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ebenezer
10-25-2009, 04:40 AM
I want a Windows 3.1/DOS computer. What would be the best one to get that can play old DOS games the way they were meant to be played? I'm sure many different kinds would suffice, but there must be a brand that is better than others, plus what sort of specs and hardware would be ideal to get the most out of every game...

dsullo
10-25-2009, 09:43 AM
I used to play dos games on my 486 PC that cost me 1500.00 about 20 years ago. You can probably find one at a garage sale or craigslist

phreakindee
10-25-2009, 10:08 AM
I want a Windows 3.1/DOS computer. What would be the best one to get that can play old DOS games the way they were meant to be played? I'm sure many different kinds would suffice, but there must be a brand that is better than others, plus what sort of specs and hardware would be ideal to get the most out of every game...

This is kind of a broad question. Almost like asking what Nintendo is the best to play old Nintendo games. "Old" could mean 80s or it could me 90s or anywhere in between. There are tons of versions of processors and this will largely decide what you can play. For instance, many games made before say 1991 could be CPU dependant, meaning they will too fast or too slow if you have the wrong processor for the game.

Since you mentioned Windows 3.1 I will assume you want to play games circa 1993. For that I recommend a 486 CPU with 8MB of RAM and DOS 5.x or perhaps 6.22. Go with 16MB if you want to play bigger CD games.

Brand doesn't matter so much, because by that time most machines were just as good as the IBMs they were cloning. Still, I am partial to Compaq, IBM and Packard-Bell computers of the time.
If you want a real "all-around" machine, I would say get something with a 100+Mhz Pentium and 32MB of RAM and a powerful 2D graphics card and even a Voodoo card. This will get you compatibility and speed needed for the last DOS games (Quake, Duke 3D, Doom II, Carmageddon, Mechwarrior 2 etc) as well as be more than quick enough for older 90s games. It will be way too fast for many really old games though, most anything after 1991 or so should be fine.

Also check out the "Post your DOS machine" thread here on DP for lots of great examples.

Poofta!
10-25-2009, 02:50 PM
i say use your current computer and run dosbox. spec the emulator accordingly.

virtualization is a good way to go about it too. if a certain game wont work you can just respec the virtual pc and load it up with whatever you want.

only thing about PC games being played the 'way they were meant to be' is make sure you have a keyboard and (sometimes) a mouse ;)

blue lander
10-25-2009, 04:12 PM
I'm a big proponent of playing games on the original platform rather than emulating, but I've got to agree with poofta when it comes to PC gaming. The only difference between playing a game on a "vintage" pc and dosbox is all the hassles of setting IRQs and loading TSRs and whatnot. I can see the value of playing an early 80's pc game on a real CGA monitor with an old fashioned clicky keyboard, but if it's a Windows 3.1 VGA game from 1991, who cares?

phreakindee
10-25-2009, 10:32 PM
I'm a big proponent of playing games on the original platform rather than emulating, but I've got to agree with poofta when it comes to PC gaming. The only difference between playing a game on a "vintage" pc and dosbox is all the hassles of setting IRQs and loading TSRs and whatnot. I can see the value of playing an early 80's pc game on a real CGA monitor with an old fashioned clicky keyboard, but if it's a Windows 3.1 VGA game from 1991, who cares?

While I may agree, and in fact I do play all games I can on DosBox, I still prefer to play them on the real thing with a real CRT monitor and all of that. I have an IBM 5150 with a CGA monitor for the really old stuff, so that works for those DosBox screws up on. Me, I just like messing with memory managers and disk drives and failures and all of that.. Ha

Poofta!
10-25-2009, 10:41 PM
While I may agree, and in fact I do play all games I can on DosBox, I still prefer to play them on the real thing with a real CRT monitor and all of that. I have an IBM 5150 with a CGA monitor for the really old stuff, so that works for those DosBox screws up on. Me, I just like messing with memory managers and disk drives and failures and all of that.. Ha

you know, dosbox DOES output to crt monitors, right ? =D

its a pc, there is absolutely no difference what hardware the program runs on as long as you can get it to run. video output aside, the control scheme and the position of your body has stayed the same since when the programmer intended it.

