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EverythingIBM
September 1st, 2010, 02:20 AM
Well during one of my late-night ponderings, I thought it would be "fun" to upgrade my 5150 for actual use. I'm particularly thinking of using it to play that Ultima trilogy mentioned (which is on 5" floppy disks). And maybe windows 3.1 because when I was a kid, I was spoiled with GUIs (windows 95!)... but there were exceptions -- i.e. Ultima 8 Pagan, which refuses to run even in restart in MS DOS mode. But I think I can fix it. It's probably going to be picky like that "Theme Park" game, which frustrated me so much as a little kid trying to get running! I never did...

I checked the motherboard and it says 64kb-256kb, so that means it's a later model, the silver "noisy" PSU gives it away anyways; but that's good, because I need some decent power to run the aforementioned items. I'm almost worrying if it won't be enough, but it should. What I don't get is that the keyboard which I found with it just says "IBM Personal Computer", it doesn't say XT on it, meaning it's an earlier one... maybe they had more [earlier] 5150s that they threw out: I never got any keyboards with the 5160s, which is too bad. So obviously this is just a little fragment of what my school once had. 2010 is rather late for them to be getting rid of it now, but anyways...

These weird numbers were also printed on the motherboard:
6449018 XM
6135712
Not sure if it means anything significant...

Okay here's the items on the list which I want to know are feasible (as I don't possess any, it'll be my first venture into using this stuff):
*Windows 3.1 floppy disks (5" ones, 3" would be a bonus too for other computers: I've seen MS DOS bundles that had both selling new for fairly reasonable amounts).
*co-processor, mine doesn't have one installed, it would be good to have one of those.
*serial mouse & serial ISA card -- what's windows without a mouse!
*extra RAM? I don't really know how the RAM works on those things, I think mine only has 64kb at the moment.

Now the floppy disk controller ISA card (you know where the ribbon plugs in) was removed from my 5150: I think the 5160s may have some. If not, that'll have to be added to the list. ALSO, it does not have a serial port, the only thing it has installed is a lone gigantic colour card with RCA that I use for the TV: I don't have a 9-pin CGA CRT. I'd be deathly afraid to use it due to colour burn anyways: was it because they were digital instead of analog?

Alright that's it I think...

tezza
September 1st, 2010, 03:40 AM
Hi,

Your system is very limited. Windows 3.1? No, it won't be able to do it. Not enough RAM or speed. You're limited to early PC-DOS versions (like PC-DOS 2.0 although up to 3.3 should be ok)

There may be some good CGA games you could get hold of. Text based adventure games would be ok too. Mind you I'm not sure of the memory requirements for graphic CGA games. if you have only 64K, then that's hardly enough to do anything much. Even running PC-DOS 3.3 might be a struggle. You should be able to boost it up to 256K if you fill the empty banks with RAM chips. More than that, you'll need a RAM card.

Tez

EverythingIBM
September 1st, 2010, 03:55 AM
Hi,

Your system is very limited. Windows 3.1? No, it won't be able to do it. Not enough RAM or speed. You're limited to early PC-DOS versions (like PC-DOS 2.0 although up to 3.3 should be ok)

There may be some good CGA games you could get hold of. Text based adventure games would be ok too. Mind you I'm not sure of the memory requirements for graphic CGA games. if you have only 64K, then that's hardly enough to do anything much. Even running PC-DOS 3.3 might be a struggle. You should be able to boost it up to 256K if you fill the empty banks with RAM chips. More than that, you'll need a RAM card.

Tez

Yes Ultima is a CGA game.
Yes I have to upgrade the RAM (I hope with much as possible, if it's possible).

If the RAM doesn't become an issue anymore, I'm sure 4 Mhz could boot windows 3.1, it would be slow as mud, but then I could always put it on a 5160.
Or, I could always try Windows 2.0.

per
September 1st, 2010, 04:29 AM
Yes Ultima is a CGA game.
Yes I have to upgrade the RAM (I hope with much as possible, if it's possible).

If the RAM doesn't become an issue anymore, I'm sure 4 Mhz could boot windows 3.1, it would be slow as mud, but then I could always put it on a 5160.
Or, I could always try Windows 2.0.

The problem with Windoes 3.1 is that it uses 386-code, which is incompatible with the 8088 CPU used in the PC and XT. It's like trying to run a 64-bit version of windows on a 32-bit processor today; it just don't work. Windows 3.0 was the last version to support the 8088/8086, but I guess it would be rather slow in 4.77MHz.

