VOGONS


First post, by computerguy08

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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
    root (hd0,0)
    chainloader +1
  • copy the following files to the drive:
    grldr
    HIMEMX.EXE
    COMMAND.COM and IO.SYS - from a 98SE boot diskette to the drive
    win98 folder - from a 98SE install CD
    HimemX can be found on Sourceforge here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/himemx/

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)

DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\himemx.exe /MAX=262144

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

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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)

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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.

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Then I did a second run at the same resolution, but with only one CPU core, 4GHz locked, no HT.

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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).

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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.

Looking for a motherboard? You can find it in Ultimate Hardware 2019: http://www.win3x.org/uh19/motherboard/search
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Reply 1 of 9, by cyclone3d

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Install the Windows 98SE official updates from the 2004 Micorosft CD available on vogonsdrivers. Also install NUSB.

Use the R.Loew patch for RAM as well as some other stuff that is definitely helpful:
https://archive.org/search.php?query=creator% … olph+R.+Loew%22

I am pretty sure you are not going to get the SB-Live! SB16 emulation to work with that motherboard.

See here:
X58/i865/V880 - Yamaha7x4/AureaV1/2 pure Dos7.1- compatibility list/research/ ultim. drivers configs, WIP- gurus needed

7900GTX is the fastest nVidia card that is known to work in 98SE with the modified drivers.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 2 of 9, by fosterwj03

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I'm impressed you got Win98 to boot on a Haswell platform. My Core i5-4690 on an Asrock H97 Fatal1ty Performance refuses to boot into Win98 (it oddly will boot Win95, though). That's only one data point, though.

Have you tried an Ivy Bridge processor on a B75 board? I've had really good luck using Windows 98 with a Core i5-3570 on a Gigabyte GA-P75-D3. It has 4 native PCI slots as well as a couple of PCI-E x16 slots. It also boosts the CPU up to 3.8 GHz when using a single core.

As for DOS sound compatibility, I'm afraid that you won't get the SB Live! to produce Sound FX in DOS on any Intel chipset after the 800 Series (P4/Core2 compatible). Intel removed the DMA functionality from later chipsets. You can get MIDI sound to play if you use the SERREN.EXE program to activate the proper registers in the CPU.

If you want to try to get DOS sound on a modern platform, I recommend a PCI sound card based on the Yamaha 7x4 chipset. I have a AOpen Cobra AW744-L that works just fine in DOS on my Haswell computer. Yamaha's DOS DMA emulator isn't well documented or supported, so I have absolutely no idea how to adjust it beyond whatever it defaults to. It works on my Asrock board, but it conflicts badly with my Gigabyte Ivy Bridge system. It also has Win9x drivers.

As for memory management, you're right on to use HIMEMX.EXE. It solves a lot of memory issues that HIMEM.SYS can't handle. On the other hand, vanilla Win98 can handle up to 1.5GB of memory (including Video RAM, oddly) once you call HIMEMX.EXE. Rlowe's Win9x memory patch can manage even more. I personally limit vanilla Win98 to 1GB (I add MaxPhysPage=40000 under [386Enh] in the SYSTEM.INI file) to allow some overhead for the video card's memory.

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Reply 3 of 9, by mothergoose729

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I spent a lot of time trying to get my haswell system to install windows 98. I eventually got it to boot, but I couldn't figure out what was causing all of the graphics errors. My PS2 mouse was also spamming phantom inputs.

Reply 4 of 9, by Qjimbo

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Very cool! I kind of wanted to try this out myself but as you mention in your post, pretty much everything non-DOS based can be made to work in XP anyway. Thats why my current retro gaming machine is an XP system. DOSBox fills the void for the DOS stuff and no configuration headaches!

Can also verify getting SB Live emulation to work in DOS on newer motherboards is difficult unfortunately. I tried with FreeDOS with both an Audigy2 and a SB Live! on my XP system that has a Asus P5GC-MX/1333 motherboard, and had no luck.

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Reply 5 of 9, by computerguy08

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fosterwj03 wrote on 2020-11-20, 23:23:

Have you tried an Ivy Bridge processor on a B75 board? I've had really good luck using Windows 98 with a Core i5-3570 on a Gigabyte GA-P75-D3. It has 4 native PCI slots as well as a couple of PCI-E x16 slots. It also boosts the CPU up to 3.8 GHz when using a single core.

Unfortunately, my only Ivy Bridge platforms use H61 chipsets and have no PCI slots at all. I also only have Celerons for them, which are just as weak as a C2D system, so there is no point trying to use them.

mothergoose729 wrote on 2020-11-20, 23:59:

I spent a lot of time trying to get my haswell system to install windows 98. I eventually got it to boot, but I couldn't figure out what was causing all of the graphics errors. My PS2 mouse was also spamming phantom inputs.

Yeah, I experienced the same "mouse flying" experiences, I just ditched it and used the keyboard for interaction. Probably a PS/2 mouse would have solved the issues.

I can understand now why DOS sound will not work (lack of DMA) and probably won't bother with it.

Is there any advantage to having more than 512MB of RAM on a Windows 98 rig ?

Looking for a motherboard? You can find it in Ultimate Hardware 2019: http://www.win3x.org/uh19/motherboard/search
Join our UH19 Discord server here: https://discord.gg/HWWH7hsk2p

Reply 7 of 9, by texterted

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A gig is useful when using glide wrappers as they can soak up the ram, also when dual booting with win 2000. I still find that 512mb is plenty for 98se though.

Cheers

Ted

98se/W2K :- Asus A8v Dlx. A-64 3000+, 1024 mb ddr, Radeon 9800 Pro , SB Live.
XP Pro:- Asus P5 Q SE Plus, C2D E8400, 4 Gig DDR2, Radeon HD4870, SB Audigy 2ZS.
Windows Home Server v1 :- Gigabyte GA-EP43, Pentium E5200, Bunch of SATA HDD's.

Reply 9 of 9, by aha2940

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kolderman wrote on 2020-11-21, 20:45:

256MB is fine for Win98.

It really depends on what the machine will be used for. For some of us, 64MB is enough for Win98 😀