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mheyman

Windows 98SE and nForce 2. Change chipset?

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Hey there!

I've read a lot of posts here trying to find solutions to my issues to no avail. So I thought I'd ask and see if I can get some more specific answers. I'm building my first retro PC and have come across a lot of issues with Windows 98SE. My goal was to build something that could boot both 98SE and XP. As far as I can tell so far XP seems to be working ok. However 98SE is a whole nother story. I've had a range of issues from freeze ups, freezing during shutdown, freezing during restarting. blue screens during installation, not being able to open DOS programs due to memory issues etc.

Here is my build thus far. Please let me know if more info would be helpful:

CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2000+ 1.67GHz AXP2000BOX
Motherboard: Abit NF7-S V2 Socket A (462) NVidia nForce2
RAM: Atech 1GB DIMM DDR PC2700 333mhz x 3
GPU: ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 128MB
Sound Card: ESS Solo 1 ES1938S PCI
Hard Drive: ADATA SU655 120GB NAND 2.5 inch SATA III SSD

 

I feel like the components I chose lean more towards being good for XP than for 98. I just wanted to make sure it could handle early 2000 games as well as some DOS and 90s games. However, I think this chipset is causing a lot of the issues in 98SE. After installing the chipset drivers that's when I notice the freeze ups and the freezing during shutdown/restart. And I know a lot of my memory issues had to do with me having 3gb of ram installed. Even when I reduced it to 1gb during installation I still had weird blue screens. While I could toil away trying to resolve these issues I thought I'd ask: Am I better off switching to a Pentium 3 / Pentium 4 processor and a different chipset? I was also thinking maybe I should find a motherboard that has ISA slots for more sound card options. Will I be able to find something that works flawlessly with 98 and XP?

 

Thank you all for the help, this site has been a great resource.

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Thanks for the reply! According the the article the two goto motherboards are the Asus Cubx and the Microstar BXMaster. I was hoping to use a Tualatin P3 and it looks like its not offically compatible with the Cubx, however, there is some kind of mod (not ideal) or adapter (can't seem to find) to get it to work? Does anyone have experience with a tualatin and 440bx? Would it be better to switch to another chipset (i815ep) or switch to a different cpu?

 

Thanks again!

Edited by mheyman

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Your config is very stable under 98SE (even ACPI works flawlessly) and has full driver support.
>RAM: Atech 1GB DIMM DDR PC2700 333mhz x 3
but read about what you have to do with big memory. Few solution exist.
And yes, having 3 equal RAM modules are not optimal on Nforce2.
>some DOS ... games
Nforce2 is not optimal chipset for games under pure DOS. There is not support for ISA DMA emulation over PCI.

Edited by SweetLow
  • Like 1

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nForce chipsets do not support DOS drivers for PCI soundcards that have them correctly.

lf you want DOS sound, don't bother with nForce,

Any Intel chipset that is i865 or older will be fine.

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I had no trouble with nForce3 chipset drivers, I had a DFI LANparty nForce3 motherboard which previous owner had damaged one IDE controller which was an issue but all else was fine. The IDE driver is easy to update to 2.0.950.3020 date 2003 from VIA. This driver has to be manually chosen as the 98/ME original driver will have a higher version number. Have all your nForce driver infs installed in the windows inf folder. I un-install ACPI and the PCI bus and then install PCI bus first manually. Then install drivers, take a look at what drivers are compatible and choose the nForce ones. Do not force any other driver unless they are shown as compatible. This means that there will be several standard PCI bridges installed. This will ensure the South Bridge PCI to ISA bridge is installed which is an ISA emulator otherwise this ISA emulator will not be detected. The latest drivers from VIA for 98/ME are a good improvement especially the USB and IDE drivers. nForce chips are quality IMO but still can be destroyed, make sure all chips have enough heat-sinking. Getting old hardware that is not damaged would be a challenge, if your board is good then I would persevere with it.

>Does anyone have experience with a tualatin and 440bx?

440BX was the first Intel chip to hit 133MHz but it just made it in some cases and the design was mostly an over-clocking approach to the BUS so AGP and PCI cards had to be very good to work. Tualatin's need 133 FSB speed and if an adapter is required I would choose a board that can handle 133MHz FSB natively not just over-clock.

How have you got your SSD card configured as your board has only IDE ports?

Edited by Goodmaneuver
100Mhz changed to 133Mhz

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Hey, I'm back again with some more issues. So I'm not sure if I should start an entirely new thread for this but I have changed around my system a bit and am running into issues. For one, it won't post, or atleast, nothing shows up on my monitor. 

 

CPU: Intel Pentium III Tualatin 1.4Ghz modded (https://www.ebay.com/itm/281238323137) 
Motherboard: Asus Cubx-e Rev. 1.01 (came with some capacitors that needed to be soldered back on, which I did)
RAM: 2x 256MB SDRAM PC100
GPU: ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 128MB
Sound Card: Sound Blaster AWE64
Hard Drive: ADATA SU655 120GB NAND 2.5 inch SATA III SSD

 

When I power up, the fans spin on the cpu and the gpu and the led on the mobo lights up. Other than that nothing else works. I have a feeling that the graphics card I'm using isn't compatible with this board? I tried using the Jumperless setting and switching all the dips to off. Still no luck, any thoughts?