NayusDante
10-25-2009, 11:13 PM
I've been noticing some vertical sync/tearing issues with DOSBox, which I don't get on real hardware. Just something to take into account...

ebenezer
10-26-2009, 03:03 AM
cool..yeah that was the main reason i wrote this post was because i remember some of my really old games going way to fast on newer computers, CPU dependent was the term I was looking for I see. Dosbox is convenient, but its not just the games I want...i want the whole experience of starting up the machine, the grinding of the disk drives, typing in CD\..., waiting forever, glitches, all that jazz. I don't know much about installing hardware on old machines though...I was hoping for a sort of "set" where the monitor and drives are all in one--or at least something with some character rather than the normal monitor, computer, keyboard and mouse...saw some cool pics in other posts. I'll check around. Thanks.

blue lander
10-26-2009, 09:31 AM
you know, dosbox DOES output to crt monitors, right ? =D

its a pc, there is absolutely no difference what hardware the program runs on as long as you can get it to run. video output aside, the control scheme and the position of your body has stayed the same since when the programmer intended it.

People tend to use Dosbox on PCs that use 31khz VGA monitors, which looks different (to me at least...) than an old 15khz CGA or EGA monitor.

phreakindee
10-26-2009, 11:54 AM
Vsync issues, hertz issues, color issues, native resolution issues... all sorts of reasons to play on a real machine with an old CRT. And why would I have a newer Windows XP/Vista computer with a CRT for DosBox? If I'm going to go through the trouble to get a computer with DosBox and a CRT running, may as well make it a real DOS machine! I use DosBox because it's convenient, but if I really want to play, I'll whip out my 486 or Pentium with my old Compaq 14" and it's off to the games.

OMF2097
10-26-2009, 01:18 PM
A 486 DX2 66 MHz(preferably with a turbo button to downgrade to 33MHz), 16mb of Ram, and a Soundblaster 16 should be more than sufficient to run older DOS games. Run Dos 6.22 as specified above and you shouldn't have any issues. If you're planning on running the original disks from Sierra, make sure you have the patch disks/files.

Don't forget an older IDE HD.

Jorpho
10-26-2009, 01:42 PM
Vsync issues, hertz issues, color issues, native resolution issues... all sorts of reasons to play on a real machine with an old CRT.The "real" machine with an old CRT will have even more issues, even if it solves those other ones, which it might not.
A 486 DX2 66 MHz(preferably with a turbo button to downgrade to 33MHz)Turbo buttons are extremely handy, but there are much faster processors that still support a turbo button.

JustRob
10-26-2009, 01:46 PM
Seriously now, how many posts and no one has mentioned the one place where discussing exactly this topic is the most bonerific thing possible?

http://vogons.zetafleet.com/

Vigilante
10-26-2009, 02:02 PM
I got my hands on an old IBM thinkpad laptop. I can't remember the model, but it is a P2, like 512meg ram, 8 gig hdd. Took forever to tweak but it is a dos 6.22 and win 3.11 system. Spent forever digging thru my archive of everything, then thru the underdogs and abandonware websites. I broke it up into 4 partitions, the first has dos and win 3.11 games, the second has more dos games, the third has mame, and the fourth has other console emu's. When I need a fix it is easy to pull a laptop out of the drawer for a few hours, then put it away.

Ze_ro
10-26-2009, 05:32 PM
i remember some of my really old games going way to fast on newer computers, CPU dependent was the term I was looking for I see.
You can usually compensate for this by running programs specifically designed to slow down your computer. Mo'Slo (http://moslo.info/) used to be pretty much the only choice here, but there are other options these days. I haven't tried many of them, so I can't really comment on which ones work best. I do remember having a very difficult time trying to slow down my Pentium 133 enough to play Montezuma's Revenge, which I think was meant to be played on an 4 MHz 8088, as even at 1% speed, it was still too fast.

There are also all kinds of other errors that can crop up on newer computers. Sometimes the errors are also caused by the speed difference, but give you misleading messages that confuse the actual problem. Home of the Underdogs has a FAQ that lists some of them (http://www.homeoftheunderdogs.net/faq2.php).


I don't know much about installing hardware on old machines though...I was hoping for a sort of "set" where the monitor and drives are all in one--or at least something with some character rather than the normal monitor, computer, keyboard and mouse.
A laptop might be your best bet then... but you still have to know IRQ's and IO addresses and stuff, even with a laptop... so it might not help as much as you think it will. Laptops of the time were generally bad for playing games on though... but with a newer machine, you might have trouble getting features to work with DOS (sound and CD-ROM might give you a hard time)... so you might have some trouble finding just the right balance here.

I'd recommend either a 486 or Pentium, somewhere in the 66 MHz to 133 MHz range. Look for something with ISA ports on the motherboard, that way you can be confident of finding DOS and Win 3.1 drivers for pretty much all of the hardware you'd ever put in it. Finding graphics cards, hard drives, CD-ROM drives, and floppy drives should be very easy... but finding just the right sound card might prove tricky. I'd recommend a SoundBlaster-16 to get the best compatibility. It's not the best *sounding* card, but you'll have to jump through a lot less hoops than you would with something like a Roland MT-32, Gravis Ultrasound, or even newer SB cards like the AWE-32.

