First post, by justin1985
For all the fiddling about with old PCs I’ve been doing recently, I keep coming back to wanting to combine retro with Small Form Factor PCs. I really like having a VIA EPIA miniITX (totally integrated with S3 graphics and legacy SBPro compatibility) as a DOS/Win98 box that is small enough to keep under my main desk.
I’ve been thinking about doing the same for Windows XP - an absolute minimum possible size ITX system, ideally with integrated graphics that are good enough to run mid to late XP era games (e.g. Medieval 2: Total War - one of several games I have images of my own old CDs but the copy protection gets blocked in Win10), as well as decent onboard sound and ideally Wi-Fi. What would be the best platform for that?
Narrowing down the sweet spot for XP driver availability crossing over with improving iGPUs seems a bit tricky. On the Intel side it looks like Ivy Bridge with chipsets like H61 are the final ones with XP drivers, and from what I can see from reviews, the HD4000 graphics that only came in the i7 and only one of the i5 CPUs was meaningfully better than the HD2500 that came with the rest of the range? Would it actually be playable in games like Medieval 2 though?
How about AMD’s final platforms with XP drivers? Would that be socket FM2? I can see chipset drivers for XP for the A88 chipset, but not for APU processors like A10, which it seems to get paired with? Would that mean going back a generation or two further?
The little ITX cases I like using (SKTC A09) can accommodate a (small) single slot GPU via a riser cable, but only if not using the 2.5” drive bracket, and if using a relatively low profile CPU cooler. So I’d kind of prefer to stick with onboard graphics, but a compact PCIe would be a possibility if it’s the only way of getting the kind of performance I’m looking for?