SoftPC –AT Version 3

Ok, so I’ve been on this MIPS kick as of late.. Me & Antoni just split the cost of Visual C++ 4.0 for the MIPS…  All being well it’ll arrive on Wednesday and we can do some more stuff.  As I understand it, Visual C++ 4.0 was THE compiler for Windows 95 people at the time, and it will have all the controls & stuff that Visual C++ 2.0 simply does NOT have.

Anyways while I was playing with my virtual MIPS machine, I decided to try the MS-DOS emulation out..  I had heard that they had a pretty advanced emulator to run stuff.  So I downloaded a new version of MSD, and was really surprised at the CPU that it was emulating… a 486!  And this is on a MIPS machine, I had to wonder why they couldn’t have continued this for the x64 product…

486!

486!

Anyways ok so it’s a 486, but can it play DOOM?

doom under MIPS NT (1)

Much to my amazement, the answer is YES.  Ok the pallet is all screwed up, and yes it is SLOW.. It reminds me of a 386, but it’s actually running!

Now I was interested, I opened up the ntvdm.exe in notepad to reveal it’s origin:

SoftPC-AT Version 3

(C)Copyright Insignia Solutions Inc. 1987-1992

@(#)sun4_a3cpu.c    1.2 5/24/91 Copyright Insignia Solutions Ltd.

Now what is really interested is this bit.. It only appears in the MIPS binary:

This version is subject to confidentiality provisions and should not be distributed. %s %s%s Copyright %s, an unpublished work by Insignia Solutions Inc.%s %s %s Copyright %s by Insignia Solutions Inc. All rights reserved.

Otherwise there is a LOT of mentions of D:\nt\private\mvdm\softpc.new  I guess it’s about their build process since the DDK is nt\public.

Anyways I thought it was really interesting to see just how involved the NTVDM was on the RISC cpu’s.  I think there is no doubt that the Connectix product was faster, and of course on Ghz+ machines its usable.  Not to mention once Connectix made a native version of Virtual PC for Windows… It’s really not that surprising why Microsoft snatched the product up!

Somewhere around here I have SoftPC 3.0 for the Apple Macintosh… I wonder if it can load doom?

This entry was posted in games, mips, qemu, softpc, Windows NT 4.0 by neozeed. Bookmark the permalink.
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About neozeed

What is there to tell? I've loved UNIX like things since I was first exposed to QNX in highschool (we had the Unisys ICONS!), and spent the better time of my teenage years trying to get my own UNIX... I should have bought Coherent in retrospect.. Anyways latched onto Linux in 1992, and then got some old BSD admin books and have been hooked on the VAX BSD & other big/ancient things since...!

2 thoughts on “SoftPC –AT Version 3

  1. In a Steve Ballmer interview (after the famous October 1991 COMDEX show) from an InfoView magazine issue ( http://books.google.com/books?id=2j0EAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA88&pg=PA86#v=onepage&q&f=false ) that you mentioned in this blog entry: http://virtuallyfun.superglobalmegacorp.com/2011/02/16/windows-nt-december-1991-preview/ , Steve Ballmer actually announced that they were going to purchase the x86 emulator from Insignia (i.e. SoftPC) (emulating the 8086) so that Windows would be able to run DOS programs on NT MIPS, for example.

    • something must have changed their mind…. I’m sure the rise of dos extender based stuff being why they needed the 486 emulation code. Not to mention You had compilers like Borland that used 386 instructions on Win16 applications.

      On the Dec Alpha we had !FX32 so I never even looked at NTVDM at running things like DooM. I was more so surprised it ran.

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