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theulticobia

Question on What to Update W98 With

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Hello all. I've been coming to this part of MSFN.org since about high school (about 6 to 8 years). This website has inspired me on wanting to build my own W98 PC for years ever since. My interest has picked up significantly in the last month and I have been researching everything I could look up. I don't have a hardware list yet. Still trying to figure out what to get. Main reason is for retro games. My games list is from '94 to '04 , but most are dated in the middle.

Going to use W98SE as the main OS. Don't know about a dual boot yet. Thought about using ME with MS-DOS restoration briefly until I came across 98SE2ME. I read through the guide and it is dated to 2013 from the last update. I know the Unofficial Service Pack 3.64 went to 2018. The guide recommends a fresh install of the OS first. So would installing this on top of the Unattended Boot CD install be a bad idea?

Next, it recommends all the "latest" updates (in the following order) for DirectX 9.0c, IE6 SP1, WMP9, system add-ons, 98SE patches, USP 3.64, and finally 98SE2ME. If I took it further, there is the 98MP10, the NUSB (USB drivers), Revolutions & KernelEX (found more recent versions of both), and all PC drivers. To add to the drivers, I came across Rloew's history and his patches. Massive respect to him for pushing the OS! I got 12 drivers I believe I will need. I plan to get a form of memory I can cold-swap to save the entire OS to my laptop if something goes wrong. 

 

1. Is this overkill? Yes, but I love the concept of doing it.

2. Which should I install 98SE2ME on top of: a fresh install or the UBCD? Should I install it at all?

3. Since the USP 3.64 continued to be updated long after 98SE2ME, are there any known conflicts at all?

4. Does the USP 3.64 have every official and unofficial update need to make 98SE more stable? Trust me in my lack of understanding of looking at the website's list of files. 

5. If not, is there a central source where I can download every single update needed for W98SE? Is this even needed?

6. Is the recommendation of the order of how everything should be installed for 98SE2ME still relevant for today?

Again, I do not have the yet the hardware to test this with. Do be aware there is still so much I do not know from this era! If you have any recommendations, let me know!

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Way back in 'ancient' times (cannot remember the date), i downloaded the following list from the Intel website.  Intel was recommending the following general installation order:

IN WHAT ORDER DO I INSTALL MY DRIVERS?

To build a new computer or reinstall your operating system, Intel
recommends installing the drivers and software in the following
order:

1) Windows operating-system service packs or patches available
   from Microsoft (for example, Service Pack 3 for Windows XP).  

2) Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility.  

3) Microsoft DirectX 9.0 or later.  

4) Video or graphics driver (for example, Intel HD Graphics
   Driver).  

5) Intel Application Accelerator or Intel Matrix Storage Manager.  

6) Sound or audio drivers.  

7) LAN or network drivers.  

Note that item #5 above would only be relevant to certain Intel chipsets.  

Yes, include IE 6.0 SP1 (even though you wouldn't want to use IE) as part of item #1, since IE SP1 updates a number of system files.  Then, after i install all my main apps/drivers, i eradicate IE with IEradicator (from the makers of 98-Lite).  

I would consider U98SESP3x and 98SE2ME musts.  (U98SESP3 contains an updated DirectX 9.)  

I would also definitely install Revolutions Pack 9.7 -- it reportedly offers greater system stability in addition to way-cool enhancements to the 9x desktop.  If i remember correctly, it needs to be installed after KernelEx.  

In order to reduce potential interrupt issues, we generally recommend installing 98SE with the following switches:

  setup /p i

Keep in mind that a critical question to ask is: What will be the ages of the various hardwares?  Much newer stuff no longer has Win9x support (drivers).  

Have fun, good luck!  

- Doug B.

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What CPU is the best for this time period, Intel or AMD? I have been recommended the Pentium 4 or the Coro Duo/Core 2 Duo. I would like to have 512 MB minimum while increasing the amount of RAM later. I have downloaded Rloew's RAM patch. I want to have DVD-ROM and 3.5 floppy drives. Want the DVD and HDD to be SATA if possible. May upgrade to an SSD later. The OS will be on a removable drive in the front or back, so as to back it up every time I make a change to the system.all games and applications will be on the main H/SSD.

I know support for Windows 98 ended in 2006. Should I go with a GPU from the early 2000's or mid 2000's? What slot type? Also, what is the best recommended sound card and PSU to work with? 

