Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

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Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby Auron359 » 2018-7-13 @ 18:58

Hi everyone, hope this is the right section for this as I am running out of places to find decent advice.

Digging around my room I uncovered an old game called "My Teacher Is An Alien" which i remember fondly back in the 90s. Sadly like most old games it wont work on new hardware, even emulating windows 98 doesn't work right. Back in the day I owned a Packard Bell Club 30 PC with a Cyrix MII 300 CPU, 2.1 GB HDD, 32 MB RAM and 24x CD-ROM Drive.

So my problem is where do i start :S
I have been told by different people that i should either make a Pentium 2 or a Pentium 3 machine wish at least one ISA slot for DOS games (never used DOS)
Problem is while is it rather easy to find those CPU's for sale on Ebay, motherboards on the other hand are a different story. I basically have no idea what to look for or what is even considered a good brand for the time.

As for DOS while i never used it back in the day, it is something i wouldn't mind looking into. Games like System shock, Quest for glory and Kings quest are games I never got to play. While yes you can get these games on GOG and steam now but I prefer to use actual hardware is possible.
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby tegrady » 2018-7-13 @ 20:04

My recommendations:
OS: Windows 98 SE. Windows ME messed with the DOS component, which, as far as I know, can lead to compatibility issues with DOS games.
Motherboard: any 440BX motherboard with an ISA slot. Asus is generally considered one of the better manufacturers, but most of them are fine.
CPU: Pentium 3. I personally prefer Slot 1 CPU's just because they are so much cooler than Socket 370. I have not noticed much of a difference between a P3 450 and P3 800 for most mid to late 90's DOS games, but faster is usually better.
RAM: 512mb of PC100 SDRAM. Windows 98 can only recognize up to 512 mb of RAM, so, even if your motherboard supports more RAM, don't go past 512mb as the computer will likely crash during startup.
Video Card: 3dfx Voodoo 3, 4 or 5 (5 is the best, but it goes for about $100 to $150).
Sound Card: Sound Blaster AWE 64 (my go-to DOS card), Sound Blaster 16 is also pretty good, or any other Sound Blaster compatible ISA card. Do not go with a PCI sound card for DOS.
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby Qjimbo » 2018-7-13 @ 20:21

In addition to tegrady's recommendations which are pretty spot on, I'd also recommend checking out old computer brands. Check your local craigslist and ebay for an old Compaq presario/deskpro, HP Vectra, IBM Activa, and others. It's probably the easiest way to jump right into retro computing as the work has already been done for you. You may want to replace the power supply though as these can go pop any time.
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby dr_st » 2018-7-13 @ 20:27

You're really going to go through the pain of building an old PC just to play one measly game that you found by chance, and obviously did not miss for the last 20 years or so?

Running Win9x through emulation or maybe even virtualization is likely to cause much less headache.
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby Auron359 » 2018-7-13 @ 20:58

dr_st wrote:You're really going to go through the pain of building an old PC just to play one measly game that you found by chance, and obviously did not miss for the last 20 years or so?

Running Win9x through emulation or maybe even virtualization is likely to cause much less headache.


Well no it is not just for one game, it is also down to nostalgia. I was 11 years old in 1999 playing Age Of Empires II (how do you turn this on) :lol:
Also living in a rural area you were lucky just to own a PC let alone know about what games to get. Everyone was more into PlayStation than PC's here :(

I have tried Virtualization but results are hit and miss, most of the time it is the graphics or sound that decides to cause problems while other games just crash after a while :depressed:

In the end I prefer actual hardware over emulation, this is why I own every console I have ever used since using a PS3 for PS2/PS1 games just doesn't feel right.
The oldest computer I have at the moment is an Powermac G5 Quad from 2005.
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby Auron359 » 2018-7-14 @ 01:40

tegrady wrote:My recommendations:
OS: Windows 98 SE. Windows ME messed with the DOS component, which, as far as I know, can lead to compatibility issues with DOS games.
Motherboard: any 440BX motherboard with an ISA slot. Asus is generally considered one of the better manufacturers, but most of them are fine.
CPU: Pentium 3. I personally prefer Slot 1 CPU's just because they are so much cooler than Socket 370. I have not noticed much of a difference between a P3 450 and P3 800 for most mid to late 90's DOS games, but faster is usually better.
RAM: 512mb of PC100 SDRAM. Windows 98 can only recognize up to 512 mb of RAM, so, even if your motherboard supports more RAM, don't go past 512mb as the computer will likely crash during startup.
Video Card: 3dfx Voodoo 3, 4 or 5 (5 is the best, but it goes for about $100 to $150).
Sound Card: Sound Blaster AWE 64 (my go-to DOS card), Sound Blaster 16 is also pretty good, or any other Sound Blaster compatible ISA card. Do not go with a PCI sound card for DOS.