The numbers on your board is just the internal IBM produict-number of the PCB itself, and the PCB with components installed. Really nothing to care about.

The graphics card is most broblably a CGA. Any IBM 5153/5154 CGA/EGA monitor (or compatible) will work, but just be aware that those has a tendency to break durning shipment (unless it has been packaged extrememly well). You'll problably be best of using it with a TV-set.

Those machines can actually run DOS 5.0, but it's not recomended unless you really need it*, and have maximized the RAM to 640KB. If you don't have any hard drives of more than 32MB connected, IBM PC-DOS 3.3 is the best option (as stated by tezza).

If you got a generic 16-bit multicard with a floppydisk interface on it, you can most likely just put it into the XT and use the floppy part of it. Then attach a 3.5" HD drive to it. Make a 720KB formated boot disk with DOS 3.3 on a more recent machine, and apply the 2M-XBIOS.EXE program to the disk while adding it to the first line of the config.sys file (more info on how to do this can be found in the 2M package, which is freeware and availble online). Use this disk to boot, and then you will be able to use 1.44MB disks with the system.

*: I use the XT-IDE card in one of my XTs, and I have to use DOS 5.0 in order to best utilize the capacity of the drive I have connected to it.

EverythingIBM
September 1st, 2010, 04:47 AM
The problem with Windoes 3.1 is that it uses 386-code, which is incompatible with the 8088 CPU used in the PC and XT. It's like trying to run a 64-bit version of windows on a 32-bit processor today; it just don't work. Windows 3.0 was the last version to support the 8088/8086, but I guess it would be rather slow in 4.77MHz.

The numbers on your board is just the internal IBM produict-number of the PCB itself, and the PCB with components installed. Really nothing to care about.

The graphics card is most broblably a CGA. Any IBM 5153/5154 CGA/EGA monitor (or compatible) will work, but just be aware that those has a tendency to break durning shipment (unless it has been packaged extrememly well). You'll problably be best of using it with a TV-set.

Those machines can actually run DOS 5.0, but it's not recomended unless you really need it*, and have maximized the RAM to 640KB. If you don't have any hard drives of more than 32MB connected, IBM PC-DOS 3.3 is the best option (as stated by tezza).

If you got a generic 16-bit multicard with a floppydisk interface on it, you can most likely just put it into the XT and use the floppy part of it. Then attach a 3.5" HD drive to it. Make a 720KB formated boot disk with DOS 3.3 on a more recent machine, and apply the 2M-XBIOS.EXE program to the disk while adding it to the first line of the config.sys file (more info on how to do this can be found in the 2M package, which is freeware and availble online). Use this disk to boot, and then you will be able to use 1.44MB disks with the system.

*: I use the XT-IDE card in one of my XTs, and I have to use DOS 5.0 in order to best utilize the capacity of the drive I have connected to it.

I was actually wondering about the whole 8/16 bit conflict -- I was hoping it wouldn't conflict... guess it did.
It goes both ways, sometimes you can't run x86 things on 64 bit OSes. Which is annoying at best.

Yes the graphics card is CGA.

Okay I opened both of the 5160s up and did some card swaps (the 5150 now has a floppy controller, and parallel/serial card thing).

One thing that caught my eye was the processors...
The 5150 and one of the 5160s has both the same AMD 1982 processor, whereas the other 5160 has an intel one. Although that could just be manufacturing variants as IBM bought the rights from intel to make some, right?

About the memory, is it possible to take some out of the 5160s and put it in the 5150? I don't know how to pop out those little chips though... and I'm not sure which ones to pull out :p


Okay now to boot the 5150 up and see if the floppy controller and all that works.... and also put the 5160s back in my closet (the 5160s are 256-640KB, and the system board is brown: could just be manufacturing variance yet again).

EverythingIBM
September 1st, 2010, 05:08 AM
Update: floppy drives work (well at least one of them). It actually turned on and started grunting. YAY! The sound of success: "GRRRRR GRRR GRRRRRR".
Although I may have to configure them, but whatever, I'm still an amateur with the 5150, it will come with time. I want to have some fun now doing some more experiments.

I've got 62940 byes free!! wow! I better not use that massive amount up too hastily.

