VOGONS


First post, by phinix

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Hi guys, I'm new here:)

I'm planning to build a PC to play some old DOS and Windows games.
First, I maybe better list some of those to show what kind of spec I may need. These are just few as an example:
Jazz Jackrabbit, Dune 2, all point&click adventure games like Kyrandia etc, Terminal Velocity, Under a Killing Moon, Swift, Doom 1/2, Quake 1/2, Duke, Delta Force, Incredible Machine (why not:)), Dizzy series, Baldurs Gate, Descent 1/2, Giants: Citizen Kabuto, Rainbow Six, Commandos, Warcraft 2 etc.

I would like to use some old babyAT case I have already modded to use ATX, so would like to use mATX socket370 mobo and Pentium 3, around 500-700MHz, not too fast as I don't think I would need any faster.
My thinking was that I will install Windows 98se on it and use it in general.
If I gonna need to play very old DOS games, I would use DOSbox (I know, its not very retro, but this solves a problem of really building two PCs - one with P3, one with 486 for example).

I have few questions, hoping you guys could help me here - its been a while since I built this kinda old PC, so cannot remember how I did it in 80-90s:)

  1. Can I install DOS 6.22 frst, then WIndows 98se as a second OS? I know I did that in the past, but cannot remember if it was 486 and W95 (it would boot to DOS, then I could go to Windows)
  2. If I wanted to have that DOS (as above), would I really need to have ISA sound card for pure DOS games? PCI card wouldn't work at all?
  3. Can I use modern sff PSU for socket370 mobo? I guess all modern PSUs have 20+4 pin plug, so it should work, right?
  4. Sorry, I cannot remember how this worked - how do I plug in 5.25 floppy to socket370 mobo? Do I use that one floppy IDE port, then use tape to plug in 5.25 and 3.5 on one tape? Or would 5.25 need separate controller, like in AT, so it would not be possible to use on ATX mobo? Reason for 5.25 is purely nostalgic, I just want to have it in and be able to slap a floppy disc in it and read something from it 😀
  5. I guess for all those games I loved when was a kid - like Jazz Jackrabbit - having Pentium 3 machine, Iw ould need to use DOSbox, as in pure DOS it wouldn't work, right?
  6. for some more power hungry windows games, I would like to use Voodoo3 - does it matter if I use PCI or AGP? Most of mATX s370 mobos I found do not have AGP, just PCI and that weird AMR short port. Could I just use PCI voodoo card? Would Or would I need to have AGP?

If I have any other questions, we can continue in the thread.
Apologies if any of those questions are silly - I was pretty good with this in 80-90s, but totally forgot how that stuff worked, so need help 😀

EDIT: got socket7 Pentium MMX 233, now trying to pick sound card...

Last edited by phinix on 2020-04-21, 08:22. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 1 of 32, by dionb

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phinix wrote on 2020-04-18, 00:13:

[...]
[*] Can I install DOS 6.22 frst, then WIndows 98se as a second OS? I know I did that in the past, but cannot remember if it was 486 and W95 (it would boot to DOS, then I could go to Windows)

Not quite. You could boot to either, but Win98SE isn't Win3.1. IMHO you're best off using different partitions per OS and choosing via bot sequence.

[*] If I wanted to have that DOS (as above), would I really need to have ISA sound card for pure DOS games? PCI card wouldn't work at all?

It's complicated.

Or rather: it's simple with ISA, PCI might work, depends on exact motherboard chipset and exact PCI chipset. In almost all cases (not involving SBlink/PC-PCI) you'll need TSR drivers with PCI, costing precious DOS memory

[*] Can I use modern sff PSU for socket370 mobo? I guess all modern PSUs have 20+4 pin plug, so it should work, right?

Also somewhat complicated. Yes, it can work, but efficiency will be low. Modern PSUs expect max draw on 12V line, pre-P4 ATX systems drew max power on 5V line.

[*] Sorry, I cannot remember how this worked - how do I plug in 5.25 floppy to socket370 mobo? Do I use that one floppy IDE port, then use tape to plug in 5.25 and 3.5 on one tape? Or would 5.25 need separate controller, like in AT, so it would not be possible to use on ATX mobo? Reason for 5.25 is purely nostalgic, I just want to have it in and be able to slap a floppy disc in it and read something from it 😀

5.25" and 3.5" both work. Connectors are different, but they are electrically identical. A: is after the twist on the cable, B: before the twist. All you need is a cable with the right connector in the right place.

[*] I guess for all those games I loved when was a kid - like Jazz Jackrabbit - having Pentium 3 machine, Iw ould need to use DOSbox, as in pure DOS it wouldn't work, right?

DOSBox isn't a good idea. A P3-600 is too slow to run DOSBox. You're better off slowing the system down and running native DOS.

