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hifidelitygaming

Ultimate windows 98 gaming build ideas?

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Hi : )

This is my first post, if I make any noob mistakes please tell me. I'm seeking commentary on anything I say here, it's like a public stream of consciousness asking "do you know a better way for (x) than what I plan?"

I'm the same guy at VOGONS if anyone is also over there. Since this seems one of the top win98 related hubs (if there are others please share?) I thought i'd ask for more insight and comments here.

I'm sure there are a number of topics here in the past covering similar things - if anyone could point out some 'best' ones, or ones that may not be as obvious in a routine search i'd be grateful. But my specific interests may not match what others have done and the topic isn't so much asking about hardware (i'm aware of the sticky) but rather what "total package" configurations of hardware, software, and perhaps special setup others have come up with and why. Ie - "whats your best" and can you top what others suggest?

I'm trying to design up a series of (since I assume just one will not be able to do everything perfectly) windows 95/98/ME era gaming rigs with the goal of playing games of the era which DONT run best on XP at the absolute maximum quality of the experience possible. (hence my name, "high fidelity gaming") Graphics, sound, and support for special user interfaces/certain controllers which existed in the past and were perhaps 'dead ends' or not used widely but still may have been the best way to play specific games.

WHY 98? Some things run on best on XP and I plan on running those games on XP., these designs are solely to be systems for any game which does NOT run best on XP, or which for some reason has a higher quality or more immersive experience using older hardware, especially in the areas of sound an human interface/controllers. Support for the "dead ends" of gaming, some new technology for instance that game out, was supported (like the P5 Virtual Reality Glove in Hitman 2), but which died shortly afterwards is what interests me. I'm obsessed enough to track down hardware that only gives a better experience on even 2 or 3 games just because i'm a collector and find this stuff fascinating. : ) Plus most of this era hardware is fairly cheap to collect anyways.

MY PROPOSED SYSTEM:

ASrock Core 775 Dual motherboard will probably be in everything, simply because it runs PCI, AGP and PCIe. One of the only Core 2 Duo motherboards to work with windows 98 at all, although the CPU is overkill it should be more than ample for any win98 era game while using less power to boot. It also multiboots nicely to anything from XP and Vista to MacOSX so I plan to use it multipurpose. (ie - it's not exclusively for 98 gaming, just primarily) CPU/RAM unimportant at this level, let's be honest. The only thing that probably matters are graphics, sound and human interface stuff.

GRAPHICS: Nvidia 7800 or so is what i'm planning in the primary system because of one special ability - 3d LCD shutter glasses. They were not to my knowledge supported in the 8800, so even if I can use that card in 98 I wouldn't. A number of games for the Nvidia 3d stereo driver do NOT work on the newer Nvidia 3D glasses. They should also work with the Wicked3D driver which may have supported games Nvidia did not. A GLIDE wrapper would be used to play older games (since i'm aware late 90 games play best in GLIDE) which AFAIK should be superior to even a 3dfx Voodoo 5 6000 in terms of performance and quality, due to allowing modern AA modes and such. Games that support wide modes (like DX8.1 Parhelia era support that was added in some games) would experiment with SoftTH (software triplehead) to see if they can run 3x CRT's.

Radeon 8500 AGP - this would be a separate PC, just for playing TruForm games. Though TruForm was emulated in later cards it was apparently at lower performance and compatibility. Yes there were not alot but I was interesed in them anyways. : ) Elder Scrolls 3 for instance.

PowerVR - i forget the exact name and model of the cards, but some games of the mid 90's worked best with a PowerVR card, rather than direct x, open gl, or glide. Being PCI it could be added to either of the above cards as a secondary card.

Were there any other proprietary graphics API's, supported in certain games to higher quality than the common 3 (open gl, direct X, glide), or any other specific card support (some mid 90's games didn't even support an API but just directly supported early 3d accelerators and thus wouldn't work with later ones, such as supported the Voodoo 1 but didn't even use glide so wouldnt run a Voodoo 2 or later) worthy of mention?

SOUND: Aureal Vortex 2 card with support for A3D 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 This to me seems the main reason to have a win98 gaming box. To my knowledge this API does NOT work in XP at all and is unlikely to ever work. I haven't experienced this yet (never tried a card) though I recently got one to put in the proposed box.

