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Building a fully compatible 98SE computer


Josey
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The Intel 9xx series boards do NOT have Windows 9x drivers.

Wrong, i915 has 98SE/ME drivers.

Technically yes, a 9x INF does exist for the i915 chipset in the last official Intel package but it does NOT cover any other 9xx chipset (not even the 925). Also, Intel did not provide a working USB 2.0 driver for Windows 9x on ICH6/9xx chipsets or provide a working SATA port driver for 9x, so it seems more of an oversight that a 915 INF was included rather than a real attempt at support.

 

http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/775i915P-SATA2/

This is the motherboard you might consider. Just have a USB2.0 addon-card to use with it (not a simple bracket), since the onboard USB is limited to 1.1 on 9x.

Garbage AMI BIOS, there's one strike for starters.

Why would the onboard USB2 be limited to 1.1? Makes no sense unless you try to use the chipset-limited OrangeWare driver rather than the 2K drivers from NUSB.

I have run 9x tests on both an Intel D915GAG an a MSI 925 Platinum board. Both I would label as "undesirable" for 9x; the Intel board has ACPI issues and does strange things with RAM allocation while the MSI board has the same issues and only allows 2.75GB of RAM to the OS, even with 4GB installed. If you want "all 9x compatible," go with an 865 or 875 chipset board. If you want something newer, there's no reason to choose something below the 965 chipset.

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Thank you again everyone. I'm leaning a lot I didn't know about all of this.

 

You're right Tommy, the GA-M68MT-S2P onlt has one PCI, which isn't enough, but really the GA-790FXTA-UD5 is too expensive for me at the moment. I'm planning on buying rloew's SATA patch anyway. Oh, and as far as cases go, I was given 15 different PC cases a few months ago by a friend who had for some reason got them from second hand shops and places like that, and then didn't have the space to keep them. So I'm hoping that some of them will be big enough! But if they aren't I'll make sure I get a full ATX one.

 

Thanks LoneCrusader for the advice about NForce chipsets. I'll keep that in mind.

 

I see that a lot of motherboards still have a Parallel port. I was wondering, although I'm unlikely to need to use the Parallel port, in case I do need it, is there a universal driver for 98SE that would make it work?

 

None of the boards I've seen for sale so far are 100% what I want, so I'm going to keep looking for a few days and get back to you when I've found another one. If I can find the GA-790FXTA-UD5 cheaper, I think I'll go for that, although I do like Intel!

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That is good news! Thank you LoneCrusader.

 

I was speaking with my friend today, and he asked me a question. He liked booting into MS-DOS 7.1 a lot of the time on his old 98SE, and he's wondering if having 4GB of ram (using rloew's RAM patch) will have any impact on MS-DOS. Will it still work fully, or does it not like having that much RAM?

 

I've found a few good deals on some older Gigabyte motherboards. All of them are used, which isn't ideal in my mind, but they say they work fully, and they are cheap, and all of them apart from the last one has more than one available, so I could order two. And they have all the ports I need. The main problem I can see is that they all use the 945 chipset, and I see that LoneCrusader said that "there's no reason to choose something below the 965 chipset". Are there any issues with using the 945? 

 

GA-945GCM-S2L Rev 1.0 http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=2669#sp

GA-945GZM-S2 Rev 3.9 http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=2467#sp

GA-8I945GMF Rev 1.0 http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=1910#sp

GA-945GCMX-S2 Rev 6.6 http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=2521#sp

 

I can get these used 945 boards for between £18 and £33 each.

 

Or I could go older to the 915 chipset and get a unused GA-8I915G-MF for £35.

 

I also found some used 965 boards for about £65 each.

 

GA-965P-DQ6 REV:1.0 http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=2295#sp

GA-965P-DQ6 REV:3.3 http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=2453#sp

GA-965P-S3 http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=2457#sp

GA-965GM-S2 http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=2617#sp

 

So if the 965 chipset is better I could go for those. Or there's the much newer and unused GA-790FXTA-UD5, which would set me back about £130 each.