[*] for some more power hungry windows games, I would like to use Voodoo3 - does it matter if I use PCI or AGP? Most of mATX s370 mobos I found do not have AGP, just PCI and that weird AMR short port. Could I just use PCI voodoo card? Would Or would I need to have AGP?[/list]
Not sure which uATX So370 motherboards you're looking at, but there are enough AGP boards out there. WIth Voodoo3 the delta between AGP and PCI is limited, but the boards without AGP tend to have irritating integrated or onboard VGA (onboard far, far better than integrated). If you don't have a board yet, get one with AGP slot.

Reply 2 of 32, by digistorm

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As just a side note: in my experience most 486 era games (like Jazz Jackrabbit) will run just fine on a 600 MHz system in pure DOS, if you go further back in time you could clock your cpu down or use slowdown utilities, like setmul.

Reply 3 of 32, by derSammler

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phinix wrote on 2020-04-18, 00:13:
  1. Can I install DOS 6.22 frst, then WIndows 98se as a second OS? I know I did that in the past, but cannot remember if it was 486 and W95 (it would boot to DOS, then I could go to Windows)

Yes, you can, but there is no neet to. If you install DOS 6.22 first and then Win98, it will allow booting DOS 6.22 by pressing F8 and selecting "Previous version of MS-DOS". But you can not start Win98 from DOS 6.22 (you would need to reset and boot normally), you can not access FAT32 volumes, and Win98 comes with DOS 7 anyway.

http://retro-net.de/blog.html

Reply 4 of 32, by dr_st

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phinix wrote on 2020-04-18, 00:13:

[*] Can I install DOS 6.22 frst, then WIndows 98se as a second OS? I know I did that in the past, but cannot remember if it was 486 and W95 (it would boot to DOS, then I could go to Windows)

Just install Windows 98 SE. It has its own DOS and that DOS is better than DOS 6.22 in almost every way. DOS 6.22 is unnecessary on such a system.

phinix wrote on 2020-04-18, 00:13:

[*] If I wanted to have that DOS (as above), would I really need to have ISA sound card for pure DOS games? PCI card wouldn't work at all?

For pure DOS mode, very few PCI cards work reliably. From DOS games running inside a Win9x DOS prompt, PCI cards work much better. Even many ISA cards work better (for example, General MIDI emulation on Creative AWE32/64 works much better under Win9x than under pure DOS).

phinix wrote on 2020-04-18, 00:13:

[*] Sorry, I cannot remember how this worked - how do I plug in 5.25 floppy to socket370 mobo? Do I use that one floppy IDE port, then use tape to plug in 5.25 and 3.5 on one tape? Or would 5.25 need separate controller, like in AT, so it would not be possible to use on ATX mobo? Reason for 5.25 is purely nostalgic, I just want to have it in and be able to slap a floppy disc in it and read something from it 😀

Unless you have a unique and important collection of software on 5.25" floppies, forget about this idea. It serves no purpose and is just a waste of your time and resources.

phinix wrote on 2020-04-18, 00:13:

[*] I guess for all those games I loved when was a kid - like Jazz Jackrabbit - having Pentium 3 machine, Iw ould need to use DOSbox, as in pure DOS it wouldn't work, right?

Why? Jazz Jackrabbit is a pretty late DOS game. It should work fine, after applying the TPPatch (otherwise the PC is too fast). DOSBox won't work well on this computer except for the oldest games - A Pentium III is just too slow for emulation.

phinix wrote on 2020-04-18, 00:13:

[*] for some more power hungry windows games, I would like to use Voodoo3 - does it matter if I use PCI or AGP? Most of mATX s370 mobos I found do not have AGP, just PCI and that weird AMR short port. Could I just use PCI voodoo card? Would Or would I need to have AGP?

Fortunately, Voodoo 3 AGP is basically just a PCI card with an AGP connector. It uses no AGP features. That's what makes it so compatible even for chipsets with poor AGP implementation (such as Via MVP3).

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Reply 5 of 32, by phinix

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Guys, thank you so much for all your input.

So, from what you guys said, it looks like Pentium3 and DOSBox is out, too weak.
That means I need a setup to cover it all from pure DOS, or W98 DOS mode.

ALso, looks like I need ISA and sound card with that slot. I remember I had GUS classic in 1993, which was that huge red ISA card.
Quick question - why the hell GUS is expensive nowadays???

5.25 floppy - this is just purely sentimental - I already have some TEazc floppy drive, so wanted to throw it in:)

You said that system below 600MHz would be fine for pure DOS games, for example like Jazz JAckrabbit - does it mean that I could for example get a nice baby AT mobo with Pentium3 533MHz, ISA sound card and all would be perfect?

