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krick

best/fastest hardware platform that supports 98SE

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What is currently the best and fastest hardware that supports 98SE?

I'm looking to put together a new system using modern hardware and the fastest CPU I can get, preferrably AMD.

I know that CPUs with hyperthreading and dual cores won't work with Windows 9x.

I also know that a lot of modern motherboard chipsets (nForce4?) do not have Windows 9x drivers.

I'm thinking that the fastest combo would be something like one of the AMD FX CPUs combined with an nForce3 motherboard.

Any ideas?

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well, i recently built a new system to stick 98SE on and went with a SoA Semperon 3000+ (Barton, 512KB cache) and an nforce2, but the ASUS motherboard was a bit iffy (not an nforce2 problem i stupidly bought a piece of returned stock on the cheap :blushing: really dumb, a new one costs next to nothing now) so the system now runs on an ASRock K7VT4A Pro (which is an AMD recommended board), it's quite nice and cost peanuts.

anyway that's a very cheap option, but its probably not the fastest.

your initial idea sounds promising.

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I know that CPUs with hyperthreading and dual cores won't work with Windows 9x.
It will still work, it just won't take advantage of those extra features. However it should still be plenty fast without those features, since the recommended system specifications for 98SE are extremely low.

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Anybody have experience with this motherboard based on the NVIDIA nForce3 250Gb chipset?...

Gigabyte GA-K8NSC-939

...or any of the the nForce3 Ultra variations?...

Gigabyte nForce3 Ultra Chipset motherboards

With Windows 98SE?

It's really interesting that this board does not have the following warning:

This model DOES NOT support Win9X / ME due to some chipset vendors has stopped providing Win9X / ME drivers. as other boards from this family have.

What is apparently missing for Windows 98:

NVIDIA IDE / SATA driver for nForce3 series

NVIDIA Firewall for nForce3 series

GIGABYTE EasyTune5

Nvidia website shows the following driver: http://www.nvidia.com/object/nforce_udp_win9x_4.27.html containing:

ions

* Audio driver 4.42

* Audio utilities 4.44

* Ethernet driver 4.33

* GART driver 3.77 (WHQL)

* Memory controller driver 3.38 (WHQL)

* SMBus driver 4.04 (WHQL)

* Installer 4.45

If you compare the list with the list for Windows 2K/XP driver: http://www.nvidia.com/object/nforce3_winxp_5.11 :

# Audio driver version 4.42 (WHQL)

# Audio utility version 4.44

# Win2K ethernet driver version 4.16 (WHQL)

# WinXP ethernet driver version 4.16 (WHQL)

# Ethernet NRM driver version 4.82 (WHQL)

# Network management tools version 4.88

# GART driver version 4.36 (WHQL)

# Memory controller driver version 3.38 (WHQL)

# SMBus driver version 4.04 (WHQL)

# Installer version 4.46

# IDE driver version 4.46 (WHQL)

you will see what is not in Windows 98/Me driver:

# Ethernet NRM driver version 4.82 (WHQL)

# Network management tools version 4.88

# IDE driver version 4.46 (WHQL)

Apparently there is no special Windows 98 SE driver for SATA/IDE controller.

It has to be tested if standard ESDI_506.PDR can be used or just compatibility mode.

Or maybe GA-K8NS Ultra-939 could be used - it contains Silicon Image sil3512 controller that seems to have Windows 98 driver.

I have no personal experience with these boards.

Petr

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Krick, chipset Uli M1695 IMO is more interesting than nForce 3 because you'll have support for all AMD 939 processors (including Athlon 64 X2) AGP+PCI Express and possible upgrade to M2 socket. It's a pity that only one company (ASRock) uses this chipset.General problem, not connected with the chipset, is lack of support for PCI Express graphic card on Win9x family.

The newest M1697 chipset also supports Win98/ME but it's PCIe only (no AGP port).