Oh and the PSU actually is quite loud without the top case on. An IntelliStation wannabe.

per
September 1st, 2010, 05:18 AM
I was actually wondering about the whole 8/16 bit conflict -- I was hoping it wouldn't conflict... guess it did.
It goes both ways, sometimes you can't run x86 things on 64 bit OSes. Which is annoying at best.

Yes the graphics card is CGA.

Okay I opened both of the 5160s up and did some card swaps (the 5150 now has a floppy controller, and parallel/serial card thing).

One thing that caught my eye was the processors...
The 5150 and one of the 5160s has both the same AMD 1982 processor, whereas the other 5160 has an intel one. Although that could just be manufacturing variants as IBM bought the rights from intel to make some, right?

About the memory, is it possible to take some out of the 5160s and put it in the 5150? I don't know how to pop out those little chips though... and I'm not sure which ones to pull out :p


Okay now to boot the 5150 up and see if the floppy controller and all that works.... and also put the 5160s back in my closet (the 5160s are 256-640KB, and the system board is brown: could just be manufacturing variance yet again).

It's not really a 8/16 bit conflict thing. Its all about the CPU. The 286 added some few instructions for performance reasons, while the 386 added a whole load of new instructions since it's a 32-bit CPU, where all of the previous 8086/8088/186/188/286 CPUs are only 16-bit.

All 32-bit intel-CPUs are backwards-compatible with the older 16-bit CPUs when it comes to program code, so running 16-bit apps on a 32-bit CPU is not an issue at all. Recent versions of Windows, on the other hand, just emulates a 486 in realmode for DOS applcations due to various reasons regarding security/etc...

About the memory in the XT, some of the chips are 256Kb while the rest are 64Kb. If all the banks are filled, it has 640KB of RAM. I would say that you just kept the RAM in the XT since the 5150 problably has all four banks filled with 64Kb chips already (The 5150 motherboard doesn't support 256Kb chips). You would problably get yourself a RAM-expansion card, like the AST SixPackPlus, and put that in the 5150. Just remember that if you do, you will have to alter the switch settings on the motherboard if you do this.

The message you get with 62940 bytes free RAM is because Casette BASIC only uses the fist segment, even if you had more RAM installed.

commodorejohn
September 1st, 2010, 05:52 AM
You're limited to early PC-DOS versions (like PC-DOS 2.0 although up to 3.3 should be ok)
I've actually run DOS 5.0 on a 5150 with no performance issues, myself. As far as Windows goes, it's technically possible to run up to Windows 3.0 on an 8086 machine, but (A) it sounds like there's very little software that would run on real-mode Windows, and (B) it's not likely to be fast enough to be worth the trouble. (And BTW, pre-3.0 versions of Windows are extremely sub-par.) If you just want a GUI, you might consider one of the graphical shells for DOS - I understand GEM's still got a following, though you'll want to find one of the old versions rather than the newer, heavy-duty remake.

As far as hardware goes, I've got a combination CGA/Hercules card I'm not using, if you want it.

Dave Farquhar
September 1st, 2010, 05:59 AM
One thing that caught my eye was the processors...
The 5150 and one of the 5160s has both the same AMD 1982 processor, whereas the other 5160 has an intel one. Although that could just be manufacturing variants as IBM bought the rights from intel to make some, right?

IBM's policy was that it had to have two sources for any part. So Intel licensed AMD (among others) to make 8088/8086/80286 CPUs and supporting chips. IBM also acquired a license, though I don't know at what point IBM started using the CPUs it made in-house. That may have been more common in the PS/2 days.

My 5160 motherboard has more AMD-manufactured chips on it than Intel. It freaks people out sometimes when I show them Intel and AMD chips working together on the same board.

EverythingIBM
September 1st, 2010, 05:59 AM
It's not really a 8/16 bit conflict thing. Its all about the CPU. The 286 added some few instructions for performance reasons, while the 386 added a whole load of new instructions since it's a 32-bit CPU, where all of the previous 8086/8088/186/188/286 CPUs are only 16-bit.

All 32-bit intel-CPUs are backwards-compatible with the older 16-bit CPUs when it comes to program code, so running 16-bit apps on a 32-bit CPU is not an issue at all. Recent versions of Windows, on the other hand, just emulates a 486 in realmode for DOS applcations due to various reasons regarding security/etc...

