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Soon to be added to the collection: A vintage-modern hybrid

nc_mike

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Sep 28, 2014
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473
This is my latest weekend project in progress. I am expanding my collection with another custom addition; I want to build a bit of a unicorn hybrid vintage-modern system. I am not sure if it has ever been done before. When complete, the system ought to:

Have the widest application support on one machine - from DOS through Win7 (32-bit)
Be fast – aiming for a 3.4GHz CPU or better
have a fast and large main drive (SSD - at least 240GB)
Multi-boot DOS/Win3.x, Win98, WinNT-4, Win7, maybe a few others too
Max out the RAM (4GB for Win7)
Support USB in all OSs
Support audio in all OSs
Support IDE and SATA drives in all OSs
Support internal 1.44, 1.2M, Zip100, CD/DVD R/W, internal CF/SD Card reader
Support max rez and color for each OS
TCP/IP enabled in all
56K internal modem
Wired and wireless net connectivity
Support analog video capture and TV tuner

This system will support a ton of applications designed for DOS all the way up to Win7 on the same box.
I haven’t seen anything like this yet myself. Building such a monster presents some pretty unique challenges.

• To get full-function DOS/Win3.x and later requires ISA slots
• To get audio working in DOS/Win3.x requires DMA and IRQ control in a mixed ISA/PCI
• To get high rez/max color in all requires a VGA adapter with broad driver support
• To get all those drives working requires dual-channel IDE/SATA and on-board USB
• To get Win7 requires a Direct X 9 card
• To get Win95 and Win98 to co-exist in a 4GB RAM (more than 512MB) requires some trickery
• To get TCP/IP working in DOS and Win requires a shim
• To get USB working under under DOS and Win3.x requires some special drivers
• To get more than 4 OSes requires boot manager that supports more than 4 primary partitions
• To get all those drives into the same case requires an good expandable ATX case

....and even more challenges

Can it all be done on one machine? Maybe. I am most of the way there… :)

More to come....
 

glitch

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Industrial PICMG chassis and your choice of Pentium 4 or better single board computer. I don't know about getting USB working under all OSes, unless you're pretty flexible on your definition of "working." SATA is no problem though, I've got a few controllers on hand that will boot DOS just fine.

I assume you're doing this just to say you've done it, right? :)
 

kb2syd

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Industrial PICMG chassis and your choice of Pentium 4 or better single board computer.
I second this. It's what I used to make the computer I use to image disks. I only boot dos, and older debian distro and windows 2K but that was all I needed.

Kelly
 

nc_mike

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Sep 28, 2014
Messages
473
Yes, I am doing it - because I can, and enjoy the challenge :)

I am 3/4 of the way there. I've based the machine on a P4SCA Socket 478 motherboard with 3 ISA and 4 PCI slots, which has a dual IDE/SATA controller that runs in mixed mode and has on-board USB 2.0, legacy multiple floppy drive support, and the ISA supports DMA (for the sound card) under DOS/Win3.x. I've currently fired it up with a 3.0GHz CPU, and will soon drop in a Prescott EE 3.4GHz 800MHZ FSB replacement CPU. I've got a good 475W PSU which is probably a little overkill, but had a good set of both molex and SATA connectors and is quiet.

For the chassis I found a really nice SMILODON RAIDMAX ATX Mid Tower with a Foldout motherboard panel on one side and a fold down windowed side panel on the other with lots of fans for extra cooling. It has four 5.25" external bays, two external 3.5" bays, and several internal bays - sweet case.

As far as USB, I've got USB working under DOS (DOS 7.1)/Win 3.11, and Win98 so far; right now it sees my USB card reader and Cruzer micro USB sticks. Win95 is a little tougher, but I'll get it working there. It won't be any issue with later OSs.

Right now I'm using BootMagic to manage the multi-boot, but I'll likely switch over to BootIt BareMetal to break the 4 primary partition limitation.

