Author Topic: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help  (Read 4267 times)

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Offline sony mavica

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Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« on: July 07, 2017, 01:57:37 am »
need some help guys found this computer with an lcd screen out on the curb for free want to turn it in to a dos/windows gaming mostly for games up to around 2003 maybe  since using cpuz to get the pc specs all i have done is added 2gb ram too it and set the on board video to 512mb

what i would like to know is i remember using xp on an a laptop that my sister gave me around 2005 i think i can remember downloading   

dos games and not needing dos box or anything like that to run them and they would run fine the pc is running xp sp3 mostly all of the dos game will not run or just give errors in the command prompt even the ones i remember playing back then

what version of xp will i need i could just use dosbox but i want to make this simple as my nephew will also be using this pc and also do you think i should get a cheap video card off ebay nice older ones go for as little as $12nzd or so including shipping or will the built in one be enough for what i will be using the pc for?

here are the pcs specs

https://pastebin.com/gS90qZni

thanks
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Offline Halcyon

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2017, 08:17:03 am »
What sort of errors are you getting and on which games?

Even under Windows XP, some really old DOS games don't behave properly. For those, you're probably better off just downloading something like Oracle VirtualBox and installing actual MS-DOS on a virtual machine, the old games will be much happier, plus you can allocate as much or as little resources as you like to the virtual machine.
 

Offline kalel

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2017, 08:30:28 am »
For DOS games, I'm sure you don't need to add a graphics adapter. The virtualbox suggestion sounds great, or any emulator for DOS might work.

I'm sure such computers are capable of emulating all kind of older game systems and not just DOS games, but for any windows gaming, you might want to have a better graphics card. Still, with the CPU limitations it's questionable if it's worth the investment vs just using it for things that already work well.

P.S. The problem with running DOS games without an emulator might be that if you don't lower the apparent clock speed, some games might work extremely fast (any game that relies on clock speed). Of course, also, many games will not work or work properly.

Have fun!
« Last Edit: July 07, 2017, 08:41:31 am by kalel »
 

Offline MosherIV

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2017, 09:49:23 am »
Quote
For DOS games, I'm sure you don't need to add a graphics adapter.
Absolutly NOT !!

The old DOS based games did direct GPU register access!

VirtualBox video drivers are generic and the DOS game might not have support for them, then you are stuck with the sucky generic VGA graphics adapter.

Best to get WinXP Dos box to support the game(s).

Or try to make the PC dual boot, Win and DOS
 

Offline Kjelt

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2017, 09:55:06 am »
what i would like to know is i remember using xp on an a laptop that my sister gave me around 2005 i think i can remember downloading   
dos games and not needing dos box or anything like that to run them and they would run fine the pc is running xp sp3 mostly all of the dos game will not run or just give errors in the command prompt even the ones i remember playing back then 
I can't remember but did XP already have the "run with backwards compatibility" option (right click mouse on program icon), you probably already tried that.
 

Offline stj

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2017, 10:24:14 am »
dual-boot into freedos?

it would help if you listed some games.
 

Offline rdl

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2017, 10:57:09 am »
It's almost certain that DOSBox is your best option. Most of those old DOS games you can buy from GOG will come with a copy of DOSBox specifically set up to run whichever particular game it is. Many of the larger gaming publishers and studios have used it to re-release older games, such as id Software, 2K games, Bethesda Softworks, LucasArts, etc. An MSDOS licence is not required.
 

Online rsjsouza

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2017, 11:16:06 am »
It's almost certain that DOSBox is your best option. Most of those old DOS games you can buy from GOG will come with a copy of DOSBox specifically set up to run whichever particular game it is. Many of the larger gaming publishers and studios have used it to re-release older games, such as id Software, 2K games, Bethesda Softworks, LucasArts, etc. An MSDOS licence is not required.
+1 to this. I have been using DOSBox for quite a number of years on XP and it is a great solution for this, especially for sound support (XP did not natively set the BLASTER environment variable, for example). I had some minor drawing issues with games that did graphical shenanigans (Jazz Jackrabbit, for example) but overall it worked really well.
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Online Zero999

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2017, 11:31:47 am »
Windows NT based OSes (Windows 2000 & XP onwards) have poor DOS native compatibility.

Linux + a suitable VM such as VirtualBox, DOSEmu (fast) and DOSBox (a bit slower but good compatibility).

A modern Windows version will also support the above, minus DOSEmu, hence why it wouldn't be my first choice.

