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Thinking of selling or just getting rid of the 486. Suggestions?


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#1 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:25 AM

I'm thinking of selling or just getting rid of the 486 because of size and bulk. It's huge and weighs like 30 pounds. And the original monitor needs recapping. I'm wondering if I can get my retro jollies from my old P3 and DosBox on modern i7.
 
The specs of the P3 are:

Spoiler

 

The key points are that the system has 2 ISA slots, though I would also like to add 3 or 4 more through a bus expansion backplane, a winter project. It also has legacy serial + parallel and other accouterments via the Winbond Super I/O chip (standard stuff).

 

I'm fairly certain the AWE64 Gold and Supra 56.6 (not softmodem) would support all the old DOS stuff. And I could run Windows 3.1 through a Riva-128 videoboard.

 

What's nice about the mobo is that you can select what card to init first, AGP or PCI. And you can swap floppy drives a-b or b-a. All through bios. That means I could swap between old-school Riva-128 or more "modern" GeForce 4!

 

I'm also thinking of taking out the SB-Live card and just relying on the AWE64 Gold. I only do 2-channel sound in legacy stuff.

 

I also have an HDD switcher, that lets you electrically swap between 3 HDD at the push of a button. And the BIOS supports old CHS or larger LBA modes! That means I could use 120MB or 120GB drives.

 

So thoughts and recommendations are welcome.


Edited by Keatah, Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:31 AM.


#2 Asaki OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:25 AM

I like my 486 because I can get a lot of different speeds by disabling turbo and/or cache. I've never been happy with the way DOSBox handles this; most games that need to be slowed down will be too slow and laggy on certain screens. I dislike having to bump the cycles up and down while I'm playing.

There's also certain problem games, like most of the Ultimas... ­¬_¬

TBH though, I haven't tried some of the newer emulators, like PCem. I made an attempt, but the computer I was using wasn't beefy enough for it.

Edited by Asaki, Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:26 AM.


#3 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:06 AM

Surely the window for the 486 being worth anything closed over 20 years ago? Shipping would cost more than you'd fetch for it. Lose the beige box and up your style game!

#4 carlsson OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:18 AM

On the contrary, at least up to 386 are considered collectables. 486 perhaps not so much as they sold in larger numbers and once they were outdated, more people kept their old boxes just in case.

 

But I'm genuinely confused by Keatah. First you mention 486, then you mention Pentium 3 with a long run of the specs. As the 486 would be an AT class system and the Pentium 3 would be ATX, it can't even be a case of old case mod unless you hacked the 486 case a lot to fit a P3. Are you considering getting rid of two older PC's at the same time? Anything from Pentium 1 and forwards tends to be much less desirable than anything from 486 and backwards. 



#5 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:07 AM

Surely the window for the 486 being worth anything closed over 20 years ago? Shipping would cost more than you'd fetch for it. Lose the beige box and up your style game!

I have sold a few 486 with a cd rom and sound blaster setups oce the last couple years they go for 50-100 bucks + shipping

A reasonable desktop or mid tower costs about 30 bucks to ship

Monitor is a boat anchor

Back to the op whats the point of that spec list for your Pentium 3 ya its a p3 we don't care what kind of bearings are in its fan when the topic is about a 486

Edited by Osgeld, Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:09 AM.


#6 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:34 AM

Back to the op whats the point of that spec list for your Pentium 3 ya its a p3 we don't care what kind of bearings are in its fan when the topic is about a 486

 

It *IS* important because the P3 would be a complete replacement for the 486 and all aspects of it. All software on the 486 I would expect to run on the P3. And that means games from around 1990 through 1996. Give or take. And include vintage telecom and astronomy software in the mix. Snappy Digitizer, Dance of the Planets, VistaPro, the general coolness of Windows 3.1 and wordprocessing with Word 2.0. Along with some DOS office productivity. Mostly for nostalgic reasons. I'll give you the bearings thing though.


Edited by Keatah, Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:40 AM.


#7 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:41 AM

On the contrary, at least up to 386 are considered collectables. 486 perhaps not so much as they sold in larger numbers and once they were outdated, more people kept their old boxes just in case.

 

But I'm genuinely confused by Keatah. First you mention 486, then you mention Pentium 3 with a long run of the specs. As the 486 would be an AT class system and the Pentium 3 would be ATX, it can't even be a case of old case mod unless you hacked the 486 case a lot to fit a P3. Are you considering getting rid of two older PC's at the same time? Anything from Pentium 1 and forwards tends to be much less desirable than anything from 486 and backwards. 

