Retrogaming PC Suggestions

Emulation of old PCs, PC hardware, or PC peripherals.

Retrogaming PC Suggestions

Postby ktorpil » 2009-4-08 @ 01:27

Hi there fellas. I've been waiting for years to get my hands on a decent combat flight sim and with the release of Hawx, all my hopes are lost.

So I thought to myself, I've played some great games back in the old days. Let's go back to the past! And I started a retrogaming PC project.

After going through countless pentium 2s and 3s with bad motherboards, bad RAMS, bad cpu internals and all around 0% reliability, I decided to cannibalize a couple of old backup systems at my office and the oldest stable system I can think of (I'll look at the machines tomorrow morning) has a socket 478 pentium 4 and possibly DDR RAM.

So my rig will be:
An unknown make/model case with and unknown but possibly reliable 250-300W PSU
An Intel Pentium 4 something-around-2ghz CPU
512 or 256 MB DDR RAM (hopefully 256+256 so I can take one out)
3dfx Voodoo 3 3000 AGP graphics card (which I bought yesterday)
Creative SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 Digital sound card (the oldest one I had was a Live! Value and I remember the thing had an electrical leakage, or was it my 56k modem? 5.1 or value, It won't make a difference anyway)
40GB Samsung HDD
Philips 109B 19' CRT Monitor (image is a little less brighter and sharper then back in the day)
LG 52x24x52 CD-RW (I couldn't find any working Creative Infra drives, sorry! :D)
3.5 FDD (it wouldn't be complete without one!)
Microsoft optical value pack (bought back at 2002, still works perfectly, amazing!)
Microsoft SideWinder Force Feedback 2 (which is my favourite component of this rig)

There you have it in all it's glory. I can't be 100% sure about the case, CPU, board and RAM until tomorrow but all the other parts are ready and waiting to be installed.

Questions:
1- Of course I'll be using Win98SE as the OS but should I use DirectX 8 or 7 or 6? I've read a few things on the net and I know I must not update it to v9.
2- Will my CPU and RAM be too fast for old 3dfx glide games, such as Jane's series and Novalogic's games?
3- If yes, what can I do to solve this? Downclocking? A CPU time manipulation software (I heard that some exist but don't know any)?
4- Will the CPU and RAM be too fast for it to actually cause Win98 any problems?

Thanks for your interest, time and help!
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Re: Retrogaming PC Suggestions

Postby Davros » 2009-4-08 @ 04:30

longbow 2 does not like more than 366mb ram, the other janes sims should be ok
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Re: Retrogaming PC Suggestions

Postby gerwin » 2009-4-09 @ 09:24

ktorpil wrote:Hi there fellas. I've been waiting for years to get my hands on a decent combat flight sim and with the release of Hawx, all my hopes are lost.


Have you tried Wings over Vietnam/Europe/Israel Link ?
All games may seem a little plain on themselves, but you can manually merge them into one big combat flightsim (Fighters anthology style) if you want. It covers 1960 to 1985 air combat very well.
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Re: Retrogaming PC Suggestions

Postby Norton Commander » 2009-4-09 @ 12:08

I'm a big fan of the Jet Fighter series - the last one I played was JF4. Those screenshots of Wings over Vietnam look pretty good though :happy:

ktorpil wrote:So my rig will be:
An unknown make/model case with and unknown but possibly reliable 250-300W PSU
An Intel Pentium 4 something-around-2ghz CPU
512 or 256 MB DDR RAM (hopefully 256+256 so I can take one out)
3dfx Voodoo 3 3000 AGP graphics card (which I bought yesterday)
Creative SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 Digital sound card (the oldest one I had was a Live! Value and I remember the thing had an electrical leakage, or was it my 56k modem? 5.1 or value, It won't make a difference anyway)
40GB Samsung HDD
Philips 109B 19' CRT Monitor (image is a little less brighter and sharper then back in the day)
LG 52x24x52 CD-RW (I couldn't find any working Creative Infra drives, sorry! Very Happy)
3.5 FDD (it wouldn't be complete without one!)
Microsoft optical value pack (bought back at 2002, still works perfectly, amazing!)
Microsoft SideWinder Force Feedback 2 (which is my favourite component of this rig)


That's pretty retro except for the P4 2GHz :pppt:
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Re: Retrogaming PC Suggestions

Postby ktorpil » 2009-4-14 @ 16:47

All right everyone, GET READY for a looooooooooooooong post :)

It turns out the backup system had an ASUS CUV4X-C (most reliable p3 board, ever!) and an Intel Pentium III 866, yay!

So I went home, assembled the parts and fired it up. Installed win98 and started looking for drivers.

My first problem was with the ethernet card. It had only "Planet" written on the backplate. No model numbers or anything. So I went to the planet site and one by one installed each and every available driver. Finally one of them worked. Interestingly, it was a Realtek chipset driver, not Planet.

Than came the sound card. Creative, in all their wisdom, decided to delete all legacy driver packs out of their site so I googled an hour to find a CD image. Turns out the image was for a SB100 (I had a SB0220). So I googled for another hour and found another image. It didn't work also. (I think they were trying to break a record concerning how many different model numbers they can come up with on the exact same retail product name: Sound Blaster Live! 5.1) Finally I took the card out and installed a Live! Value (CT4670) and it worked. But the SB16 DOS emulation didn't. (Tried everything for an hour for this also). I'll stick to dosbox at my main computer for dos games for the moment.

