VOGONS


First post, by Dochartaigh

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Hi all, I was recommended this forum since I'm trying to get back into ~1991-2002ish era computer gaming and like original hardware (i.e. no DOSbox). I'm having a hard time finding older computers by me, and probably have to resort to eBay so I'm trying to get some information on what specs I should be looking for in order to play the type of games I like. A big part of doing this is I want to experience these games at their highest resolution and fastest refresh rates I can - basically because back in the day I could never afford a fast computer and everything always played choppy even on minimum settings! I have a beautiful 20" 140kHz CRT monitor to use.

Here's a quick list of my favorite games back then, split between DOS and Windows 95/98:

Monkey Island 1990
Eye of the Beholder 1991
Wolfenstein 3D 1992
Doom 1&2 1993/94
The 7th Guest 1993
Sim City 2000 1993
Eye of the Beholder III 1993
Warcraft II 1995
Duke Nukem 3D 1996
Quake 1996
____(start Win 95/98)______
Command and Conquer Red Alert 1996
Diablo 1996
Quake II 1997
Baldur's Gate 1998
Diablo II 2000
Warcraft III 2002

My current 800 mHz computer (I literally found this in my parents attic – I think I built it for my dad's business maybe ~20 years ago) which seems too slow to be able to play the above games at any decent resolution or frame rate:

Intel CA810E Motherboard w/ & crappy integrated video card (most definitely my bottleneck, also only has PCI no AGP slot)
Pentium III 800mhz
127mb RAM
forget HDD size but it's adequate

Things I picked up since then:

  • IBM Model M Keyboard (like the original that came with my 1st computer, an IBM PS/2 @ 25mHz!)
  • A pair of Roland MA-8 computer speakers (was always jealous of my friends set...and didn't want the big studio versions everybody loves 😉
  • 20" NEC FP2141SB CRT VGA monitor (rebrand of Mitsubishi 2070SB). Max 140kHz, and the manufacturers 'optimal' setting is 1600x1200 @85Hz (although I doubt these type of games can make use of it that high...)

I've been told that simply upgrading the video card in the above to something like a GeForce FX5500 (somebody else mentioned a Voodoo3? but when i searched I found this post where he said that was too slow for Warcraft 3?) would let me play all these games how I want, but to be honest I want to get a new computer regardless (you know, something new to mess around with - plus I want one a bit smaller, maybe a Gateway or HP which I always liked back in the day).

So my question is what should I be looking for? Should I stick to a Pentium around this 800mhz + a decent video card? Is slower also perfectly fine as long as the video card is good? Pentium 4's seem to maybe a bit easier to find, would a ~1.7ghz be OK as well (**EDIT** actually - I was searching...not many beige P4's on eBay, and HAS to be beautiful beige!!!)? When am I going to start getting into compatibility trouble with those older (but not super old so no too-fast issues) DOS games? When do computers start messing up the SoundBlaster compatibility?

Any help is appreciated. I hope "what should I get" posts aren't frowned upon here...it's just when I even try to search for the original System Requirements of these games I can barely find them since I keep finding all the specs of the last 5+ remakes/re-releases of these games so I just don't know what type of period-correct computer I should be looking for. Thanks.

Reply 1 of 90, by auron

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Dochartaigh wrote on 2020-01-08, 02:22:

When do computers start messing up the SoundBlaster compatibility?

right around the time your board was made, because it doesn't have ISA. the onboard sb128 is DOS compatible via driver but duke3d for instance crashes on pci sound cards when the reverb effect plays, unless it's turned off via patch. so a pentium 3 or athlon board with 1-2 ISA sound cards and some GM synth (depending on games/needs) is a a better way to go, but i guess you could check first how well the sb128 runs for you.

also it's certainly still possible to find original game requirements, you just need to look harder, like finding pictures of the box. they weren't always accurate though and certainly not for higher resolutions. but for duke3d for instance, a p3 800 should run that pretty well at 800x600. if performance is bad you may have to run fastvid first.

