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mehguy

486 vs pentium dos computer

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My sister's neighbor just tossed 4 Pentium II systems. Not that they're worth anything. And the people that will find those nostalgic aren't at that stage yet.

Yeah, it's kind of sad, but there really is little use for hardware from that era =/ Even the Internet is getting more wasteful with resources, gobbling up RAM like it's candy. This laptop here from 2002 struggles with a a lot of the more poorly programmed websites.

 

I have a netbook that is ironically terrible for Internet browsing =)

 

Maybe if a P2 was your only machine (I lived with a P150 Packard Bell from 1997 for far longer than I should have), but to have an extra one laying around just for nostalgia's sake doesn't seem worth it to me, and I'm about as nostalgic as they come.

 

 

So what some good games are for the 486dx?

 

Check out Home of the Underdogs and never leave ;)

Though some of the older games run way too fast, I've had varying degrees of success with MoSlow. I really would like a slower computer some day for those games (I do have an Apple ][, used to have an IBM PC Jr. back in the day).

 

Do NOT put Win95 on a 486... the operating system itself may run, but any game making USE of Win95 is going to want a Pentium (It's all about the Pentiums!)

 

IMO, any Windows game that's too powerful for a 486 will run just fine on modern hardware (even if you have to use Virtual PC). I've had Win95 on a 486 for years and never had any problems with it, it's even the upgraded version with integrated IE (which I guess a lot of people hate).

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Go with a 486DX/66Mhz

 

 

I second this.

 

I've also been looking into the possibility of building a 486 machine for DOS gaming. DOSBox hasn't been updated in years, and until someone decides to make a DOS emulator that works like WinUAE (cycle accuracy depending on the processor and hardware config chosen in a GUI), having an actual DOS machine is the only way to really play these games correctly. For the life of me, I cannot get Tie Fighter to run in DOSBox without some sort of problem.

 

So either a 486/66 or a 486/100. Don't go any higher than a P166 if you decide to go that route. Anything that runs in windows likely has a way to be run on modern machines.

 

Also,

 

Cirrus Logic SVGA card

Sound Blaster Pro, 16, or AWE32

8 megs of ram.

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My best DOS gaming experience was with a 486DX2-66 with 16MB of RAM, playing SSF2T.

 

It could play any of the nineties' games, Lost Vikings, Commander Keen, Descent, Lion King, Doom, Wolfenstein-3D, Cannon Fodder, Prince of Persia, Lemmings.

 

Of course some very old games (pre-1989) just ran too fast or didn't ran.

 

The only game that ran slow was Quake, until I got a Pentium-90.

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I've also been looking into the possibility of building a 486 machine for DOS gaming. DOSBox hasn't been updated in years, and until someone decides to make a DOS emulator that works like WinUAE (cycle accuracy depending on the processor and hardware config chosen in a GUI), having an actual DOS machine is the only way to really play these games correctly. For the life of me, I cannot get Tie Fighter to run in DOSBox without some sort of problem.

 

In a way it's just as fun configuring dosbox as it is working with real hardware, in some cases better. But I do agree that dosbox needs a serious update and some refinement. Dosbox is closer to a simulator and translator than an emulator. And to make it cycle exact would require a complete re-write.

 

I don't know why development has stopped. Anybody?

 

 

Yeah, it's kind of sad, but there really is little use for hardware from that era =/ Even the Internet is getting more wasteful with resources, gobbling up RAM like it's candy. This laptop here from 2002 struggles with a a lot of the more poorly programmed websites.

 

I have a netbook that is ironically terrible for Internet browsing =)

 

Maybe if a P2 was your only machine (I lived with a P150 Packard Bell from 1997 for far longer than I should have), but to have an extra one laying around just for nostalgia's sake doesn't seem worth it to me, and I'm about as nostalgic as they come.

 

I seem to have that same problem. I find it difficult to get nostalgic about the scraps of Pentium II & III hardware I've got laying around here. Stuff's been collecting dust and mold since 2000. Every time I think about it I feel like a car on ice. Getting nowhere. But I learned not to get rid of old electronics so fast. There could be a use for it some day. Or maybe someday I will become nostalgic for it.

 

On thing I understand is is the value of a non-winmodem. For various reasons too obscure I won't get into here, but I will never ever ever use a softmodem.

