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ancientPC

help on building win98SE gaming system

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I'm trying to build the best and most windows98 compatible gaming system possible. Please don't say it's pointless, waste of money, use virtual machine instead, etc. Whenever people ask this on other forums they are bombarded with people saying their idiots and to use windows 7 instead, etc. I've made my decision so if you can't help please don't post. to better understand my mindset/intentions see this link http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Editorial/Gaming-Its-1999-Building-Legacy-Windows-Gaming-PC

my current PC specs:

MOBO - MSI KT7266 Pro2 (AGP 4x)

CPU - AMD Athlon 1GHz (I think)

RAM - 256Mb DDR (x1 stick)

HDD - 80Gb (Seagate, I think)

VIDEO - nVIDIA GeForce4 MX440 (AGP 4x, 64Mb RAM)

SOUND - Creative SB Live!

CDR - 32x Burner (can't remember brand)

FDD - 3.5" black

CASE - Tower

MONITOR - BenQ 17" LCD 5:4

Issues:

- occasional freezing, happens more often when more stuff is installed

- some games have a background crackling noise such as Gabriel Knight Sins of the Father

- video performance is poor with newer win98 games such as Deus Ex, Morrowind, Combat Flight Sim, The Sims, Battlefield 1942, etc

- can't detect TV tuner card in win98 but works in 2000 (used to take screenshots/video)

I want to build a PC to alleviate at least the first 3 issues, last one doesn't matter so much.

here is what I found out from my research, please give your opinions:

so I need a better motherboard, preferably top of line in 2003-2004ish era but comptability and stability is most important

needs to have AGP 8x (not sure PCIe is supported or even desirable?)

5 PCI slots and onboard 1000mbps LAN would be nice

ATX form, PS/2 keyboard and mouse port, parallel port

not sure what other features are available that windows98 can utilise - hyper transport?

I found that an ASUS K8V SE Deluxe ticks all the boxes and has good reviews on newegg (http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131490)

CPU not that critical, too fast is bad. perhaps a 2GHz one that fits the board?

RAM max supported by 98 is 512Mb but can be modified to take up to 2Gb

so I was thinking getting two 1Gb DDR 400 or just sticking with the 256Mb I already got

not sure about what sound card is best, I thought the SB Live! was one of the best available at the time. maybe a SB16/32 would be more compatible especially with DOS games

might see how I go sticking with the SB Live! but if I still get sound crackle might downgrade to a more compatible one

HDD the most Win98 can recognise is 160Gb is that correct? not sure if I should I get SATA or IDE

Video card has to be AGP 8x but maybe PCIe is preferable I don't know. The best AGP 8x card I found is ASUS V9570/TD/N/256M/A NVIDIA GeForce FX5700. Apparently win98 won't work with a video card more than 256Mb RAM.

so please let me know what you think especially about the motherboard and video cards. I really don't know much about what I'm doing, it's hard to research there is so much conflicting and incorrect information out there. hopefully there are some knowledgable like minded win98 afficionados here that can help me find a solution

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I'm trying to build the best and most windows98 compatible gaming system possible. Please don't say it's pointless, waste of money, use virtual machine instead, etc. Whenever people ask this on other forums they are bombarded with people saying their idiots and to use windows 7 instead, etc. I've made my decision so if you can't help please don't post.

I know what you mean, I've seen it (and fought against it) on other forums as well. Rest assured, you will get none of that rubbish here. Welcome to MSFN!

so I need a better motherboard, preferably top of line in 2003-2004ish era but comptability and stability is most important

needs to have AGP 8x (not sure PCIe is supported or even desirable?)

5 PCI slots and onboard 1000mbps LAN would be nice

ATX form, PS/2 keyboard and mouse port, parallel port

not sure what other features are available that windows98 can utilise - hyper transport?

I found that an ASUS K8V SE Deluxe ticks all the boxes and has good reviews on newegg (http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131490)

CPU not that critical, too fast is bad. perhaps a 2GHz one that fits the board?