Reply 2 of 90, by foil_fresh

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viewtopic.php?t=24890

here are some socket 478 boards (pentium 4 3.4ghz max) with ISA slots for dos compatible sound cards.

another idea is a KT based amd board with ISA slots. the athlon xps can do warcraft 3 well.

i reccomend 2 sound cards though, an ISA card for SB/FM and a pci card for windows. an ISA card will run into problems playing games beyond 2000, due to the 8mhz isa bus and the small bandwidth.

or just forget ISA entirely and get a motherboard that is capable of running PCI cards that emulate soundblaster and FM features. SB Live, Audigy are both good options. The Yamaha YMF cards have good sound in windows as well as real OPL3 in the integrated chip. this is trickier and requires a fair bit of homework. lots of chipsets beyond 2001/2002 simply wont work for dos sound (you'll bluescreen or have lockups when games start). its risky but if you find the right chipset you can be using a 3ghz+ cpu to push the limits of the project.

going overkill, Socket478 P4 3.4ghz a dual boot Win98se/WinXP with a few GB ram (and the rlowe RAM patches), alongside an ISA AWE64/SB Audigy combo and something like a geforce 6800 would be amazing and can cover games from like 92/93 up to 2004/2005. thats a good period for games.

one last thing to talk about is the video card - Nvidia 6800 ultra/RAdeon 9800 pro is the fastest you'll get to work in win98 AFAIK. viewtopic.php?t=33301

at this stage im talking myself into this more than you... 🤣 😀

good luck

edit: if you want to play speed sensitive games then the p4 might still be too fast with caches disabled... keep that in mind. some games that arent speed "sensitive" like jazz jackrabbit wont play on anything faster than roughtly a 200mhz pentium because of the way the borland pascal coding/compiling works (or doesn't).

https://www.pcmicro.com/elebbs/faq/rte200.html <- info on the 200mhz bug

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing <- chipsets, pci sound cards and tested compatiblity by vogons members

viewtopic.php?f=46&t=24769 <- more info regarding pci sound card/legacy sound compatiblity on certain chipsets

P1 MMX 166MHz / Trio3D/2X 2MB / HOT591-p / AWE64 / YMF744
P3 667 MHz / SY-7VBA / Voodoo 3000 / Diamond Monster MX300
Athlon XP 2200+ / SL-75FRN2-L / Radeon 9600 XT / Audigy Platinum eX
P4 3.2GHz / 648FX-A2 / Geforce 6800 GT / Audigy

Reply 3 of 90, by jheronimus

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Pentium III 800MHz—1 GHz + something like a GeForce 2/3 should be enough to run Unreal and Quake 2 at max settings and 1600x1200 (that was like 4k in the 90s). Quake III might require lowering your resolution. Diablo 2 and Baldur's Gate have fixed resolutions (at least, without mods) and don't require too much horsepower. That leaves Warcraft III which I think is the most demanding game on your list.

All in all I would get some kind of Pentium III motherboard with an ISA slot — that's a sweet spot between speed and compatibility. Beware of Slot 1 CPUs — it will be hard to get CPUs faster than 600 MHz in that form-factor.

My Telegram blog about retro hardware (in Russian)

Pentium 133, 32 MB RAM, S3 Trio64V+, Crystal 4232, Dreamblaster X2 and Roland MT-32
Pentium III 1000, 512 MB RAM, Voodoo 5 5500 AGP, SB Live 5.1, SB32 CT3930, Gravis Ultrasound Max rev2.1

Reply 4 of 90, by Dochartaigh

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Thank you all for the replies!


auron wrote on 2020-01-08, 06:31:

right around the time your board was made, because it doesn't have ISA. the onboard sb128 is DOS compatible via driver but duke3d for instance crashes on pci sound cards when the reverb effect plays, unless it's turned off via patch. so a pentium 3 or athlon board with 1-2 ISA sound cards and some GM synth (depending on games/needs) is a a better way to go, but i guess you could check first how well the sb128 runs for you.

You'll have to excuse me for not knowing these terms (had to google), so ISA is an earlier port type which PCI (then I assume AGP) replaced? You're totally right - mine only has 4x PCI:

cyC7GvA.jpg

So ideally I need an ISA sound card for DOS. For Duke3d DOS game – I had that marked as running (when testing I'll usually just start a game then play a little bit of the first level) but I will have to see if the sound cuts out as I don't recall.

