Recommended configurations?

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KingDaveRa
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Recommended configurations?

Post by KingDaveRa » Fri 07 Oct, 2016 7:25 pm

I've been playing around with PCem for quite a while, and I really do love it. However, I've had mixed success with what works, and what doesn't. I appreciate that there's a great amount of hardware emulated, and the development is focused on certain areas, so I think I've occasionally fallen foul of odd bugs.

I'm curious if there's 'recommended' configurations for emulated PCs, in terms of CPU, chipset, graphics, and so on, especially when it comes to a specific guest OS. I'm just thinking in terms of how creating a new VM in Virtualbox or VMWare tends to template a lot of the configuration, so I'm wondering if anybody has any known good configurations they tend to use?

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omarsis81
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by omarsis81 » Fri 07 Oct, 2016 8:53 pm

Hello and welcome to PCem! I'm glad you like it. As per configurations, it depends on what OS you want to emulate. High end system now would be a Pentium MMX 233 and its recommanded OS would be Windows 98 SE for me. If that is what you are looking for I'd recommend the Award 430VX PCI base config with 128 or 256 MB RAM, the S3 ViRGE/DX is a nice VGA card and Windows 98 has built in drivers for it. As for sound, I would go for a Sound Blaster 16 and Voodoo graphics if you plan to play early 3D accelerated games.

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SarahWalker
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by SarahWalker » Fri 07 Oct, 2016 9:33 pm

The above configuration is good for Windows 9x games, though I'd recommend using Windows 95 OSR2 over 98 - it's a bit quicker.

For DOS stuff, I would use for a high-end 486 system :

Code: Select all

Award SiS 496/497 BIOS
Usually either a 486DX2/66 or a DX4/100
Something like an Paradise Bahamas 64 or Diamond Stealth 32 graphics card
8-16 MB RAM
Sound Blaster 16 or AWE32
and for lower end stuff :

Code: Select all

AMI 386 clone
386DX/40
Tseng ET4000AX or Trident 8900
4-8 MB RAM
Sound Blaster 2

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KingDaveRa
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by KingDaveRa » Fri 07 Oct, 2016 9:39 pm

That's excellent, very useful, thanks!

I've give those specs a whirl and see how I get on. I might try Windows 98 onto the higher spec, 95 on the 486, 3.1 on the 386, and see how they fare.

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omarsis81
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by omarsis81 » Sat 08 Oct, 2016 4:14 am

I forgot to mention, that running Pentium MMX 166 or 233 plus Voodoo is quite CPU host demanding. So, if you feel sound stuttering, try lowering the emulated CPU or play a little with the Voodoo's settings (or disable it).
You may also try with the cache setting, anything but "infinite" is usually good, unless you have a high end i5 or better

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SarahWalker
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by SarahWalker » Sat 08 Oct, 2016 11:09 am

I'd recommend leaving cache at 'infinite' and reducing the emulated CPU, rather than changing the cache setting.

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KingDaveRa
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by KingDaveRa » Sat 08 Oct, 2016 3:38 pm

I've got an i7-4710HQ, so hopefully that'll keep up.

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leilei
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by leilei » Sat 08 Oct, 2016 11:49 pm

Yes, that CPU is excellent. Enjoy your infinite Pentium MMX 166-233s :)

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KingDaveRa
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by KingDaveRa » Sat 15 Oct, 2016 10:48 pm

See, you say that, but apparently this laptop has other ideas! I started out on the P166MMX, but I was getting 50% CPU performance, if that, and horribly choppy audio.

I've got the cache set to infinite, and I've dropped the CPU down to P75, yet it's still hammering the host CPU, and the emulated speed is hovering around 70%. Sometimes it hits 100, but not for long. The audio is the least choppy it's been at that speed, but it's still kinda lousy.

Any ideas what's going on? This is the config for my vm:

Image

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omarsis81
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by omarsis81 » Sat 15 Oct, 2016 10:57 pm

Did you lower the cache?

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leilei
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by leilei » Sun 16 Oct, 2016 1:17 am

The recompiler has had some optimization improvements since release, improving the usage while Windows is in idle, you might want to try compiling the mainline tree (and try a quick -flto build)

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KingDaveRa
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by KingDaveRa » Sun 16 Oct, 2016 11:35 am

Well weirdly, lowering the cache has made it better, but it's still choppy in audio.

I'll try compiling latest, but I can't find any docs on how to. I've compiled loads of stuff on Linux, but never been successful in Windows, so I'll need a few pointers, please. :)

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omarsis81
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by omarsis81 » Sun 16 Oct, 2016 2:42 pm

I guess you're trying to play a game that uses the Voodoo card, right? Try playing with the Voodoo settings to see if you have better results

Battler
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by Battler » Sun 16 Oct, 2016 3:01 pm

Try changing the renderer to Direct3D (I think default is DirectDraw?), I heard that increases performance on modern hardware.

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KingDaveRa
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by KingDaveRa » Sun 16 Oct, 2016 3:42 pm

omarsis81 wrote:I guess you're trying to play a game that uses the Voodoo card, right? Try playing with the Voodoo settings to see if you have better results
I'm trying to boot to the Windows 98 SE desktop! I'm getting choppy performance just booting up!
Battler wrote:Try changing the renderer to Direct3D (I think default is DirectDraw?), I heard that increases performance on modern hardware.
Ahh hah!! That works! Windows 98 booted up happily, logon sounds played perfectly OK, emulated CPU is now sticking around 99-100%. Run a few things which didn't work properly before and it's fine. PCem is also using a LOT less CPU. Before it'd be hammering one of the cores, but now it's barely going over 10%! Spotify is currently using more CPU than PCem, and it's booting into Windows 98! Windows 95 is also behaving. Looks like all my issues are around DirectDraw!

