ordered a few coin battery holders with plans to solder them on. Since I'm on a rant, I'll mention a Pentium motherboard in my collection with a socketed 'Dallas' real time clock module. It sits in a socket next to the AMI bios rom and seems to supply power to it's own clock, along with CMOS config settings from a tiny internal lithium battery. Needless to say, that battery failed long ago, and cannot be replaced without cutting open the module. Replacing the module costs around $10usd. What were they thinking?

I am having fun (sort of) messing around with this stuff again and remembering what a headache it can be! Great thread. :)

#60 Asaki OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 14, 2014 3:02 PM

I checked my 486 laptop, it's a DX4 75mHz.

 

I just happened to be reading some threads on Vogons the other day, and they mention disabling the L1 cache on a Pentium to slow it way down...gahhhhhh, I wish I had known of this sooner! I'd probably still have those two P1 desktops around if I had...The Oldschool PC mentions that some of them even let you go down to 8mHz.

 

I tried icache.exe out on my other laptop, which is a 120mHz Pentium (with a sound card, even), and now it can run Test Drive 3! Ultima VII plays a lot more tolerably now, but did crash once, and seems like it could go just a little bit slower. Same with Wizardry VI. Ultima IV is still way too fast. I can't find any way to disable turbo mode, so I'm not sure if I can slow it any more. I might try plugging in a keyboard and see if the turbo hotkey works that way, but I doubt it.

 

The 486, no dice. icache and icd both give a memory error and crash command.com.

 

I did some more searching, and found this: http://www.oldskool....onnew/resources

I'm going to try out AT-SLOW and Bremze and see if I have any luck.

 

Also, I am very surprised I'd never heard of this emulator until last night: http://pcem-emulator.co.uk/

 

 

I'd load up Red Baron, and my plane had already crashed on the complete other side of the mountain before the screen was able to refresh the screen. This was on the DELL running in 386 mode.

I have the 16-color version of Red Baron, got it free with a magazine I think, but I've never tried it...just can't bring myself to settle for that when there's a 256 color version =) Which, BTW, always ran fine on our old Pentium 150.



#61 82-T/A OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 14, 2014 4:08 PM

 

I have the 16-color version of Red Baron, got it free with a magazine I think, but I've never tried it...just can't bring myself to settle for that when there's a 256 color version =) Which, BTW, always ran fine on our old Pentium 150.

 

 

Shoot... you're talking like a whole decade version later. This is the version of Red Baron I'm talking about... literally "REDBARON.EXE" is the entire program:

 

5ma6849003.gif

 

 

Easily one of the most awesomest games in all the land...



#62 Asaki OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 14, 2014 7:50 PM

Oh, so not even related, then. I see.

 

I'm going to try out AT-SLOW and Bremze and see if I have any luck.

 

Both programs worked great on the 486 (haven't tested on the P120 yet). Bremze is a shareware, though; only works for 5 minutes and then disables itself.

AT-SLOW does the same job, and has an automatic mHz calculator, but I couldn't get the hotkeys to work.

Wish I knew about this program a long time ago...would have wasted a lot less time struggling with emulators. Now I just need to figure out which speeds are best for which games...

 

Sometimes I feel like I spend more time tinkering with games than I do actually playing them =|



#63 jmetal88 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:39 PM

You asked about good games:

One Must Fall
Blake Stone
Halloween Harry
Jazz Jack Rabbit
Terminal Velocity
Duke Nukem 3D
Heretic

 

Jazz Jackrabbit was my number 1 game when I was a kid.  I used the shareware version off a floppy disk for a long time, and then I got the CD-ROM version after Jazz Jackrabbit 2 came out (I actually bought both at the same time, along with Epic Pinball and a sweet Jazz Jackrabbit t-shirt which has long since fallen apart).  Another game I really liked was Overkill.



#64 dashv OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 15, 2014 2:07 AM

 

Jazz Jackrabbit was my number 1 game when I was a kid.  I used the shareware version off a floppy disk for a long time, and then I got the CD-ROM version after Jazz Jackrabbit 2 came out (I actually bought both at the same time, along with Epic Pinball and a sweet Jazz Jackrabbit t-shirt which has long since fallen apart).  Another game I really liked was Overkill.