For later Win95/98 games, will I be fine with the built-in audio the MB has? If my memory serves my current computer doesn't have a dedicated sound card.

'GM synth' is MIDI?

I'm not going to be a stickler for audio if I'm to be honest. I'm just looking for something which is a pretty close approximation of what I would have had back in the day - it doesn't need to be perfect (I don't notice the difference between different versions of the Sega Genesis either....which people say is the biggest difference between versions)...but if it sounds HORRIBLE without separate cards for each distinct type then I'm all ears and will do so 😉


foil_fresh wrote on 2020-01-08, 06:59:

or just forget ISA entirely and get a motherboard that is capable of running PCI cards that emulate soundblaster and FM features. SB Live, Audigy are both good options.

..........

going overkill, Socket478 P4 3.4ghz a dual boot Win98se/WinXP with a few GB ram (and the rlowe RAM patches), alongside an ISA AWE64/SB Audigy combo and something like a geforce 6800 would be amazing and can cover games from like 92/93 up to 2004/2005. thats a good period for games.

So is there now FOUR types of audio the majority of DOS and Win95/98 games use? 1.) ISA/DOS, 2.) MIDI (assuming DOS as well), 3.) PCI for Win95/98, 4.) then "FM" which I think is earlier like ISA as well?

I'm really more liking your idea to by a PCI card that can approximate DOS like the SB Live or Audigy you mentioned - I'm not going to be running like 4 different cards on all different types of slots! BUT, if DOS will sound like crap without an ISA card I can go with two like you (and the person above) suggest: ISA AWE64 + SB Audigy.

foil_fresh wrote on 2020-01-08, 06:59:

another idea is a KT based amd board with ISA slots. the athlon xps can do warcraft 3 well.

The IBM's I like the look of have AMD processors. I've kinda been put off from those because I've always been Intel. Any detriments to the AMD compatibility-wise? I'll have to go back and see if I can find out their other specs to see if they line-up with this new information you have all taught me.


jheronimus wrote on 2020-01-08, 21:01:

Pentium III 800MHz—1 GHz + something like a GeForce 2/3 should be enough to run Unreal and Quake 2 at max settings and 1600x1200 (that was like 4k in the 90s). Quake III might require lowering your resolution. Diablo 2 and Baldur's Gate have fixed resolutions (at least, without mods) and don't require too much horsepower. That leaves Warcraft III which I think is the most demanding game on your list.

This is EXACTLY what I wanted to hear! And exactly the sort of thing I want to try out (although I don't think I've ever played Quake III, just 1 and 2 😉 Thanks. I was also wondering about the resolutions and if the textures would even go up to something high like 1600x1200 for most games.

To also be able to play Warcraft III maxed out, do you think the GeForce FX5500 like was mentioned would be OK or are there better options which can still be easily found on eBay? (or I don't even know if there's a buy/sell here - I'll have to look).

jheronimus wrote on 2020-01-08, 21:01:

All in all I would get some kind of Pentium III motherboard with an ISA slot — that's a sweet spot between speed and compatibility. Beware of Slot 1 CPUs — it will be hard to get CPUs faster than 600 MHz in that form-factor.

I kinda understood what I read about Slot 1 CPU's through google - might have to post back here with what I find on eBay for all of your opinion. I was purposely looking for a 1ghz P3 (little bit faster than what I have now), because I want to run these games as high-res and as fast as possible...would a 600mhz or even 500 with the right video card still work to this end? it's WAY easier to find a 500/600mhz than the 800mhz ones I was looking at so that bit of info could help me greatly in my search.


It looks like everybody is mentioning an ISA sound card no matter what. If you have 2x sound cards hooked up (or built-in for Win95/98 + older one in an ISA slot), do you have to use both outputs to your speakers? (sorry if that's a stupid question...been decades since I was into computer gaming).

I'm going to do some research and post some machines I find (after confirming - or trying to confirm - they have that ISA slot and such) if you all wouldn't mind looking them over. Thanks again everyone.