 

Also, may I ask what setup /p i does? I have seen it before, but do not remember what it is for. Not the best person in terms of DOS commands and remembrance. 

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OK, let's see if I can help, since I'm already in this mode myself a bit :)

On 4/3/2020 at 8:23 AM, theulticobia said:

What CPU is the best for this time period, Intel or AMD?

It depends, but I think a Pentium 4 would offer somewhat better forward compatibility, with SSE2 and such.  The AMD Athlon was a popular substitute during 1999-2004 because it tended to be a bit faster than most early P4s, but earlier versions lack SSE2, and later P4s eventually outsped them.

On 4/3/2020 at 8:23 AM, theulticobia said:

I have been recommended the Pentium 4 or the Coro Duo/Core 2 Duo.

Of the two, the Pentium 4 will be much more compatible with Windows 9x, particularly early ones from 2001-2003 or 2004.  Stay away from Core2 Duos unless you plan to dual boot with Windows 2000 or XP, as some devices may not work properly due to a lack of driver support or a hardwired 9x-hostile configuration.

On 4/3/2020 at 8:23 AM, theulticobia said:

I would like to have 512 MB minimum while increasing the amount of RAM later. I have downloaded Rloew's RAM patch.

You can do that, though you should install the RAM patch even with 512 MB to ensure stability.

On 4/3/2020 at 8:23 AM, theulticobia said:

I want to have DVD-ROM and 3.5 floppy drives. Want the DVD and HDD to be SATA if possible.

9x should handle a DVD-ROM drive just fine.  Worst case is it'll treat it as a CD-ROM.  A 3.5 inch floppy is good, but make sure you have a motherboard with the proper interface (virtually all motherboards I know of from the P4 and C2D eras do (aside from some "legacy free" designs), so this shouldn't be an issue).

This is where my knowledge gets iffy, as I've never tried installing/booting 9x from an SATA disk, but you should check out Rloew's SATA and AHCI patches, as I believe they are meant to make that possible.

On 4/3/2020 at 8:23 AM, theulticobia said:

I know support for Windows 98 ended in 2006. Should I go with a GPU from the early 2000's or mid 2000's? What slot type? Also, what is the best recommended sound card and PSU to work with?

I can't say for sure, but I just read in another thread that someone recommended a GeForce 6600 GT, so that might be a good way to go?  I'm currently using a Radeon 9550 in my P4 system, and it works OK too.  I think the 6600 GT is supposed to be among the fastest-performing 9x-compatible cards, which I'd guess is good particularly for later games which can take advantage of it (I'm not a gamer, so I can't say for sure due to a lack of experience).

Slot type will depend on your choice of motherboard, but I think you should try for an AGP card for maximum 9x compatibility (as far as I know, PCI express is a bit hit-or-miss).  Plain PCI is okay too, but probably too slow for most newer games.

Something like a Sound Blaster will probably offer the best compatibility sound-wise, and any standard ATX PSU ought to work as long as you make sure it's able to supply enough power for your chosen components.

On 4/3/2020 at 8:23 AM, theulticobia said:

Also, may I ask what setup /p i does? I have seen it before, but do not remember what it is for. Not the best person in terms of DOS commands and remembrance. 

Setup /p i disables ACPI support, which can help ease some of the problems that can occur when trying to install 9x on newer hardware, such as a Core2 Duo-based system.

I hope you find at least some of this useful!  And anyone else please correct me if I've made any errors!

c

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Posted (edited)

Intel core duo can bench higher with PhotoWorxx - much higher. Also Opera 12.02 seems to be faster. AMD dual core does not bench with PhotpWorxx any higher than single core AMD.

1994 - 2004 is a wide range of gaming and I recommend having too separate machines for this because an ATI Rage graphics card is best for old games while a Geforce > 7300 is best for newer games and besides CPU slow down software may not be desirable.

I just tried to get some used motherboards from eBay and all failed with some hardware faults. So obtaining good hardware is the challenge and the motherboards have to work 100%.
 

Edited by Goodmaneuver

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Posted (edited)

I have an old Windows XP system a family member bought back in the day. I tried converting it to a W98 machine, but it had problems with games not working right. It also wanted constant access to the CABS files for drivers. Don't remember much about the errors, but they were weird. I have a list here for the hardware.