--Zero

Soviet Conscript
10-26-2009, 05:50 PM
i think i know what your getting at with just a pre put together old PC. maybe something from the IBM line?

i'm picking up one of these tommarow
http://john.ccac.rwth-aachen.de:8000/alf/ps2_70121/

hope it meets some of my old gameing needs. only problem though is it doesn't use ISA, think they used there own thing for this model.

I'm not a fan of useing laptops for gameing. just feels wierd to me.

Jorpho
10-26-2009, 08:08 PM
i think i know what your getting at with just a pre put together old PC. maybe something from the IBM line?

i'm picking up one of these tommarow
http://john.ccac.rwth-aachen.de:8000/alf/ps2_70121/

hope it meets some of my old gameing needs. only problem though is it doesn't use ISA, think they used there own thing for this model.Good heavens, no! If you're going to bother with this at all (and I still think it's a lousy idea), at least get something halfway standardized! You might as well go for a Packard Bell for all the good this will do you!

phreakindee
10-26-2009, 08:12 PM
I have to agree! As much as I have a soft spot for PS/2s, the hardware overall pretty much sucks! Second only to the PCjr... incompatibility, awkward hard configs, memory issues from what I've read. It can be a pain. A PB, NEC, Compaq... something else from the time would be MUCH more doable! You'll still have all the lovely "problems" with real DOS, but it's better than the hardware issues.

Soviet Conscript
10-26-2009, 08:15 PM
I have to agree! As much as I have a soft spot for PS/2s, the hardware overall pretty much sucks! Second only to the PCjr... incompatibility, awkward hard configs, memory issues from what I've read. It can be a pain. A PB, NEC, Compaq... something else from the time would be MUCH more doable! You'll still have all the lovely "problems" with real DOS, but it's better than the hardware issues.

really? well mine is comeing with a mouse/keyboard and a color monitor for $20 so i may still pick it up for the novelty of it

Ze_ro
10-26-2009, 10:54 PM
I think you're better off putting together the hardware yourself. In order to make good use of DOS, you really need to know things like what IRQ's are free, and how to arrange your conventional memory and such. If you're going to go the hardcore route, then you might as well go all the way and learn how to do it properly.

Installing hardware really isn't all that hard. It's usually just a matter of stuffing the card into the computer and loading the appropriate driver. Most drivers are still readily available on the internet, even though they're 20+ years old. The main hard part is sound cards, where you need to know IRQ, DMA, I/O addresses, etc. With some cards, this kind of stuff can be set with jumpers (you might need to find a scan of the manual on the internet to find out what jumpers are what)... otherwise, sometimes the easiest way is to just guess at values until a game works, then write down those numbers on a sticky note that you keep on the computer itself so you don't forget 'em.

--Zero

Jorpho
10-26-2009, 11:31 PM
really? well mine is comeing with a mouse/keyboard and a color monitor for $20 so i may still pick it up for the novelty of itIf it's a Model M keyboard, that's definitely a keeper, or at least good for eBay. But the computer might as well be a doorstop.

A PB, NEC, Compaq... something else from the time would be MUCH more doable!No, no, definitely not a Packard Bell.

Installing hardware really isn't all that hard.Oh, it's not that simple either... If you've got a random assortment of parts, there's all kinds of wacky little obscure compatibility issues that might pop up - and that's assuming all your parts are completely functional to begin with, and they might very not be.

The first example that comes to mind is RAM - you can't just toss any old SIMMs into your available slots willy-nilly; some of the motherboards were mighty particular about exactly what went where.

blue lander
10-27-2009, 08:32 AM
I expect a lot of people will disagree with me, but if you want an "Out of the box" early 90's computer that you don't need to fuss with much, you might want to consider an IBM PS/1. They're small, compact, and DOS is on ROM so it boots in an instant. All the hardware is proprietary, though, so don't expect to ever upgrade it.

Soviet Conscript
10-28-2009, 11:31 PM
well, after a few days of playing around with the PS/2 i don't find it that horrible...but then i havn't tried playing alot on it

it acually is a decent condition M model keyboard. i also like the monitor that came with it, its wierd but i like how easy it swivels. i've always been a sucker for desktop style pc's over towers

i have hit a wall with its expansion bus system though. none ISA is a pain. i want to put a sound card in it but apperently they didn't make many for it

phreakindee
10-29-2009, 08:08 AM
Yeah, the lack of expansions became the biggest reason I never got one. Somewhat ironic that some of its other aspects became "standard" like the PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports.

leicamaster
01-26-2010, 06:25 PM
Ya, im looking for good pc for early and mid 90's to play the classic Lucasarts games and stuff like that. I would like it to have a 5.25 inch drive also are those easy to find or harder? Goodwill maybe?