Reply 5 of 90, by auron

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Dochartaigh wrote on 2020-01-09, 00:37:

So ideally I need an ISA sound card for DOS. For Duke3d DOS game – I had that marked as running (when testing I'll usually just start a game then play a little bit of the first level) but I will have to see if the sound cuts out as I don't recall.

For later Win95/98 games, will I be fine with the built-in audio the MB has? If my memory serves my current computer doesn't have a dedicated sound card.

you need to go to the sewer in E1L2, this is where at least SB Live! cards crash. and yes, onboard audio will be fine for win9x, but some games like half-life sound better with hardware EAX support from a Live! card. diablo ii from your list also supports EAX. GM synth = roland SC-55 for example, which is the hardware many games such as duke3d and doom were originally composed for.

It looks like everybody is mentioning an ISA sound card no matter what. If you have 2x sound cards hooked up (or built-in for Win95/98 + older one in an ISA slot), do you have to use both outputs to your speakers? (sorry if that's a stupid question...been decades since I was into computer gaming).

you need to hook up whatever you are using for a given game, either both outputs or line out->line in from one card to another, and sometimes it's even useful to utilize two sound cards for a DOS game. for instance duke3d/blood choke on creative ISA cards when high sample rates are being used in conjunction with GM music, so one card has to be used for sound effects and another for MIDI.

Reply 6 of 90, by Warlord

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His mainboard doesn't have ISA or AGP expansion slots, so he can't use those. Dochartaigh you cannot install a ISA sound card or a AGP card in that computer. If you are dead set on using this mainboard you can try to get a Geforce FX 5500 PCI

You could try to get a Nvidia PCI FX5500 and maybe a A3D PCI card or one of those PCI AOPEN Yamaha Cobra cards don't know exact name and try that set up. Thats the probably most you could stretch this computer out.

I personally wouldn't build it that way. Id find another motherboard that fit my case that was a socket 370 that would fit my CPU and ram that had ISA slot and AGP slot. And rebuild it but It doesn't sound like you know what to do.

Reply 7 of 90, by Dochartaigh

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auron wrote on 2020-01-10, 02:56:

you need to go to the sewer in E1L2, this is where at least SB Live! cards crash. and yes, onboard audio will be fine for win9x, but some games like half-life sound better with hardware EAX support from a Live! card. diablo ii from your list also supports EAX. GM synth = roland SC-55 for example, which is the hardware many games such as duke3d and doom were originally composed for.

Thanks for the info. I'm going to hold off picking out an exact sound card(s) until I find a MB with an ISA slot - then I will go down that rabbit hole 😉


Warlord wrote on 2020-01-10, 05:01:

His mainboard doesn't have ISA or AGP expansion slots, so he can't use those. Dochartaigh you cannot install a ISA sound card or a AGP card in that computer.

After learning all this recently, and how lacking my MB's ports are, I'm definitely not keeping it (wasn't planning on it anyway - wanted something new to tinker with). I will find something with both ISA, PCI, and an AGP port.

My problem is I'm limited to eBay (yes, I've been on Craigslist, FB MK, LetGo, OfferUp, etc. looking for a higher mhz P3 in a non-beat-up mid-tower beige case twice a day for over a year!), and a couple FB groups I'm on (where there's been no offers for what I'm looking for) - and it's hard to find what MB a computer comes with, let alone look-up that MB's specs to see what ports it has (and some have even thrown me for a loop - like this Dell last night I really liked and was thinking of buying - has AGP even, but once I researched some more found out the AGP doesn't work for video cards! grrr). Dell seems to still have a really good online archive of manuals and service manuals, Gateway is pretty bad, as is IBM actually - seems like they use a lot of propriety stuff? (been looking at their Aptiva line since I like the looks), haven't researched too many Dell's quite yet...but I'm still looking.


This is where I'm at now - based on the feedback here and a FB group I posted on. TOTALLY open to your knowledge and feedback, as if you haven't noticed I'm still super new to all this!