 

If I went for the GA-790FXTA-UD5 (or one similar), they have USB 3 ports. Can I get USB 3 ports to work using a generic USB driver, or do they only work for USB 1, 1.1 and 2? I don't care about getting full USB 3 speed, but if the board had USB 3 ports, it'd be nice if they worked.

 

So, just to remind myself, I'm looking for a motherboard that:

Uses the AWARD BIOS

Has PCI Express
Has at least two PCI slots
Has a Floppy disk drive connector
Doesn't have NForce chipsets
 
Am I forgetting anything important? 
 
Thank you for helping. :)
Edited by Josey
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I was speaking with my friend today, and he asked me a question. He liked booting into MS-DOS 7.1 a lot of the time on his old 98SE, and he's wondering if having 4GB of ram (using rloew's RAM patch) will have any impact on MS-DOS. Will it still work fully, or does it not like having that much RAM?

No impact at all. MS-DOS 7.1 works natively with 4 GiB RAM. But one ought to add a /NUMHANDLES=64 switch in the line that loads HIMEM.SYS.

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I was speaking with my friend today, and he asked me a question. He liked booting into MS-DOS 7.1 a lot of the time on his old 98SE, and he's wondering if having 4GB of ram (using rloew's RAM patch) will have any impact on MS-DOS. Will it still work fully, or does it not like having that much RAM?

DOS itself is not affected by having 4GB of RAM, but certain DOS programs may not run with more than 2GB of RAM. Drive Image 2002 (PQDI.EXE) and the DOS4GW.EXE DOS extender that is packaged with many DOS applications and games (WarCraft, WarCraft II, etc) come to mind, I had issues with them. There are solutions available, including a "limiter" driver for CONFIG.SYS from rloew for running in pure DOS and a special addition to the RAM patch for DOS programs running inside a Windows DOS box (DPMI). DOS programs would need to be checked on an individual basis for the issue but these solutions are universal.

 

I've found a few good deals on some older Gigabyte motherboards. All of them are used, which isn't ideal in my mind, but they say they work fully, and they are cheap, and all of them apart from the last one has more than one available, so I could order two. And they have all the ports I need. The main problem I can see is that they all use the 945 chipset, and I see that LoneCrusader said that "there's no reason to choose something below the 965 chipset". Are there any issues with using the 945?

I'm not aware of any issues with the 945. I've only tested one board in that family though, the Intel D945GCCR. It required rloew's SATA patch and an extra patch to EDSI_506.PDR if I tried to use a CDROM as the first drive on the IDE channel (SATA HDD on SATA1, IDE DVDROM) which violates some archaic limitation set my Microsoft.

 

I also found some used 965 boards for about £65 each.

GA-965P-DQ6 REV:1.0 http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=2295#sp

GA-965P-DQ6 REV:3.3 http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=2453#sp

GA-965P-S3 http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=2457#sp

GA-965GM-S2 http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=2617#sp

So if the 965 chipset is better I could go for those.

I personally would choose the GA-965P-DQ6. I have one of these boards with partially set-up 95C OSR2.5 and 98SE systems on it. I have both OS'es up and running with all chipset devices identified, rloew's RAM patch and SATA patch, running a 512MB 7950GT PCI-E video card using the 82.69 driver and rloew's NVidia patch. I set this machine up to test my chipset driver and to help rloew test the NVidia issues, so I haven't proceeded further with trying to install other drivers or cards, but it seems to get along fine with 9x.

 

Or there's the much newer and unused GA-790FXTA-UD5, which would set me back about £130 each.

If I went for the GA-790FXTA-UD5 (or one similar), they have USB 3 ports. Can I get USB 3 ports to work using a generic USB driver, or do they only work for USB 1, 1.1 and 2? I don't care about getting full USB 3 speed, but if the board had USB 3 ports, it'd be nice if they worked.

No USB3 for 9x, sorry. But it may work under 2K using blackwingcat's projects and should work under XP if you need/want to dual boot these systems with your 9x.

