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IBM Portable PC
June 2nd, 2016, 02:09 AM
After at least 2-3 years, I've finally managed to find one of these. I'm yet to receive it, and I still need to order 8 x 4M SIMs whilst it's coming with the original driver disk, which I suspect may be difficult to read. Does anyone have the last version if the drivers?

However, have many here had much experience with the Ramquest 8/16?

What software/OS's have worked well with 32MB on an XT?

Trixter
June 2nd, 2016, 11:27 AM
Does anyone have the last version if the drivers?

Try ftp://ftp.oldskool.org/pub/drivers/Orchid/Ramquest/


What software/OS's have worked well with 32MB on an XT?

This is a FAQ somewhere :-) but the very short answer is: Anything that has any EMS support at all. Informal incomplete list off the top of my head:

Turbo Pascal (Frees up conventional memory for the IDE)
Windows 3.0 (don't expect miracles, though -- EMS allow sit to run *at all*, not well)
Geoworks Ensemble <-- really impressive, even without EMS
Lotus 1-2-3 (and likely Quattro Pro). This is the prototypical reason EMS was invented, as the LIM in LIM EMS stands for Lotus, Intel, Microsoft.
Fractint (can generate large/oversize fractals in RAM before saving to disk as .gif)

AlexC
June 2nd, 2016, 01:17 PM
I have an older version of this card and I've found even Windows 2.03 will multitask using EMS. You could try DESQView too - I had that running nicely with two monitors on a 10MHz 8088. Quite a few games use EMS too, including some of the Commander Keens and other Apogee titles, though usually only 64KB or so. Still, it helps reduce base RAM requirements.

In terms of overall system speed, assigning a RAM drive as %temp% can be useful. I haven't yet found a disk cache that makes a big performance difference on an XT while remaining stable with EMS. Even NCACHE2 can be glitchy. A decent amount of buffers in config.sys seems a better option. I'm not sure the hard drive is necessarily the bottleneck on a machine with a 4.77MHz processor.

I only have 2MB on my EMS card. I could have up to 8, but haven't found a good use for it.

IBM Portable PC
June 2nd, 2016, 02:19 PM
Found another driver zip archive here, perhaps a different version, I've not had time to compare with others:

http://wildman-productions.org/files/RamQuest816.zip

Trixter
June 2nd, 2016, 05:53 PM
I haven't yet found a disk cache that makes a big performance difference on an XT while remaining stable with EMS. Even NCACHE2 can be glitchy. A decent amount of buffers in config.sys seems a better option. I'm not sure the hard drive is necessarily the bottleneck on a machine with a 4.77MHz processor.

It depends on the hard drive. If you have an ST-225 or similarly slow drive, an EMS cache helps. (I haven't had trouble with NCACHE2, what have you seen?) For an old system using an XT-IDE connected to flash storage, a cache offers no benefit.

A good amount of BUFFERS in CONFIG.SYS does indeed help as much (if not more) than a cache on a 4.77MHz system.

I remembered another good use of a hardware EMS board: Can use QRAM to load up to 64K of TSRs high, freeing up low DOS RAM.

AlexC
June 2nd, 2016, 08:51 PM
It depends on the hard drive. If you have an ST-225 or similarly slow drive, an EMS cache helps. (I haven't had trouble with NCACHE2, what have you seen?) For an old system using an XT-IDE connected to flash storage, a cache offers no benefit.

A good amount of BUFFERS in CONFIG.SYS does indeed help as much (if not more) than a cache on a 4.77MHz system.

I remembered another good use of a hardware EMS board: Can use QRAM to load up to 64K of TSRs high, freeing up low DOS RAM.

I wasted a couple of nerd-days comparing various versions of DOS and disk caches using a roughly five-minute disk-thrashing batch file (properly, with defrag and reboot in between, etc.). Big difference between DOS 3.30 and DOS 5.00 with just buffers; that extra 9KB of system overhead must have gone into HDD operations.

NCACHE2 was marginally quicker, but not worth the loss of say 64KB of low RAM.

Have lost data with Ncache from NU6 but Ncache2 from NU8 has been my workhorse, except with EMS on a RAMQuest board: random lock-ups and documented incompatibilities with Windows. A shame, as that should be good use of EMS.

I have 128KB of UMBs using QRAM and some of the files from QEMM. That's pretty cool.

(sorry, posted via a brain-dead tablet.)

pearce_jj
June 2nd, 2016, 10:40 PM
A good amount of BUFFERS in CONFIG.SYS does indeed help as much (if not more) than a cache on a 4.77MHz system

At least partly because the FAT isn't considered special, I.e. Isn't cached by DOS specifically anywhere. With more buffers, there is more chance the FAT will be retained (they are used only for partial block access).