I think I'm going to be looking for something like:

  • Pentium 3 of 800mhz or higher - maybe P4 if it's the rare type with good backwards compatibility (not likely to find, or even know if I find something like this...)
  • HAS to have ISA, PCI, and AGP slot
  • beige mid-tower case not jacked-up (like looks of Dell Optiplex, IBM Aptiva, and some Gateway's so far - yes, looks is still important to me for the aesthetics of a retro machine in my gaming room)
  • will look more into a good DOS ISA sound card or ISA "AWE64/SB Audigy combo" like foil_fresh suggested (another suggested a PC-PCI? card would be good as well, if it has the port)
  • GeForce 4XXX might be high-up on the video card list - I was told that has higher VESA compatibility than the 5XXX or 6 series???..... then on the other hand I still have like a half dozen people who STILL tell me I have to use a Voddoo 2 for Glide? and DOS use....but they keep on discounting how I really have to have games like Warcraft III played at high res/frame rates...so Vodoo 2/3 sounds like it's still out -- so I'm still torn on what to get here.
  • haven't even started to look for a 5.25" floppy drive yet - that's on the list to research (are those really like $50 for a used, questionable reliability one???)
  • Found out the Roland speakers I ordered are blown (and the MA-8's are still to big for me so back to the drawing board on what I would like for period-correct cool-looking speakers)

Reply 8 of 90, by dionb

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Dochartaigh wrote on 2020-01-10, 15:35:
auron wrote on 2020-01-10, 02:56:

you need to go to the sewer in E1L2, this is where at least SB Live! cards crash. and yes, onboard audio will be fine for win9x, but some games like half-life sound better with hardware EAX support from a Live! card. diablo ii from your list also supports EAX. GM synth = roland SC-55 for example, which is the hardware many games such as duke3d and doom were originally composed for.

Thanks for the info. I'm going to hold off picking out an exact sound card(s) until I find a MB with an ISA slot - then I will go down that rabbit hole 😉

You don't have to wait. There are two separate soundcard targets here:
1) DOS sound. Needs ISA, or some more-or-less competent solution to get ISA-like functionality. This one you better wait with.
2) Win9x sound with hardware EAX and/or A3D support. No reason not to do this right now, as this is applicable to your current board - you can add a PCI sound card easily.

There are quite a few options. SBLive is one, but not a perfect one. If you see an Aureal Vortex 2-based card, that gives you A3D instead.

[...]

After learning all this recently, and how lacking my MB's ports are, I'm definitely not keeping it (wasn't planning on it anyway - wanted something new to tinker with). I will find something with both ISA, PCI, and an AGP port.

Good start. For DOS ISA is essential. AGP usually isn't but helps when you really want to push performance.

My problem is I'm limited to eBay (yes, I've been on Craigslist, FB MK, LetGo, OfferUp, etc. looking for a higher mhz P3 in a non-beat-up mid-tower beige case twice a day for over a year!), and a couple FB groups I'm on (where there's been no offers for what I'm looking for) - and it's hard to find what MB a computer comes with, let alone look-up that MB's specs to see what ports it has (and some have even thrown me for a loop - like this Dell last night I really liked and was thinking of buying - has AGP even, but once I researched some more found out the AGP doesn't work for video cards! grrr). Dell seems to still have a really good online archive of manuals and service manuals, Gateway is pretty bad, as is IBM actually - seems like they use a lot of propriety stuff? (been looking at their Aptiva line since I like the looks), haven't researched too many Dell's quite yet...but I'm still looking.

As a rule, brand-name systems are less flexible and more complicated to configure/upgrade. By the sound of it you're new to this game. It might make sense to start off with some nice standards-compliant white-box stuff instead.

As for not being able to find anything outside of eBay... that strikes me as odd. Take a look on Amibay, there's an Asus P3V4X going for USD 39 at the moment (shipping from Poland will cost a bit if you're in the US, but total will probably still be far lower than eBay ). It's not *the* ultimate DOS motherboard, but it has ISA and AGP, supports all Slot 1 CPUs (and all So370 too with a suitable slocket), so would probably be exactly what you need. If you had more choice, I'd suggest a board with two or more ISA slots, as once you go down the DOS sound rabbit hole you'll soon find there is no single card that is best for all situations 😉

Show quote
  • Pentium 3 of 800mhz or higher - maybe P4 if it's the rare type with good backwards compatibility (not likely to find, or even know if I find something like this...)
  • HAS to have ISA, PCI, and AGP slot
  • beige mid-tower case not jacked-up (like looks of Dell Optiplex, IBM Aptiva, and some Gateway's so far - yes, looks is still important to me for the aesthetics of a retro machine in my gaming room)
  • will look more into a good DOS ISA sound card or ISA "AWE64/SB Audigy combo" like foil_fresh suggested (another suggested a PC-PCI? card would be good as well, if it has the port)

PC/PCI (aka SBLink) is a good substitute for ISA, but motherboards with it are a lot rarer than boards with ISA - and most of those *also* have ISA slots... Plus there are only a handful of cards with it, albeit some very good ones with the Yamaha YMF74x chipsets.

