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A "broad spectrum" 90s build?

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Reply 80 of 99, by 2mg

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chinny22 wrote on 2021-07-20, 09:41:

This era and RAM still makes my brain hurt trying to work it all out to this day as well!

This is why I'm here on this forum, so you do all the heavy work, and I just plop stuff in 😉
Which I appreciate so much so far!

GigAHerZ wrote on 2021-07-20, 09:47:
For "no fuzz dos+win98 machine", i have been getting components for some kind of machine like that: […]
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For "no fuzz dos+win98 machine", i have been getting components for some kind of machine like that:

Socket 370 Pentium 3
mATX board with integrated ESS Solo-1 sound (saves a slot), AGP slot and at least one ISA slot
Some kind of GeForce 2 based video

Not maybe the most authentic, yet i can still experiment with all kinds of dos and windows setups and do it fast. Fallback is a Slot-1 based machine with Pentium 2, with all other requirements the same.

I have yet to put this machine together, so maybe i'm missing something here that will come out later with experience. But for now, i think that would be a nice machine. 😀

I've literary obtained a S.370 PIII 500 platform, but pretty much everything can be "upgraded". And then "downgraded" if needed.
Currently, it's okay as it is for anything pre-2001 - I'm even limiting stuff to max 1999 release if possible, for max "authenticity", tho I will get stuff from USB floppy emulators to GeForce2 GTS just for the sake of having those options.

Reply 81 of 99, by svfn

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Socket 370 is a great choice, still flexible enough if it has an ISA slot, a lot of the platforms overlap so if you keep hunting, eventually you'd have 3-4 builds for different periods like most here do haha.

Socket3's advice is valuable, I would have avoided 440BX platform (if I wasn't set on buliding a Pentium II PC for POD) since the prices for these boards are not cheap on ebay and they are harder to find in good condition, easier if you are able to solder. It seems like a Socket 7 build for DOS games, ISA sound cards and setmul for some earlier ones + a fast Pentium 3 on Socket 370 is all I really need, the latter for fast Glide experience and late 90s games. I set out to hunt for a PII on slot 1 but ended up with a SS7 + K6-2, then S370 + P3 and finally some yet to be put together P2/440BX parts.

2mg wrote on 2021-07-20, 17:08:

I've literary obtained a S.370 PIII 500 platform, but pretty much everything can be "upgraded". And then "downgraded" if needed.
Currently, it's okay as it is for anything pre-2001 - I'm even limiting stuff to max 1999 release if possible, for max "authenticity", tho I will get stuff from USB floppy emulators to GeForce2 GTS just for the sake of having those options.

Socket3 wrote on 2021-07-14, 10:31:

Yes it would - but don't get a P3, get a VIA Cyrix C3 CPU - it's supported by setmul, and you can get one for 20-35$ off ebay. Also I recommend you stay away from the 440BX slot 1 platform even tough lots of users are recommending it. To get a slot 1 motherboard to run faster CPUs (socket 370 p3) they use Slotkets (adaptor from slot 1 to socket 370) witch are a pain in the but - most are passive, requiring a CPU the 440BX can run (like a mendocinno celeron), while others have a voltage regulator allowing you to run the fastest pentiu 3 cpus. The difference is voltage and pin re-routing on the socket itself. A typical 440bx board supplies 2v for a pentium 2 chip. Some can do as low as 1.7. A Coppermine p3 needs 1.65-1.75v, at 2v it will cook. Also the 440bx does not support FSB133, witch means you'll have to look for 100MHz fsb p3 chips, limiting your choice. A slot 1 1000MHz p3 with 100MHz fsb is rare and VERY expensive. Active slotkets are also rare and expensive. In my opinion the 440bx platform is not worth the hassle, especially for someone just getting into the hobby. You can get a Via Apollo 133 / Intel 815 board for a lot less money then a 440bx + active slotket, and the socket 370 board will just work - no messing around and no modding required. Also note that Tualatin chips are only officially supported by the intel 815t and Via apollo 133t (693T) chipsets. You can run them in other socket 370 and even slot 1 boards, but that means active slotket or pin modding (the tualins require 1.45-1.5v).

SS7: K6-2/350 | FIC PA-2013 2.1 | 32MB PC-100 | 3dfx V3 2000 AGP | AWE64 CT4520 | Win98SE
On MobyGames

Reply 83 of 99, by Socket3

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An important note about the VIA Apollo chipsets :

As some users pointed out, some VIA chipsets can be a pain the butt when it comes to their AGP implementations - namely early slot 1 / socket 370 Apollo and Apollo PRO chipsets (VT82C691 and VT82C692). Specifically, they will not run properly in AGP 2x mode with some nvidia cards.