Sensaura - another 3d API which to my ears was vastly superior to anything Creative has put out, including new EAX 5.0 stuff, at least as far as 3d positional accuracy especially above/below the head. My experience in Dark Engine games was phenomenal and this is actually one of the main reasons for building this rig, since those games are somewhat b*tchy on XP and later. I'm told Aureal is even better, I plan to try both, i'd like to run both cards in one box if possible. Are there any Sensaura cards that actually support XP in the 3d audio API though? (ie using those algorythms)

Was there any other 3d audio API that was worth hearing? I've heard of like two others (Qsound and something) but no clue if they were uniquely supported in games, better than either of the above two, or etc.

CONTROLLERS: I'm still researching this one, but things like the SpaceOrb 360, earlier force feedback joysticks using gameport and MIDI and such would be on the list. Getting compatibility here should primarily be about just using gameport era stuff.

CONFIGURATION: One thing i'm curious about is whether it is possible to force newer games (such as those perhaps supported by Kernel Ex?) to use Aureal sound API's and such, does the 3d positional audio just do calls to hardware using whatever you have or what exactly? I'd love for some mid 2000's games that normally needed XP to have the positional accuracy of the Aureal if possible but I dont know if it works that way...

Can anyone improve any of the above plans or suggest further research in my pursuit of retrogaming perfection? : P

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Welcome to MSFN, hifidelitygaming. Yes, this is the main Windows 9x hub, and probably the only one remaining that has significant activity.

I'll start off with some links. Here are two stickies that may be of help:

http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/97588-modern-motherboards-which-are-working-with-windows-98/

http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/107001-compatible-hardware-with-windows-9x/

Here are some old discussions that are related:

http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/92454-to-build-a-high-end-win98se-system/

http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/63394-bestfastest-hardware-platform-that-supports-98se/

For 98 era gaming, I say start by picking out the games you are looking to play, and then build the system to meet their needs.

... (ie - it's not exclusively for 98 gaming, just primarily) CPU/RAM unimportant at this level, let's be honest

Hardware does matter! It's a given that you should not go with hardware that is too old, but it is equally important not to select hardware that may be too recent relative to those games. If you do, your gaming experience can be hindered at the least, or completely break a game and the OS at the worst. You may have issues if you have 1GB of ram or more: http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=118097&st=0. Nvidia 7800 or 8800 could be trouble: http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/137200-nvidia-geforce-and-win-9xme-relevant-threads/. You'll need to choose the right drivers. Are you going to be running Windows 98 First Edition or Second Edition? The right combination of hardware and software will be dependent upon your choice of games.

CONFIGURATION: One thing i'm curious about is whether it is possible to force newer games (such as those perhaps supported by Kernel Ex?) to use Aureal sound API's and such, does the 3d positional audio just do calls to hardware using whatever you have or what exactly? I'd love for some mid 2000's games that normally needed XP to have the positional accuracy of the Aureal if possible but I dont know if it works that way...

KernelEX was not designed to work with XP drivers.

As for my main Windows 98SE system, the stuff that's worth mentioning is a PIII 1GHz with an nVidia Geforce4 Ti 4200. Depending on how you look at it, it's faster than a speeding bullet, or slower than molasses. Nothing special. Call of Duty: United Front expansion (2004) is a slideshow, Morrowind (2002) is just playable, plenty of power for Dungeon Keeper II (1999), and over the top for F-22 Raptor (1996). But some games will choke on the immense performance of this system. Daggerfall (1996) has timing issues. A slow-down utility helps, but it is not as enjoyable. Tyrian (1996) won't run. I ran it with DOSBox, but it's not optimal. Arena (1994) again won't run, and my system is wayyyyyy too slow for DOSBox with this game. But that's what my Windows 95 system with real 95 era hardware is for. The right system, for the right game.

I hope this information gets you started off on your Ultimate Windows 98 gaming build.

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Welcome to the forum, hifidelitygaming.

I'm obsessed enough to track down hardware... because i'm a collector and find this stuff fascinating.
I am a big collector too, but most of my collecting interests are outside of the computer area. I know very little about computer games, but perhaps in a few marginal points I could be of help. Interesting to see that Win98 is a current topic in other forums http://vogons.zetafleet.com/viewtopic.php?t=31588
I'm trying to design ... gaming rigs with ... Graphics, sound, and support for special user interfaces/certain controllers which existed in the past and were ... the best way to play specific games.
This sounds like a motherboard with at least 5 PCI slots, for many different cards. This would exclude, for example, the Asus P5PE-VM motherboard which I use in all my desktops and which has only 3 PCI slots.
... most of this era hardware is fairly cheap to collect anyways...
Some old hardware may cost next to nothing, other old components/addons may cost an arm and a leg, if you can find them, e.g. maybe 2 items offered per year at ebay. As a "total package", putting a TOP old Win98 system together is a luxury, not counting the time and effort.
ASrock Core 775 Dual motherboard .... multiboots nicely to anything from XP and Vista to MacOSX
I don't know about MacOSX, but you try to build a special-purpose computer for Win9x games, so forget about Vista and up. I had Vista on my desktop as one of several operating systems, together with DOS, Win98SE and WinXP, but then I dumped Vista because it created partitions which old PowerQuest PartitionMagic v8.01 couldn't handle. I am using System Commander v9.04, which can handle Vista Ok. I only know of 1 other member in this forum, Lone Crusader, who uses also System Commander to multiboot.