For general DOS, what you need above all is Soundblaster Pro 2.0 compatibility. Irritatingly, Creative itself didn't make the SB16/32/64 cards fully SBPro2 compatible. Also, Creative's later Soundblasters are notorious for various MIDI bugs. Now, with the very late games you're mentioning here that's not so much of an issue, as they natively support SB16 and AWE stuff, but if you run older games too, or want to play around with external or internal (Wavetable boards) MIDI modules, a 'genunine' Soundblaster is a poor choice.

If you have the ISA slots and you can find the cards, I'd recommend an AWE32/64 combined with an Aztech 2316-based card (Sound Galaxy), as they have real OPL3 synth, bug-free MIDI and full SBPro2 support. If you can only do a single ISA card, you could look for a C-Media CMI8330-based card. They are cheap and unloved, but they offer SBPro2 *and* SB16 support, fairly good MIDI and FM synth. As a single-card solution the only better option would be a Gravis Ultrasound Extreme, but once you see the price of those you'll see why I don't recommend one 😉

[*]GeForce 4XXX might be high-up on the video card list - I was told that has higher VESA compatibility than the 5XXX or 6 series???..... then on the other hand I still have like a half dozen people who STILL tell me I have to use a Voddoo 2 for Glide? and DOS use....but they keep on discounting how I really have to have games like Warcraft III played at high res/frame rates...so Vodoo 2/3 sounds like it's still out -- so I'm still torn on what to get here.

Firstly, a Voodoo2 is an add-on card that works next to your main VGA card, so it's not either-or: you can do both. Secondly, GeForce4 is probably the sweet spot for absolute maximum performance for an old P3 platform while still having good compatibility. In fact a GeForce 2 or 3 will hardly be slower as the CPU will be the bottleneck, and in DOS these cards' power won't be called on anyway. My main Win98 system has a P3-1400S and a GeForce3Ti200 (with a Voodoo2 next to it). My high-end DOS system has a K6-2, a TNT2 and a Voodoo1. You could definitely use a faster CPU for your games, but there's not much point in faster GPUs if you're only doing DOS.

[*]haven't even started to look for a 5.25" floppy drive yet - that's on the list to research (are those really like $50 for a used, questionable reliability one???)

That really depends on your location. I regularly pick up large batches of untested old crap for about that money. Frequently they contain 5.25" drives, which sometimes even work. I wouldn't shell out that much for a bog-standard drive in any event.

Why the need for 5.25"? The games you are talking about are CD-Rom games, and if any floppies are involved, they will be 3.5"

Reply 10 of 90, by Dochartaigh

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dionb wrote on 2020-01-10, 17:40:

As a rule, brand-name systems are less flexible and more complicated to configure/upgrade. By the sound of it you're new to this game. It might make sense to start off with some nice standards-compliant white-box stuff instead.

I'm going for the nostalgia factor as well, so what the case looks like is important to me too. A standard beige case (i.e. I build something myself) isn't going to float my boat when nearly everybody in their homes had a Dell, Gateway, IBM, etc., and those cases, although also mainly plain, still had just a little bit of flair about them which told you they weren't a generic case from a no-name company off NewEgg or where ever. That's the kind of thing I'm looking for.

