VOGONS


First post, by maxtherabbit

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Got a K6-2 (non-plus) running at 4.5x83.3=375MHz on a 430tx board with a cacheable limit of 64MB. Do you guys think Win98SE would see more benefit from running 64MB of SDRAM fully cached by the L2 or maxing the board out at 256MB SDRAM?

Reply 1 of 25, by Tiido

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I have found that more RAM even with some uncached is waaaaaaay faster than less RAM where swapfile is used often.

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Reply 2 of 25, by maxtherabbit

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Tiido wrote on 2020-01-13, 14:30:

I have found that more RAM even with some uncached is waaaaaaay faster than less RAM where swapfile is used often.

I'm sure it is, but I don't remember enough about the Win98SE memory footprint to know if there would be much swapping with 64MB

Reply 3 of 25, by GigAHerZ

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You can make a 192MB ramdisk to the top of the memory. 😉

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - And i intend to get every last bit out of it even after loading every damn driver!

Reply 4 of 25, by candle_86

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it depends what your doing on windows 98SE honestly, if your sticking to era correct games likely fine, most 98 systems shipped with 64mb, 128mb wasn't really common until 2000 on mainstream systems, 256 in 2002, and 512 in 2003.

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Reply 6 of 25, by dionb

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2020-01-13, 15:28:

Just use 128Mb.

Why?

That's worst of both worlds - above the 64kB caching limit, but less than 256MB, so less effective at avoiding thrashing.

Why stop at 256MB btw? i430TX officially only supports that much, but it can handle 4 banks of 128Mb chips, so will do 512MB with two double-sided 256MB DIMMs. Probably pointless with software that would run on a K6-2, but if you're not going for period correct you might as well max it all out...

Reply 7 of 25, by maxtherabbit

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The speedsys test reports a pretty large speed gap between L2 cache throughput and main memory throughput. 264MB/s vs 159MB/s. I'm always down to "max it out" so to speak, but if memory above 64MB is going to be mostly useless in a 98SE environment, I'd rather go for throughput over quantity.

Reply 8 of 25, by Baoran

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Did win9x memory requirements increase much in later 90s? I built my pentium pc in 1995 with just 16Mb of ram and it was fine with that. I am sure 64Mb would probably be much faster but thinking about something needing 256Mb I can only think of winxp and games from around 2005 and later.

Reply 9 of 25, by Cobra42898

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yes and no. i think once the price of ram started to come down, programs quickly followed suit. i think a lot of that was when the internet took off and multi-tabbed browsing started. AOL with a dozen pages was painfully slow in the 90s.
Id have loved more than 16mb ram on my 486, but it was crazy expensive back then.

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Reply 10 of 25, by dionb

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Baoran wrote on 2020-01-13, 17:01:

Did win9x memory requirements increase much in later 90s? I built my pentium pc in 1995 with just 16Mb of ram and it was fine with that. I am sure 64Mb would probably be much faster but thinking about something needing 256Mb I can only think of winxp and games from around 2005 and later.

Yes, memory footprint increased pretty significantly, both of the OS itself and of applications. It was a perfect example of Andy and Bill's Law ("new software will always consume any increase in computing power that new hardware can provide"). 16MB (I assume you don't really mean 16Mb=2MB...) was more than enough to comfortably run both Win95 at release and pretty much any software available for it. By late 1999 you needed 32MB just for Win98SE's OS to run comfortably, if you ran heavy applications (games), upgrades to 64MB or 128MB would significantly improve performance due to reduced thrashing.

Win2k/XP was a whole new ballpark. You could install and run it on 64MB, but anything under 256MB really felt sloooow, and it could sensibly use RAM well above that too.

Bottom line is that cached RAM is always faster than uncached (at least, in the post-386 world), but that any RAM is vastly faster than any HDD access, so your memory usage determines the impact. One nuance though: with Win9x the OS processes tend to be stuck in the uncached part, with Win>>2k (and Linux) the OS tends to be in the cached part, so the impact of exceeding cache limits in Win9x is greater (OS itself is slowed down) than in >2k (only applications slowed down).