I currently have DOS 7, Win3.11, and Win98SE installed and fully enabled with tons of apps installed. Today I just got hold of the patch for Win95/98/NT that deals with the 512MB memory barrier....ready to install it then up my RAM from 512 to the full 4GB of which I have 4 1GB SIMMs, but without that patch, Win98 hangs on boot (a known limitation - most workarounds don't work or work well with > 1GB of RAM.

For drives I've got a SATA 240GB SSD hooked via a SATA cable to the MOB and a SATA CD/DVD RW hooked up to SATA2. On the IDE channel I've got a 2nd CD/DVD RW drive working as well as an IDE Zip100. I have yet to install the USB internal card reader (later today). DOS/Win3 has no problem booting up and using the SATA drives as I've set the BIOS to use mixed mode which allows up to any combo of four IDE or SATA drives off the MOB.

More fun to come...
 

nc_mike

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Sep 28, 2014
Messages
473
I made a little more progress yesterday. I was able to break the Windows 98 512MB RAM barrier and installed all 4GB of RAM so that I can install Windows 7 after the DirectX 9 video adapter arrives. I got there using a great utility/patch from R. Lowe called PATCHMEM which does the same for Win95. If you want to run these on machines with lot of RAM, this is the only way to go as all of the other hacks really don't work well or at all.

Another (free) patch I used from Lowe is a generic USB driver for Win9x. Yesterday I added an internal multi card reader to the build and I used it to get Win98 to recognize it. I was also very pleased to see that the DOS USB support I had previously added also fully recognized the new internal muti-card reader (all of 'em!) (http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/...sb-drivers-dos)

He's got a great set of other Win9x and related utilities and patches as well - check it out: http://rloew1.us.to/

Also - I successfully upgraded the 3.0GHz CPU with a 3.4GHz Prescott Extreme Edition CPU and a new cooler. The original one I had was noisy and this one is whisper quiet and intended for the 3.4GHz Prescott and running cool.

Last major adds waiting include a 5.25" 1.2MB drive, a 56K modem, and maybe a 2nd HDD drive (I have an additional PCI EIDE expansion card I hope that Win98 and up will see) and install WIndows 7 32-bit next. I'd like to drop the Intel Pro100, but it works in DOS/Win31 and Win98 where the Pro1000 someone doesn't under Win98 even though it shows no resource conflicts.

Full system spec (pictures coming):

CASE: Raidmax Smilodon ATX-612WB Black/Silver Foldout Computer Case
RAM: 4GB RAM 2x2GB
BOOT DRIVE: 240GB SATA SSD (SATA Connected - Combined IDE)
MAIN BOARD: SuperMicro P4SCA Intel E7210 Socket 478 800MHz F/S Bus
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 Prescott 3.4GHz Extreme Edition/1MB Cache
CPU Cooler: GlacialTech Igloo 4360 Plus Intel 478 Cooling Fan
PSU: Logisys Corp. 480W 240-Pin Black Beauty ATX 20+4 PS480D-BK
EXPANSION SLOTS: 3 ISA/ 4PCI
SERIAL PORTS: 2 Fast UART 16550 serial ports
PARALLEL PORT: 1 ECP / EEP Parallel Port
ONBOARD PORTS: Dual Headed IDE (4 IDE drives), Floppy, 2 SATA
USB 1: Two external USB 2.0 Ports
USB 2: StarTech.com 7 Port PCI USB 2.0 Card Adapter PCIUSB7
FLOPPY 1: 3.5" 1.44MB
FLOPPY 2: 5.25" 1.2MB
REMOVABLE DISK: Internal 100MB IOMega Zip Drive (IDE)
CD/DVD DRIVE 1 DVD/CD Rewritable Drive (IDE)
CD/DVD DRIVE 2 DVD/CD Rewritable Drive (SATA - Combined IDE)
VIDEO ADAPTER 1: ATI RageXL 8MB PCI Graphic Controller (On board/jumpered off)
VIDEO ADAPTER 2: Matrox Millenium II (for Win3.1x High Rez and High Color)
VIDEO ADAPTER 3: EVGA 6 GeForce 6200 DirectX 9 512MB 64-Bit DDR2 PCI 2.1 (For Windows 7)
NET ADAPTER 1: Intel® 82541 10/1000 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (On Board) (woring for DOS/Win3.1 but not for 98 yet)
NET ADAPTER 2: Intel Pro 10/100 (working for Win98)
WIRELESS NET: TP-LINK TL-WR702N Wireless N150 Nano Nouter/AP/Client/Bridge/Repeater 150Mbps USB Powered
SOUND CARD: Yamaha Audician 32 Plus (ISA) with DreamBlaster Synth S1 General MIDI Daughter board
USB CARD READER: Internal USB Card Reader
SPEAKER: SONY Deep Base Amplified Speaker
KEYBOARD: Classic IBM Model M Keyboard
MOUSE: PS/2 Mouse
MONITOR: 20" LED Display