 

So, just to remind myself, I'm looking for a motherboard that:

Uses the AWARD BIOS

Has PCI Express

Has at least two PCI slots

Has a Floppy disk drive connector

Doesn't have NForce chipsets

Am I forgetting anything important?

Thank you for helping. :)

That's pretty much got it covered. Onboard video is useless on a newer board so you don't need a board that has it, but I don't guess it hurts anything if you just disable it.

No problem. You're welcome! :thumbup

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Why hasn't any VIA-based motherboards been discussed in this thread? PT880 or 890? Asrock 4coredual-VSTA, for example. Everything (except HD audio) has win-98 drivers, including the SATA ports. Use SATA drives (at least 1 or 1.5 tb) without patched drivers. Socket 775 (faster, less power than 478). Some modded bios's available for Wolfdale CPUs.

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I've spoken to my friend, who after thinking it over for a while thinks he would like to go for the newest possible, in the hope that it'll last longer. 

 

He also wants to wait until Summer before he starts his build because he's at university and feels he hasn't got enough time to think about PC building till the holidays. We were hoping to use the same model of motherboard as each other, and we were planing on building them together, but I'm not sure I want to wait that long!

 

So, what we agreed is that I'm going to keep a look out for the Gigabyte GA-790FXTA-UD5 hoping to see it selling for a bit cheaper, or a similar board selling for less, and if Summer comes along and I haven't found a cheaper one we'll pay the £130 each. Or if the GA-790FXTA-UD5 isn't available then we'll go for the GA-965P-DQ6 (which I personally prefer the look of, but I get my friends point about wanting to buy a new board).

 

Or if I get impatient (or see a really good deal) I might end up ordering one before then!

 

Can anyone think of any reason we shouldn't get the GA-790FXTA-UD5?

 

While I'm waiting I'm going to start buying the other components I'll need.

 

My friend already has a PCI-e graphics card that he wants to use, but I'll need to buy one. I'm looking at the nVidia 7950GT (because LoneCrusader mentioned it). Would you recommend it LoneCrusader? Do you think that all cards based on the nVidia 7950GT will work (for example the "MSI MS-V066" or "BFG NVIDIA GeFORCE 7950 GT OC")?

I'm also looking at the nVidia Quadro FX1500 as Tommy mentioned it. Would you recommend it Tommy? I've found a few very good deals for it.

 

We'll also both need sound cards. We're looking for as much DOS compatibility as you can get with a PCI card. Are there any you'd recommend?

 

I know I keep saying it, but all this help means a lot to me. Whenever I've asked a question about Windows 98 on other forums in the past people either laugh or tell me to use a virtual machine! It's amazing to find a forum where the people are so knowledgeable, helpful and nice.  Thank you.

 

Why hasn't any VIA-based motherboards been discussed in this thread? PT880 or 890? Asrock 4coredual-VSTA, for example. Everything (except HD audio) has win-98 drivers, including the SATA ports. Use SATA drives (at least 1 or 1.5 tb) without patched drivers. Socket 775 (faster, less power than 478). Some modded bios's available for Wolfdale CPUs.

 

Thank you. That's an interesting idea, but the motherboard you mention uses the AMI BIOS, so it isn't quite what I'm looking for.

Edited by Josey
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I've spoken to my friend, who after thinking it over for a while thinks he would like to go for the newest possible, in the hope that it'll last longer. 

 

<truncated>

 

That's an interesting way to see it. In my experience, nothing that is made today lasts, or is even designed to. I have systems from 1993 with their original hard drives, still humming away.

 

Today, manufacturers build junk that ensures you have to keep filling their coffers (and their shareholders coffers) on a regular basis.

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Why hasn't any VIA-based motherboards been discussed in this thread? PT880 or 890? Asrock 4coredual-VSTA, for example. Everything (except HD audio) has win-98 drivers, including the SATA ports. Use SATA drives (at least 1 or 1.5 tb) without patched drivers. Socket 775 (faster, less power than 478). Some modded bios's available for Wolfdale CPUs.

I don't have much experience with VIA, but VIA also seems rather "unimpressive" so to speak. Why should it be any better than Intel? I believe Intel chipsets much newer than the VIA ones you specify are usable with 9x given the conditions I already listed above. More input from VIA users on the subject would be good though...

