Amiga Format
This article was originally written by Simon N Goodwin for Amiga Format magazine, and is used by permission of the joint copyright holders. It should not be copied any further without written permission. The free emulators mentioned were included on the accompanying CD with the magazine, and are generally available - often in updated form - from this site. The text is as originally submitted to the magazine - which means there are some differences, mostly extra text which was cut to fit into the pages available - with the addition of hyperlinks to new or updated information which has since become available. This approach has been taken to preserve the structure of the original series, while making new information readily available. Simon welcomes comments from readers, care of Tomas Amsrud, who has generously prepared the material for publication on the Internet.
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AER


PC Emulation

Simon N Goodwin reports the history and
latest advances in Amiga PC emulation.


Software for so-called 'IBM Compatible' or 'PC' computers is pervasive, but Amigas cannot run PC software. For some this is a saving grace, but many consider it a weakness. For all the faults of the PC, in design and implementation, there are some really good programs which only run on the 'Wintel' platform.

The ideal solution would be the best of both worlds - a machine that can run both Amiga and PC software. Commodore chased this grail for 15 years, with hardware and software emulators. It's proven a tough nut to crack.

Early software emulators

The Cross-DOS device, bundled with modern Amigas, is the last relic of Cross-PC, an early software PC emulator. The rival Transformer won Commodore's endorsement, although it gave the A500 less than a tenth the speed of an original, slow IBM PC.

IBEM is now on Aminet, and runs on more modern Amigas, but it's still pathetically slow by modern standards. Chris Hames' original PC-Task begat PC-Task 2, with versions for 68000 and 68010 processors and an optimised version for 32-bit Amigas, at last capable of rivalling 'real PC' speeds.

Meanwhile, the PC world moved on. These were emulators for the original PC, with its crude almost-16-bit processor from the 1970s. PC Task was the first Amiga emulator to support the programs for later 'AT' versions of the PC, but by the time version 3 arrived in 1995 the Intel 286 it emulated was obsolete, and the 386 and 486 were scuttling, cockroach like, increasingly quickly after it.

PC Task 3 needs at least a 68020, barely runs Windows 3 and is more compatible with Windows 2, which was designed for a 286. But Windows 2 doesn't do much, except make makes the Atari ST desktop look versatile! PC Task 3 comes in two versions. The 'turbo' one uses four bytes of memory for every one available to the PC and delivers noticeably more speed, though still rarely enough.

Speed rates between a 12 MHz AT and 25 MHz AT on a Cyberstorm 68060 with fast memory. That's almost ten years behind the pace, and slower than a real 20 MHz 386 which you might find at a Boot Sale or in a skip. New emulators can go two or three times faster, and emulate modern 486 and Pentium processors too.

This feature discusses PC programs and processors, as well as software and hardware PC emulation. But first we need to know what a PC is, and how it differs from an Amiga.

PCs and Amigas

The differences between Amigas and PCs are fundamental, and crucial. To generalise them, the Amiga was designed, while PCs have evolved.

Commodore and Amiga Technologies made Amiga hardware and software documentation public and widely available. Freely-distributable Commodities, Datatypes and Handlers mean that every Amiga can be a custom machine. Packages can be small because there's no need to provide converters, drivers, memory handlers and other bits and pieces that must appear in every DOS or Windows installation. This profligacy doesn't just take up space - it actually promotes incompatibility.

PC bundles

PC packages come on wads of disks - sometimes even wads of CDs - bloated with 'drivers' for manifold hardware configurations, display adapters, file formats, and even printers. Conflicts are legendary. Even if programs use the new device-independent methods expensively added in Windows they can get clobbered if a DOS program grabs the hardware without asking.

PC documentation has to be much bulkier than that for comparable Amiga packages, because it must document the whole 'world' within the package, not just the new things it can do. Here the Amiga steers a course between that of the Mac, with its preset interface, and the PC, where anything goes, at least as far as Windows. The Amiga is not as consistent as the Mac, but more open and hence more configurable.

When you turn on an Amiga, it's usable from the start. You can configure hardware with the 'early startup' menu, enter commands, swap screens and so forth. The essential system software is in the Kickstart ROM, including enough user interface code to make the machine instantly usable, if not necessarily useful without any application programs! Expansions link themselves automatically and are immediately available.

PCs contain nothing but the 'BIOS' - Basic Input Output System - a set of machine code routines that blur the difference between different hardware implementations. There's no disk operating system, no way to enter commands, and certainly no graphical interface.

