VOGONS


Windows 95 Gaming?

Topic actions

Reply 20 of 42, by leonardo

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
Jo22 wrote on 2022-08-10, 08:57:
Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2022-08-10, 06:37:
Alistar1776 wrote on 2022-08-10, 05:39:

So, my take away here, is that if im gonna build a dedicated win95 system, btw, likely OSR 2.5, then a 386 or 486 based machine is best, instead of the 586 on hand? Maybe a... Pentium MMX provided i could find one?

Win95 OSR 2.x versions work great on a Pentium MMX system. They are also period correct, as the first MMX processors were released in early 1997.

I would recommend using OSR 2.1 instead of 2.5 since the latter brings the Desktop Update and IE4 bloat, which you may want to avoid, as Leonardo previously mentioned. You lose Quicklaunch and some other shell enhancements, but get more speed and that original Win95 feel.

Uhm, I wouldn't use the words "works great" and "Windows 95" in the same sentence, though. 😁

I would just remove "95" and say "works great" and "Windows" can't fit in the same sentence, but in all honesty I do understand where you are coming from and why this sentiment is so widely shared.

...and you are absolutely right in that the DOS/Windows 9x-lineage is held together with bubblegum and dark sorcery. It really shouldn't work even as well as it does - but people tend to go with trends rather than realities most of the time and so Windows 98 was to Windows 95 what Windows 7 was to Vista. Surface dressing with a better reputation. Except in my opinion (and everyone is entitled to theirs, I'm fine with you disagreeing) while Windows 98 did take a few steps forward in the hardware support department (namely ACPI/USB/WDM) - it took a major step backwards with the shell upgrade - mostly because Microsoft's sales dept was hell-bent on beating Netscape out of existence... which is a real shame - because I would probably like Windows 98 better if it weren't for that god-awful bloated shell.

A lot of people also bought the original Windows 95 retail release to run on hardware that had no business running it (your memories of those awful dog-slow 386/486 machines... or even early Pentiums with 8 - 16 MB of RAM are all real!). By the time you bought a new more powerful machine, it was already being bundled with Windows 98, even though Windows 95 (pre-IE4-shell update) would have been a much better fit on such systems.

So to the OP, from a "period correctness perspective", - there were a heck of a lot of Socket 7 AMD K6-II / K6-III systems as well as Pentium II/Celeron systems that ran Windows 95. Not everyone went straight to Windows 98 and Windows 95 did not only ship on 486/early-Pentium systems. That's why the OSR2 releases exist! Because OEMs did ship Windows 95 alongside 98 for a good while and on systems that had AGP, 3D-acceleration and even reasonable amounts of memory and hard disk space.

On a system like yours, Windows 98 offers next to no benefit because the system is too slow to run any DX8 / DX9 era games anyway, probably does not have USB peripherals and you can't browse the web with the bundled IE any more anyway. A properly tuned Windows 95 installation is the way to go - don't let the other equally well meaning community members tell you any different. 😉

[Install Win95 like you were born in 1985!] on systems like this or this.

Reply 21 of 42, by GigAHerZ

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Win95 was great at the time. Everything should be valued based on when they existed as a main product. The "normal user" used DOS and Win3.x before Win95. And you can't compare Win95 with Win3.x, the 95 was just so much better and stable.
If Win3.x would have patches to 1) remove weird memory limits when there's enough ram, and 2) replace co-op multitasking with pre-emptive multitasking, i might be able to take it more seriously.
But for the time Win95 existed, it was amazing - it was stable, it was fast, it did more.

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - And i intend to get every last bit out of it even after loading every damn driver!

Reply 22 of 42, by Namrok

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

I'm just gonna throw out there, I've had sporadic issues with "win9x" drivers having some quirks in Win95. For example, the last nvidia reference drivers for the Riva 128 don't seem to calculate the PCI texture heap correctly, causing some pretty bad memory thrashing on 32 MB systems. Kind of a problem for a 1997 era rig. Weirdly enough, using earlier drivers or vendor specific drivers fixes the issue. It wouldn't be as much of a problem if you could change it, except the control panel to do so is bugged in Win95, and only seems to open in Win98.

So yeah, not sure how common this is, but I think some vendors began cutting corners on testing their "Win9X" binaries on Windows 95 as time went on.

