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aaron7
10-21-2009, 01:55 PM
Figured it could be a neat thread.

I have two computers I dedicated to DOS gaming.

One is an old Micron laptop... nice big 15" screen, SoundBlaster audio (easy to configure!). Think it's a PII 333MHz with 128mb RAM. I have a 20gb hard drive in there to store all my stuff and run 98SE on it.

The other is my custom built all in one PC. It's a standard AT mini-tower that I glued a 15" LCD screen to the side and wired it up inside to the video card. It also has internal speakers. I added handles on the top to carry it around... still trying to figure out how to get some sort of flip-down keyboard and mouse to cover the screen. This system is a Pentium 233MMX, 128mb RAM, 20gb hard drive, Radeon 7000 64mb PCI video (tears through Quake and Duke3d!), AWE64 ISA sound card, and a PCI USB 2.0 card.

I'll get pics up when I get home.

NayusDante
10-21-2009, 02:15 PM
Originally an HP Pavilion 8260

266Mhz Pentium II
128Mb PC100 SDRAM
80Gb IDE
Windows 95 on top of DOS 7.0
Voodoo 3 2000 AGP
Sound Blaster AWE64 ISA
Iomega ZIP100 Drive
Lite-On CD-RW Drive
Mitsumi Floppy Drive
Cheap black case from CompUSA ($15)
Small Dell LCD (goes about 1024x768)

Oldest thing I can remember running on it: Akalabeth
Most advanced thing I can remember running on it: System Shock 2

Things I'd like to do with it:
-Add networking
-Wheel-mouse support
-Set up a minimalist pure DOS environment, dual-booted
-Try Windows 7 (http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Windows-7-Pentium-II,8110.html) on it
-Play Half-Life 2 (http://www.3dfxzone.it/enboard/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1354) on it
-Build a good integrated-monitor case like aaron7 made
-Bring it to a lan-party (we spend a lot of time playing UT99 anyway, why not?)

PC-ENGINE HELL
10-21-2009, 04:06 PM
You know, I actually have a ton of Super Socket 7 K6-2&3 stuff, and Soundblaster 16 and 32 sound cards and what not. Enough to build 2-3 Dos comps possibly. Also have some Slot1, Socket A, and Socket 370 stuff as well incase I wanted to do Windows 98-Me Direct X 6 and prior, or XP Direct X 7-9 stuff. I should really go though and make a inventory list....

blue lander
10-21-2009, 05:27 PM
I used to use a tricked out 8 bit IBM PC XT. The hardest thing about adding devices to the original PC is that it uses 8 bit ISA cards, not the 16 bit ones. It had...

EGA graphics adapter
Adlib sound card
20 megabyte hard card (it's an ISA card with a built in hard drive)
SCSI controller with a 600 mb hard disk and CD ROM drive
768k of RAM
Floppy controller with high density 5.25 and 3.5 inch disk drives
10base2 Ethernet controller

The device drivers to run all that hardware took up almost all the available memory, so it was more of an experiment in how much hardware I could shove in one computer. I pushed it too far when I eventually put a 386 card in there that would have effectively turned the computer into a 386. After installing the card and powering up, the computer beeped SOS a few times and then never turned on again. It killed BOTH the motherboard and the power supply. I tried putting a new power supply in, wouldn't work. I tried putting the old power supply into another XT, it wouldn't work. It completely killed my machine :(

Now I just use DOSBOX on a Pentium III. I have it multibooting into Windows 98, XP, and NetBSD so all my bases are covered.

PentiumMMX
10-21-2009, 06:39 PM
While I have a 486, my main PC (A roughky 14-year-old NEC desktop) for older games is currently setup like this:

- Pentium (75Mhz)
- S3 graphics card (PCI-based, don't remember which model)
- Sound Blaster AWE64 (ISA-based)
- A pair of USB 2.0 ports
- 40MB RAM
- 6.8GB hard drive
- 3.5 & 5.25 floppy drives, 24X CD-ROM
- Windows 98SE

I've pushed the old hardware to the limits on countless occasions; at one point I had it successfully running Windows 2000 at a surprisingly usable speed. However, I still need to find a working network adapter for it...

