SimCity 2000, 16-color modes and custom palettes

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The original SimCity 2000 had a strict requirement for an SVGA video card that supported 640×480 resolution with 256 colors. I used to believe that this was an inflexible requirement, but it turns out that the hardware requirements were eased in the Windows version. Not only did it allow the game to run in 16-color modes, but it was also bundled with a special VGA driver developed by Microsoft. This driver enabled modifications to the color palette, just like in the 256-color modes. I was completely unaware of the existence of such a feature until recently.

I wrote a full article about this fascinating discovery:

New Article: Toshiba T3200SX

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I just wrapped up an article on the Toshiba T3200SX, a desktop-replacement laptop from 1989. This beauty boasts a 386(SX) CPU and a stunning VGA gas-plasma display.

You can check it out here:

For those of you who are new to the world of vintage computers, this article can provide some valuable context and perspective. I delved into why the 386 was such a crucial milestone for PCs and a few lesser-known details. I absolutely adore this machine. I don’t think I own any other portable  computer from the 80s that brings me as much joy while working on it. If  only it were just a tad lighter..

External Graphics Cards

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A friend of mine showed me a low-cost option to expand graphics capabilities of Atari TT030. VME bus was converted to ISA and a standard ISA VGA board could be used then. It looked very cumbersome to me and I was thinking how desperate one must be to do it this way.

After few months, another friend sent me the eGPU kit that allows to connect a desktop PCIe graphics card to a computer (laptop) that has only M.2, mini-PCIe or ExpressCard connection. I tried only the ExpressCard version but there are people who made holes in their laptops, removed a Wi-Fi adapter and installed a thin cable that can connect internal PCIe x1 with the external adapter. With an additional ATX power supply, huge compatibility issues and necessary OS hacks, this is even more cumbersome. Anyway, I’m pretty sure that there is a target audience even for this.

Looks like some people didn’t change much in almost 30 years.