View Full Version : Tel Me What You Use

August 1st, 2014, 09:37 AM
Im just interested what you guys doing with your systems :)

1: What single 8088 system do you mainly use daily?

2: What hardware does it have?

3: What do you mainly use it for?

4: What softwares do you use and to do what?

5: Would you consider to only use that 8088 and put the modern one away? (yes/no)

6: why?

7: What do you think the future is for these old systems?

August 1st, 2014, 04:37 PM
1, 2, 3, 4:
Hi, I don't use one daily as its somewhat underpowered, its currently in pieces anyway, so i couldn't even if I wanted. Its a basic IBM XT with dos2, no special hardware. At one point i used a Tandon XT for everything but that was long ago. The biggest use i have for it is running old software and games, but mainly just playing around with it. I currently want to explore ASM programing so this will be its main use for a while.

5: No

6: why?
If nothing else the 10MB HDD is going to forget something. I cant even cope using just one modern computer, just the 8088 impossible!, I could use it as a terminal/telnet/ssh client all day though. Programming with it, easy. I know you can browse the net on an 8088 but this is arguably using at least two computers. Word processing probably wouldn't be any less efficient that using a modern computer, the slowest thing there is me, trying to thing what to write.

7: What do you think the future is for these old systems?

Those caps worry me, I had one that made a little fire until I blew it out, computer ran fine. So even using it all day as a terminal is not necessarily a great idea. But leaving that aside, a terminal is about the only thing i can see it being used for, other than games, etc.

I've just realized, I'm slower than an 5Mhz 8088!

August 1st, 2014, 07:37 PM
1 - not sure about daily, but my pet favourite is my Magnum XT (I have about 14 machines permanently setup - but this is the one I usually go to if I need an XT, most common to power up is my Wang PC-240 286)
2 - V20 @ 8Mhz (replaces the 8088-2), 1024KB EMS, 640KB base, Sound Blaster 2.0, Novel NE1000 (connects to my NWLite network), Winchester MFM 20Mb, Mouse card - fully maxed out with 8 x 8bit cards.
3 - my amusement, making floppy disk images
4 - ImageDisk for disk imaging, rawrite for writing floppy disk images I've downloaded, Direct Access 5.1 for my menu systems, XtreeGold for file management. NWLite for network access - can run programs off my server. If I feel like doing something productive - Producity package: PFS: First Choice, Desktop Publishing: PFS: First Publisher.
5 - No
6 - Single tasking, most applications are outdated, and at sub 10Mhz you don't nearly have enough power to do modern tasks. I like watching YouTube, browsing many forums and shopping on sites which use modern web standards (often which use JavaScript for fancy layouts), and viewing my emails in HTML format. I also like being able to switch between without waiting.
7 - Preservation - keeping them alive as living history - they changed the way we live. For the most part I see the future involving more oscilliscopes and logic analysers, replacement boards for those who don't wish to repair, and possibly the original drives slowly disappearing.

August 1st, 2014, 07:49 PM
There are a few bits of equipment that need the speed of an 8088 to run. For example, a MatchPoint PC card, or the original version of FastBack--or an old Sunshine EPROM programmer. So I keep the clones up and running, but otherwise, not so much.

Ole Juul
August 1st, 2014, 08:37 PM
I'm a big fan of minimal computing and still use DOS a lot. However, I've gotten spoiled and rely on a lot of TSRs. I also like to keep my DOS machine connected on (at least) the LAN so I can shoot files back and forth without having to shuffle floppies between boxes/OSs. So, to me a first generation Pentium is really the new 8088.

I have a stack of XT clone motherboards (those have an 8088 ) which I just was staring at because I want to set up a simple machine. They've got a full compliment of memory on board, and are also fast enough for what I want to do. And I love having some big ram disks so it's "all in a blink" (easy on the nerves).