phreakindee
10-21-2009, 10:40 PM
For my oldest DOS games:
http://i37.tinypic.com/w1aed0.jpg
IBM PC 5150
Intel 8088 4.77Mhz
Intel 8087 Math Co-processor
DOS 3.2
640k RAM
CGA Graphics
2x 5.25" FH 360k Floppies

For 386 to Pentium-era:
http://i36.tinypic.com/2znty0w.jpg
HP Vectra-based
DOS 6.22
Pentium 100Mhz
24x CD-ROM
3.5" 1.44MB Floppy Drive
Creative Sound Blaster 16
64MB RAM
10GB HDD
8MB 2D Graphics chipset

For 90's DOS/Win95 games:
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1219/3270639890_03235259e1.jpg
Pentium II 400Mhz
Windows 95
48x CD-ROM
3.5" 1.44MB Floppy Drive
5.25" 1.2MB Floppy Drive
128MB RAM
20GB Hard Drive
ATI Mach64 2MB for 2D card
12MB Voodoo 2 PCI
Sound Blaster 128

Others:
Compaq All-In-One Presario 486 Overdrive
Toshiba Contura Aero 486
Random clones PCs

NayusDante
10-21-2009, 10:46 PM
Very nice case there, I ought to put some 90s logos on mine. There's something appealing about having a retro system decorated to look modern.

I've always wanted a 5.25" floppy drive, but I've never found one. That's really the last piece I need for my retro PC.

phreakindee
10-21-2009, 11:37 PM
I used to use a tricked out 8 bit IBM PC XT. The hardest thing about adding devices to the original PC is that it uses 8 bit ISA cards, not the 16 bit ones. It had...

EGA graphics adapter
Adlib sound card
20 megabyte hard card (it's an ISA card with a built in hard drive)
SCSI controller with a 600 mb hard disk and CD ROM drive
768k of RAM
Floppy controller with high density 5.25 and 3.5 inch disk drives
10base2 Ethernet controller

The device drivers to run all that hardware took up almost all the available memory, so it was more of an experiment in how much hardware I could shove in one computer. I pushed it too far when I eventually put a 386 card in there that would have effectively turned the computer into a 386. After installing the card and powering up, the computer beeped SOS a few times and then never turned on again. It killed BOTH the motherboard and the power supply. I tried putting a new power supply in, wouldn't work. I tried putting the old power supply into another XT, it wouldn't work. It completely killed my machine :(

Oooooh, that sucks! Sounds like an awesome machine before!

Risk of things like that happening is why I've limited myself to only upgrading video and RAM on my IBM PCs.

Poofta!
10-22-2009, 12:22 AM
ive considered making one on many occasions. i am very put off by the fact that i simply dont have the space for an extra pc & monitor. i thought about getting an old laptop and i am still playing with that idea, however am very anti paying 100-200$ for an arhiac laptop that would almost never be used.

i have resorted to using dos box. however i wonder how windows 7's xp environment will handle dos games. i also considered simply running a virtual system with the specs i wanted within my current pc (i have a beast of a pc with 2 21" LCDs and 8gb ram, amongst other things - allowing me a very vast amount of multitasking)

the set up i always wanted to set up as my dos box would be a 333mhz pentium with 128 or 256 ram. 20-40gb hd with dual boot into either dos w/ Norton Commander or Windows 98SE. that would pretty much cover all my bases, i could probably run most stuff in 98SE anyway.

im generally very busy with work and ive recently decided to start going to graduate school. between all of that and my gf & other friends i have no time for this kind of hobby project. im pretty much in between going full out virtualization and setting up the above specs w/ OS on it or find a laptop. something tells me it be virtualization due to it being free and space limitations.

Push Upstairs
10-22-2009, 02:27 AM
I use it mostly for DOS gaming via Win98 but here it is.

This machine started out its life as an HP Pavilion 6640c.

Specs:

AMD K6 500mhz
384mb RAM (overkill)
20 gig HD (a bottom less pit of storage for this machine)
VooDoo 3 video card
Soundblaster Live! sound card (with SB-16 emulation)

For now I have to use it with my LCD monitor. I don't have space for my CRT monitor and the LCD, but one day it will.