Win95/DOS 7.1 - P233 MMX (@2.5 x 100 FSB), Diamond Viper V330 AGP, SB16 CT2800
Win98 - K6-2+ 500, GF2 MX, SB AWE 64 CT4500, SBLive CT4780
Win98 - Pentium III 1000, GF2 GTS, SBLive CT4760
WinXP - Athlon 64 3200+, GF 7800 GS, Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 23 of 42, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
Namrok wrote on 2022-08-10, 13:54:

So yeah, not sure how common this is, but I think some vendors began cutting corners on testing their "Win9X" binaries on Windows 95 as time went on.

This is true for Win98 as well.

For example, the latest official Nvidia driver with Win98 support is 81.98. This is what Nvidia recommends when you go to their download site, even for older cards like the GeForce 4. So, many people who are just getting into Win9x retro gaming end up using those, and then come here and ask us why none of their games work. 😉

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 24 of 42, by rasz_pl

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
GigAHerZ wrote on 2022-08-10, 10:57:

If Win3.x would have patches to 1) remove weird memory limits when there's enough ram, and 2) replace co-op multitasking with pre-emptive multitasking, i might be able to take it more seriously.

they did 1 with win32s https://bearwindows.zcm.com.au/win31x.htm

Reply 25 of 42, by BinaryDemon

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Win95 always worked well in my experience. Definitely faster on older hardware. I basically use USB (or lack of) as the determining factor for my Win95/Win98 decisions.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 26 of 42, by Alistar1776

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
Jo22 wrote on 2022-08-10, 08:57:
Uhm, I wouldn't use the words "works great" and "Windows 95" in the same sentence, though. :D […]
Show full quote

Uhm, I wouldn't use the words "works great" and "Windows 95" in the same sentence, though. 😁

Please everyone don't get me wrong, Windows 95 (code name Chicago) was a big thing in pop culture, but it never was good or stable.
It was a hack, an interesting one, sure, but a hack nevertheless.
It was planned as an intermediate step for a real OS based on Windows NT.

The whole Windows 9x line is an ill mutant or a zombie. 🧟‍♀️
Ok, Windows 98SE is more like a mutant, less of an undead/zombie, perhaps.

There's that story about Netscape devs, which were said to have described Windows 95 as a "set of poorly debugged device drivers" . Which, essentially, is true.

Windows 9x is based on a bunch of VXDs (previously *.386 in Windows 3.x).
With Windows 98SE/Me less so (they tried to switch to WDM).

Anyway, nothing against Windows 9x. It's fun to tinker with (fiddling with hardware directly works).
And it used to save many jobs in the PC repair sector.. 😉

Edit: I agree that there are/were different Windows 95 versions for different hardware generations.
The original Windows 95 wasn't exactly finished and more like a Windows 3.1 on sugar.
Like a Windows 3.1 that was encapsulated by a monstrous Win32s.

It also stored most files in SYSTEM directory still, just like Windows 3.x.
Windows 98, at least, switched to System32 directory foe that purpose.

That's why Windows 95 RTM was so Windows 3.1 era hardware friendly, still, I think.
Many system components were still very Windows 3.1x like.
It's not unfair to say that Windows 95 wasn't finished when it shipped. It was more of a beta still.
That'swhy so many revisions of Windows 95 exist.
Microsoft still tried to fix things after Windows 95 had hit the shelves.
It did it quietly through the OEM channels, since a successor to Windows 95 was expected soon.
Which unfortunately didn't show up for three years in practice.
Windows 96 and 97 never made it.

That being said, Windows 95 RTM does run well on the same kind of hardware that's Windows 3.1 friendly feom what I can tell.
So 586/Pentium systems that are using classic system components and not so much exotic extra hardware, are suitable.
A system that uses, say, APM instead of ACPI for power savings, may also has less stability issues.

And that's one of the stumbling stones, I think.
ACPI implementations in the 90s were incomplete, not to say buggy.
Windows 98SE was most compatible here, maybe, since it was aware of different ACPI revisions (knew workarounds).

Windows Me, on the other hand, started to throw out legacy components (most famously old VXD drivers in favor of WDM drivers;
except that there weren't much shipped with Me).

Linux and Windows NT had their problems because of these ACPI implementations that didn't follow the specifications, from what I remember.
(The different power states of CPUs still cause trouble to this day, strictly speaking.)

