VOGONS


First post, by E.Garak

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I am planning to build a new computer for Windows 98 SE. This will be the first PC I’ve ever built for Windows 98 and I have no experience using video cards with this operating system. I need help selecting the right video card to suit my needs.

Notes:
1. I plan to use this system to play both DOS and Windows games. The video card’s stability and performance in DOS and Windows are very important.
2. The Windows games I plan to play on this PC require DirectX versions up to 8.1b
3. I do not really plan to play any games with this system that require DirectX 9.0 or later.
4. A few Windows 98-compatible games that I plan to play on this PC: Battlefield 1942, Deus Ex, Fallout, Fallout 2, GTA III, Half-Life, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Silent Hill 3, Silent Hill 4 and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Fallen.
5. Other pertinent hardware: Pentium III-S 1.40GHz, 815e Tualatin-compatible motherboard, 512MB PC133 memory (2x256MB), SB Audigy 2 ZS, 7200rpm IDE HDD.
6. I do not plan to dual-boot this PC with another operating system.
7. I do not plan to add a second video card to this PC.

I have narrowed down my options to the following three Windows 98-compatible video cards:

GeForce4 Ti4600 128MB AGP
GeForce FX 5900 Ultra 256MB AGP
Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB AGP

Which of these three specific cards best suit my needs? I need this card to be stable in both Windows 98 and DOS. It also needs to provide the best performance playing 3D games in Windows (Pre-DirectX 9). I was leaning towards the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra, but I’ve heard conflicting things about the FX-series performance in Windows 98. I would appreciate recommendations from people who actually have experience using any or all of these video cards in Windows 98. I would also like suggestions for the best drivers for the card that you recommend. Thanks all for your help!

Reply 2 of 8, by leileilol

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If you're avoiding DirectX 9, then you might as well avoid DirectX 9-targeted hardware such as..... GeforceFX and Radeon 9800.

RaiderOfLostVoodoo wrote on 2022-10-19, 02:30:

The games you listed are mostly from the WinXP era, not Win98.

XP reluctance was a thing, so the Win98 era lasted a few years beyond XP's launch. Plus there's that "DOS" thing mentioned (which XP absolutely sucks at).

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Reply 3 of 8, by NTG2001

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I would personally pick the GeForce 4, my Ti 4200 has never given me issues under 98. Ti 4600 is a DirectX 8 powerhouse and since that's the kinds of games you're looking to play, for me at least I don't see a big reason to go with anything higher.

Going with the 9800 Pro would be a bit of a waste unless you really want to crank the anti-aliasing. Not bad by any means, I just feel it's a little better suited to XP and games from 2003-2005.

The FX 5900 I don't think would be too bad either but I also see no reason to really pick it over the 4600. It runs hotter and requires external power. Probably not a deal breaker but it's something to consider.

Reply 4 of 8, by RandomStranger

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I wouldn't pair an FX5900 or R9800 with a PIII. The Ti4600 is plenty powerful for your listed games, even a Ti4200 would be, but still bottlenecked by the PIII.

For a PC in active use, I'd go with something easy to replace, rather than flagships with high value as a collector's item. Like an FX5600, Radeon 9600, X600 or Ti4200 series card. A flagship bottlenecked by the CPU wouldn't give you anything other than bragging rights anyway.

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Reply 5 of 8, by Kruton 9000

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RandomStranger wrote on 2022-10-20, 05:18:

I wouldn't pair an FX5900 or R9800 with a PIII. The Ti4600 is plenty powerful for your listed games, even a Ti4200 would be, but still bottlenecked by the PIII.

Agree. According to tests I have seen, to run FX5900 at full speed Pentium 4 3GHz+ or comparable CPU needed.

Reply 6 of 8, by Joseph_Joestar

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If you don't plan on using resolutions above 1280x1024 and don't need Anti Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering cranked up too high, then go with the GeForce4 Ti4600. It's the most compatible card of the bunch.

Both the FX5900 Ultra and the Radeon 9800 Pro have more raw power and are better at handling higher resolutions and AA/AF. However, their compatibility with certain games is slightly lower. Specifically, you'll be missing table fog and paletted textures on the Radeon, and you might have issues with texel alignment on the FX card.

That said, some of the games that you listed are fairly demanding on Win98 era hardware. As others have pointed out, it might be better to play them on a more powerful WinXP system, if you want to max everything out.

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Reply 7 of 8, by Putas

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RandomStranger wrote on 2022-10-20, 05:18:

I wouldn't pair an FX5900 or R9800 with a PIII. The Ti4600 is plenty powerful for your listed games, even a Ti4200 would be, but still bottlenecked by the PIII.

That is up to the settings.

Reply 8 of 8, by BitWrangler

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All three of those cards have BGA RAM solder durability issues though. I personally would just use a Ti 4200 that is stable at 4600 clocks.

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