All these must be loaded from disk, and preferably hard disk, before the PC is any use. This is a fundamental difference between the Amiga, which was designed as a system, and the PC which is cobbled together at the whim of each manufacturer.

This makes it hard to be categorical. You can't say 'PCs won't multi-task', because they will, although they generally don't and when they do they're usually slow and clumsy about it. You can't say 'PCs only do one thing at a time' because it's possible to add devices and adapters that let the processor get on with other work. You can even format a disk while other programs run, as long as you're runing Linux, rather than a Microsoft system! But in practice these are significant differences between Amigas and typical PCs.

Co-operation

The Amiga system is designed as a whole, to do lots of things at once, so the blitter can update the screen while the Copper moves it, sound plays, data is transferred between drives, and the processor gets on with something entirely different. On a typical PC, the processor would be intimately involved in all these activities, often just waiting for them to finish.

Much of the effort in PC design goes into making the main processor as fast as possible. Even so, the more you do, the slower everything gets, and this is particularly true when it comes to the user-interface, which requires hardly any processor effort on an Amiga.

Today many hitherto unique Amiga 'features' are available on the PC, albeit at extra cost, but rarely all at once. On the PC you can have backward -compatibility, or multi-tasking, but not both. It has taken years for Amiga programmers to find out how to write co-operative code. Amiga users have learnt what PC users are just discovering.

MS-DOS and beyond

As the PC has no usable built-in software, you need MS-DOS (MicroSoft Disk Operating System) at the very least, and Microsoft Windows to run more demanding programs. Alternative operating systems include DRDOS, an MS-DOS clone which runs most PC DOS programs.It was written in the UK and is now owned by network specialists Novell.

FreeDOS is another clone, part of the Free Software Foundation's 'copyleft' collection. OS/2 is IBM's answer to Windows, better designed and implemented in its later 'Warp' version, but still not 'the real thing' for current PC programs.

The 'one true' operating system for PCs is Linux, the free version of Unix. It's remarkable because it shows how well Intel hardware can perform when freed from the heritage of Microsoft. Linux runs nicely on anything from a 386SX upwards, and is quite usable on 386 and 486 Bridgeboards. Unfortunately Linux is user-hostile, hard to configure and does not work with all PC hardware. It hits the metal so Amiga drives are not accessible when you run Linux on a Golden Gate board, although it can see the keyboard, ISA cards and drives plugged directly into the bridgeboard.

Linux is great on real PCs, but its software gems also work on NetBSD, the premier Amiga Unix, or the rapidly advancing 68K version of Linux. But if you need a PC emulator you probably want to run Microsoft programs, and that means MS-DOS and Windows.

MS-DOS is currently at version 6.2, but has changed little since version 3 - the main difference is the bundling of lots of add-on programs that used to be optional extras. It's a command-driven user-interface, similar to the seventies CP/M or the original Amiga CLI, and feeble compared with Unix or Amiga shells.

I found the Tandy version of MS-DOS 3.3 on 720K disks for just 50p each at a Radio Rally, and it worked fine on all the emulators, consuming less of the scarce 640K base memory than later versions. Avoid MS-DOS 1, which was awful, and MS-DOS 2 which was not standardised, caming in custom versions for specific computers.

Microsoft Windows

Seeing the merits of the Mac Desktop and Amiga Workbench, Microsoft had three attempts at putting windows onto the PC. The latest version, Windows 95, does not work on PCX or PC-Task, because it needs virtual memory support which is not yet emulated. In any case, Windows 95 is notoriously hungry for memory and Intel CPU power, both scarce in a typical Amiga set -up, so you're better off with an older version. A few PC programs that only work with Windows 95, but they're invariably the kind of resource -greedy programs that crawl on any but the latest PC and have no chance of being emulated at a useful speed on an Amiga.

Windows 2 is the oldest version you're likely to come across, dating from the late eighties. It's a toy. It runs on PC-Task 3, as it only needs a 286 processor, but it's not much use for real work.

Microsoft did not come up with a viable workbench clone till Windows 3, soon followed by version 3.1, with many fixes and a few improvements. Now many PCs are supplied with Windows 3.11, or Windows for Workgroups, which includes more fixes and network support. This runs on PC-Task - albeit slowly - but PCX needs an earlier version.

Windows 3 is built on the original 16 bit MS-DOS code. Windows 3.11 comes on eight high density (1.44 Mb) disks, with another three for MS-DOS 6.2, which must be installed first.