Jorpho
01-26-2010, 06:35 PM
Ya, im looking for good pc for early and mid 90's to play the classic Lucasarts games and stuff like that.You've heard of ScummVM (http://www.scummvm.org), right?

I would like it to have a 5.25 inch drive also are those easy to find or harder? Goodwill maybe?The only way you'll find out is to go visit your local Goodwill and see for yourself, isn't it?

Do you have a lot of 5.25" disks you want to use with this drive? It's not like blanks are easy to find anymore, and they were never particularly reliable.

leicamaster
01-26-2010, 07:25 PM
I have scumm vm but i still want n original machine. I have to go to goodwill again and check

Soviet Conscript
01-26-2010, 09:00 PM
I have scumm vm but i still want n original machine. I have to go to goodwill again and check

I hope your goodwill doesn't do like mine do and ship all thier computer related items to a central store. all the goodwills in my area ship all things computer related to a "goodwill computer center" in downtown Pittsburgh. up side is all the pc stuff is centralized, bad part is you have to drive into the god forsaken city that never understood the concept of street planning.

its ok if you don't use your 5.25 drive. its like haveing a really fast car. your never going to legally be able to drive on the street at those speeds but it just makes you feel warm inside knowing you could.

leicamaster
01-29-2010, 01:11 PM
I hope your goodwill doesn't do like mine do and ship all thier computer related items to a central store. all the goodwills in my area ship all things computer related to a "goodwill computer center" in downtown Pittsburgh. up side is all the pc stuff is centralized, bad part is you have to drive into the god forsaken city that never understood the concept of street planning.

its ok if you don't use your 5.25 drive. its like haveing a really fast car. your never going to legally be able to drive on the street at those speeds but it just makes you feel warm inside knowing you could.

My goodwill does the same thing but I know the people who work their and they call me when they get 80s computers

PC-ENGINE HELL
01-30-2010, 08:17 PM
You can always hit up ebay for Socket 7 hardware. I keep a ton of it around. My current Dos/Windows98/ME gaming system I have thrown together is a Socket 7 AMD K6-3 400 mhz system. I paired it with a lan card, Geforce 256, and a AWE 32. So far it hasnt given me any problems. I use it to run stuff like Megarace, Screamers,Quake, Wolfenstien, Duke Nukem, Mortal Kombat, ect. Pretty much has me covered for DOS and Direct X gaming up to Direct X 6. Alot of Socket 7 hardware is just ATX and Micro ATX based, so you could easily use a newer style case and power supply if you need to. You can also go the Pentium 2/3 slot-1 way. 440BX was pretty reliable for its time. I have a friend who uses that platform specifically for his DOS box. Stuffs dirt cheap.

Jorpho
01-30-2010, 08:31 PM
What's the motherboard you're using? If it's a K6-3, I reckon it must be a Super Socket 7 with AGP. (400 MHz is a little fast for older games, isn't it?)

Also, does it have USB? If not, how do you transfer files over to it?

PC-ENGINE HELL
01-30-2010, 10:40 PM
http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/Motherboard/Products_Spec.aspx?ProductID=1578

Thats the board Im using. Yea it supports USB, but I mean, I can transfer stuff over to it via cd also. I have two cd-r burners in the system. Yea some would consider 400 mhz a bit much, but it comes in handy for Quake and alot of the other more 3d'ish Dos based games, along with Direct X based stuff. I like to use it for a large range of games.

Ze_ro
01-31-2010, 12:58 AM
Do you have a lot of 5.25" disks you want to use with this drive? It's not like blanks are easy to find anymore, and they were never particularly reliable.
Actually, my experience has been that 5.25" disks are more reliable in the long run... though most of that experience is with double density disks.

Anyways, if you collect retail games, quite a few of them are on 5.25" disks. I have a real copy of Pools of Darkness, and it includes the game on 2 high-density 5.25" disks AND 3 double-density 3.5" disks... so in at least that case, the 5.25" disks are actually a tiny bit easier.


I have scumm vm but i still want n original machine.
In many respects, ScummVM actually does a better job than an original machine does... same with Exult vs. actual Ultima VII. But whatever, we're certainly not here building DOS machines because it's the practical solution.