For example I have a system build around an AT form factor VT82C691 chipset board and a Geforce 2 GTS that will freeze after showing the desktop in windows if set to AGP 2x from bios. It works perfectly fine in 2x mode with a radeon 7000 or a 3dfx voodoo 3, but not with any nvidia card newer then a TNT2 m64. This is partly due to an incompatibility between some versions of nvidia forceware drivers and via 4in1 chipset drivers. There are combinations of drivers that allow for AGP2X operation on this chipset, but I can't remember off the top of my head.

The point is the VT82C691 and VT82C692 are not really worth the hassle when you can get an Apollo PRO 133 (VT82C693 and VT82C693A) witch also has ISA and has proper AGP2x/4x support. Other newer VIA chipsets are not affected - like the aforementioned VT82C693, or the KT133/266/333/400 and up.

Another chipset that you may encounter issues with is the VIA MVP3. This is not a fault of the chipset itself, but poor motherboard design. Some MVP3 (VT82C598AT) motherboards (FIC-PA2013 for example) have really buggy AGP implementations (don't remember why, I think it's due to the board being unable to supply enough power to the AGP slot, but don't quote me on that) while others function perfectly with any AGP card (Aopen AX59 PRO, Lucky Star P5MVP3 for example.)

Reply 84 of 99, by 2mg

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It is a S370 Via Apollo 133 (non-A), 3 ISA, 4PCI, 1AGP, ATX, I'm gathering parts now, current issues are a broken CPU fan, S3 3D/X2 that will get replaced, and that 256MB RAM works only in 128MB since it is one-sided (something about high/low density).

BIOS has L1 and L2 cache ON/OFF options, plus it's a 500Mhz PIII that will be set aside if I need it for "slowdown", but a 733Mhz will supplant it.

Reply 85 of 99, by BitWrangler

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I am a bit lost in following what you were originally running with what, but a later Apollo chipset may see all of the 256MB.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 86 of 99, by gdjacobs

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AlexZ wrote on 2021-07-18, 12:18:
2mg wrote on 2021-07-18, 08:52:

All right, I'mma list a bunch of cheap-ish stuff I found:

...

Pretty please pick ~3 of them. I'd prefer ones that do DOS as good as the do W9x, but DOS is primary here, as I can (should I?) get some 5.1 Live! for W9x exclusively. Plus I already have that AV511 CM8738, which as I noticed by Vogons is bad?

I would recommend to pick YMF719E-S, one of ESS cards and one of Aztech cards if you want more than one.

I agree with this. If you can find a SB16 with real OPL3 (in a Yamaha YMF289, YMF262, or CT1747 bus chip) for cheap, get one of those too.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 87 of 99, by 2mg

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BitWrangler wrote on 2021-07-21, 14:12:

I am a bit lost in following what you were originally running with what, but a later Apollo chipset may see all of the 256MB.

P3 Coppermine, VIA 133 non-a Apollo. Current issue is that a single-sided 256mb stick is seen as 128mb, will purchase dual-sided and see.

Reply 88 of 99, by teclillass

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Hi guys,
I like this idea of trying to play the titles from 1990 to 2000.

My PC favorite is this:

Asus P2B v.1.10
Pentium 3 1ghz 100fsb socket 370
512mb ram (256mb + 256mb)
geforce 3 ti200
audigy + awe 64 gold
pci ata133 + hd 127gb ide

I originally wanted to be on the correct date of 1999 but the geforce 3 far outperforms the voodoo 3000.
The 1ghz pentium is perfect for anything.
So, in order not to punish myself a lot, I usually add + -2 years to the initial date.

My games range in dates from deus ex (2000) to 1994/1995.
Going down to 1990 is quite a challenge 🤣

What pc have you formed as a starting point?

If I can help with something, test a game, try something, say so.

Reply 89 of 99, by 2mg

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So, resurrecting this post, because GPUs...

Settting aside some GF2s and GF4s, I want this to be a monster 1999 build. That leaves me with Voodoo2 or v3, TNT2/Pro/Ultra, and GF256 SDR/DDR.

