Portable X86 Device (Size Of Psp) To Play Ms-Dos Games Natively


gruso

thunderbox
Joined
Feb 28, 2008
Messages
7,461
Age
45
Location
Sydney, Australia
Website
pandorapress.net
DAMN YOU EBAY!

I have discovered a class of device that I previously knew nothing about. In the late 90s there were a number of inventory management type devices that were essentially 386/486 handhelds running Win95/98. They typically have greyscale 320x240 or 640x480 touchscreens, a range of connectivity including PCMCIA... I'm frothing at the mouth here.
 

andwan0

Still Fresh
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
Messages
13
Gruso said:
DAMN YOU EBAY!

I have discovered a class of device that I previously knew nothing about. In the late 90s there were a number of inventory management type devices that were essentially 386/486 handhelds running Win95/98. They typically have greyscale 320x240 or 640x480 touchscreens, a range of connectivity including PCMCIA... I'm frothing at the mouth here.

Yep, my Toshiba Libretto 100CT (overclocked to 266MHz, 64MB RAM) is very nice. Very small, very fast for Windows 2000. It's got PCMCIA slots... came with a wireless network card, floppy disk and more. Very happy with eBay purchase :D
 
Last edited by a moderator:

gruso

thunderbox
Joined
Feb 28, 2008
Messages
7,461
Age
45
Location
Sydney, Australia
Website
pandorapress.net
I found even smaller things. :D

1zn4n7k.jpg


99MHz AMD 486, 240x320 4 level greyscale touchscreen, Windows 95


2r3fbi8.jpg


Intel 486DX2-50, 640x480 64 level greyscale touchscreen, Windows 98
 

andwan0

Still Fresh
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
Messages
13
Gruso said:
I found even smaller things. :D

1zn4n7k.jpg


99MHz AMD 486, 240x320 4 level greyscale touchscreen, Windows 95


2r3fbi8.jpg


Intel 486DX2-50, 640x480 64 level greyscale touchscreen, Windows 98

Show me, or PM the URLs @:DDDD
 
Last edited by a moderator:

gruso

thunderbox
Joined
Feb 28, 2008
Messages
7,461
Age
45
Location
Sydney, Australia
Website
pandorapress.net
I'll share very soon (I feel like a real arse saying that, but I don't want to be gazumped on the one I'm bidding on). Don't worry, there are plenty of the little ones available. I found complete user & reference manuals too, which I'll also share. :) Turns out they have they have 3x PCMCIA slots, and it looks like a PS/2 keyboard could be hooked up pretty easily too. I just wish I knew more about hardware hacking, and how viable it would be to use another LCD. Probably not very.

[edit] Ebay auction sniped while I slept :( Time to spill the info:

The little one is a Norand 6110. http://news.cnet.com/Windows-95-goes-in-handheld/2100-1001_3-210294.html

The big one is a Norand 6600.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you're a hardcore DIYer you might find these interesting too: http://www.embeddeds...cts/MSDOS.shtml

A few more devices worth researching, all of them portable 386/486 systems:

Dauphin DTR-2
Fujitsu Stylistic 500
Telxon PTC-1134, PTC-2134
 

gruso

thunderbox
Joined
Feb 28, 2008
Messages
7,461
Age
45
Location
Sydney, Australia
Website
pandorapress.net
I just picked up a Toshiba Libretto 50CT with these extras:

- Power Adapter
- Extra High Capacity Battery
- Toshiba Battery Charger
- Dockingstation (Port Replicator)
- Small Docking Station
- Xircom PCMCIA Modem
- Xircom PCMCIA Ethernet Adapter 10/100
- PCMCIA Compact Flash (CF) Card Adapter
- Box for Accessories

I want to use this to drive my Roland MT-32. :D All I need is a PCMCIA MIDI/gameport card. Damn they're hard to find these days. I don't
suppose anyone has one they'd part with?

BTW - anyone wanting an awesome Win98 tablet + dock should search ebay for Norand 6600. There are three available, and the price is nice.
 

andwan0

Still Fresh
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
Messages
13
Just updating all my followers of finding a "Portable x86 Device to play MS-DOS games natively". Am quite happy with my Libretto 100CT (overclocked to 266MHz, 96MB EDO RAM, 8GB HD) that I bought off eBay. I wiped the harddisk and used MS-DOS 6.22 boot disk to create FAT16 partitions (each is max. 2GB). Why FAT16? Incase I am in MS-DOS 6.22 native mode and want to access ALL my partitions (MS-DOS 6.22 can't read FAT32).

