September 3, 2021 at 10:51 am #5031
So I imagine a series of episodes, each covering a specific topic (or some closely related topics, considering that maybe not all of them are equally big).
Here’s what I think makes sense:
* CPUs and RAM (maybe memory needs a separate episode to cover things like conventional, XMS, EMS, caches, …)
* Video Adapters
* Connectivity / Multiplayer
* Input Devices
* DOSBox and emulation
Is there anything I’m missing here? Is that a structure you agree with?
I don’t want to dictate all this, as always DGC stuff should be a community effort. But I’ll gladly take the lead and make sure we get things done sooner or later 😉
TigerQuollParticipantSeptember 4, 2021 at 6:36 am #5033
I think it would be useful to have a general DOS episode – what it is, a (short) history, how it works “under the hood”, what autoexec.bat and config.sys are etc.
Since this is “DOS Game club”, this would be a good way to really show how the hardware and the OS work with and influence each other.September 4, 2021 at 12:19 pm #5036
Good one. I guess this will be more a history of the PC think, explaining also BIOS stuff, maybe extension ROMs? All the basics before diving into the individual topics.
sorceressParticipantSeptember 4, 2021 at 4:38 pm #5038
I suggested this idea to you a couple of times in the past and had it dismissed. So I’m delighted to see you’re going forward with it now 🙂
A few ideas:
– CPU episode. Look at the different generations of x86, and discuss what they each brought new to the table and why it mattered. 60vs66MHz bus speed and clock multipliers. Example comparison of a 133 and 150MHz pentium. Also look at the cheaper alternatives to the market leader intel with amd/cyrix/overdrive. Intel’s first real competition – their affordability and relative advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps go as far as looking at mmx and the celeron/duron variants. Look at how fast the industry moved back then – 18 months and your £1200 PC was out of date and couldn’t run some of the latest games. socket A, super 7, pentium II slot. dual cpu mobos. cache sockets. Upgrade paths with different choices of mobos.
– Voodoo card episode. I know you touched on the voodoo cards in your FMB videos, but I’d like to hear a more in-depth discussion of them: the CPU-era each belonged to, comparing their power/features, how they are installed, what they made possible in games and how they worked.
– Ram evolution episode. Like there’s SRAM and DRAM. Soldered and socketed. What was FPM/EDO in the pentium era? How memory was super expensive in the mid 90s. Memory layouts with upper/lower banks. conventional/extended/expanded memory. Why were dimms installed in pairs? Early sdram for pentiums. I feel there’s lots of stuff to explain here.
– A chipset episode. Explain what chipsets were for and how they worked. Then go through each x86 generation. You know there was the FX and VX and TX in the pentium era, and the highly successful 440BX later on. What were these variations all about, why were some more desirable than others, and did it make much of a difference? Explain all this stuff –> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_chipsets#Pentium_chipsets
– A sound card evolution episode. I’ve had others already express interest in this. You have the YM chips of the 1980s, and clever ways to make the PC speaker do more than beep. The Adlib and OPL era. The Soundblaster/multimedia era where cards had game ports, and sometimes IDE headers and CD drives would plug into the card. MIDI synthesis. PCM and sound buffers. And the setup in DOS with IRQ/PORT/DMA and what does that all mean?
MattPParticipantSeptember 4, 2021 at 9:06 pm #5039
Here are my few cents:
* Piracy during DOS times, ease of getting games.
* Memories from the DOS times – e.g., I remember getting a color CRT and checking all games now in color and having a blast. Same for getting my first sound card.September 6, 2021 at 8:32 am #5048
I wonder how we would fit Piracy into all of this? It seems a relatively small topic, maybe we can fit it into the storage devices episode?
And yeah, we will probably talk a lot about how each new innovation influenced us as young gamers.September 6, 2021 at 8:36 am #5049
sorceress, DIMMs weren’t often installed in pairs, at least not before DDR RAM, which we shouldn’t cover, it’s not a DOS topic.
30-pin SIMMs were always installed in pairs or even quadruples. They are 8-bit wide but CPUs had 16 or even 32 bit wide data busses).
Personally, I think, all those memory tech advances are pretty cool. I just hope we don’t lose the audience with those details.
sorceressParticipantSeptember 6, 2021 at 6:38 pm #5051
I vividly remember one day at school when a pupil brought in his pentium PC and had the school’s IT technician install the RAM and graphics card he had bought the weekend prior. Several of us watched that bit of electronic surgery take place, as we happened to be there at the time.
The graphics card installation went fine, but the technician didn’t install the RAM correctly somehow (either not in pairs or mixing up the chips) and the computer showed a ridiculous amout of memory during POST, and the child thought they had discovered some neat trick together. 🙂
Regarding these episodes: I imagine most people who are into DOS gaming nowadays will also have interest in the hardware side too… and it’s not as if it will only be low-level details being discussed. Listeners can always skip over the bits they don’t like, just as they might do with the regular episodes.
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