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AMD Slot A 1999 Build

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First post, by lutiana

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Looking for some advice on my 1999 gaming build.

What I have:
BIOStar M7MKA Motherboard
AMD K7 600Mhz CPU (soon to be the AMD K7 700Mhz CPU with the faster 512kb of L2 cache).
256Mb PC-100 RAM (1x128mb 2x64Mb)
SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 (SB0010)
3Com 10/100Mbit 3C905 NIC

Here's where the need for advice comes in 😁

1. What GPU should I go with. I have a Voodoo3 3000, a Viper V770 (TNT2 Ultra) as well as some newer cards (GeForce FX5700LE, FX5500, some MX-400 and MX-440 GPUs). I don't think the 5xxx series cards make sense, as this board is only AGP2x, and those cards are all 8x from what I gather. So I am thinking it's a toss up between the Voodoo and the Viper. I am also not opposed to looking for a better performing card from the era, and the GPU is the one place I would be willing to push past 1999 by a few years to get better over all performance.

2. What OS? I am toying with Window ME, but I may just stick with 98SE, as it's generally a better, albeit older, OS. Windows 2000 is an option as well, though I think the 9x core is a better way to go.

3. I have not really decided what games I'll end up playing on this thing yet, but figure mostly titles between 1998 - 2000 or so. I also need some sort of virtual optical drive solution (thinking Alcohol 52% if I can find an old enough installer, but Daemon tools might work too).

4. Any other "must have" hardware for this build?

On a related note, I installed Windows ME with the Voodoo card, and then all the Window ME updates and patches. The system is quick, but I cannot for the life of me get either Alcohol 120% or Daemon tools to install and work (when they install and you reboot, the system hangs and I have to go into safe mode and do a system restore to get it up and running again), and this is why I am thinking to ditch ME for 98SE.

Reply 1 of 46, by TrashPanda

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1 - You could push to 2000 and grab a GeForce 2 GTS which are usually fairly cheap then grab a Glide Wrapper/Emulator which would give you Glide, D3D and OpenGl on the one GPU, the GF2 GTS is a good solid AGP 2x/4x GPU.
2 - 98Se is a solid option, Win2K is also a good option but requires a bit more leg work on your part with updating to the latest Service Pack and hunting down drivers.
3 - Daemon Tools
4 - You seem to have everything covered here, its a nice well rounded set of gear.

Oh noes, the cap let the shmooo out 😁

Reply 2 of 46, by digistorm

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Sounds like my system from 1999 😉 I had a Matrox G400 at the time, but it is much happier with a GF2 card. You’d really want a card with hardware T&L because a classic Athlon does not have a ton of horse power. I noticed with more modern games that although it may achieve decent average FPS that it can stutter a lot, probably because the CPU cannot keep up.

Reply 3 of 46, by TrashPanda

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digistorm wrote on 2022-07-26, 06:57:

Sounds like my system from 1999 😉 I had a Matrox G400 at the time, but it is much happier with a GF2 card. You’d really want a card with hardware T&L because a classic Athlon does not have a ton of horse power. I noticed with more modern games that although it may achieve decent average FPS that it can stutter a lot, probably because the CPU cannot keep up.

I would have recommended a 256 DDR which is more period correct for a slot A Athlon but .. they are expensive to the point you really only want one if you are collecting old nVidia GPUs, the GF2 is cheaper and still fits this build without pushing that period correct thing too far.

Oh noes, the cap let the shmooo out 😁

Reply 4 of 46, by NostalgicAslinger

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I would recommend a Voodoo2 SLi 12MB pair (if you still have Voodoo2 cards in your collection, because the todays prices for 3dfx hardware are crazy...) and no Glide Emulation on a 1999 build with 600-700 MHz Athlon CPU.

I would always use real hardware an no emulators, because of the right feeling and a 1999 build should have REAL hardware!

Reply 5 of 46, by TrashPanda

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NostalgicAslinger wrote on 2022-07-26, 11:14:

I would recommend a Voodoo2 SLi 12MB pair (if you still have Voodoo2 cards in your collection, because the todays prices for 3dfx hardware are crazy...) and no Glide Emulation on a 1999 build with 600-700 MHz Athlon CPU.

I would always use real hardware an no emulators, because of the right feeling and a 1999 build should have REAL hardware!

Indeed but only really an option if OP has a pair of 12mb Voodoo2s ...case at their current price OP may as well buy a 256 DDR.

