Installing OS/2 on three older computers

Here's a short article about some experiences I've had with installing OS/2, specifically on three machines: a Dell Dimension 8100, a Dell Optiplex GX150 and an IBM NetVista type 6790 N2U using Warp 4.52 (MCP2) and eCS 1.2.

Some computers that OS/2 actually likes!

After all of the recent installations I've done with OS/2, I thought I should sit down and write an article about my experiences in hope that they would help someone out who is trying to get OS/2 to install. I have three different and slightly older machines that are widely available and fairly cheap to purchase over the Internet on surplus sites, eBay or what-have-you.

First, a short background about my OS/2 involvement: I started in 1998 when I bought OS/2 Warp 4 off of a fellow BBS sysop. I continue to run a BBS to this day under OS/2, but now I use OS/2 Warp 4.52 (MCP2) to run the board under. I also own eComStation 1.2 and 1.2MR. I also run OS/2 for my own personal use, but I also have Windows and Macintosh machines on my LAN.

For all of these installs, I have used Warp 4.52 (MCP2). I have installed eCS on all three machines also on a trial run basis. Both operating systems installed and worked very well after very minor tweaking.

The first computer I'll be talking about is a Dell Dimension 8100. It is an older model (the one I own is from 2001), a Pentium 4-class machine with a clock speed of 1.6 megahertz. The configuration I have works fine with OS/2. It has a SoundBlaster Live! sound card, a 3Com NIC and nVidia graphics in it with 256MB or RAM.

When installing OS/2 on that machine, all went well. The only thing I had to download and add was the Soundblaster Live! driver that is available on Hobbes. OS/2 saw the rest of the machine and it works great. I also have installed on it an Adaptec 2940-U SCSI PCI card, which works fine with OS/2.

The second computer I've installed OS/2 on is an IBM NetVista model 6790 N2U. One of the main advantages for this is the easy availability of OS/2 drivers for the sound, NIC and video cards from IBM (now Lenovo). I had no problem whatsoever with OS/2 installing on here. I actually did not need to go to IBM's website for anything if I didn't want sound on this machine. The only problem I had with this machine was that it used half-height PCI cards.

The third and most recent is a Dell Optiplex GX150, a small desktop that is a Pentium 3-class machine running at 933 megahertz. These came in several different configurations. When I installed OS/2 on there, everything was detected except the AC'97 sound card setup. I went to Dell's website and there were the drivers for the video and NIC, but not the sound. I went to Hobbes and downloaded the universal sound driver, but there was problems with installing it (problems with the driver, not with the hardware). This machine doesn't require sound as it is my main BBS machine, so the sound capability is of low priority.

All of these computers can be easily had for between $100 to $200, or if you're in my case, free if you know where to look. I personally like the Optiplex-it seems to run the best with OS/2. All of these computers are of an older vintage, but they work just fine.

Each of these computers also have USB ports on them, but since I don't use USB, I don't know how well they all work with USB.

Here's some links for the drivers if you're looking at getting one of these computers:

For the IBM NetVista:

For the Dell Optiplex GX150:

On this Dell, you're better off just getting the NIC driver from Dell and getting SDD for the video (Intel 815 chipset) and the Universal Sound Adapter for the AC'97 sound card.

For the Dell Dimension 8100:

I hope this will help someone who is trying to get a good, decently priced machine that has good performance with OS/2. I've been happy with all three machines and their performance with OS/2.


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