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OS/2, eCS & ArcaOS - Technical => Hardware => Topic started by: Travis Thoms on March 11, 2020, 06:45:19 am

Title: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Travis Thoms on March 11, 2020, 06:45:19 am
Assuming you had the means to design a computer from the motherboard up, what components would your system have?  Would you bother with a 64 bit processor or more than 4 G of ram?  What sound and video hardware would you use? 

I'm wondering (fantasizing) if it is plausable to design an SBC or FPGA specifically to run OS/2 (and other "legacy" systems).  Amiga seems to be able to pull this sort of stuff off; I'm asking myself if we can do the same.
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Dave Yeo on March 11, 2020, 07:53:31 am
OS/2 was designed originally to run on a PC, an AT to be exact, with OS/2 v2 designed to run on an 80386 or better, which includes most IBM compatibles up till a few years back when they still had a BIOS. What it is missing is drivers for newer sound cards and video cards etc. We currently even have a driver to use memory above 4GB as a ram disk, which is handy. 64 bit doesn't matter.
Amiga's and such had custom hardware that they have to reproduce, OS/2 didn't, excepting certain use cases such as noted in the "OS/2 and Mainframe" thread for example.
So, for example, the 8 year old I5 system I'm writing this on works fine for OS/2, would be nice to have a better driver for the sound, and not have to use an ancient video card to use any of the capabilities beyond whats in the video bios and 3D support would also be nice, but that's still a driver issue, as well as software to take advantage of it
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Martin Iturbide on March 11, 2020, 02:19:32 pm
Hi Travis.

It is kind of a nice exercise to fantasize this. What if we had access to a Chinese factory and several components we know they work in OS/2 and ArcaOS and built an specific computer that will be complete OS/2 compatible.

- Maybe we can rule out that a mainboard and processor that is x86 compatible will work. We will have to enable by default the UEFI compatibility mode (Compatibility Support Module) by default (until AN release the driver) and disable the UEFI security.
- SATA: It is working, not sure if there any incompatible modern bus.
- PCI: That stuff keep working
- Wired Network: Maybe this can be easier like selecting an relative modern Intel network chipset that is compatible with Multimac.
- USB: It may have USB 3, but we need for the moment real USB 2.0 hardware on it.
- Wireless Network: We will require al older chipset that is supported on OS/2.
- Sound: That makes it hard. Old Soundblaster things works, but maybe there are too old to put it on a newer computer. What about HDMI sound output?
- Video: It works, but there is the problem with the HDMI output sometimes.

No thunderbolt, no bluetooth... this is just a first quick though. The may be things missing.

Regards
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Neil Waldhauer on March 11, 2020, 05:15:17 pm
If a computer was built just for OS/2, it would also be a simple trick to have our existing drivers customized and tested for that particular hardware.

1. Memory model would provide 2 TB RAM managed as a file system.
2. 10 GB Wired, two interfaces
3. Up to date WiFi, two interfaces
4. 32-bit multi-channel sound in and out
5. up to date USB
6. SATA interfaces, eSATA
7. Working DOS VDM support
8. PS/2 ports, Serial ports, Parallel port
9. PCI, PCIe and ISA slots
10. VESA video support for new 8K monitors

If we also got drivers for it,

10. M2 DASD support
11. RAID
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Travis Thoms on March 12, 2020, 04:49:13 am
Let's presume that the driver set that is available limits the hardware available. So far I'm hearing:

CPU: 32 bit (is there a 32 bit multicore that you'd prefer?  Or would we have to have a 64 bit processor to have a decent multicore option?  Arca does handle multiple cores, correct?)

UEFI compatability mode or Legacy BIOS support

Storage: SATA harddrives and optical drive  (Limited to DVD?  Does OS/2 use Blu-Ray, Blu-ray burners?)

Input/Output: PS/2 mouse and keyboard, serial, Parallel ports, USB 2.0

Sound:  Soundblaster 16?  (Does OS/2 do USB sound?)

Video:  If SNAP drivers are all we have, what's the best video chipset/card for this?  VGA output? DVI?

