Late 90s to early 2000s dos/win98se multipurpose retro? build.

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Late 90s to early 2000s dos/win98se multipurpose retro? build.

Postby Baoran » 2019-2-02 @ 18:32

I used to think that only old ISA based systems like 286, 386, 486... etc were retro computers, but building this system has changed my mind a bit even if I still have bit difficulty calling it a retro pc.

It always starts with a motherboard. Early last year I was visiting a friend who has basically his whole house full of all kinds of junk and I saw a motherboard there with a cpu and some ram. I was looking at it and he said that I can have it if I want. I was bit unsure if I would use it but it does have an ISA slot after all, so I took it

cuv4x.jpg


I didn't do anything with it for about half a year. I think it had 600Mhz celeron cpu on it, so I thought if I am going to build something using it, it needs to have pentium 3. I saw someone selling untested pentium 3 cpus on ebay for just couple of euros, so I bought 3 of them hoping that at least one of them would work and since they were so cheap.

3cpu.jpg


I was lucky because they all worked fine. Now I would have even spares if I would ever try overclocking one.
Next on the list were sound card and video card. I had decided to put my awe64 in the isa slot and I wanted nvidia card as video card for better dos compatibility. Unfortunately I didn't have many nvidia cards and I did put my Geforce 2 MX card in the agp slot temporarily hoping that later I would find something better. I installed dos and dos games seemed to work fine and I didn't do anything about the system for couple months.

I decided I would want to see how well my 2 voodoo2 cards would work in this system. I think the main reason was that I wanted to play lands of lore 2 again with 3dfx patch. One of the voodoo2 cards was my old diamond monster card I had in my Pentium 2 system in late 90s and other one looked was exact copy of it that I had bought couple years earlier and it had some more corrosion than my old one. I didn't have SLI cable so I ordered 2 cheap ones from ebay and waited 2 weeks until they arrived. It took some time for me to get voodoo 2 cards to work in dos games. I also installed tomb raider and archimedean dynasty that I also wanted to play. It was rather difficult to find a glide2x.ovl file that would not be speed sensitive and would work in my pentium 3 system. In the end I managed to find driver that worked with tomb raider and lands of lore 2, but archimedean dynasty required old version of driver that only worked when I reduced fsb to 66Mhz in bios.

After one more month or so, I happened to get lucky with a video card. A friend had an old geforce card that was agp and he had no use for it. He wasn't even sure what geforce card it was because it was not written on the card. It was a Gainward Geforce 4 TI 4600, so I thought it would be good enough to run even some early 2000s directX games in win98se. On next days after I had tested the card I sent him a message asking if he knew if the thermal paste on the video card had ever been replaces and what he replied to me surprised me. He said that the card used to belong to his father and the card has never been used and it has just been stored ever since 2003. I was bit suspicious about it at first, but the card didn't really have any marks that would indicate that it had been used. Even the agp connector was pristine.

gainward.jpg


Since I had decent video card for win98 gaming, I decided I wanted to install a sound card to the system that would allow EAX support and also I wanted the system to be able to do DVD playback in windows and with awe64 48Khz -> 44Khz conversion was causing some issues. First I tried an old audigy 2zs, but I could not get it to work. It was detected in win98se, but when installing any driver the driver installation always said that it does not detect any audigy in the system. The pci connector of the card was bit corroded and even if I had gotten system sounds in winXP working when I had tested the card previous year, it seemed to have some problems.

audigy.jpg


I decided to go with sound blaster live instead. It could also do both EAX and 48Khz playback. Perhaps later I can switch to audigy card if I find a good one.

live.jpg
Last edited by Baoran on 2019-2-02 @ 18:49, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Late 90s to early 2000s dos/win98se multipurpose retro? build.

