VOGONS


First post, by sofakng

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Can anybody give me a recommendation on what hardware to use for a 1990s - 2000s machine?

I was extremely lucky to find somebody selling a Voodoo3 (PCI) + GeForce Ti 4200 (thank you so much batracio!!!) and I was planning to use it with my IBM 300PL but it doesn't have a standard AGP slot (it's NLX). I could use the Voodoo3 since it's PCI, and I might do that, but I'm thinking about building a new PC to use both.

Can anybody give me any CPU/motherboard/sound card recommendations? I've always preferred Intel but I know AMD Athlon was better price (and speed option) during that time.

The games I'm looking to play are Unreal (Glide), Half-Life, Quake, American McGee's Alice (maybe), etc.

My other machine for 1980s - early 1990s is a Pentium 200 MMX (overdrive) with an Orpheus 2. I'm also wondering if it might be possible to have one 'do-it-all' machine which would be nice?

Reply 1 of 8, by Meatball

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If you're going to play Alice, the Ti4200 is the way to go; The Voodoo3 (any version) has nowhere near enough power for Alice unless you wish to relive the days of 15-20fps gaming. Plus, Alice needs to be played in 32-bit color, but textures can be dropped to 16-bit without too much loss of fidelity; but why bother? The Ti4200 is more than ample, plus AA and AF to play above 60-85fps at 1024x768.

You could put both cards in the machine and swap cables or VGA switch on reboot, as you've alluded, for games like Diablo II. Quake GL and Half-Life run and look fine on either card. If you play any DOS games (which aren't too speed sensitive, but there are workarounds) will play fine on either card.

You should be able to build any Pentium 4 machine cheaply from around the turn of the century. Athlon mostly the same. As soon as you get to the faster Northwood Pentium 4s' it's a wash between AMD and Intel. Plus, you're no longer using the machines as a daily driver, encoding machines, or creating multiple spreadsheets, so there's no benefit to be had from the days when one was better than the other in certain areas. As you'd expect, getting to the extreme performance ends of performance for either platform raises cost; sometimes substantially.

Creative Sound blaster Live!, Audigy, Audigy 2, Audigy 2ZS are all fine. If you can find a Vortex 2 which doesn't cost an arm and a leg, it's a stable around these parts. Moreso for late 90's, and perhaps 2000/01. If you're playing later games, than the Creative cards become more important. Of course, you could put both in the same machine, if desired. All cards can be used in DOS with varying degrees of compatibility based on motherboard, OS, and games. But if you put that 200 MMX to work, you should be able to bypass all DOS tomfoolery (speed sensitive games, notwithstanding).

The one size fits all "Holy Grail" machine is an illusion, heh. You'll have more enjoyment putting two machines together, anyhow, and you can have two masters of one instead of one master of none.

Reply 2 of 8, by Gmlb256

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sofakng wrote on 2023-11-21, 21:19:

I'm also wondering if it might be possible to have one 'do-it-all' machine which would be nice?

The VIA C3 CPU (like the one in my signature which is a "time machine") comes close to that when dealing with games from 1987 up to 2001. With a motherboard where the FSB can be changed on the fly, it is much more flexible than the Pentium MMX and AMD K6plus.

P.S. I don't believe in the "one size fits all" unicorn that some people swear at. 100% compatibility will never be achieved with every software.

VIA C3 Nehemiah 1.2A @ 1.46 GHz | ASUS P2-99 | 256 MB PC133 SDRAM | GeForce3 Ti 200 64 MB | Voodoo2 12 MB | SBLive! | AWE64 | SBPro2 | GUS

Reply 3 of 8, by sofakng

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Meatball wrote on 2023-11-21, 23:38:

You should be able to build any Pentium 4 machine cheaply from around the turn of the century. Athlon mostly the same. As soon as you get to the faster Northwood Pentium 4s' it's a wash between AMD and Intel. Plus, you're no longer using the machines as a daily driver, encoding machines, or creating multiple spreadsheets, so there's no benefit to be had from the days when one was better than the other in certain areas. As you'd expect, getting to the extreme performance ends of performance for either platform raises cost; sometimes substantially.