Edited by rainyd

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Nvidia website shows the following driver: http://www.nvidia.com/object/nforce_udp_win9x_4.27.html containing:

ions

* Audio driver 4.42

* Audio utilities 4.44

* Ethernet driver 4.33

* GART driver 3.77 (WHQL)

* Memory controller driver 3.38 (WHQL)

* SMBus driver 4.04 (WHQL)

* Installer 4.45

If you compare the list with the list for Windows 2K/XP driver: http://www.nvidia.com/object/nforce3_winxp_5.11 :

# Audio driver version 4.42 (WHQL)

# Audio utility version 4.44

# Win2K ethernet driver version 4.16 (WHQL)

# WinXP ethernet driver version 4.16 (WHQL)

# Ethernet NRM driver version 4.82 (WHQL)

# Network management tools version 4.88

# GART driver version 4.36 (WHQL)

# Memory controller driver version 3.38 (WHQL)

# SMBus driver version 4.04 (WHQL)

# Installer version 4.46

# IDE driver version 4.46 (WHQL)

you will see what is not in Windows 98/Me driver:

# Ethernet NRM driver version 4.82 (WHQL)

# Network management tools version 4.88

# IDE driver version 4.46 (WHQL)

If you really want to compare apples to apples, you should look at the same driver version on each platform...

http://www.nvidia.com/object/nforce_udp_win2k_4.27.html

Windows 2000 Driver Versions

# Audio driver 4.42 (WHQL)

# Audio utilities 4.44

# Ethernet driver 4.42 (WHQL)

# GART driver 3.77 (WHQL)

# Memory controller driver 3.38 (WHQL)

# SMBus driver 4.04 (WHQL)

# Installer 4.46

# IDE NVIDIA driver 4.15 (WHQL)

http://www.nvidia.com/object/nforce_udp_winxp_4.27.html

Windows XP Driver Versions

# Audio driver 4.42 (WHQL)

# Audio utilities 4.44

# Ethernet driver 4.42 (WHQL)

# GART driver 3.77 (WHQL)

# Memory controller driver 3.38 (WHQL)

# SMBus driver 4.04 (WHQL)

# Installer 4.46

# IDE NVIDIA driver 4.12 (WHQL)

I assume that the Windows 9x version must just use the standard Microsoft UDMA IDE driver which would limit you to PATA hard drives 137GB or smaller. This isn't really a problem. I'm not looking to use SATA anyway.

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Krick, chipset Uli M1695 IMO is more interesting than nForce 3 because you'll have support for all AMD 939 processors (including Athlon 64 X2) AGP+PCI Express and possible upgrade to M2 socket. It's a pity that only one company (ASRock) uses this chipset.General problem, not connected with the chipset, is lack of support for PCI Express graphic card on Win9x family.

The newest M1697 chipset also supports Win98/ME but it's PCIe only (no AGP port).

All I can say is WOW!

I had never even heard of that chipset but the Asrock board certainly looks impressive and is very affordable.

However, I guess I had better buy one soon since nVidia just bought Uli. I'm sure that they will be quickly dragged behind the barn and shot and we'll never hear from them again.

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Hello,

i´m sorry, i can say nothing about an AMD based system. But for myself actually i use an Intel system. I suggest it´s very fast. The Mobo is an ABIT Ai7 with Intel 478 Chipset. Cpu is 3.2 GHZ extreme Edition. I use the Adaptec 19160 SCSI Controller and 2 Seagate 15.000 Upm Harddisks. Since 1 Week i change my old Graka to an ATI X800XT AIW. Unfortunately this kind of Graka was not supportet by Win98 and there´s no official Driver. On ATI´s page i have found an unsupportet Driver for 98/ME with x800 series support, but no more WDM Driver for the TV Option or Vivo. And the Card Driver is too bad. My Monitor isn`t detected well, only 60hz is possible. To use the Monitor driver hasn´t any effort. So i did myself and rebuilded the older OMEGA Driver 2.6.37. I ad support for the x300-x800 series and everything works very well. The WDM Driver must completely changed. The ATIVTUXX.SYS is the main Problem. But i did it. And now i can use the full features from this card on 98. :thumbup . I think this system is fast enough now. But isn´t an cheap solution. If someone owns such Graka or wants to buy one, feel free to mail me for getting the Driverset.

No prob to share it with the real 98 friends,

Tijay

´´

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Hi,

This is an interesting question that I have given some thought to, because I like my machines to be backwards compatible as far as possible. I also require full DOS support, meaning that I wish to play legacy games in a DOS box in 98SE with full sound and game port support.

As I don't have much to contribute to the excellent 98SE Service Pack, I will be happy to share with you my thoughts and experience in this area.

I currently have a fairly good 98SE system and I have another one planned and waiting to receive a CPU.