For me, all of this would have to support the DOS and Win_OS/2 VDMs as well.
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Dave Yeo on March 12, 2020, 05:53:07 am
Let's presume that the driver set that is available limits the hardware available. So far I'm hearing:

CPU: 32 bit (is there a 32 bit multicore that you'd prefer?  Or would we have to have a 64 bit processor to have a decent multicore option?  Arca does handle multiple cores, correct?)

AOS supports multiple cores fine, does not support hyper-threading, seems to work fine with the AMD equivalent though I personally haven't tested.
Basically the newer the CPU, the better for performance and multi-core due to shared cache and such and as all CPU's have been 64 bit for quite a while, we'll end up with a 64bit in 32bit mode.
64bit CPU's also do PAE well for that ram disk in memory  above 4GB (actually 3.5GB or so)

Quote
UEFI compatability mode or Legacy BIOS support

Storage: SATA harddrives and optical drive  (Limited to DVD?  Does OS/2 use Blu-Ray, Blu-ray burners?)

Blu-ray works but we're behind on the latest UDF file system so it is like a big DVD.

Quote
Input/Output: PS/2 mouse and keyboard, serial, Parallel ports, USB 2.0

Sound:  Soundblaster 16?  (Does OS/2 do USB sound?)

Yes OS/2 does USB sound. As for the Soundblaster 16, I used a PAS16 (Pro Audio Spectrum) for a long time and I was quite happy with that. It included a Soundblaster clone so 2 sound cards in one and most DOS games worked with the PAS16 and those that didn't worked with the SB.
Others might have other favourites such as a Gravis card. Ideally would be an ISA slot to plug in one of these old cards

Quote
Video:  If SNAP drivers are all we have, what's the best video chipset/card for this?  VGA output? DVI?

Probably an ATI X850, which should support DVI, VGA and dual head (2 monitors).
I'm currently using a NVIDEA GeForce 7300 series, kind of slow and didn't work with DVI.
The Panorama drivers work pretty good with Intel or ATI chipsets, modern CPU's are fast enough to make up having to run in VESA mode and it patches the mode to support wide screen monitors.
Quote
For me, all of this would have to support the DOS and Win_OS/2 VDMs as well.

Need older sound cards for DOS and WINOS2 support. For full screen DOS, video probably depends on the programs video support, all the GRADD based drivers (all current) support WINOS2
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Neil Waldhauer on March 12, 2020, 02:54:48 pm
Let's presume that the driver set that is available limits the hardware available. So far I'm hearing:

CPU: 32 bit (is there a 32 bit multicore that you'd prefer?  Or would we have to have a 64 bit processor to have a decent multicore option?  Arca does handle multiple cores, correct?)

Currently, ACPI can handle some multicore features.

UEFI compatability mode or Legacy BIOS support

UEFI is not really ready yet.

Storage: SATA harddrives and optical drive  (Limited to DVD?  Does OS/2 use Blu-Ray, Blu-ray burners?)

SATA going away, we will need something newer.

Input/Output: PS/2 mouse and keyboard, serial, Parallel ports, USB 2.0

Sound:  Soundblaster 16?  (Does OS/2 do USB sound?)

Yes to USB audio. Soundblaster might be OK for DOS, but less so for OS/2.

Video:  If SNAP drivers are all we have, what's the best video chipset/card for this?  VGA output? DVI?

At this point, unaccellerated VESA through Panrama is faster than any SNAP setup.

For me, all of this would have to support the DOS and Win_OS/2 VDMs as well.
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Sergey Posokhov on March 16, 2020, 10:38:18 am
I'm wondering (fantasizing) if it is plausable to design an SBC or FPGA specifically to run OS/2 (and other "legacy" systems).

We have a layer called PSD, "platform specific driver", it works directly with the hardware.
So right now, an on-board FPGA (http://firebee.org) is not required.
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Dariusz Piatkowski on March 16, 2020, 02:32:08 pm
Hi Travis,

Sorry to be a detractor, but why focus on the hardware side?

Most of the stuff out there can be used as a hardware platform for our OS/2 OS. It is not ideal, I admit, but for the most part unless you are trying to run the latest Ryzen 12 core CPU or trying to do a nightly backup over a super fast USB 3.x you won't have major problems.

Now, granted that approach may get you a working system and maybe not the ideal "gamer machine", but  what else is there on our platform to shoot for??? lol

My point being: it is far better for us to focus on building the software capabilities instead.

