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To build a high end Win98SE System


galahs
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with the list of processors,

what about 386 thats the bottom processor supported because its the first 32bit cpu

all you dont have to always disable hyper-threading in the bios for p4's i didnt when i tried 98se on a p4 2.8 on an intel board

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As far as I can tell, GeForce 6800 Ultra (AGP 8X) would work with Windows 98SE quite well. To be honest, though, I'm still using a 6600GT in WinXP. I have heard of problems with Windows 98SE and RAM sizes larger than 512MB, so I would limit myself to that. My recommendations are the following:

  • Athlon XP 3200+
    NForce2 Motherboard
    GeForce 6800 Ultra
    512MB of PC3200 RAM
    120GB IDE Hard Disk

Ironically, this is similar to the machine I currently use for XP. I apparently chose components that weren't outside 98Se's range, without realizing it.

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By the way, why a Pentium 4? AMD processors are cheaper, and are just as good.

Wrong, unless it's NT-based, because UPDATE.SYS of Windows 9x don't support AMDs!

When I tested graphics performance with 3D Mark 2001 SE, ALWAYS slower than with Windows 2000 and XP on AMD!

That gives me a performance idea for at least Direct3D performance.

With CAD, you can easily be SOL if the drivers don't support Quadro.

There's a major gap between Windows 9x and Windows 2000 and XP with AMD systems.

Between the two, was an alarming FPS drop with Windows 98 SE.

With AMD, you're SOL, because Microsoft didn't add AMD support to UPDATE.SYS, AFAIK!

Also, beware of possible reboots with nForce chipsets.

Also, you may get nothing else but a black screen after installing the video drivers, especially with ATIs on nForce chipsets

But the performance issues may be less severe with Via chipsets.

With AMD, Via chipsets likely are the best chipsets for Windows 9x

Edited by RJARRRPCGP
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Well I use Nforce 2 which is ok even on Vista.

The only thing is, the videocards are only good till ATI 9800 then thats it, no X1950pro agp or x850xt pe either.

Also no games. I think Halo is where it ends. You cant run any new software on 98 anymore.

I would like to hang on to 98SE too but its hopeless.

Things like google maps and myspace players kill 98 in no time.

I'm also wondering what to do myself, I'm running Vista which is pretty good.

I would say via kt600 or kt880 or a nforce 2 board will do but you kickin a dead horse

nForce2 sucks with Windows 9x!

I know, because I tested it on my Asus A7N8X-X and the benchmarks were degraded noticably!

I can't trust it with nForce2. I lost at least close to 10 FPS in 3D Mark 2001 SE!

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Well I use Nforce 2 which is ok even on Vista.

The only thing is, the videocards are only good till ATI 9800 then thats it, no X1950pro agp or x850xt pe either.

Also no games. I think Halo is where it ends. You cant run any new software on 98 anymore.

I would like to hang on to 98SE too but its hopeless.

Things like google maps and myspace players kill 98 in no time.

I'm also wondering what to do myself, I'm running Vista which is pretty good.

I would say via kt600 or kt880 or a nforce 2 board will do but you kickin a dead horse

nForce2 sucks with Windows 9x!

I know, because I tested it on my Asus A7N8X-X and the benchmarks were degraded noticably!

I can't trust it with nForce2. I lost at least close to 10 FPS in 3D Mark 2001 SE!

nFarce2 (/sarcasam) sucked in everything, not just win9x. I'd give SiS chipsets a go as well. I've had very good luck with them in 9x/NT4 vs Intel and Via chipsets.

On a second note i'd seriously talk the folks into getting newer (and possibly better) software that would support at LEAST Windows 2000. You'd be less prone to losing data due to a random BSOD whenever 9x decides to vomit everywhere.

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they do have newer CAD software that runs on XP Pro, but their problem is two fold.

1. they have clients who still submit files in an older format that the latest software doe not support

2. a few of their CNC machines are powered by older DOS software but are controlled by win9x programs.

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This motherboard works under Windows 98SE:

Gigabyte 8I915P Duo, as another person at this forum wrote 915P looks like the best chipset for Win98 compatibility. However, I'm not sure if you'll find these mobos on sale.

HARD DISKS: 2 x 120GB ATA130 Drives (I know there is a solution to the 137GB problem but I don't wont to risk it in a business environment)
I have tested three 250 GB hdd's connected to the onboard RAID controller. They worked properly. It didn't matter whether the system's esdi506.pdr had or had not HDD size-related bugs.
then again the onboard sound is probably up to the task

I've had bad experience with the stability and performance of onboard sound driver on this i915 board and another i965. I don't think it's a good choice if you actually need audio.

Edited by j7n
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I work in the IT industry and if I saw your suggested setup come across my desk, I would drag you behind the building and beat you with legacy mainframe hardware. Then put you in a requirements gathering 101 class.

