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Forum Rules and Etiquette

Our mission ...

This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

This forum has been around in this format for over 15 years. These rules and guidelines help us maintain a healthy and active community, and we moderate the forum to keep things on track. Please familiarize yourself with these rules and guidelines.


Rule 1: Remain civil and respectful

There are several hundred people who actively participate here. People come from all different backgrounds and will have different ways of seeing things. You will not agree with everything you read here. Back-and-forth discussions are fine but do not cross the line into rude or disrespectful behavior.

Conduct yourself as you would at any other place where people come together in person to discuss their hobby. If you wouldn't say something to somebody in person, then you probably should not be writing it here.

This should be obvious but, just in case: profanity, threats, slurs against any group (sexual, racial, gender, etc.) will not be tolerated.


Rule 2: Stay close to the original topic being discussed
  • If you are starting a new thread choose a reasonable sub-forum to start your thread. (If you choose incorrectly don't worry, we can fix that.)
  • If you are responding to a thread, stay on topic - the original poster was trying to achieve something. You can always start a new thread instead of potentially "hijacking" an existing thread.



Rule 3: Contribute something meaningful

To put things in engineering terms, we value a high signal to noise ratio. Coming here should not be a waste of time.
  • This is not a chat room. If you are taking less than 30 seconds to make a post then you are probably doing something wrong. A post should be on topic, clear, and contribute something meaningful to the discussion. If people read your posts and feel that their time as been wasted, they will stop reading your posts. Worse yet, they will stop visiting and we'll lose their experience and contributions.
  • Do not bump threads.
  • Do not "necro-post" unless you are following up to a specific person on a specific thread. And even then, that person may have moved on. Just start a new thread for your related topic.
  • Use the Private Message system for posts that are targeted at a specific person.


Rule 4: "PM Sent!" messages (or, how to use the Private Message system)

This forum has a private message feature that we want people to use for messages that are not of general interest to other members.

In short, if you are going to reply to a thread and that reply is targeted to a specific individual and not of interest to anybody else (either now or in the future) then send a private message instead.

Here are some obvious examples of when you should not reply to a thread and use the PM system instead:
  • "PM Sent!": Do not tell the rest of us that you sent a PM ... the forum software will tell the other person that they have a PM waiting.
  • "How much is shipping to ....": This is a very specific and directed question that is not of interest to anybody else.


Why do we have this policy? Sending a "PM Sent!" type message basically wastes everybody else's time by making them having to scroll past a post in a thread that looks to be updated, when the update is not meaningful. And the person you are sending the PM to will be notified by the forum software that they have a message waiting for them. Look up at the top near the right edge where it says 'Notifications' ... if you have a PM waiting, it will tell you there.

Rule 5: Copyright and other legal issues

We are here to discuss vintage computing, so discussing software, books, and other intellectual property that is on-topic is fine. We don't want people using these forums to discuss or enable copyright violations or other things that are against the law; whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant. Do not use our resources for something that is legally or morally questionable.

Our discussions here generally fall under "fair use." Telling people how to pirate a software title is an example of something that is not allowable here.


Reporting problematic posts

If you see spam, a wildly off-topic post, or something abusive or illegal please report the thread by clicking on the "Report Post" icon. (It looks like an exclamation point in a triangle and it is available under every post.) This send a notification to all of the moderators, so somebody will see it and deal with it.

If you are unsure you may consider sending a private message to a moderator instead.


New user moderation

New users are directly moderated so that we can weed spammers out early. This means that for your first 10 posts you will have some delay before they are seen. We understand this can be disruptive to the flow of conversation and we try to keep up with our new user moderation duties to avoid undue inconvenience. Please do not make duplicate posts, extra posts to bump your post count, or ask the moderators to expedite this process; 10 moderated posts will go by quickly.

New users also have a smaller personal message inbox limit and are rate limited when sending PMs to other users.


Other suggestions
  • Use Google, books, or other definitive sources. There is a lot of information out there.
  • Don't make people guess at what you are trying to say; we are not mind readers. Be clear and concise.
  • Spelling and grammar are not rated, but they do make a post easier to read.
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Another recycle-center rescue...

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  • commodorejohn
    replied
    So I've been trying to get this system back up and running after the hard drive died, and I've run into a problem: the computer seems to be having serious issues with drive size. I'm using 2GB and 4GB drives, which is what I was using before, but the computer really doesn't seem to want to get along with them now. I've got an XT-IDE boot ROM on the network card, and it comes up properly. FDISK thinks the drives are a couple hundred megabytes, which I recall being the case before, but when I partition and format them on a newer computer, DOS will install and boot properly. The problem comes when I try actually copying stuff onto the drive; once it reaches a certain capacity, it starts reporting errors and corrupts the FAT, which leads me to suspect that it's overflowing the imagined couple-hundred-meg capacity and looping around to the start of the disk - but isn't XT-IDE supposed to fix that? I'm lost here...any idea what I can do to fix this?