Yea some would consider 400 mhz a bit much
Certainly no more unnecessary than 2 CD burners... what's the point of that?

--Zero

PC-ENGINE HELL
01-31-2010, 01:13 AM
Burners are in there because I have more burners laying around then normal drives these days, and they tend to read short strategy disc alot better.

Jorpho
02-01-2010, 07:40 AM
I can transfer stuff over to it via cd also.I suppose that's an option if you have huge quantities of CD-Rs that you don't mind treating as a disposable commodity.

Ze_ro
02-01-2010, 01:53 PM
I've always had trouble with that myself. I can't bring myself to waste a CD when it's only 5MB worth of data. I know they're cheap, but it still bothers me at some level. CD-RW's would seem like a great idea, but I have a bad history with RW's somehow becoming unrecoverable coasters, and I no longer trust them enough to buy them.

At one point, I tried getting a Zip drive setup going... I had found some drives at the local thrift store, and some disks, and it seemed like the perfect solution. However, I had a ton of trouble getting any of it working (possibly due to the infamous click of death (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Click_of_death), though I'm still not entirely sure). I've since found a few different mechanisms that might make things a bit easier, but past experience has really soured me on the idea.

At another point, I put a USB add-in card into the computer, but getting USB working under DOS is a nightmare in itself. Most of the tools available are geared towards using USB hard drives, and generally don't do anything other than USB mass storage. At the time, I had no USB flash drives, but was trying to get things working with an SD card reader. It's USB mass storage, right? Shouldn't be much different from a hard drive, right? Well all I managed to accomplish was corrupting the file system on the SD card, and wasting tons of conventional memory on USB drivers.

What I usually do is use the "split" command in Unix to break large files up into 1.4MB pieces, which I then take to the other computer on floppy disks. Once I have all the pieces, the DOS copy command can be used to recombine them. Not a particularly fun way of doing things, but at least it feels less wasteful.

If none of those options appeal to you (which I would certainly understand!), you could always connect the DOS machine to your modern PC via the network. Set up an FTP server on your PC and use an FTP client on the DOS machine to copy the files over. Internet software for DOS can be a little dicey (and lord help you if you try it in Win 3.1), but you'd be surprised at how many ethernet card manufacturers still offer DOS drivers for their cards. I keep planning to do this some day, but my DOS machine is in the basement while the rest of my network is on the main floor, which causes some problems.

--Zero

Jorpho
02-01-2010, 03:06 PM
CD-RW's would seem like a great idea, but I have a bad history with RW's somehow becoming unrecoverable coasters, and I no longer trust them enoug to buy them.Aye, likewise.
Most of the tools available are geared towards using USB hard drives, and generally don't do anything other than USB mass storage.In the limited experience I've had with them, they're not so bad. Those USB expansion cards are still $20 a pop, though. The last one I tried had some weird power consumption issues.
At the time, I had no USB flash drives, but was trying to get things working with an SD card reader. It's USB mass storage, right? Shouldn't be much different from a hard drive, right? Well all I managed to accomplish was corrupting the file system on the SD card, and wasting tons of conventional memory on USB drivers.Apparently there are Compact Flash-to-IDE adapters that will work even on very, very old computers, but I've never tried them myself. Plus I reckon they might not be plug-and-play.
Internet software for DOS can be a little dicey (and lord help you if you try it in Win 3.1)If you have Windows 3.11 for Workgroups, apparently it's not bad at all. But dealing with DOS drivers is just icky. You might as well try a null modem cable if you go that way - not that I had much success with that either.

Ze_ro
02-01-2010, 08:14 PM
Apparently there are Compact Flash-to-IDE adapters that will work even on very, very old computers, but I've never tried them myself. Plus I reckon they might not be plug-and-play.
I've actually wanted to do this with my DOS computer for a while... take out the hard drives, and just have a CF slot on the front of the computer hooked straight into the main IDE channel. Then I could just have a CF card with an MS-DOS install, another with Win 98, and another with OS/2 for whatever reason. These days it's hard to find good deals on compact flash though, as the format is largely obsolete.


If you have Windows 3.11 for Workgroups, apparently it's not bad at all. But dealing with DOS drivers is just icky. You might as well try a null modem cable if you go that way - not that I had much success with that either.
Well, I lived through the early days of the internet on Win 3.1, and it was NOT fun... screwing around with Trumpet Winsock and such. I gladly would have lived entirely from the DOS command line, except Netscape only worked in Windows :(

--Zero

PC-ENGINE HELL
02-02-2010, 11:50 AM
I suppose that's an option if you have huge quantities of CD-Rs that you don't mind treating as a disposable commodity.


