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What if there was a brandnew Dos/win98 board with CPU....

 
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:35 pm     Post subject: What if there was a brandnew Dos/win98 board with CPU.... Reply with quote

Hi all!

I'm, looking for your thoughts and opinion so please bare with me:

As any regular 30-some human in 2012 i felt the need to go back to my childhood and play all those great dos (and some win98) games i grew up with.

Sure, there is dosbox and sure, i can run a VM with win98.
But that is not how i want it to be. I want a dedicated machine.

Now the reallity turns out to be somewhat different than my memory told me.
finding reliable hardware is tricky. you burnout the PSU and a new one wont fit. The 12 year old harddrive fails, a new 60gb IDE drive is nog recognised in the bios.

Finding drivers is a nightmare etc etc.

So that got me thinking:
what if there is a new board with cpu (or embedded SOC) with:

Onboard NIC
100% soundblaster compatible soundchip (or even the real thing?),

AGP port (integrated is an option but maybe there are issues with game compatibility if you want to play later dos/win98 games where 3d chips first emerged?)
at least 1 PCI and 1 ISA slot

Onboard USB with win98 drivers and USB mass support ability under win98?

CF slot (or maybe 2? pri master and slave) to use as harddisk replacement. no more failing drives and no compatible replacement

IDE (sec master and slave) and Floppy connector

Onboard RAM (256 or 512mb at the most)

Boot from usb option in bios?

"normal" 12 volt powerconnector so you can use a present day, reliable PSU or even PICO-PSU?

present day formfactor (atx, u-atx or even mini-itx?)

And last but not least 100%!!! intel cpu compatible (not like Cyrix clones with some obscure bugs)
Maybe even an original intel cpu and chipset?

If all this was available right now would you buy it?
(cuz i cant find any company who makes this, only industrial daughterboards etc against huge costs)

maybe it can be made to spec if there is demand right?

please leave your thoughts and comments
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dosraider
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:35 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

You can dream all you want, but the reality is:
Only a small number would be sold, making it much too costly to dev/manufacture.
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MrFlibble
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:07 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

dosraider wrote:
the reality is:
Only a small number would be sold, making it much too costly to dev/manufacture.

And because of this the development of better, more accurate emulation software is going to be the most likely, widespread solution to the problem of running old programmes. Of course, I'm not excluding the possibility of limited manufacture of vintage hardware but if this is the case it is probably going to cost a lot.
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RegalSin
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:27 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

You can run dos hardware, on current mother boards, just not mother
boards with unsupportive functtions. Like for example I have a computer that has two proccessors. DOS only sees one proccessor, and thus windows follow.

The problem with current boards is that the idiots think that celluar phones, and iphones are usable as computers. Also with people becoming poorer, and poorer each year, it becomes harder, for people to see computers as a household product.

Also they put all kinds of uneeded crap, into boards. Like a camera in a cable box for example bit. The more sophisticated the boards get, the smaller the components get. Flat fact I do not like built in stuff into my boards, and a person can scan your operating system.

.....

Right now I have enough dedicated DOS machines all over the place.
I got my 3ghz machine, that can run dos, programs as well. Even a
112mhz machine if I want to mess around with it.

I even have an import machine that is just pure dos and barely can run
a 3d applicaton. I am talking 16mhz to 8mhz baby.

Their are enought machines on this planet. Otherwise order from the east.
Their are tons of dedicated machines that can run dos and windows,
infintively better
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Quadko
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:49 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry to say I agree with the list of problems and hurdles, but I do love this idea and dream.

I've dreamed variants of it as well - a pci card or usb device that is the "old" hardware and plugs in to my everyday computer to use modern monitor/keyboard/etc. (But how is this different from software emulation?)

A hardware "translation layer" that plugs into an ebay dos machine to translate modern hardware (usb especially, maybe monitors) to classic keyboard / serial mouse / video IO.

My own hobby focus is XT machines, and I've looked at options like the floppy <-> usb emulators, XTIDE to hook up modern drives (over at www.vintage-computer.com somewhere in the forums ), what it would take to use a modern keyboard on an XT or 286, how to use usb gamepads/joysticks in dos, etc. Fun to dream, and if I had money to burn this is where I'd burn some, for sure.

Besides, it would be geeky great to have a flexible hardware emulator on my keychain, just hook up to a docking station and away we go!

I used to frequently boot my dedicated pentium level dos machine to play Darklands, Crusader: NR, and Ultima Underworld. Dosbox finally got good enough that I don't need the hardware for that anymore, so it has been neglected.

Dosbox does OK getting close with original PC & XT speed games, but I'm hoping someday they will get cycle-perfect emulation options for everything from the original PC up through - say - 33 MHZ 386s? Somewhere in there the machine speed stopped mattering and "as fast as you can emulate" works fine.