Much, much easier to run games on this as these components have better compatibility and drivers are easier to find than the ones that came with the computer (I found the computer re-formatted and without any driver disc).

Tokimemofan
10-22-2009, 03:28 AM
For my oldest DOS games:
http://i37.tinypic.com/w1aed0.jpg
IBM PC 5150
Intel 8088 4.77Mhz
Intel 8087 Math Co-processor
DOS 3.2
640k RAM
CGA Graphics
2x 5.25" FH 360k Floppies

For 386 to Pentium-era:
http://i36.tinypic.com/2znty0w.jpg
HP Vectra-based
DOS 6.22
Pentium 100Mhz
24x CD-ROM
3.5" 1.44MB Floppy Drive
Creative Sound Blaster 16
64MB RAM
10GB HDD
8MB 2D Graphics chipset

For 90's DOS/Win95 games:
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1219/3270639890_03235259e1.jpg
Pentium II 400Mhz
Windows 95
48x CD-ROM
3.5" 1.44MB Floppy Drive
5.25" 1.2MB Floppy Drive
128MB RAM
20GB Hard Drive
ATI Mach64 2MB for 2D card
12MB Voodoo 2 PCI
Sound Blaster 128

Others:
Compaq All-In-One Presario 486 Overdrive
Toshiba Contura Aero 486
Random clones PCs

Hahaha an IBM 5150 I can't even find a monitor for mine. Usually I'll Frankenstein one together from the 100+ CPUs 15 cases 25 Hard Drives etc. Then I'll install DOS or Windows Play the game, if there is a config I use frequently I can automate part of the software installation too.

blue lander
10-22-2009, 08:09 AM
Oooooh, that sucks! Sounds like an awesome machine before!

Risk of things like that happening is why I've limited myself to only upgrading video and RAM on my IBM PCs.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have just put the hardcard, EGA card and extra memory in the thing. There's no real need for an XT to have a giant hard drive or a CD drive. What are you going to do with them? The 20 meg hard card was quite enough, and so much easier to configure than an older MFM hard drive controller. The ethernet card was nice, but the TSRs and whatnot took up almost all of the machine's memory

aaron7
10-22-2009, 08:26 AM
Snapped a pic of the beast:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v245/aaron7/SSPX0103.jpg

PentiumMMX
10-22-2009, 02:21 PM
Seeing as everyone is showing off pics of their own PC, I might as well show mine. It's not hooked up at the moment (Only enough room for one monitor and keyboard at the moment, so I have to unhook my 1Ghz Pentium III desktop and setup my 75Mhz Pentium in it's place for older games).

13 years and still going strong...it was well worth the original $2,000+ price tag.

Push Upstairs
10-23-2009, 02:10 AM
I don't really have a picture of my Win98 gaming system, but I can show you the case I put it in.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147112

The reason I switchted the case is that the HP case it came in was very small and not easy to work in. This case allows me access to whatever I need by simply removing one side of a case (as opposed to taking the whole computer apart). Plus I screwed up the front of the case.

A "retro" look would have been cool, but I needed to be practical. Too bad I have no way of using the sound or USB ports on the front of the case. *_*

Cat333Pokemon
10-23-2009, 10:05 PM
I've got a DOS box that I've had for a couple years. It's a Toshiba Tecra laptop running MS-DOS 7.1 and Windows 3.1.

Specs:
- 2.1 GB internal hard drive
- 5 USB ports (with compatible drivers)
- 48 MB RAM
- ~266 MHz Pentium
- 450 GB external hard drive (works with all my computers)
- CD-ROM drive
- 3" floppy drive
- Support for SD cards
- Compatible 16-bit sound card (beats the terrible default 8-bit support)

Installed stuff:
- Fully functional MP3/WMA/OGG/WAV player
- Fully functional MIDI player
- Microsoft Office 4.0
- Several image viewers
- Very slow and buggy video player
- Grand Theft Auto
- Some other stuff I forgot about

Stuff to do (but don't care much about):
- Integrate Ethernet card for networked Internet
- Find better video player
- Fix annoying blue screens which are common on boot if sound card is messing up
- Install DVD drive
- Attempt using a drive with space > 1TB
- Fix other minor stuff

