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Old 14 January 2019, 18:52   #1
nathanm1991
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X86 Discussion

So I was on my Local Gumtree the other day to find any Pcs or Amigas to Flip for Profit for my Project and up Popped a Beige Coloured Pc Case. not a lot was Mentioned other than the HDD size and 2GB Ram. The Beige Case got me thinking though that the Pc must be quite old so I Chanced it for the £30 Asked and I got it to Find a Socket 478 Jetway P4XFA Motherboard inside Sporting a Intel Celeron 1.7GHZ Processor and some Pretty Swanky Zalmann CPU Cooling. It also has a Radeon 7500le AGP GPU. Am Currently Installing Windows 98se as this is Backwards Compatible to MS-Dos Mode

Words Cannot Describe the Smile upon my Face and the Rush of Nostalgia Flowing through me Right now is Intense!

I have a Few games in Mind already i.e

Doom 1, 2
Duke 1, 2 and 3D
Commander Keen
Wolf 3d
Blake Stone

Any more Suggestions would be Highly Appreciated

Thanks to all who took the time to read my post!
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Old 14 January 2019, 19:46   #2
davide78
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Congratulations for the find! A pentium-4 system is too good for dos games only, you can also enjoy a lot of games of the win98 era.

I would include also some Sierra and Lucasfilm adventures to the list. And RTS games too:
command and conquer
command and conquer - red alert
warcraft 1 & 2
Dune II
Starcraft (this is a windows game)

As a fellow dos retrogamer, the fist thing I would check is sound blaster compatibility of the sound card. The pc is from an era where it cannot be taken for granted. You may have to load some dos drivers before playing the games, and the quality of audio in dos games can be anywhere from terrible to very good. Do not expect 100% compatibility in any case. Do you know what is the audio chip in the motherboard?

If you have sound issues, and the mb has a free ISA slot, you can solve the problem by installing a true sound blaster card or one of the many clones. If you have only PCI slots, there are a few cards from ESS and Yamaha with excellent dos compatibility.

The Celeron 1.7Ghz may be too fast for some games, you may need to slow it down either by disabling caches, lowering the clock, or by software tools. You can find a list of sensitive games here: https://www.vogonswiki.com/index.php...ensitive_games
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Old 14 January 2019, 19:59   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanm1991 View Post
"Pretty Swanky Zalmann CPU Cooler."

Would it be the awesome Zalman Flower. Im still sporting mine 12 - 13 years on. I don't need any other cooling (even though I have 6 fans running), fan never turns even when my true 6 core CPU is at full tilt.

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Old 14 January 2019, 20:11   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davide78 View Post
I would include also some Sierra and Lucasfilm adventures to the list. And RTS games too:
command and conquer
command and conquer - red alert
warcraft 1 & 2
Dune II
Starcraft (this is a windows game)
Nice list
I'd include also:
Wing Commander
Simon the Sorcerer
Diablo
Might and Magic 6,7,8
Some Civ version he likes (1, 2 or 3).

And one and only, unforgettable: Master of Orion 2!
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Old 14 January 2019, 20:57   #5
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Older wing commander on that box will work bit too fast. They work too fast on my P2 @ 450MHz.

Win98SE + DOS Shortcuts is a way if you like to use DOS. MS made it quite easy to setup configuration and create different shortcuts for different setups or use shortcut to prompt for what configuration to load.

Of course, all of this make sense only if you can find good Win98/DOS drivers for all components in your computer.
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Old 14 January 2019, 21:05   #6
d4rk3lf
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Older wing commander on that box will work bit too fast. They work too fast on my P2 @ 450MHz.
There's no patch for this yet?
I don't claim there is, I am just asking.
I can't believe no one had made a patch for that yet (even unofficial)

I know that WC2 also suffered from same issue.
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Old 14 January 2019, 21:19   #7
Mad-Matt
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The Wing Commander SAGA has fixed versions of WC1, WC2 and WC3 for Windows.
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Old 14 January 2019, 21:29   #8
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Originally Posted by nathanm1991 View Post
2GB Ram. (snip) Am Currently Installing Windows 98se as this is Backwards Compatible to MS-Dos Mode
Wasn't Win9x limited or had issues with more than 512mb ?
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Old 14 January 2019, 21:39   #9
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Wing Commander is very picky on CPU speed. It suffers of speed issues on anything faster than a 386. Even the 486SX @ 25MHz that I had back then was too fast (the very lowest of 486): I had to switch off the "turbo button" to play the game.

Today, on my K6-2 @ 400 Mhz I play WC with both L1 and L2 caches disabled: this slow down the CPU to the level of a 386 and the game plays just fine.

