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Old 30 June 2013, 08:04   #1
fishyfish
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Amiga Vs. Retro PC

Inspired in part by the Amiga vs. PC thread (http://eab.abime.net/retrogaming-gen...-new-post.html) Ive decided to put together a few retro pcs starting with a p133 and working backwards to a 386sx@25mhz and compare the same software running on my Amiga. Both system have their strengths and weaknesses, but it sounds fun (albeit pointless) to see at what point pcs caught up with 2d, and how the amiga copes with 3d vs. different spec pcs.

I'll restrict the pcs to 32meg EDO ram @60ns (same as my a1200), and will try with 512KB, 1Meg, and 2Meg video cards (no 3d cards). I'll also try with both DOS and Win9x, and perhaps another OS or 2. Seeing as my Amiga is somewhat fine tuned it seems only fair to do the same sorts of things to the pcs.

Again, all pretty pointless, but it'll be interesting to see how some of the long held ideas stand up when put to the test (ie. Amiga needs more power for 3d, pc is less efficient in general, etc., etc.).

Oh, and for the record the Amiga being used for these tests is an a1200+40mhz '040, 32meg fast, and a 32gig CF card.

Last edited by fishyfish; 30 June 2013 at 08:10.
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Old 30 June 2013, 09:44   #2
NovaCoder
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Sounds interesting, would like to see how the 386sx does with the something like DOOM. Back in the day I had a 33Mhz 386sx when Doom was released, it might be my memory playing tricks on me but I seem to remember it ran it pretty well. I think that must have been with a nasty old ISA video card (looks like VESA came about with 486's).

I think I had this card in my first 486 Cirrus Logic CL-GD542, feel the POWER

Last edited by NovaCoder; 30 June 2013 at 09:50.
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Old 30 June 2013, 10:14   #3
fishyfish
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Damn, that was a short lived experiment. I got as far as putting 4 pcs together only to then realise I have no AT power supplies. Dozens on motherboards and cpus. Hundreds of sticks of ram, dozens of different gfx cards, etc., etc., but not a single AT power supply :/

I guess this experiment will have to be put on hold until I get ahold of an old power supply or 2.
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Old 30 June 2013, 10:38   #4
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Damn, that was a short lived experiment. I got as far as putting 4 pcs together only to then realise I have no AT power supplies. Dozens on motherboards and cpus. Hundreds of sticks of ram, dozens of different gfx cards, etc., etc., but not a single AT power supply :/

I guess this experiment will have to be put on hold until I get ahold of an old power supply or 2.
just make a atx to at cable. shouldn't be a task. or get a ready made one
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Old 30 June 2013, 10:39   #5
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An ATX to AT adapter costs around 5 € here. Might be an option.

Edit: Great minds think alike
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Old 30 June 2013, 10:51   #6
Lord Aga
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Again, all pretty pointless
Not at all mate I would be very interested to see such comparisons.
Just take it easy, don't burn out
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Old 30 June 2013, 11:09   #7
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For the moment at least I guess I could do some framerate testing for some 3d games on the amiga and maybe work out some 2d stuff to "test".
2d is a bit trickier, given a lack of ingame benchmarks so I'll have to go by feel and look. For these sorts of comparisions however Id prefer to have them running side by side, so I'll need to have an AT power supply (or adaptor as suggested).
I could also try a super socket7 board and an old slot1/66mhz fsb Celeron and downcloack both to low frequencies, but that doesnt really provide any real info. in regards to how an amiga and retro pc compare, as downclocked platforms have benefits that hardware of the amiga era doesnt, not to mention it seems a bit silly comparing performance of systems that didnt exist (celeron@66mhz, k6@50mhz, etc).

Hopefully I can get an adaptor or AT power supply before my motivation runs out though
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Old 30 June 2013, 13:09   #8
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Back in the day I had a 486 DX 33 with a video7 videocard (1mb). I'm not entirely sure that this was the name, it might have also been super7; I can't find information about it on the net, but this was way before the internet settled in so that's not a strange thing.

Anyway that thing was amazing for its time, I could run all SVGA stuff without glitches at all. In those days you had plenty of incompatibility problems with video cards having their own interpretation of the VESA 'standards' and you needed something like univbe to fix that. Not so with my puppy.

Ah the good old Dos days So many problems, but all with an actual solution!
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Old 30 June 2013, 20:41   #9
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Univbe gave a nice little performance boost at times too. I remember using it to play Duke3d @1280x1024 on my p133/cloud9 card "back in the day" and thinking it was playable (although it was proably really only about 10fps ).

These are the sorts of thigs I'll need to re-learn when I get around to my experiments.
Should be fun in a masochistic sort of way
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Old 01 July 2013, 13:03   #10
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Well I wonder if we can know how this experiment goes, now when fishyfish appears to be banned?
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Old 01 July 2013, 14:14   #11
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How did that happen
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Old 01 July 2013, 14:40   #12
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Apparently he shared some personal opinions that could only be misinterpreted in a very bad way, he then went ahead and created a complaint thread about the moderation actions taken against it; which was not so nicely articulated in itself and was quickly axed; I can guess from there it was down to some off-site back and forth that led to the ultimate ban.
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Old 02 July 2013, 03:02   #13
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Apparently he shared some personal opinions that could only be misinterpreted in a very bad way, he then went ahead and created a complaint thread about the moderation actions taken against it; which was not so nicely articulated in itself and was quickly axed; I can guess from there it was down to some off-site back and forth that led to the ultimate ban.
That's a shame, hope he comes back when things cool down.

