building a retro gaming PC for dos/win95/win98 games

Susquehannock

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 26, 2005
Messages
4,116
Congratulations on your "new" gaming system. Retro is popular these days.

Just finished a retro build myself.
mobo - Abit kr7a
cpu - athlonXp 1700
ram - 256mb ddr pc3200
graphics - voodoo4 4500
sound - sb live
hdd - maxtor 20gb ata133
os - win98se

Apparently there is high demand for 3dfx cards right now. Unfortunately they are fairly poor performers compared to competitors in the era. I ran a ASUS GeForce2 in the same system as above and get *much* better frame rates. And achieved almost triple the benchmark scores. Even so. Simply running a 3dfx card ups the coolness factor.
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2010
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I have a few retro computers lying around my dwelling that I haven't run in many years. One's a Pentium II, 300 MHz, with 64 megabytes of RAM and a Voodoo 3 3000 PCI card (the motherboard has an AGP slot) with 16 megabytes of video RAM, and one's a Pentium IV, 1.4 GHz, with 256 megabytes of system RAM and a Geforce 2 MX video card with 32 megabytes of VRAM. Both have Windows 98 SP installed. I haven't felt compelled to turn those on ever since I joined GOG in 2009 and was able to play certain DOS classics without any fuss or DOSBox tinkering. Its collection of old games, modified and optimized to run on modern hardware and operating system configurations, is vast and continues to grow even though that is no longer the company's only or even primary mission (it also distributes newer games, both indie and corporate). Someday I am sure it will obtain the rights to the No One Lives Forever and the first 3 Wizardry games.
 

GodOfGaming

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Messages
162
Yes, the GeForce cards seem to be much better performers, especially the GeForce4 Ti4200 seems to be very popular for win98se gaming builds, as it has full support for all old directx and opengl games and great enough performance for high framerates even at 1600x1200. But it's missing Glide. Which is when I noticed some people suggest the FX 5xxx series. Apparently the FX5200, FX5600 and FX5800, which are the earlier released FX cards, plus an older driver, support pretty much everything the GeForce4 Ti4200 does, and on top of that since they "support" DX9, you can run nglide on them so you can play pretty much all glide games as well :) the newer FX cards the FX5500 and FX5700 and FX5900 and FX5950 dont support such old drivers though, and are already breaking some old game support because of that, and the better regarded 6000 series are missing even more features, like table fog for example. Which is why I think I'll go with the FX5800, which just seems like the perfect choice. It got a lot of controversy because of poor dx9 performance, but at dx8 and below it should work great, and even its poor dx9 support is more than enough for nglide, Im guessing nglide doesnt use the dx9 shaders which the FX struggles with.

There's two problems though, first, the FX5800 didn't sell all that many numbers so it's hard to find. The Quadro FX2000 to the resque, it's pretty much an identical card in every way, it's cheap and relatively easy to find. The other problem is the stock cooler, it's VERY noisy, but I'm guessing an aftermarket cooler like the Zalman VF700-cu should fix that too :)

Also I bought my Voodoo 3 for dirt cheap, I'm guessing the guy who sold it to me didn't know what he had. I guess I can now sell it for more, and with that cover the costs of getting the Quadro FX2000 :)
 

michalrz

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Messages
3,441
I will be resurrecting that Alienware Tower I have (https://hardforum.com/threads/options-with-this-old-school-computer.1920643/)

Just wondering should I run Windows 2000 or 98SE ?

Considering you already have the rig, I would install both and dual boot.

Maybe use two drives and alternate, or grub,

Win98SE was pretty good, I upgraded to XP for the image thumbnails. But IIRC more older games worked on it without a hitch. Drivers could be scarce, though. And no USB IIRC without some fiddling.
 

GodOfGaming

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Messages
162
Looking at the specs, I'd say win98SE might be a better fit as it will be a pretty high performance win98SE rig able to play most win98 era games well, It will be rather underpowered for WinXP, imo for WinXP a better build would be a core 2 duo E8xxx and a HD4870 or 9800GTX+

BTW, has anyone here had any experience with the unofficial Win98SE service pack 3.56? I installed it just now, and for some reason now my desktop background wallpaper doesn't work anymore, I'm only getting the solid blue color, and can't figure out why.
 

Susquehannock

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 26, 2005
Messages
4,116
XP is the more stable OS with better memory allocation and NTFS file system. That said, agree it is nice having a higher powered rig for Win98. One reason I went with the 2002 era set up listed above. Considered trying that SP to get around the 512mb RAM cap but read it had a lot of bugs with older drivers.
 

GodOfGaming

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Messages
162
I need your help guys, I want to record gameplay footage from the win98 PC, but I have no idea how to do it. The PC is not nearly powerful enough to record with Fraps or any other software solution. I'm sure I'll need some sort of hardware capture card. I don't know much about capture cards and I've never used one before, but from what I can see the ones for sale now have HDMI inputs? I don't think they will do the job, the win98 PC has a VGA (D-Sub) output from the 3dfx voodoo3 card, and for sound it will need to be taken from the 3.5mm output from the Aureal Vortex 2 sound card. Typical game resolutions are 640x480, 800x600 and 1024x768, all with 16bit colors, not sure if the voodoo can handle 32bit, probably not. And I'd like to capture at 60fps. Which capture card should I look for?
 
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