Single Status Update
So I upgraded my netbook. It was a hell of a deal: a post-Xmas open box returned SSD for $18. Yes, eighteen dollars for a 64GB SSD. I'm not really noticing a huge speed boost, but that's not the main reason I bought it.
I scandisk'd the other drives that were giving me trouble and they came up clean. I wonder if SMART actively reassigns sectors. Do I dare use one of these as a main drive, or should I relegate them to file storage?
Finally - no one wants to buy my old P1 laptop. My local consignment shop won't take gear that old; apparently they have a problem with people returning them, saying they were unable to check Facebook. I guess that's fair. That leaves me the challenge of doing something useful with it. It's probably only good for Slackware or DSL. It only has a floppy drive - but if I can find a boot disk with PCMCIA support, then I can plug in my SD card adapter and install whatever I want. Suggestions?
Pentium 1 150MHz, 32MB RAM, 2GB HDD
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The only thing this machine is missing is emulators. Sadly, even the Atari 2600 ones I found were too demanding.
You'll have to use emulators of the same vintage as the machine. The various NoCa$h emulator (NO$GAMEBOY, NO$CPC etc.) should work just fine. Magic Engine (PC-Engine/TurboGfx) gave full speed on a Pentium 133/166. Early MAME versions are perfectly playable. Raine will give full speed even with Sega System-16 Neo Geo games etc.
For NES/Genesis: Nesticle and Genecyst. For the most optimized Arcade and Sega Master System/Game Gear emu ever: Sparcade. That one gave full framerate even on a 486!
Odd. I was using the DOSWin version of z26 and it was a slideshow. Maybe I'll try Nesticle...
I'd go pure DOS, you can't always trust Windows to be 100% transparent and side-effect free as far as performance is concerned, especially for those "hybrid" DOSWin titles. Usually, wrong soundcard settings (especially if it's not a pure hardware-compatible Sound Blaster but merely a software emulation layer, as many clones were) can sap incredible amounts of processing power and cause all kinds of timing troubles.
Use a pure DOS emulator, and remember that Atari 2600 emulation is deceivingly demanding, because of the need to do raster/TV emulation as well (while e.g. a C64 or even a 680x0 emulator can do "cooler" stuff with less CPU juice).
One thing I try to keep in mind is that laptops always lag behind in performance.
Well yeah, but a Pentium 150 is always a Pentium 150. Unless the VGA really sucks badly (e.g. uses an ISA bus) or the sound card drivers cause TSR issues, it shouldn't have problems with any emulator from that era.