Reply 6 of 32, by jesolo

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You could just create a boot menu configuration under Windows 98, allowing you to boot straight into MS-DOS 7.1 (which comes with Windows 98SE) -How to create a boot (start up) menu under Windows 9x/ME
As already stated, if you intend on playing DOS games, stick with an ISA sound card solution.

Reply 7 of 32, by chinny22

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Keeping to your original spec as it's not terrible.

As you've already found Socket 370 is when isa started disappearing so you may be stuck with PCI anyway.
Good news is a Socket 370 should be quick enough to play dos games from within windows, PCI sound card compatibility improves with this method but still isn't 100%

5.25 will also depend on the motherboard. Normally it should be as simple as plugging it into the same cable as the 3.5 drive but it wasn't uncommon for motherboards to drop support for duel floppies and/or 5.25 drives. I'd also simply not worry abut this. Nothing stopping you having the drive in the PC not hooked up though 😉

Lack of AGP will hurt windows games, dos wont care. None of the games on your list are overly demanding though so you may get away with a PCI card. GF FX is a common card for PCI only systems.

Dosbox for those few games that just don't work is fine, but may as well use your modern PC. Any retro PC is going to struggle.

Personally though I think 370 is a bit to "new" for what your after. DOS does love ISA sound card serarcing for mATX and ISA will limit your options pretty quickly as it is
The most demanding dos games will work happy even on a 400Mhz. The faster CPU's are more for Windows games.
Here is a list of games that have speed issues
https://www.vogonswiki.com/index.php/List_of_ … sensitive_games

Reply 8 of 32, by phinix

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chinny22 wrote on 2020-04-20, 11:04:
Keeping to your original spec as it's not terrible. […]
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Keeping to your original spec as it's not terrible.

As you've already found Socket 370 is when isa started disappearing so you may be stuck with PCI anyway.
Good news is a Socket 370 should be quick enough to play dos games from within windows, PCI sound card compatibility improves with this method but still isn't 100%

5.25 will also depend on the motherboard. Normally it should be as simple as plugging it into the same cable as the 3.5 drive but it wasn't uncommon for motherboards to drop support for duel floppies and/or 5.25 drives. I'd also simply not worry abut this. Nothing stopping you having the drive in the PC not hooked up though 😉

Lack of AGP will hurt windows games, dos wont care. None of the games on your list are overly demanding though so you may get away with a PCI card. GF FX is a common card for PCI only systems.

Dosbox for those few games that just don't work is fine, but may as well use your modern PC. Any retro PC is going to struggle.

Personally though I think 370 is a bit to "new" for what your after. DOS does love ISA sound card serarcing for mATX and ISA will limit your options pretty quickly as it is
The most demanding dos games will work happy even on a 400Mhz. The faster CPU's are more for Windows games.
Here is a list of games that have speed issues
https://www.vogonswiki.com/index.php/List_of_ … sensitive_games

Cool, so now when DosBOX is out for Pentium 3 setup - could I simply disable cache on Pentium3 or slow it down somehow to be make it work for pure DOS games, like Jazz JAckrabbit? (speed sensitive games)
Then P3 would be fine for other - windows games.

Sounds like nwo I just need to find ideally AT socket370 motherboard, or slot1 if I have to, for Pentium3.
If that wouldn't be possible, I could go down to maybe AT slot1 Pentium II - would that be enough for Windows 98 games? But then would I have AGP...

I saw some AT mobos with AGP - socket370 or slot1, but if I could find one nowadays, is another question...

Reply 9 of 32, by chinny22

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Jazz is easily patched to run on faster PC's (it's in the link) so wouldn't worry abut that 1 game but.

From P2 onwards Intel side of things are pretty bad at slowing down due to the locked multiplier AMD and especially Super Socket 7 motherboards is what you want to look at if you want to go down that path.

Availability and price will decide just as much as what you "need" Same reason I don't own a GUS not many around, no modern alternatives (yet) means demand is high and I can't justify the price for the few games it really shines.

Reply 10 of 32, by phinix

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chinny22 wrote on 2020-04-20, 13:07:

Jazz is easily patched to run on faster PC's (it's in the link) so wouldn't worry abut that 1 game but.

From P2 onwards Intel side of things are pretty bad at slowing down due to the locked multiplier AMD and especially Super Socket 7 motherboards is what you want to look at if you want to go down that path.

Availability and price will decide just as much as what you "need" Same reason I don't own a GUS not many around, no modern alternatives (yet) means demand is high and I can't justify the price for the few games it really shines.

Went a bit different route then - Pentium MMX 233MHz.

Now, looking like there is a bit of a pickle with sound cards under DOS.
Which should I go with?
GUS is pretty expensive, what are other options? I would rather to have a great sound, not cheap crap that sounds rubbish.