Good catch on noticing the AMI BIOS Josey :)

 

 

Can anyone think of any reason we shouldn't get the GA-790FXTA-UD5?

It appears to have an AMD chipset. This may or may not cause issues; I have no experience with AMD chipsets but I would definitely wait for input from someone who does and who has run 9x successfully on a board that uses one.

I have a much older board (Intel D102GGC2) with an ATI (which was purchased later by AMD) chipset that is HORRIBLY bugged when trying to run Windows 9x (rloew can attest to this, I sent him one of the boards just to see if he had any better luck). I assume (hope) that the later AMD chipsets do not have these problems, but it's something to keep in mind.

Chipset and BIOS seem to be the essential deciding factors in whether or not a board gets along well with 9x.

 

I'm looking at the nVidia 7950GT (because LoneCrusader mentioned it). Would you recommend it LoneCrusader? Do you think that all cards based on the nVidia 7950GT will work (for example the "MSI MS-V066" or "BFG NVIDIA GeFORCE 7950 GT OC")?

All cards based on the 7950GT should work fine. 256MB versions will all work without glitches; 512MB versions may require rloew's nVidia patch to work properly and access all 512MB of RAM (some systems will still boot and load the driver with a 512MB card, some don't. In both cases only 256MB is accessible without the patch).

The 7950GX2 1GB (dual 512 7950GT's mounted together in SLI) card (last of the 7xxx series) remains in a gray area, but getting it working fully under 9x doesn't look promising. I got a system up and running with it, and had a driver loaded, but only one of the dual parts of the card was working (so only 1GPU and 512MB works) and the other part reported errors. If no other issues are present, then this card might be nice in a dual-boot system with XP since XP can use the full card, but it would also cause available system memory to be reduced from 3GB to 2GB, which is a really bad tradeoff with no benefit to 9x.

 

 

We'll also both need sound cards. We're looking for as much DOS compatibility as you can get with a PCI card. Are there any you'd recommend?

I haven't looked into the issue for many years as I haven't got around to actually setting up an everyday use system on a board with HD Audio yet, but in my older system builds (in the days when you could still get a motherboard without a bunch of onboard junk built in) I always used the Sound Blaster Live! X-Gamer cards. These should still be a very powerful card for Windows 9x.

 

I know I keep saying it, but all this help means a lot to me. Whenever I've asked a question about Windows 98 on other forums in the past people either laugh or tell me to use a virtual machine! It's amazing to find a forum where the people are so knowledgeable, helpful and nice. Thank you.

Welcome, as always. I've been there and seen that on other forums myself. It always boils my blood, especially when they start asking you WHY you want to do this or do that, as if it were any of their business or as if you don't have a legitimate reason (in their mind) for using your computer as you see fit. :realmad:

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I've spoken to my friend, who after thinking it over for a while thinks he would like to go for the newest possible, in the hope that it'll last longer. 

 

<truncated>

 

That's an interesting way to see it. In my experience, nothing that is made today lasts, or is even designed to. I have systems from 1993 with their original hard drives, still humming away.

 

Today, manufacturers build junk that ensures you have to keep filling their coffers (and their shareholders coffers) on a regular basis.

 

You made a good point here; newer is not always better. I can think of one reason to prefer a newer board in this case however. Many of the last 9x compatible Pentium 4 boards were made during the height of the "Great Capacitor Plague" and develop problems as such. I have a stockpile of SOYO P4-I875P Dragon 2 Platinum's for building 9x gaming machines, and ALL of them develop bad capacitors sooner or later. This seems to have been corrected in later systems.

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LoneCrusader wrote:

> Why should it be any better than Intel? I believe Intel chipsets

> much newer than the VIA ones you specify are usable with 9x

> given the conditions I already listed above.

What socket 775 motherboard (with DDR2 ram, 1066 FSB, and AGP slot) and has an Intel chipset with win-98 drivers for everything (except for HD audio) - including SATA controller?

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