Budget Windows 98 Retro Gaming PC

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Budget Windows 98 Retro Gaming PC

Postby LordGilboy97 » 2019-8-10 @ 22:49

So I wanted to build a Windows 98 gaming PC using period accurate parts from 1999. I want to emulate a PC that someone in high school with a part time job would have built. I used prices from computer magazines from May-Sept of 1999. I am using USD and rounding the prices. So here is the parts list.

MOTHERBOARD - Asus P2-99 Rev 1.12 Slot 1 (ABOUT $135)

CPU - Intel Pentium ii @ 350MHz (ABOUT $200)

RAM - 64MBs PC100 SDRAM (ABOUT $95)

GPU - Diamond S3 Savage4 Pro+ 32MBs AGP (ABOUT $130)

SOUND - Sound Blaster AWE64 ISA (ABOUT $45)

HDD - IBM Deskstar 13.6GBs 3.5" IDE (ABOUT $135)

FLPPY - 1.44MBs 3.5" Floppy Drive (ABOUT $25)

CD - 40X Speed CDROM DRIVE (ABOUT $55)

PSU - Can someone recommend a modern power supply that will work great with my hardware. I'm afraid to use a 20 year old unit.

So there you have it. It won't play everything and some games will struggle, but that's the fun of using old hardware is to have limitations (or not). So what do you think of my build? If you have any recommendations please let me know.
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Re: Budget Windows 98 Retro Gaming PC

Postby red_avatar » 2019-8-10 @ 23:32

OK my two cents:

What you're naming is more a 1997 build, not a 1999 build. The Pentium II was discontinued by 1999. Go with a PIII if you want period accurate. Also, replace the AWE64 with a SB Live!, the GPu with a TNT2 32MB or Voodoo 3 and I'd even put in a DVD drive myself and you can even double the RAM. In fact, these specs were the PC I bought in 1999! The TNT2 32MB is the weakest part since it will quickly get outpaced by the Geforce2 the next year but for 1999 the 3D card market was a mess with the Voodoo being on its last legs and the TNT2 not really having the upper hand completely. I had to replace the GPU in less than a year and a half because the graphics cards were evolving so much.

Of course if you intend to only play games from 1999 and older, then your suggested build should be enough for most games except for games like Outcast which pretty much require a Pentium III.
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Re: Budget Windows 98 Retro Gaming PC

Postby LordGilboy97 » 2019-8-10 @ 23:39

I was looking through some PCMAG magazines from June of 1999 and they were still selling Pentium ii 350MHz for $199. So that's why I choose the Pentium ii.
Last edited by LordGilboy97 on 2019-8-10 @ 23:46, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Budget Windows 98 Retro Gaming PC

Postby LordGilboy97 » 2019-8-10 @ 23:45

I mainly plan on playing games from 1995-1999. For games from 2000 onward I have a Windows XP era PC, and for anything before 1994 I have an old Compaq LTE Elite 4/40CX 486 laptop.
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Re: Budget Windows 98 Retro Gaming PC

Postby leileilol » 2019-8-10 @ 23:49

red_avatar wrote:OK my two cents:

What you're naming is more a 1997 build



There were no P2 350s or Savage4s in 97. It's perfectly a "fuck the katmai hype" 1999 summer build, and could be even perfecter if the ol' overclocked Celeron300A plays a part. :)


Though however Intel wasn't really that "budget", budget around this time meant you build a SS7 system that may contain a trainwreck of a motherboard with a K6-2 400-500 in it, perhaps getting suckered into that eTower 333 making the rounds on the TV shopping channels...
by the way, DOSBox is not for running Windows 9x
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Re: Budget Windows 98 Retro Gaming PC

Postby SpectriaForce » 2019-8-11 @ 14:48

red_avatar wrote:OK my two cents:

What you're naming is more a 1997 build, not a 1999 build. The Pentium II was discontinued by 1999. Go with a PIII if you want period accurate. Also, replace the AWE64 with a SB Live!, the GPu with a TNT2 32MB or Voodoo 3 and I'd even put in a DVD drive myself and you can even double the RAM. In fact, these specs were the PC I bought in 1999! The TNT2 32MB is the weakest part since it will quickly get outpaced by the Geforce2 the next year but for 1999 the 3D card market was a mess with the Voodoo being on its last legs and the TNT2 not really having the upper hand completely. I had to replace the GPU in less than a year and a half because the graphics cards were evolving so much.