RAM max supported by 98 is 512Mb but can be modified to take up to 2Gb

so I was thinking getting two 1Gb DDR 400 or just sticking with the 256Mb I already got

not sure about what sound card is best, I thought the SB Live! was one of the best available at the time. maybe a SB16/32 would be more compatible especially with DOS games

might see how I go sticking with the SB Live! but if I still get sound crackle might downgrade to a more compatible one

HDD the most Win98 can recognise is 160Gb is that correct? not sure if I should I get SATA or IDE

Video card has to be AGP 8x but maybe PCIe is preferable I don't know. The best AGP 8x card I found is ASUS V9570/TD/N/256M/A NVIDIA GeForce FX5700. Apparently win98 won't work with a video card more than 256Mb RAM.

so please let me know what you think especially about the motherboard and video cards. I really don't know much about what I'm doing, it's hard to research there is so much conflicting and incorrect information out there. hopefully there are some knowledgable like minded win98 afficionados here that can help me find a solution

In your case you will obviously need a motherboard that does have Windows 98SE compatible drivers (more on that below). But first, realize that many of the so called "limitations" of Windows 9x have long been fixed. You do not have to limit your CPU speed (I have 3.4GHz Windows 95 systems). If you are willing to purchase some of RLoew's patches, then you can use up to 4GB of RAM and you can use HDD's larger than 137GB (this is the limit without a patch) and you can also use SATA drives.

Now, on compatible hardware. Do you wish to build an Intel system or an AMD system, or does it matter? I am much more familiar with Intel systems, so I can help with those, but not so much with AMD.

If Intel, then I recommend a motherboard based on the 865 or 875 chipsets. These chipsets have Windows 98SE compatible drivers and can use P4 Socket 478 CPUs up to 3.4GHz (slightly higher LGA775 P4's on 865/875 LGA775 boards, but these are more rare). These boards also typically support up to 4GB of DDR RAM and have AGP8x slots. Some have Gigabit LAN chips as well. Look up the Intel D865PERL and D875PBZ boards for examples, but there are many of these made by other manufacturers besides Intel.

For video cards, I am much more familiar with ATI than NVidia, and the last 98-supported AGP 8x ATI card is the X850 XT Platinum Edition. The slightly older 9800 XT is still a very good card as well. PCI-E under 98SE is very "iffy" - it works for some and not for others, but in your case you will need proper driver support for your video card for games, and only a very small handful of PCI-E cards have 98 compatible drivers.

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2GiB of RAM will crash Windows 98 unless you either use my RAM Limitation Patch or use a workaround that effectively disables the second 1Gib.

The Hard Drive limit for an unpatched Windows 98 System is 137GB (128GiB). I have patches to support up to 2TiB and beyond.

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To the original poster,

I don't think it's pointless to build your ideal Windows 9x gaming system. I'm not into gaming like you are, but I'm into Windows 9x for doing "everyday" tasks.

I can still do the following:

- transfer pictures from my digital cameras

- organize and view my pictures using CompuPic Pro or countless other image viewing programs

- check my email, read the news

- type a paper or resume

- listen to MP3s and keep music files on my computer

Total cost is simply $9 / month for dial up Internet

Thanks to Kernel-Ex I can use Opera (pretty much the only option for dial-up users)

All my computer parts are used, people practically give these kinds of parts away free

The way I look at it, people are throwing their money away paying for the same exact thing over and over from Microsoft: a glorified type writer and email checker.

I could write a paper in Windows 3.1 using Word 6.0 which would look the same as papers written nowadays.

And to sound paranoid, I think newer computers are just ways for the NSA to access your personal files.

Now, for my suggestions on building a system. I don't know... I'm not really a computer builder person. I can update the RAM, swap out a hard drive or CD-Rom but that's all I've done.

I got my current computer off Ebay after searching for "Windows 98 Computer" or "DOS Computer".... there were plenty of results to pick from. I was looking for things within a certain range: Pentium III computers, under 1 GB RAM, 1.7 GHz or less CPU.... basically, machines that won't give me much trouble when installing Windows Millennium. And before you buy something, go online and read the manual for whatever computer you're interested in, see whether or not it's even capable of supporting Win9x. Personally, if doesn't support Win9x I don't bother.

I got my current computer off Ebay. It's the same model as my older machine, which was designed for Windows ME and Windows 2000 only. The person I bought it from had installed Windows XP on it. Why? It only had 256 MB RAM installed. Must have been really slow.

So when the computer arrived, I just popped in my Windows ME floppy boot disk, I F-Disked the drive, created a new DOS partition, then formatted it, then installed Windows ME. Took maybe an hour at most.