Unless you have a high density disk drive you'll need help to copy the files onto 720K disks, supported by PC drives but rarely used these days. You might be able to find DOS and Windows on a CD, but you'll still have to copy them before installation as emulators can't read the CD till MS-DOS is installed.

The whole lot occupies almost 20 Mb of hard disk space once installed, and installation from floppies takes hours, literally, as the files are read from disk, one by one, unpacked and configured. You have to hang around to change the disks and answer questions periodically, although you can get on with other work on the Amiga side as the installation chugs away.

PC-Task's 'readme' file includes a tip which can halve the installation time, at the expense of an extra 10Mb hard disk space; if you copy the compressed windows files from floppies to the directory C:\WINSETUP there's no need to feed them one by one to the setup program, and everything goes much faster - even allowing for the time spent copying. You'll still have time for a hearty meal while the installer does its stuff, even on a fast Amiga.

PC Processors

The original IBM PC used an Intel 8088 processor with 16-bit registers, handling eight-bit instructions. Follow-ups used the 8086, with the same instruction set but faster 16-bit memory, and the production-engineered 80186. The (80)286 was used in old 'AT' PCs of the mid 1980s. They were hardly 'Advanced Technology' even then, but the US computer illiterati bought what they were told and Intel and Microsoft profitted accordingly.

Compared with the 68000, with its 24 bit addressing and 32 bit registers, the 8086 is feeble. The '286 catches up on address range, but not registers. Intel's first real 32 bit chip was the '386, introduced in 1985. By then they had a lot of backward-compatibility to worry about.

The 8088 was derived from Intel's eight-bit1974-vintage 8080, and has many inhereited flaws, deliberately included so that programs could be automatically translated from 8080 to 8088 machine code. This was good news in the early days, since slow software was better than none at all, but led to restrictions which still dog PC users today.

A total of a megabyte of memory could be accessed. The PC design assumed a maximum of 640K for RAM, leaving 384K to be shared among screens, firmware and hardware. All this was divided into 64K hunks or 'segments' to match the addressing limitations of the 8080.

For compatibility reasons, certain parts of any PC system must be in the first 640K, causing bottlenecks. Other parts avoid 32 bit instructions, losing speed and locking the current task.The 64K segment limit means that even multi-megabyte PCs barf at 64K of code in Microsoft's QuickBASIC; when a 64K table inside Windows is full, the system effectively runs out of memory however many megs there are spare.

Intel's 286 was faster and had 24 bit addressing, for up to 16 Mb, with simple memory management, but retained the restrictions of its predecessors. The 16Mb boundary also limits cheaper Apple Macs and Amigas - witness fuss about PCMCIA compatibility on the A1200, with its 24 bit addressing, the 16 Mb Zorro 2 limit, and anguished calls for '32 bit clean' code on the Mac.

The 386 was Intel's breakthrough, introduced as a a full 32-bit DX model, followed by SX versions for 16-bit memory. It brought Intel's instruction set close to 68000 standards, with improved memory addressing. All the 8088 instructions and modes were retained for compatibility.

Speeds doubled with the introduction of the 486, the first Intel processor with an on-chip cache, shared between instructions and data. Motorola chips from the 68030 onwards have twin caches which can be accessed simultaneously, but this faster 'Harvard architecture' did not arrive on PCs till the current Pentium models. Intel concentrated on boosting the speed of their chips, eventually pushing the 486 to four times its original pace.

486DX versions have a built-in floating point co-processor. A 486SX lacks floating point (like Commodore's 68LC040) while Cyrix's 486SLC is a hybrid with a 16 bit bus like a 386SX, but 486 internal operations.

Intel have no monopoly on PC processors, and rival chips soon appeared when US Courts ruled that numbers like '386' could not be Trade Marked. Now AMD's 586 and the IBM/Cyrix 686 claim to deliver Pentium performance at budget prices. Compatibility is not guaranteed.

Compatibility

Backwards compatibility is generally assumed by PC vendors, but not guaranteed. The general attitude is "if you find a problem, buy your way out of it", as my Executive Producer at Central ITV used to say, long ago. There's no definitive 'PC Hardware Reference'. Just because it doesn't work on your emulator, doesn't mean it WILL work on your friend's PC. Or vice versa. PCs are called compatible to disguise the fact that they're not.

Much of the 'art' of the PC is learning cryptic switches, like /D:X, without which Windows 3.11 gets stuck on PC-Task, and some real PCs. These options and acronyms must be squirrelled away in obscurely named files in just the right order to keep a PC going. There's no standard installer as there is on the Amiga.

