Wow... thanks for all the advice and info. No matter which way I go, I learned a lot, both technically and historically.
I have a mini-AT pentium motherboard with a 166mhz cpu that I will eventually stick in a case. I also recently acquired a pentium system I haven't yet had a chance to look at (I got it as part of a purchase for the case I intend putting the 486 in). It's a single board computer on a backplane; not even sure if it's isa or pci. And I have a K6-II 300 and K6-III 850 motherboard/cpu, so I have the ability to make a system able to run Win9x and games from the mid-late 90s. And I'll eventually build them. I didn't *want* to put the FX5500 in the 486; I just have a PCI and an AGP version of the card. I can/will run more demanding games on them, and then there's also always emulation.
My interest as far as 3D is concerned is less the ability to play 3D games such as Quake, and more the ability to play around with programming for the Voodoo 2 1000. Writing little demos, *maybe* a little game, even.
In 1992, my daily driver was an Amiga 2000/3000. So I kind of missed out on that era of DOS computing (I did build myself a 286 out of necessity, at the time). If I can get the equivalent 3d capability as created with the 3d modeling programs Videoscape 3D, Imagine and Sculpt 3D of the era, I'll be more than happy. Heck, Lightwave3D ran on a 68030 Amiga 2000.
As far as playing games, if I can play games such as Eye of the Beholder, Flashback, Shadowcaster... Isometric games like Crusader: No Remorse (which would be pushing the hardware, I'm sure; it requires vesa compatibility), some of the Sierra games like the Space Quest series, Lucas Arts games such as Day of the Tentacle or Full Throttle (again, pushing it), possibly Betrayal at Krondor, the original Wing Commander, *maybe* even Myst under WFW 3.11 ... I'll be happy.
2D acceleration will be important because one of my amusements is networking my old systems, and I'll want 2D acceleration for Desqview/X (assuming it even supports 2D acceleration) to access my Linux box. I don't expect to do anything productive with it, however.
Thanks again for all the ideas. I guess I'll shop for an S3, or the Trident or Cirrus cards.