VOGONS


My Pentium III build

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First post, by khyypio

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Hello everyone! I´m a completely new member to these forums and I figured I´d share my Retro PC project with you guys.

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So, this is my rig in its current state:
- case: Fujitsu ErgoPro eL
- mobo: Abit ST6
- CPU: Pentium III 800EB
- RAM: 512 Mb
- GPU: nVidia GeForce 2 GTS
- sound card: Sound Blaster Live! (CT4830)
- Some generic Lite-On DVD-ROM
- Some generic Lite-On DVD-burner
- Some generic floppy
- PSU: Corsair CX450M
- storage: IDE to SD adapter and 64 Gb SD-card
- cooling: 2 Noctua case fans + generic cpu fan
- speakers: Cambridge Soundworks 4.1
- Display: BenQ Q9T4 19 "

I started by dismantling the case to its bare bones, and while wiping it down, I though "Yeah, what the hell...", and hosed and scrubbed it thoroughly under a shower.

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Another improvement for the case was sound proofing. There are a many things I feel nostalgic about but distracting noises are not part of those. I wanted my retro build to be quiet, so I also dampened the front panel of the case.I sanded every plastic part of the front panel, DVD-roms and floppy, and painted them bright white. Power and HD leds were changed to blue ones.

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For speakers I found Cambridge Soundworks 4.1 speaker set for a reasonable price. However, the speaker cases vibrated terribly even at low volume levels, so I decided to soundproof them too. As a result, the sound quality improved noticeably bass sounding thighter and more accurate.

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As much as I´d love a good CRT, they are simply way too impractical for me at the moment. So decided to get an older LCD, and I found a 19" BenQ Q9T4 for 20 €. I also sanded and painted the of the screen with the same shade of white as every other part, and changed the indicator led to a blue one. I did similar mods to my Keytronic MPR II keyboard.

Well, that´s about it. Questions, feedback and suggestions would be nice, and I also try to be active in these forums and contribute to discussions. There are many upgrades coming sometime in the future, which I will be documenting and if you´re intrerested, present to you folks. However, I´d also like to ask for your wisdom and guidance:

1. My motherboard (Abit ST6) has Tualatin support and after updating BIOS to the latest version (9P), it also supports 1,4 GHz Tualatin Celerons. I´ve been trying to find an exhaustive list of supported processors, but there´s just none. Does anyone know if this motherboard supports Pentium III-S 1.4 GHz CPU?

2. At some point I will change my 4.1 speaker set to just a pair of speakers. As lovely as they sound, they just take way too much space and also create a nightmarish cable mess. With only two speakers, is it worth it to change my SB Live! CT4830 to SB Live! 5.1 SB0100?

3. Unofficial Service Pack 3.64 for Windows 98 SE. At first, I installed this SP with every possible addon it came with. Within a couple of days my computer got slower and slower, showing different error messages and crashing constantly, and at some point it didn´t even boot. I formated my HD and installed OS again, and installed about half of the addons from the USP and it worked a little better for a little longer, but it didn´t last long. Now, I´ve only installed like five addons and it has been working perfectly for a while. Obviously, some of those addons don´t work well with old rigs. Is there some sort of no-no list for this SP somewhere?

4. Which thread would be a good place to discuss about getting games from Steam and GOG to work in Win98?

Reply 1 of 30, by cde

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This build looks awesome 😀 Can you share details about which addons from USP you use? I personally don't apply the service pack, instead I just install the unofficial USB pack, "nusb3.6.exe".

About GOG, I've unfortunately had a bad experience recently with the re-release of Planescape Torment which now has SSE2 instructions and is not playable on an Athlon XP. Thus I guess the only option is to buy a second-hand CD and try to locate any patch online.

Reply 2 of 30, by khyypio

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cde wrote:

This build looks awesome 😀 Can you share details about which addons from USP you use? I personally don't apply the service pack, instead I just install the unofficial USB pack, "nusb3.6.exe".

