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how do YOU define a "tweener?"

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    how do YOU define a "tweener?"

    Posted here for lack of a better place. Apologies if it's the wrong area.

    ...I've been wondering for a while how one defines a "tweener." A machine that can run both MS-DOS era software as well as Windows 10? A machine with more than one kind of floppy drive? A dual boot system?

    How do you define tweener?

    Something with Wndows 98SE, that has USB, CD, Floppy, network card.
    My Packard Bell has never given me any problems which were it's fault, the Packard Haters can stuff it! :


      The whole point of a "tweener" is to move data *between* truly vintage (such as PC/XT/AT or older) systems and lobotomized modern systems.

      You would have a rather hard time these days finding a system that can run Windows 10 well and having even the minimum to act as a "tweener". It would need at minimum a real FDC and support for 1.2mb/720k/360k drives.

      And then any NT based OS (NT/2000/XP/Vista/7/8/10) has rather poor floppy support.

      In my opinion, an ideal tweener would:

      -Have any Pentium, K6, or Athlon era CPU
      -Have a generic AT or ATX case
      -Have BIOS support for *two* real, internal floppy drives.
      -Have Ethernet Networking (easy to add)
      -Have Windows 95 OSR2 or 98SE as the primary OS for easy DOS access (ME/2000/XP are more difficult)
      -Have USB ports for flash drives.
      -Have at least one ISA slot and plenty of additional slots (AGP/PCI)
      -Ideally the FDC should support FM encoding, but that is rather uncommon and hard to tell just by looking.
      -The motherboard should use a coin cell CMOS battery instead of a Dallas or Odin integrated clock/battery chip.

      There was a previous thread about tweeners here:
      And a test of some of the last motherboards with FDCs here:

      If you require a "modern" computer that interfaces directly with floppy disks, then you should look in to adding a Kryoflux or SuperCard pro.


        A machine capable of running Windows XP on a single physical CPU core however does not use PCI Express.
        Minimum floppy requirements are generic support for 3.5" and 5.25" floppy drives.
        [Need something to waste time on? Click here to visit my YouTube channel CelGenStudios]
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        = Excellent space heater


          Originally posted by SomeGuy View Post
          The whole point of a "tweener" is to move data *between* truly vintage (such as PC/XT/AT or older) systems and lobotomized modern systems.

          Another example would be the Apple Mac Performer 630 I have to transfer data from my main PC to a Mac plus.
          EISA .cfg Archive | Chip set Encyclopedia


            I think to define a tweener you need to consider what exactly you are intending to transfer onto a modern computer. For most people it's probably floppy disks, so in that case you don't need much. If it's only 3.5" disks you can still pick up cheap USB floppy drives which makes building a tweener simple, or even unnecessary. But if you want to extend your capabilities further, into RLL/MFM hard drives, parallel port drives, tape drives connected to the floppy interface, old SCSI devices, hard cards, and so on, then that will dictate what type of tweener you want - probably as a result of what kind of drivers are available for the hardware, and what OS you have to run to use those drivers.

            I think we're getting to the point where it's going to be difficult to have a single tweener that can handle everything, with some technologies requiring multiple steps to get to a modern machine. Although interestingly it's becoming possible to add newer hardware to older computers, so things can now go in the other direction - instead of finding a newer computer that can still interface to older hardware, you can find an older computer that readily supports the older hardware, and add a newer interface to it.

            The main one for me is the IDE to SD-card interfaces you can get from China for a few dollars that allow SD cards to appear as hard drives on any machine that supports an IDE interface. I have a 286 booting off an SD card, with IDE support in ROM thanks to the XT-IDE project. With this machine I can use the SD card to directly transfer gigabytes of files between the 286 and a modern PC. Since the 286 natively supports RLL/MFM hard drives, that's my go-to machine if I need to read any data off those drives, or indeed anything that requires an ISA slot or a real parallel port and doesn't need 386+ protected mode.

            I have other systems too, but they are all based around what I want to read. Early on I tried to have a single system that could do it all, but I found hardware for it was not common and often commanded high prices. I didn't like the idea of building an expensive tweener only to have it break and need another rare part to get up and running again, so I went with the multiple cheap systems option. This has the advantage of there being some overlap, so if one system is not cooperating you can easily try another system and usually at least one will get the job done.

            So to answer the OP's question, I think a tweener is whatever you need it to be to read a format that can't be read on current-generation hardware.


              Tweener: An excuse to keep a Pentium II/III around.

              A good tweener should have the ability to read older floppies and connect directly to an older system through programs like Laplink while also having the performance to handle modern Ethernet, USB drives, and even writing optical drives. Mine never gets as much usage as a tweener as I planned but it still serves as a disk imager and late 90s game system.


                Heck a decent P4 can do that--even support ISA cards.


                  These days I installed OS Win98 SE and win XP on my Dell XPS R400 - Pii-400/368mbram/80gb ide/16mb riva, Installed my favorite games of the ear on Win98 partition there - Red BaronII, Dark Forces II/JEdi Knight, Nox, Revenant, Midtown Madness, X-Wing Alliance - as I began to feel true nostalgia for late 1999s, early 2000s...

                  But also I use to work with floppy drives - both 3.5'' 1.44 and 5-25'' 1.2mb and 360k. Even to exchange data with my Kaypro 10.

                  And in Win XP there's a terminal program to exchange data with Kayro 10 by com null modem cable and also I load data by usb to win xp and then transfer with Norton 4.0 from win 98 by LPT null modem cable to my 8088 - P1 machines. So there's a lot of work for my pII ) And - mp3, photoshop, as well )


                    I'm guessing the XP program you're referring to is Hyperterminal, yes?

                    To which Nortons 4.0 do you refer? Commander? Utilities?