Basically, you might have to trade off simplicity for speed. Do you want something that's going to be the "fastest" but will probably be a pain to set-up (not to mention reformatting the drive and re-installing all the drivers) or do you want something that's designed for Windows 9x and is simpler to maintain, but which isn't the fastest.

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I also don't think it's stupid, I hate when people say you should just use Windows 7...or 8 *shutters*. I'll use what I want!

But as far as I know, the latest GeForce usable in Windows 98 with official drivers is the nVidia GeForce 6200, but I think it'll go up to the 88xxs if you use the unoffical drivers. Don't quote me on that but I know it'll go higher. Using a Creative SoundBlaster Live! should be a good card for you as well. Sound to me is sound, I don't notice a difference much between the Live! and the Audigy or even a few of the other ones.

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GeForces 8xxx aren't supported. I used to use GF 7900GS 256MB without any problems. Gaming at 1024x768 was fine. There aren't many GFs 8xxx around beacuse of RoHS anyway. :puke:

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But that driver will not provide any hardware acceleration, it just works enough to show image.

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Back then, I used this driver with nV 7900 GS:

Tweaked Unofficial NVIDIA Display Driver 82.69 for Windows 98/98 SP1/98 SE/ME
Version 1.03
Modded by Maximus-Decim
12-22-2008

Still have it on my harddrive. It is available here from MDGx's site. Although now when I look into the readme, it says 8xxx and 9xxx series are supported. I'm not sure if there was a problem with those or they were just too pricey for me at that time. :blink:

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I am still building mine, let me hear how yours go. Here are things to think about

1. MotherBoard ( just for the sake of stupidity we call it a logicboard ) will be intel for the most results using the patches.

Whatever board you use, you want the faster transfer speeds, but again this is 98 we are talking about.

2. The drivers of the graphics card must be official drivers ( meaning you need a programmer to tweak the drivers ) and not force-ware. Force-ware is not the over-all solution.

3. The sound driver is like the graphics card but most should work. Do not buy the greatest or latest sound card before you know it will work. I have a sound blaster 9. My other one got stolen.

4. Again with the patches, because you want the best display you need alot of memory. 98 will reset unless patches including kernel patches. However their are other ways to bypass the resetting problem.

Just to test, try installing your NT games.

Just to be honest, I also wanted this but I just use the blasted Vista because it was less the $100. Just to play the games. In order to play all 3d NT games you need to be ( or have on hand ) a programmer. Their was this programmer who has a website, where he has tons of unofficial drivers, and old programs. I really love his website, he is a true Windows 1.0 and 3.1 hero. Bottom-line you need a program like that person. Maybe you could ask them, but I forget the website.

However in your case you are using the patches, and kernel update from start. So that should be enough to get the NT drivers to kick in?

Those NT drivers will be looking for the locations of all windows components from the NT family. So in between a person would have to have the patches, and kernelEX updates and then program drivers just for those programs.

I use my 9X to play the emulators, not including any emulator that is not supported on the 9x branch. However this is usually because of memory mapping limitations. Then of course their is flash that loads everything into memory, and Uncompress the files, if your into flash games. Finally there is HD to consider if your that freak who has the big giant "Futurama television as your display panel. To do HD resolutions ( those stupid pi terms ), you need correct drivers, a card with tons of memory, and tons of on board RAM. When you accomplish this, report back on your findings.

So just to review.

1. All the hardware that is able to work with the KernelEX and patches the best, are needed. Trail and error

2. All the official drivers needs to be updated individually by a real programmer.

3. NT programs should be able to install. 2000, XP, Vista, etc etc etc.

4. Emulators 9x and NT should be able to run smoothly.

5. High-end flash files should be able to run in the highest sharpness/fluid looking graphics without slow-downs.

6. Considering 4 and 5, the memory and and graphics card memory should be maxxed out, and in exHD resolutions on exHD displays. It should like Venus wars in your master bedroom. To test get an exHD images, and the updated version of Irfanview. If you can view these big images, your games should be able to run as well, but their are all kinds of test. Another one is to consider a high end 3d graphics tat runs inside a flash, because all of these takes a lot out of the system. I am talking about like, retarded exHd detailed graphics.

If all goes well on your 9X journey, please tell us. I am sure people will aide you in your journey.

BE WARNED. Higher end editing programs, might install their versions of software and force you to re-install. However that is trail and error. If your system was to work then you should be able to load a 3d world scene in exhd, using vectored images as well.

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