About GOG, I've unfortunately had a bad experience recently with the re-release of Planescape Torment which now has SSE2 instructions and is not playable on an Athlon XP. Thus I guess the only option is to buy a second-hand CD and try to locate any patch online.

Thank you very much for replying!

Well, I can´t remember what I installed for the second try, but in this last attempt I chose the main core updates (which I think is the most important one), DirectX 9, performance tweeks and some cosmetic updates. As I mentioned, it runs really nicely now, but I wish there were some notes of which installs will surely work and which ones are experimental. I´ve heard so many times that USP 3 is a must-have and I´d love to use it for its full value. I just dont know which updates I dare to install.

I´ve had varied success on getting Steam and GOG games working on my retro machine. For example, Jazz Jackrabbit 2 runs perfectly without modifications, you just have to install it to your modern computer and just copy the files over to your retro PC. And Quake 1,2 and 3 from Steam just needs a patch from an appropriate era and it will work. I don´t think System Shock 2 (Nightdive Studios) will work from either GOG or Steam, isn´t it a source port optimized to run on modern systems? Also Unreal Gold from Steam causes trouble, haven´t figured it out yet.

I watched a video from Phils computer lab where he unpacks Incoming and Incoming Forces from GOG using a program called Innoup and gets it running on Win98 system. I followed his instructions but couldn´t get Incoming to work, maybe GOG has changed their installers or something?

Reply 3 of 30, by dries_86

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Nice build! I like the case and quite a beast of a GPU back in the day. It seems you have put a lot of work into your project and you can be proud of it.

I also do not apply unofficial service packs for Win 98. What I would recommend installing are the USB drivers to easily swap files.
If you want I can have a look which addons are installed on my Win 98SE pc.

On all of my retro PCs I do not use any Steam or GOG games. I run the original games (for convenience backed up the disks to .iso files and run with daemon tools) so I have the same experience and avoid too much compatibility issues, although to get some original older games working is a challenge itself! (part of the fun)

Reply 4 of 30, by khyypio

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dries_86 wrote:
Nice build! I like the case and quite a beast of a GPU back in the day. It seems you have put a lot of work into your project an […]
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Nice build! I like the case and quite a beast of a GPU back in the day. It seems you have put a lot of work into your project and you can be proud of it.

I also do not apply unofficial service packs for Win 98. What I would recommend installing are the USB drivers to easily swap files.
If you want I can have a look which addons are installed on my Win 98SE pc.

On all of my retro PCs I do not use any Steam or GOG games. I run the original games (for convenience backed up the disks to .iso files and run with daemon tools) so I have the same experience and avoid too much compatibility issues, although to get some original older games working is a challenge itself! (part of the fun)

Thanks! I have also installed nusb36.exe, works nicely but my motherboards USB 1.1 is painfully slow. I´m going to install a USB 2.0 card at some point.

It´ll be great to know what useful addons and drivers you guys have installed! I´d also love to know what kind of networking solutions people have for their Win98 systems. Now, someone is bound to say that this build isn´t suitable for modern websites and I´m aware of that! I wan´t networking mainly for small downloads, such as drivers and updates. I have my modern computer hooked up online and I was thinking if I could wirelessly split the connection. I ordered a D-Link DGE-528T card and have a spare wireless modem. I was also thinking if there´s a way to swap files wirelessly between my modern PC (Win10) and my retro PC?

Reply 5 of 30, by SpectriaForce

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It's different!

The unofficial SP3 for W98SE has several updates, patches and add-ons, but you should carefully read the description of each one whether it's compatible with and useful for your system. Simply selecting all and installing is not a good idea.

I don't see the point of buying retro games online from Steam etc. and then try to make them run on a retro system. I think that it's a waste of money and time, because many original W9x games can be downloaded for free (abandonware) or bought for a few € in your local thrift store.

Don't miss out on the amazing clearance sale at
RETROGAMEPC.COM
CLASSICCOMPUTERSHOP.COM
-> All older stock will be gradually reduced in price until it's sold.

Reply 6 of 30, by khyypio

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SpectriaForce wrote:

It's different!