Case in point: I've been using my ATI X850 XT video card for a number of years now, SNAP drivers. For normal use it is quite fine, heck is the speed a challenge here? No, but it just plain sucks that of the two DVI ports the card has I can only use one and the 2nd one has to use a DVI=>VGA adapter. Why is that a problem? Well, most of the new display monitors no longer offer VGA port, it's HDMI, DisplayPort, etc. I'm even finding that DVI is being dropped.

It is the simple things that could be translated to big wins, and I see all of these wins on the software side of things.
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: ivan on March 16, 2020, 06:38:04 pm
Quote
I admit, but for the most part unless you are trying to run the latest Ryzen 12 core CPU or trying to do a nightly backup over a super fast USB 3.x you won't have major problems.

I would love to use a Ryzen 9 3900X CPU but the problem is as you say the lack of graphics drivers for modern cards.  While the Ryzen processors with built in graphics use the ports built into the motherboards but anything other than VGA is mediocre at best.  We can live in hope, since the Linux graphics for the radeon cards are excellent, we might get something from them.

USB 3.x might arrive sometime in the future but I'm not holding my breath waiting.
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Neil Waldhauer on March 17, 2020, 02:59:19 pm
Thanks, Ivan. I've got customers who would prefer AMD. I don't use AMD myself, so I don't know the issues.

Intel graphics on a current Lenovo ThinkCentre will support 4096 x 2304 @ 60 Hz via display port. Getting the computer to boot at all is an interesting problem, but solvable. But our support is through VESA, and I don't know if Lenovo will continue to support that in the future.

If we do our own hardware, it's important to coordinate the graphics hardware and drivers.
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: ivan on March 17, 2020, 03:54:26 pm
Neil, I have always used AMD processors and currently have 4 units using Ryzen 3 2200G processors on both MSI A320M PRO-VD PLUS and Asus PRIME A320M-K boards. 

They all work without too many problems.  The big problem is that they require a real USB 2 PCIe addin card (VIA based) because any USB 2 ports on the boards are attached to USB 3 chipsets with a USB 2 pass-through.

I also have a couple of ASRock Mini ITX based units.  Those are the units I upgraded to the Ryzen CPUs from.

Edit:  I should have added that one of the MSI boxes is running 24/7 and has been up for 38 days & 2 hours at the moment (last reboot was when everything slowed to a crawl)
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Travis Thoms on March 27, 2020, 05:16:06 am
Hi Travis,

Sorry to be a detractor, but why focus on the hardware side?

Most of the stuff out there can be used as a hardware platform for our OS/2 OS. It is not ideal, I admit, but for the most part unless you are trying to run the latest Ryzen 12 core CPU or trying to do a nightly backup over a super fast USB 3.x you won't have major problems.

Now, granted that approach may get you a working system and maybe not the ideal "gamer machine", but  what else is there on our platform to shoot for??? lol

My point being: it is far better for us to focus on building the software capabilities instead.

I see you're point, but I'd really like a machine that runs OS/2 like it was made to do.  The video works, the sound works, the VDMs work.  And while I admire people working through the software to find workarounds for modern systems, they are just that...workarounds.  I have a VirtualBox with OS/2 set up to a reasonable level of functionality (thanks to the help of many here), but it is no fun to use.  The sound stinks, the VDMs are slow and buggy, a lot of the older OS/2 software doesn't work right (missing icons, etc) and the new stuff is usually some unix port that I have a heck of a time getting to work.  I don't think there will be any real improvement in the software until there is control of the source code.  Everything else is a hack.

So, I thought if we can't at this moment make the OS fit the hardware, why not make the hardware fit the OS?  Anyone tried running it on the 486FPGA?
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Travis Thoms on March 27, 2020, 05:20:35 am
I'm wondering (fantasizing) if it is plausable to design an SBC or FPGA specifically to run OS/2 (and other "legacy" systems).

We have a layer called PSD, "platform specific driver", it works directly with the hardware.
So right now, an on-board FPGA (http://firebee.org) is not required.