'AUTOEXEC.BAT' is the equivalent of the Amiga's 'startup-sequence'. PC file names are up to eleven characters long, without spaces or small letters, with a compulsory dot before the last three characters.

Arbitraryness rules. Messages are opaque, with several sets of numbered errors; 'parse error 3', in the latest MS-DOS, seems to mean you've used a forward slash where Microsoft perversely expect a backward one!

Bridgeboards

The first Amiga PC emulator was the Sidecar add-on for Amiga 1000, produced by Commodore and based on an 8088 processor. This introduced the concept of 'bridgeboards' - plug-in co-processors with shared RAM for communication with the main Amiga system.

Big-box Amigas have sixteen bit ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) PC sockets alongside their native Zorro expansions. A bridgeboard links the two so Amiga or PC cards can fill the remaining spaces.

Commodore bridgeboards used 8088, 286 and 386SX processors. The ultimate model is the Golden Gate 486, from Vortex in Germany. Don't confuse this with the US Golden Gate interface card, supported by PC Task, which has no processor and simply allows Amiga programs to read and write ISA cards.

The bridgeboard concept allows memory on PC or Amiga to be accessible either way, but in practice it's quicker to keep the two distinct, except on an old 16 bit Amiga 1500 or 2000. For speed, put PC memory on the bridgeboard. Golden Gate can use Zorro 2 RAM, but on most A3000 and A4000 systems this means precious chip RAM. That will be slow by the time it's dodged AGA graphics, disk and sound data, split into 16 bit words and been doled out over Zorro 2.

Printer and serial data can be diverted to Amiga ports or add-on cards. Golden Gate software also supports an ISA serial or parallel port. ISA graphics cards are cheap and powerful. Get one with at least 512K RAM - and custom software drivers to switch the 64K segments around - to make reasonable use of a 14 inch multisync monitor.

Bridgeboards are no longer made, but they're worth looking out for on the second hand market, expecially if your Amiga does not have a state-of-the art processor to make software PC emulation viable. Eight-bit bridgeboards are incompatible with Zorro 3 and pathetically slow, but later 286 ones may still outrun software emulators. These include the AT-Once for Amiga 500, as well as Commodore 286 bridgeboards. Sometimes the CPU chip on a bridgeboard can be swapped or boosted. Aminet has notes, for would-be upgraders with nerves of silicon.

Graphics modes

PCs can have hundreds of graphics modes. Like Amiga OCS, ECS and AGA modes, these come in sets with three letter acronyms, where each new set incorporates all the earlier ones. The most common are grouped by chipset and resolution in this order: CGA (colour, just!) followed by EGA (sub-ST), VGA (sub-AGA), XGA, SVGA and then off into custom graphics card territory. Each acronym adds more modes, colours and resolutions.

The emulators - like most real PCs - concentrate on commonly-used modes so programs that use odd or customised ones give weird results. Fashion favours 800 by 600 pixels in 256 colours, with 1024 by 768 pixels close behind. These are high resolutions by Amiga or TV standards.

The release PCX 1.1 supports 320 by 200 block graphics in 256 colours, and higher resolution 2, 4 and 16 colour modes, like the Vortex software. These are the most Amiga-like of the scores of PC modes. The low resolution 256 colour mode is fine for Doom but not much else, and it's the only one currently useable with graphics cards! PCX supports both CGA graphics palettes, while PC-Task only uses black, white, cyan and purple.

PC-Task 4 handles modes flexibly, but needs careful configuration and can be slow. It lets you assign an Amiga, Picasso96 or CyberGraphix mode, chosen from the familiar screen mode requester, to each of two dozen PC modes. Each screen can be updated synchronously or periodically, and optionally diverted to the Workbench.

Cross Emulation

PC emulators for Apple Macs and Unix boxes can run on Amigas extended with Shapeshifter or NetBSD. SoftWindows and SoftPC, from Insignia Solutions, are leading commercial PC emulators on Macs. SoftPC will not run on a 68060 but SoftWindows is compatible.

Like PC-Task 3 in Turbo mode, these emulators trade memory for speed. SoftWindows needs over 34 Mb to emulate an 8 Mb PC. It's still an interpreter, so it cannot match the speed of PC-Task 4 in dynamic mode, but crucial parts of the Windows user-interface are re-coded for the Mac, reducing the amount of clumsy Intel code that must be interpreted.