    Leave a comment:


  • commodorejohn
    replied
    Well, I went to the recycle center today and found three generic Trident TVGA9000-based ISA cards that I grabbed. Took me a while to find 'em on TULARC, but they seemed to be all pretty equivalent capability-wise, so I went with the card with 70ns RAM instead of 100ns (which my old card also has.) It's not the newest of the three (one dates from '94 and has a 9000i chip, though I don't know just how much better that is,) but that extra 30ns shaved off...holy shit. Here's the benchmarks, before and after:
    Code:
    [UIDE1131689BE]
    MemoryTest=199
    OpcodeTest=103
    VidramTest=412
    MemEATest=67
    3DGameTest=59
    Score=67
    CPU=AMD Am386DX
    CPUspeed=40 MHz
    BIOSinfo=R(C)1985-1991,American Megatrends Inc.,All Rights Reserved.,1346 Oakbrook Dr.,#120,GA-30093,USA.(404)-263-8181. (07/07/91, rev. 0)
    MachineModel=01FC
    BIOSdate=19910707
    BIOSCRC16=E113
    VideoSystem=VGA
    VideoAdapter=VGA, Trident TR8800CS, 768kb Video Memory    ; (commodorejohn: actually a 256kb card, don't know why it detects wrong)
    Machine=AT clone
    Description=40MHz, VGA
    
    [UIDB4DA16E46D]
    MemoryTest=198
    OpcodeTest=107
    VidramTest=231
    MemEATest=66
    3DGameTest=58
    Score=86
    CPU=AMD Am386DX
    CPUspeed=40 MHz
    BIOSinfo=R(C)1985-1991,American Megatrends Inc.,All Rights Reserved.,1346 Oakbrook Dr.,#120,GA-30093,USA.(404)-263-8181. (07/07/91, rev. 0)
    MachineModel=01FC
    BIOSdate=19910707
    BIOSCRC16=B4DA
    VideoSystem=VGA
    VideoAdapter=VGA, Trident TR9000, VESA, 768kb Video Memory, 512kb Video Memor
    Machine=AT clone
    Description=40MHz, TVGA9000B
    Yeah, the 40MHz CPU made a bit of an improvement on the video test, but not much, but the new card doubles the performance. Sadly Descent still isn't really playable, but it is a bit less chokey, and DOOM II got a noticeable framerate boost (especially with the melty transitions - presumably because they read from video memory as well as write?) On top of which, the DAC is dual-ported so there's no snow during fades, and it gives a sharper picture and brighter colors...ahhh, life is good.

    For Ethernet, I looked up my spare NIC and found it to be an "Invisible Software Invisible Ethernet 2000PXA/PN" which seems to be an OEM version of a RealTek card. It specifically lists NT 3.1 through 4.0 in its readme, so I'm hopeful this should resolve the issue.

    Leave a comment:


  • commodorejohn
    replied
    The 3C515 I was using mostly because it's what I had on hand in the way of an ISA NIC with a ROM socket. (I do have a 3C509, but it's PCI.) I do have another couple NICs to try that are older, I just haven't gotten around to it.

    Leave a comment:


  • SpidersWeb
    replied
    Etherlink III for me is 3C509
    3C515 would be "Fast Etherlink" (Edit: in my mind that is, not saying that's fact)

    I haven't tried NT3.5 or even NT 4.0, but the 3C509 (and D-Link DE220) cards have always worked perfectly for me from DOS to Windows 98 using off-the-rack drivers. Of course you lose about 90mbit in communication speed but it works!

    Check the hardware settings on the NT driver, maybe it's defaulting to something different and configuring the card to use resources that are allocated elsewhere. Worth a shot anywho.

    Leave a comment:


  • Shadow Lord
    replied
    Originally posted by kithylin View Post
    I know this may be something you already know, but why not just pick a network adapter that will have native Microsoft drivers built into the operating system so you don't worry about this? at least then it's guaranteed to work / not-crash.

    3com etherlink-III has been known to Microsoft OS's since 3.11 (although dropped in XP I think), most of the earlier ISA realtek nic's were too, and the intel ones.
    The 3C515 is an Etherlink III series adapter and besides where is the fun in having it just work?