I'm not sure that I understand what your describing here.  Could you please elaborate?  What does a PSD do for the average user?  How do you get it to work with OS/2?
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Dave Yeo on March 27, 2020, 06:11:57 am
The main thing a PSD does is set things up for SMP to work correctly, so if you want more then 1 CPU (core), you need a PSD. The ones from the early '90's are useless on modern hardware as things are done with ACPI, so now we have an acpi.psd, takes care of things like handling interrupts correctly.
As for the correct hardware to run OS/2, it is basically whatever you have device drivers for and always has been. Even back in the 386 days, you had to pick hardware that had device drivers. The only difference was IBM supplied a bunch and OEM manufacturers also wrote them for their hardware, so there are more device drivers for old hardware.
My current hardware, if someone wrote the device drivers for the video card and sound card, including DOS drivers, it would work fine for everything that used to work. Instead we have general drivers that are satisfactory but not ideal and don't have any DOS drivers besides the ones built in. One of the great things about OS/2 was it ran most DOS device drivers. When playing a game, it used the DOS sound driver, not the OS/2 sound driver. Same with the joystick and such. The only ones that didn't work were things like file system drivers as OS/2 caught them and overrode them, so you can't install a vfat DOS driver to get long names as an example.
If you want to play old DOS games, whether under an OS/2 VDM or real hardware, you need hardware that those games expect.
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Andi B. on March 27, 2020, 11:21:16 am
Code: [Select]
So, I thought if we can't at this moment make the OS fit the hardware, why not make the hardware fit the OS?  Anyone tried running it on the 486FPGA?Running an OS needs more than a CPU. If the 486FPGA emulates a real 486 CPU well enough then it probably will run. But I see no benefit in using a FPGA instead the real chip. What Southbridge do you want to wire to such FPGA? Another FPGA? And which Northbridge? And which .... Do you know all the components which makes up a standard PC and will you pack all of them into one or more FPGAs? If yes, the first question would be, which 'standard' PC. The 486 systems from IBM, with our without Microchannel? Or the ones from Compaq, or?

If you want to put something into an FPGA why not emulate an ATI X300 but with two working DVI outputs as we have a multihead driver for this chip.
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Neil Waldhauer on March 27, 2020, 02:58:20 pm

I see you're point, but I'd really like a machine that runs OS/2 like it was made to do.  The video works, the sound works, the VDMs work.  And while I admire people working through the software to find workarounds for modern systems, they are just that...workarounds.  I have a VirtualBox with OS/2 set up to a reasonable level of functionality (thanks to the help of many here), but it is no fun to use.  The sound stinks, the VDMs are slow and buggy, a lot of the older OS/2 software doesn't work right (missing icons, etc) and the new stuff is usually some unix port that I have a heck of a time getting to work.  I don't think there will be any real improvement in the software until there is control of the source code.  Everything else is a hack.

So, I thought if we can't at this moment make the OS fit the hardware, why not make the hardware fit the OS?  Anyone tried running it on the 486FPGA?

I see you as trying to recreate some kind of "golden age OS/2". I think making hardware to support Warp 3 might do the trick. DOS would work well, and so on. There would be no modern browser or any of the other toys. But 1994 programs would work well.

Actually, thinking back to 1994, OS/2 programs wouldn't work as well. IBM non-gradd video drivers were pretty buggy.

Is it better DOS than DOS that you are looking for?
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Doug Bissett on March 27, 2020, 10:05:10 pm
This was discussed, a few years ago. Nothing came of it (as expected).

IMO, trying to build retro hardware is certainly possible. The cost would be far more than anybody would ever consider paying. None of the required hardware is currently in production, so it would mean paying manufacturers to retool to produce ancient hardware. They would do it, if you pay them enough, but I guarantee they won't do it for small lots. The benefit of making retro hardware is far from certain too.

Better to put the money into making current hardware work. Arca Noae (and partners) is the only company in a position to be able to do development, but they are under funded, and under staffed, so development is far slower than what most people want. The important stuff does happen, eventually.

Quote
I don't think there will be any real improvement in the software until there is control of the source code.  Everything else is a hack.

IBM has made it very clear, that there will be no source code (for many reasons). They too would release it, if somebody wants to pay them to do it (probably a billion dollar, 3 year project, with very questionable results).