But hey, once Dosbox becomes good enough, then I'll want a little dedicated hardware console dedicated to running Dosbox! That would be fun. I have sort of started down that path running a shuttle fanless pc with an SSD drive - it's dead quiet, runs windows 7 (8), and does well with the less cycle-intensive games in dosbox and native windows. It's not quite up to speed for full emulation, but good enough for lots of things.

I also keep a win98 box running, for the handful of games that don't run on WinXP or Win7. I'd love for software emulation to take care of that, too, for all the reasons you say about drivers. I haven't tried in a while, but professional virtual machine products like VirtualPC run the OS great, but not so much with the gaming hardware emulation. I'm curious how GOG.com has gotten some of those games running in modern windows - Lords of Magic is one of the ones I had trouble with that they sell, IIRC.

That's my experience and dreaming, and I'm glad to hear someone else dreaming similar dreams! It also cracks me up to see XT machines with a $1000 asking price on ebay. Happy I've spent a few hundred on my XT hobby over the years, but that seems excessive. On the other hand, if people are paying that, maybe it's time to sell my stuff and exit the hobby? Shit-Eating Grin

Back to dreaming and brainstorming how to solve problems, I agree, it would be great to have "conversion" hardware and software to maintain classic hardware with modern upgrades: PSU (the easiest of them, I think - no change to basic functions, just different connector and power switch), Expansion cards, I/O, etc. It could be as easy as a dos and win98 driver club/company to support certain modern hardware - "As long as you use an ASUS xyzzy + NVIDIA geforceQ we've got dos and win98 directx drivers for you".

I love software emulation, but one of the down sides is that I'm trying to replicate a whole experience, and running the software is only one piece of that. My "experience" improved when I put an older "square" monitor on my modern "classic" gaming pc. This means another way to solve these problems using modern hardware and the software emulation might be to spend the money for "classic hardware" and hardware mockups: it's running Windows 7 and an 8 core modern CPU, but it's in a beige desktop box, you've got a modern usb "old style" clicky keyboard (like this @ ckickykeyboards.com ), maybe a classic style mouse, there are ways to use old joysticks... All that to essentially replicate and emulate the experience, not just the hardware. I found that by doing some of this it suddenly doesn't matter if I'm using software emulation, the experience is much more in line with the nostalgia I'm trying to reach. The problem isn't "real hardware" it's environment/interface. (This is why a mame cabinet is so much more awesome than just running arcade games on the desktop. Some games feel lame on the desktop, but awesome in an upright wooden frame. Go figure.)

All that to say, as we dream this fun dream, you might be able to find or build the hardware bridge between nostalgic interface and modern computers cheaper and faster, and it might meet exactly what you are looking for and missing from pure software emulation. Maybe it isn't the raw original hardware, but the hardware experience and presentation. (I tell you, when playing with old actual hardware, I still hate messing with IRQs, waiting for the thing to boot, and the loud fan. Blech!) Place the monitor on an old computer case, real computer under the desk, "right" keyboard, maybe even somehow make the modern monitor "look" like a classic beige monitor... like a movie, it becomes much easier to suspend disbelief and get into that nostalgic mode! Makes my brain happy.

And ultimately I'm with you, I'd love a single chip- or a single board- computer that was a (selectable?) intel 8086 + sound blaster 16 + solid vga card, and had the ability to have usb devices but present it as classic input to dos. What a great and happy idea. Not sure what I'd pay for it, but boy I'd sure be interested. (Have you seen this book? If it weren't so expensive I'd have gotten a copy just for fun: Build Your Own Microcomputer Based on the Intel 8088)

Keep dreaming! I'm currently trying to figure out how to get an XT keyboard hooked up to a modern computer, or someone who makes the clickykeyboard with an XT key layout. I've dreamed a little about how to output video signal from DosBox to a real CGA or EGA monitor, but that's outside my capacity, I think.
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dosraider
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:15 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Quadko wrote:
....(like this @ ckickykeyboards.com )....

Man do I dislike the modern 'ultra flat' keyboards ..........
Crying

Me has a bad habit of letting my fingertips resting on keys ..... bad idea on the modern ones ............. Laughing

On the other hand, the old mice ... screw them, worthless things.
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Quadko
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:10 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Hear, hear.

Hm, that keyboard link was to wrong company. this is the one I was thinking of. The first is original stock used or new, this one I meant to link acquired the rights to the keyboard (?) and is still manufacturing modern variants.

Yes, I love my (now old) Razor mouse for gaming. I also recently came across a Nexus "silent" mouse I use now at work and really like. Less features than a gaming mouse, but no click-click-click on the mouse buttons.
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486 player
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:48 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Quadko wrote:
the old mice ... screw them, worthless things.


?
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dosraider
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:13 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Those ball things ...... always troubles.

I prefer laser mouse, the kind without 'extra' buttons.
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Rodimus80
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:25 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

40 years from now I'm sure you'll be able to print one out at home.
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