 

Yeah Jazz Jack Rabbit... T T T T Twoo Twooooooo. Was a good game. But I couldn't remember if it was windows only so I didn't mention it.

Also my Logitech Soundman Wave was pretty good back in the day.

 

Duke Nukem 3D and Doom with wave table synthesis was pretty awesome.
 


Edited by dashv, Wed Oct 15, 2014 2:08 AM.


#65 Seob OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:00 PM

 
Yeah Jazz Jack Rabbit... T T T T Twoo Twooooooo. Was a good game. But I couldn't remember if it was windows only so I didn't mention it.
Also my Logitech Soundman Wave was pretty good back in the day.
 
Duke Nukem 3D and Doom with wave table synthesis was pretty awesome.
 

Trying a logitech soundman wave in my pentium 100 pc, but somehow i can't get sound. I use amplified speakers but no sound. Mplayer does find the card.

#66 dashv OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:06 PM

It's been a long time since I used mine. I assume you did the "set blaster" stuff in your autoexec.bat?

Edited by dashv, Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:06 PM.


#67 jmetal88 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:59 PM

 

Yeah Jazz Jack Rabbit... T T T T Twoo Twooooooo. Was a good game. But I couldn't remember if it was windows only so I didn't mention it.

Also my Logitech Soundman Wave was pretty good back in the day.

 

Duke Nukem 3D and Doom with wave table synthesis was pretty awesome.
 

 

Yeah, Jazz Jackrabbit 2 was a Windows 95/98 game.  I thought it was funny that they abandoned the 3D bonus stages that they were so proud of in the first game, though.



#68 Hatta OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 16, 2014 8:29 AM

Jazz Jackrabbit is a great reason to get real hardware.  That fast and smooth scrolling cannot be replicated by an emulator.



#69 Petran79 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 16, 2014 10:35 AM

 

Yeah, Jazz Jackrabbit 2 was a Windows 95/98 game.  I thought it was funny that they abandoned the 3D bonus stages that they were so proud of in the first game, though.

 

too bad they abandoned the 3D third sequel too, Demo version looked promising.

The GBA spin-off was very average and had none of the features that made the DOS game a classic



#70 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 16, 2014 11:53 AM

Duke Nukem 3D and Doom with wave table synthesis was pretty awesome.

 

Doom and Doom II was one of the first, if not the first, times I head any form of wavetable synthesis. So many things back then were groundbreaking. And it was nice, because the SoundBlaster was a 1 - 2 punch, first the FM syn and digitized audio. Then the wavetable daughtercard.

 

My oh my how easily entertained we were back in the day. yes?


Edited by Keatah, Thu Oct 16, 2014 11:53 AM.


#71 dashv OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 16, 2014 11:26 PM

Doom and Doom II was one of the first, if not the first, times I head any form of wavetable synthesis. So many things back then were groundbreaking. And it was nice, because the SoundBlaster was a 1 - 2 punch, first the FM syn and digitized audio. Then the wavetable daughtercard.
 
My oh my how easily entertained we were back in the day. yes?


Yeah. Graphics were bland, and either blocky or blurry but Need for Speed II SE was my favorite racing game for a long time just due to the sheer number of Easter eggs.

Never played a game since thats let me driving around as a trex parade float.

Modern games seem to have traded Easter eggs for dlc.

#72 wood_jl OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:19 PM

The quintessential dos gaming computer was
either a 486 DX2/66 or a 386DX40.. depending on which era you're interested in.

Thanks for the memory.  Until you said this, I forgot how much fun I had with a 486 DX2/66.  I've since forgotten how to edit AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files.  Refresher course, anyone?  :)

 

 

Edit: Remember the rare 486 DX-50?  (NOT the DX2/50)  This was one of the last processors where "bus speed" and "processor speed" were the same thing.  Unless I'm mistaken.



#73 The Usotsuki OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:15 AM

The DX/50 was the fastest 486 without a clock multiplier.

 

With would probably be the 486DX5/150, which is rarer than hen's teeth.  I used to have a 486DX5/133 (bit more common).  DX5 was made only by AMD and often marketed as "5x86".



#74 Seob OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 18, 2014 4:48 AM

I used to have a 5x86dx 133 back in the day. It was way better then the pentium 60 and 66 both had a integer bug if i recall correct.
Upgraded it to a pentium 100 very briefly before getting a p120. I was working in a computerstore back then so upgrading was cheap. Only the dealerprice to pay.