                    It occurred to me a while ago that telnet might prove useful in getting some of the vintage machines to talk to each other, given the paucity of networking software back then.


                      A tweener is any machine capable to move data from modern machines to media that can be used in classic machines.

                      I think my "tweener" is about as perfect as a tweener can get.

                      AMD K6-2 500. 256mb Ram, USB capable
                      1.44mb floppy
                      1.2mb floppy
                      USB Zip 100 drive
                      100mbps NIC
                      CD/RW Drive
                      Nvidia Geforce MX200

                      I have 3 hard drives installed. I use PLOP boot manager to select between True DOS 6.22, Windows 98, or Windows XP. It allows me to do everything from one box. If I need files from the internet, I'll boot up XP, and go online. It's a tad slow on a lot of sites, but gets the job done. I can then copy the files direct to floppy/zip, or if I need to do imaging, I'll copy them directly to the DOS hard drive and reboot to write the files.

                      It's also a fun little retro-gaming box for late DOS and 98-era titles.
                      Twitter: @adambrisebois
                      Discord: YesterGearPC#0001
                      Youtube: YesterGearPC


                        To me, a Tweener is anything 80486 and up. I consider the 486 era in general the perfect midline between a vintage and a modern PC - here is why....

                        - A 486 is just about as at home running PC/XT/AT era apps with Turbo off or Moslo or other tools of that type, as it is running Windows 2000 Professional with various hacks to allow it to do modern things

                        - A 486 can take/bake Optical Media, modern Hard Disks (SATA to IDE adapters, DDOs), ZIP Drives, Floppies, Bernoulli drives, IDE Floppies, Superdisks....all depends on the 486. Even USB is possible via USB Floppy emulators or a 486 with a PCI Expansion bus on the motherboard. With hard disk caddies with large hard disks, the skies and the core of classic PC computing are availible for your choosing.

                        - 486's run between 16MHz (rare) to 160MHz (Overclocked AMD 5x86 133), they overlap the performance of the 386 DX-40 and the early Pentiums, giving them a very wide swath of compatibility

                        - With a powerful graphics card, or some software hacks, or if someone took up programming enough, some modern internet and web-based features would be possible on such hardware

                        - It's new enough to work with Windows 2000 Professional, which can and will play nicely over TCP/IP with Windows 10 both ways - though it also can be connected to over Windows 10 TCP/IP using Windows 9x, Windows for Workgroups, and even Microsoft LAN Manager for DOS, as well as other networking technologies availible through BSD, Unix, Linux, and so fourth.

                        - They are old enough to be manually configured for weird old software, but some are new enough

                        - More recent examples (SBCs aimed at Industrial Applications) offer the correct performance/power for retro-computing with some of the conveniences of some modern systems

                        My tweener setup is this

                        250 Watt XT PSU
                        SongCheer XT Clone Chassis
                        AMD 486 DX4-100 with WriteBack Cache
                        512K L2 Cache
                        64-128MB of RAM, Parity or Non
                        1.44 and 1.2MB FLoppies

                        The following four hard disk caddies....
                        - 15GB w/ DOS 6.22/WFWG 3.11
                        - 20GB w/ Windows 95 OSR2
                        - 40GB w/ Windows 98 SE
                        - 80GB, which I'm planning to test out a multiple O/S load on of some kind including some kind of Lihux Distribution

                        2MB S3 805 2MB Graphics VLB
                        SoundBlaster AWE 64 Platinum
                        VLB Super I/O Card w/ Dual IDE and
                        LinkSys PnP 10mbps ISA Ethernet

                        It actually lives on 24/7 365 right next to the modern system I'm typing this on running Windows 10, they "hold conversations" over the network on the regular.


                          If it can run a 5.25" floppy and easily transfer off newer media (network etc), then it's good.


                          Pentium 166 MMX
                          Dual Booting DOS 6 and Win98 (sepearte IDE hard drives, with GAG bootloader)
                          Syquest 200C SCSI (reads 44, 88 and 200 carts)
                          Iomega ZIP100 SCSI
                          3.5"+ 5.25" HD drives
                          S3 + VooDoo 2
                          10/100 network card (Windows 10 PC can drop files on it no problemo)
                          1 USB port on the back

                          Mounted in a very large Gateway 2000 case that I pulled a nasty P3 board out of.
                          Twitter / YouTube


                            Originally posted by Casey View Post
                            I'm guessing the XP program you're referring to is Hyperterminal, yes?

                            To which Nortons 4.0 do you refer? Commander? Utilities?

                            It occurred to me a while ago that telnet might prove useful in getting some of the vintage machines to talk to each other, given the paucity of networking software back then.
                            Yep ! It's the hyperterminal - as described here -

                            And about Norton - for some reason, I realise now, that Norton Commander wasn't VERY popular in the West, but here all people who used to have a IBM PC compatible computer with DOS of any kind - all had a Norton Commander installed... Norton Commander was the symbol of IBM - compatible computer in the USSR and it's territory until Windows era came. )

                            And I can't imagine a MS-Dos machine without a Norton Commander 4.0 - I have it an all my vintage IBM compatibles from 8088 to PIII machines.)
                            Last edited by Sandisk78; September 20, 2017, 02:33 AM.


                              I don't have need for a tweener, my "modern" workstation (a 3.16 GHz Core 2 Duo with 8GB RAM running a fully-modern Linux desktop) has a CD burner, SCSI card (with external port), IDE Zip and LS120 drive. It can seamlessly transfer files to my oldest machines: a 386DX/25 with a Zip drive, an MSX with a DD floppy, and even the C64 & Vic 20 if I plug a 1541 into its parallel port.

                              Aside from the 386 (and one 486-based Thinkpad), my other DOS machines can all read USB sticks.