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Old 28-08-2004, 08:37 AM   #1
Guybrush
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After spending the last few years going to flea markets, bidding on eBay auctions and visiting wonderful sites like this one I have built up quite a collection of oldies. I've spent so much time gathering them up in fact that I've hardly had a chance to play any of them. Now that I've gotten something to keep me occupied for years to come I need something worthy of playing them on. I could just play them on my PC of course, but to be honest I just can't stand sitting in front of it very long. I thought it over and I think a laptop would be perfect. The older models are dirt cheap now and would be more than enough to play old adventure games and such. Which one to get though is the question. I have never owned one so I know very little about what to look for and what to avoid. The display should of course be clear and not have very bad ghosting. I suppose I should look for an Active Matrix type. I would probably run Windows 95 or 98 on it so I could boot into DOS for playing games that need it, and use Windows for things like ScummVM. Sound is one of the biggest issues I'm wondering about. Are there any laptops with a real SoundBlaster or other legacy chip that these games support? Do any of them have a headphone jack so I could play without disturing others? What about an addon sound card using PCMCIA? Adventure games need a good pointing device and laptops don't appear to be very strong in that area. There's the trackpoint, trackballs, and that other thing that I can't remember the name of at the moment. I would probably just get an external trackball mouse in any case so that's not a huge concern. I started to bid on a Zenith Z-Note with a Pentium 133 but figured I better shop around some more.

So anyway, what do you guys recommend for building a classic gaming jukebox? Would a laptop really be good enough, or am I just imagining things?

Oh, and Hello! This is my first post here.
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Old 28-08-2004, 08:53 AM   #2
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Hello Guybrush
Wow I don't have answers to all of those questions, but I'm pretty sure all laptops have headphone jacks. It would be very weird if one didn't have it
I've had my laptop for 3 or 4 years now... and I've used it a LOT! Even though it sucks now, comparing to newer ones But it has served me well in the past.
I think that the best thing about having a laptop is that you can use it everywhere.... Now I'm lying in the sofa
Unfortunately I can't suggest any type of computer, I'll leave that out to the more experienced guys than me. But mine is Hewlet packard, and I really liked it (although, like I said, it's really slow and dull now, and about to crash!!! :angry: )
Well, Good luck with that all! k:
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Old 28-08-2004, 09:05 AM   #3
Guybrush
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Thanks for the quick reply. Being able to take it anywhere is definately one of the main reasons I'm looking for one. Instead of sitting in an uncomfortable chair in front of a flickering CRT monitor I could play games on the couch or bed, or even take it on trips and play them in the woods.

I don't need a speed demon or anything, just enough to run Windows 95 at the very least. I suppose I could get by with plain old DOS but I'd like to be able to do a few other things with it, like reading eBooks. Glad to hear a headphone jack won't be a problem. I'd hate to have to play with those squeaky little speakers all the time.
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Old 28-08-2004, 09:10 AM   #4
Puffin
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But can't you just use DOSBox? I play old games on my Windows Xp, using DOSBox... I was afraid of it first, but now it's a piece of cake... My 9 year old sister uses it without troubles!
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Old 28-08-2004, 09:25 AM   #5
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I'm not well versed with laptops, but one hint I can give you - Windows 95 supports only max. 4 GB harddrive space, so you'll need Windows 98, if you want to have a laptop with larger HD. Windows 98 supports up to 10 GB, or perhaps 20, but I guess, it's 10 GB. But as Windows 98 is little more system-demanding, you'll need at least Pentium with 233 Mhz. Also I would suggest 64 MB RAM, or even more - 128 would be enough for Windows 98.

Quote:
But can't you just use DOSBox? I play old games on my Windows Xp, using DOSBox... I was afraid of it first, but now it's a piece of cake... My 9 year old sister uses it without troubles!*
Well, Windows XP for itself needs at least P2-P3 with 450 MHZ and at least 128 RAM to run fluently. DosBox for itself need at least P3 with 1000 Mgz to run the simplest, oldest games fluently, so you see, it's not the option...
                       
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Old 28-08-2004, 10:03 AM   #6
Guybrush
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Actually it mainly depends on the type of file system used and how up to date your BIOS is. The original Windows 95 only supported the FAT16 file system while all later versions could use FAT32 as well. FAT16 has a partition limit of 2GB while FAT32 is 4 Terabytes.

Windows 95 - 2 GB (FAT16)
Win95 OSR2 - 32 GB (FAT32)
Windows 98 - 128 GB (FAT32)
Windows Me - 2 TB (FAT32)

With an older laptop I imagine the BIOS would present a problem, but on the other hand I doubt I would need that much space anyway. Even 2GB would no doubt be plenty for what I want to use it for. For what little I'd be using Windows I figure 95 would be just fine.

I have Windows XP on my desktop and have gotten almost all of my old games to work fine on it one way or another (DOSbox, VirtualPC, VDMSound, glide wrappers). I would just rather have a laptop to play them on. The desktop is fine for a quick game of UT or racing games, but old adventure games can involve hours of playing time. That's no fun when you have to sit at a desk the whole time.
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Old 28-08-2004, 12:39 PM   #7
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Well, speaking for myself I only have 2 laptops. No computer at all! I've rarely run into problems with them. For me they are the perfect game machines!

Unfortunately I have not a degree in Computer-Language so I can't give you any specs.
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Old 28-08-2004, 01:36 PM   #8
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I was thinking of the very same thing....investing in a 2nd hand laptop through Ebay so I could play games in a more comfortable position than from an office chair. Although mostly they seem to have all-in-one sound setups, I've seen a few selling in the Australian Ebay with Sound Blaster cards. And wouldn't you need at least a 14 inch screen?. A friend of mine won the bidding for a Pentium 3 laptop with a 14 inch screen, a DVD drive, a Yamaha sound card and only paid about AUS$700.00. She commented that the mouse that came installed with the unit was more sensitive and accurate than the separate mouse on her desktop so she would be using it for graphics.

I had an amazing experience with Australian Ebay recently where I bid on a monitor, won the bid and received a better monitor than the one I bid for. (It was from an online computer company.) I had told the seller that I wanted to use the monitor for graphics so he sent a Compaq 720 instead of the Compaq 700 I bid for.
Nice guy, huh

Btw, two popular models that many resellers seem to want to get their hands on are the Toshiba Satellite or Tecra laptops.
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Old 28-08-2004, 02:52 PM   #9
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Well, both my laptops are Toshiba of some kind. They work perfect for me! k:
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Old 28-08-2004, 03:43 PM   #10
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If you buy a used laptop, the HD can be a problem. The 2.5" disks are quite expensive if you have to change it, and if you buy a notebook which is 3-4 years old it could happen that the HD makes some strange noises and can stop working any time. I had this with a 2 year old Dell. After the HD change it wasn't such a good buy.
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