Thanks for the detailed recommendations :blush:
I found an ASUS P3B-F MOTHER BOARD i440BX which supports Pentium II and III New in box. £100-£110
Pentium III Processor 1GHz, 256K Cache, 133 MHz .. £10
As for the video card..man Voodoo is just a no go in the UK. Both Voodoo 4-5 go for £150-£300 on Ebay with the Voodoo 3 not far behind that.
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby canthearu » 2018-7-14 @ 01:55

Depending on what programs you are planning on running, I have found the Geforce 4 mx cards to be cheap and easy to get. Maybe not exactly the same era, but very much like the old geforce and geforce 2 cards.

As an alternative to voodoo cards.
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby Auron359 » 2018-7-14 @ 02:04

canthearu wrote:Depending on what programs you are planning on running, I have found the Geforce 4 mx cards to be cheap and easy to get. Maybe not exactly the same era, but very much like the old geforce and geforce 2 cards.

As an alternative to voodoo cards.


Well for DOS I want to dive into all the RPG games i missed out on, Quest for glory, kings quest, Ultima. Whatever I can get my hands on really.
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby canthearu » 2018-7-14 @ 02:17

The Nvidia TNT/TNT2 through to geforce 4 have pretty good DOS EGA and VGA compatibility. You will be able to get good results for most DOS games on these, even the tricky ones.

Biggest issue will be that some games do not like the faster Pentium 2 and 3 processors. Will need to work out a way of slowing it down.

This also means that you have to be careful with your sound card selection, as a lot of PCI cards that support DOS gaming stop working properly if you start slowing your CPU down. The suggestion for an ISA card based on the SB16 or AWE64 is a good one, I'll also add the option of an ESS audiodrive 1868 or 1869 ISA card into the mix, as they can be gotten inexpensively and are good for old style DOS gaming.
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby Auron359 » 2018-7-14 @ 02:42

canthearu wrote:The Nvidia TNT/TNT2 through to geforce 4 have pretty good DOS EGA and VGA compatibility. You will be able to get good results for most DOS games on these, even the tricky ones.

Biggest issue will be that some games do not like the faster Pentium 2 and 3 processors. Will need to work out a way of slowing it down.

This also means that you have to be careful with your sound card selection, as a lot of PCI cards that support DOS gaming stop working properly if you start slowing your CPU down. The suggestion for an ISA card based on the SB16 or AWE64 is a good one, I'll also add the option of an ESS audiodrive 1868 or 1869 ISA card into the mix, as they can be gotten inexpensively and are good for old style DOS gaming.



From what I have heard it is only early DOS games that run either to fast or to slow depending on the CPU speed. Considering how cheap the P3 slot 1's are I could just different speeds and see what one is best.
Honestly any motherboard with an ISA slot in the UK seams to be at a premium, unless it is a Dell which is useless as they are never standard layouts so wont fit in my case.
I actually not long ago watched PhilsComputerLab do a review of the ESS audiodrive ES1868.

I was on the edge of just giving up on a P2 or P3 machine due to price and parts in the UK and just settle for a P4 machine with bad PCI dos sound seeing as how cheap it is.
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby canthearu » 2018-7-14 @ 02:57

Yeah, it is mostly the older games that suffered this.

If you get an ESS ISA card, be sure to turn OFF the onboard amplifier. They tend make the card sound like crap.
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby tegrady » 2018-7-14 @ 13:24

Auron359 wrote:
tegrady wrote:My recommendations:
OS: Windows 98 SE. Windows ME messed with the DOS component, which, as far as I know, can lead to compatibility issues with DOS games.
Motherboard: any 440BX motherboard with an ISA slot. Asus is generally considered one of the better manufacturers, but most of them are fine.
CPU: Pentium 3. I personally prefer Slot 1 CPU's just because they are so much cooler than Socket 370. I have not noticed much of a difference between a P3 450 and P3 800 for most mid to late 90's DOS games, but faster is usually better.
RAM: 512mb of PC100 SDRAM. Windows 98 can only recognize up to 512 mb of RAM, so, even if your motherboard supports more RAM, don't go past 512mb as the computer will likely crash during startup.
Video Card: 3dfx Voodoo 3, 4 or 5 (5 is the best, but it goes for about $100 to $150).
Sound Card: Sound Blaster AWE 64 (my go-to DOS card), Sound Blaster 16 is also pretty good, or any other Sound Blaster compatible ISA card. Do not go with a PCI sound card for DOS.


Thanks for the detailed recommendations :blush:
I found an ASUS P3B-F MOTHER BOARD i440BX which supports Pentium II and III New in box. £100-£110
Pentium III Processor 1GHz, 256K Cache, 133 MHz .. £10
As for the video card..man Voodoo is just a no go in the UK. Both Voodoo 4-5 go for £150-£300 on Ebay with the Voodoo 3 not far behind that.


