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Old 01-15-2009, 10:11 AM   #1
pinecloud
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Registered: Nov 2008
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Angry Dell Dimension SMP fails to support any nostalgic action games


I am having extreme frustration with Linux on Dell Dimension Dual Core Pentium.
Since I got this machine few months ago that came with Windows XP (I declined Vista since I am minimalist on Microsoft platform), I replaced hard disk with two Western Digital VelociRapter 300GB (279GiB) and I added a Sound Blaster Audigy card.

I have nostalgic craving for old games like Abuse and Doom, I could not make any of them work on this Dell Dimension. I tried Suse Linux 11 and Debian Etch 4.05. At first I blamed on Suse and tried Debian Etch 4.05. But all caused segmentation fault. I successfully run these games on SCO Unix Open Server 5.6. Even compiled on Solaris 8 both back in 2000 on simpler home built machine with single 1.4GHz Tualatin processor, only 512MB memory and 4 each 72GB SCSI disks. It has been really an excellent make platform with near perfect compilation success rate. I now really come to think the problem is the dual core processor on this Dell. What else can I blame for. NVidia PCI Express card maybe? Or 2GB memoty? There is no separate edition of Linux and games I know of out there for Dual Core or SMP or is there?

It is not simply Linice or Unice problem, a lot of games in Windows also refused to run on this Dell Dimension. At least half of 3D games that use openGL or DirectX in particular.

WindowsXP itself installs OK on this machine but not Windows98 which does not support SMP nor WindowsNT which only support SMP on earlier processors such as Pentium Pro, Pentium III, Tualatin and Xeon. But these legacy OS can be initiated with minimal drivers on older machine and grafted as cloned partition and added full driver set to run in single processor mode. I have been able to make Windows NT 4.0 to support SATA Disks, PCI Express Video and USB II to almost full extent. But Windows 98 has been difficult to run on SATA Disks. I had also modify system.ini file not to make full memory available after 512MB. Windows95 would not boot processor over 1.5GHz on Phoenix ar Award BIOS and 450MHz other BIOS brands, as well as causing segmentation fault around 412MB on Phoenix or Award BIOS and 256MB with most other BIOS brand. Linice and Unice seem to have no problem except for 3D action games. OpenGL based modern 3D planetary viewer programmes such as Celestia and Stellarium run OK but not as smoothly as on single processor machine.

Contrarily to common knowledge, Windows 3.1 installs and run quite well using VESA LCD display driver ported by a french individual but no sound except internal speaker. There are a few source code available for Sound Blaster EMU10K to support Windows 3.1 but no binary and I have never compiled anything on Windows platform which is far more difficult than on Unice.

Early 3D Crytek factory-compiled games on Windows also fails to run on this Dell Dual Core 3GHz machine. I reinstalled Crytek game on 1.4GHz single processor machine and verified it running well. But the machine lacks space to create additional Linux partitions unless I replace with newer SCSI U320 disks. Should I rebuild my circa 2000 machine with newer SCSI disks that I stock for future spares parts since Seagate ceased manufacturing conventional SCSI U320 disks? Please advise me. Any comment will be very much appreciated.

pinecloud,
 
Old 01-15-2009, 10:47 AM   #2
farslayer
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Registered: Oct 2005
Location: Northeast Ohio
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Well since both Abuse and Doom are in the Debian repositories I see no reason they would cause issues. I think your Debian issue was more the age of the Etch distribution. I would recommend going with at least EtchnHalf or Possibly even Lenny (Debian Testing) to ensure it properly supports your hardware.

Your mention graphics performance issue, so I would have to ask did you install the nVidia Proprietary 3D graphics drivers ? if you did, you should have had no issues with OpenGL Graphics..

If it's not working properly with XP Pro or Linux then I would suspect a hardware fault.
 
  


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