However I installed Windows 98SE instead into C:\. Installation was quick and easy, and I didn't even need additional drivers. The generic Windows 98SE CD detected all Libretto's devices (sound/display/etc) and had drivers for them - (though I still update ALL drivers from updated drivers from Toshiba's website).

I carry about JUST the Libretto... minus the floppy disk peripheral... on 2 hour commute trains. How does one boot into native DOS (with sound/cdrom/mouse and memory ems/xms configurations... but have all those features OFF when booting into WINDOWS 98)?? Easy, Windows 95/98 comes with 2 NATIVE MS-DOS shortcuts (different from the prompt window).... found in:

C:\WINDOWS\MS-DOS for games.pif
C:\WINDOWS\MS-DOS for games with EMS/XMS.pif

The pif (shortcuts) contain configurations for memory/display, autoexec.bat & config.sys setup. One just needs to add the Sound Blaster Pro & mouse loadup lines into autoexec.bat and that's it! When you double-click on the MS-DOS shortcuts... it TEMPORARILY replaces io.sys, msdos.sys (the bootstrap loaders)... aswell as autoexec.bat & config.sys... then reboots.

When I want to go back into Windows 98 I just type restart (or reboot)... and it'll replace the original io.sys, msdos.sys, autoexec.bat & config.sys (the ones without loading DOS sound, DOS cdrom, DOS memory manager... hence saving memory in windows).




Small keyboard and crappy Libretto mouse? No problem. Just get a optical PS2 mouse and PS2 keyboard, plus 1 PS2 to COM1 (serial 9-pin convertor).


Games happily playing while commuting on 2 hour train:

Constructor
Die By The Sword
Dungeon Keeper 1
Lands of Lore 2
Magic Carpet 1 & 2
Starcraft
Syndicate Wars
Theme Hospital
Total Annihilation
Warcraft II



PS: Next device I'll buy is the asus eee pc 1005ha
 

krosfyah

Syntax Error
Joined
Aug 7, 2006
Messages
1,093
Location
Sideways RAM
Website
Visit site
Gruso said:
I just picked up a Toshiba Libretto 50CT..
Me too!

How do you like it so far?

I've been having a blast with all the great stuff from Abandonia on mine. The Soundblaster Pro compatibility was a nice little bonus I didn't know about when I got it. Running games in actual DOS is so much better than all that Dosbox nonsense. Although, I did have to refresh myself with config.sys/autoexect.bat and memory management to get that elusive 600Kb free!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

gruso

thunderbox
Joined
Feb 28, 2008
Messages
7,461
Age
45
Location
Sydney, Australia
Website
pandorapress.net
krosfyah said:
Gruso said:
I just picked up a Toshiba Libretto 50CT..
Me too!

How do you like it so far?

I've been having a blast with all the great stuff from Abandonia on mine. The Soundblaster Pro compatibility was a nice little bonus I didn't know about when I got it. Running games in actual DOS is so much better than all that Dosbox nonsense. Although, I did have to refresh myself with config.sys/autoexect.bat and memory management to get that elusive 600Kb free!
Did you pick up the only "buy it now" 50CT that was on ebay? It was a nice price. I'd been watching it for a while, and I went to buy it last night but it was gone. I was fuming. :lol: Thankfully it turned out not to be necessary.

What happened was this: When mine turned up last week, it appeared to be faulty. No LCD display, no VGA output. Eventually I learned about holding F12 on boot to access the BIOS updater (not the BIOS itself). So I now had a BIOS update prompt on screen, waiting for a disk. Problem was, I had no floppy drive. So I located an original Libretto FDD on ebay and dropped another $40. I also had to buy a box of DS/DD floppies. By yesterday, all this stuff had arrived.

So last night I got everything prepared for a BIOS update. Floppies formatted, drive working nicely, let's go. It ran the update, then rebooted to the same black screen. I tried it over and over again with no luck. At this point I was pretty pissed off, on the verge of filing a Paypal claim and buying the aforementioned Libretto that was still sitting on ebay. Then I happened upon an old Libretto forum, where some guy said the guaranteed fix for this problem is simply to dismantle the Libretto completely, pull the CMOS battery, re-seat all connections, and put it back together again. I calmed myself down and ripped the bastard open.