I've always had trouble with that myself. I can't bring myself to waste a CD when it's only 5MB worth of data. I know they're cheap, but it still bothers me at some level. CD-RW's would seem like a great idea, but I have a bad history with RW's somehow becoming unrecoverable coasters, and I no longer trust them enough to buy them.


I think you guys got me all wrong here. I do have large quantities of cd-rs, but I don't treat them as disposable if I can help it. Ill only toss a disc out if its gone bad due to the ink rotting or its a bad burn, and I dont just leave the stuff laying around. The reason I use burners is because older normal cd drives tend to have a harder time reading anything burned on newer short strategy (Ritek Co. ect) disc.

As with that, I wont burn anything on a disc unless its required, ISO, ect, or its enough data to fill up the majority of the disc. Burning off just one or two Dos games per disc would be a huge waste. Just not something Id be willing to do. On the CD-RW thing, yea I've ha d a bad history with them too. They tend to go bad early. Also, they have a knack for killing some burners quicker, so I stopped using them around 4 years ago.

Jorpho
02-02-2010, 01:58 PM
Burning off just one or two Dos games per disc would be a huge waste. Just not something Id be willing to do.But what if you only have one or two DOS games you want to play at a particular time?

PC-ENGINE HELL
02-02-2010, 06:29 PM
Transfer them over via USB mem stick in Win 98, or get online with IE6 or Opera, and nab them off the net.

Zap!
03-20-2016, 09:51 PM
I have an old Toshiba Satellite laptop that I got for like $30. Not sure what model, because all the stickers identifying it were torn off (appears to be the 320CDT). It had Windows 3.1 on it, and the CD wasn't detecting. Well, I fixed it with a DOS CD-ROM driver, and just had to install Windows 95 on it. Do you think that was a mistake?

8703

Tanooki
03-20-2016, 10:32 PM
I like that. Full computer in a little space. Find the right one with the needed guts for your needs and you're golden. There was this one Toshiba I saw with a 10" screen around 100mhz that looked ideal. Considered ultra portable the mouse it built into the back and top screen area of it...forget the name.

Cornelius
03-21-2016, 08:37 AM
I like that. Full computer in a little space. Find the right one with the needed guts for your needs and you're golden. There was this one Toshiba I saw with a 10" screen around 100mhz that looked ideal. Considered ultra portable the mouse it built into the back and top screen area of it...forget the name.

I think I had a couple of those from a thrift store. Very neat little machines, but mine were from some medical facility and had a proprietary OS or something like that that gave me problems. Never came up with a way to load an OS that worked right and had good drivers. I want to say they were called Libretto. (yep, just googled and that's what I had).

Zap!
03-21-2016, 08:57 AM
I think I had a couple of those from a thrift store. Very neat little machines, but mine were from some medical facility and had a proprietary OS or something like that that gave me problems. Never came up with a way to load an OS that worked right and had good drivers. I want to say they were called Libretto. (yep, just googled and that's what I had).

The Toshiba Libretto's were very small, some only had a screen of 6.1". I'd love to pick one up one day, they seem really cool.

Tanooki
03-21-2016, 09:29 AM
That's the one dude Libretto and I was thinking of the 60. It's a solid little computer and if you're used to using a mid-size tablet the 6.1" screen isn't bad, and amazingly has a useful full-ish sized keyboard too. I know they're a little quirky to setup, but the sad thing is I'm not sure how to load it up. I think it takes a PCMCIA card and there are various types, one that should have USB, and maybe another that would have ethernet/networking capabilities.

Revising my post here... I got ocd on this as I remembered stuff fuzzy like.

http://www.priorityelectronics.com/toshiba/pa2718u.htm

That right there, a port replicator for the Libretto 50 and 70CT (70 is ideal here.) This has a full array of jacks along the back for all sorts of goodies including 2 USB ports. This setup here allows for svideo, vga, network rj45, serial, paralelle, key+mouse, digital audio, and more. The part shouldnt' set you back I'd think more than $30 reasonably speaking. Between that and the 70CT's specs it's an old DOS 6.x/98SE dream machine with portability too. With the 2 USB ports if you really want to get crusty and use floppies USB 3.5s are easy and cheap to get just as are USB DVD or CDROM drives too. Between that and the network capability I'd think you'd be good. Now I'm sure it would probably need some kung fu going on, but probably using that PCMCIA slot on the device itself or using one of the USB ports, probably could find yourelf a way to get WIFI going too.