Windows 98/ME will run most old DOS games and can be started in real mode, if needs be. That will probably give you the best possible compatibility wise. You can also dual boot FreeDOS which is much better than any version of MS-DOS but won't run Win9x. The main disadvantages are: insecurity, lack of support for modern hardware and the many modern Internet sites won't display on the old versions of browsers you can run on it.

You certainly don't need any special video card, although having a decent one will improve the performance of emulators which can benefit from hardware scaling. Very few DOS games supported specialist video cards. Most games were VGA 8 bits per pixel, normally 320x200, but mode X would give you up to 360x480 with a generic monitor (Quake did that, I don't know about other games but Windows 9x/ME used 320x400 on the start-up screen) , or 400x600 with a better monitor but I don't recall any games supporting the latter. Some of the later games supported VESA BIOS (Quake did) which work at higher resolutions and bits per pixel, including HD at 24 BPP. All modern cards have VESA BIOS and it's still used today for generic drivers on modern OSes.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2017, 11:57:15 am by Hero999 »
 
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Offline Ampera

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2017, 04:39:03 pm »
DOSBox is your only bet. Virtualization software often has compatibility issues with DOS, especially when it comes to sound. This machine has 0 chance of running DOS natively, and has to have some sort of emulation done to run DOS games.

If you want a great sweet spot DOS/Windows gaming system, I suggest a Slot 1 Pentium 3 machine with an ISA soundcard (My favourite being the AWE32 CT:3670). The issue with using a Socket A/370 or higher is the massive amount of speed and compatibility issues that will ensue. You can definitely give it a try, but I suggest you turn that machine into an emulation machine. Put some emulators on for some other systems, throw some games on there (Legally, those that you already own) and you should have a good machine.

If you want a good place for information on retro machines, I suggest VOGONS. They stand for Very Old Games On New Systems, and was originally founded to get older Win9x/DOS games to run on NT based machines, and they still have sections for getting very old games to run on new systems. They also have the Marvin section which is purely dedicated to retro hardware (AM2 platform wouldn't count for most people)
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Offline rstofer

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2017, 06:25:13 pm »
I know for a fact that MAME runs under Win XP, has hundreds of arcade games and faithfully emulates the experience.

http://mamedev.org/

Mamedev doesn't sell the DVDs with the games.  You have to search elsewhere:

http://www.mamedvds.com/

It's been about 12 years since I built an Arcade cabinet with a PC running MAME.  I used an actual Wells Gardner arcade monitor.

None of this is the least bit relevant to DOS games...
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2017, 11:54:58 pm »
DOSBox is your only bet. Virtualization software often has compatibility issues with DOS, especially when it comes to sound.

Most DOS titles will run fine under a virtual environment. You usually get a choice of sound support including your bog standard Sound Blaster which is compatible with 99% of games with audio. Seeing as it's DOS however, you may need to install Sound Blaster drivers in the AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files and point the IRQ, DMA and I/O settings to match that of the virtual sound card (as if you were running DOS on an actual physical machine with a Sound Blaster card installed).

DOS isn't much different to Windows now, you still needed device drivers loaded for whatever hardware you had with the exception of bog-standard CGA/EGA graphics.
 
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Offline helius

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2017, 11:58:42 pm »
DOS isn't much different to Windows now, you still needed device drivers loaded for whatever hardware you had with the exception of bog-standard CGA/EGA graphics.
That isn't quite right... if you're talking about drivers loaded at boot time, many video and audio cards did not require them. Video cards had Video BIOS which provided software interfaces and most sound cards just used raw IO writes to magic addresses. The Gravis UltraSound had no DOS or TSR driver, for instance.
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2017, 12:03:52 am »
DOS isn't much different to Windows now, you still needed device drivers loaded for whatever hardware you had with the exception of bog-standard CGA/EGA graphics.
That isn't quite right... if you're talking about drivers loaded at boot time, many video and audio cards did not require them. Video cards had Video BIOS which provided software interfaces and most sound cards just used raw IO writes to magic addresses. The Gravis UltraSound had no DOS or TSR driver, for instance.