40 minutes later I had a Windows 95 splash screen. :D In the end I'm glad that other Libretto was sold, because it forced me to throw effort at the problem instead of money. I'm still having some small issues; I did the IE4 desktop update for Win98 style file browsing, and now my start button doesn't work. The HDD is a bit clicky too. So I'm going to start fresh with a new HDD, no biggie. I did get some Warcraft 2 in though (it was already on the hard drive) and man does it look awesome on a little 640x480 screen.

http://i525.photobuc...arcraft50ct.jpg

The ebay seller is still on my shitlist though.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

krosfyah

Syntax Error
Joined
Aug 7, 2006
Messages
1,093
Location
Sideways RAM
Website
Visit site
Gruso said:
Did you pick up the only "buy it now" 50CT that was on ebay? It was a nice price. I'd been watching it for a while, and I went to buy it last night but it was gone. I was fuming. :lol: Thankfully it turned out not to be necessary.
Ha no, I actually managed to get it for about half that in an auction.

Had a couple issues myself, the display was stuck at 16 colours, but managed to sort it out through the bios and finding the original drivers. Glad you got yours up and running they really are quirky little things but worth the effort.

I agree about the screen too, VGA games look fantastic on it! I'm actually debating whether to reformat and ditch Windows 95 and just have it as a little DOS games machine. The only thing stopping me is I'm not sure if the PCMCIA peripherals work through straight DOS or need Windows?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

christo930

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2004
Messages
1,095
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
andwan0 said:
I've been playing oldskool 1990 PC games on my PSP (via PSX ports or SCUMMVM or even Amiga ports). DOSBox and DOS emulation on PSP is way too slow. Even FreeDOS on bochs emulator is still slow (well it's not slow to run DOS and use DOS but it's slow to run the DOS games under DOSBox or FreeDOS on PSP).

So I was thinking... PSP is a 333MHz MIPS machine. Wouldn't it be cool if someone made a x86 portable device as small as PSP? Am not talking about laptops. If we took a x86 motherboard and shrunk it down to the size of a PSP... then using the Memory Pro Duo or MicroSD as the hard drive... and have USB or PS/2 ports for the mouse & keyboard... and the small LCD screen. then the power consumption would be similar to that of PSP... and can use a small 9V battery. Then can install/use MS-DOS natively and play all oldskool 1990 MS-DOS games like Alien Carnage, Duke Nukem series, and many more.

I read an article of some guy made a portable PS2 virtually similar size as the PSP. If he could do that then one could do a self project in making a x86 portable gaming device size of a PSP too.

Would this be feasible? Does anyone know about x86 motherboards, batteries, LCDs, storage (Memory Pro Duo / MicroSD), PS/2 or USB connections, etc)?

There's always the Toshiba Libretto. They are pretty small and should play every dos game ever made, even the slowest one is a Pentium. If you can find a 2.5 disk converter to compact flash you can save a decent amount of power by not having a hard disk.

EDIT: The story of my life, a day late and a dollar short. I should have read the whole thread first, sorry. At least my idea about 2.5 - compact flash adapter wasn't already suggested.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

gruso

thunderbox
Joined
Feb 28, 2008
Messages
7,461
Age
45
Location
Sydney, Australia
Website
pandorapress.net
:lol: In the meantime, we all bought Librettos.

Those compact flash adapters are a good idea, I should look into that. You can get them in FDD form too!

[edit] oops, FDD adapters are not CF. Still cool though, check here: http://shop.ebay.com.au/?_from=R40&_trksid=m38&_nkw=FlashPath+
 

fishybawb

Hired Geek
Joined
Jul 22, 2005
Messages
1,115
Age
42
Location
York, UK
Website
Visit site
Gruso said:
:lol: In the meantime, we all bought Librettos.

Those compact flash adapters are a good idea, I should look into that. You can get them in FDD form too!

[edit] oops, FDD adapters are not CF. Still cool though, check here: http://shop.ebay.com.au/?_from=R40&_trksid=m38&_nkw=FlashPath+

I picked up a cheap IDE->CF adapter on eBay, it works really well. Just make sure you get a fast CF card, 133x or under makes load times somewhat glacial. Oh, and try not to get a counterfeit card too, I got a "Kingston" one that worked fine, just at half the expected transfer rates :(
 
Last edited by a moderator:

dgame

Active Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2006
Messages
945
You guys got me interested in the old Librettos. Very interested.