My current system is the following:

CPU: AMD Athlon XP 3200+ (Barton)

- 32 bit CPU for a 32 bit system (I bought almost the last one that was locally available in stores)

Mainboard: Gigabyte GA-7VT880 Pro

- Nortbridge VIA KT880 allows use of fast dual channel memory,

- Southbridge VIA 8237 provides SATA, USB2. Also Firewire

- AGP graphics port, as I am not sure about 98SE support for PCI-E.

- Full driver support for 98SE

- I had also tried out an NForce-based ABIT AN7, but I donated it away for the following reasons:

- The NForce2 mainboard seemed to have an address-overlap issue with the game port on a soundcard,

and the game port of the sound card could not be used on such a mainboard

- Additionally, if not using 98SE, there seemed to be some kind of timing issue in NForce2 that

creates a problem for some USB 2.0 devices in full APIC mode (e.g. Haupauge USB WinTV in W2k)

RAM: 2x256MB Kingston HyperX DDR400

Graphics card: MSI Geforce 6800 GT (AGP) (again hoarded nearly the last one from the store)

- Although a bit lax in this respect, I still wouldn't dish out the cash for an "Ultra", apart from which this is the fastest Nvidia card with 98SE support. Drivers are downloadable and functioning.

- ATI Radeon X850 might be even faster, but according to release notes, the 98SE drivers for it are "beta", and

I sometimes like to toy around with the stereo viewing functionality that Nvidia supports

Soundcard: Soundblaster 16 PCI (jumped one day on the occasion and bought several when available)

- Full SB16 functionality in DOS and emulation in 98SE

TV-card: TechniSat SkyStar 2 TV PCI

- Supports DVB subtitles with 98SE drivers

My ultimate 98SE-system will be the following:

- Graphics card: XFX Geforce 6800 GT (AGP) (from my hoard)

- For an AGP mainboard with the VIA 8237 southbridge (which I believe may be the last one fully

supported with 98SE drivers) I have the ABIT AV8 (Because of my previous issues with NForce2, I feel

that I would not trust even newer NForce chipsets to offer full support for everything under 98SE,

although I have not tested this. In this respect VIA might be more conservative, perhaps.)

- Other components apart from the CPU identical to what is above

This systems now sits in my closet waiting for the price to drop on the Athlon 64 4000+.

Quite frankly, I believe that building the "ultimate" 98SE machine may be an interesting side project, even if maybe not so very useful. The sad thing is that many of the best components for this kind of project are very rapidly disappearing from view and the marketplace. Therefore you have to act fast and be opportunistic.

Inki

P.S. Just in case somebody might be tempted to use the ABIT AV8, it is good to note that at least the one I have has some capacitors close enough to the AGP slot to potentially block inserting the graphics card. I actually have one MSI GF6800GT and two XFX GF6800GT cards. Of these three only the MSI card and one XFX card would fit. Although the XFX's are basicly the same product, one of them has capacitors low on the card, close to where the second power dongle for an Ultra card would be, and these get in the way. So beware.

Edited by Inki

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This is an interesting question that I have given some thought to, because I like my machines to be backwards compatible as far as possible. I also require full DOS support, meaning that I wish to play legacy games in a DOS box in 98SE with full sound and game port support.

You might be interested in this page that has DOS drivers for many onboard chipsets and older sound card chipsets...

http://vsynchmame.mameworld.net/

Quite frankly, I believe that building the "ultimate" 98SE machine may be an interesting side project, even if maybe not so very useful. The sad thing is that many of the best components for this kind of project are very rapidly disappearing from view and the marketplace. Therefore you have to act fast and be opportunistic.

Do you have any opinions on the ULi M1689 or ULi M1695 chipsets?

P.S. Just in case somebody might be tempted to use the ABIT AV8, it is good to note that at least the one I have has some capacitors close enough to the AGP slot to potentially block inserting the graphics card. I actually have one MSI GF6800GT and two XFX GF6800GT cards. Of these three only the MSI card and one XFX card would fit. Although the XFX's are basicly the same product, one of them has capacitors low on the card, close to where the second power dongle for an Ultra card would be, and these get in the way. So beware.

I have a Gigabyte GV-N68128DH that has a huge heatpipe on it. On my Abit IS7-E, the heatpipe heatsink on the back of the card hits the clips on the memory slots. It barely fits at all.

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In answer to Krick above:

Unfortunately I do not have any opinions on the ULi chipsets. The Asrock board looks very impressive indeed, although it would not be optimal for my needs: In my case I have replaced the original coolers on my GF6800GT cards with Arctic Cooling NV Silencer 5 coolers which cover an additional PCI slot. This would leave me with only two free PCI slots on the Asrock board, which would not be enough for all my needs since I would definately need to insert also a card to provide Firewire that is not integrated into the board.