The unofficial SP3 for W98SE has several updates, patches and add-ons, but you should carefully read the description of each one whether it's compatible with and useful for your system. Simply selecting all and installing is not a good idea.

I don't see the point of buying retro games online from Steam etc. and then try to make them run on a retro system. I think that it's a waste of money and time, because many original W9x games can be downloaded for free (abandonware) or bought for a few € in your local thrift store.

Actually, searching and buying a physical copy of a game that I already own is a waste of time, money and space. I have purchased most of these games a long time ago, only few of them I bought for my retro machine.

I´d rather try to get them working before going to flea markets in hopes of finding a random game. I´ve already got almost 20 games to work on Win98 with or without modding, and I´m sure there´s some sort of workaround for the rest of them 😀

Reply 7 of 30, by chinny22

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Nice build, first pic I thought it was going to be a standard old PC case full of old hardware build.
Wasn't expecting full strip down for a first attempt!

Really like the speakers but get where your coming from with rear speakers and wires. You could just remove the 2 rears and still have a retro 2.1 setup.
The only difference between CT4830 and SB0100 is extra outputs to support the extra speakers, as your reducing you speakers down to 2 I wouldn't bother.

I also don't bother with updates, service packs, etc. the less the better in my opinion. I would say the bare minimum is

-Chipset drivers, 6.3.0.1007.zip
https://www.philscomputerlab.com/intel-chipset-drivers.html

-Graphics drivers (Personal choice)
-Liveware 3

-Direct X, Version will depend on personal choice
http://falconfly.3dfx.pl/directx.htm

-Windows Installer 2.0, required for some software like Daemon Tools, both can be found here
https://www.philscomputerlab.com/daemon-tools … windows-98.html

archive software of choice, Personally I like WinRAR

anything else is optional for a gaming PC

Once you have network up and running I find even even nusb36.exe isn't required, Yeh definitely network it! not for internet but to copy files from other PC's. That D-Link is a fine choice for 98, and if the modem supports bridge mode it does all the wifi work, the PC just thinks its plugged into a standard switch. You can drop windows 10 security and it'll talk to Win98 or use something like ftp to transfer files, but think we are getting ahead of ourselves!

Reply 8 of 30, by khyypio

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chinny22 wrote:
Nice build, first pic I thought it was going to be a standard old PC case full of old hardware build. Wasn't expecting full stri […]
Show full quote

Nice build, first pic I thought it was going to be a standard old PC case full of old hardware build.
Wasn't expecting full strip down for a first attempt!

Really like the speakers but get where your coming from with rear speakers and wires. You could just remove the 2 rears and still have a retro 2.1 setup.
The only difference between CT4830 and SB0100 is extra outputs to support the extra speakers, as your reducing you speakers down to 2 I wouldn't bother.

I also don't bother with updates, service packs, etc. the less the better in my opinion. I would say the bare minimum is

-Chipset drivers, 6.3.0.1007.zip
https://www.philscomputerlab.com/intel-chipset-drivers.html

-Graphics drivers (Personal choice)
-Liveware 3

-Direct X, Version will depend on personal choice
http://falconfly.3dfx.pl/directx.htm

-Windows Installer 2.0, required for some software like Daemon Tools, both can be found here
https://www.philscomputerlab.com/daemon-tools … windows-98.html

archive software of choice, Personally I like WinRAR

anything else is optional for a gaming PC

Once you have network up and running I find even even nusb36.exe isn't required, Yeh definitely network it! not for internet but to copy files from other PC's. That D-Link is a fine choice for 98, and if the modem supports bridge mode it does all the wifi work, the PC just thinks its plugged into a standard switch. You can drop windows 10 security and it'll talk to Win98 or use something like ftp to transfer files, but think we are getting ahead of ourselves!

I have installed the latest 815EP chipset drivers, latest DX9 that was supported by win98, Daemontools, KernelX, etc. I also updated BIOS to its latest verison. I also previously installed Liveware 3 and it really messed things up, I dont think it works well with CT4830...