 

I currently have 2 vintage PC rigs. Just tossing around the idea of offloading one of them, the 486 rig, for space and style reasons mostly. The P3 rig is in its own ATX case, still white and beige and ugly. In fact, it looks better with the case cover off! And I'd be keeping this P3.

 

I was surprised at how similar the 386 and 486 chips are from a programming point of view. The 486 sports just 6 new instructions. But internally they are different enough, better MMU, built-in floating point processor, among many bus enhancements and an "experimental", meaning new, cache.


Edited by Keatah, Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:01 AM.


#8 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:07 PM

I like my 486 because I can get a lot of different speeds by disabling turbo and/or cache. I've never been happy with the way DOSBox handles this; most games that need to be slowed down will be too slow and laggy on certain screens. I dislike having to bump the cycles up and down while I'm playing.

There's also certain problem games, like most of the Ultimas... ­¬_¬

TBH though, I haven't tried some of the newer emulators, like PCem. I made an attempt, but the computer I was using wasn't beefy enough for it.

 

I see your point about the speeds and how to vary them.

And while I find DOSBox tedious with the speeds, I've managed to get a lot of the games I used to play running just fine. In fact better even. DukeNukem 3D is cool at 60fps, whereas on my original 486 it was around 20'ish depending on the graphics mode.

 

I have yet to get into PCEM much, because I still have vintage hardware laying around. But it seems to be under active development now for some time and perhaps worth a look. I just wish DOSBox was still in development. It's been sitting at 0.74 forever!

 

 

Surely the window for the 486 being worth anything closed over 20 years ago? Shipping would cost more than you'd fetch for it. Lose the beige box and up your style game!

 

While the 486 chip and system proper itself has some nostalgia. I think I have MORE nostalgia for the advertising brochures and everything surrounding it. And I have a nice little 6" pile of the stuff.

 

I was also thinking of just partly tearing it down, imaging the disks, and mothballing it. Afraid it may become EXTREMELY nostalgic to me in the future. But for now it could be made to be out of sight and out of mind for now. IDK.



#9 carlsson OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:13 PM

Now I see what the question is about. To recapitate: The 486 will bring in a little bit of money if you sell it. The Pentium 3 will require you to make a trip to the recycling station to get rid of it. Personally I would take the trip to the recycling station unless I had very good reason to hang onto a Pentium 3.



#10 Asaki OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:49 PM

And while I find DOSBox tedious with the speeds, I've managed to get a lot of the games I used to play running just fine. In fact better even. DukeNukem 3D is cool at 60fps, whereas on my original 486 it was around 20'ish depending on the graphics mode.


To clarify, I'm talking about REALLY old games, where you need DOSBox set to very few cycles to slow them down, not something like mid-late 90s games where you want the cycles at max to speed them up.

Something like the Ultima games or Might & Magic. I can get a pretty decent speed out of Ultima VII if I set up my 486 just right. Ultima IV is almost okay if I disable all of the video memory, plus turbo and cache. And maybe a touch of MoSlo for certain games.

Also, the 486 is the slowest IBM compatible PC I still own (three different ones), so there's that.

Something like DN3D, I would rather play with a Windows source port. But I might play the DOS versions now and then, for the sake of nostalgia.

I just wish DOSBox was still in development. It's been sitting at 0.74 forever!


I think most people have moved onto the various forks.

#11 Asaki OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:55 PM

The Pentium 3 will require you to make a trip to the recycling station to get rid of it. Personally I would take the trip to the recycling station unless I had very good reason to hang onto a Pentium 3.


He's asking if he can use the P3 as a retro machine to run real DOS in. But it sounds like it's a rhetorical question?

I have a similar machine, but it's an Athlon (AMD 64). I have my Voodoo 3 (PCI) and my Aureal A3D Vortex 2 plugged into it, I was playing Tomb Raider on it not long ago. I also have an AGP GeForce 2 Ultra that I plug in for some of the newer games.

#12 Zonie OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:55 PM

Nice machine. Keep it.



#13 youxia OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:58 PM

I think most people have moved onto the various forks.

 

Still, it's a curious situation where the PC, home of the emulation, does not have its own legacy emulator being updated or advanced. And the forks seem to do one thing or the other, there's no unified solution.