Yes you are quite right. I was trying to keep it simple for our OP. In my experience with DOS, most hardware I had needed drivers. The most pain in the ass were network drivers although the Microsoft Network Client made them surprisingly painless.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2017, 12:05:32 am by Halcyon »
 

Offline sony mavica

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2017, 12:36:33 am »
i found a seller selling old stock ATI Radeon 7500 64mb Video Cards for 8.22usd free shipping they are brand new just without original packaging i really don't want to spend much on this pc so would this card be better then the onboard graphics?
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Offline Halcyon

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2017, 01:05:13 am »
i found a seller selling old stock ATI Radeon 7500 64mb Video Cards for 8.22usd free shipping they are brand new just without original packaging i really don't want to spend much on this pc so would this card be better then the onboard graphics?

If you're simply talking about old DOS games, you're wasting your money. Your on-board graphics in that machine is miles ahead of what anyone had back in the 1990's. My Pentium III machine had a 2MB video card with a 6MB Voodoo II 3D accelerator card in it (which back then was "the shiz").

Perhaps if you gave us a list of the games you intend on playing, we could give better recommendations.
 

Offline sony mavica

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2017, 01:25:56 am »
i found a seller selling old stock ATI Radeon 7500 64mb Video Cards for 8.22usd free shipping they are brand new just without original packaging i really don't want to spend much on this pc so would this card be better then the onboard graphics?

If you're simply talking about old DOS games, you're wasting your money. Your on-board graphics in that machine is miles ahead of what anyone had back in the 1990's. My Pentium III machine had a 2MB video card with a 6MB Voodoo II 3D accelerator card in it (which back then was "the shiz").

Perhaps if you gave us a list of the games you intend on playing, we could give better recommendations.

this are just some of the games i can think of off the top of my head i want to play but mostly was just going to download older games i have not played and try them out to see if i liked them

half-life
half life 2 maybe
whiplash
tomb raider
Carmageddon
NASCAR Racing 2
Unreal
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Offline stj

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2017, 11:31:22 am »
if you want to play games like quake or duke-nukem,
try to get an nvidia TNT or TNT2 card.

most old dos games can run with Linux btw.
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2017, 02:39:01 pm »
Then there's Steam which I know has Half-Life and Half-Life 2 plus a LOT of others

http://store.steampowered.com/
 

Offline stj

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2017, 02:59:28 pm »
please never mention Steam again.

i consider them parasites putting bloated background tasks doing god-knows-what on peoples machines,
only to sell them something that in many cases would have been shareware otherwise.
 

Offline Ampera

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2017, 03:25:31 pm »
please never mention Steam again.

i consider them parasites putting bloated background tasks doing god-knows-what on peoples machines,
only to sell them something that in many cases would have been shareware otherwise.

While I can agree that steam was programmed by gonorrhoeic gophers, it remains a great platform, and I use it despite it's shit programming.

I suggest not getting a TNT/TNT2 for an AM2 system. There's a certain balance that needs to be attained with most PCs, not just for time accurate purposes, but for performance.

Duke 3D will run on that machine in DOSBox with 0 issues whatsoever, and Quake will run fine on the integrated graphics too.

For those games you can get the card you were talking about and it should play them alright, but the sore spot is that AM2 is not really meant for the task you are trying to undertake. A Socket A system with Windows ME/XP dual booting would probably be the best sweet spot area for this sorta stuff. You could also go for an LGA Pentium 4 if you want to go nuts.
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Offline rdl

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2017, 10:16:13 pm »
I you want older games, please get them from GOG and not Steam. GOG is a part of CD Projekt Red, a game company that does not support DRM for computer games. It has been nice playing their Witcher 3 for the last month knowing that Steam was not sniffing my butthole the whole time.
 
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Online Zero999

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Re: Making a retro dos/windows gaming pc need a little help
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2017, 08:41:35 am »
i found a seller selling old stock ATI Radeon 7500 64mb Video Cards for 8.22usd free shipping they are brand new just without original packaging i really don't want to spend much on this pc so would this card be better then the onboard graphics?

If you're simply talking about old DOS games, you're wasting your money. Your on-board graphics in that machine is miles ahead of what anyone had back in the 1990's. My Pentium III machine had a 2MB video card with a 6MB Voodoo II 3D accelerator card in it (which back then was "the shiz").

Perhaps if you gave us a list of the games you intend on playing, we could give better recommendations.

this are just some of the games i can think of off the top of my head i want to play but mostly was just going to download older games i have not played and try them out to see if i liked them

half-life
half life 2 maybe
whiplash
tomb raider
Carmageddon
NASCAR Racing 2
Unreal
Lots of those games have Windows versions but I don't know if they'll work on a modern Windows NT based OS. They'll certainly run on Windows 98 or ME, if you can find the drivers for that PC.
 


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