DOSBox Tips and Tricks

(Created June 2016)

Trying to calibrate your DOSBox to the game you're playing is tricky. Fortunately, there's a series of DOS programs produced by Norton called SysInfo (300~ kb ZIP) that enable you to benchmark the internal DOSBox session to calibrate performance.

From using Versions 6 and 8 inside DOSBox with CPU Core Set to Auto, the following benchmarks shook out (Yellow), which I combined with actual benchmarks made by people on the VOGONS forums or from within SysInternal (Green).

This is mainly to help people optimize in DOSBox games that were designed to run game logic timing off of clock speed (Wing Commander I/II were notorious for this).

DOSBox Internal Benchmarks using Norton SysInfo

Description

Benchmark

Pentium II @ 333 MHz

836.5

DOSBox 140,500 Cycles

835.3

DOSBox 71,000 Cycles

422.1

Pentium I @ 133 Mhz

421.3

DOSBox 35,600 Cycles

211.6

Pentium I @ 60 Mhz

211.4

DOSBox 24,000 Cycles

142.7

486DX2 @ 66 MHz

141.7

DOSBox 12,000 Cycles

71.3

486DX @ 33 MHz

71.2

DOSBox 6,100 Cycles

36.3

386DX @ 33 MHz

35.9

DOSBox 4,600 Cycles

27.3

386SX @ 25 MHz
(Optimum for Wing Commander I)

27.1

DOSBox 3,300 Cycles

19.6

286 @ 25 MHz

19.4

DOSBox 3,000 Cycles
(Stock Default)

17.8

286 @ 12 MHz

8.9

DOSBox 1,500 Cycles

8.9

286 @ 8 MHz

4.4

DOSBox 700 Cycles

4.2

DOSBox 200 Cycles

1.2

IBM XT 88 @ 4.77 MHz

1

DOSBox 167 Cycles

1