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Windows 98 build advice

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First post, by computerguy08

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I want to build a Windows 98 box to run some late 90's 3D games (Need For Speed, Quake II, etc..), but I can't decide what configuration to go with. I was thinking of the following choices:

Motherboards:
- Albatron KM400A (VIA KM400)
- QDI Kinetiz 7T/ Soltek SL-75KAV (VIA Apollo 133A)
- Asus P4S800-MX (SiS 661FX)
- Asus P2B-S rev 1.03 (440BX) [I have some coppermine CPUs, but only a "dumb" slotket adapter]
- AGP-ALI (Ali M1542) +any K6 II

Video cards:
- GF 2 PRO
- GF FX 5200
- GF MX440
- GF 6600 GT (a bit overkill tbh)
- Radeon 9000
- Radeon X1300
- S3 Savage 4 Pro

The motherboards can be complemented by any CPU (low end to high end) and any IDE hard drive.
The idea is to avoid any strange issues caused by poor drivers.

What combination should I go with ? (if something isn't on the list you can still suggest it, I may have it and forgot to include it)

Reply 4 of 28, by dionb

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kolderman wrote on 2020-04-01, 18:54:

You might want to exclude the Radeons and 6600 for compatibility reasons.

You might want to consider a voodoo3.

You might also want to consider a mobo with ISA slots.

Why the latter? This is a Win98 build, not a DOS build. Windows works fine iwith PCI cards. I would suggest a discrete sound card, something with A3D(2) and/or EAX.

For a proper late 1990s experience, go for the P2B. I'd pair it with the Savage4 for S3TC - which Quake2 supports.

Of course, if you want to run late 1990s stuff at faster speeds, an Athlon board would be better with either the Gf2Pro or the Savage4 after all.

That said, you can't beat i440BX for trouble-free built-in drivers. As for GPU, nVidia is probably most stable, if you can find the right Detonator.

Reply 5 of 28, by kolderman

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Because Win98 is arguably the best DOS gaming platform, but even under Win98 DOS games still work best with an ISA sound card. And if you have the option to build a system that is good for both late-90s Win98 games as well as DOS games, why not?

Reply 6 of 28, by brostenen

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I would go for GF2-Pro or GF4-MX440. The motherboards in question, are something you just have to test out. Use the one that gives the best user experience. (stability vs. speed)

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

My blog: http://to9xct.blogspot.dk

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Jah ich will trynen... Die Leute wie macht scheisse in dem Grünen.

Reply 7 of 28, by brostenen

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kolderman wrote on 2020-04-02, 19:36:

Because Win98 is arguably the best DOS gaming platform, but even under Win98 DOS games still work best with an ISA sound card. And if you have the option to build a system that is good for both late-90s Win98 games as well as DOS games, why not?

If you want Dos, then use MS Dos 6.22. That gives the best experience, because it is pure Dos.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

My blog: http://to9xct.blogspot.dk

001100 010010 011110 100001 101101 110011

Jah ich will trynen... Die Leute wie macht scheisse in dem Grünen.

Reply 8 of 28, by kolderman

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brostenen wrote on 2020-04-02, 19:37:
kolderman wrote on 2020-04-02, 19:36:

Because Win98 is arguably the best DOS gaming platform, but even under Win98 DOS games still work best with an ISA sound card. And if you have the option to build a system that is good for both late-90s Win98 games as well as DOS games, why not?

If you want Dos, then use MS Dos 6.22. That gives the best experience, because it is pure Dos.

It was be nice it was that simple. Driver support for sound cards like AWE32/64 makes Win98 very good for DOS gaming. It also has much better memory management than DOS. Personally I run both pure DOS and Win98 (multiple), but if I was doing a late-90s Win98 build I would always aim to get a ISA sound card in there if possible.

Reply 9 of 28, by CoffeeOne

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brostenen wrote on 2020-04-02, 19:37:
kolderman wrote on 2020-04-02, 19:36:

Because Win98 is arguably the best DOS gaming platform, but even under Win98 DOS games still work best with an ISA sound card. And if you have the option to build a system that is good for both late-90s Win98 games as well as DOS games, why not?

If you want Dos, then use MS Dos 6.22. That gives the best experience, because it is pure Dos.

It's somehow true, but I don't agree.
The DOS 7.1 of Windows 98 has one big advantage: It has FAT32 support. It does not matter when all your disks / partitions are below 2 GB, but when you have for example 8GB disks, the 2GB limit is annoying.
And there is no disadvantage (as far as I know). So it makes sense to install Windows 98, even if you will you later on use pure DOS 7.1 only. You can use either use the start in MS-DOS mode thing, or make a boot menu, where you don't boot into windows.