Postby Baoran » 2019-2-02 @ 18:32

That is pretty much finished build right now. I think it has been almost half a year since I started working on it. I had originally an old period correct PSU that failed in middle of build so I decided to spend some money and buy modern one and I also bought 2 modern noctua case fans to help the voodoo2 cards breath. Those are the only modern parts in the system.

inside.jpg

top.jpg

back.jpg

front.jpg


OS: Dos 6.22 and Win98se
Motherboard: Asus CUV4X
Ram: 256Mb
CPU: 1Ghz Pentium 3 coppermine.
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 80Gb
Optical drives: Toshiba DVD-Rom SD-R5002 and Philips CDRW1610
GPU: Gainward Geforce 4 TI 4600 + 2x Diamond monster 3D II
PSU: Seasonic Focus+ 550W
Sound cards: Sound Blaster AWE64 CT4390 + CT1930 Memory module and Sound Blaster Live! CT4830
3.5" Floppy drive
Unknown Antec case from early 2000s.
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Re: Late 90s to early 2000s dos/win98se multipurpose retro? build.

Postby Baoran » 2019-2-02 @ 19:01

I forgot to mention that I am going to connect AWE64 to Roland SC-55 to get general midi working in dos.

sc-55.jpg
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Re: Late 90s to early 2000s dos/win98se multipurpose retro? build.

Postby dr_st » 2019-2-02 @ 20:18

Very awesome build. Similar to my own Win98 SE retro, except of course, I don't have a Roland SC-55. :)

As usual, my suggestion would be ditch the DOS 6.22, it adds nothing of value.
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Re: Late 90s to early 2000s dos/win98se multipurpose retro? build.

Postby buckeye » 2019-2-03 @ 01:01

Curious how you went about installing the AWE64 and Live sound cards together? I have a Vortex 2 in mine and want to add a SB 32pnp ISA card but I'm uncertain on how to go about it.
Foxconn Q45M E8400 Core2 Duo 2GB DDR2 800 160GB BFG Geforce 7950GT 512MB 500W XP SP2
Asus P3B-F P3 850 512MB 40GB Hercules 3D Prophet II 64MB Voodoo2 SLI Aureal Vortex 2 400W 98SE
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Re: Late 90s to early 2000s dos/win98se multipurpose retro? build.

Postby dr_st » 2019-2-03 @ 07:24

As far as software goes - DOS will only see the card for which you've loaded drivers / initialization software and allocated resources. Typically you'll want only one sound card in DOS, although it's possible to use two if you want to jump through some hoops with IO/IRQ/DMA assignments. Windows can see both but uses only one (you choose which one is the default card for applications; some applications have their own configuration that can override the default).

Hardware wise, you can either have a separate set of speakers/headphones for each card, or use a mixer / input switcher, or pass the line-out of one of the cards to the line-in of the other.
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Re: Late 90s to early 2000s dos/win98se multipurpose retro? build.

Postby Baoran » 2019-2-03 @ 08:11

buckeye wrote:Curious how you went about installing the AWE64 and Live sound cards together? I have a Vortex 2 in mine and want to add a SB 32pnp ISA card but I'm uncertain on how to go about it.


Only problem I had was that the fact that both card had joystick port and that made the AWE64 joystick/midi port not work in dos. The CTCU utility thought that the address for joystick port was always in use so CTCM failed to initialize it. Even changing joystick port address in win98 device manager did not help with that. After trying lots of things the only thing that helped and made the AWE64 joystick port work again was that I did set PnP OS to No in bios. If you want windows to just use the vortex card, you can disable the ISA card in windows device manager.

I originally thought I wanted OPL3 card in the ISA slot because AWE64 fm synth sounds bit wrong in some games, but I changed my mind about it. I thought that since I already have a 486 33Mhz system with an OPL3 card for earlier dos games, with later dos games I can mitigate the fm synth problem when I connect the awe64 to my SC-55.
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Re: Late 90s to early 2000s dos/win98se multipurpose retro? build.

Postby chinny22 » 2019-2-05 @ 11:59

For somewhat of a parts build its ended up as a very nice PC indeed!
I also agree late PC like this with the SC55, You'll almost never use the OPL chip AWE64 is definitely the right choice IMHO
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Re: Late 90s to early 2000s dos/win98se multipurpose retro? build.

Postby Baoran » 2019-2-06 @ 11:50

I had one problem with the system. It used to randomly give "overclocking failed" error at post and go automatically to bios settings. I noticed that the cpu voltage was below 1.7V in bios hardware monitor, so I raised the bios cpu voltage setting to 1.75V and after doing that there has not been that error message anymore. It was random though so it is possible that it will still happen though. I don't know what increasing voltage like that would do to the longevity of the cpu, but at least I have 2 spares.
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