Reply 11 of 25, by maxtherabbit

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So I went ahead and did an install of Win98SE on 64MB just to see how it does. Everything seems to be running smoothly in the GUI, I haven't installed any heavy apps or games yet, but no disk thrashing is apparent.

However using the system information tool that comes with 98 (god it sucks compared to 2k's task manager) revealed only 10MB physical memory free. That sounds like a problem, but I don't know how much of the physical memory is being consumed by disk caching that could be dynamically reduced.

Reply 13 of 25, by Garrett W

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For the past few years I've been using Cacheman on Win95 and 98 builds. It's a little utility that tweaks memory and swap file usage among other things and it also display how much RAM's available while minimized. Never did any benchmarking or noticed less stutters or so, but I've seen other people praise it and it probably helps a bit in low memory environments. I think I get around 27-28MB of free RAM under Win98 and 64MB total, so you might want to give it a chance.

Reply 14 of 25, by swaaye

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If 64MB is sufficient and disk swapping is minimal, then 64MB is the way to go.

Configuring maxfilecache is pretty easy. I'm not sure it's necessary though. 64MB is rather typical for Win9x.

Reply 15 of 25, by Sedrosken

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64MB on 98 will *usually* be just fine, but then again my PPro runs 98SE *lite* (Already tried NT, it won't run everything I want it to) with the 95 shell and it's got 128MB. The webby IE4/5 shell just feels way too slow on such a system regardless of RAM footprint, though I have noticed that it does allow it to run some games it otherwise wouldn't be able to handle very well, like Diablo II or Quake III. The Voodoo2 certainly helps, but I'd bet that with 64MB I'd just be swapping way too much for it to be workable. Your mileage may vary of course -- but perhaps consider 98lite if you haven't already, it might help you make better use of 64MB if you elect to go that route.

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Reply 16 of 25, by BinaryDemon

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If you do go with the 64mb option, I would consider using a solid state drive for Win98/swapfile to minimize the performance impact.

GigAHerZ wrote on 2020-01-13, 15:13:

You can make a 192MB ramdisk to the top of the memory. 😉

This would be an interesting idea, how do you set this up? I never tried a ramdisk utility that let you specify what memory space to use.

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Reply 17 of 25, by mpe

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This hobby is all about good feelings. Using 256MB on 430TX wouldn't make me smile. We had to make pragmatic choices back then now we are doing it for pleasure. Now I wan't all my RAM to be cacheable 😀

I think this is a great excuse to treat yourself with a 430HX board with 512M capable TAG SRAM. Irrespectively if it actually makes a big difference.

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Reply 18 of 25, by GigAHerZ

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BinaryDemon wrote on 2020-01-15, 06:15:

If you do go with the 64mb option, I would consider using a solid state drive for Win98/swapfile to minimize the performance impact.

GigAHerZ wrote on 2020-01-13, 15:13:

You can make a 192MB ramdisk to the top of the memory. 😉

This would be an interesting idea, how do you set this up? I never tried a ramdisk utility that let you specify what memory space to use.

XMSDSK has a command line flag to put the ramdisk to the top of the memory. "-t" if i remember correctly.
XMSDSK is also compatible with windows - have had no problems with it and windows even has a nice ramdisk icon for it. 😁

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - And i intend to get every last bit out of it even after loading every damn driver!

Reply 19 of 25, by dionb

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mpe wrote on 2020-01-15, 08:53:

This hobby is all about good feelings. Using 256MB on 430TX wouldn't make me smile. We had to make pragmatic choices back then now we are doing it for pleasure. Now I wan't all my RAM to be cacheable 😀

I think this is a great excuse to treat yourself with a 430HX board with 512M capable TAG SRAM. Irrespectively if it actually makes a big difference.

Or to get a K6-3(+) and ignore motherboard cacheable limits on the TX. K6-3+ at 6x83MHz with 512MB RAM is an insane TX system 😉

Whatever rocks your boat. Personally I'd agree with keeping TX at max 64MB and prefer to run any software that needs this much RAM on a more modern system.