About the memory in the XT, some of the chips are 256Kb while the rest are 64Kb. If all the banks are filled, it has 640KB of RAM. I would say that you just kept the RAM in the XT since the 5150 problably has all four banks filled with 64Kb chips already (The 5150 motherboard doesn't support 256Kb chips). You would problably get yourself a RAM-expansion card, like the AST SixPackPlus, and put that in the 5150. Just remember that if you do, you will have to alter the switch settings on the motherboard if you do this.

The message you get with 62940 bytes free RAM is because Casette BASIC only uses the fist segment, even if you had more RAM installed.

Well I put AD&D in Floppy Drive A:\ I presume (the one that makes the noise during bootup. But it doesn't do anything.
When I hit F3 and then type "A", there is just an old click noise.

So I'm guessing I need a DOS disk hey?


I've actually run DOS 5.0 on a 5150 with no performance issues, myself. As far as Windows goes, it's technically possible to run up to Windows 3.0 on an 8086 machine, but (A) it sounds like there's very little software that would run on real-mode Windows, and (B) it's not likely to be fast enough to be worth the trouble. (And BTW, pre-3.0 versions of Windows are extremely sub-par.) If you just want a GUI, you might consider one of the graphical shells for DOS - I understand GEM's still got a following, though you'll want to find one of the old versions rather than the newer, heavy-duty remake.

As far as hardware goes, I've got a combination CGA/Hercules card I'm not using, if you want it.

I was considering getting an 8-bit VGA card actually. My 5150 already has a CGA card installed.

EDIT:
As for a GUI DOS thing, there was norton explorer... but if I have to use the command line it won't bother me. That stuff is very simple, it would have been fun just to get windows to run.

per
September 1st, 2010, 06:14 AM
Well I put AD&D in Floppy Drive A:\ I presume (the one that makes the noise during bootup. But it doesn't do anything.
When I hit F3 and then type "A", there is just an old click noise.

So I'm guessing I need a DOS disk hey?



I was considering getting an 8-bit VGA card actually. My 5150 already has a CGA card installed.

EDIT:
As for a GUI DOS thing, there was norton explorer... but if I have to use the command line it won't bother me. That stuff is very simple, it would have been fun just to get windows to run.

You need a disk you can boot. That is, it must contian a boot sector that does something else than running a small program stating that the disk is not bootable.

Many 16-bit VGA cards will work in an IBM 5150/5160 too. However, you will need to alter the switches on the motherboard if you decide to change the video card.

EverythingIBM
September 1st, 2010, 06:34 AM
You need a disk you can boot. That is, it must contian a boot sector that does something else than a small program stating that the disk is not bootable.

Many 16-bit VGA cards will work in an IBM 5150/5160 too. However, you will need to alter the switches on the motherboard if you decide to change the video card.

It's very temperamental running a 16-bit VGA on a 5150/60.

I never got any message saying it was or wasn't bootable, I just go to IBM BASIC all the time.

HOWEVER, I took the disk out and laughed "1.2 MB HIGH DENSITY". That's probably the culprit right there... I'll try finding one that is low density.

EverythingIBM
September 1st, 2010, 06:38 AM
UPDATE:
Okay I put Ultima V in. Now it did detect it but says:
Non-System disk or disk error
Replace and strike any key when ready

So I'm assuming I still need a DOS disk?

per
September 1st, 2010, 06:41 AM
It's very temperamental running a 16-bit VGA on a 5150/60.

But it's cheaper (8-bit VGA cards are very expensive nowdays), and the 16-bit cards has more VRAM too. It doesn't matter anyways since the performance is about the same as with the 8-bit cards.

See my previous post about boot disks.

commodorejohn
September 1st, 2010, 07:03 AM
UPDATE:
Okay I put Ultima V in. Now it did detect it but says:
Non-System disk or disk error
Replace and strike any key when ready

So I'm assuming I still need a DOS disk?
Yup. Some really old-school PC games will bypass DOS altogether and boot directly off the game disk, but if you get the "Non-System disk or disk error" message, that's the standard DOS-format boot-sector telling you it can't find the minimal boot files (COMMAND.COM, MSDOS.SYS, and an I/O driver, probable IBMIO.SYS with that vintage.)

glitch
September 1st, 2010, 07:05 AM
Definitely get an AST SixPakPlus or SixPakPremium -- extra RAM, clock/calendar, parallel, serial, and game all on one card. The Premium has more RAM that can be used as EMS, but both of them allow you to increase the 5150's RAM to 640K. If you don't have an original monitor you want to use with the machine anyway, go ahead and find a VGA card for it. I find I use my XT a /lot/ more when I can just plug it into the VGA input on my LCD panel, rather than digging out its non-IBM CGA monitor!

