First post, by computerguy08
One evening, I was sitting on Youtube and I saw an interesting video from a guy named MattKC, which made a Windows 98 rig from unusually new parts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D01We2aAu8
He used an Asus P5PE-VM, C2D E6600 and a GeForce 6800, all of which are officially supported by Windows 98.
But I stared at this config and wondered "Can I do even better?". My mind instinctively said yes, so I got to work. My approaches will rely on unofficial drivers and patches.
Getting Win98 to boot from a SATA harddrive
Lots of people on the internet managed to successfully partition and format a SATA drive using the tools from a 98SE boot diskette. However, this did not work for me at all, I tried several drives and settings, none of which worked. I could have gone the IDE way, but the PC I was going to use at first couldn't boot IDE devices and all of my IDE drives were slow and small.
Here is how I got it running:
- make a FAT32 partition smaller than 137GB
- using BOOTICE, make the PBR "MS-DOS", and the MBR "GRUB4DOS"
- make a menu.lst file, which boots the first active partition
title boot 98
- copy the following files to the drive:
HimemX can be found on Sourceforge here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/himemx/
COMMAND.COM and IO.SYS - from a 98SE boot diskette to the drive
win98 folder - from a 98SE install CD
Now the drive should be bootable from any PC.
When the first stage of 98 setup completes, GRUB4DOS gets replaced by Windows MBR code.
After reboot, go in command prompt mode and edit config.sys. You will need to add the following code on line 1: (make sure to copy himemx in the windows folder as well)
I recommend values below 524288 (512MB) for stability.
From this point on, the 98 setup should continue as usual. Don't be surprised though, if it crashes at hardware detection, just restart and pray it doesn't happen again 😜
Attempt #1 - Asus B85-Plus, i5 4460, HIS X1050, 40GB Seagate SATA drive
At first, I decided to take an aggressive approach and jump straight into the UEFI era on my main PC (which proved to be a waste of time, avoidable by research).
Windows 98 installed fine and surprisingly fast (whole process lasted under 10 minutes). But the fun stopped here, because the GPU was not getting recognized. Furthermore, the PCI slots on this board are controlled by an asmedia chip, which 98 has no idea what to do with, which meant no audio cards will work.
Attempt #2 - Gigabyte EX58-UD4, Xeon W3570, Asus EN7800GTX, 160GB WD VelociRaptor 10k (limited to 82GB by BIOS)
After the first fail, I did a little more research and discovered that my secondary rig was the perfect candidate: it had an Award PnP BIOS v6.00pg, the holy grail for Win9x resource management.
I also decided to swap the Seagate drive for something faster. I did not have a spare SSD, so I chose the next best thing, a WD VelociRaptor I had laying around.
The installation time was even shorter this time.
At this point, I found out that my 7800GTX could work in 98SE with an unofficial 82.69 driver, which I found here: https://toogam.com/software/archive/drivers/v … fici/nv8269.php
After a few tries, I got the system working at 1680x1050 in 32-bit color, quite a landscape given the scaling of Win9x desktop elements.
I also decided to throw a SB Live in there, which installed without any issues.
Benchmarks and games
I installed 3dmark99 and did a first run at 1680x1050 32-bit depth, with stock CPU settings.
Then I did a second run at the same resolution, but with only one CPU core, 4GHz locked, no HT.
The CPU score went up by a surprising amount.
As for games, it's a mixed bag for now. Some games had serious frame drops, like GTA San Andreas, and some games,like Need For Speed Underground 2, experienced weird visual glitches but ran fine (dark spots at the top of the screen and mini-map out of its border).
The same games run perfectly fine under XP.
As for DOS games, most of them worked (DOOM2, Duke Nukem 3D, etc.) but lacked sound. I'll need to figure out how to get SB16 emulation mode going on the SB Live. Given the proper diver settings, I think the sound should also work in DOS games.
Overall, there is lots of room for improvements, I used a vanilla copy of 98SE basically, without any extra patches besides himemx (which lets 98 run on systems with more RAM).
If you have any questions or advice, feel free to tell me. Feedback is appreciated.