What sort of performance I can expect from PC Task 4.4 on Amiga 500 + 030 50MHz MMU, 64MB RAM? Would it be possible to run Windows 3.11 / 95 and have any real use from it?

  • Anecdotal information - I just fired up PC Task 1.02 on my 25Mhz A3000 and launched FoxPro 2.0 - which took about 30 seconds to load. It's sluggish, but not unusable.
    – Geo...
    Nov 25 '20 at 21:08

I have an A1200 with Blizzard 1230-IV (50MHz 68030/MMU/FPU) and 32 MiB of FastRAM. I installed DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.0 into a 20 MB hardfile on a CF card in the PCMCIA slot. I ran it under PC-Task 4.4 Dynamic with 'huge' code buffer, 1 MiB extended memory and VGA graphics emulation on PAL screens (outputting composite video to my LCD TV).

DOS performance was quite good, feeling significantly faster than my Amstrad PC2086. I ran Checkit 3.0 to benchmark performance. Here are the results (screens captured with SGrab by Stephan Rupprecht):-

  • CPU

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Initially Checkit measured the CPU speed at 5.3 MHz, but when running the test again (with the code now running from PC-Task's dynamic cache) it jumped up to 12.48 MHz. FPU speed is impressive...

  • Hard drive

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The CF card really shines here, providing about 50% native transfer speed under emulation. In comparison my PC2086 only manages a miserable 29 kB/s, perhaps because its hard drive sector interleave is not optimal.

  • Video

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Running 640x200 in 16 colors with 'immediate' screen update, the performance is about what you would expect from a real machine of the same class. It might be a bit slower on an A500 due to reduced ChipRAM bandwidth - best to use MGA (Hercules) text mode if you don't need color.

However the screen update speed in Windows 3.0 was very slow, whether 'immediate' or updating every 4 frames. I suspect this is due to inefficiencies in the stock Windows VGA driver and other code. Windows operation was slow in general - fast enough to be usable but you need to be patient.

Finally the acid test - was it fast enough to enjoy playing Solitaire? The answer is... yes!

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Total memory usage (including screen etc.) on the A1200 was ~13 MiB, which was no problem for my 34 MiB system. I even managed to (accidentally) run two virtual PCs at the same time!

But what about Windows 95? In mid 1995 I installed a pre-release version on my 386-DX 40MHz with 4 MiB RAM and ISA bus VGA, and it was sluggish. So while it should run under PC-Task I imagine it would be much too slow for practical use.

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