So I fed my old-school technology appetite with a healthy dose of Libretto madness and 16-bit PCMIA goodness.

Most of the stuff is still in transit, but since my last auction ended I can write about it now.

I got two Libretto’s, a 50CT [16MB/810MB] and 70CT [32MB/1.6GB].
I like the smaller size.

I also got a bunch of 16-bit PCMCIA goodies.
These were either bought separately or included with the computer auctions:

1 x Wifi Card
1 x CD Rom
2 x Floppy Disk Drives
2 x AC adapters
2 x Port Replicators (Docks)
2 x 3COM 10/100 network cards
2 x PCMCIA CF (compact flash) Readers
2 x CF to IDE adapters
2 x CF Cards
2 x SD Card to CF adapters
1 x MIDI Traveler (PCMCIA MIDI/gameport) see the specs here (PDF)


I already have other 16-bit Wifi cards. I want to get two new batteries.

The CF IDE interface will be the boot disk. Wifi and Ethernet will be available on both.

Initially they’re going to run Windows 98lite with the 95 interface for native Windows and DOS support.

Since USB is not possible the MIDI card will allow my Gravis Xterminaor gamepad to be used.
Hello classic portable Windows/DOS gaming machine.


Some of you have Librettos. I haven’t received mine yet.

What interesting things have you done with it?
Do you overclock it?
Any cool accessories to look out for?
What flavor of DOS/Windows/Linux do you use?

@Gruso, How does Warcraft 2 perform on the 50CT?
 

cbox

Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
565
Kind of a shame the Libretto doesn't have a USB port or I might consider getting one. My Amity has a USB 1.0 port but it wouldn't work in Win95, I had to upgrade to Win98 to get it to work. Still have to usually install drivers for everything, but at least it works. The Win98 seriously put a crimp in the storage available on the 2.1 gig drive, and I need a BIOS update to get anything larger in there so I tend to run things off a USB hard drive.
 

gruso

thunderbox
Joined
Feb 28, 2008
Messages
7,461
Age
45
Location
Sydney, Australia
Website
pandorapress.net
dgame said:
1 x MIDI Traveler (PCMCIA MIDI/gameport) see the specs here (PDF)
Holy shit, I scoured the earth for one of those! I even started a thread in Marketplace. I've had to resort to a serial to MIDI cable (in transit), I hope it does the job. If you ever find yourself not needing it, we should talk. :)

Warcraft 2 runs beautifully BTW. I haven't gotten too deep into the game so I don't know how it's going to go with dozens of units on screen. But the 50CT specs sit just above the game's system requirements so I don't think it'll be a problem.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

andwan0

Still Fresh
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
Messages
13
cbox said:
Kind of a shame the Libretto doesn't have a USB port or I might consider getting one. My Amity has a USB 1.0 port but it wouldn't work in Win95, I had to upgrade to Win98 to get it to work. Still have to usually install drivers for everything, but at least it works. The Win98 seriously put a crimp in the storage available on the 2.1 gig drive, and I need a BIOS update to get anything larger in there so I tend to run things off a USB hard drive.

Yes, that's the downside to PCs/laptops before 1999. USB became norm from Pentium 2 PCs onwards.

For the mouse I use PS/2 optical (ie. HP's mouse). And if I want BOTH keyboard & mouse... (Libretto only has 1 PS/2 port) I use a PS/2 to COM1 convertor for the mouse and a PS/2 keyboard.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

trooper

Trooper`s watching you !!!
Joined
Apr 20, 2003
Messages
5,503
Location
The DarkSide (London)
Website
Visit site
For usb on the Libretto (I have a 100CT), I bought one of these from ebay.

http://shop.ebay.co.uk/?_from=R40&_trksid=p3907.m38.l1311&_nkw=usb+inside+pcmcia&_sacat=See-All-Categories

Works brilliant in win98se (not tried or bothered with usb in dos), Does not need any external drivers (already supplied with win98se).
Has never crashed my Libretto because of lack of power to the pcmcia slot (unlike standard pcmcia usb2.0 cards). Fits completely flush
with the casing, No protrusion whatsoever. Give you 2 ports, Ideal for external mouse and keyboard.

Only one caveat, You still need to provide drivers for mass storage devices in win98se and below, As those operating systems do not support
MSD natively.

Trooper
 
Top