1. they have clients who still submit files in an older format that the latest software doe not support
So have the employees run Virtual PC 2007 (which is free) with a Win98 session & the old software so they can convert them, or have a couple old boxes lying around just for conversion. Don't cripple the entire setup just because SOME clients are using the old software. Keep in mind pretty soon they won't be, and the company you're at will be the one with a new setup running old stuff!
2. a few of their CNC machines are powered by older DOS software but are controlled by win9x programs.
Ok so don't touch those machines, you shouldn't be touching those anyways. There isn't something crazy like the CNC controlling computer is also somebody's workstation, is it?! If they are concerned with these boxes, it's time to upgrade to a Windows (or Linux or whatever) solution by now. Windows 9x came out almost 12yrs ago, time to upgrade.

Considering what you want, I really think you should stick with Win XP here, sorry 9x people, but I think this guy is barking up the wrong tree for what the company really needs. Most importantly, going with XP will allow you to get them a "high performance" cpu, a Core 2 Duo. From experience, they will be happier if they run XP and a good stable setup. It's up to you to get their head out of their arses and give them a proper setup, which is what they really want anyways, they just don't realize it.

Edited by travisowens
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lol

This is a fairly large company and 99% of their machines are XP.

They just wanted a select few Windows 98 machines. And these do have to have some workstation ability to manipulate old cad files. As for using a Virtual PC, why run on operating system over the top of an operating system. Surely that would be a worse situation as sure CoreDuo is fast, but it aint that fast!

I will be calling the owner tomorrow and giving them my advice.

the funniest thing is they have an IT department, and they don't want to have anything to do with Windows 98. But the boss doesn't want to have anything to do with their new suggestion of getting custom hardware controller boards made for their cnc machines when he knows a Windows 98 system (an absolute fraction of the price) does the job he needs.

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As for using a Virtual PC, why run on operating system over the top of an operating system. Surely that would be a worse situation as sure CoreDuo is fast, but it aint that fast!
Actually it is that fast, even on my old P4 HT I can run Vista very fast on VPC2007, as I currently do. You're forgetting that an OS doesn't use much CPU, especially when idle. So say if you're running XP then swap over to 98, when XP is sitting idle it won't be doing anything so it will be very fast. Despite, I only brought up VPC2007 as I assumed you needed 98 in order to open these old files, if not, then forget about 98 and just stick with XP :)
the funniest thing is they have an IT department, and they don't want to have anything to do with Windows 98. But the boss doesn't want to have anything to do with their new suggestion of getting custom hardware controller boards made for their cnc machines when he knows a Windows 98 system (an absolute fraction of the price) does the job he needs.
I've ran across these kinds of people in my life, once in awhile they're absolutely valid in disliking IT. I've seen IT shops so arse backwards running 4 different vendor LDAP servers, all of which have to be logged into and synch'd, with a dozen mainframes with heavy usage of Novell. But if the only problem this group's boss has is that IT demands he runs XP, then I can absolutely say he's the trouble maker who thinks he knows more about computers than the computer people do, and he's dead wrong.

In one way, he's right, Win98 was great, it worked well, but he obviously doesn't understand the lack of driver support of newer hardware (which excludes him from HT, multi cores cpus which are very efficient and substantially faster). I should point out that Core Duo is Intel's biggest innovation since the original Pentium, which is now 13yrs ago, a lifetime in computer terms. The fact that Intel canceled all other CPU production (even Xeon cpus) lines to replace them with Core 2 based CPUs really goes to tell you how much better they are, heck even the upcoming Celeron is Core 2 Duo based along with all their proof of concept supercomputers.

Anyways, my earlier point about the CNC machines was to leave them be. Let an old 98 box control them, and give the workers XP boxes on their desk to work on the files/data. I understand that using DOS based for the CNC is cheap/free, but realize it's because nobody wants DOS based. He has to realize that one day (and in my opinion that was a couple years ago) he needs to upgrade. Despite, I'm not going to inist you upgrade the CNC controllers, I'm only concerned about the employee's workstations beinc crippled with Win98 limitations. I know this is a 9x friendly forum, but I really insist 98 isn't cutting the cheese anymore for work needs. It has it's uses, and in my book I even say 98SE is the 2nd best OS Microsoft ever made, I run it on some setups I have, but I really insist it's not for business grade setups.

Edited by travisowens
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so lets begin with hardware:

Cpu:

choose anything you want, if pentium avoid celeron...

Motherboard:

AGP8x (at least), Award Bios, avaliability to disable ACPI and onboard devices. USB, SATA, PATA133 Onboard, 5x pci slot, 1x agp slot.

Ram:

Try to fill all free memory slots with same type and serie of memory sticks. this can little bit upgrade system performance. I dont know how and why but it helped much when i changed two mixed sticks for three brand new. If Hi-End construction use at least 1,5 Gb, more than 2gb is not necessary, but could be useful.

Disks:

Buy at least two disks. First shall be "System Disk" on Primary Master. best performance was with 20gb ata 100 disks with fat32, larger disks like 80gb can cause loss of performance due to limitations of FAT32. Second one shall be "data disk". Put it on Primary Slave, or on any other type of connection including SCSI, SATA, PATA 133. If you are using more "data disks" you can use RAID.