What speed Pentium 4 (or AMD) would be able to push the GeForce Ti 4200 to the max? It looks like the Pentium 4's start at 1.5 GHz?

Gmlb256 wrote on 2023-11-21, 23:58:

The VIA C3 CPU (like the one in my signature which is a "time machine") comes close to that when dealing with games from 1987 up to 2001. With a motherboard where the FSB can be changed on the fly, it is much more flexible than the Pentium MMX and AMD K6plus.

That sounds really interesting and I think I've seen the tools to slow down the CPU from DOS. I think I'm OK with not worrying about the handful of speed sensitive games so maybe my P200MMX + P4 (or AMD) will be able to cover almost everything I want?

Reply 4 of 8, by Gmlb256

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sofakng wrote on 2023-11-22, 00:55:

That sounds really interesting and I think I've seen the tools to slow down the CPU from DOS. I think I'm OK with not worrying about the handful of speed sensitive games so maybe my P200MMX + P4 (or AMD) will be able to cover almost everything I want?

Yeah, the Pentium 200MMX is already good enough to cover most of the DOS and early Windows 9x era. SetMul supports the TR12 registers on Pentium MMX CPUs to get around speed-sensitive software.

The other computer will be useful for 1999+ games when paired with the GeForce4 Ti 4200. This is until DX9 games that requires SM2.0 as minimum.

VIA C3 Nehemiah 1.2A @ 1.46 GHz | ASUS P2-99 | 256 MB PC133 SDRAM | GeForce3 Ti 200 64 MB | Voodoo2 12 MB | SBLive! | AWE64 | SBPro2 | GUS

Reply 5 of 8, by Meatball

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sofakng wrote on 2023-11-22, 00:55:

What speed Pentium 4 (or AMD) would be able to push the GeForce Ti 4200 to the max? It looks like the Pentium 4's start at 1.5 GHz?

Any Pentium 4. You won't be running at 640x480, so once you start running things at 1024x768 + AA and AF, the Ti4200 will become the bottleneck. For Games like Quake, half-Life, and Unreal - you are long past the years of CPU/GPU bottlenecks. Just go for the fastest, most compatible you can find for the cheapest amount of money. You can get a Socket 478 3.0GHz/800MHz Northwood HT for under $15 on eBay. Sub-3GHz models are under $10. Plenty fast. By the way hyperthreading is useless in 9X, but if you run XP, it can be helpful (for the system not the games). And often whatever board you're looking for will contain a CPU, so don't go buying a separate CPU until you've found the board. Finally, when you're looking for boards, make sure you are looking closely at the capacitors. Bulging and/or leaking capacitors are a stable of this generation of equipment. You can still find good boards, though, so don't be discouraged. It's just something for which to watch out.

Reply 7 of 8, by Meatball

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sofakng wrote on 2023-11-22, 02:41:

Thanks again very much!

Are there any chipsets that are recommended (or that I should avoid) ?

I've been pretty happy with the Foxconn 865A01-PE-6EKRS with 865PE. It's mainly for XP use with an FX5900XT, though Windows 9x is supported. Willamette/Northwood/Prescott (up to 800MHz FSB)
https://www.extremeoverclocking.com/reviews/m … nn_865PE_1.html

Another board I use often, which is Micro-ATX, but for Windows 9x and a Voodoo5, is the Jetway P4MDPT with Via P4M266A CE.
Willamette/Northwood (up to 533MHz FSB). This one has a Universal AGP slot, so you can add any Voodoo AGP card if you ever decide to add one to your arsenal.
https://theretroweb.com/motherboards/s/jetway-p4mdpt (purple one)

I've never had any issues with either one with good performance to boot (pardon the pun, heh).