However, an XT is not going to work easily. I need VGA so that I can use my KVM and not set up a whole other monitor/keyboard system where I sit. I would prefer mono otherwise. Then there's the matter of storage. An XT is not directly useable with IDE and I'd probably have to get an XTIDE card. Nice idea, but more money and inconvenience. Then there's the problem with power supplies. I do have some old ones around, but I don't want to wear them out on a 24/7 machine like this. (Like I don't want to wear out my MFM drives now.) Oh, and then there's finding a box that will take an XT motherboard. That's either an expense or an art project - which I would love, but don't need right now. In the end using an 8088 is just not convenient to use these days.
(Edit: I forgot to mention that with an XT there's also the problem of not being able to share a modern keyboard.)

Don't get me wrong. I love simple floppy systems with an 8088, but nowadays those are in the realm of ART. Using them is an aesthetic, a philosophy, a look, a feel, a Sunday drive in a classic sports car, the smell of gas.

August 1st, 2014, 09:57 PM
Im just interested what you guys doing with your systems :)

1: What single 8088 system do you mainly use daily?
I WOULD be using my Zenith Z-158 for most of the daily tasks, word processing and such, but once I get my Tandy 1000 RLX every setup, *286 bound to 8-bit, so basically a turbo 8086* My childhood XT is in the process of being shipped to one who will use it more than I probably will in the foreseeable future.

2: What hardware does it have?
The tandy's got 1 286-10, strapped to 1mb ram, with a 1.44mb drive and room for either 1, count'em 1, card, probably gonna be sound if I can ever get the parallel up and running

3: What do you mainly use it for?

4: What softwares do you use and to do what?
Dos 5, and Games :)

5: Would you consider to only use that 8088 and put the modern one away? (yes/no)
Not a chance

6: why?
Too many things in this world now require some form of modern internet access, thusly a modern machine is almost a must.

7: What do you think the future is for these old systems?
As long as parts are around, the systems will be up and running, once parts dry up completely, the retro market will kick in and fabricate more custom boards, or most of the machines will end up in the recycler bin, or a museum.

August 2nd, 2014, 11:42 AM
1: I don't have a particular machine that gets used on a daily basis but the most frequently used is my IBM XT 5160

2: 16-Bit VGA Card / 16-Bit IDE - Floppy Multi I/O card with dual CF adapter and 2 CF cards / lo-tech Rom Board / HH 360K floppy and 3.5" 1.44 Floppy.

3: It runs my old programmers, Floppy disc copying and generally my own amusement

4: Software for the programmers and general other stuff.

5: No Chance

6: I got my P4 for internet etc etc.

7: As long as there is enthusiasts around with the smarts to design new hardware and write new software and forums like the VCF it looks good.

August 2nd, 2014, 04:59 PM
today...xt 5160. 256k mobo, 640k ram with 6pak card. ibm cards otherwise 10mb hd. stock system. got a bunch of ibm branded pc basic program to test and archive. so for this job stock xt makes the most sense.

I change it up, for the job. No daily use system.

August 2nd, 2014, 05:50 PM
I might answer my self :)

1: IBM XT 5160

2: AMD 4,77 (waiting for a NEC V20 to be shipped) 192KB MB(576KB), sixpackplus, CGA, and the regular ones. 10.6MB HDD, 2 teac 360k FDD, 1 1.44MB backpack

3: Not using it for any special things, playing around(learning), some games. Still trying to find out what i want to do with it.

4: DOS..lol, no special ones, searching around for useful ones to make my XT useful for...something.

5: Yes

6: I like the way you use these old machines, but i would only replace my up to date one if there was ways to do banking an important things like that, A lot must be changed if we ever will use the systems...go back 30 years? lol

7: In time these systems might be forgotten, spear parts all gone. Or they will be the systems we will go back to after WWIII when the world is ruined and new parts is to expensive to make haha...silly thought isn't it! Someone said "WWIIII will be fought with stones and sticks" Einstein?