PCI slots:

Fill them all. There are several possibilities. High quality lan card, sound card, TV tuner, Radio Tuner, disk controllers, Physical Ramdrives (quite rare),

CD /dvd roms:

If you need to change CDs (if watching multiple movies) install two devices... One of them can be cd/dvd writer.

Graphics, Net, Multimedia:

Feel free to use any upgrade. Graphics are limited by drivers, but there is still large spectrum of drivers and devices. I like Ati Radeon 9800 :) If Cpu is computers brain Graphic card is its heart. Most of its performance is affected by it.

SCSI:

if you want to use multiple disks or scanners this is good choice.

TV Tuner, Radio Tuner:

I like multifunctionality... Many devices of these type are already available, and also can be used in win98 without any limitations.

System Settings:

Why two harddisks and ram over 1GB?

There are three basic types of operations which are giving multiple tasks to disk.

1. Swapfile or virtual ram.

2. Data which are readed for application (such as game).

3. System - Loading drivers, and some "invisible" system operations at background.

If we want to use simple 3d game we are giving multiple tasks to single harddisks. Because Harddisk is the slowest perifery in PC (except external media periferies like cd roms and diskettes) there is necessary to split these tasks. If system is installed on "system disk" and game is running from "data disk" we are on good way - two disks are solving two types of tasks separately and this is giving some performance.

Also if we put swapfile on Ramdisk (for instance 512mb ramdrive created by XMSDSK) we have created most fastest type of drive for quick access - 10 times faster than acessing swapfile located on harddisk.

1gb of classical ram is limit which can be crossed by using of ramdisk tools such as XMSDSK. You have to keep 512-1024Mb of as classical ram and rest can be used as ramdisk.

Why possibility to disable ACPI?

it can mess up system. i shall take a look at this. i have to examine one possible tweak in bios which dont have this possibility.

Rest is depending on drivers which you shall use, and system tweaks you shall use.

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... employee's workstations beinc crippled with Win98 limitations. I know this is a 9x friendly forum, but I really insist 98 isn't cutting the cheese anymore for work needs. It has it's uses, and in my book I even say 98SE is the 2nd best OS Microsoft ever made, I run it on some setups I have, but I really insist it's not for business grade setups.

I'm surprised that even you don't see the game that Wintel plays with corps and institutions.

Intel makes faster chips, and Microsoft writes apps and OS's with more lines of code, the result is that MS word can spell check a document just as fast now as it could 10 years ago.

We have 8 office machines that run 98se on P4-2.6 ghz, 512 mb NVidia Geforce-4 hardware, gigabit nic's (with gigabit switch). Office2k premium/pro/what-ever. Exchange (any version) is crap, but the calendar and shared folders is what we use it for (we don't use it for e-mail messages). We run our office on software from our MSDN subscription which we had for about 5 years from 1998 to 2002 so we could put any OS on any system. Dozens of MS apps and sht that most people have never heard of.

If you need to put something like 2k or XP on a worker's desk, it's because either you have more than 50 machines to manage, or because there is no trust between management and employees and you can replace trust with secure login and rights/permissions/and all that junk.

Our office workers run (mainly) outlook, IE, word, excel, coreldraw, AccPac (accounting), Jana Contact (sales/contact management) on their win-98 systems. What is the biggest security threat? It's user web-browsing. How do I address that? With Spybot, spyware blaster, a good hosts file. AV software is least useful because we just don't see malware. We run an old program (post.office) on an NT box for our internet e-mail, and Symantec corporate AV runs on that box and catches any viral e-mail bodies, which have been VERY rare during the past year or so.

There is no benefit, other than more $$$ in MS's pocket, to us moving to XP for office machines.

Win-9x got a bad reputation back in the day when very bad drivers and systems with paltry amounts of ram were the norm. By 2001 or 2002 when driver stability improved and systems with 128 or 256 mb of ram were common, the IT people had fully moved to 2k and XP and didn't know how stable 98se really was. Do our systems see BSOD's or low resource messages? Of course not. Because what also changed was that apps became 32-bit, and all the old 16-bit stuff disappeared.

The new dual-core sht is hype. How many apps are written to take advantage of them? Hardly any. Hardly any apps are even HT aware. The OS being HT-aware or multi-core aware is only half the story.

The big hardware push the last few years was aimed directly at gamers. Office machines don't need 512 mb directx-9 video cards or dual-core cpu's or 1 gb ram. And now we have vista, with DRM enforced at the driver level - as if corps and institutional systems need that.

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Our office workers run (mainly) outlook, IE, word, excel, coreldraw, AccPac (accounting), Jana Contact (sales/contact management) on their win-98 systems. What is the biggest security threat? It's user web-browsing.

You know, you'd go a long way in reducing that security threat if you made them use another web browser.

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just few security threats are real. Biggest one is "between keyboard and chair". antivirus, firewalls, "vista protecting premium" shall be useless if there is no compenent person using the computer.

There is no 100% safety. Computers have to be programmed against incompetent usage. XP was one attempt of this type, and we know how safe they are.

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