Oh noes, the cap let the shmooo out 😁

Reply 6 of 46, by NostalgicAslinger

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A GeForce 256 DDR is also not easy to find for a good price, but a GeForce2 GTS 32MB is a good tip and not so expensive on ebay.

And for the Glide emulators like nGlide: I never have used a 3dfx emulator, but I have read, that you must have a Direct3D 9 capable graphics card, like the GeForce FX series, so a GeForce 4 Ti and below is not compatible.

Reply 7 of 46, by TrashPanda

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NostalgicAslinger wrote on 2022-07-26, 15:30:

A GeForce 256 DDR is also not easy to find for a good price, but a GeForce2 GTS 32MB is a good tip and not so expensive on ebay.

And for the Glide emulators like nGlide: I never have used a 3dfx emulator, but I have read, that you must have a Direct3D 9 capable graphics card, like the GeForce FX series, so a GeForce 4 Ti and below is not compatible.

Ah yes, forgot about that little part, but that GF2 GTS will eat pretty much any period game you throw at it and the OP does have a Voodoo3 they can swap in when they want to play Glide games or they could try and snag a cheap set of Voodoo2s.

>>
Might actually be cheaper to snag a Voodoo5 5500 over a pair of Voodoo2s .. I got my Voodoo5 cheaply recently and I have seen a few others hit eBay at prices from 10 years ago.

Oh noes, the cap let the shmooo out 😁

Reply 8 of 46, by ptr1ck

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Use the Voodoo 3 you already have. It's perfect for what you want. Windows 98 is also what you want for such system unless you don't care about DOS, then just run 2k or a slim XP.

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Reply 9 of 46, by AlexZ

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I would focus on faster CPU as in my case I ended up playing late Windows 98 games and uninstalling early ones. Fifa 2001 is so much better than 98/99. With Athlon 900 you should be able to play Fifa 2003, Nhl 2003, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Thief 2 as well as older titles.

Pentium III 900E, ECS P6BXT-A+, 384MB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 128MB, Voodoo 2 12MB, 80GB HDD, Yamaha SM718 ISA, 19" AOC 9GlrA
Athlon 64 3400+, MSI K8T Neo V, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT 512MB, 250GB HDD, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 10 of 46, by PC-Engineer

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You should keep the V3 3000 - its a very good fit for a 1999 build. As an alternative build you can pair the TNT2 Ultra or a G400 Max with a pair of V2 in SLI. The ultimate end of 1999 dream would be a GF256 DDR with a pair of V2 in SLI.

Epox 7KXA Slot A / Athlon 950MHz / Voodoo 5 5500 / PowerVR / 512 MB / AWE32 / SCSI - Windows 98SE

Reply 11 of 46, by swaaye

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GeForce cards may be problematic on the motherboard to varying degrees. AMD 750 didn't like them much. It will probably run at AGP 1x because I think the NVidia driver sets it automatically and it might still be crashy. With the ASUS K7M the GeForce FX cards with aux power were the most stable for me. I have a FIC SD11 now but I don't think I have ever bothered to put a GeForce card into the board.

Radeons might be trouble too.

Voodoo3 would be rock solid. A TNT1/2 should be as well.

Voodoo2 needs drivers that are Athlon compatible. I think all of the official release quality 3dfx drivers will freeze you up. There is a pack of Athlon compatible drivers out there on falconfly. I suppose most of the magic homebrew remix packs have it covered too.

I would run Windows 98SE or maybe Win2K. Or both because setting everything up is usually more fun than actually playing the games 😁

Reply 12 of 46, by lutiana

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Thanks everyone!

I am definitely going to go with 98SE and ditch the ME install on the machine. I have plenty of disk space (threw in a 120Gb drive), so maybe I'll dual boot Win2K and see how that goes.

GPU wise, the GeForce2 GTS intrigues me, they are not too expensive on Ebay, but I really do need to go through my box of GPUs, who knows, maybe I have one. I am thinking that maybe that card mixed with 2 Voodoo2s that I have will probably work reasonably well.

Reply 13 of 46, by lutiana

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AlexZ wrote on 2022-07-26, 19:41:

I would focus on faster CPU as in my case I ended up playing late Windows 98 games and uninstalling early ones.

I did think about that, but I really wanted to build a slot A machine, there are not too many posts out there this platform, so I figured why not. This board does the 100Mhz FSB, so I could look to get a 1Gbhz version of the chip if I really want at some point. Besides if I really get into Windows 98 games, then I can always look to build a late, high end P3 build for that (I have some of that hardware already).