Ze_ro
04-10-2016, 09:55 PM
I would have thought those old laptops would have major battery problems. Surely after this long they can't really hold a charge anymore... do you just run it off A/C power the whole time?

A couple of weeks ago, I resurrected an old K6-2 400MHz machine of mine, stuck a Voodoo 3 and an AWE64 into it and installed Windows 98SE. Runs like a dream, and very nicely fills the gap between my P133 MS-DOS machine and my Core 2 Duo Win 7 machine. I also found a Pentium III motherboard and processor at the local thrift just yesterday that presents some intriguing possibilities... but I'm not sure what I'll do with that one yet.

--Zero

Zap!
05-15-2016, 09:46 PM
I would have thought those old laptops would have major battery problems. Surely after this long they can't really hold a charge anymore... do you just run it off A/C power the whole time?

--Zero

I don't even have a battery for my Toshiba Satellite, as the previous owner took it out. I ordered one in March on AliExpress, but it never got here. Still waiting on the refund, which they promised last week.

Niku-Sama
05-16-2016, 05:19 AM
whats the input voltage/amperage on that thing?

could probably make your own out of a few of those cheepo pocket phone chargers in series. honestly been thinking of converting one into powering a portable nes

Edmond Dantes
05-16-2016, 08:28 PM
I've always had trouble with that myself. I can't bring myself to waste a CD when it's only 5MB worth of data. I know they're cheap, but it still bothers me at some level. CD-RW's would seem like a great idea, but I have a bad history with RW's somehow becoming unrecoverable coasters, and I no longer trust them enough to buy them.

You and Jorpho DO realize CD-Rs (even if they're not RWs) can be used more than once, right?

You're not "wasting" a CDR with 5mb, because you can go in and add more files later. I'm not sure what you're doing that would render that 5mb transfer a one-time deal.

RP2A03
05-16-2016, 09:38 PM
With older versions of Windows you can't access all of the data on multisession CDs without the use of a third party application, and accessing all of the data on multisession CDs in DOS is dependent on having a driver that can deal with such things.

Edmond Dantes
05-17-2016, 01:58 AM
Really? I've never had a problem with it. It always just reads as a CD with a lot of crap on it.

That said, maybe its because I'm using the most recent official DOS (MS-DOS 7, which is the one that Windows 98 comes with) and also because I'm using alternative drivers--which is something I would recommend people do anyway even if they plan to use older versions of DOS, since alternative drivers use less memory meaning more is free for your games.

skaar
05-22-2016, 06:20 PM
Lots of old CDRom drives can't handle multisession burns either.


Glad to see some Libretto love. I had a 50 back in the day and loved it - but it was NOT good for gaming.

Zap!
05-22-2016, 08:31 PM
whats the input voltage/amperage on that thing?

could probably make your own out of a few of those cheepo pocket phone chargers in series. honestly been thinking of converting one into powering a portable nes

Making my own batteries is far beyond my capabilities, especially since I'd have to make my own shell as well (the old battery was removed by the previous owner). But the good news is that I finally got my money back from AliExpress, and found a brand new battery on eBay for $12.35 shipped (model number PA2487U)!

I charged it and it works perfectly. No more having to constantly plug it in. After this post, I'm taking it in the backyard with a glass of wine and playing me some Dangerous Dave. :cool:

Guntz
05-22-2016, 11:23 PM
Really? I've never had a problem with it. It always just reads as a CD with a lot of crap on it.

That said, maybe its because I'm using the most recent official DOS (MS-DOS 7, which is the one that Windows 98 comes with) and also because I'm using alternative drivers--which is something I would recommend people do anyway even if they plan to use older versions of DOS, since alternative drivers use less memory meaning more is free for your games.

The most recent official DOS was actually MS-DOS 8, bundled with Windows ME.

Zap!
05-23-2016, 08:53 AM
If I burn a CD on my current Windows 10 computer, it will not read on my old Windows 98 Toshiba laptop. Now, CD's that I burned about 12 years ago read fine.

AdamAnt316
05-23-2016, 09:06 AM
If I burn a CD on my current Windows 10 computer, it will not read on my old Windows 98 Toshiba laptop. Now, CD's that I burned about 12 years ago read fine.

My guess is that they're not being "finalized", which is what would lock out further changes to the CD-R's content, and (essentially) turn it into the equivalent of a commercial read-only CD. There might be an option to do so somewhere in the options menu for Windows 10's CD burning software. Try enabling it, and see if newly-burned discs now work in the Win98 machine.
-Adam

Edmond Dantes
05-24-2016, 01:10 AM
I know with Windows 7, when you insert a new disc it gives you an option of how to handle the burning--one style treats a CD-R essentially as a flash-drive, and the program explicitly tells you that this'll only work on Windows 7 and above. The other is "mastered" (IIRC) and should be readable by anything--in my experience such discs always worked in Windows 98, unless they were corrupted. This is primarily how I transfer patches I download from the internet.