The CD-RW was appearantly disfunctional, so I grabbed an IDE combo drive from my mom's rig (I doubt she uses it anyway).

Ditched the monitor because the damn thing was occupying so much space. Instead, hooked the video card into my T260's analog port. WOW! I never thought the Voodoo3 was able to output 1920x1200 :D So now I"m switching outputs whenever I want to use the other machine. Got 2 keyboards and mice on the desk.

Well the voodoo 3 is another story. I found a couple of official drivers on the net, but only a BETA one for DirectX 8, which I needed badly (I'll talk about it later). So I downloaded the last official one and DirectX 7.

Then came the joystick problem. And it's the worst by far:

First, after learning that Micro$oft removed the driver link of the SideWinder Force Feedback 2 from their hardware page, and googling for 2 hours for a driver, and finally finding a site only to learn that it"ll cost me 5 bucks to download it, I gave up, gone ahead to the local shop and bought a Logitech Force 3D Pro Whatever (after checking the manufacturer's site for win98 drivers of course). Sweet little thing! The FF2 was real old anyway, so I threw it out and plugged in the Logitech. BUT the installer told me I had to have at least DirectX 8 for the joystick to work properly, so it didn't install. Damn.

So I stormed outside, stopped the garbage trailer just in time, and shuffled through the filth like some wild animal for my joystick, among the confused looks of the garbagemen. Finally I found it, hurried home, gave 5 bucks and downloaded the driver, and.. and...aaaaand the damn thing didn't work. Did it somehow got damaged when I put it in the garbage? Or was it already dead for a few years because of the idling, dust and all that?
We will never know. I threw it out again the next day.

Me and my brother got the microsoft joysticks together way back. I got the FF2, he got the Precision 2 (same design, lighter but no force feedback). So I called him to ask if he still had it. Well, he had :) So I got the precision 2 from him and plugged it in. Finally, I now have a working -but not FF- joystick on my retro gaming rig.
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Re: Retrogaming PC Suggestions

Postby prophase_j » 2009-4-14 @ 19:43

Congratations on getting your system together! I share your feelings on the lack of quality flight sims out there. I guess they just don't have a place in today's world of shoot'em ups and button mashers. That P3 you ended up with actually will make a nice fit for what your going to use it for. P4's are less efficient for the older games clock for clock.. and if you really needed that kind of power your better off with an Athlon based system anyway.
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Re: Retrogaming PC Suggestions

Postby BloodyBandage » 2009-5-13 @ 01:14

Closest I've come is Warhawk for PS3 (okay start laughing)...There really is a lack of quality flight simulations, or flying based games in general.
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Re: Retrogaming PC Suggestions

Postby Davros » 2009-5-13 @ 17:00

ms ff joystick software + patch for via chipsets
http://web.archive.org/web/200304171932 ... nloads.asp
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Re: Retrogaming PC Suggestions

Postby ktorpil » 2009-10-04 @ 20:18

Davros wrote:ms ff joystick software + patch for via chipsets
http://web.archive.org/web/200304171932 ... nloads.asp


I've been away for a while and couldn't see your reply but thanks anyway :) Also my SideWinder FF2 died. I was sure of it. No driver/software issues.
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Re: Retrogaming PC Suggestions

Postby WolverineDK » 2009-10-04 @ 20:26

While we are at it, isn't there a thread here with dos soundblaster drivers with a megaupload link to the drivers ?

viewtopic.php?t=20786&highlight=#152531
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Re: Retrogaming PC Suggestions

Postby PowerPie5000 » 2009-10-04 @ 23:31

ktorpil wrote:Than came the sound card. Creative, in all their wisdom, decided to delete all legacy driver packs out of their site


Hope this link helps: http://support.creative.com/Products/product_list.aspx?catID=1&CatName=Sound+Blaster#

Just click on "Live!" and it comes up with drivers for all models :cool:
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Re: Retrogaming PC Suggestions

Postby Old Thrashbarg » 2009-10-05 @ 01:49

Turns out the image was for a SB100 (I had a SB0220).


The SB0220 is one of the Dell OEM cards, which is labeled as a Live! card, looks like a Live! card, but is not an actual Live! card. It uses a different, horribly stripped-down DSP chip. Nothing works on those Dell cards except the Dell-specific drivers.

All I can say is, don't even bother spending another minute of your time on that card. It's not worth it.
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Re: Retrogaming PC Suggestions

Postby Jorpho » 2009-10-05 @ 18:11

ktorpil wrote:I know I must not update it to v9.
Whatever gave you that idea?

As for slowdown utilities, I like to recommend Throttle.
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Re: Retrogaming PC Suggestions

Postby swaaye » 2009-10-05 @ 19:08

Old Thrashbarg wrote:The SB0220 ... looks like a Live! card

It looks more like a AudioPCI, IMO. The little DSP chip is the reason.
These cards work ok, they just suck down the CPU power cuz they do everything in software.

I put a pic up of one on Wikipedia, alongside a regular Live!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_Blaster_Live!
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