Reply 9 of 30, by khyypio

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I came across a GeForce 2 Ultra and SB Live! for a very attractive price, so it seems that this machine will be a maxed out P III one day. I´ve already decided to swap my 800EB to a Tualatin 1.4 GHz-S, which I think my MB supports after updating to the latest BIOS. Just need to find one... Anyways, I´ve been playing around with this thought about making Youtube videos, first I´ll present my build in its current state, then I´ll make a more thorough update video. What do you guys think?

Some background: I´ve been a passionate photographer (not for a living) for over 7 years, so I have a lot of gear to create technically decent videos. I´ll just need a decent (but inexpensive) mic and couple of LED video lights that can be utilised with speedlight softboxes. Any thoughts, suggestions?

Reply 10 of 30, by Bige4u

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According to "cpu-upgrade", the Abit ST6 motherboard supports up to Pentium3 1400S anyway, so you really shouldnt have to upgrade the BIOS.

http://www.cpu-upgrade.com/mb-ABIT/ST6.html

Granted, getting ahold of a GF2 Ultra is an excellent find since they are getting really hard to find, your system is somewhat similar to mine(sig), but my choice of videocard is a GF3 ti500, which is even a lot more harder to find, but it runs great for my needs(gamming) and a SB Live! 5.1 soundcard.

Pentium3 1400s / Asus Tusl2-c / Kingston 512mb pc133 cl2 / WD 20gb 7200rpm / GeForce3 Ti500 64mb / SB Live! 5.1 / 16x dvdrom / 3.5'' Floppy / Enermax 420w / Win98se

Reply 11 of 30, by kolderman

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Nice effort. All I can say is I would probably put the subwoofer on the floor. And the SB Live 5.1 is for decoding dolby digital ....unless you are planning on watching movies forget it.

Also, someone here maintains aa google docs spreadsheet with Gog game compatibility with dos/win98.

Reply 12 of 30, by khyypio

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Bige4u wrote:

According to "cpu-upgrade", the Abit ST6 motherboard supports up to Pentium3 1400S anyway, so you really shouldnt have to upgrade the BIOS.

http://www.cpu-upgrade.com/mb-ABIT/ST6.html

Granted, getting ahold of a GF2 Ultra is an excellent find since they are getting really hard to find, your system is somewhat similar to mine(sig), but my choice of videocard is a GF3 ti500, which is even a lot more harder to find, but it runs great for my needs(gamming) and a SB Live! 5.1 soundcard.

Yes, I accidentally found a Youtube video where the guy used this CPU with ST6 😁

kolderman wrote:

Nice effort. All I can say is I would probably put the subwoofer on the floor. And the SB Live 5.1 is for decoding dolby digital ....unless you are planning on watching movies forget it.

Also, someone here maintains aa google docs spreadsheet with Gog game compatibility with dos/win98.

Too late, I found a SB0100 for 7 € so what the hell... 😁 Thanks for mentioning that spread sheet, I managed to find it after a little digging.

Reply 13 of 30, by khyypio

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I made my first video for youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewVcfH4edtQ&t=6s

I´m aready aware about the technical and artistic shortcomings in that vid:
- sound quality is terrible and I´m not sure what happened to my mic, probably just due to my inexperience
- my Finglish is torture for human ear, I hope to improve on that
- sometimes footage is out of place
- When filmed, I look like a deer in the headlights...

Even still, I welcome constructive criticism but I´d also like to know what´s positive.

Reply 14 of 30, by badmojo

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Well I can't speak for the whole internet but I thought your vid was fantastic - well paced, interesting shots, no shaky cam, made me laugh (with you, not at you), and your English is better than mine and that's the only language I know damn it!

Great work, please continue with confidence.

If it's broke, then fix it!

Reply 16 of 30, by khyypio

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Thanks guys! My next video will a build video of upgrading my retro PC. It´s going to be a bit longer and I try to improve on the audio department (including my english) 😀 I´ll start filming as soon as I get all necessary parts for my upgrade. Actually, only thing I´m missing is Tualatin-S 1.4 GHz.