Soviet Conscript
10-23-2009, 10:41 PM
i use an old gateway tower case

Win98SE
pent II 450 mhtz
30GB HD
Voodoo 3 AGP
AWE32 soundcard (ISA based)
512 mb PC100 ram
3 1/2 floppy
cd and dvd drive

its a bit faster then i wanted it to be but overall its a decent MB

i have anouther MB with a 200 mhtz MMX that i would love to turn into a pure DOS based machine. its nice cause it has several ISA and PCI slots. just need a case for it

Jorpho
10-23-2009, 10:57 PM
- Find better video playerYour best bet is always Geexbox (http://www.geexbox.org), but of course you'll have to reboot every time you want to use it.

Your alternatives are Quickview (http://www.multimediaware.com/qv/) and the very poorly-named DISPLAY (http://www.faqs.org/faqs/graphics/fileformats-faq/part2/section-5.html).


- Attempt using a drive with space > 1TBThis is not going to be possible, period - unless you get an expansion card of some sort. Even then you'll never persuade DOS to use its full capacity.

NayusDante
10-23-2009, 11:59 PM
What's the best solution for large drives in DOS, anyway? Divide into partitions? I somehow got Windows 95 to recognize my 80gb drive in its entirety, but it took the better part of an afternoon and I can't remember exactly what I did...

Jorpho
10-24-2009, 01:30 AM
What's the best solution for large drives in DOS, anyway? Divide into partitions? I somehow got Windows 95 to recognize my 80gb drive in its entirety, but it took the better part of an afternoon and I can't remember exactly what I did...You were almost certainly using FAT32 and Win95B. http://toastytech.com/guis/miscb2.html says an FDISK update from Windows 98 is necessary, but of course there are alternative tools to FDISK.

The fact remains that using FAT32 on a very large disk is inefficient, which is why XP and later will stop you from creating a FAT32 partition larger than 32GB.

Sysinternals used to offer a Windows 98 NTFS driver, but that vanished after they were bought out by Microsoft (along with the NT 4.0 NTFS floppy-disk formatter.)

Soviet Conscript
10-24-2009, 02:20 AM
i have a question. whats a good all around graphics card for early 90's or earlier dos gameing? it seems that the voodoo cards are popular for late 90's stuff but what about older games?

Push Upstairs
10-24-2009, 03:14 AM
Anything before 1995 would only use/need a 2D card.

But I honestly can't remember if the 486/66 I used way back when even had a dedicated video card. I think it was whatever was built in.

Soviet Conscript
06-23-2011, 03:03 AM
*casts raise dead*

well at this point i have a few dos machines but there all in storage. i do have a main one out i just finished building though for most of my DOS needs.

http://img828.imageshack.us/img828/112/dos486.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/828/dos486.jpg/)
(yhea its a bad pic, all i have is my phone)

DOS 6.22
intel 66mhtz 486 with heatsink/fan
CD-rom drive, 1.44MB 3 1/2 inch FDD, 1.2 MB 5 1/4 FDD
500MB HDD
32 MB ram
diamond speedster pro 1MB VLB video card
sound blaster 16 paired with a roland MT-32
HP flat screen CRT monitor

vintagegamecrazy
06-25-2011, 01:04 AM
I will have to take some pics when I get around to it but I have just finished building a killer Windows 98 Pentium II. Unfortunately I have not gotten my 386 PC's in full glory yet so they won't run games properly but here are the specs for my PII

I got the case from the Salvation Army with a screwed up P166 in it and scrapped it, it's a Campus brand (very rare brand at that)

The new board is a

Dual Cartridge based 333mhz Pentium II processor (it was originally from a server and I got it for free from a customer at work)
Ram: 896MB out of the possible 1GB
Sound Blaster Live Audio Card
I don't remember the video card
PS2 and USB mouse and keyboard
Windows 98j original
3.2GB hard drive plus a secondary 40GB Maxtor Drive
3.5 inch floppy drive
Wireless Network Linksys adapter for getting online.

lauraleebm
07-04-2011, 06:03 AM
I'm in love with your computer Soviet Conscript!