EverythingIBM
September 1st, 2010, 07:11 AM
But it's cheaper (8-bit VGA cards are very expensive nowdays), and the 16-bit cards has more VRAM too. It doesn't matter anyways since the performance is about the same as with the 8-bit cards.

See my previous post about boot disks.

Oh I've seen some 8-bit VGA cards for a few dollars even. Some people just want to get rid of that old stuff. Plus many of them are listed improperly.


Yup. Some really old-school PC games will bypass DOS altogether and boot directly off the game disk, but if you get the "Non-System disk or disk error" message, that's the standard DOS-format boot-sector telling you it can't find the minimal boot files (COMMAND.COM, MSDOS.SYS, and an I/O driver, probable IBMIO.SYS with that vintage.)

Thanks for clearing that up, yeah so I do need a DOS boot disk. I need to get some low-density 5" disks and write some games to them... and maybe DOS while I'm at it lol. The whole low-density high-density thing is rather bothersome though...

EverythingIBM
September 1st, 2010, 07:15 AM
Definitely get an AST SixPakPlus or SixPakPremium -- extra RAM, clock/calendar, parallel, serial, and game all on one card. The Premium has more RAM that can be used as EMS, but both of them allow you to increase the 5150's RAM to 640K. If you don't have an original monitor you want to use with the machine anyway, go ahead and find a VGA card for it. I find I use my XT a /lot/ more when I can just plug it into the VGA input on my LCD panel, rather than digging out its non-IBM CGA monitor!

Thanks for bringing that up -- this guy is selling the plus model:
http://cgi.ebay.com.au/AST-SixPakPlus-Multifunction-Card-IBM-PC-XT-Long-/390104929504
I think the premium one would be overkill and rather elusive to get.

I did have some kind of weird parallel/serial/other weird port card that also had a little CMOS battery attached to itself. But it either was a little too tall, or didn't fit in properly enough: so it was pushing the top of the case up (and I didn't like that because it was too snug of a fit).

per
September 1st, 2010, 07:30 AM
Thanks for bringing that up -- this guy is selling the plus model:
http://cgi.ebay.com.au/AST-SixPakPlus-Multifunction-Card-IBM-PC-XT-Long-/390104929504
I think the premium one would be overkill and rather elusive to get.

I did have some kind of weird parallel/serial/other weird port card that also had a little CMOS battery attached to itself. But it either was a little too tall, or didn't fit in properly enough: so it was pushing the top of the case up (and I didn't like that because it was too snug of a fit).

Now, $50 for such a card may be a little much in my opptinion, but that's up to you to decide in this case.

I suggest that you should read up on information about therse machines, and try to understand how they work. In addition to gaining information about how a PC works, you will also be better able to identify and solve problems. The first thing you should check is problably what the switches on the motherboard represent, since you plan to alter the configuration of cards/RAM in the 5150.

strollin
September 2nd, 2010, 03:16 PM
One thing you can do to "beef" up your 5150 is to replace the 8088 CPU with an NEC V20. The V20 is a clone of the 8088 and is slightly more efficient so it runs a few % faster, 10-12% or so. Don't know of a source for them off hand.

Chuck(G)
September 2nd, 2010, 03:33 PM
One thing you can do to "beef" up your 5150 is to replace the 8088 CPU with an NEC V20. The V20 is a clone of the 8088 and is slightly more efficient so it runs a few % faster, 10-12% or so. Don't know of a source for them off hand.

You're lucky if you see 10% on a typical mix; subjectively it's usually barely noticeable. However, you can run some 286-only programs using it as it supports the non-privileged 80286 instructions.