That's why some recommended switching things off, if not needed.
CMOS settings like "Plug&Play aware OS=yes/no" were also still important at the time.
Not all OSes were correctly able to configure the Plug&Play hardware at the time.
- Neither were the Plug&Play enabled BIOSes..

🤣 this became an OS analysis. No problem with it personally, just found it a bit amusing. Im all for learning more about this stuff.

Reply 27 of 42, by GigAHerZ

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
rasz_pl wrote on 2022-08-10, 17:18:
GigAHerZ wrote on 2022-08-10, 10:57:

If Win3.x would have patches to 1) remove weird memory limits when there's enough ram, and 2) replace co-op multitasking with pre-emptive multitasking, i might be able to take it more seriously.

they did 1 with win32s https://bearwindows.zcm.com.au/win31x.htm

Win32s does none of those two. You can still kill Win3.x easily with too many fonts installed for example. It's very hard to do the same with win95+. (though, possible)

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - And i intend to get every last bit out of it even after loading every damn driver!

Reply 28 of 42, by Alistar1776

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

So, back to the original question, since 95 does have its benefits on hardware to slow for 98. Gpu, sound, and memory. I have 2 Socket 7 boards i can use, both only have PCI and ISA slots on them. but one board has 2x30 pin simm slots, and two other memory slots, they take memory with two notches in them, i havent found what thats called. EDO? The other Socket 7 board has only 3 of the unknown to me double notch memory slots. Im thinking a classic SB16 for sound, might be relatively cheap and available. A Voodoo card seems like a popular choice for the time period, but ive looked at those, and they seem to run north of $200. Suggestions?

Reply 29 of 42, by devius

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Alistar1776 wrote on 2022-08-13, 16:13:

...one board has 2x30 pin simm slots, and two other memory slots, they take memory with two notches in them, i havent found what thats called. EDO? The other Socket 7 board has only 3 of the unknown to me double notch memory slots.

From your description it seems to be 2x72 pin SIMM slots actually, since no Pentium class motherboard had 30 pin SIMMS, and if they did they would require at least 8 of them. The other longer memory slots are for SDRAM DIMMs. Technically it's also possible to use EDO DIMMs, but I doubt you will find any easily.

Alistar1776 wrote on 2022-08-13, 16:13:

Im thinking a classic SB16 for sound, might be relatively cheap and available. A Voodoo card seems like a popular choice for the time period, but ive looked at those, and they seem to run north of $200. Suggestions?

Unless you want to play 3D accelerated games you could just get any random 2D PCI graphics card. If you want to play 3D accelerated games and don't care about Glide support then a Riva 128, Riva TNT, Rage 128 or Matrox G200 would be much cheaper for sure and offer good enough performance for that time period.

Reply 30 of 42, by Alistar1776

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
devius wrote on 2022-08-13, 18:04:
From your description it seems to be 2x72 pin SIMM slots actually, since no Pentium class motherboard had 30 pin SIMMS, and if t […]
Show full quote
Alistar1776 wrote on 2022-08-13, 16:13:

...one board has 2x30 pin simm slots, and two other memory slots, they take memory with two notches in them, i havent found what thats called. EDO? The other Socket 7 board has only 3 of the unknown to me double notch memory slots.

From your description it seems to be 2x72 pin SIMM slots actually, since no Pentium class motherboard had 30 pin SIMMS, and if they did they would require at least 8 of them. The other longer memory slots are for SDRAM DIMMs. Technically it's also possible to use EDO DIMMs, but I doubt you will find any easily.

Alistar1776 wrote on 2022-08-13, 16:13:

Im thinking a classic SB16 for sound, might be relatively cheap and available. A Voodoo card seems like a popular choice for the time period, but ive looked at those, and they seem to run north of $200. Suggestions?

Unless you want to play 3D accelerated games you could just get any random 2D PCI graphics card. If you want to play 3D accelerated games and don't care about Glide support then a Riva 128, Riva TNT, Rage 128 or Matrox G200 would be much cheaper for sure and offer good enough performance for that time period.

While i dont think I have any 3d games for Windows 95 right now, id like the capability there, should I find one that interests me. And thank you for the clarification on the memory.

Edit: Ive included pictures of the boards I have to choose from below.