Motherboard: Intel D845BG

CPU: Pentium 4 (don't recall which one)

GPU: Geforce MX4000 at 128 MB on PCI

RAM type and amount: 1 GB DDR

Has a 3.5" floppy drive (don't think it works), CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives.

Hard Drive Size and Speed: 60 GB EIDE Drive

Sound Card: Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 SB0100

PSU: 300 W

Case: Big, Metallic, and Beige

I also took a look a the games I have. One game, Outrun (yes, I own the Sega Saturn & Switch versions), is outside my range of games (1994 - 2003) released in 1989. Don't think I can get it to run. What I truly desire is to run everything on one computer instead of two. If I stick with this computer, I will want to upgrade the components in it. See, the bulk of my games have been released in 1996 and 2001 with other scattered in between. I acknowledge what Goodmaneuver has said on finding working hardware in 2020 being a challenge. My question is should I stick with the hardware I have or go with a completely new build?

Edited by theulticobia

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Posted (edited)

The ISA, EISA and PCI clock speeds have been progressively increasing since conception till about the end of the Pentium 3 era but PCI-X 64 bit is twice as fast especially with dual processor boards. It means that add on cards have to be very good and the best ATI chips were put into the All In Wonder graphic cards. I may not be helpful much except your board is a good all rounder but I personally would remove the sound card at first and try the on-board sound. Also make sure everything works on Vista 32 bit for example. If you have a known good video card for testing, this is the best idea. Test game for nVidia is ExtremeG2 or Trackmania Nations Forever. Nations Forever should work with your card as I have used MX similar card myself. Most cards may not work properly.

Edited by Goodmaneuver

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So you are saying I should stick with the motherboard I have? I wasn't sure if it was good enough for everything I needed. If I recall the computer was released in 2001/2002-ish. I do not think this board has any PCI Express slots in it. Why do you recommend I test games on something like a 32-bit W. Vista or WXP? Is it because of the "modern age" of some of my games or because of the limitations of the 32-bit architecture? All I have is just that one graphics card. 

 

What should I upgrade or change my graphics card to? Any recommendations for a sound cards? Most of my games will open in Windows, but I have a few MS-DOS games.

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Posted (edited)

Your processor and board will be acceptable if you only just use the games up to 2004. The thing is though the very old games may require an older setup. PCI-X you should look on the WWW for info it is not PCI Express which I think should have been named differently to stop any confusion. A 64 bit operating system will test out your processor and will not install if it has been damaged. The reason to put Vista or similar on and test the board is you need to know what is wrong with it and that is one of the quickest ways of finding out before starting with a ME/98 install. If XP works good and you have tested the games with that installation, ExtremeG2 will not work but other games, then that might be good enough test. Even with ISA video and 256 bit color not all my boards work. Remember though bus speed is not a standard and there are exceptions in that a BIOS updated MS-6378 had a slower speed than any other I encountered it also can have an ISA slot which may be handy for the very old games. An ATI video card is better for ExtremeG2 for example. The sound card I found may not matter that much as ME/98 has the Roland driver. I have just tried an early game but once setup I do not know which one now. It had a selection for Roland Sound Canvas and it worked. The on-board sound will be OK it will be Sound Blaster backwards compatible and the SB-100 would be good if it works. I have several SB-Live cards that do not work on XP they are faulty or incorrect drivers were given. Have you many 3 1/2 " floppy games or 5 1/4" otherwise downloading games now some have been manipulated for modern machines. I would rather put anti-aliasing up to 8 times with the original old games. I am not that experienced but a 5 1/4" floppy drive and a 486 machine with ISA graphics and sound might have better success. Only thing is the old BIOS if  doing a floppy drive seek would erase the disc if it was left in the drive. I have all this set up but have not used it. I will have to one day.

Edited by Goodmaneuver

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Posted (edited)

Excellent. My mistake on PCI-X; have not heard of that format in a long time. Although my board may be good with games up to 2004, all my games go up to 2003 with the exception of one 2006 game. One game I have goes all the way back to 1989 - Outrun! It is more of a curiosity and not required to get working because of its age. 

I know I have a good board by what you say, but I want to consider all hardware options. First, I started back at the beginning: what CPU brand to consider? AMD or Intel? Have not decided yet. I don't want to go so far into the future with my hardware that my early games have problems. Along the way, I have come across the EVGA Geforce 6200 for a graphics card and the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS (recommended by a Youtuber PhilsComputerLab). More research is needed to be done in my opinion before I settle on my options.