EDIT: disabling caches on a P4 is not sufficient, the CPU is still too fast. At minute 9:20 you can find a test of Wing commander on a P4 with caches disabled [ Show youtube player ]

As you can see, you can play a lot of other games, tough

Last edited by davide78; 14 January 2019 at 22:07.
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Old 15 January 2019, 00:58   #10
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The only issue I had with DOS was getting enough memory as without it some games wouldn't load. I never understood himem.sys or others back then and not sure if this would have solved my problem.
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Old 15 January 2019, 01:10   #11
malko
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Lands of Lore
Descent

and why not giving a try to Amithlon ?
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Old 15 January 2019, 01:11   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lesta_smsc View Post
I never understood himem.sys or others back then and not sure if this would have solved my problem.
Understanding "config.sys" & "autoexec.bat" in regards to "himem.sys" and how to load drivers there would definitely have helped you gain the most available free memory

For example, lines like:
config.sys
Code:
DEVICE=C:\Windows\HIMEM.SYS
DOS=HIGH,UMB
DEVICE=C:\Windows\EMM386.EXE NOEMS
autoexec.bat
Code:
LH C:\Windows\COMMAND\MSCDEX.EXE /D:CD-ROM
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Old 15 January 2019, 01:13   #13
lesta_smsc
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Originally Posted by DamienD View Post
Understanding "config.sys" & "autoexec.bat" in regards to "himem.sys" and how to load drivers there would definitely have helped you
I had brief knowledge of autoexec.bat since the computer would load DOS drivers for CD-ROM and Soundblaster via that. Brings back memories
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Old 15 January 2019, 02:24   #14
nathanm1991
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Originally Posted by FOL View Post
Would it be the awesome Zalman Flower. Im still sporting mine 12 - 13 years on. I don't need any other cooling (even though I have 6 fans running), fan never turns even when my true 6 core CPU is at full tilt.

No but I do have a Led LGA775 Variant
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Old 15 January 2019, 02:25   #15
nathanm1991
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davide78 View Post
Congratulations for the find! A pentium-4 system is too good for dos games only, you can also enjoy a lot of games of the win98 era.

I would include also some Sierra and Lucasfilm adventures to the list. And RTS games too:
command and conquer
command and conquer - red alert
warcraft 1 & 2
Dune II
Starcraft (this is a windows game)

As a fellow dos retrogamer, the fist thing I would check is sound blaster compatibility of the sound card. The pc is from an era where it cannot be taken for granted. You may have to load some dos drivers before playing the games, and the quality of audio in dos games can be anywhere from terrible to very good. Do not expect 100% compatibility in any case. Do you know what is the audio chip in the motherboard?

If you have sound issues, and the mb has a free ISA slot, you can solve the problem by installing a true sound blaster card or one of the many clones. If you have only PCI slots, there are a few cards from ESS and Yamaha with excellent dos compatibility.

The Celeron 1.7Ghz may be too fast for some games, you may need to slow it down either by disabling caches, lowering the clock, or by software tools. You can find a list of sensitive games here: https://www.vogonswiki.com/index.php...ensitive_games
Thank you for all of your useful guidance you clearly know your stuff :-)
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Old 15 January 2019, 02:31   #16
nathanm1991
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I had to Change the SYSTEM.inf to Allow for the Extra Ram to be Recognised. Took me three hours to Figure out the onboard audio was VIA AC97 and not Realtek AC97 hahaha and was installing the wrong Driver but all is Correct and installed now. the Radeon is now Supported by DX9.0c :-) The Closest Disc I had to Test the Setup was Grand Theft Auto III and not even barely a stutter! Going to Dig out my Big Box games tomorrow from Mothers and see what I have. it's nice to see that this Post has Gathered interest I Really Appreciate Advice and Tips :-)
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Old 15 January 2019, 02:35   #17
nathanm1991
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No but I do have a Led LGA775 Variant
The one I have is Weird the Fan sits on a Bracket that situates from the Expansion Slots and Hovers over a Strange Shell Shaped Copper Cooler
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Old 15 January 2019, 02:37   #18
nathanm1991
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Originally Posted by Retroplay View Post
Wasn't Win9x limited or had issues with more than 512mb ?
You have to Include a Extra Line in the System.inf Text File

It's Documented all over Google and youtube id check it out :-)
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Old 15 January 2019, 02:41   #19
nathanm1991
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There is no ISA Slot so Unfortunately no Original SoundBlaster but I am Definitely Looking to Upgrade Both Graphics Card and Sound Card. the Graphics Slot is AGP could anyone Recommend a Solid All Round GPU?
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Old 15 January 2019, 03:52   #20
Anubis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DamienD View Post
Understanding "config.sys" & "autoexec.bat" in regards to "himem.sys" and how to load drivers there would definitely have helped you gain the most available free memory

For example, lines like:
config.sys
Code:
DEVICE=C:\Windows\HIMEM.SYS
DOS=HIGH,UMB
DEVICE=C:\Windows\EMM386.EXE NOEMS
autoexec.bat
Code:
LH C:\Windows\COMMAND\MSCDEX.EXE /D:CD-ROM
Except for Win98 SE you don't use autoexec.bat and config.sys, but DOS shortcuts and place driver and other lines in appropriate parts of DOS shortcuts.

Basically, install for example SoundBlaster if you had that soundcard, cut/paste all lines from autoexec into dos shortcuts you plan to use. Win98 does not need them to work for windows games.

Trick with startup files is to find drivers and load them and most of stuff you need in upper memory block, so that your base stays as large as possible to ensure all games will run.

Here is topic in which I explained how to create dos shortcuts, long time ago...

http://www.abandonia.com/vbullet/showthread.php?t=4119
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