August 4th, 2014, 04:09 PM
1: What single 8088 system do you mainly use daily?
I have a 5160 but don't use it that often

2: What hardware does it have?
20MB Full Height, 256kb on board, 384kb on an ISA card, MDA

3: What do you mainly use it for?
Not much. I used to use it (10 years ago) for novel BASIC programming.

4: What softwares do you use and to do what?
It actually has Windows 3.0 on it, but it's so slow it's almost unusable

5: Would you consider to only use that 8088 and put the modern one away? (yes/no)

6: why?
Need online access for work

7: What do you think the future is for these old systems?
Hopefully to be preserved.

August 4th, 2014, 04:44 PM
1. Not much used Redstone XT Turbo clone. Only really got it because it was cheap.

2. 720k and 360k floppies, 640k ram, ega card and monitor, dead mfm hdd. Came with a keyboard as a bonus.

3.Dos and some other stuff.

4.MS Dos and DrDos. Dos software from games to more useful stuff.

5. Nup. This cheap Android tablet is better at the more mundain tasks. It's light and silent.

6. I can't sit in my comfy chair with it in one hand and type using the other.

7. There will always be some old peice of kit doing it's job somewhere on the planet.

August 5th, 2014, 04:59 AM
Im just interested what you guys doing with your systems :)

1: What single 8088 system do you mainly use daily?
I use my HP 100LX (http://www.acrpc.net/hp-100lx-1mb/) a lot, not daily, but fairly frequently, its a lot better for taking notes than my iphone

2: What hardware does it have?
It's a 80186 instruction set CPU, so equivalent to a V20/V30 upgraded 8088/8086, it also has 32MB CF card for nonvolatile storage (it can see larger CF cards with a TSR, but can't boot them, that's why I only use a 32mb).

3: What do you mainly use it for?
Notes, simple games, some simple Basic/Visual Basic programming on the go.

4: What softwares do you use and to do what?
MS-DOS Editor for notes, QB45 and VB 1.0 for programming, also has Windows 3.0 loaded.

5: Would you consider to only use that 8088 and put the modern one away? (yes/no)

6: why?
Web surfing on Lynx is not so much fun these days, need a modern PC for all the Flash/HTML5/Java content of the web.

7: What do you think the future is for these old systems?
I would like to preserve them, keep a record of them for future generations.

August 5th, 2014, 11:34 AM
MS-DOS Editor for notes, QB45 and VB 1.0 for programming, also has Windows 3.0 loaded.

Actually that's one practical thing I do use one of my XT's for. I don't have a modern PC in my work room - so when I'm testing circuitry / part listing - I use the Magnum XT with the MS DOS Editor. Once I've finished making my list, it goes through the NW server and prints out on a 1989 HP DeskJet Plus (quality isn't great but stoked it works!).

For DOS programming I use Borland C 3.0 - but that's more because it's what I'm familiar with.

August 5th, 2014, 11:41 AM
I am most likely to fire up "Mother", my IBM 5160. Not everyday, and sometimes not for weeks at a time. It's a 5160 XT with the 640K MB, 8088 CPU with 8087 math co. A bios enabled floppy controller with serial and parallel ports and a clock that allowed the addition of a 1.44, 3.5" floppy drive as well as the original 360K drive. Sound Blaster 2.0, 16 bit VGA card operating in 8 bit mode, Seagate 8 bit SCSI card configured for an external 80 meg hard drive, and the original 20 meg MFM hard drive. It runs IBM DOS 3.3.

I use it mostly to play around with different hardware configurations. Different hard drive controllers and hard drives, and different kinds of expansion cards. Just to figure out how they work (or if they work). I love playing with hardware. I wore out the case screws doing this. I also play some games and make disk images/make disks from images. I love how very leisurely it operates and the sounds it makes. Mother never asks me to "Please Wait". It's assumed I will.