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5 hours ago, mheyman said:

 Still no luck, any thoughts?

I had the same problem some modules not work in my  motherboard. try another or with pc133 one first and then both, no beeps?

Edited by sukistackhouse

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14 hours ago, mheyman said:

...(came with some capacitors that needed to be soldered back on, which I did)... any thoughts?

Did you orient the caps with correct polarity?

 

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1 hour ago, jumper said:

Did you orient the caps with correct polarity?

 

Yeah I made sure to match the way all the other caps were oriented and checked the markings on the pcb. 

 

Next thing I'll try is a cpu that is actually meant to be used on this board and possibly other gpus. I also ordered some new replacement caps just in case the board needs a completely recap. Most of the caps all look fine but there is one that looks "sunken in" that may need to be replaced.

 

Is there a chance I fried the cpu or something? Would I see anything on screen if the cpu was a dud? 

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I had one nForce2 and two nForce3 boards.

All of them ran hot, were prone to BSODs on every OS i threw at them, and if the part you have bought is old, it may be damaged from the excessive heat of that chipsets already.

And to add insult to pain, for nForce2, i did not like what i experienced on DOS (although for DOS-games, I always use DOSBox on a modern PC).

A waste of money and, what hurts most, time.

The newest, latest board ever produced that officially supports W98SE is this one (even used ones will be a few years old only):

https://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/775i65G R3.0/index.asp

Drivers are stable, the board is stable, the chipset does not run hot, and you can use SATA II SSDs. Add an Audigy 2 PCI and an Intel PCI Gigabit NIC, and it is pure fun.

Have a look at the nice list of supported CPUs:

https://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/775i65G R3.0/index.asp#CPU

And you hit two for the price of one: It runs perfect with XP in dual-boot, i.e. with a quadcore Q6600.

(And it is supposed to run W10 32bit fine as well, but don't sue me on that)

Setup with 512MB of RAM, use rloews RAM limitation patch, update to 2GB of RAM.

Just my 2ct...

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Ok so I switched out the GPU and now im getting a picture! So far I've been able to get into the bios but I can't load up an OS. It either freezes or restarts. Should I be flashing my bios now and going from there?

 

Edit:

 

Managed to get into 98SE a few times but not very stable. Sometimes on boot it won't read the keyboard. Looks like I should fix up the bios and get the right settings in place before proceeding. Anyone know of a good tutorial on flashing bios?

Edited by mheyman

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Asus Cubx-e Rev. 1.01 is not native 133 FSB. This is not acceptable for Tualatin IMO. The CPU seller has not got 440BX as a recommended chip. Have you tried setting to 100MHz FSB or lower? A faster moderner Northbridge often has more sensitive inputting. ASUS CUSL2 motherboard i815E Northbridge I used with the CPU adapter and this works but this board only can work with 512MB of RAM. 768MB would sometimes get to boot screen with the best RAM sticks I had but was unusable. It is best to use a more modern board than Cubx although it is not worth pursuing unless board is inexpensive. There is usually no trouble to get Win98 working with early PCI Express graphic ported boards. How have you got your SSD drive attached? Have you tried setting IDE speed say to PIO mode 1 and  DMA mode 1? The sunken capacitor; perhaps someone has pushed in a bulging one and should be replaced. Always replace Caps from CPU outwards and better caps will tend to lower the CPU voltage slightly due to less ESR producing a less noisy output but depends on switch mode's feedback control so test board again in a sequential manner after replacement. A capacitor with lower ESR can stop CMOS from toggling its output further away from supply sources as it acts as increasing the voltage a little. Be very careful of solder splatter and check thoroughly before powering up. If board works properly as designed then there is no need to change the caps too much as a working board may not boot after a long time left unused if cap changes were done unnecessarily. Unless the BIOS update has major improves like RAM control I doubt that flashing BIOS would help. There are sometimes pre-flashed chips available just ready to plug in and therefore easy to go back to original BIOS. Sometimes to squeeze in a more modern feature a BIOS update can make other compromises that may make other ports less likely to function.

Edited by Goodmaneuver

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Thanks for the advice! I know that the Tualatin is not natively supported but I had heard of people making it work and wanted to give it a try. Here is where I'm at. I was able to update the bios, which seems to have removed some hardware warnings and now correctly labels my cpu. I'm not sure if that is any improvement other than cosmetic. I am able to somewhat consistently boot into Win98SE now but sometimes the keyboard isnt getting recognized on boot (maybe that weird capacitor?) Booting into XP seems like it's not going to happen.

I do have a backup cpu I could try just to see if things become more stable: Intel Pentium III SL5QV. It should be compatible since it has a 100MHz fsb, unlike the Tualatin. I might switch out the cpu and see if there's any difference.

I also have another motherboard (Asus P3B-F) I could try the tualatin on to see if it's the motherboard that is causing a few issues or not.

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