Regards,
Mike




Regards,
Mike
 

nc_mike

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Sep 28, 2014
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473
And yet another hurdle overcome. To support Win7, I installed a DirectX 9 capable VGA adapter (the EVGA 6 GeForce 6200). A DirectX 9 card is required to install and run Win7. I was able to find the Win9x drivers fr the adapter, but I don't know of any DirectX 9 adapter that would have drivers for Win 3.x. The best I could get was 800x600 by 16 color native Win3.x driver to work and lost the 1024x768x256 support I have working with the Millenium II VGA adapter it replaced (both VGA card would not co-exist). I got around the problem - I remembered there was an SVGA patch that many use for getting high-rez/color VGA working in virtual machines called VGAPATCH (http://www.scampers.org/steve/vmware/). I had a hunch it might also work in native Win3.x environments. So I grabbed a copy of SVGA.EXE from here (http://www.conradshome.com/win31/), exploded it into its own folder with VGAPATCH, ran VGAPATCH to patch the SVGA drivers, and then ran Windows SET to choose the new 1024x768x256 driver and voila! - max rez/color using a DirectX 9 VGA adapter!

Regards,
Mike
 

nc_mike

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...and no SCSI.

I've got SCSI..haven't installed it yet :)

I'll be looking into the others as well; job 1 was basic co-existance. Other than this build, I haven't seen anything like it yet outside of using VMs.

Also, I did add the DreamBlaster Synth S1 General MIDI Daughterboard to the Yamaha Audician 32 Plus so far. I have the option of adding the DreamFace S1 Synth MIDI Interface Board (http://www.serdashop.com/DreamFaceS1) which I might just do and hook up my keyboard and run the Voyetra sequencer (I do a log of home studio recording now using Sonar X3 Producer - a high end package).

The EVGA 6 GeForce 6200 is reported that it does perform the 3DFX glide wrapper games of yesteryear without a hitch.

Regards,
Mike
 
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Chuck(G)

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Will the PASCA FDC do single-density (FM)? Many of the Supermicro boards incorporate FDCs that do not. Use the TESTFDC utility to figure that out.
 

nc_mike

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Sep 28, 2014
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Will the PASCA FDC do single-density (FM)? Many of the Supermicro boards incorporate FDCs that do not. Use the TESTFDC utility to figure that out.

Yah, that will be an interesting test to run. FM preceded MFM for early games if I read correctly, but I don't know how early. I've compiled a whole list of games I'd like to try stretching all the say back to the early 80's. So far I am pretty impressed with the P4SCA - its handled most everything I've thrown at it with mixed mode SCSI/IDE, DMA that actually works...will see if this is also supported.

Mike
 

nc_mike

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You see a lot SD/FM for old CP/M systems and the like. Not so much for PC and later.

Vague recollections - my first system was an Eagle II running CPM and Kodak projector sequencing software back around 1980 :)

M.
 

nc_mike

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Sep 28, 2014
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Yeah, that's when they were still known as "AVL Eagles".

