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Building A Demo PC

category: general [glöplog]
What specification should I make a PC to play the old demos from the early 90s (Second Reality, Crystal Dream 1&2, Unreal etc).
What would they run flawlessly on?
Is there a specific GUS soundcard I should get? Will the Ultrasound MAX do?
What amount of ram?
How many Mhz?
386 or 486?
SX or DX?
please help.
If I succeed I will produce a website detailing it all.
added on the 2001-12-14 07:08:24 by siccoyote siccoyote
For demos from the early 90s, I guess a 486DX4/100 with 64MB RAM (was quite LARGE then), and an Ultrasound MAX should do it quite nicely. Add a nice VESA2 video card (like a good'old Tseng Labs ET6000), and you get a very powerful PC to play these demos. Second Reality was initially running best on 486DX/33, but get a DX4/100 will allow you to play some more demos of later years, and having lot of memory should help you configure the PC.
added on the 2001-12-14 07:24:04 by tuo tuo
wont that make things run to fast?
added on the 2001-12-14 07:36:26 by siccoyote siccoyote
64MB!!!!!
back then I was proud when I had 4
added on the 2001-12-14 07:39:18 by siccoyote siccoyote
Too much!

I beleive a simple 486DX in whatever mhz will be capable of running them flawlessly. People say Second reality runs in a 386 too (I wish to see this..) but a 486 is recomended. I remember that Crystal Dreams 2 recommended a 486DX for the chessboard part..
486DX66 with 4Mhz must be fine I guess..

For newer demos? I still wish to see these little cool demos from Halcyon, I had only seen them in my old 486 (And still there were some problems,. I think my 486 was a Cyrix back then :P) and I liked them very much (I remember mostly Karma) Now they want run on Pentium's, wherever I try them. Except from Saint fortunatelly :)
It's crazy cause these demos required a 486 (I think). So neither something slower nor something faster would do? :P

There are few other old well known demos I have years to watch and I have watched very few times cause of similar problems with modern computers (Facts of Life, Cardiac, Catch up, e.t.c..) And even in my 486 I had made voodoo to be able to see..

My friend has showed me a previous day, the new version of Virtual PC emulator from Connectix. Ugh,. only for Pentium instructions?!?! Anyways,. it's funny, it's good, we want more PC2PC emuls, but mostly emulating 386,486, there are the most demos we are really wishing to watch again...

And I never had a GUS. I was for a GUS emulator for DOS now.. there are still few I really wish to watch oneday and they want run from windows :(
added on the 2001-12-14 10:27:52 by Optimus Optimus
Too much!

I beleive a simple 486DX in whatever mhz will be capable of running them flawlessly. People say Second reality runs in a 386 too (I wish to see this..) but a 486 is recomended. I remember that Crystal Dreams 2 recommended a 486DX for the chessboard part..
486DX66 with 4Mhz must be fine I guess..

For newer demos? I still wish to see these little cool demos from Halcyon, I had only seen them in my old 486 (And still there were some problems,. I think my 486 was a Cyrix back then :P) and I liked them very much (I remember mostly Karma) Now they want run on Pentium's, wherever I try them. Except from Saint fortunatelly :)
It's crazy cause these demos required a 486 (I think). So neither something slower nor something faster would do? :P

There are few other old well known demos I have years to watch and I have watched very few times cause of similar problems with modern computers (Facts of Life, Cardiac, Catch up, e.t.c..) And even in my 486 I had made voodoo to be able to see..

My friend has showed me a previous day, the new version of Virtual PC emulator from Connectix. Ugh,. only for Pentium instructions?!?! Anyways,. it's funny, it's good, we want more PC2PC emuls, but mostly emulating 386,486, there are the most demos we are really wishing to watch again...

And I never had a GUS. I was for a GUS emulator for DOS now.. there are still few I really wish to watch oneday and they want run from windows :(
added on the 2001-12-14 10:27:52 by Optimus Optimus
It posted 2 times while I clicked on it onetime,. sorry! It's not my fault :P
added on the 2001-12-14 10:28:19 by Optimus Optimus
While a 486/DX is nice for watching everything before -95 it's nice to have a bit more powerful computer like Pentium 133 so you can enjoy demos up to -97 with full speed. With 486 you'll miss all the newer DOS demos while with a normal Windows Athlon/Pentium3 or similar you may not be able to watch them at all.