#75 82-T/A OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:15 AM

Just wanted to give some advice since we've moved on to talking about sound cards now. I've been pretty "into" playing retro-games on the best equipment I could possibly get, and having also lived the time, I can say with some authority that my knowledge is decent.

 

There are a FEW different kinds of sound cards you can get... you have three categories:

 

1 - Sound / Effects / FM Synthesis

2 - General Midi

3 - Sampling (similar to General Midi, but different)

 

 

Almost all games support the first one, all the GOOD games support the second one, and a FEW games NATIVELY support sampling.

 

First I'll say that if you plan to play a mix of DOS games, all of your sound cards should use jumpers and dip switches... essentially, you do NOT want "plug n' play." The newer sound cards actually require drives to be loaded into memory. This greatly reduces your ability to maintain maximum >640 base memory.

 

My opinion, the card you want for sound effects is a Sound Blaster 16 ASP. You'll probably never make use of the ASP chip (you can get them cheap on eBay right now), but that sound card does not require drivers... all it requires is a "SET BLASTER=A220 T3 D1 I5" to let the programs now, address is 220, DMA is 1, IRQ is 5. It then has another application that you put in the autoexec that sets the volume levels for you automatically. But... no programs get loaded into memory.

 

Second, for GENERAL MIDI. Most games back in the late 80s through the late 90s supported General Midi. There are several ways you can get General Midi support. One is to add a "daughter board" onto your Sound Blaster 16. This takes the 300 or 330 address range. There are a ton of manufacturers, everyone from Yamaha, Roland SCB-7, Crystal Audio / IBM, Turtle Beach, etc. I've actually tried them all... I was on a kick to discover the most awesome of them all... and the Roland SCB-7 and the Yamaha were the best. However, the only problem with using the daughter board is that you will not get native MPU-401 support for about 1/4 of the games offered. This includes games like Ultima 6, etc. For FULL General Midi / MPU-401 support, you need a dedicated patch card... like a Roland SCC-1. The Roland SCC-1 is THE best General Midi sound card you can buy for computer games. They typically sell for ~$150 on eBay.

The sound is unparalleled.

 

Finally, sampling cards. There are a few, but the only real decent one was the Gravis Ultrasound. What makes these cards different is that the sound samples do not come pre-loaded on the card, but get loaded onto the card from the hard drive at start-up. It's kind of an odd-ball... but typically, the Gravis does emulation of Sound Blaster and General Midi, but not as good as native Sound Blaster or General Midi. However, from say 1990-1995 there were several games that provided NATIVE support to the Gravis Ultrasound and actually load sound samples that were provided BY the manufacturer of the computer game. This allows full 44khz sound performance from the sound samples. Why this is superior of course is because when you try to run that same application through a Sound Blaster, it has to load those sound samples into a memory application which then feeds these samples to the sound blaster, which typically gets knocked down to 22khz. The best example I've ever seen is Star Control II. Star Control 2 through a Sound Blaster sounds muddled, and the music / sound effects have a "warm fuzz" in the background. If you've ever played Star Control II through a Gravis Ultrasound, the sound is crystal clear.

 

If you choose to implement #1 and #2 above, you can still ALSO have a Gravis Ultrasound... that's through a card known as the Gravis Ultrasound ACE. Basically, it's an independent sound card that doesn't provide ANY emulation whatsoever for Sound Blaster... only does General Midi emulation through Gravis provided samples, and native Gravis Ultrasound support for games. I had both a Gravis Ultrasound Pro and an ACE at various times... and have unfortunately sold both on eBay in one of my clean-house kicks that I get on when I want to eliminate "junk."

 

 

Anyway, hopefully that was helpful.

 

I currently have a Sound Blaster 16 ASP w/ Yamaha daughter board, and a Roland SCC-1 General Midi sound card in the same computer. The Roland pipes into the back of the Sound Blaster 16 ASP's AUX input. I rarely use the daughter card (Yamaha), but I had it, so I stuck it in there. I use that card in DOOM just cause the electric guitar sounds are a bit more pronounced than on the Roland.

 

 

Oh, one more thing... Sound Blaster 16s have a 2 watt pre-amp built into the card. I recommend this for better sound / gain adjustment.






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