OS/2 is what it is. IMO, it is still more capable than win 10, if win 10 had the same restrictions (32 bit, lack of drivers, etc.). The biggest "problem" is that very few, if any, developers are doing native OS/2 programming, and software from other sources has become so bloated that it doesn't work very well (even on the native platform).

Support the developers, and we will have OS/2 around much longer than many people seem to believe. One advantage is that you can buy surplus, or used, hardware off the bargain shelves, and it is likely that OS/2 will work. Of course, you do need to be careful what you buy, and paying good money for some exotic video adapter is not smart.
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Sergey Posokhov on March 28, 2020, 09:31:10 pm
None of the required hardware is currently in production, so it would mean paying manufacturers
No, no, no, it's better to achieve the same goal via FPGA, such as Altera.
Verilog and VHDL can describe any hardware.
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Travis Thoms on March 29, 2020, 05:32:08 am
Is it better DOS than DOS that you are looking for?

Simply put, yes. There is not much in the way of native software that I use in OS/2. If it was my main system again, I'd use the web browser, and Libre Office.  But there is no Blender, Gimp, Vegas Pro equivalents that I use for my work.  But I do miss  multitasking the DOS games and utilities that I enjoyed using back in the day.
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Travis Thoms on March 29, 2020, 05:53:22 am
Code: [Select]
So, I thought if we can't at this moment make the OS fit the hardware, why not make the hardware fit the OS?  Anyone tried running it on the 486FPGA?Running an OS needs more than a CPU. If the 486FPGA emulates a real 486 CPU well enough then it probably will run. But I see no benefit in using a FPGA instead the real chip. What Southbridge do you want to wire to such FPGA? Another FPGA? And which Northbridge? And which .... Do you know all the components which makes up a standard PC and will you pack all of them into one or more FPGAs? If yes, the first question would be, which 'standard' PC. The 486 systems from IBM, with our without Microchannel? Or the ones from Compaq, or?

If you want to put something into an FPGA why not emulate an ATI X300 but with two working DVI outputs as we have a multihead driver for this chip.

I think as Sergey points out, FPGAs can emulate an entire system-Bios, CPU, soundcard, video card, the works, depending on how complex it is. 

P.S. Thanks Dave for taking the time to explain PSD to me.

I'm not trying to knock the software efforts toward improving OS/2.  Maybe I am. I don't know. I used OS/2 in the '90's to 00's because it was lean (compared to Win'95), multitasked like a champ, and allowed me to use some of the DOS molecular modeling programs I needed at the time (not to mention many DOS games and Programs). I felt very cutting edge. A lot of those advantages have disappeared with time, but I'd still like to see it shine as a cool Retro experience while the community decides where it going to go.   That's what prompts my interest in finding a hardware set-up that will offer the full functionality of the OS as it is today.  Maybe its a pipe dream.
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Dave Yeo on March 29, 2020, 06:20:38 am
Perhaps the simplest would be to find some old hardware. Basically anything with ISA slots should be good enough for what you want. I have an AMD K6-3 computer in storage which would probably do exactly what you want if it still runs. Supported PAS16 sound card, ATI Mach64 graphics card, USB ports IIRC. Can't remember how much ram but probably enough. OS/2 was always ram hungry.
I also have a T42 Thinkpad, basically the last that IBM supported for OS/2. If the sound drivers from Lenovo work in DOS, it would also likely do what you want. Unluckily I never could install the native sound drivers due to lack of a floppy drive on A: with a 1.6 Ghz Pentium M and a Gig of memory, it works with modern software too, though Firefox takes a long time to start and Youtube videos can be choppy.
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Dariusz Piatkowski on April 06, 2020, 10:59:34 pm
So instead of building NEW stuff how about just defining a 'best-fit' combination of hardware we can all source today (may not be brand spankin' NEW off the shelf components, but still can be found in the channel) instead?

My point being the following: my current hardware is pretty robust. After all, I have a working SMP config here, out of the box audio, NIC and USB (non 3.x). Dual-head 1920x1200 display supported through SNAP drivers. SDD support with both IDE and AHCI drivers (AHCI switch just having happened recently, like a week ago).

What would I like to improve? Sure, the standard stuff, modern CPU, UEFI support, etc., but that's not the focus of the thread.