This thread has (almost) inspired me to do the same thing, I say almost because although it would be nice to get a retro PC up-and-running, I can see that hunting down device drivers and re-learning all that strange autoexec.bat stuff will be less enjoyable than crawling over broken glass.
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Old 02 July 2013, 04:53   #14
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The easiest way and a way that takes less room is to put SBC (Single Board Computer) in a BIG BOX AMIGA. In one board you can have the whole computer, minus the sound card in most cases. I have seen them in 386, 486 and Pentium flavors.

I modified my A2000 so I can have more 16 bit ISA slots here http://eab.abime.net/hardware-mods/6...a2000-sbc.html

I had a 486DX2 50MHz one, which felt a little to slow when playing Doom on it, I would say it was comparable to 25-33MHz 68040 on my A4000. I'm pretty sure 386 would be to slow to play Doom, but it would be nice to see comparison to 68030 at the same speed.
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Old 02 July 2013, 06:08   #15
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That sounds like the DX2 was being heavily stalled, amiman (probably not a surprise).

I haven't run vanilla Doom for many years, but slow isn't something that I remember of it. My friend started on Intel boxes perhaps a couple of years before I did (then he bought an A600!), starting with a 486 SX-25 and swapping that chip out for a DX2-66 when the price was okay. Comparable in simple speed-rating terms without having to run through a custom card or Amiga pathways, then. I don't know how held back (or where) an Amiga add-on card would be - though I always wanted one to try, not least to keep the Amiga going yet have the compatibility I needed back in the 90s. Returning to the PC, the SX-25 had everything running well, albeit with reduced screen size for best results. The DX2 had no problems that I can remember with the screen either maxed out or one step down so that the weapons and damage overlay was visible. I suspect the latter was better, as I always preferred smoother updates and remember sometimes choosing to play it that way.

Raw numbers might tell a different story as we didn't have so many reference points or analysis back then and it was difficult not to be impressed when comparing to the 16-bit consoles or our beloved Commodore machines of the time.

This thread has left me intrigued to see how Doom feels nowadays on my Jaguar. I've no video cable, though! Disappointing lack of in-game music aside, I found it a fantastic release for what it cost me at a time that I couldn't have even considered buying a PC. One of two good games that I had on it... before unexpectedly purchasing a PC not all that long later!

The other game was Tempest 2000, by the way and my range of consoles and the Amiga kept up a busy life alongside the comparatively super-powerful Pentium and following hardware for many years. I even had the Amiga connected with a null-modem cable for transferring files back and forth with the PCs - possibly into the Athlon XP/Pentium 4 era of the 2000s!

I decided to have a quick look around...

Just as noted in the notes to the video below, I've not seen much around for definite 486-specific footage. This one's quite cool, though - an SX-25 25MHz to 50MHz (overclocked) comparison:

[ Show youtube player ]

The 25Mhz looks baaaad! Well that would confirm my thoughts of how it was until the DX2 arrived, as we did reduce the screen size back in the day...

So bad, though!
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Old 02 July 2013, 06:59   #16
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It's funny, I seem to remember that Doom was quite playable on my old 386 but in all the videos I've found on YouTube it looks like a 386 really struggles with Doom, what do you guys remember?

For example -> [ Show youtube player ]


And I can't resist showing -> [ Show youtube player ]

And [ Show youtube player ]


Last edited by NovaCoder; 02 July 2013 at 07:18.
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Old 02 July 2013, 07:14   #17
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It's possible that it felt slow to play Doom on DX2-50MHz because I run it under Win95 with Doom95? I did not try to tweak anything.
I was able to run Quake 1 on it too, in a small window under DOS, and that one felt like playing Doom on my Amiga which is a 1200 68030/50Mhz.
Well, I don't have that board anymore, got me another one, Pentium 266Mhz, now this one flies, so it's a keeper.
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Old 02 July 2013, 07:18   #18
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For example -> [ Show youtube player ]

I think it should say 1 FPS
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Old 02 July 2013, 08:32   #19
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When I was using Deluxe Paint on an A500, most people with computers
had PCs that could do 8, 16, or 32 colours (or whatever it was).
I think they had the nerve to call that a CGA colour graphics adapter,
because it was a step up from two colours.

It would have only taken a semi-clever advertising campaign from Commodore
at the time, comparing the screens of the two, to make the common place PC laughable.
(at least the PC in the similar price range).

But of course, that kind of superiority made the Amiga a "games machine" that could not be taken seriously.
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Old 02 July 2013, 08:48   #20
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It's funny, I seem to remember that Doom was quite playable on my old 386 but in all the videos I've found on YouTube it looks like a 386 really struggles with Doom, what do you guys remember?
It ran horribly, but it ran and that was enough. I remember that we (me and a friend who actually owned a 386, I had only my doom-less miggy at the time) put the game on lo-res and decreased the screen size a few notches to make it playable.

Doom was one of those games that no matter how far you upgraded, it always ran a bit better again.
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