Attachments

Reply 31 of 42, by devius

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Both seem to have some kind of onboard graphics solution. Do you have the breakout VGA cable for them? If you don't then the PCI interface will limit what you will be able to run in terms of 3D acceleration. Here are some options more or less in order of decreasing performance:

- GeForce 2 MX or GeForce 4 MX PCI
- Voodoo 2
- Riva TNT or Riva TNT2 PCI
- Rage 128 PCI
- Voodoo Banshee PCI
- Matrox G200 PCI
- S3 Virge/GX

The last option is only if you fail to find any of the others above it for a fair price, since it has pretty low 3D performance, but it can be an excellent choice for 2D.

Reply 32 of 42, by Alistar1776

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
devius wrote on 2022-08-14, 16:52:
Both seem to have some kind of onboard graphics solution. Do you have the breakout VGA cable for them? If you don't then the PCI […]
Show full quote

Both seem to have some kind of onboard graphics solution. Do you have the breakout VGA cable for them? If you don't then the PCI interface will limit what you will be able to run in terms of 3D acceleration. Here are some options more or less in order of decreasing performance:

- GeForce 2 MX or GeForce 4 MX PCI
- Voodoo 2
- Riva TNT or Riva TNT2 PCI
- Rage 128 PCI
- Voodoo Banshee PCI
- Matrox G200 PCI
- S3 Virge/GX

The last option is only if you fail to find any of the others above it for a fair price, since it has pretty low 3D performance, but it can be an excellent choice for 2D.

I do have a VGA breakout cable for them, and I did notice one of the boards has some kind of "3D" badging on the heatsink. maybe it has onboard 3D graphics? If so, that seems like it wouldve been a pretty high end board of the time

Reply 33 of 42, by devius

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Sorry to disappoint you, but PCChips motherboards are on the low end of the spectrum usually. However, that one that has a heatsink with "3D Pro" does seem to have a somewhat decent graphics solution, including dedicated memory. It's based on the SiS 6326 which should perform better than the S3 Virge/GX I mentioned before. Probably good enough to get you started on some Windows 95 games.

Fun fact: the other one with the SiS 530 chipset also has a 6326 graphics core, but it's integrated into the chipset and shares memory bandwith with the CPU, so it should perform worse than the one with the dedicated "3D Pro" solution.

Reply 34 of 42, by Alistar1776

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
devius wrote on 2022-08-14, 21:10:

Sorry to disappoint you, but PCChips motherboards are on the low end of the spectrum usually. However, that one that has a heatsink with "3D Pro" does seem to have a somewhat decent graphics solution, including dedicated memory. It's based on the SiS 6326 which should perform better than the S3 Virge/GX I mentioned before. Probably good enough to get you started on some Windows 95 games.

Fun fact: the other one with the SiS 530 chipset also has a 6326 graphics core, but it's integrated into the chipset and shares memory bandwith with the CPU, so it should perform worse than the one with the dedicated "3D Pro" solution.

Oh, i gotcha now. So the 3D Pro board would be the one to use for best graphical performance. So, the "PC100" on both boards. is that some kind of onboard system memory? I infer that from seeing for example my DDR 400mhz sticks say "PC3200" or other sticks saying "PC..." and whatever number.

Reply 35 of 42, by rasz_pl

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

you can safely treat all of the markings on those two boards as marketing at best, but usually just scam
- pcchips never did 'burnin 24h' of their boards, they were cheapest bottom of the barrel vendor

PCChips M590 https://theretroweb.com/motherboards/s/pcchips-m590
- there is nothing pro about 3Dpro on SiS 6326 https://vintage3d.org/sis.php
- there is nothing pro about soundpro, its cmi3300 https://www.karlsitretro.com/soundpro-ht1869v-review/
- PC100 is there to hide the fact they used sis chipset

PCChips M598LR https://theretroweb.com/motherboards/s/pcchip … -m598lr-m598lmr
- AGP 8M is pure scam, sis530 uses onboard ram shared with cpu https://www.manualslib.com/manual/1631872/Pc- … ?page=33#manual
- soundpro again rebadged https://www.philscomputerlab.com/c-media-cmi8738.html

Intel slot1/s370 variants of those boards (m7xx) were super unstable.
Huge plus - no fake cache this time around 😀

Reply 36 of 42, by Alistar1776

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
rasz_pl wrote on 2022-08-14, 23:08:
you can safely treat all of the markings on those two boards as marketing at best, but usually just scam - pcchips never did 'bu […]
Show full quote

you can safely treat all of the markings on those two boards as marketing at best, but usually just scam
- pcchips never did 'burnin 24h' of their boards, they were cheapest bottom of the barrel vendor