Reply 14 of 46, by swaaye

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If you really get into Windows 98 games?

There is an old FAQ called...the GeForce FAQ.... that is loaded with info about quirks with the cards and how to work around problems from that era.
https://web.archive.org/web/20090531040324/ht … rog=gef&lang=en

Reply 15 of 46, by TrashPanda

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lutiana wrote on 2022-07-27, 00:38:

Thanks everyone!

I am definitely going to go with 98SE and ditch the ME install on the machine. I have plenty of disk space (threw in a 120Gb drive), so maybe I'll dual boot Win2K and see how that goes.

GPU wise, the GeForce2 GTS intrigues me, they are not too expensive on Ebay, but I really do need to go through my box of GPUs, who knows, maybe I have one. I am thinking that maybe that card mixed with 2 Voodoo2s that I have will probably work reasonably well.

That sounds like a very good idea, you would have one heck of a retro gaming rig that would play pretty much any period game you could throw at it, Ive never had a Slot A system but if they were anything like Slot 1 P3 setups itll be a ton of fun to use.

A 1Ghz Slot A Athlon .. now there is an expensive item, much like the 1Ghz Slot 1 100FSB Pentium 3 both of them are horribly expensive and rare CPUs.

Edit - I picked the GTS because they are reasonably cheap but I have been seeing a good number of GF2 Ultras also going for reasonable prices too, they are worth a look if you see a good deal on one.

Oh noes, the cap let the shmooo out 😁

Reply 16 of 46, by ODwilly

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The Geforce 2 Pro is a fun inbetween card and usually sellers think they are GTS cards if you can find one.

Main pc: Asus ROG 17. R9 5900HX, RTX 3070m, 16gb ddr4 3200, 1tb NVME.
Retro PC: Soyo P4S Dragon, 3gb ddr 266, 120gb Maxtor, Geforce Fx 5950 Ultra, SB Live! 5.1

Reply 17 of 46, by bloodem

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swaaye wrote on 2022-07-26, 22:11:

GeForce cards may be problematic on the motherboard to varying degrees. AMD 750 didn't like them much. It will probably run at AGP 1x because I think the NVidia driver sets it automatically and it might still be crashy. With the ASUS K7M the GeForce FX cards with aux power were the most stable for me. I have a FIC SD11 now but I don't think I have ever bothered to put a GeForce card into the board.

His motherboard has the AMD 751 "Irongate" chipset. Never tested this specific Biostar board, but if it's anything like my Gigabyte GA-7IXE boards (which have the same chipset), he will have absolutely NO issues with period correct GeForce cards (I've tested GeForce 2 GTS/Ti, GeForce 3 Ti 500 and GeForce 4 Ti 4400 on mine).
Not only that, but the general stability is similar to that of a motherboard with the 440BX chipset. Yes, the AGP will run @ 1X by default, but performance is not affected in a meaningful way (especially with GeForce 3 cards or slower).

Pair a GeForce 2 GTS/PRO/Ti with a Voodoo 2, and you've got yourself a killer combo. 😀

2 x PGA132 / 5 x Socket 3 / 9 x Socket 7 / 12 x SS7 / 1 x Socket 8 / 14 x Slot 1 / 5 x Slot A
5 x Socket 370 / 8 x Socket A / 2 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 7 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
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Reply 18 of 46, by NostalgicAslinger

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@lutiana
If you go with a Voodoo2 (SLi) card:

The FastVoodoo2 driver ver. 4.6 for 95/98/ME should work fine with your Athlon CPU, but beware that this driver are overclocking the Voodoo2 cards to 93MHz!
There are some Voodoo2 cards with 90MHz or 83MHz EDO RAMs (27 ns) on the market, which could have problems with this frequency, so I would recommend it to go back to the stock 90 MHz (Direct3D+OpenGL), here with this easy tool: https://3dfxarchive.com/downloads/v2tweaker-v11.zip

Reply 19 of 46, by The Serpent Rider

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bloodem wrote:

His motherboard has the AMD 751 "Irongate" chipset

751 is north bridge. And 750 is chipset, which also includes dumb AMD south bridge, which was ditched almost immediately in favor of VIA (both were connected with PCI bus anyway). And yeah, 751 is the one which had massive AGP issues, but it might have been ameliorated with new revisions during production run.

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