I can't possibly do without modern computers because that's what I service for a living. It would be sort of like doing without a cell phone. Have to live in the modern world, but I can can play in the past after hours.

I call the XT "Mother" because nearly all of the computers I have had or worked on over these many years are it's descendants . I know the 5150 was first, but the XT, with it's hard drive and standard slot spacing always felt to me like where it really all began. I feel like it is important history. It's certainly important in my history.

August 6th, 2014, 11:20 AM
1. Right now, its a PB500 "Turbo XT" Machine. I have my one of the two "Grail" machines coming in the form of a 5160 XT with more goodies in it from someone here that has already mentioned sending it in a previous post of this thread.

2. 10 MHZ 8088 / 5 1/4" Floppy Drive / SB 2.0 Card (with CM/S and FM Chipset) / 1024 KB RAM / 16-Bit VGA Card (in 8 Bit Slot) / Serial / RS-232 / Joystick Expansion Card

3. Games, installing old DOS software and playing with it / getting to know the older systems much better.

4. DOS / any interesting new homebrew software / test software / etc to play with speeds / etc...

5. NO

6. I work in IT and collect other things so having a speedy machine for that is a must..plus I can use the newer machines as software holders for the old ones. The work from home needs alone makes me rely on new machines...

7. I think these will slowly start to disappear and the remaining ones will deteriorate in some basements where people have had them for years piled under stuff, collecting rust, corrosion, etc... Those that are taken care of will need parts eventually and today's upgrades will be needed to keep them running (Old MFM HDD's wont work forever)...All I know is when I have my 5160 it will be one of the ones that stays nice nad taken care of....

August 6th, 2014, 02:04 PM
1: What single 8088 system do you mainly use daily?

I actually have two IBM 5150 systems. However, I don't use either daily for sure. I boot my primary 5150 PC up about once, or twice a week. The other is booted about half that.

2: What hardware does it have?

My 5150 also includes an IBM 5161 expansion unit with dual 30 MB hard discs. There is an IBM 5153 CGA monitor, IBM 5152 Graphics Printer, a MicroSolutions Backpack 3.5" floppy drive, AST Six Pack Plus, dual 9 pin serial port card, dual game port card, LAN Adapter, and modem. My second 5150 uses an AST Six Pack Plus, but has an electronic option which replaces both a floppy, and/or an internal hard disc. The electronic option I use is an XT-CF Lite which gives me the flexibility I need to transfer files using a CF card instead of a floppy disc.

3: What do you mainly use it for?

I use my 5150's to test programs, and for some word processing.

4: What softwares do you use and to do what?

Prowrite, and Word Perfect are my primary choices for doing my word processing. Although I do have several other word processors installed, like Microsoft Works, and WordStar, Prowrite and Word Perfect are my faves. The word processing I do is primarily for my blog, and with the ability to transfer files directly from the 5150 to floppy, I can use the diskette in my main computer to publish my work, and post it to my web page at www.allthingsdos.com.
5: Would you consider to only use that 8088 and put the modern one away? (yes/no)

No. It is too underpowered for normal day to day operations that I do. Specifically, accessing the Internet, and email.

6: why?

The 8088 just can't handle that kind of load. Additionally, the 8088 computers just can't process video, which is a major part of my computer use.

7: What do you think the future is for these old systems?

Eventually, all of the currently operating 8088 computers will fail, requiring anywhere from minor repairs, to major overhauls. In fact, every computer ever made will fail eventually. You have to remember, these 8088 systems are all up to and over 30 years old. Most cars don't last that long! The shingles on your roof regardless of their make, would eventually require replacing once they get to that age. The main thing I fear is that as tantalum capacitors age, the tend to fail catastrophically. While most don't matter, it is the few that do matter that worry me, and one more reason I don't rely on my IBM 5150 computers exclusively for working on my blog entries, and one more reason why I bring my work to my primary computer immediately upon completion of a document for publication.

Hope this helps.