View Full Version : 2 question

August 9th, 2017, 12:48 AM
I have a 286 PC AT Clone (AMD N80L286-10 CPU if that matters) with a dying 122MB MFM drive that I'd like to replace (even though my games are all booters, it's the principle!)
What do you think my cheapest/most practical option would be: replace it with another MFM drive from eBay or doing a CF upgrade?
If I did the CF upgrade, what would be my best choice of components? I don't have an IDE controller card so I'd have to factor that in.

and second question

I just installed a recently-acquired copy of Wasteland on my CompuAdd 810 (a Turbo XT clone) and have been experiencing frequent system freezes while running the game. A cursory Google search shows that people have the same problem in DOSBOX depending on how many CPU cycles they have set to emulate, and additionally have been able to circumvent the problem by using a keyboard instead of a mouse.

This page details a fix using a hex editor and seems to indicate some timing logic is broken in the game whenever it has to re-draw the mouse pointer within the top 50 pixels of the screen:


So I thought I'd try running the game at 4.77 MHz instead of 10 MHz. Now I'm either avoiding the crash, or it's at least taking longer to get to it. So, is Wasteland actually a speed-sensitive game that has somehow escaped the speed-sensitive games lists, or do I have some other hardware/software issue at fault here?

thx all

August 11th, 2017, 02:36 AM
Regarding the MFM drive: IMHO buying another MFM drive is just a delay of execution. And you have to find one that is supported by your BIOS.

IDE controller cards are, IMHO, much easier to get. A quick search on Ebay got me several ones and as cheap as $13.00. It is possible to find old 40 MB drives or better ones that are supported by the BIOS. But these will be oldies with the same risk of dying next day as well. Please have a look at http://www.xtideuniversalbios.org/ which enables you to connect almost any IDE HDD to your controller. Be aware that the amount of storage you can use is limited. My Commodore PC40-III, 286-12, has a 40 GB HDD on board but is "only" able to use 8 GB. But that is still 200 times as much compared with its original 40 MB HDD.
FYI: I used a trick to be able to use this universal BIOS: http://www.baltissen.org/newhtm/pc286upg.htm. Have fun!

August 11th, 2017, 04:13 PM
I have a 1Gb CF card in my IBM AT connected to a standard 16 bit ISA IDE controller, I then use the XT-IDE BIOS on a ROM that is installed in a 3COM network card. Works perfectly, and I don't have to worry about a failing spinning disk, plus it's really easy to copy data to and from the machine by just pulling the SD card and plugging it into a card reader.

So yeah, that's the way I'd recommend you go.

August 12th, 2017, 06:14 AM
Indeed, XUB ROM in a NIC and a standard 16-bit IDE card are the way to go, on anything with 16-bit ISA slots, as long as you have the slots available. I know there are a few people out there with XT-IDEs plugged into 286 or higher machines, who just wanted the convenience of basically a HardCard, but the XT-IDE will limit drive speed. This may not matter to you, since it may be faster than the original MFM drive anyway!