PCChips M590 https://theretroweb.com/motherboards/s/pcchips-m590
- there is nothing pro about 3Dpro on SiS 6326 https://vintage3d.org/sis.php
- there is nothing pro about soundpro, its cmi3300 https://www.karlsitretro.com/soundpro-ht1869v-review/
- PC100 is there to hide the fact they used sis chipset

PCChips M598LR https://theretroweb.com/motherboards/s/pcchip … -m598lr-m598lmr
- AGP 8M is pure scam, sis530 uses onboard ram shared with cpu https://www.manualslib.com/manual/1631872/Pc- … ?page=33#manual
- soundpro again rebadged https://www.philscomputerlab.com/c-media-cmi8738.html

Intel slot1/s370 variants of those boards (m7xx) were super unstable.
Huge plus - no fake cache this time around 😀

Greatly appreciate the info. It seems, according to the links you sent, the M598LR is the one to actually support my AMD K6-2 350, while the M590 doesnt have it in the support list. When I got the boards, they both had an AMD K6-2 in them, so im assuming some info is wrong. For sound, I intended on adding a sound card anyway. Something like a SB16, or AWE32. Tho, my next question is about the psu connections on these boards. There seems to be atx, and the older style connectors both. And i also have power supplies that have both connectors. Will they run on either or, or do both types of connections need to be plugged in?

Reply 37 of 42, by Rocket202

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
RandomStranger wrote on 2022-08-09, 06:47:

It's unlikely that if a game runs on Win95 it will have issues with W98. I see no practical reason to build a dedicated W95 machine.

im new in the retro scene but for example Earthworm jim special edition in windows 98 is not working in fullscreen, only in win95.

Probably sometimes depends the game needs workarounds like patches or use another software to fix the problem.
That happened to me with resident evil having to use an official patch. With POD i have an issue too and im just starting so I understand that this must be usual.

It is true that at the moment the few that I tried all work, and with the ms-dos games zero problems, no workarounds needed, just install and play.

Reply 38 of 42, by TrashPanda

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
Rocket202 wrote on 2022-08-15, 00:30:
im new in the retro scene but for example Earthworm jim special edition in windows 98 is not working in fullscreen, only in win9 […]
Show full quote
RandomStranger wrote on 2022-08-09, 06:47:

It's unlikely that if a game runs on Win95 it will have issues with W98. I see no practical reason to build a dedicated W95 machine.

im new in the retro scene but for example Earthworm jim special edition in windows 98 is not working in fullscreen, only in win95.

Probably sometimes depends the game needs workarounds like patches or use another software to fix the problem.
That happened to me with resident evil having to use an official patch. With POD i have an issue too and im just starting so I understand that this must be usual.

It is true that at the moment the few that I tried all work, and with the ms-dos games zero problems, no workarounds needed, just install and play.

If its one of the games in that crazy era where 3.11 was still at the top and Windows95 was just getting started there were a lot of games that used hacky workarounds to get them working under 95, where they still used 3.11 dll files which did actually work just fine under 95. But you take those games to 98 and it'll throw a fit due to the dll files or the game wont work quite as intended due to 98 having far less patience for the hacky work arounds that work under 95. (I have a cd full of early 95 shareware games that use 3.11 dll files and some of them work ok under 98 but it can be fun to get them running, others wont run at all or only partially)

Its a very small window of time, which is why I think its still a good idea to have a DOS/Win95 box if you want to explore these programs. (Pre OSR2 Win95 that is)

Oh noes, the cap let the shmooo out 😁

Reply 39 of 42, by devius

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Alistar1776 wrote on 2022-08-15, 00:26:

It seems, according to the links you sent, the M598LR is the one to actually support my AMD K6-2 350, while the M590 doesnt have it in the support list. When I got the boards, they both had an AMD K6-2 in them…

Sometimes support is added through BIOS updates and the manual could be for an older version. If it works and the CPU is detected correctly that’s all that matters.

Alistar1776 wrote on 2022-08-15, 00:26:

Tho, my next question is about the psu connections on these boards. There seems to be atx, and the older style connectors both. And i also have power supplies that have both connectors. Will they run on either or, or do both types of connections need to be plugged in?

You have to choose one connector type only, but either should work fine.