I'm also worried about being able to find chipset drivers and such - Dell for example seems to have their website still up for their old products (that's the only one I've really researched so far), and I could find the Intel MB in my current PC online even ...so I figure if I go mainstream (whatever I choose), at least the most popular products probably have a better chance at finding anything I'll need than some more obscure products which only enthusiasts who built their own systems from scratch might have used. Could totally be wrong, but that's what I find in numerous other hobbies dealing with older things at least.

dionb wrote on 2020-01-10, 17:40:

As for not being able to find anything outside of eBay... that strikes me as odd. Take a look on Amibay, there's an Asus P3V4X going for USD 39 at the moment (shipping from Poland will cost a bit if you're in the US, but total will probably still be far lower than eBay ). It's not *the* ultimate DOS motherboard, but it has ISA and AGP, supports all Slot 1 CPUs (and all So370 too with a suitable slocket), so would probably be exactly what you need. If you had more choice, I'd suggest a board with two or more ISA slots, as once you go down the DOS sound rabbit hole you'll soon find there is no single card that is best for all situations 😉

I'm not ready to build my own system quite yet –  I also don't know if I'm going to play this for a few weeks then get tired of it or if it'll be a staple of my retro gaming. I'm also located in USA between NYC and Philadelphia. The majority of people around here haven't even used desktops (besides business use) for a good 10+ years. Not a single person I know (and my family is huge) has a desktop....like my cousins 12 year old kids have literally asked me what is that while pointing to my desktop computer 🤣. When nobody uses something it's hard to find on the used market. I can find dual/quad-core used business desktops running Windows 7-10 left and right....I can even find much older systems like 4-30mhz pretty commonly - but a faster Pentium 3 with a non-jacked-up non-yellowed beige case (i.e. what I'm looking for)....forget about it.

dionb wrote on 2020-01-10, 17:40:

Firstly, a Voodoo2 is an add-on card that works next to your main VGA card, so it's not either-or: you can do both. Secondly, GeForce4 is probably the sweet spot for absolute maximum performance for an old P3 platform while still having good compatibility. In fact a GeForce 2 or 3 will hardly be slower as the CPU will be the bottleneck, and in DOS these cards' power won't be called on anyway. My main Win98 system has a P3-1400S and a GeForce3Ti200 (with a Voodoo2 next to it). My high-end DOS system has a K6-2, a TNT2 and a Voodoo1. You could definitely use a faster CPU for your games, but there's not much point in faster GPUs if you're only doing DOS.

I'll mostly be playing Quake (DOS), Diablo II (Win), and Warcraft III (Win) - so Windows performance is important too. but, it's AWESOME that I can run a Voodoo 2 alongside another video card. How does that work? I don't even know how you could load dual video card drivers! You still plug into one VGA port, correct? Would pairing something like a GeForce Ti4800 (AGp) with the Voodoo2 sound like a good combo?

dionb wrote on 2020-01-10, 17:40:

Why the need for 5.25"? The games you are talking about are CD-Rom games, and if any floppies are involved, they will be 3.5"

I still have Eye of the Beholder and maybe another game or two on 5.25"! Plus just want it for nostalgia. Most data will be moved over via Fat16/32? formatted USB stick from my Mac server actually - that's how I got everything onto my current computer (ISO's of my discs and all).


Warlord wrote on 2020-01-10, 17:42:

what does the old case look like?

Just a generic mid tower, yellowed and scratched from age. Definitely don't want to use it.

Reply 12 of 90, by kolderman

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> but, it's AWESOME that I can run a Voodoo 2 alongside another video card. How does that work? I don't even know how you could load dual video card drivers! You still plug into one VGA port, correct? Would pairing something like a GeForce Ti4800 (AGp) with the Voodoo2 sound like a good combo?

The voodoo2 is NOT a video card. It is a 3d card. It works with a video card via passthrough. Hence you are not loading dual video card drivers. You can pair it with any card with vga output.

And bear in mind it is generally not possible to build a PC that spans early DOS to late Win98/XP games without using DosBOX. Many DOS games will run too fast on anything faster than a 386. The only CPUs that can be slowed down are Pentium MMXs, AMD K62/3+s, and Via C3s. I use all three and they work well from early DOS games through to about 1999. After that you really need an early 2000s PC maybe with a Pentium4, a Geforce FX and a Audigy2. From what I have seen, attempts to build single PCs to span from DOS through to early-mid 2000s almost always end in tears. Your just better off with two PCs.