NayusDante
07-04-2011, 01:34 PM
I'd put mine in a retro case like that, but they're usually pretty heavy. My ultimate goal is to rebuild my DOS rig with a micro-ATX board and find a small desktop-style mATX case for it. Right now, my DOS rig is in my old Antec Super Lan Boy, and the door broke off years ago. Good airflow and very light, but it's still bigger than I'd like my retro rig to be.

I know there's some mATX boards that meet my requirements (AGP and ISA). but they're kinda expensive.

Edit: I like this one (http://www.motherboard.cz/mb/aopen/mx6b-bez.htm).

beigemore
08-22-2011, 06:20 AM
I first started my PC experience with a 386dx33 that I had from 92 to 95, then went straight to a P75, then a couple years later going to a P2 266, etc. One big gaming moment I remember is getting my P75 upgraded from 8mb ram to 16mb and getting to see Primal Rage run at max settings (it has an 8mb ram option and 16mb ram option).

Anyhow, I don't have those machines anymore, so I bought this P75 off ebay several years back. My old P75 had a nice Diamond Stealth 64 with, I think, a 1 or 2mb ram upgrade on it, but this one has a Diamond Stealth S3 Trio32. I've also got my original Sound Blaster 16 installed that I purchased back in my 386 days. I paid about $500 for a kit in like 1993/94 that Creative made that came with a Sound Blaster 16, a 2x CD drive, and a bunch of crappy kids games and educational-type software. The third card installed is a Roland MPU-IPC card, and attached to that is a Roland MT-32. I've got 64mb ram installed in this beast, but the motherboard can only see up to like 48/50mb.

http://i.imgur.com/jl6oP.jpg

Ze_ro
08-28-2011, 12:41 PM
Pentium 133
64 MB RAM
ATI Mach 64 + Voodoo 2
Soundblaster 16 + Roland MT-32
Two 1GB Fujitsu Hard Drives
3.5" A drive, 5.25" B drive, and of course a CD-ROM
MS-DOS 6.22 + Windows for Workgroups 3.11

I have a boot menu set up so I can choose between different memory configurations and driver setups. Using QEMM, I have 634k free conventional memory... for things that don't work with QEMM, I have an EMM386 setup that gives me 602k free. Honestly, pretty much anything will work with 602k free, but I've always felt a bit of pride at getting the most free conventional memory possible.

I have an AWE64 and a Gravis Ultrasound sitting around... I've always wanted to put one of those in and see how it goes (Keeping the SB16 for compatibility). The GUS requires 2 IRQ's though, which is a bit difficult to accommodate.

There are also a few other odd cards in there, like a huge ISA card for my Atari Portfolio card reader, a USB card, and an ethernet card. I still haven't gotten networking going properly in DOS, but it's never been a big priority. I had USB working enough to read mass storage devices, but the drivers eat up a ton of memory.

--Zero

Jorpho
08-28-2011, 02:30 PM
The GUS requires 2 IRQ's though, which is a bit difficult to accommodate.Disable the onboard serial and parallel ports and it would become substantially easier, if you haven't considered that. (Unless you're dead set on printing on this ancient machine along with everything else.)

beigemore
08-29-2011, 07:23 AM
Instead of this P75 I've got, I'd really like to get something like a 485dx4/120 for dedicated DOS gaming, and then like a P3 800 running Win98SE for older Win9x games.

Jorpho
08-29-2011, 09:11 AM
Um, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_DX4 says the DX4 topped out at 100 MHz.

And I really can't fathom what advantages a DX4 would have over a P75.

beigemore
08-31-2011, 04:55 AM
AMD produced at 120, while Intel's max was 100. It is mentioned in both of these articles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_80486
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Am486

I'd rather have a high end 486 as it's better for DOS gaming. They're better for underclocking for slower games. The 485dx4/120 has an FSB of 40mhz with a multiplier of 3, while the P75 has an FSB of 50mhz and a multiplier of 1.5. The Pentiums are just faster CPU's in general, too.

The only two DOS games I can think of that actually need more than that would be Quake or Battlespire... with Battlespire recommending a P133. At that point, you might as well just go straight to something like a high end Pentium 2 400/450 with Win98SE, or maybe even a P3.