Now, since this PC should be able to run stuff in DOS,W3.1,W95,W98 some issues arise:
- GF256 DDR is the fastest, but no support for W3.1, and how is DOS support?
- Is TNT2/Pro/Ultra even close to GF256 SDR, let alone DDR?
- Which Voodoo, v2 or v3, and if v3, is it okay for it to be PCI, since 256 or TNT2 will take the AGP slot?
- What were the AGP power issues that I need to know?
- Do I put in a 3rd S3 GPU for "just in case MSDOS" scenarios?

TLDR, can I pull a GF256 DDR + Voodoo2/3 PCI system, and run stuff from all 90s Windows versions (and MSDOS)?

Reply 90 of 99, by chinny22

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2mg wrote on 2022-05-03, 20:33:
So, resurrecting this post, because GPUs... […]
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So, resurrecting this post, because GPUs...

Settting aside some GF2s and GF4s, I want this to be a monster 1999 build. That leaves me with Voodoo2 or v3, TNT2/Pro/Ultra, and GF256 SDR/DDR.

Now, since this PC should be able to run stuff in DOS,W3.1,W95,W98 some issues arise:
- GF256 DDR is the fastest, but no support for W3.1, and how is DOS support?
- Is TNT2/Pro/Ultra even close to GF256 SDR, let alone DDR?
- Which Voodoo, v2 or v3, and if v3, is it okay for it to be PCI, since 256 or TNT2 will take the AGP slot?
- What were the AGP power issues that I need to know?
- Do I put in a 3rd S3 GPU for "just in case MSDOS" scenarios?

TLDR, can I pull a GF256 DDR + Voodoo2/3 PCI system, and run stuff from all 90s Windows versions (and MSDOS)?

GF FX and below all have great backward compatabilitly including dos support. Go for the best performing card you can as older cards dont offer any real benifit.

If your pairing a Voodoo with a nvida card then the V2 is the more elegant option been an addon card so all video signals come out of your AGP card.
Voodoo 2 has slighty better dos compatabililty as well.
BUT the V3 has slightly better image qualility and a bit faster.

Voodoo 3 doesnt really make use of AGP, PCI is fine. I have a simialr setup with a GF4 Ti4600 hooked up to 1 screen and the V3 hooked up to a 2nd screen, yep 2 screen Win98 setup! Works really well with glide games automaticly playing on the V3 and everything else on the GF4. Only Powerslide doesn't like this out of my games so I disable the GF4 in device manager for that game.

I've lost track with which CPU your using? IF the CPU isnt powerful enough to feed a later GF card that may be a reasion to step down a little, likewise depeinding what AGP slot the motherboard has may affect which card, but I suspect this will be fine.

Oh and dont worry about Win3x support, you can just use the gerneric SVGA driver that comes with windows

This is a awesome resource on dos compatability
https://gona.mactar.hu/DOS_TESTS/

Reply 92 of 99, by Gmlb256

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2mg wrote on 2022-05-03, 20:33:
So, resurrecting this post, because GPUs... […]
Show full quote

So, resurrecting this post, because GPUs...

Settting aside some GF2s and GF4s, I want this to be a monster 1999 build. That leaves me with Voodoo2 or v3, TNT2/Pro/Ultra, and GF256 SDR/DDR.

Now, since this PC should be able to run stuff in DOS,W3.1,W95,W98 some issues arise:
- GF256 DDR is the fastest, but no support for W3.1, and how is DOS support?
- Is TNT2/Pro/Ultra even close to GF256 SDR, let alone DDR?
- Which Voodoo, v2 or v3, and if v3, is it okay for it to be PCI, since 256 or TNT2 will take the AGP slot?
- What were the AGP power issues that I need to know?
- Do I put in a 3rd S3 GPU for "just in case MSDOS" scenarios?

TLDR, can I pull a GF256 DDR + Voodoo2/3 PCI system, and run stuff from all 90s Windows versions (and MSDOS)?

For a late 1999 build, I would go for the GeForce 256 (or a later one up to GeForce4) + Voodoo2 for best compatibility. The S3 video card can be used for covering corner cases like 15bpp color mode in DOS games.

If going for the Voodoo3, make sure that it is a PCI card so you could switch between PCI/AGP as the primary video card in the motherboard BIOS settings. Alternatively both Voodoo2 and Voodoo3 can be used at the same time provided that you installed first the Voodoo2 drivers.

