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About Maes

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  1. Yet, it is :-p

    Just yesterday, I received a bunch of PCI, ISA and VESA expansion cards, along with some rarities like a COASt module, a multi-purpose VG-3000 ISA VGA that can be turned into 8 bit, 16-bit, CGA, EGA, MDA etc. just with dip switches and some ISA ethernet adapters.

    Also, I received what I thought would be a 386 SX/16 by the markings on the -slim form factor- case. I expected to make a Wolf3D or Win 3.1 machine out it, at best, even if it had 8 MB of RAM.

    Well, was I in for a surprise: the motherboard was indeed a 386 JET-300C, but it had a Cyrix Cx486DLC@40 MHz plugged in, along with an external buddy Math co-pro! This means that it plays in the same league as a full-fledged 486DX, and in fact the CPU was only a tad weaker than my 486 DX/40. The machine came with Windows 95 (!) on it, which ran surprisingly fast, too.

    As a first step, I replaced the motherboard's (dead) CMOS backup battery: since I didn't have a button cell pack, I just soldered a couple of extension wires to a flashlight's 3 AA battery compartment, threw in some alkalines, and voila', ghetto replaceable CMOS batt. replacement :-p

    Set up DOS 6.2, tried to find a decent VGA among the bunch (a Trident TVGA 8900CL or somesuch, with 1 MB of 32-bit DRAM), put in a cheapo opti 82c931 instead of a genuine creative just for kicks (it works fine in Soundblaster Pro mode). It runs Doom, although it's clearly slower than my 486 DX/40 with a VESA local bus. Other stuff like Second Reality and module players, WfW3.11 etc. work fine too, with sound (the OPTi has, surprisingly, good driverless compatibility as a Pro, you just need to run a non-resident setter utility to select between SB Pro and MSS mode).

    1. Show previous comments  17 more
    2. Maes


      leileilol said:

      Voodoo2-exclusive Glide support


      The Matrox G200 had the gimmicky Environment Bumpmap support

      And theeeeere's your killer. Perhaps I should have rephrased as "the demoscene had bump mapping before it became mainstream on widely supported, consumer-grade video cards that the average Joe could afford, and not on transitional technologies that only techno junkies/spoiled rich-kids could afford at the time" :-p

      Which pretty much means DX7 era and less exotic cards by Ati and nVidis, for you and me (unless you fitted in one of the above categories).

    3. Super Jamie

      Super Jamie

      Man, that's a pretty impressive demo for a Speccy. Lol at your friend tho, even back in 88 when I was just a boy with a Tandy I knew about putting programs on the 12-minute cassette tape!

      I love the sound chips these old systems had. Amiga's Paula, C64's SID, whatever the GameBoy has. I should get LGPT going on my GBA someday, pity I suck at making music :P

      If you like chiptunes, I've recently been listening to the Crunchy Records 2008 Compilation lately, which has some good tracks. Also check this out:

    4. Maes


      Super Jamie said:

      Man, that's a pretty impressive demo for a Speccy. Lol at your friend tho, even back in 88 when I was just a boy with a Tandy I knew about putting programs on the 12-minute cassette tape!

      When I asked him how he could keep so ignorant of the fact that loading + saving was possible, and of the existence of a large software library, e.g. "Didn't you know anyone else with a Speccy or even a C64, Amstrad, etc.?" he replied that he didn't know anyone else with any computer, for that matter :-S

      I mean, imagine living in a cave with just a B&W TV (he didn't even know the thing had colours) and Speccy. Nothing else. Sad, isn't it? Especially considering that every other C64, Speccy and Amstrad user I knew had a vast collection of cassettes or floppies, and swapped them with buddies.

      About chiptunes....I'd love having a hardware, portable MOD/chiptune player :-D

      Bucket said:

      A shame. Well, put RedHat on it or something.

      Even DSL will barely work with 8 MB, and then only in console mode. An older flavour of PC UNIX with x-windows may work better, with x. I recall an ooooold version of Redhat (in 1998) working on 486DX/120 rigs with 12 or 16 MB, but today even DSL won't work with graphics < 24 MB.