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Thread: Best computer for old DOS games

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    ServBot (Level 11) Edmond Dantes's Avatar
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    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.
    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.

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    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.
    Mario says "... if you do drugs, you go to hell before you die."

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    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.

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    Great Puma (Level 12) skaar's Avatar
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    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niku-Sama View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post
    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.

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zap! View Post
    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.
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    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)

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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamAnt316 View Post
    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..
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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.

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    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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