Pet peeve of mine: The GPU term cannot be used to indicate every video card, only the ones supporting hardware T&L and/or shaders can be called that way. 😜

chinny22 wrote on 2022-05-03, 21:32:

Oh and dont worry about Win3x support, you can just use the gerneric SVGA driver that comes with windows

The generic SVGA driver is much slower, lacking any GUI acceleration. This is noticeable with higher resoltuions and color modes.

Regardless, one would stick with 256 color mode on Windows 3.x and won't be really missing much as consumer software is concerned though.

Reply 93 of 99, by 2mg

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chinny22 wrote on 2022-05-03, 21:32:
GF FX and below all have great backward compatabilitly including dos support. Go for the best performing card you can as older c […]
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GF FX and below all have great backward compatabilitly including dos support. Go for the best performing card you can as older cards dont offer any real benifit.

If your pairing a Voodoo with a nvida card then the V2 is the more elegant option been an addon card so all video signals come out of your AGP card.
Voodoo 2 has slighty better dos compatabililty as well.
BUT the V3 has slightly better image qualility and a bit faster.

Voodoo 3 doesnt really make use of AGP, PCI is fine. I have a simialr setup with a GF4 Ti4600 hooked up to 1 screen and the V3 hooked up to a 2nd screen, yep 2 screen Win98 setup! Works really well with glide games automaticly playing on the V3 and everything else on the GF4. Only Powerslide doesn't like this out of my games so I disable the GF4 in device manager for that game.

I've lost track with which CPU your using? IF the CPU isnt powerful enough to feed a later GF card that may be a reasion to step down a little, likewise depeinding what AGP slot the motherboard has may affect which card, but I suspect this will be fine.

Oh and dont worry about Win3x support, you can just use the gerneric SVGA driver that comes with windows

This is a awesome resource on dos compatability
https://gona.mactar.hu/DOS_TESTS/

For the life of me I can't open that DOS_TESTS page. Never could actually 😁 I'm not behind some kind of firewall or something too.

My CPU currently inside is a P3 500mhz, but I have a 600 and a 733 ready (733 is the fastest consumer grade CPU from 1999 that I could find) socket 370 with a VIA 133 Apollo chipset.
I've a limit - this PC must not contain parts post-1999, it's the "ultimate 90s machine", so even tho I have some GF2s and GF4s, I'd prefer TNT2/Voodoo/GF256 setup, but I see varying levels of compatibility. Especially with DOS and W3.1. Like AGP voltages being an issue, DOS scrolling not playing nice with GF256 or TNT2, using 3 GPUs (Voodoo2/3 PCI+NVIDIA AGP+S3) and so on.

Is V3 really that less compatible with older 3Dfx titles? No community patches, disabling TMUs, and such, to achieve V2 levels of compatibility?

kolderman wrote on 2022-05-03, 22:42:

I have a via c3 ezra 1ghz that covers that range. Gf2, v2sli, awe64g, audigy2. Works well.

That's probably 1 year too "late" for my '99 PC. AWE64g ISA and Audigy2 PCI I presume?

Gmlb256 wrote on 2022-05-03, 23:06:
For a late 1999 build, I would go for the GeForce 256 (or a later one up to GeForce4) + Voodoo2 for best compatibility. The S3 v […]
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For a late 1999 build, I would go for the GeForce 256 (or a later one up to GeForce4) + Voodoo2 for best compatibility. The S3 video card can be used for covering corner cases like 15bpp color mode in DOS games.

If going for the Voodoo3, make sure that it is a PCI card so you could switch between PCI/AGP as the primary video card in the motherboard BIOS settings. Alternatively both Voodoo2 and Voodoo3 can be used at the same time provided that you installed first the Voodoo2 drivers.

Pet peeve of mine: The GPU term cannot be used to indicate every video card, only the ones supporting hardware T&L and/or shaders can be called that way. 😜

chinny22 wrote on 2022-05-03, 21:32:

Oh and dont worry about Win3x support, you can just use the gerneric SVGA driver that comes with windows

The generic SVGA driver is much slower, lacking any GUI acceleration. This is noticeable with higher resoltuions and color modes.

Regardless, one would stick with 256 color mode on Windows 3.x and won't be really missing much as consumer software is concerned though.

Frankly, I'd just like W3.x to be bootable, and be a more or less a desktop with shortcuts to games, maybe some old software for kicks and laughs. If it can do that, I'm fine.

I know GF256 (DX7) is the first "GPU" 😉

Still on the fence about V2 vs V3...

PS to all: apparently S3 Savage is looks better in UT/Q3, but I'd not consider getting it just for that, and I don't know if Matrox' G200/G400 are a better pick over TNT2/GF256/V2/V3...