Reply 11 of 32, by dr_st

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That's a whole pandora box. Short answer - there is not a single soundcard that gives you the best sound in all DOS games. Some sound better in certain games, others in other. Compromises have to be made.

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Reply 12 of 32, by phinix

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dr_st wrote on 2020-04-21, 04:30:

That's a whole pandora box. Short answer - there is not a single soundcard that gives you the best sound in all DOS games. Some sound better in certain games, others in other. Compromises have to be made.

I tried to find out all about it but got a headache...

So shortly, best ones are those with OPL3 chip, right?
I'm guessing GUS is one of the best ones, then some Aztech, SB pro and other ones with that chip.

Then some SB cards use their own clone of OPL3 chip, called CQM? Is that sb chip or software emulation?
Then all those FM, Midi, wavetables, patches etc I do not understand...

All I understand right now, is to pick ISA card - if I can afford it, take one with OPL3 chip, but what if I dont have that money?
Should I maybe get ISA for dos and some PCI for WIndows (like Audigy 2 ZS)?
I watched this video and all sound for me pretty similar, I could buy Vibra CT4180 as its not that expensive, but would it be good for all DOS games, or Windows98 games?

Reply 13 of 32, by Joseph_Joestar

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phinix wrote on 2020-04-21, 08:11:

I'm guessing GUS is one of the best ones, then some Aztech, SB pro and other ones with that chip.

There's no single card which covers all bases, it really depends what the composers were using when creating the music.

Jazz Jackrabbit and most other Epic games from that era sound best on a GUS. Doom, Heretic and Duke3D sound best on a Roland SC-55. Monkey Island sounds best on a Roland MT-32. Tyrian sounds best on cards with a genuine OPL2/3 chip etc.

Should I maybe get ISA for dos and some PCI for WIndows (like Audigy 2 ZS)?

That's a good combo, especially if you are into using sound fonts.

I currently run an Avance Logic ALS100 together with an Audigy2 ZS under Win98SE. This gives me SBPro and SB16 compatibility, OPL3 for FM synthesis and General MIDI support from the Audigy. With a nice SC-55 soundfont, this setup can sound pretty nice, and doesn't cost much. Setting up the Audigy2 ZS drivers takes a lot of work though.

Your next line is...

Reply 14 of 32, by chinny22

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Check out this video, CQM gets a bad rap but isn't the end of the world.
https://youtu.be/kQxOjAXwuzw

If CQM is ok then you can get any creative card you wish/afford.
Non creative cards are fine for the SoundBlaster side of things but you'll need to check how they hold up on the OPL/MIDI side

In REALLY basic terms sound can be divided into 3 categories if we go by game setup options
Adlib
This is the Yamaha OPL chip

Sound Blaster/ AKA FM
This is digital sound like in Doom. Most of your games are late 90's so either SB Pro or SB16 is fine.

Midi
This is music in games that have a separate option for music device.
This is where your wavetable/Roland devices come in, or if you don't have one the Adlib chip.

The GUS is odd one out as works differently then just about every other soundcard, so it is the best card for game that had that specific card in mind (Like Jazz) but not that great for other games such as Doom

the Audigy 2 ZS is awesome card for Windows

Reply 15 of 32, by Joseph_Joestar

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chinny22 wrote on 2020-04-21, 10:33:

Sound Blaster/ AKA FM
This is digital sound like in Doom. Most of your games are late 90's so either SB Pro or SB16 is fine.

You probably meant PCM here.

FM synthesis is frequency modulation aka OPL3 etc.

Your next line is...

Reply 16 of 32, by pan069

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phinix wrote on 2020-04-18, 00:13:

EDIT: got socket7 Pentium MMX 233, now trying to pick sound card...

On a system like that, for DOS games probably stick with a Sound Blaster, either an SB16 or an AWE32. If you can get your hands on a Gravis Ultrasound then a SB16 and a GUS in the same system makes a nice combo since you've pretty much covered all your bases.

In regards to double boot, rather than partitioning a hard drive, what's worked well for me is to use swapable Compact Flash cards. You can have a CF card with just DOS for DOS games and swap it with a CF card with Win98 installed. You can buy these IDE/CF adapters that allow you to choose to install in a floppy driver space or install it through a bracket in one of the rear slots.

https://www.techbuy.com.au/p/128817/I_OCARDS_ … cs/ADIDECFB.asp

I use one of these adapters to easily copy files to and from my CF cards on my main machine:

https://www.photechcomputers.com.au/photech-p … sd-hc-sdxc.html

Reply 19 of 32, by phinix

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-04-21, 13:55:
phinix wrote on 2020-04-21, 12:01:

Would card like Yamaha YMF719E-S be ok?

See here: Yamaha soundcard - Good or bad?

TL:DR, it's a good card.

Ach, thanks, so worth getting this one for DOS then:)