I believe that the Asus P3B-F motherboard only supports 100 Mhz FSB. Therefore, the Pentium 3 with 133 Mhz FSB will likely not work. Look for a Pentium 3 with the 100 Mhz FSB.
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby Auron359 » 2018-7-14 @ 14:32

tegrady wrote:
Auron359 wrote:
tegrady wrote:My recommendations:
OS: Windows 98 SE. Windows ME messed with the DOS component, which, as far as I know, can lead to compatibility issues with DOS games.
Motherboard: any 440BX motherboard with an ISA slot. Asus is generally considered one of the better manufacturers, but most of them are fine.
CPU: Pentium 3. I personally prefer Slot 1 CPU's just because they are so much cooler than Socket 370. I have not noticed much of a difference between a P3 450 and P3 800 for most mid to late 90's DOS games, but faster is usually better.
RAM: 512mb of PC100 SDRAM. Windows 98 can only recognize up to 512 mb of RAM, so, even if your motherboard supports more RAM, don't go past 512mb as the computer will likely crash during startup.
Video Card: 3dfx Voodoo 3, 4 or 5 (5 is the best, but it goes for about $100 to $150).
Sound Card: Sound Blaster AWE 64 (my go-to DOS card), Sound Blaster 16 is also pretty good, or any other Sound Blaster compatible ISA card. Do not go with a PCI sound card for DOS.


Thanks for the detailed recommendations :blush:
I found an ASUS P3B-F MOTHER BOARD i440BX which supports Pentium II and III New in box. £100-£110
Pentium III Processor 1GHz, 256K Cache, 133 MHz .. £10
As for the video card..man Voodoo is just a no go in the UK. Both Voodoo 4-5 go for £150-£300 on Ebay with the Voodoo 3 not far behind that.


I believe that the Asus P3B-F motherboard only supports 100 Mhz FSB. Therefore, the Pentium 3 with 133 Mhz FSB will likely not work. Look for a Pentium 3 with the 100 Mhz FSB.


Looking on the Asus website it shows it supports all P3 (slot 1) processors all the way up to 1 GHZ if it is REV 1.04. Besides that it seam it will take 600 Mhz without an issue.
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby PARKE » 2018-7-14 @ 15:28

Coppermine 1Ghz/133 will normally run fine on an ASUS P3B-F revision 1.04. But you should be aware that this is an overclock scenario. Your AGP will run on 89Mhz (133*2/3) instead of 66Mhz but most later videocards like Gf4 etc. have no problem with that. And you better get some pc 133 SDRAM because pc 100 SDRAM will be overclocked too. The P3B-F does in my experience not like pc 133 sticks with chips on only one side so that is another issue to watch out for.
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby Auron359 » 2018-7-14 @ 15:58

PARKE wrote:Coppermine 1Ghz/133 will normally run fine on an ASUS P3B-F revision 1.04. But you should be aware that this is an overclock scenario. Your AGP will run on 89Mhz (133*2/3) instead of 66Mhz but most later videocards like Gf4 etc. have no problem with that. And you better get some pc 133 SDRAM because pc 100 SDRAM will be overclocked too. The P3B-F does in my experience not like pc 133 sticks with chips on only one side so that is another issue to watch out for.


Ah good to know, I only got into Pc building when LGA 1366 came about. looking at 90s parts it seams like so more issues with compatibility and brands that no longer exist.
Oh yea being that these parts are rather old should I be worried about swollen or dead capacitors ?
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby PARKE » 2018-7-15 @ 01:08

The ASUS P2/P3 are extremely well documented, you can find pretty much all you need to know for regular use on this site:
http://homepage.hispeed.ch/rscheidegger ... e_faq.html

Various BIOS versions with descriptions can still be found here:
ftp://ftp.tekwind.co.jp/pub/asustw/mb/s ... 0bx/p3b-f/

The P3B-F has a good reputation In regard to caps as far as I know; and both my boards are still fine. But they are 20 years old now so it is maybe something to keep an eye on.
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby Auron359 » 2018-7-15 @ 18:31

PARKE wrote:The ASUS P2/P3 are extremely well documented, you can find pretty much all you need to know for regular use on this site:
http://homepage.hispeed.ch/rscheidegger ... e_faq.html

Various BIOS versions with descriptions can still be found here:
ftp://ftp.tekwind.co.jp/pub/asustw/mb/s ... 0bx/p3b-f/

The P3B-F has a good reputation In regard to caps as far as I know; and both my boards are still fine. But they are 20 years old now so it is maybe something to keep an eye on.