PC emulators for Unix are outclassed by the new Amiga emulators. Most are better suited to MS-DOS than Windows emulation. DOSEMU, XDOS and PCEM are among the best for MS-DOS, while BOCHS and WINE are promising Unix Windows emulators.


New software PC emulators for Amigas

Two new emulators arrived early this year, first as demos, then in early release form. I tested PCX 1.1 and the corresponding demo 2.1, and PC Task 4.00 and 4.10. Both claim to translate, rather than interpret, Intel code as they go along, for unprecedented performance. Both claim compatibility with Microsoft Windows. But is it reasonable to expect a useful PC for fity quid? Either way, what DO you get?

PCX 1.1

PCX, from Microcode Solutions (formerly Utilities Unlimited) requires a 68020 or faster, at least three megabytes each of fast memory and hard disk space, plus Workbench 2.04 or later. To get started you also need a PC operating system - generally this means MS-DOS.

PCX emulates the instruction set of an Intel Pentium processor, with some gaps in memory management. The emulator comes in two versions, with and without support for floating point instructions. You need an Amiga with a co-processor - either a 68881 or 68882 add-on, or a full 68040 or 68060 - to run the floating point version.

PCX comes in a CD case with one floppy disk inside. There's no printed documentation, apart from the CD inlay which lists requirements, features (some now, some later) and promotes forthcoming emulators.

The feature list is misleading, claiming that PCX emulates a Cirus 5428 graphics chip, capable of 'VGA/SVGA graphics' with 'support for all usable graphics boards'. Its only mode that works via a board, as opposed to native Amiga graphics, is PC MODE 13 - fine for low-resolution DOOM, but not a lot else.

PC-Task 4.1

PC-Task 4 also needs a 68020 or better, but can just be squeezed into 2 Mb of RAM. It emulates a 486SX processor, very slowly if you run it from chip RAM, so RAM expansion is highly desirable.

PC-Task 4 also comes on one 880K disk, but this time you get a 50 page A5 printed manual. There's much duplication - one cautionary paragraph appears seven times - but it's still a lot better than the sketchy PCX AmigaGuide. A lot of the wording is identical to that for PC-Task 3 - indeed the cover has a small piece of paper saying '4.0' stuck over the heading 'version 3' - but the text is accurate apart from one reference to Appendix D which should say Appendix E.

Much of the manual discusses accessing PC files from the Amiga. There's a brief but useful explanation of MS-DOS commands, a discussion of 'common problems' and useful extra information in a 'readme' file.

PC-Task 4 supports 23 graphics modes, including 16 and 256 colour modes in resolutions of 800 by 600, 1024 by 768 and 1280 by 1024 pixels; you'll need a graphics card to see those properly. It can also handle 256 colour modes with 640 pixels per line and 400 or 480 lines, which are compatible with AGA. Both emulators are configured from neat GadTools-based windows.

PC Drives

The emulators support up to two floppy and two hard drives. Floppy emulation is rather slow and it may take a couple of tries before a disk change is recognised. The 'hard drives' may be partitions or files on an Amiga drive. Hard files can be interchanged between PC Task and PCX, but not the faster partitions.

PCX automagically makes 'mount files', allowing the Amiga system full access to the PC files. This is trickier with PC-Task, but well documented. Either way, you must avoid reading from one system while writing on the other, or the PC and Amiga may get out of sync, with disasterous consequences.

Both emulators come with rudimentary CD ROM handlers to access PC CDs in Amiga drives from the emulator. You need Microsoft's freeware MSCDEX to decode the normal CD file systems. PCX includes an ASPI handler, for the PC equivalent of Amiga SCSI direct, and a text screen accelerator.

PCX claims support for eight bit digitised sound, emulating a Sound Blaster card. Sound Blaster synthesis is promised but not yet implemented. PC-Task only emulates the pathetic one-bit IBM BEEPer, but that's enough to alert you when a disk change is required.

Speed

The difficulty of PC emulation is that each Intel instruction does a very small amount of work. PCs have high MIPs (Millions of Instructions Per Second, or Meaningless Indicator of Performance) statistics because of their simplistic instructions. A 68000 can do in one step what might take three or more on an Intel processor.

This is little consolation when you must interpret Intel code. The Amiga must execute several Motorola instructions to fetch and decypher each Intel one, perhaps a single byte. It takes a lot of effort to interpret PC code. The answer is to generate Motorola code on the fly - PCX's CPU Transcription, Dynamic Execution in PC-Task - and try to re-use bits of ready-made code when the program loops. As yet, this boosts PC-Task much more than it does PCX.