Of course if you intend to only play games from 1999 and older, then your suggested build should be enough for most games except for games like Outcast which pretty much require a Pentium III.


The Pentium II Deschutes was sold way into 1999, in SECC2 for slot 1. Furthermore 64MB PC100 SDRAM was very typical, only high end systems had 128MB. ISA sound cards started to disappear in 1999, but the AWE64 Value was still available in 2000. However, I would choose for a Creative Ensoniq AudioPCI, which was the mainstream sound card back then.
Last edited by SpectriaForce on 2019-8-11 @ 19:12, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Budget Windows 98 Retro Gaming PC

Postby Bige4u » 2019-8-11 @ 15:48

Personally... i would go with an 800mhz cpu, a voodoo3 3000 16mb agp video card, 256mb pc133 memory, 20gb 7200rpm hdd, SB live! pci sound card and a enermax 350w power supply that has at least 30a on the +5v rail of which was more heavily used during that time period, modern power supplys put more current on the +12v rail, so thats not exactly the greatest choice, but the 40x cdrom and 3.5'' floppy drives are spot on.

PSU - https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Enermax-EG ... SwTkFcmUCA

PS - if you do go with the VooDoo3 3000 agp video card, be sure to attach an 80mm fan to it, as they tend to run a little hot.

GL
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Re: Budget Windows 98 Retro Gaming PC

Postby SpectriaForce » 2019-8-11 @ 19:22

Bige4u wrote:and a enermax 350w power supply that has at least 30a on the +5v rail of which was more heavily used during that time period, modern power supplys put more current on the +12v rail, so thats not exactly the great


Only AMD Athlon & Duron CPU's require a strong +5V line. The PIII is very power efficient (only ca. 20W); you can use any recent PSU as long as it has a dedicated (i.e. independent) +5V line (20A is more than enough) and you'll need a 24->20 pin ATX adapter cable. Only (low end) load balanced (group regulated) PSU's will give stability problems.
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Re: Budget Windows 98 Retro Gaming PC

Postby chinny22 » 2019-8-13 @ 09:16

Family Budget PC of 99
M/B: Asus P2B-?? (ZX chipset variant)
CPU: Celeron 500 on slocket adapter
RAM: 64MB
GPU: TNT2/M64
Sound: SBLive!
HDD: 8GB I think?
CD-Rom: 50x I think?
and a floppy and PSU which I cant remember.

So yeh think your on a slightly tighter budget then my parents were. Graphics and RAM were upgraded within 12 months.
As a comparison my PC the year earlier was a P2 400, 10GB HDD, 16MB TNT, I had a bigger budget but still not stupid amount as was a combined Christmas/Bday present.
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Re: Budget Windows 98 Retro Gaming PC

Postby imi » 2019-8-13 @ 09:33

I can tell you what I had in 1999, the PC was originally bought in 1998:
MB: Gigabyte GA-6BXE
CPU: Pentium II 400Mhz (upgraded in 1999)
RAM: 64MB
GPU: TNT2 Ultra (upgraded in 1999, I remember spending all my birthday money and then some on this card ^^)
Sound: AWE64 value CT4520
HDD: 6.4GB
case: In Win S500 (upgraded from a generic case around 1999 too I think)
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Re: Budget Windows 98 Retro Gaming PC

Postby FFXIhealer » 2019-8-14 @ 19:37

Sometimes I go on forums and I read an original post and then read the replies they get and I have to wonder "Did they even BOTHER to read the original post before typing up a response?"