Reply 94 of 99, by Gmlb256

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2mg wrote on 2022-05-04, 10:32:

For the life of me I can't open that DOS_TESTS page. Never could actually 😁 I'm not behind some kind of firewall or something too.

Latest Wayback Machine snapshot just in case: https://web.archive.org/web/20220502055106/ht … r.hu/DOS_TESTS/

If it is because of the scroll bars, currently it is not hard to navigate it. 😉

apparently S3 Savage is looks better in UT/Q3, but I'd not consider getting it just for that

Not worth getting it just for games supporting S3TC.

Besides, there is some information related to the Savage VESA implementation that mentions the lack of 15bpp that previous S3 video cards supported. The only that appears to still support that is the Savage3D but that is the slowest one and somehow DOS compatibility has regressed according to Gona's DOS_TESTS page with PCI and AGP cards.

I don't know if Matrox' G200/G400 are a better pick over TNT2/GF256/V2/V3...

For DOS overall, no. However there is a TSR called Gx00VBE that adds support for lower VESA resolutions and on Windows 9x they are a decent alternative to early nVidia cards in D3D games and the G400 supports the EMBM which is used in the Expendable game.

For me the only reason people go for Matrox is for their excellent analog output image quality which is very consistent as that company manufactured the cards themselves. I tend to value compatibility much more when going all around.

Reply 95 of 99, by Joseph_Joestar

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2022-05-04, 12:34:

Not worth getting it just for games supporting S3TC.

I agree with this. And just to add, not every object in Unreal Tournament uses High-Res Compressed Textures. It varies from map to map. Certain maps only have 1-2 of these, usually on the floor and a few specific walls. You can see some screenshots here.

Also, some of the later S3 Metal capable games like Deus Ex show minor graphical anomalies when running in that mode. It's likely that the development of the S3 Metal renderer became low priority by the year 2000.

Besides, there is some information related to the Savage VESA implementation that mentions the lack of 15bpp that previous S3 video cards supported.

Surprisingly, I also noticed that my Savage4 had problems with certain 640x480 DOS games like Master of Orion 2. Not sure if it's just my particular card or if this is a widespread issue with the Savage4.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / SBLive / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 96 of 99, by chinny22

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a P3 500 and above is plenty powerful enough to drive a GF256, I'd go with that. Looking at the list all the nvidia cards your looking at have the same level of dos compatibility accept Quake at 360x240 (any other res is fine)
They also have less issues then say a S3 Trio, honestly I'd not worry about the S3 unless you run into a problem specifically.
Likewise the Voodoo 2/3 thing. It's worth keeping in mind but maybe you'll be fine, I always recommend trying out your games first then making changes in the setup if necessary.

Reply 97 of 99, by Gmlb256

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chinny22 wrote on 2022-05-04, 13:38:

They also have less issues then say a S3 Trio

What issues are you talking about? S3 Trio and ViRGE family of cards works fine with 2D DirectDraw and GDI Windows games (which gets glossed over), not just DOS.

If it is all about 3D capabilities, then I agree but one has to be careful with the quality of the drivers with nVidia cards because they weren't mature at the time.

Last edited by Gmlb256 on 2022-05-04, 16:52. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 98 of 99, by zapbuzz

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I have a p4 Presscott with 8x AGP slot it runs 98se well plus win 7 x64 i just patched 98se to run 2gb ram the mobo has SATA II so its happy with non AHCI legacy mode.
Funny I am running 98se on it right now on a single fat32 partiton 2tb SATA drive thanks to r.loew. I used a 3rd party large fat32 partition freeware tool to do it. 3 disk system. 1 to boot dos 7 , 1 for 98se and one for 7 x64. Its very fast with file copy on fat32 i mean the 2tb is flying heck faster than a 30gb or 120gb. Need a DOS large capacity fat32 tool for raid boot formatting then I'd have much faster 4 disk RAID 0 with 2tb sata disks probably fastest on earth 🤣

Reply 99 of 99, by kolderman

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2mg wrote on 2022-05-04, 10:32:
kolderman wrote on 2022-05-03, 22:42:

I have a via c3 ezra 1ghz that covers that range. Gf2, v2sli, awe64g, audigy2. Works well.

That's probably 1 year too "late" for my '99 PC. AWE64g ISA and Audigy2 PCI I presume?

I am not sure what you mean, but yes ISA and PCI.