Reply 10 of 28, by dionb

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CoffeeOne wrote on 2020-04-02, 19:56:
[...] […]
Show full quote

[...]

It's somehow true, but I don't agree.
The DOS 7.1 of Windows 98 has one big advantage: It has FAT32 support. It does not matter when all your disks / partitions are below 2 GB, but when you have for example 8GB disks, the 2GB limit is annoying.
And there is no disadvantage (as far as I know). So it makes sense to install Windows 98, even if you will you later on use pure DOS 7.1 only. You can use either use the start in MS-DOS mode thing, or make a boot menu, where you don't boot into windows.

True - but OP doesn't mention DOS anywhere. If he does I wholeheartedly agree that ISA is very useful to have (and make the P2B an even better choice), but that's not the question here.

Reply 11 of 28, by computerguy08

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I have decided to try out the P2B-S. But I need some advice regarding Coppermine upgrades.

I want to run the 1.10GHz P3 (100FSB) and I've checked this website on the Wayback Machine. I have the HIP6004BCB voltage regulator, which is theoretically capable to go down to 1.3V. Do I need to update the BIOS (mine is original) and if so, can someone give me a link ?

Also, is any slotket adapter compatible in these circumstances ?

Reply 12 of 28, by Boohyaka

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computerguy08 wrote on 2020-04-03, 07:02:

I have decided to try out the P2B-S. But I need some advice regarding Coppermine upgrades.

I want to run the 1.10GHz P3 (100FSB) and I've checked this website on the Wayback Machine. I have the HIP6004BCB voltage regulator, which is theoretically capable to go down to 1.3V. Do I need to update the BIOS (mine is original) and if so, can someone give me a link ?

Also, is any slotket adapter compatible in these circumstances ?

Happy to see the website proved useful 😀
I'll let someone more knowledgeable answer your question.

Reply 13 of 28, by PARKE

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My P2B-S has the same HIP6004BCB and is running an 1100 Celeron on slotket with the [ 1014s003.zip ] BIOS which you can find here:
ftp://ftp.tekwind.co.jp/pub/asustw/mb/slot1/440bx/p2b-s/

The flashtools you can find here:
ftp://ftp.tekwind.co.jp/pub/asustw/mb/flash/

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Reply 14 of 28, by computerguy08

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I flashed the 1014 beta bios, board works fine with Pentium II and Pentium III (Katmai and Coppermine slot 1), but it still refuses to POST any Coppermine with my slot adapter (both 100 and 133FSB S370).

What can I do to solve this ?

Reply 15 of 28, by PARKE

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Not sure, I suspect that your slotket is too 'dumb'. Are the jumpers set correctly ? Setting FSB at 133 is not going to work unless you have a later revision of the board - the revision 1.03 that I have here maxes out at 112Mhz.
Better try to run at 66Mhz to see if it works that way.
The slotket on my board is an Iwill II
https://www.anandtech.com/show/456
which allows voltage settings with increments of 0.05 volt.
If you can adjust voltage on your slotket you could try to overvolt the Coppermines that do not boot.

Reply 16 of 28, by computerguy08

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computerguy08 wrote on 2020-04-02, 14:51:

I have a Gigabyte GA-6R7 slotket adapter witn no jumpers / DIP switches

Well, this might be a problem then. Mine has no jumpers at all. I'm afraid it is one of those Mendocino only slot adapters. That is weird though, because it is made by Gigabyte, no unbranded stuff.

But if I have the newer VRM, it shouldn't need a DIP switch for voltage selection (my chips have 1.75V Vcore anyway, so they will take 1.8V all day with no issues if it were the case).

It has to be something wrong with the adapter I'm using.

Reply 17 of 28, by PARKE

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It runs your Katmai/Coppermine Slot 1 cpu's so it is not a Celeron only slotket. edit [skip this sentence, it's nonsense]

But maybe it does not work too well from the start - the first edition was not 'approved' of by Intel; see attached.

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Furthermore, the ASUS P2B series is known to occasionally suffer from out of spec voltages and overvolting cpu's was not an uncommon fix. See for example:
https://www.eecis.udel.edu/~portnoi/asusreworkguide.html
This is about older versions but there are other reports out there too.

If I were you I would get a 'known to work in many scenarios' slotket, like for example "MSI MS-6905 Master".

Last edited by PARKE on 2020-04-03, 16:41. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 18 of 28, by Munx

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PARKE wrote on 2020-04-03, 16:31:

It runs your Katmai/Coppermine Slot 1 cpu's so it is not a Celeron only slotket.

He mentioned those are slot 1 CPUs and not adapted S370.

My builds!
The FireStarter 2.0 - The wooden K5
The Underdog - The budget K6
The Voodoo powerhouse - The power-hungry K7
The troll PC - The Socket 423 Pentium 4