First post, by ninkeo
Been working on this for a while, and I decided to go out and grab some new parts for what I'll be calling the 'El Cheapo' build. The point of this build is to pretty much mimic what my old PC was back in the day, which used the same motherboard and family of CPU, and go from there 😀
Here's the beans:
- CPU: AMD Duron 1200 Morgan (with SSE)
- MOBO: ECS K7S5A Pro (rev. 5.0)
- RAM: 512MB DDR 400
- GPU: ATI Radeon 9250 (128MB / 64bit 😢 ) / Voodoo2 8MB (For 98)
- Sound: Sound Blaster Live! 4870
- HDD: 40GB WD + 80GB Maxtor
- Case: An old and abused Foxconn TH1
Running Windows 98 and XP SP2 for the widest range of games to run on it.
1. Getting the parts together
Now there's quite a story behind the parts I chose and used in this build. Firstly, the motherboard was a NOS one from the same seller that Phil used when he reviewed it in one of his recent videos. Luckily I happened to come across it a day before it got featured, since they were all cleared out in a few hours 🤣
The case was an interesting one too, found locally and in the original box it came in. I figured it'd be a good case to use and build in after seeing it online in various websites. Whoever had it before me went to the effort to re-wrap it with all the original packing materials along with the manual. It turned out that somebody had painted it white, with nicks in the paint and all 😕
Still, a rather good case IMO with the tooless PCI slots and drive caddies. I did get some bonus goodies with it though, it came with a rather questionable 350w PSU with 32A on the 5V rail, which is what Socket A really needs. If anyone's got suggestions for a NEW PSU that can deliver close to the same amps, let me know since I'd rather ditch it sooner rather than later because the caps aren't in the best condition. Someone also left a yellowed but functional floppy disk drive in there as well as a card reader. They also left all of the drive sleds, which helped dramatically to get it all up and running. One thing I will say, not necessarily bad, but it is HEAVY! My god, it weighs a ton, getting it up off the floor to build the rig in was a bit of a pain 🤣
Everything else I used came from parts I had spare.
2. Maximising the graphics
Originally when I put this rig together, I used my old but trusty Geforce 2 Pro to handle all of the newer games I'll play on it. However, it proved to be a bit underpowered when it came to directx 8 era XP games. So to solve that, I threw in my Radeon 9250. While slow and with a 64 bit memory bus, it smashes pretty much all the games I'm willing to play on here, with some exceptions:
- Drivers are a bit crashy under 98, fine on XP
- The 64 bit memory bus presents stuttering noticeable during intense areas that have loads of polygons and textures on screen
- Possibly conflicts with the Voodoo 2 under 98 (probably a reason why the drivers are so crash happy)
At the moment I'll run with it, but I might try the Omega drivers to see if anything improves under 98.
3. Hard drive and sound card issues
This is something that's appeared over the last few days, but I've noticed that the old 40GB WD drive that has 98 on it is starting to fail in a couple ways, one being very slow and sometimes not being detected by the BIOS. What I'm thinking of doing is replacing both of them with a single 120GB SSD and partitioning it, using either an IDE to SATA adaptor or getting a PCI SATA controller that can boot SSDs.
The last problem that's been pretty persistent is the sound card. Under Windows 98 it works perfectly fine, but under XP it crackles and pops and farts. Even with updated creative drivers, it still does it. I'm thinking it could be something wrong with the card, or prehaps directx bugging out since it really only happens in games.
That's it for the moment, hopefully you'll be interested to see where I take this next. 😀