I am trying to find a motherboard which has support for 2 - 4 GB of RAM in case I want to do a dual boot. I also want it to have on board video with as many USB 2.0 ports as possible. I just need to first decide on my brand of CPU, its socket type, and the best CPU available in its class. I think taking your advice on installing a test system for all the hardware is an excellent idea. Will Windows XP 64-bit suffice?

Edited by theulticobia

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If the CPU is 32 bit x86, AMD seems a good choice back in the day as WinME is 16 bit and at that time AMD seemed to be the one it was tuned for. With progressive Windows operating systems they seemed to cycle between favoring Intel and AMD. Most processors are 64 bit, x64 and your Pentium 4 will be. Just look them up in CPUworld.com. It will not matter which one you choose because of the 64 bit processor technology and only a single core will be used. The exception I have quoted PhotoWorxx only works with Intel processors and it is the single core CPU frequency that has the most effect. But look up the bench comparisons on CPUworld. I do not recommend Geforce 6200 but if you intend to use the PCI bus then 6200 is about the best that drivers are available for. I think the graphics manufacturers were promoting the PCIEX bus. Later on, the best PCI graphics card that I encountered was a HD5450 2048MB. If you intend to use AGP then I would read this https://msfn.org/board/topic/175188-ati-widescreen-support-for-win9x/?do=findComment&comment=1157246 I can not make up your mind what to do, it is your choice.
 

 

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I appreciate the time, experience, and knowledge you have shared with me Goodmaneuver. Funny, I thought the GF 6200 was AGP. Yeah, I discovered I need to go with AGP anyways. I came across a couple graphics cards which may be of interest to me: the Radeon 9700 Pro and I don't remember the other one. I have not come down to any choices regarding the CPUs yet. I know I want to stick with single core at least to minimize any problems. I do have a question though that occurred to me during my research.

Does MS-DOS and W98SE need their own set of drivers each since they are essentially two separate but interconnected systems unlike dual-boot system of today?

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Posted (edited)

Radeon 9700 is not bad a choice but second hand is very difficult to get a good one. The problem was the heatsinking was not enough. It is better I think to buy from a good shop but pricing may be high now. Show me the link perhaps. If you read some other post of mine I have only a one  good 9500. The 9500 stood a better chance of survival. If they work but have been getting too hot, if left sitting for years they tend to artifact if working at all and the artifacting can/probably be the motherboard suffering.

ME/98 has plug and play driver install were as the earlier DOS everything had to be manually installed but I am not experienced with this. WinME is DOS 8 where as Win95/98 is DOS 7. DOS 8 is faster. I suppose DOS in Win9x could be considered the 16 bit part. Perhaps read https://msfn.org/board/topic/177150-is-me-really-that-bad/?do=findComment&comment=1157694 

Edited by Goodmaneuver

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Posted (edited)

Hi theulticobia.

OutRun (DOS 1989) runs fine in Windows 98. Just a quick test, on my system the game used the system speaker for sound and the keyboard arrow keys worked just fine for speed/direction.

Booting in to pure DOS mode did not work, kept on getting an A: drive error. Launching from Windows 98 worked just fine, selecting outrun.exe and EGE/VGA 16-colors.

Edited by LoneCrusader
Link to copyrighted material removed

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Posted (edited)

Yep, I found out these facts as I was researching the card. There are so many G/CPUs from this era to research! I might have to look for another powerful GPU. 

I know this AMD CPU is pricey, but do you have any experience of the Super Socket 7?

I have considered using Windows ME with the re-enabling of real-time mode of MS-DOS. I have considered using Windows 98SE & 98SE2ME just to increase stability of the OS. What is the biggest difference between MS-DOS 7.0 & 8.0 in your experience? I do not believe there is much of a difference between the two, but I am not 100% sure. 

@Wunderbar98 

Thanks for the information. I wasn't sure if something that old would run. Now I am curious if Outrun 2006 Coast-2-Coast will run nicely. I have now transitioned to researching hardware to build my W98 system. Do you have any recommendations? The more opinions, knowledge, and experience I can have from everyone the better I can reflect on them. Everyone here has been helpful, especially Goodmaneuver. 

Edited by theulticobia

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