Transcription reduces the overhead of repeatedly fetching and decoding Intel instructions, making the emulator substantially faster. The simpler and more repetitive the original, the greater the benefit, as decoding effort otherwise predominates. The buffer size used for temporarily generated code may make emulation faster or slower, depending on the program and hence the ratio between time spent book-keeping versus running transcribed code.

Code generation matters little when the emulated instructions are complicated like division, floating point or string operations. If programs are self-modifying - often the case for 3D games on the PC - code generation may become counterproductive, as code is repeatedly generated and thrown away as the ground shifts under it.

Ideally we'd translate programs en masse, and eliminate redundant steps only needed to get around quirks of the Intel architecture. This would be great, if it could be done, but so far it's defeated the best efforts of great programmers.

Such 'cross-compilers' exist for RISC workstation and VAX minicomputer code, but even they don't work all the time, requiring manual intervention. Intel code is very tricky to translate; despite the enormous commercial potential of an Intel translator, so far we're stuck with interpreters and code transcribers.

Comparisons

You can't say for certain which is fastest of PCX and PC-Task - it depends on the program you try. Carefully-chosen benchmarks can 'prove' that PC-Task is anything up to five times faster than PCX, or vice versa! Overall, both are slow by PC standards, although usable if you choose your applications with discretion. Modern games are least likely to work. PC -Task has the edge on integer processing, while PCX gives faster Amiga displays.

In general PC-Task 4 out-runs PCX in MS-DOS, although less than crude benchmarks would suggest. If your programs make heavy use of floating point arithmetic PCX has a big advantage; PC-Task must interpret software FP emulation, making it many times slower.

Despite fast processing, PC-Task 4 seems relatively slow and erratic, refreshing the display intermittently, swapping back and forth between processor and screen emulation. PC-Task has the most modes; PCX has fewer, but better. PCX has less rough edges, like the tendency of PC-Task to misplace the cursor.

Conclusions

PC emulation is an extremely difficult thing to get right, and both PCX and PC-Task 4 have a good stab at it. Compared with a real PC or a second-hand bridgeboard, the price is reasonable - but you get what you pay for.

You need a fast 68040 and preferably a 68060 to run Windows at a bearable speed. Lesser Amigas can run most MS-DOS programs at a useful if slow pace. PC-Task makes the best of slow Amigas. PCX excels if you're into floating point maths, but has some catching up to do in support for graphics cards.

Both these emulators are grand hacks in the guru tradition, hand crafted in 68020 assembly code. Each crashed or locked up at times, just like real PCs, but they're quite usable, in view of their complexity and the moving target.

PCX 1.1
DISTRIBUTOR: Blittersoft 01908 261466
PRICE: 49.95
REQUIREMENTS: 68020, HD, WB2.04+, 3Mb+, MS-DOS
Speed
Documentation
Compatibility
Value

OVERALL VERDICT:
Realy excels if you're into floating point maths
74%
There is room for improvement. Both sometimes use instructions which 68060s must emulate, and scramble the UK keymap. They're sure to be updated for processor speed, graphics and compatibility. The authors Jim Drew and Chris Hames are regulars on the Usenet newgroup comp.sys.amiga.emulations and both Wizard and Blittersoft have good reputations for customer service.

Prices are reasonable when you remember that people buying these emulators will almost certainly need some technical support. Installation of PC software is a tricky, long-winded process for a beginner, so it helps if you know someone already familar with PC trivia. Think twice before mailing Chris or Jim with your questions, as each message they consider delays the next update...
PC-Task 4.1
DISTRIBUTOR: Wizard Developments, PO Box 490, Dartford, Kent DA1 2UH. 01322 527800
PRICE: 69.95
REQUIREMENTS: 68020, 2Mb+, MS-DOS
Speed
Documentation
Compatibility
Value

OVERALL VERDICT:
Most suited to slow Amigas, but has the edge on integer processing
72%

NET CONTACTS:
PC-Task 4:http://www.ozemail.com.au/~pctask
PCX:http://blitersoft.wildnet.co.uk
FreeDOS:http://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/micro/pc-stuff/freedos/freedos.html
Mac emulators:http://www.insignia.com
Unix emulators:ftp://tsx-11/mit.edu/pub/linux

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Articles Copyright © 1996-2002 Simon Goodwin