Reply 13 of 90, by The Serpent Rider

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You can pair it with any card with vga output.

Technically you don't need to do it at all.

The only CPUs that can be slowed down are Pentium MMXs, AMD K62/3+s, and Via C3s

Also Athlon, Athlon 64, Pentium 4 and Core 2. Pentium 4/Core 2 Duo can be easily scaled down to Turbo XT/early AT.

Reply 15 of 90, by gdjacobs

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maxtherabbit wrote on 2020-01-11, 03:16:

does the soft multiplier thing work with the non-plus K6-2?

No.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 17 of 90, by Dochartaigh

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maxtherabbit wrote on 2020-01-11, 02:50:

hey, welcome to vogons

let's see that CRT

Hey, I know you from the forums! I barely have pics of it, and none in action really. Been waiting until I have a nice computer to pair it with to take some pics (just wish it was beige TBH...might trade it at some point).

gz54dv4.jpg

yJo7Xex.jpg


kolderman wrote on 2020-01-11, 02:51:

The voodoo2 is NOT a video card. It is a 3d card. It works with a video card via passthrough. Hence you are not loading dual video card drivers. You can pair it with any card with vga output.

That's what I can't wrap my head around. When I hear that a "card" is for "3d" I immediately think video card. Then on FB people left and right are also saying a Voodoo2 is an absolute must have for DOS games, but the majority of DOS games are 2d and not 3d which also confuses me.... then I start reading posts about Glide (Voodoo2, right?) vs OpenGL (assuming this would be the GeForce type card I was looking at?), and people are fighting saying Glide is pretty much not needed because the OpenGL looks better in the majority of games... and again, I'm confused as hell!

kolderman wrote on 2020-01-11, 02:51:

And bear in mind it is generally not possible to build a PC that spans early DOS to late Win98/XP games without using DosBOX. Many DOS games will run too fast on anything faster than a 386.

It might be my saving grace that the earliest DOS games I would actually play are from 1991 (Monkey Island VGA version and Eye of the Beholder). When I was testing games on my 800mhz P3 I'm pretty positive those ones played at the correct speed, and the only one which was way too fast was Barbarian from 1987 (and that was just nostalgic - I won't be playing that game ever really). So as long as I can span 1991 to 2002 I should be good.

Last edited by Stiletto on 2020-01-11, 19:44. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 18 of 90, by Warlord

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well like I sugested earlyer, You already have a socket 370 pentium III, so you can just buy a socket 370 motherboard and use that in it. You could also use the ram you already have, hard drive, cd rom whatever and save a lot of money that way.

Something like this might be a good board, need to ask the seller a few questions and what not, not my listing.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Motherboard-Gi ... SwFNBdxCe0

Reply 19 of 90, by kolderman

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The voodoo2 is not seen by bios as a VGA adapter. Because it isn't one. It is NOT a must for DOS games. People on Facebook are about as knowledgeable as you would expect. The point of OpenGL vs Glide is some early 3D games only supported D3D or Glide, and Glide was superior. Some supported OpenGL only (e.g. famously Quake), so 3dfx created a opengl wrapper around glide called minigl. Later 3dfx boards supported opengl fully. Let me be clear - Glide is very special to those who lived through and gamed in the 90s, bit it is for nostalgia sake it is popular. You can almost always get away with newer 3d cards that supported opengl, like a geforce4 mx. The thing is, in 1998 the voodoo2 was simply the fastest card available for a while, which is why so many games supported glide. It was the standard, opengl was seen as more of a professional API, John Carmack was almost the lone pioneer using opengl for games for a while. But by 1999 nvidia started to pull ahead with the tnt2 and the rest is history. So yes, if you don't care about any of this, just get a geforce 4mx and be done with it. You might find a splattering of Glide-only games, but you can also find games that only support other proprietry APIs like s3d or cgl, but few if any are worth it.

And there are plenty of speed sensitive games after 1991, search these forums there is a list. One other aspect of speed sensitivity is some games will fail to talk midi to a mpu401 if they are too fast, you will hit problems eventually I suspect.

https://www.vogonswiki.com/index.php/Li ... tive_games

Last edited by kolderman on 2020-01-11, 09:45. Edited 1 time in total.