If using WinXP on your system is important, you should use a motherboard which supports dual core. If WinXP is not important, then there is a much bigger selection of motherboards, since dual core support is not needed. WinXP was important to me, so I built my desktops with a motherboard which supports dual core up to Intel X6800. I believe there are also motherboards which support Win98 and permit quadcore. Some software may work only with single-core, not with dual core (e.g. old Tiny Personal Firewall v2.0.14 under WinXP)

GRAPHICS: Nvidia 7800 or so is what i'm planning in the primary system because of one special ability - 3d LCD shutter glasses. They were not to my knowledge supported in the 8800, so even if I can use that card in 98 I wouldn't. A number of games for the Nvidia 3d stereo driver do NOT work on the newer Nvidia 3D glasses.
I am using bfg Geforce 7800 GS OC on my desktops, they come with different firmware versions, I have currently 2 different firmware versions on 2 nearly identical desktops, which is a nuisance. I am not sure which firmware versions is the better one, any suggestions?

The bfg7800 has a very noisy fan, requires a 650-700W power supply, and there is an annoying power-cycling issue between the Asus P5PE-VM motherboard, the bfg7800 card and the ViewSonic VP2030b monitor (1600x1200): the screen stays black at power-on when monitor and computer are not powered-on/powered-off in a specific sequence . At least 2 of my bfg7800 cards have gone bad, they don't seem to last long.

Games that support wide modes (like DX8.1 Parhelia era support that was added in some games)
It will be interesting to see how you handle wide-screen under Win98

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I frequent VOGONS too. For a long while my only laptop was a Pentium 3 900mhz, 384mb ram, GeForce 2 GO 16mb. I had win 98 with all the 3rd addons and KerenelEX. I could must barely play 240p youtube videos. It did game decently i played a American McGees's Alice on medium. At least with desktop you can change or upgrade any aspect.

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This is one of must popular question, but answer has not changed in last few years (very sad).

Strongest Intel configuration supported by OFFICIAL drivers is:

ASROCK ConRoe865PE with Core 2 Quad Q660 (2.4 Ghz), 4 GB RAM (DDR I !?) and Radeon 6800 (pixel shader 3.0) with 256 MB.

Other CPU possibility is Pentium D 960 (3.6 Ghz) because it is much faster of Core 2 Quad core and Windows 98 SE can use only 1 core.

In Windows 98 SE you will be limited to 1GB or you need to ask our forum friend patch.

Strongest AMD configuration supported by OFFICIAL drivers is:

ASROCK AM2NF3-VSTA with Phenom II X4 (3.5 Ghz) AM3, 16 GB RAM (DDR II) and Radeon 6800 (pixel shader 3.0) with 256 MB.

In Windows 98 SE you will be limited to 1GB or you need to ask our forum friend patch.

ps. this is best official configuration for dual bot Win98/XP

Edited by Rjecina

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I recently started off on this same quest. My specific goal was centered around one bottleneck - OpenGL games played stereoscopically played under W98. Nvidia's stereoscopic driver dropped OpenGL compatibility around the time the OP stated (P4's, geforce 7800/7900's, etc.) Some of the drivers were compitble under XP, but XP kinda dogged out under gaming scenarios. So I want to rattle together, just like the OP, the best system for OpenGL stereoscopic gaming, but focus on the W98 restriction. The other reason for using W98 is the footprint. I'd love to get the system together, fresh install of W98 and whatever game, and then gut the whole OS via 98Lite, so as to have the smallest, stable footprint for imaging. So I will be going through the suggested links, and get back to the thread with my thoughts. Just wanted to lend my support, and keep the thread active. Should be fun.

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That is absolute poppy cock the Pentium D was 2 Pentium 4 bashed together and shoved in a chip the core 2 quad is gonna be much stronger core to core. Any reasonable man would just grab a single core Conroe...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116039

Basically a Core 2 Solo but, for desktop.

Also it depends on what your running a lot of older games/apps don't play nice with newer hardware.

Edited by cdoublejj

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