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Thread: Best computer for old DOS games

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    Cherry (Level 1) leicamaster's Avatar
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    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?
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    Quote Originally Posted by leicamaster View Post
    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, 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.
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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    Cherry (Level 1) leicamaster's Avatar
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    I have scumm vm but i still want n original machine. I have to go to goodwill again and check
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    Quote Originally Posted by leicamaster View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Soviet Conscript View Post
    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
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    Peach (Level 3) PC-ENGINE HELL's Avatar
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    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.

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    Red (Level 21) Jorpho's Avatar
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    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?
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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    http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/...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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by leicamaster View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by PC-ENGINE HELL View Post
    Yea some would consider 400 mhz a bit much
    Certainly no more unnecessary than 2 CD burners... what's the point of that?

    --Zero
    Last edited by Ze_ro; 01-31-2010 at 01:00 AM.

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PC-ENGINE HELL View Post
    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.
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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    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, 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
    Last edited by Ze_ro; 02-01-2010 at 01:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_ro View Post
    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.
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    I suppose that's an option if you have huge quantities of CD-Rs that you don't mind treating as a disposable commodity.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_ro View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PC-ENGINE HELL View Post
    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?
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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    Transfer them over via USB mem stick in Win 98, or get online with IE6 or Opera, and nab them off the net.

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    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?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    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.
    Last edited by Tanooki; 03-20-2016 at 10:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanooki View Post
    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).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cornelius View Post
    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.

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    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.
    Last edited by Tanooki; 03-21-2016 at 09:43 AM.

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    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_ro View Post
    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.

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    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

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