 

And I agree that the internet, replete with all its bullshit, is terribly wasteful of resources. Not just ram, but processing power too. Seems like a lot of cycles are spent on servicing layers upon layers of APIs, scripts, search routines, sliding images, embedded java garbage. None of which adds to the information value. And I especially hate browser plugins that are supposed to provide 3D VR functionality, but apply to only one site.

 

In fact a lot of this fluff just gets in my way when I'm looking for something. For Sunday Morning tea style browsing and discovery, it's alright, if done carefully and in a way that is consistent over time. Not changing every week because some smart ass programmer thinks it's the next best thing.

 

And Newspaper sites and popular-celebrity entertainment sites are THE worst of the lot, with some geek tech sites right behind them.

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So basically a 486DX 66mhz can play most games from 1990 to 1996?

 

Do most games come on floppies or cds?

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Both really so you're really gonna want a CD-ROM Drive... 2X or 4X Speed would be best... I had a 3X myself! Weird speed...

I remember by around late '94 floppy games were getting scarce...

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Really? I remember Albion being on a PC Gamer Demo Disc and it ran fine for me (on a 486DX/66)... maybe the finished product was different.

 

And to kinda correct what I said earlier, now that I think about it, it was more like mid '95 that Floppies were just about dead as a medium for commercial games... not really THAT much of a difference, but you know...

It was X-Mas of '95 that I got my CD-ROM mainly because I HAD to... you just couldn't find anything on floppy anymore besides shareware.

 

Who remembers good old $5 Computer Software Store, "Easy to use, just type WIZ!"

post-1745-0-83963000-1412727778_thumb.jpg

Edited by Torr
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I had a DX-50(not a DX2-50) with 24MB of RAM It ran Win 95 ok but when I wanted to play Doom II or Dark Forces I had to boot to a DOS boot disk.

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Mechwarrior 2 (1995) showed what my DX2/66 (and later DX4/100) could do. Ran well at low settings, but turn up the resolution or turn on whatever options it had, and it certainly stuttered.

Curse of Monkey Island (1997) was unplayable.

Quake (1996) basically ran fine. Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, Rise of the Triad... no trouble at all.

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Remember Sci-Tech Display Doctor? I used that to gain extra speed and more modes, made a big difference on some marginally performing games.

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yes I use it on occasion its a good utility making vesa games run better on not quite vesa cards

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So basically a 486DX 66mhz can play most games from 1990 to 1996?

It will run games older than 1990, also ;) You just might need something like MoSlo to make them a little easier to enjoy.

 

I'm going to have to look up and see which 486 I have...IIRC it was one of the latest models available.

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Don't forget you can hit the turbo button to slow down your 486 to play those early games. On some boards it halves the clock speed, on others it just disables the cache.

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Don't forget you can hit the turbo button to slow down your 486 to play those early games.

Mine's a Compaq laptop. AFAIK, no "turbo" option :(

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I have two machines that I use... I'll make it short without going into a tangent, but it should explain what the systems are good for:

 

 

1 - Dell 386 DX-25 w/ 8mb of ram, 512mb SSD IDE "Disk on Module", w/ Roland MT-32 w/ Sound Blaster 16, 4x CD-ROM Drive, and a 5.25"/3.5" Disk combo. It has a Cyrix DLC-40 chip that essentially allows it to run at a 486 SX-40 speed. When you enable the cache (through a TSR), it runs at the full 486 SX-40 speed, when the cache is NOT enabled, it literally runs at say a 386 DX-25 speed. I have Windows 3.1, and DOS 5.0 running. I used Memmaker to maximize the lower 640k base memory. I also have an ATI VGA-Wonder with 1mb of video memory (which was hard-core back then). On this machine, I play games from the late 80s through the mid 90s. Most Sierra games like Kings Quest, Space Quest, and Quest for Glory all play super on this machine. I can also play all the games from the early-90s... especially the ones that were based on the CPU timing. Also, games like Starflight, Sentinel Worlds, and many of the TSR AD&D games play really well on this system. Note, everything is configured using jumpers and dip switches, no plug & play. Wing Commander 1/2 and all of the Ultima Games up through 7 part 2 would play well on this machine.