At any rate Jameco has 'em for $10 (http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&productId=34358&catalogId=10001&freeText=NEC+CPU&app.products.maxperpage=15&storeId=10001&search_type=jamecoall&ddkey=http:StoreCatalogDrillDownView).

commodorejohn
September 2nd, 2010, 03:37 PM
One thing you can do to "beef" up your 5150 is to replace the 8088 CPU with an NEC V20. The V20 is a clone of the 8088 and is slightly more efficient so it runs a few % faster, 10-12% or so. Don't know of a source for them off hand.
I had a quick look, and there's 4 of them on eBay (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220519556227&rvr_id=133818133329&crlp=1_263602_263622&UA=WXF%3F&GUID=c72db73d1290a06c1c47c1c7ff80d8f7&itemid=220519556227&ff4=263602_263622) for $8 apiece + S/H. I double-checked the part number, and they're just plain old V20s, no microcontroller components or anything.


However, you can run some 286-only programs using it as it supports the non-privileged 80286 instructions.
Not to mention that, from the Wikipedia article, the V20 can emulate the Intel 8080, and apparently someone put together a CP/M emulator for DOS based on that feature.

Chuck(G)
September 2nd, 2010, 04:01 PM
Not to mention that, from the Wikipedia article, the V20 can emulate the Intel 8080, and apparently someone put together a CP/M emulator for DOS based on that feature.

I wonder who that was? :wink:

commodorejohn
September 2nd, 2010, 04:22 PM
I wonder who that was? :wink:
Do tell? ;)

billdeg
September 2nd, 2010, 05:02 PM
I think you're missing the point. Use and configure the pc for what it is. Explore the software of the era, the good studf and the failed off-shoots. It will give you a better perspective. That's my opinion,but regardless if you agree I hope it works out for you.

strollin
September 2nd, 2010, 05:38 PM
You're lucky if you see 10% on a typical mix; subjectively it's usually barely noticeable. However, you can run some 286-only programs using it as it supports the non-privileged 80286 instructions.

At any rate Jameco has 'em for $10 (http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&productId=34358&catalogId=10001&freeText=NEC+CPU&app.products.maxperpage=15&storeId=10001&search_type=jamecoall&ddkey=http:StoreCatalogDrillDownView).
Small boost for sure, but for my purposes, the V20 is head and shoulders more noticeable boost than a math co-processor. Have never seen any difference between my machines that do and do not have a math co-processor.

Ole Juul
September 2nd, 2010, 06:55 PM
I think you're missing the point. Use and configure the pc for what it is. Explore the software of the era, the good studf and the failed off-shoots. It will give you a better perspective. That's my opinion,but regardless if you agree I hope it works out for you.

Right on Bill. Nowadays we can get all the fancy chips and cards that weren't affordable back then. Putting it all together in one box for minimal performance boost seems to me as not very "vintage" and certainly not historically correct. Regardless, I can understand why someone would want to play with the stuff from back then. :)

Chuck(G)
September 2nd, 2010, 07:30 PM
Agreed, Ole and Bill. I gave up mentioning the V20 8080 emulation when it became clear that a 486 running software emulation was a lot faster. At the time, it was kind of cool, but that was life at 4.77Mhz. It's a little sobering to consider that speeds are edging toward 4.77GHz on modern systems--three orders of magnitude.

Also consider that, for the first couple of years until third-party vendors showed up, almost all 5150s were floppy-only systems.

EverythingIBM
September 2nd, 2010, 08:09 PM
Agreed, Ole and Bill. I gave up mentioning the V20 8080 emulation when it became clear that a 486 running software emulation was a lot faster. At the time, it was kind of cool, but that was life at 4.77Mhz. It's a little sobering to consider that speeds are edging toward 4.77GHz on modern systems--three orders of magnitude.

Also consider that, for the first couple of years until third-party vendors showed up, almost all 5150s were floppy-only systems.

For compatibility and history purposes, I'm going to leave the 8088 in there. The NEC thing might not run as expected... and I don't really like NEC that much anyhow.

And the coprocessors supported better floatpoint operations did they not? They would improve gaming as most games rely on floating point stuff.

But all in all, performance variances would be so little in regards to the processor. Maybe if you were able to get 10 Mhz, then there would be a huge difference. But then it wouldn't be a 5150.

Chuck(G)
September 2nd, 2010, 08:34 PM
I think that you'll find that most 5150-era games didn't use the 8087 NDP. The first project I remember working that incorporated NDP support was a spreadsheet package.

commodorejohn
September 2nd, 2010, 08:34 PM
And the coprocessors supported better floatpoint operations did they not? They would improve gaming as most games rely on floating point stuff.
That largely depends on the game in question. Some games would definitely benefit from an 8087; I expect flight simulators or other detail-oriented 3D titles would take advantage of it. A lot of games, though, either don't use floating-point operations much, or in the case of some games (Wolfenstein, for example, I think) were structured so as to avoid them altogether because of their slowness. Still, it wouldn't hurt to have one.