I think there are a few "optimal" computers for different gaming eras. For very, very old games, you'd want a 286. I personally don't play PC games older than around '88-90, unless it's some kind of major release or is really a decent game (old King's Quest or Space Quest games). Once games start needing the power of a 386, going with a high end 486 or a very low end P75 is the better option -- with my preference leaning toward a 486, as you now know. :) Beyond that, you get into Win9x territory, so you might as well go with a P2 or P3, and depending on if you plan on doing anything DOS related, decide on a PCI or ISA soundcard, but I think that's better left to a dedicated DOS computer (or DOSBox, even). Then there's Windows XP, which you could go as high end as you want since it's still supported by most new hardware.

Also, I purchased a GUS off eBay a few years ago but it turned out to be a dud. Everyone sells those things as untested because they either really aren't tested, or they just don't work and they want to make a few bucks and say they didn't know. I haven't tried my luck again, but would like to sometime in the future.

Sabz5150
08-31-2011, 05:42 AM
My DOS gaming box is a Dell Latitude XPi P133ST. 32MB of RAM, 800MB hard drive. Has an ESS 1887 (yeah, yeah, its a laptop) for sound, which does what needs to be done for older DOS games. My favorite part is the trackball... its optical! From the '90s!

Jorpho
08-31-2011, 09:29 AM
AMD produced at 120, while Intel's max was 100. It is mentioned in both of these articles.Huh, and they still called it a DX4. That's not confusing at all.

I'd rather have a high end 486 as it's better for DOS gaming. They're better for underclocking for slower games.In that case I reckon you'd want a case with a turbo button (and an appropriate motherboard).

Sabz5150
08-31-2011, 12:50 PM
Huh, and they still called it a DX4. That's not confusing at all.

DX denotes a math coprocessor. SX processors did not include this (see: 487 mathco). 4 denotes the clock multiplier.

an *X4 proc at 25MHz bus speed will render a 100MHz processor. 30MHz gives 120MHz and so on.

Ze_ro
09-02-2011, 09:35 PM
Disable the onboard serial and parallel ports and it would become substantially easier, if you haven't considered that. (Unless you're dead set on printing on this ancient machine along with everything else.)
I use the serial port for my mouse, and I use the parallel port for a C-64 drive interface cable... so disabling those is out of the question (I use the 1541 far more often than I'd use the GUS).

--Zero

c2000
09-03-2011, 08:24 AM
Pentium 200MMX with 96MB of RAM and a Voodoo card. It's kinda awesome for games like Blood, Duke Nukem 3D, Carmageddon, Quake 1/2, Rollercoaster Tycoon etc.

jwmollman
09-25-2011, 11:19 PM
This thread is great!

My DOS computer is an old PowerSpec PC my dad used to use as a really basic shop computer where he would enter data when working on cars. I cleaned it up really well and replaced some parts in it. It originally had a bare install of Windows 98, but I reformatted it and installed FreeDOS. I think this computer was a budget model from about 1998.

Monitor:
- An old 15in Packard Bell monitor

Computer:
- PowerSpec PC (old yellow/white coloring)
- Intel Celeron @ 366MHz
- 64MB of SDRAM
- 8MB onboard SIS graphics chip
- a standard internal PC-speaker that outputs on the front of the case
- 3GB IDE hard drive
- a 52X CDROM drive
- 3.5in floppy disk drive
- one empty PCI slot
- one empty ISA slot
- some tiny, crappy ethernet card (the size of a quarter) that hooks up in the back near the PCI slot and then connects to the motherboard with some four-pin connector
- one basic case fan on the front that glows green

I just leave the cover off. It's such a small computer and not much is going on. The system doesn't even get hot anyway.

My friend gave me an old Compaq ProLinea II (I think that's what it was called). It had a 486DX processor I think, with about 32MB of RAM (possibly less). It had a 150MB hard drive (not sure on that). I remember trying to get the hard drive to work and I was messing with the jumpers. Once I plugged it in and turned the system on, the hard drive sparked and smoked a bit. Now I don't even have a hard drive for that computer anymore. I think it used older connections than IDE.