 

 

2 - Acer Altos 1000, Dual Pentium II 333Mhz, a 4 gig SSD IDE drive for the operating system, and a separate 40 gig IDE drive for the D drive for games, Roland SCC-1 General Midi w/ Sound Blaster 16 ASP, 24x CD-ROM CD-R/W drive, and a 5.25" drive, and a 3.5" drive. I have Windows 98 SE configured to boot in DOS (BootGUI=0 is set in MSDOS.SYS). I have a 3D graphics accelerator card with 32mb of on-board memory, forget the brand. The computer itself has 256mbs of ram, which was decent back then, but totally overkill for what you would normally use. For this machine, I play the majority of my games... that includes everything from the early 90s all the way to the early 2000s. So for example, the original System Shock would play well on here. For all of the games that were designed to be properly "speed-adjusted" based on the performance, this system is great. There's no lag in loading, but the games run perfectly smooth. The majority of the games I actually plan on here are pure DOS games... Alien Legacy, Ultimate Doom, Doom 2, Wolfenstein 3D, all the AD&D games from that time, you name it. For the record, everything on this system is configured with dip switches and jumpers... this was during the time when "Plug-n-Play" was in its infancy, and there were a lot of issues. So it was important to me that my soundcards and everything else were properly configured. I also have the USB ports disabled in the BIOS. USB was fairly new during this time, so it wasn't overly useful.

 

 

Both machines have PS2 ports for the mouse and keyboard, and I use an HP KVM switch that accepts VGA and DVI, as well as PS2 connectors, sound, and USB. I have EVERYTHING plugged into this. I also have my DELL 990 i7 computer which is my normal machine (the one I'm on now). I actually have it hooked up to the monitor using the HDMI port, and same with the sound since I use the 5.1 channel surround. But the other two computers are hooked to the monitor using the standard VGA port (so I simply change the input switch on the front). For the sound, I simply change to AUX on the amp to use either the sound from the 386 or the Pentium II. The keyboard and mouse both go through the KVM, and everything works perfectly.

 

 

You definitely don't want your machine to go TOO fast, but everything else can be replaced with modern technology... IE: laser mouse, the fastest ram, the best graphics card, the best sound card, all that you can that will fit your ports and slots. SSD is especially awesome since they sell DOM's for everything you can imagine now.

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2 - Acer Altos 1000, Dual Pentium II 333Mhz, a 4 gig SSD IDE drive for the operating system, and a separate 40 gig IDE drive for the D drive for games, Roland SCC-1 General Midi w/ Sound Blaster 16 ASP, 24x CD-ROM CD-R/W drive, and a 5.25" drive, and a 3.5" drive. I have Windows 98 SE configured to boot in DOS (BootGUI=0 is set in MSDOS.SYS). I have a 3D graphics accelerator card with 32mb of on-board memory, forget the brand. The computer itself has 256mbs of ram, which was decent back then, but totally overkill for what you would normally use. For this machine, I play the majority of my games... that includes everything from the early 90s all the way to the early 2000s. So for example, the original System Shock would play well on here. For all of the games that were designed to be properly "speed-adjusted" based on the performance, this system is great. There's no lag in loading, but the games run perfectly smooth. The majority of the games I actually plan on here are pure DOS games... Alien Legacy, Ultimate Doom, Doom 2, Wolfenstein 3D, all the AD&D games from that time, you name it. For the record, everything on this system is configured with dip switches and jumpers... this was during the time when "Plug-n-Play" was in its infancy, and there were a lot of issues. So it was important to me that my soundcards and everything else were properly configured. I also have the USB ports disabled in the BIOS. USB was fairly new during this time, so it wasn't overly useful.

 

 

 

So you're pentium can run day of the tentacle at properly (I'm using that for pure example)?

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So you're pentium can run day of the tentacle at properly (I'm using that for pure example)?

 

 

Well, I am not sure, I've never played that game. I just checked out a YouTube of it, and it looks like it's from the same time as the Adventures of Willy Beamish, or say... Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (since it's a LucasArts game).

 

But as I said, anything that has built-in speed adjustment... as most games did back in the early to mid 90s, will play perfectly on the Pentium II. I know I said it's a dual Pentium 2, and it is... but the second processor is just there for fun. The BIOS recognizes it, but quite honestly, it doesn't get used. I didn't see any speed difference. You'd need Windows NT or Windows 2000+ to see any speed difference. As I said, I only had Windows 98 SE on it... which I primarily used the underlying MS DOS 7. I actually manually copied all the components of MEMMAKER from DOS 6.22 to DOS 7 so that I could optimize the lower base memory as well.