So here is my combo:
1) MSI 880G-E45 motherboard
SPECS => https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/880GE45/Specification (https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/880GE45/Specification)

ALTERNATIVE => MSI 890FXA-GD65, which has SATA3 support out-of-the-box
SPECS => https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/890FXAGD65/Specification (https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/890FXAGD65/Specification)

2) CPU - AMD Phenom II X6 1100T
Easy to find on eBay, etc.

3) RAM - 8 Gig
4 regular OS/2 use
4 RAMDISK

4) STORAGE - SSD & HDD
SSD => Samsung 850 Evo
HDD => WD Raptor and Caviar Blue (nothing fancy here, although the Raptor was a screaming BEAST way back when, 10k RPM still kicks butt...LOL)

5) VIDEO - ATI X860 XT PE
SNAP => 1920x1200 support for multi-head displays, only coveat is that SNAP will only drive 1 panel through DVI, the 2nd panel has to go through RGB converter

Now I would tell you that is under $500 USD modern day spend, heck, shop around smartly and this could be under $300.

Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Dave Yeo on April 06, 2020, 11:44:12 pm
@Dariusz, the problem that Travis is looking at is DOS support, including sound. The sound is the tricky part.
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: OS4User on April 07, 2020, 06:19:32 pm
So here is my combo:
1) MSI 880G-E45 motherboard

How much RAM is available below 4Gb border ?
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Dariusz Piatkowski on April 11, 2020, 05:41:07 am
So here is my combo:
1) MSI 880G-E45 motherboard

How much RAM is available below 4Gb border ?

Theseus tells me: "RAM available to OS/2 = CFF0B000 bytes (3327.043M)", I think this is a good amount of RAM, by the time WPS comes up and all my stuff starts up I usually have about 2970M left with about 210M of free shared memory (this is really the biggest problem actually as it routinely gets exhausted after a couple of days of steady FF use).
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Dave Yeo on April 11, 2020, 07:39:38 am
Theseus tells me: "RAM available to OS/2 = CFF0B000 bytes (3327.043M)", I think this is a good amount of RAM, by the time WPS comes up and all my stuff starts up I usually have about 2970M left with about 210M of free shared memory (this is really the biggest problem actually as it routinely gets exhausted after a couple of days of steady FF use).

I've been getting a week plus before I have to reboot for a different reason or the power flickers by loading the DLLs high and keeping them loaded with the turbo programs.
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: OS4User on April 11, 2020, 08:42:02 am
Theseus tells me: "RAM available to OS/2 = CFF0B000 bytes (3327.043M)", I think this is a good amount of RAM,

True - that is very good amount (max what I have seen is "RAM available to OS/2 = DFE6D000 bytes (3582.426M)")

Unfortunately, some of the latest Intel based mobos have less than 1Gb  and this issue cannot be solved (AFAIK). 1Gb is too little - and thus swap is inevitable.

If I choose mobo, the first thing I will be interested in is how much memory will be available for OS/2.


by the time WPS comes up and all my stuff starts up I usually have about 2970M left with about 210M of free shared memory (this is really the biggest problem actually as it routinely gets exhausted after a couple of days of steady FF use).

Amount of available phys mem does not have any influence on free shared (high) memory.
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Neil Waldhauer on April 11, 2020, 03:54:47 pm
Seeing as the thread has drifted quite a bit, I'm kind of interested in the idea of building your computer from parts.

I gave up on buying motherboards and parts a few years ago. I found that buying a standard manufactured computer was half the price of buying parts and building your own. Now from this thread, I can see that the built from parts systems have as little as half the performance of the whole systems.

In any business, there is a make vs. buy decision. What made you makers rather than buyers?


Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: ivan on April 12, 2020, 12:24:11 am
For me it was/is cost and I get what I want to my specification.

For example: my MSI A320m PRO-VD PLUS with Ryzen 3 2200G CPU, 8 GB Memory, 2 TB FireCuda HD, DVD -RW, USB 2 addin card and case cost £379.  The equivalent as a bought system with only a 1 TB HD cost £579 to £629 depending on supplier, and I didn't have to clean off any windows OS.
Title: Re: Building an OS/2 system from the ground up, what would it look like?
Post by: Neil Waldhauer on April 12, 2020, 04:23:45 pm
Thanks, Ivan.

I used to build systems for people, and I'm still thinking about it.