Thanks @Battler, and all those who helped. :)

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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by astocky » Fri 21 Oct, 2016 7:17 am

Might be a bit late but I was reading through historical PC Mag issues on google (https://books.google.com.au/books?id=w_ ... navlinks_s) and found some preconfigured machines that might be of interest:

EDIT (fixed sharing on the spreadsheet):
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing

I included PCs that interested me from 1988 to 1996, I also included the price as I found it cool to see what $2000 bought you back then.

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omarsis81
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by omarsis81 » Fri 21 Oct, 2016 1:44 pm

Yours is a very good idea astocky!

Someone had your same idea in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=475&p=3206
They aim to gather historical computer's configuration.
Here, we aim toward PCem's configuration. We can make an Excel chart too!
I will work on something right away :)

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KingDaveRa
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by KingDaveRa » Fri 21 Oct, 2016 2:00 pm

I've been trying to stick to 'realistic' specs, because it increases the chance of software running more reliably (I think, anyway), and the purist in me just likes it that way. :D

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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by EluanCM » Fri 21 Oct, 2016 5:51 pm

Just a quick note: when running at 100% with an emulated Pentium, anything less than Infinite cache makes peformance worse than in the real computers I own.

astocky
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by astocky » Sat 22 Oct, 2016 12:01 am

omarsis81 wrote:Yours is a very good idea astocky!

Someone had your same idea in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=475&p=3206
They aim to gather historical computer's configuration.
Here, we aim toward PCem's configuration. We can make an Excel chart too!
I will work on something right away :)
Although I don't have it in a excel chart here is an example of one of the machines:

Code: Select all


EPS386 from 1992 (386DX-33 4Mb Ram SBPro 130Mb HDD running Dos 5.0 and Windows 3.0):

gameblaster = 0
gus = 0
ssi2001 = 0
voodoo = 0
model = 32
cpu_manufacturer = 1
cpu = 6
cpu_use_dynarec = 0
gfxcard = 4
video_speed = 2
sndcard = 5
cpu_speed = 3
has_fpu = 0
slow_video = 1
cache = 4
cga_composite = 0
disc_a = G:\Emulators\DOS - Software\drivers\DOS Drivers-3.5.img
disc_b = 
mem_size = 4096
cdrom_drive = 0
cdrom_enabled = 0
vid_resize = 1
vid_api = 1
video_fullscreen_scale = 1
video_fullscreen_first = 0
hdc_sectors = 17
hdc_heads = 16
hdc_cylinders = 1024
hdc_fn = G:\Emulators\DOS - PCem\HDD\136MiB  HDD (386-33) (CHS 1024,16,17).img
hdd_sectors = 0
hdd_heads = 0
hdd_cylinders = 0
hdd_fn = 
hde_sectors = 0
hde_heads = 0
hde_cylinders = 0
hde_fn = 
hdf_sectors = 0
hdf_heads = 0
hdf_cylinders = 0
hdf_fn = 
drive_a_type = 5
drive_b_type = 2
cdrom_channel = 2
cdrom_path = 
I have made the following machines (running with period correct hardware (except for bios that I can't change) and software (O/S games etc):
1983 - IBM5150 - 640k - NoHDD - 2x5.25.cfg
1983 - IBMXT - 256k - 10Mb - PC-DOS2.1.cfg
1984 - IBM PCjr - 256k - NoHDD - 1x5.25.cfg
1984 - IBMAT - 1Mb - 20Mb - PC-DOS3.0.cfg
1986 - Tandy1000 - 384k - NoHDD - 2x5.25.cfg
1988 - Tandy1000SX - 640k - 20Mb - DOS3.2.cfg
1988 - TurboXT - 640k - 20Mb - DOS3.21.cfg
1989+ - IBM PS2 8570-B21 (486DX25) - 8Mb - 120Mb - OS2 2.1.cfg
1990 - 286'12 - 1Mb - 40Mb - DOS3.3 - SB.cfg
1990 - IBM PS1 2011-134 (286-10) - 2Mb - 30Mb - PC-DOS4.01.cfg
1990 - IBM PS2 8525-036 (286-10) - 2Mb - 30Mb - OS2 1.3.cfg
1991 - IBM PS1 2121-B82 (386SX-16) - 4Mb - 80Mb - PC-DOS4.01.cfg
1992 - 386-33 - 4Mb - 136Mb - DOS5.0 - SBPro.cfg
1994 - 486DX2'66 - 8Mb - 345Mb - DOS6.2 - SB16.cfg
1994 - 486DX4'100 - 16Mb - 345Mb - DOS6.2 - SB16.cfg
1996 - P100 - 16Mb - 1.08Gb - Win95 - SB16.cfg
1999 - 6x86-333 - 64Mb - 2Gb - Win98SE - SB16.cfg

astocky
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by astocky » Sat 22 Oct, 2016 12:09 am

Excellent I just found out how to post an image:

Image

Edit:

Fixed

SuperFrog
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by SuperFrog » Wed 26 Oct, 2016 6:51 pm

SarahWalker wrote:
AMI 386 clone
When I select this one, it still shows 486 on last page of BIOS. (don't setup HD and check upper left corner)

Wonder if others have the same problem.

astocky
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Re: Recommended configurations?

Post by astocky » Fri 28 Oct, 2016 2:52 am

SuperFrog wrote:
SarahWalker wrote:
AMI 386 clone
When I select this one, it still shows 486 on last page of BIOS. (don't setup HD and check upper left corner)

Wonder if others have the same problem.
I have only ever had this when I had a bad bios. But if the machine is booting and showing bios, it could just be one of the quirks of a late 386 motherboard (like maybe a 486 upgrade option that PCem doesn't emulate)

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