 

If it simply runs TOO fast, then I would use option 1. If it was too slow, then I enabled the internal cache which activated the buffering that allowed the Dell 386 DX-25 to run in 486 SX-40 mode (no math co-processor).

 

But yeah... basically, anything say... 1995-2002 pretty much runs flawlessly on the Pentium 2. Anything prior to 1994 that is tied to PC performance, I played on option #1 mentioned above.

 

 

EDIT: On a side-note... if you choose to use Windows 98 SE as your operating system, I recommend you have your system boot in DOS. You can configure this manually by running MSCONFIG in Windows, or by manually editing the MSDOS.SYS file (hidden) using EDIT.COM / QBASIC.EXE and setting the "Boot GUI=" flag to a 0 instead of a 1.

 

This will allow you to take full advantage of the AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files so you can properly configure your system to run DOS games.

 

I'd have to say that the set-up that I have allows me to basically run anything and everything I want...

 

 

The ONLY thing that becomes an issue, is if I decide I want to run the old shitty 8088 games... like BABY3.EXE, PTROOPER.EXE, REDBARON.EXE, GRIME.EXE, PENGO.EXE or some of those other crap games... they are basically unplayable on even the 386 in it's slowest speed. 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.

Edited by 82-T/A

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Well, I am not sure, I've never played that game. I just checked out a YouTube of it, and it looks like it's from the same time as the Adventures of Willy Beamish, or say... Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (since it's a LucasArts game).

 

But as I said, anything that has built-in speed adjustment... as most games did back in the early to mid 90s, will play perfectly on the Pentium II. I know I said it's a dual Pentium 2, and it is... but the second processor is just there for fun. The BIOS recognizes it, but quite honestly, it doesn't get used. I didn't see any speed difference. You'd need Windows NT or Windows 2000+ to see any speed difference. As I said, I only had Windows 98 SE on it... which I primarily used the underlying MS DOS 7. I actually manually copied all the components of MEMMAKER from DOS 6.22 to DOS 7 so that I could optimize the lower base memory as well.

 

If it simply runs TOO fast, then I would use option 1. If it was too slow, then I enabled the internal cache which activated the buffering that allowed the Dell 386 DX-25 to run in 486 SX-40 mode (no math co-processor).

 

But yeah... basically, anything say... 1995-2002 pretty much runs flawlessly on the Pentium 2. Anything prior to 1994 that is tied to PC performance, I played on option #1 mentioned above.

 

 

EDIT: On a side-note... if you choose to use Windows 98 SE as your operating system, I recommend you have your system boot in DOS. You can configure this manually by running MSCONFIG in Windows, or by manually editing the MSDOS.SYS file (hidden) using EDIT.COM / QBASIC.EXE and setting the "Boot GUI=" flag to a 0 instead of a 1.

 

This will allow you to take full advantage of the AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files so you can properly configure your system to run DOS games.

 

I'd have to say that the set-up that I have allows me to basically run anything and everything I want...

 

 

The ONLY thing that becomes an issue, is if I decide I want to run the old shitty 8088 games... like BABY3.EXE, PTROOPER.EXE, REDBARON.EXE, GRIME.EXE, PENGO.EXE or some of those other crap games... they are basically unplayable on even the 386 in it's slowest speed. 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 think I'll stick with a 486.

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Some 486 cases had a slow down button, to disable turbo mode in old dos games. Though this didnt always work. I'd suggest to get such a case, just in case.....

I'd opt for a 2x speed cd-rom. 4x speed and faster tend to skip first second of some FMV videos in some games, eg Harvester.

Also I'd suggest getting an old SVGA card that supports VESA resolutions. Newer cards had problems in MS-DOS and required the newest version of VESA to work and even then stability was not guaranteed.

 

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.

 

Though I remember that a 486DX4/133 Mhz had the equivalent processing power of a Pentium 75 Mhz.

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I need to take a trip home and see if my parents' old 486 motherboard still exists anywhere. Their processor was a DX4, either 100 MHz or 133MHz, don't remember which. I've actually got the RAM from that board in my possession, as I took it out and used it in one of my own systems for a while. I'm pretty sure the CPU still exists back home (I took it off the motherboard at the same time as the RAM and never did anything with it), but it's been loose for a while so I don't know if it's still in good shape.

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