    Leave a comment:


  • kithylin
    replied
    I know this may be something you already know, but why not just pick a network adapter that will have native Microsoft drivers built into the operating system so you don't worry about this? at least then it's guaranteed to work / not-crash.

    3com etherlink-III has been known to Microsoft OS's since 3.11 (although dropped in XP I think), most of the earlier ISA realtek nic's were too, and the intel ones.

    Leave a comment:


  • Shadow Lord
    replied
    John,

    Are you using the 2.0 or 2.0a drivers? Don't know if it will make any difference in your case but 2.0a was the last official release for the card. They are also available on archive.org or if you can't find them drop me a line and I'll email them to you.

    Leave a comment:


  • commodorejohn
    replied
    Yep, right off the 3Com site (or rather, archive.org's copy before HP wrecked it - but that's another thread.) The WfWG driver works perfectly fine, but for some reason NT just does not like it (sounds from the event log like the export structure is messed-up or something - I tried re-extracting it, no dice.)

    Leave a comment:


  • Shadow Lord
    replied
    Originally posted by commodorejohn View Post
    Ugh, NT 3.51 just straight-up freezes with the Fast Etherlink driver. I have a couple other ISA NICs to try, but I was kinda hoping it would just work...
    Are you using the 3COM drivers for the card?

    Leave a comment:


  • commodorejohn
    replied
    Ugh, NT 3.51 just straight-up freezes with the Fast Etherlink driver. I have a couple other ISA NICs to try, but I was kinda hoping it would just work...

    Leave a comment:


  • commodorejohn
    replied
    Originally posted by kithylin View Post
    I may have some insertable graphics card memory, I'll photo the chips and show you tomorrow and let you figure out what it is. I wouldn't want a lot for em, $10 + shipping in the USA or something, I don't know what size they are either, I'll photo em and post the image and let you figure it out. sleep though as of typing this, it's 5:22am.
    The sockets on the card are for 4464s. Thanks for the offer, but I don't think you should feel you have to bother; given that the card is already a bit quirky, I'm just going to replace it. (There's one on eBay I've got my eye on, hopefully I can snag that.)

    Leave a comment:


  • kithylin
    replied
    I may have some insertable graphics card memory, I'll photo the chips and show you tomorrow and let you figure out what it is. I wouldn't want a lot for em, $10 + shipping in the USA or something, I don't know what size they are either, I'll photo em and post the image and let you figure it out. sleep though as of typing this, it's 5:22am.

    Leave a comment:


  • Caluser2000
    replied
    Good stuff.

    Leave a comment:


  • commodorejohn
    replied
    Oy. Aggravatingly, it seems that my NIC (3Com 3C515-TX) is compatible with WFW 3.11, but for some reason not with NT 3.5 - gotta upgrade to 3.5.1. Probably won't bother with that until I've got a replacement hard drive taken care of, it's getting pretty problematic. Still, at least NT does work.

    Leave a comment:


  • commodorejohn
    replied
    Well, the butterknives worked like a charm, along with a little manual adjustment, and she went in without a fuss. Works, too - I now have a 40MHz powerhouse! Even better, despite what the motherboard manual implies, it works perfectly fine with the ISA bus clock divider cut to AT/6 at 40MHz (rather than AT/10.) I threw in half of my 4MB SIMMs for the moment; at 20MB and 40MHz the memory-count is still pretty tolerable. We'll see if I wind up needing the full 32MB or not.

    Also good news: some facet of whatever I did has resolved the issue with NT crashing; dunno if it didn't like the Chips & Technologies CPU, or if it ran out of RAM but wouldn't say so, but it now boots into NT setup proper with no trouble. Got 'er formatting an NTFS partition on the spare 2GB, and I'll get her up and running; I should have a lot less trouble finding an SSL-compliant mail client for NT 3.5 than WFW 3.11 (and maybe a better browser, though I don't know if anything more modern than Netscape Navigator 4.08 is going to be happy on a 386.)

    Next steps from here:
    • Get a better video card. This one is mostly okay, but the RAM to upgrade to SVGA, at going prices, would cost about as much as a new card, the palette DAC isn't dual-ported so you get snow any time a game does a fade, and it has an annoying habit of rebooting in monochrome mode.
    • Replace the hard drive. This one appears to be getting unreliable, timing out at boot with increasing frequency. Anybody have any experience with using SSDs with DOS/Win3.1? Do there tend to be compatibility issues? Do modern SSDs' integrated load-balancing balance out the fact that the OSes have no idea how to treat them?
    Last edited by commodorejohn; June 7, 2012, 09:06 PM.

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