My thinking in going with VIA is based on the fact that they have been around for some time and are therefore more likely to have managed to carry over support for 98SE from one design generation to another, for good or for bad. Also I know from experience that the VT8237 southbridge works for 98SE (whereas I have understood from their driver release notes that the VT8251 southbridge no longer has full 98SE support, at least for SATA/RAID).

I believe that it is less likely for any "new" chipset to have complete 98SE compatibility, because it is unclear why the designer should be motivated to take this compatibility into account from scratch. I suspect that this happened even to the NForce2 chipset, which basicly had a full set of 98SE drivers but still would not support a soundcard game port under 98SE. Based on what I have found on the net, this appears to be an internal architectural issue concerning addresses within the chipset.

Therefore my recipe is to take the "most mature" chipset that has been stretched to work with socket 939. However, even if I indulge myself in a little PC building, I am by no means an expert and may be mistaken in this. I guess the only way to know for sure is to try it out.

Concerning the ABIT AV8, I looked up the picture of your graphics card, and my impression is that you would probably not be able to fit it on the board due to the blocking capacitors that I mentioned in my previous post. Still, it might be a close call and depend on the precise length of you card.

Best regards,

Inki

Edited by Inki

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My thinking in going with VIA is based on the fact that they have been around for some time and are therefore more likely to have managed to carry over support for 98SE from one design generation to another, for good or for bad. Also I know from experience that the VT8237 southbridge works for 98SE (whereas I have understood from their driver release notes that the VT8251 southbridge no longer has full 98SE support, at least for SATA/RAID).

Therefore my recipe is to take the "most mature" chipset that has been stretched to work with socket 939. However, even if I indulge myself in a little PC building, I am by no means an expert and may be mistaken in this. I guess the only way to know for sure is to try it out.

Check out this list of socket 939 boards that feature the VT8237 southbridge. Only nine at Newegg.com...

http://tinyurl.com/ax8zv

Plus some of them are the VT8237R, which I assume is the RAID version.

In addition to Windows 98SE support, I'd like to have the option of running DOS 7 as the primary OS.

I'd also like two serial ports, though that seems to be increasingly rare.

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Well, Krick, now for the final run:

I glanced at your list of VT8237 mainboards and recognized a few: I briefly considered the ABIT AX8 before I decided that 98SE and PCI-E probably do not mix well. The ASUS A8V is very similar to the ABIT AV8 that I bought but the ASUS board did not have integrated Firewire. Some of the others were a bit more unfamiliar.

I am not sure what the R stands for in VT8237R. It seems to be used very inconsistently and I imagine that it cannot stand for anything of critical importance.

Keep in mind that the Asrock may be an excellent board, although everything nowadays is "Designed for Windows XP", which means that complete 98SE compatibility may be a question of chance. With a full set of 98SE drivers there is no reason, however, to doubt that it would run 98SE, and it may even be completely compatible. Or then incompatibilities may present themselves as minor irritants such as the game port on a soundblaster sound card not working. Without trying it is impossible to say.

If I were in your shoes I might just buy the Asrock for the heck of it, and then make something roughly useful out of it for a grateful relative if it didn't work out. At least it would seem to offer roomy accommodations for your slightly bulky graphics card.

Still, you might not be a well-paid 40+ bachelor executive, and you may want to consider your options more carefully. To test the card before all the other options vanish over time you would also have to buy immediately the CPU which is still probably on a declining price slope.

Still, this is the name of the game if you want a very up-to-date and fully compatible 98SE system. You have to be opportunistic, fast and possibly take some risks unless you can find somebody with even more experience in the matter.

I myself had to make a judgement call when I bought the last of my GF6800GT cards. I had a gut feeling that they may be the last (and best apart from the Ultra) fully 98SE supported cards and that it might just be the right moment to make good deals on them before they are pulled from the market. I was a bit concerned that the Radeon X800 and X850 series may yet turn out to be better choices, but as the driver support for them remains a bit shaky I an still happy with my choice.

Now I am afraid that I have exhausted my thoughts and experience in this matter, and I must leave you to make your own judgement calls.

Therefore I thank you for the discussion, wish you happy hunting, and it is time for me to turn back to my normal business.

Bye,

Inki

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