Another option that might work is to burn a Linux CD, and boot your older computer with that--then use a thumb drive to transfer data. This is something I sometimes do. Make sure its a small, not memory-intensive linux (I think I use xGamer but I can't remember)

skaar
05-30-2016, 10:49 AM
My guess is that they're not being "finalized", which is what would lock out further changes to the CD-R's content, and (essentially) turn it into the equivalent of a commercial read-only CD. There might be an option to do so somewhere in the options menu for Windows 10's CD burning software. Try enabling it, and see if newly-burned discs now work in the Win98 machine.
-Adam

Burn speed has a lot to do with it too (not sure why, but it's true)

If you're burning a lot of CDs for older machines then older CDR drives/media will produce more reliable results. A lot of newly manufactured CDRs don't seem to want to burn less than 24x though..

Ze_ro
07-19-2016, 09:37 AM
Burn speed has a lot to do with it too (not sure why, but it's true)
I think the reason for this is that when you burn at a higher speed, the "on/off" transitions take up more linear space on the disc.

Ideally, on a glass-mastered CD-ROM, the transitions are hard, something like this:

http://www.schoolphysics.org/age16-19/wave%20properties/wave%20properties/text/CD_laser_reading/images/1.gif

But when you're writing to a spinning disc with a laser, things aren't that perfect. It takes time for the transition to happen, and the disc surface is moving past the laser, so instead of a nice hard edge, you get sort of a "ramp". This isn't so bad as long as the ramp is short enough, which is generally the case. The problem comes when you're writing at something like 48x and then reading the disc in a 1x drive, that ramp will pass by the laser much slower and will "look" 48 times longer than when it was written. This probably pushes things to the point where the mechanism gets confused about whether it's actually seeing a transition or not.

Modern drives are made with CD-R's in mind, so they probably have a lot more tolerance for "slow" transitions than older CD-ROM's that were only ever expected to read glass-mastered discs.

--Zero

Mad-Mike
02-09-2017, 02:28 PM
I'll throw my own .02 in on this, even though I'm late to the party (as usual).....been getting back into DOS/Win16 gaming myself, and RetroCity Rampage 486 has been a big part of it.

I've been doing such for sixteen years, before this vintage DOS stuff was "vintage" - back when people called it "Junk".

I usually suggest DOSBox if you don't have the space or time to dedicate to old hardware.

If you are going to play DOS games on the original hardware and you only want one machine, I typically find the 80486 DX era to be the best middle-ground, with the DX2-66 being smack-dab in the middle. Sure, older stuff that does not have a software "governor" of sorts in it to regulate the speed will need something like MOSLO or Cache disabled or whatever to perform as good as possible, but at least it'll be doable on such old hardware.

Personally, I take a three-tier approach, but then I' have been doing so for a very long time.

Tandy 1000A = XT Era Stuff - reasoning being because it's a 4.77 MHz, 8088 based PC with proper DMA and 640K RAM support, and with XT-IDE, I can slap in an 8GB HDD with no DDO, and have plenty of space....actually too much since I can in no way run out of space with as small as XT era games are.

GEM 286/10 (Oc'd to 12MHz via hardware glitch involving the Math Co-Processor) - I use this for "Turbo XT" games and games that lack hardware throttling or just generally behave better on 80286-slow-80386 era hardware. I use the Turbo button to put it into a mode more inline with a Turbo XT.

Home Buitl 486 - It's currently a DX2-66 with no L2 Cache, but as I have come new parts coming in, It'll soon be a DX4-100 with 128MB of RAM and 512K L2 Cache in it. It has a hard disk caddy system that enables me to use it for Windows 95 era and DOS/W31x era stuff by using different hard disks, and to experiment with other operating systems as I feel like (I'm toying with doing this to ALL of my vintage machines eventually). At oldest I use this for things like Wolfenstein 3D, Tank Wars, Microsoft Flight Simulator 3.0, or Links 386, and on the more recent side, I've been using it for Duke Nukem 3D, Diablo (which runs surprisingly well on this one), and am tweaking it out to smooth Quake out a little bit. It's also the vintage machine that runs 24/7 and gets the brunt of my retro-gaming and vintage PC hardware torture (by running very new stuff on it - I'm very close to being able to multi-track record on it nuts enough).