The Subject specifically says BUDGET gaming PC and his post named the year 1999, which could mean January 1999 to December. A lot of people are saying "I would go with..." <insert $4,000 high-end gaming rig from the time period mentioned item here> Clearly weren't paying attention the title saying BUDGET.

To use modern parts, that would be like someone saying "I wanna build a capable gaming rig and my budget is $600, so I'm going with a 1050ti, a Ryzen 1st Gen 5 quad core and some simple drives." And then everyone goes "Man, if it were me, I'd get an RTX 2080ti (a $1,100 card that blows way past the budget), an Intel i9-9820X ($800 CPU), blah blah..."

Like yeah, we get it, you can burn a lot of money and you clearly didn't see the word BUDGET in the post... I get that MODERN prices are dirt cheap now for all this old stuff, but that wasn't the OP's point.

I parted a "gaming rig" of a cost around $1,000 back in the beginning of 1999 and my CPU was a 350MHz Pentium II. In fact, I still have that CPU, though the outer plastic housing has some damage when I took it apart to change out the TIM (with Arctic Silver 5). I wouldn't consider it a budget system, but it certainly wasn't high-end at the time, as the graphics card was an 8MB i740 card, but the sound card was awesome with an AWE64 Gold.
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Re: Budget Windows 98 Retro Gaming PC

Postby Errius » 2019-8-14 @ 20:29

We acquired this OEM system in the January 1999 sales. I don't remember what my parents paid for it.

  • MSI MS-6119 motherboard
  • 350 MHz Pentium II CPU
  • 128 MB PC100 SDRAM
  • 10 GB hard drive
  • 8 MB Matrox Millennium G200 AGP video card
  • Yamaha YMF724 PCI audio card
  • V.90 ISA modem
  • Unknown CD-ROM and 3.5" floppy drives
  • Unknown CRT monitor, probably 17"
  • Yamaha YST-MS25 speakers
  • Parallel port flatbed scanner
  • Keyboard, mouse, Windows 98SE, and a bunch of bundled games and software
The only thing I still have is the audio card, which is still doing good service in one of my retro machines.
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Re: Budget Windows 98 Retro Gaming PC

Postby FFXIhealer » 2019-8-16 @ 04:48

Wow, that is extremely similar to my Windows 98 system that I got around that same time.

ASUS P2B motherboard
350 MHz Pentium II CPU
128 MB PC100 SDRAM
10 GB Maxtor HDD
8MB Diamond Stealth II G460 (Intel i740) AGP card
Creative Labs AWE64 Gold ISA audio card
56K V.90 ISA modem
3COM 10/100 Ethernet PCI card
Unknown CD-ROM and 3.5" floppy drive
Iomega ZIP 3.5" Internal ATAPI disk drive
unknown speakers
Parallel port flatbed scanner
Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard (PS/2)
Microsoft Intellimouse (PS/2 + wheel)
Windows 98 First Edition

I loved that computer all the way up until it was hopelessly obsolete, then I had to build a Windows XP system around an Athlon XP CPU. But now that system has been resurrected better, stronger, faster.

ASUS P2B motherboard
600 MHz Pentium III CPU
256 MB PC100 SDRAM
40 GB Western Digital HDD
32MB Diamond Viper V770 Riva TNT2 AGP card
3dfx STB-V1000 Voodoo2 12MB PCI card x2 (SLI)
Creative Labs AWE64 Standard ISA audio card
Startech Gigabit Ethernet PCI card
Unknown CD-ROM and 3.5" floppy drive
Iomega ZIP 3.5" Internal ATAPI disk drive
unknown speakers
Dell PS/2 keyboard
Dell-branded Microsoft Intellimouse (PS/2 + wheel)
Windows 98 Second Edition
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