That's right. They replaced the punch tape systems for A/V sequencing that preceded them. That system was really quite a marvel at the time - no one who hasn't seen a 30x60 foot multimedia show with it driving 16+ Ektagraphic slide projectors and a massive sound system knows what real multimedia was like in a large conference hall.

Mike
 

Bungo Pony

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My "universal" machine is an old 833 MHz Pentium III with 1G RAM. Supports IDE, SATA, SCSI, USB, has a VGA & Composite video output. It has no cover and just kinda sits in the corner. I have a drawer full of hard drives with various OSes on them and plug them in as I need them. I have to pull 3 sticks of ram if I want to use Win95. Sometimes I'll use it to plug in a hard drive from a dead PC and pull the data with a Linux live CD. It's the most versatile machine I have, and I haven't found anything better to replace it with.
 

nc_mike

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Messages
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My "universal" machine is an old 833 MHz Pentium III with 1G RAM. Supports IDE, SATA, SCSI, USB, has a VGA & Composite video output. It has no cover and just kinda sits in the corner. I have a drawer full of hard drives with various OSes on them and plug them in as I need them. I have to pull 3 sticks of ram if I want to use Win95. Sometimes I'll use it to plug in a hard drive from a dead PC and pull the data with a Linux live CD. It's the most versatile machine I have, and I haven't found anything better to replace it with.

You can leave those sticks in your system if you use R. Lowe's PATCHMEM - but its not free. If you use Win7 you need at video card with at least DirectX 9 support. Before this build I've been using a 500MHz system with 768MB of RAM which Win95 and WIn98 had no issue with, but to run Win7 really requires a CPU of 1GHz or faster - and really more than that for decent performance. My goal is to get multi-boot working from the same boot drive having Win7, Win98, and DOS/WIN3.x without having to change out boot drives. I'm close, but ran into one snag last night when trying to install Win7-32bit - The install CD starts to boot and when it gets to the Start Installation button it hangs saying:

"A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing" or "A media driver your computer needs is missing" error message when you install Windows"

..which is kinda odd to after the install got that far. I am not sure what the issue it; I rules out that the install disc is bad - I get it with other install discs as well. My Boot drive is a 256GB SSD hanging off of SATA1 (primary), and one of the two DVD/CD drives is hanging off of SATA2 (slave). I have two IDE drive on the 2nd IDE channel, a ZIP100 drive (Primary), and an IDE DVD/CD (slave). They work great under DOS/Win31 and Win98 in "Mixed Mode". IF I run as SATA I can't use the IDE channel/drives, if I run in Enhanced or Auto data gets corrupted on writes under DOS. I did try all of them when trying to install Win 7 (I just hid the DOS/Win and 98 partitions on the SSD). So I am no sure why I am getting that error message yet or how best to get around it. Once option is to download the Win7 ISO and put it on a USB stick and try to install.

Regards,
Mike
 

nc_mike

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Sep 28, 2014
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Update: Well, after fussing with every variation I could try with BIOS disk settings, no go, then, on a desperate hunch, I tried using a different SATA DVD/CD drive and now it gets right to the license agreement screen with the driver error message. I was starting to worry the old lady needed ACHI mode, which it doesn't have, but that's not the case.....onward!

Regards,
Mike
 

nc_mike

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Latest update: The final build is finally coming together. I've just successfully installed Windows 7 along with all of the updated to make it fully current. Another upgrade I made was to add a 5.25" 1.2MB internal floppy drive. Have you ever hard of anyone getting a 5.25" internal floppy drive working on a Windows 7 machine? I haven't.

I created another partition and from a clone of the Windows 7 partition which I'll next upgrade to Windows 10 - finally have a machine that can run everything from DOS/Win3.1, Win98, Win7, Win10, and other versions of Windows all on the same hardware. In addition to pics, I'll post a journal of the build along with all of the sources and links to what I did and used to get here in case someone else as crazy as me wants to build one.

Regards,
Mike

Regards,
Mike
 
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