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Thread: Best computer for old DOS games

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by skaar View Post
    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:

    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.

    Last edited by Ze_ro; 07-19-2016 at 09:59 AM.

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    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).

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