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Keatah

What were your first PC upgrades?

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I got a Gravis Ultrasound ACE. This was a cheaper Ultrasound that worked along side an existing sound card. (Soundblaster 16 in my case). This was a win-win. It added the Gravis Wavetable synthesis which made game music sound a hell of a lot better than the OPL3 on the SB16, but still having the SB around meant 100% compatibility with everything (even though most things supported the Gravis). It was also designed to be daisychained, so it all played through a single pair of speakers.

I never got the ace, but i always wanted one. Had a friend that bought the ace to put it alongside his sb16. Like you said best of both worlds.

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Yes, the ACE allows you to disable the AdLib port with a jumper, which allows your FM card to use the port. Kind of a hassle getting other GUS models to coexist with SBs, etc.

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We held onto our 486/SX 25MHz much longer than most I think. Pentiums with MMX were all the rage when we took our system from 4MB to 8MB of RAM and added an ISA 33.6 modem for dial-up internet in 1997. My parents kept that system until 1998 when they got an AMD K6-2 and I inherited it. Added a Pentium Overdrive and took the memory up to the max 16MB it would support. Used that system another couple years through college. Installed Win95 on it right before 98 came out. It played Warcraft II just fine.

 

I love the mention of the Overdrive. I got a 486Sx running at 25 mhz back in the summer of 1994. It had a ProAudio sound card, a 400mb hard drive and a CD-rom drive. Cost a fortune and I was over the moon about having it.

 

I too upgraded to a Overdrive processor. Mine was a DX100. I remember going and buying one with my hard earned part time job money so that I could play some of the newer games coming out.

 

I was an early adopter of Windows 95. I actually went to the local computer store and bought it the day it came out. I was a highschool student and loved all the hype around it. I will admit that I came to hate it because of the hoops I had to jump through to get DOS games to work with the lack of proper memory management tools.

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Posted (edited)

Windows 95 should have come with himem.sys and emm386 for dos. I can't remember but I think a seperate boot straight to dos worked best for these games. I spent a bit of time trying to get every byte possible in conventional memory. If you could get over 600kB you were doing great.

Edited by mr_me

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Windows 95 should have come with himem.sys and emm386 for dos. I can't remember but I think a seperate boot straight to dos worked best for these games. I spent a bit of time trying to get every byte possible in conventional memory. If you could get over 600kB you were doing great.

 

I did that exercise so often it became a game. A game of discovery. Everytime I opened the manual to read about memory management I learned something new. And occasionally a different way of ordering the drivers and modules helped gain a few extra hundred bytes. Yup, the sequence in loading made a difference.

 

MEM /C/P For The Win!

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Probably some multifunction RAM / I/O board for the PC-AT on my desk at Meridian Instruments, I don't remember. More interesting were the peripherals we developed in the late 80s. An ISA to S100 extender and S100 boards: Z80 based stepper motor controller; ADC / DAC interface, for our scanning laser microscope. Later we made ISA versions of those boards and dropped the S100 box.

 

We also made some peripherals using the 8048 microcontroller: a laser controller with serial port; a parallel printer buffer; a focus motor controller; a variable pinhole controller; a bus mouse interface. The 8041 variant was useful as it could connect directly to the ISA bus with very little glue logic. We used it for hobby projects: a MIDI output port; a scanning mirror controller for laser light shows. It was the Arduino of its day. Good times!

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Posted (edited)

Probably some multifunction RAM / I/O board for the PC-AT on my desk at Meridian Instruments, I don't remember. More interesting were the peripherals we developed in the late 80s. An ISA to S100 extender and S100 boards: Z80 based stepper motor controller; ADC / DAC interface, for our scanning laser microscope. Later we made ISA versions of those boards and dropped the S100 box.

 

We also made some peripherals using the 8048 microcontroller: a laser controller with serial port; a parallel printer buffer; a focus motor controller; a variable pinhole controller; a bus mouse interface. The 8041 variant was useful as it could connect directly to the ISA bus with very little glue logic. We used it for hobby projects: a MIDI output port; a scanning mirror controller for laser light shows. It was the Arduino of its day. Good times!

 

Don't forget the metabolic urine analyzer with MIDI output for playing music to metabolic profile... :) Cool stuff!

Edited by Knimrod
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Ah, yes, musical diapers. How could I forget?

 

We also bought an ISA board with a 68000 and its own RAM for use as a coprocessor. I don't remember its name but it was featured in BYTE in the latter 80s. Anyone recall it?

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One of the first peripherals bought for that AT was a Logical Devices Shooter EPROM programmer with RS232 interface. Had its own UI so all you needed was a terminal program. Still have it and it still works!

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