GUS Max with 1Mb is a must. GUS Extreme is also a nice choice if you need Soundblaster for something.
added on the 2001-12-14 13:21:42 by melw melw
or you can still buy a motherboard for your hi-end pc with one isa port and buy a gus on ebay (and if you're as lucky as me you'll get an ultrasound which was very famous, mine was the card that was used on ltp3 and 4 for the intro compos, oh thank you yes again ! =)
added on the 2001-12-14 17:06:50 by florent florent
Not really, a lot of those pascal-made stuff will barf on clockspeeds over 200MHz. A really neat option is to hunt for early Pentium II processors with an unlocked multiplier (233 and 266MHz models), and stick it on one of those jumperless mainboards. You can then "throttle down" your CPU to sub-200MHz when you really need to. Seriously, it works! =)

GUS Extreme is certainly a good option if you want to cover all bases, unless you have a spare Soundblaster 16 ISA lying about . The GUS PnP is a really bad solution, since it has a little tempo glitch in 'classic' mode.
added on the 2001-12-14 18:24:01 by Shifter Shifter
my oldskool-pc is a 486dx4/100 with a gus classic (rev. 3.42 board i think) and a tseng-et4000. i think it has 16mb of ram really nice-looking 72pins simm-ram. it plays all of the truly great demos (lifeforms, second reality, dope etc.) even some "newer" demos like megablast and stuff like that goes good on that machine. i simply love it. :)
added on the 2001-12-15 19:00:02 by gloom gloom
I said 64MB because it should be hard to find less nowadays.

Anyway, 16MB is enough, even 8MB would allow most demos to run.

I would stick on a 486DX4/100.
added on the 2001-12-15 20:13:50 by tuo tuo
I've got a 486dx4 100MHz system with 16MB of RAM (ya, that's waaaaaaaay more then I had in the early 90's)
and an UltraSound classic with 1MB of RAM on it (bought it in about '93, still works great) :)
Man I miss those days :(
I really miss running my 2400bps BBS :(
Now I'm all depressed
added on the 2001-12-15 22:52:59 by hd hd
well I really miss that period of my life nowadays... but what can we do about it ? plain nothing...
added on the 2001-12-16 04:37:27 by tuo tuo
I remember the times when I ran a 14400 baud bbs at night on my parents phoneline (before i bought my own bbs-line). The fun of waiting for people to call, and to chat with people from all over the worl calling your board!

Also the joy of writing PPE's for my PCB is something i remember very well ;-)
if there's some function that returns available/total memory in kilobytes, 64M might be too much for it..
at least i remember getting some "not enough xms"-errors when i upgraded to 48M

just a thought. not too sure if it breaks anything substantial
added on the 2001-12-17 13:43:29 by 216 216
could be
added on the 2004-05-24 10:51:50 by Hatikvah Hatikvah
DosBOX is ok.
you can set speed of execution manually an you can emulate gus/sb/sbpro
see thread below on dosbox testing.
2nd reality ran perfectly w. dosbox here.
added on the 2004-05-25 21:42:31 by apricot apricot
486 DX4-100, ET4000 on vesa local bus and of course GUS!
Dont forget second level2 cache and at least 16megs of memory.
added on the 2004-05-25 22:04:08 by Stelthzje Stelthzje
Stelthz is right. A fast 486 DX (100 or 133 MHz) is recommend. Maybe a Pentium (MMX) with 166-200 MHz is an alternative for a wider range of demos (above this limit the TP7-bug is waiting). ET4000 is welcome, a GUS (with GF1) is better than a GUS PnP (AMD Interwave), SB Pro as second card is welcome, too. If you have a GUS PnP don't forget to upgrade the memory for achiving GUS compatiblity.

I myself don't see an alternative in DosBOX, because you can't feel the limitations of the hardware. Some days ago I was watching Unreal on Mindcandy and for the first time it was boring to me. This wouldn't happen on real hardware. ;)

Some more hints you can find on crest's page.
ah, the good old days when pc demos still looked like bad amiga demos...
added on the 2004-05-26 02:33:30 by reed reed
"a lot of those pascal-made stuff will barf on clockspeeds over 200MHz"
There exists a patch for those errors.. google for
"Runtime Error 200"
added on the 2004-05-26 09:39:52 by Kenho Kenho
a pentium 3 500mhz with rage pro + sdd and 1mb gus max has worked just fine for me since you can unpack and patch almost all the turbo pascal stuff that don't normally run. And with that kinda config you can go all the way to the gus-only intros of 1999 =)
added on the 2004-05-26 10:16:39 by dodke dodke
[qote]ah, the good old days when pc demos still looked like bad amiga demos...[/quote]
added on the 2004-05-26 10:21:49 by Hatikvah Hatikvah
Building a demo personal computer:

* Find a second hand Amiga 1200. Usually you can get one for around £20 - £30
* Buy a Blizzard 060 card with at least 32Mb on board. Second hand you can get them for £100. If its got a SCSI kit and a SCSI HD with it, then jump on it!
* If you didn't get a SCSI HD, don't worry, just buy or make a converter cable and put an IDE HD in it.
* Install demos
* Watch demos

Sorted. :-)
added on the 2004-05-26 10:54:53 by xeron xeron

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