 

Granted, my own info in this regard may be outdated so perhaps this comment is more of an inquiry than a statement.

I looked at this a few months back, when trying to find a pixel perfect way to display, found one, but it seems my laptop's resolution is too low anyway.



#14 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:20 PM

Dosbox forks suxorz.

#15 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:23 PM

He's asking if he can use the P3 as a retro machine to run real DOS in. But it sounds like it's a rhetorical question?


Mostly yes, I just want to know about the corner cases where the P3 + Abit mobo would fail or provide a suboptimal experience. Stuff like that.

#16 Asaki OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:48 AM

I looked at this a few months back, when trying to find a pixel perfect way to display, found one, but it seems my laptop's resolution is too low anyway.

Your laptop's native resolution is lower than 640x400? What are you trying to display?

#17 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:54 AM

Still, it's a curious situation where the PC, home of the emulation, does not have its own legacy emulator being updated or advanced. And the forks seem to do one thing or the other, there's no unified solution.
 
Granted, my own info in this regard may be outdated so perhaps this comment is more of an inquiry than a statement.
I looked at this a few months back, when trying to find a pixel perfect way to display, found one, but it seems my laptop's resolution is too low anyway.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCem

#18 youxia OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:59 AM

Your laptop's native resolution is lower than 640x400? What are you trying to display?

 

https://www.reddit.c...x_with_scaling/

I'm not sure but I think there's something about needing at least 1080p vert to benefit from it. My laptop is 1366x768.

 

About PCem, well, it seems to be a work in progress. What's the compatibility ratio? Not that I have an overclocked i5/7 at hand anyway...



#19 80s_Atari_Guy OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:07 AM

Anyone tried a IDE DOM ?

I am thinking of replacing my ageing HD in my Pentium 3 machine, but not sure how compatible these DOMs are, and what ideal size to go for.

 

Speaking of Dosbox forks, my current favourite is Dosbox X.



#20 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:30 AM

I have used several for machines at work, seems to be fine on pretty much anything that has an autodetect bios 



#21 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:37 AM

Anyone tried a IDE DOM ?

I am thinking of replacing my ageing HD in my Pentium 3 machine, but not sure how compatible these DOMs are, and what ideal size to go for.

 

Speaking of Dosbox forks, my current favourite is Dosbox X.

 

I had to look that up. DOM = Disk On Module

 

The limiting factor will be DOS, and the BIOS on your machine, I think. DOS won't read more than 2GB, but maybe you could format it as many smaller volumes. Or let 2GB go a long way, since DOS games are old and small. 



#22 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:14 AM

Make a small IDE cable extension and mount it in an enclosure just-so. Now you have cartridges for your classic PC!

 

Regarding DOMs and BIOS. A lot of "transitory" (that's what I personally call them) Slot-1 systems have BIOSes that support traditional CHS, ECHS/Large, and LBA modes. All those BIOSes will let you "AUTO" detect and "USER" define the geometry as needed.

 

---

 

Just note that some DOMs have a short write lifespan, as they are intended to boot-up a single-function industrial computer. Some will be killed within weeks by Windows write activity or even general consumer usage patterns. Others are bulletproof.


Edited by Keatah, Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:40 AM.


#23 80s_Atari_Guy OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:24 PM

Yeah, I read about DOM write lifespan. Thing is, my current HD has had it. It's clicking on boot-up, and occasionally sticking, so I need to remove it and gently tap it. I don't mind losing everything on it because it's only 500Mb, it's just getting a working mechanical replacement, without errors, is in the lap of the gods.

Most who I have spoken to have said DOMs are better and faster than a SDCard solution, but obviously less reliable over a longer lifespan.



#24 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:12 PM

If you can find an SLC type DOM you'll be in good shape, because, SLC has a really long lifespan and can handle the write activity.



#25 Asaki OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:12 PM

I'm not sure but I think there's something about needing at least 1080p vert to benefit from it. My laptop is 1366x768.


Hmm, yeah, that's kind of awkward. You could scale to 960x600 for 3x video with a windowbox, but 640x480 stuff would have to either be 1:1 or an odd ratio (or cropped?).

Make a small IDE cable extension and mount it in an enclosure just-so. Now you have cartridges for your classic PC!


I do that with CF cards, the adapters are pretty cheap. I need to get an IDE extension, though.




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