The Perfect DOSgaming Machine?

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Dogbreath
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The Perfect DOSgaming Machine?

Post by Dogbreath »

Today I had an interesting (if not somewhat insane and slightly stupid) idea: build a computer geared exclusively towards running DOS games. What I need to know is what is the ideal hardware (and software) for maximum compatibility? And where can I buy the parts in question?

Chances are this computer won't exist anywhere outside of my head (though I may build it this summer if I have any money left over from my car payments) but I still think it'd be fun to figure out what the ultimate DOS computer is-if only for the sake of someone else less lazy than I actually building it. :)
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Post by Unknown_K »

I went down this road before and decided that there isn't one computer setup to play all the dos games. You have to remember the DOS game era stretched from the mid 80's all the way to the mid 90's and included many different processors, video cards, sound cards, etc.

So I ended up with a Tandy 1000 HX for the old CGA and Tandy games
A 386/40 for middle of the road DOS games, and a p200 for later era games. There are quite a few video and sound cards in the mix also.

You will find timing errors running real old games on newer machines (and the utils to fix this realy dont work), and without the correct soundcards the games seem flat to me.
Interon

Post by Interon »

How about somewhere between a 386 DX and a 486 SX. RAM: no limit, minimum 2 MB.

Or perhaps a 486 DX2/50 with lots of RAM.

Think somewhere along those lines. Anything above a Pentium 100 is generally too fast. Also try to avoid AMD/clones and stick with Intel CPUs.

Or a 486 DX4/100 with a dandy turbo button.

Also my Pentium mobo has an option to turn off the cache. That allows it to run lots of old games.
Robot_Maker

Post by Robot_Maker »

I used to use a CX586 processor on an IBM Aptiva with 16MB ram, and that ran pretty much any dos game I threw at it, if this helps at all.

Been meaning to ask this for ages: What did the turbo button on 486 machines actually do?
Guest

Post by Guest »

AFAIK, the turbo button made the computer run at about half-speed.
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Post by Kazer0 »

No, it made it run at full speed when pressed, 1/2 without it. Or, it might ave overclocked.
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Post by 486 player »

NO Windows, NO DOSBox, DOS!
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Post by dr_st »

A P200.
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Post by Jeff »

Any computer capable of running Windows 95 (but running dos) should be pretty good.

My Dos computer is a old Compaq 120MH Pentium, 16MB Ram, and 1.51GB HD running Dr. Dos 7.03. That's sufficient enough to run any Dos game that was made in the mid to late 80s and up. If anything, it needs more memory and hard drive space.
<A href = "http://dosstuff.cjb.net" >Free Dos Stuff</a>
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Post by Unknown_K »

Jeff wrote:Any computer capable of running Windows 95 (but running dos) should be pretty good.

My Dos computer is a old Compaq 120MH Pentium, 16MB Ram, and 1.51GB HD running Dr. Dos 7.03. That's sufficient enough to run any Dos game that was made in the mid to late 80s and up. If anything, it needs more memory and hard drive space.
One machine will only satisfy a narrow range of DOS games. Speed can too slow for last generation games (Quake 1) or too fast for some old games (causing crashes). Each era has specific sets of hardware designed for those games (sound and video cards) to get the best experience out of them.
Guest

Post by Guest »

Kazer0 wrote:No, it made it run at full speed when pressed, 1/2 without it. Or, it might ave overclocked.
Oops, scrambled logic on my part.

My train of thought was focused on that the turbo button is on by default.
hACman

Post by hACman »

I like a computer with a voodoo 1 or 2 card and a Soundblaster AWE 64.(the last soundblaster card with Hardware sb16 support)
With at least 64MB Memmory. (dos can't manage more)
And then a mainbord the voodoo card works on.(not to new)
I am building one now. =)
sirving

experaince from he who still has his original dos machines

Post by sirving »

My experiance of the best dos machine would be

Asus motherboard
Pentium 133 or 200
Sound Blaster 16
96 megs ram(i had my system running that much with dos)
Ati mach 64 video card (more mem the better, 4megs i think was most you could get)
harddrive don't much matter
12x cdrom fast but not to fast

Also for those looking to build a dos machine, freedos is a great option to look at. Open source and free. Also for those looking for parts.
www.vfxweb.com
Lostuser

Post by Lostuser »

There are some good slowdown programs out there.

I've used slowdown.com..even in windows it works well. You just have to tinker with it to see its effects.
Guest

hacking the gibson

Post by Guest »

I'm running a 486dx2 66 with 8 megs ram, soundblaster 16, 4x cd drive, and a nice old display adapter, capable of up to 1024x786x24 bit colour.

I call it, the gibson.

the system was built in 94ish, maybe 95

anyways, it runs all the dos games I could ever want, perfectly. Not only that, but because of some of the software soundblaster packaged with the card, I can listen to loud german heavy metal while killing nazi's in wolfenstein 3d.

I want to add another 8 megs ram, which I might have in another computer kicking around.

Anyways, I have a question.

Is it possible to ghetto-rig windows 95 on top of dos 6? or at least to make a frankendos by copying over some of the utilities offered in 6 that were dropped in 7?

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Post by Interon 2.0 »

http://ansis.folklora.lv/dosver/dosvr251.zip

Try that to prevent the "Incorrect DOS version" error message when transferring DOS 6 files to a Windows 9x system.
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Post by dokzero5 »

The machine i build for dos games is a Pentium 200 MMX (slow enough to scale down and fast enough to play later DOS games) with a S3 Vision 864 card (2 mb) and a old SoundBlaster 16 with a Yamaha DB50-XG daughterbord for the wavetable connector (that's a must have with games with good midi music).
I love 320x200!
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Post by kreats »

I went for an amd 5x86 133 - dunno why, it just seemed like the best of the 486 cpus

Forget the mobo chipset - but I made sure it supported the WB caching in the AMD cpu

32Mb RAM - don't need any more and 64Mb counts too slowly

Matrox Millenium II 4Mb for nice picture quality (and VESA support) .. though I think the ET6100 is probably the best choice (for compatibility) if you can find one

Pure3d 3dfx card - using this for descent II atm

SCSI cdrom, though I'm considering going back to IDE as the drive I have spins a little loudly

SB16, GuS, Yamaha DB50XG

Dodgy ol 14" monitor - I think one of the nicer sony 15" is what I'm aiming for though

Moslo works ok if I need to slow it down.. works fairly well in most instances.
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Post by dokzero5 »

I'm also a lucky owner of the DB50XG. Soundblaster 16 + DB50XG board = perfect. Together with the SuperWave32 probably the best midi you can get. Damn, Doom sounds soooo good with that card. Don't have a GUS though, probably should get one for those good ol' Scream/Fast tracker days, and always nice to have a little IRQ/DMA solving challenge :-)

W
I love 320x200!
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Post by GameMaster.EXE »

IBM or Microsoft should release a special version of dos that is designed for gaming only. Maybe they would have if the 90's had lasted longer. The era of dos games seems to be coming to a close. I should have expected this from Microsoft. Leaving dos, their first creation, behind in the dirt and leading Windows on a rampage through the computer industry and Macintosh, out of breath, trying to catch up.
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