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Need help with setting up DOS machine

 
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malachi151
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:42 am     Post subject: Need help with setting up DOS machine Reply with quote

I'm trying to setup a DOS machine that can be used for programming and gaming. I'm first trying to use what I have on hand. I'm kicking myself for getting rid of my old Pentium machine about 2 years ago now after having not used it for like 15 years. Oh well.

What I have is the following machine:

http://global.shuttle.com/products/productsSpec?productId=474

It's a kind of all in one cube type thing that was really a Windows 98 machine.

The first issue I have is trying to get a driver for the sound card. The manufacturer website only has a Win XP driver currently hosted.

I currently have DOS 7.1 loaded on it.

But that aside I have the following questions:

Is this machine workable as a DOS gaming machine (I'm already running into some problems).

Can the on-board sound card be used for DOS at all, or do I need to install a different sound card? All I can find are Win XP and 95 drivers for the card. But can some generic driver work?

Is Pentium 4 okay, or do I really need Pentium 2 or lower?

Right now my memory looks like the following without me doing anything other than installing 7.1 with defaults:

Conventional: 638K
Upper: 111K
Reserved: 339K
XMS: 1,047

It's been a LONG time since I've done anything with DOS. I used to have well configured machines that I tweaked all on my own with the latest hardware and maximized configurations, but how to do all of that has long left my memory.

The main thing is I do have a Gravis Gamepad and a Joystick for flight sims. I'd like to be able to run some side scrollers, stuff like Mortal Kombat, Baldur's Gate, Settlers, Warcraft, Dark Sun, various Ultimas, Might & Magic, and maybe some flight games like Tie Fighter & Wing Commander, etc.


Also, the real main purpose of the game is C++ programming.

Can I get there with this machine, or do I need to go for something older?


The issues I've had are:
1) No sound as of yet
2) Trying to run the install for Commander Keen 4 fails (but it works on DOS Box)
3) Trying to install Command & Conquer Red Alter aborts without an error message half way through the install.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
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Rwolf
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:59 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

The Pentium 4 CPU is backward compatible with older CPU:s, the only issue is speed that might be to high for some games, so you would perhaps need something like mo'slo for certain titles.

About sound:
ALC chips (with AC97 codecs) don't support plain DOS mode directly, according to Realtek's ALC/AC97 support page, so you will only get sound via Windows, e.g. via DOSbox.

http://www.realtek.com/faqs/faqsView.aspx?Langid=1&PFid=6&Level=3

I have a similar machine, an XPC FB52, (with XP on it, not DOS) and it has a couple of PCI slots, so if your PC have those too, maybe you can add something there, though I don't know what audiocard would work best in DOS for you. (Maybe an SB16 PCI, if you can find one?)
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malachi151
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 10:38 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, that saves me from needing to even try using the current sound card. Yeah, I'll look at a SB16 probably.

Also, I'm running DOS 7.1 right now (just because it as easier to install). Is that a problem or should that be okay? I do wonder if the sound card drivers might work on 7.1 actually, I may try it, but I doubt it.

I can't figure why I'm having some program crash. I'm not sure if its a hardware issue, a DOS 7.1 issue, or simply a DOS configuration issue.
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Rwolf
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:48 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe the installer for DOS needed some extra large environment or more filehandles/buffers than the default settings. If so the manual should tell.

The only issues with modern DOS versions I've had are some obsoleted commands like SUBST that now are missing, and certain batch files not working as they once did.

(Origin's Privateer's batch file adventures, I'm looking at you! These text adventures also require a relatively large environment space - about 1 kB - to run, and DosBox cannot alter the shell environment size, so I'm required to use an old DOS version on an ancient PC to run them.)


Last edited by Rwolf on Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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malachi151
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:32 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

So, the MB only has 1 PCI slot and no ISA slots. So now I'm finding that there are not many PCI sound cards that support DOS.

I can't find some Sound Blaster 16 PCI cards, but I'm reading mixed reviews of their DOS compatibility. The manuals from Creative seem to indicate it's only supported in DOS mode from Windows 95, not actual straight DOS support.

Does anyone know if an SB 16 PCI really words in pure DOS?
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