EverythingIBM
September 2nd, 2010, 09:54 PM
That largely depends on the game in question. Some games would definitely benefit from an 8087; I expect flight simulators or other detail-oriented 3D titles would take advantage of it. A lot of games, though, either don't use floating-point operations much, or in the case of some games (Wolfenstein, for example, I think) were structured so as to avoid them altogether because of their slowness. Still, it wouldn't hurt to have one.

I do know that John Carmack's "Quake" used floatpoint operations extensively: one reason why Pentiums ran it fast, whereas integer-geared processors like Cyrix's had horrible performance.

Unknown_K
September 2nd, 2010, 10:26 PM
Cyrix had some of the best/fastest 387 chips out there but few people bothered to buy them. By the time the FPU mattered Cyrix had not done much R&D to improve theirs while Intel did (with the Pentium) and then Quake came out actually using it in a very popular machine selling game. Timing is everything with computer hardware.

I love collecting vintage high end hardware to try them out, but you do find that very little of the software made during the era actually used that hardware outside of special hard to find custom packages. And while you might find that hardware, the software and drivers needed can be impossible to find.

Anonymous Coward
September 3rd, 2010, 04:46 PM
And while you might find that hardware, the software and drivers needed can be impossible to find.

Yeah, tell me about it. I have this nice MPEG2 encoder/decoder for EISA bus, and it's unlikely I'll ever find the software/drivers for it.

Unknown_K
September 3rd, 2010, 08:09 PM
Don't give up, I have found stuff years after I got the hardware in odd places.

pearce_jj
September 6th, 2010, 12:05 PM
Sorry skipped over a lot of this thread, but I do remember running Windows 3.0 on an 8086 (Tandy 1000SL specifically) with a hard disk and 576KB RAM. Which was horrid - really, completely unusable. And it took up almost the entire disk. The only purpose it would serve would be Solitaire basically.

Tandy's DeskMate might be worth a look though.

james1095
September 8th, 2010, 03:54 PM
I've actually run DOS 5.0 on a 5150 with no performance issues, myself. As far as Windows goes, it's technically possible to run up to Windows 3.0 on an 8086 machine, but (A) it sounds like there's very little software that would run on real-mode Windows, and (B) it's not likely to be fast enough to be worth the trouble. (And BTW, pre-3.0 versions of Windows are extremely sub-par.) If you just want a GUI, you might consider one of the graphical shells for DOS - I understand GEM's still got a following, though you'll want to find one of the old versions rather than the newer, heavy-duty remake.

As far as hardware goes, I've got a combination CGA/Hercules card I'm not using, if you want it.



DOS 6 works fine, I used it for years on a 5150 back in the day. Heck DOS 7 will work, but I'm not sure there's any point aside from saying you did it.

james1095
September 8th, 2010, 03:57 PM
I do know that John Carmack's "Quake" used floatpoint operations extensively: one reason why Pentiums ran it fast, whereas integer-geared processors like Cyrix's had horrible performance.


I'm not aware of any 8088 games that make use of a math coprocessor. The only apps that used that sort of thing were spreadsheets and CAD software. Those are some of the earliest uses of expanded memory and fancy graphics cards as well.

Carmack's games in the 486-Pentium era are the first I know of to make use of it.

tezza
September 17th, 2010, 02:17 AM
yes,I've actually run DOS 5.0 on a 5150 with no performance issues too

Yes, but with how much RAM. The original poster thought he had 64k in his machine? That's not a lot.

Tez

commodorejohn
September 17th, 2010, 05:05 AM
True. I believe mine was a 256KB machine.

james1095
September 17th, 2010, 12:51 PM
I love collecting vintage high end hardware to try them out, but you do find that very little of the software made during the era actually used that hardware outside of special hard to find custom packages. And while you might find that hardware, the software and drivers needed can be impossible to find.



I've found the same thing. I have a 3Demon and another high end full-length PCI graphics card that are bristling with expensive looking custom chips and RAM. No idea what actually supports them though, they're probably late 90s vintage and as I recall, they ran about $4K at the time.