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A couple of years ago now, I resurrected an old machine for nostalgia, and to some extent to learn about the system architecture using Assembly language, C++ (for real mode DOS).

Specs:

  • AMD Duron 850MHz CPU
  • 256MB DDR RAM
  • 6GB Hard Drive
  • GeForce 4 MX440 64MB GFX Card (AGP)
  • Creative SB16 (EISA)

Operating Systems:

  • MS-DOS 6.22
  • Windows 3.11
  • Windows 98
  • Windows 2000 Professional

As these old machines were rather bulky, it got me thinking, is there anything of a similar spec, but the size of a Raspberry Pi, or slightly bigger (Mini-ITX) ?

It would be really cool to be able to run all this old stuff on a machine that was really tiny in comparison to the machines of its day, but was still based on technologies from the era (i.e. Pentium MMX, Sound Blaster 16 etc)

I know it's highly unlikely that this technology exists, and I have looked around, but haven't found anything suitable, still as they say: "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained".

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Why not just buy something like the Intel NUC and run virtualisation programs (VirtualBox, DOSBox etc.) on it? You've given no indication of your budget etc. though, plus hardware recommendations are off-topic. –  James Mar 15 '13 at 16:23
    
@James, I do want a NUC, but not for this purpose. Budget is not a problem...I will buy whatever suits the task at hand, whatever that cost may be. Really not a big fan of virtualization for this purpose either. –  series0ne Mar 15 '13 at 16:52
1  
You could just buy an old laptop - there are thousands of them on ebay. If necessary you can use the video out. –  James Mar 15 '13 at 17:16
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closed as off topic by DragonLord, Nifle, Dave M, 8088, Randolph West Mar 16 '13 at 2:16

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1 Answer

Raspberry Pi can be made to emulate an older x86 box, but you run into problems because the Pi is a RISC processor and the old Intels are all CISC (see here for more details). In doing this just for nostalgia sake, I would recommend setting up a virtual machine which can emulate the old processors just fine. If you have your own disks to reinstall from, you could just grab a general virtualization program like VirtualBox. Otherwise, you might consider using DosBox, which is a project specifically made for retro computing.

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I've tried DoxBox...I was very displeased with it. Equally I've tried other VM software, and didn't like it! I would rather have a machine that was designed for this. I'd rather stick with my old, bulky machine, than go over to "hacks" or VM, just for the sake of a tiny machine. –  series0ne Mar 15 '13 at 16:54
    
I guess it just depends on your expectations and what you are trying to do with it. I, for one, got a kick out of making a 2GB hard drive virtual machine and installing DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.11 from my old backup disks. Nostalgia + so unbelievably fast! –  techturtle Mar 15 '13 at 17:10
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