Well I have been looking at the Rev 1.04 versions of the P3B-F about found some two ISA slots while others have just one, do I need two ISA slots ??
Also .. just found someone selling one with a Pentium 3 1 Ghz CPU in a slot 1 converter for about £80 showing it running fine and stable :S
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby ATauenis » 2018-7-16 @ 09:02

PARKE wrote:The P3B-F has a good reputation In regard to caps as far as I know; and both my boards are still fine. But they are 20 years old now so it is maybe something to keep an eye on.

P3B-F is really cool motherboard, but I had experienced capacitor blowing on it and was forced to replace them. Now the board is working perfectly even with 133 MHz CPUs (and with 88 MHz AGP clock), including overclock conditions on 100 MHz CPUs at 133 MHz bus.

PARKE wrote:The P3B-F does in my experience not like pc 133 sticks with chips on only one side so that is another issue to watch out for.

The P3B-F have similar RAM stick compatibility with all other 440BX motherboards. It can use up to 4 256 MB sticks but they're must be filled by chips with no more than 16 MByte density. This means that 256 MB modules should have 16 chips on themself and 128 MB should be 8 or 16 chip. Modules with higher density (and then less amount of chips) will be seen as small size. With the right RAM it will work with top 133 MHz CPUs correctly.

Auron359 wrote:do I need two ISA slots ??

Probably the second ISA slot might be helpful for hardware testing. I.e. to install an old Ethernet or ARCnet card to see if it is still working or to define they jumper settings when no documentation is found in internet (I've used P3B-F and Win98 SE to configure a 8-bit Ethernet card before it was installed to XT PC, as the card was NE1000-compatible but jumpers on it was unknown and Win98's "Add New Hardware wizard" helped me very much).

tegrady wrote:My recommendations:
OS: Windows 98 SE. Windows ME messed with the DOS component, which, as far as I know, can lead to compatibility issues with DOS games.

WinME have disabled real-mode DOS, only MS-DOS Prompt windows are available to run DOS apps. It's still possible to patch the kernel and get the Command Prompt Only Mode (the real mode DOS) back in the startup menu, but the DOS will be not such classic as in Win98SE due to HIMEM.sys integrated into DOS kernel. Also it will be still impossible to exit from Windows to DOS and then relaunch GUI from Start Menu or PIF files. Windows 98SE is better for DOS games and apps. Windows ME is better for multimedia, internet browsing (in past :) ) and some stupid home users. But almost all benefits of ME can be installed to 98 too.
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby PARKE » 2018-7-16 @ 15:14

Auron359 wrote:Also .. just found someone selling one with a Pentium 3 1 Ghz CPU in a slot 1 converter for about £80 showing it running fine and stable :S

>>
>>
If that is in your budget range it is not a bad choice imo.
The cpu is a 133 version:
[[Asus P3B-F motherboard with Pentium III 1 GHz SL52R CPU in Slot 1 converter 512 MB RAM and cooler. Tested working well (see the pictures).]]
(edit)
Maybe make an offer, you never know.
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Re: Windows 98SE / ME Build with DOS..Maybe

Postby dionb » 2018-7-16 @ 15:42

Auron359 wrote:[...]

Well I have been looking at the Rev 1.04 versions of the P3B-F about found some two ISA slots while others have just one, do I need two ISA slots ??
Also .. just found someone selling one with a Pentium 3 1 Ghz CPU in a slot 1 converter for about £80 showing it running fine and stable :S

That's a bit more like it :)

But can probably do a lot better than that price-wise - take a look on amibay.com, you'll find BX boards for < EUR 45, I recently sold an Asus P2B (admittedly an old revision not supporting Coppermine CPUs) there for all of EUR 15.

As for whether you need more than one ISA slot... depends on how far you want to take this retro stuff. You can get away with no ISA at all with some ESS, Ensoniq and Yamaha PCI cards, but generally for DOS sound an ISA card is easiest and best. Now, most regular cards out there do fine AdLib, Soundblaster 2.0 and Soundblaster Pro 2.0 emulation which covers pretty much what anyone would normally have had back in the day. But there are niche cards out there that do a lot more but have limited support - things like the Soundblaster16/32/64/AWE cards (which do NOT support SBPro...), Gravis Ultrasound, ProAudio Spectrum to name but a few. If you want one of those cards, you almost certainly want a 'normal' SBPro (clone) next to it for the 90% of games that don't use the special sauce. So then you need a second ISA slot. Hell, you might even do two of those exotic cards next to a regular one - then you would need three (which the Asus P2B (non-F) could supply; late revisions even support Coppermine). But this way lies madness.... if you're just getting into the retro thing, familiarize yourself with a nice simple period system before you start going crazy on the corner cases. It's more fun having something simple that works and that you understand than something with epic bragging rights - that you haven't got a clue how to truly use ;)
(also, that fancy stuff can get seriously expensive- you really don't want to start with that until you know what stuff is worth and where to find good prices)
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