VOGONS


First post, by 2Mourty

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I am building a vintage pc for all my old games (my wife thinks I'm nuts) Anyways here are the parts I am in the process of buying:

Asus p5a motherboard
AMD K6 3+ 450ACZ (mobile version) processor
Geforce 256 AGP 32 MB ram
2 Voodoo 2's in SLI configuration
Roland MPU-401 AT w/ Sound Canvas SCB-55 daughterboard
Soundblaster Live 5.1
128mb Ram

Those are the main specs. I want a Geforoce 256 because it is the last nvidia card with great 2d support. The Voodoo 2's in sli are for my old glide games that the Voodoo 3-5 do not support, ie Mechwarrior 2 3dfx and Need for speed 2 SE, the Geforce can handle any other old windows games I will use on it. The Soundblaster Live shows the dual purpose of this system. I want eax sound in the few windows games I will play on the system. I have heard that this AMD processor is a great one for old games because I can underclock it when I need to play ancient dos games. I would like a 486 rig and this rig, but I'm a choir teacher and short on money. Also can anybody reccomend a good case for this system. I have the impression that this board is quite helpful, and I eager to here what advice you guys have to help me on this project. thankyou!

PS-One more thing. I was going to install Windows 95 OSR2 on this system, with Dos 7 for dos games, is this optimal or would windows 98 be a better choice, I'm leaning towards the win95 OS for nostalgia's sake.

Reply 1 of 32, by 5u3

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Hi, and welcome to the forums!

2Mourty wrote:

Asus p5a motherboard
AMD K6 3+ 450ACZ (mobile version) processor

These are both very good parts, but unfortunately they do not play well together. As far as I know only the early revisions of the P5A work with a K6-3+, and you'll need a beta BIOS.

If you're searching a good K6 2/3+ compatible board, take a look at King V's compatibility list.
Generally, boards with the VIA MVP3/4 chipset are better for K6 2/3+ processors than ALI Aladdin V boards. On the other hand, Aladdin V boards are very fast and stable with the "classic" K6-III CPUs.

2Mourty wrote:

I have heard that this AMD processor is a great one for old games because I can underclock it when I need to play ancient dos games.

That's correct, but the acheivable clock range may not reach low enough to be useful in some cases.
For example, the lowest you can go with a P5A/K6-III is 150 MHz (60x2.5). This is already too fast for many very old DOS games, and you'll still have to use software slowdown tools.

A K6 machine with 3dfx graphics is most useful for games that came out between 1995 and 2000. If you want to focus on older games, a 486 or early Pentium would be more suited, for Windows 9x games I'd recommend a Pentium3 or Socket A system.

Also, you will need a Soundblaster-compatible card for the ISA bus, because the SB Live doesn't work with many DOS games, especially the later ones.

Reply 2 of 32, by 2Mourty

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Thank you for the quick reply, I really appreciate it. I wish I had known some of this information earlier, oh well. It looks like I may have lucked out. The board I bought is revision 1.04 which is the version that works with the beta bios. I have to decide if I want to tinker and get it working or go for another motherboard, or just purchase a classic k6-3. I guess for this my first rig (sheesh I hate the limiting factor of money) I will focus on the games from the 1995-2000 category. I have lots of dos and win95 games from that era that just don't run well on modern machines. (The Dig, Descent, Wing Commander 3, Wing Commander 4, Wing Commander Propehcy Need for Speed 4, Redguard, Mechwarrior 2, lots of the classics, and most of them have 3dfx glide support. I just managed to pick up the Mechwarrior 3dfx version by accident for 2 dollars.) I do really hope that I can get my quest for glory anthology working on this rig though, that is what got me into gaming in the first place. I am working on a quest for glory avatar right now.

Instead of the "Roland MPU-401 AT w/ Sound Canvas SCB-55 daughterboard" setup I am going (for money reasons) to go for a soundblaster 16 with a Yamaha db50xg daughtercard for right now. I can get that for cheaper. Of course I will continue to fill in my remaining isa slot with the scb-55 when I can get one. I am also looking at getting an original mt-32 for all of my lucasarts and sierra games. Again thank you for quick reply and any thoughts on the Win95 OSR2 vs. Win98 SE?

Reply 3 of 32, by 2Mourty

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Well I got my sb16 and midi daughter board. The one I purchased was the db60xg, with shipping it was 54 dollars, a good deal I thought. Are there any drastic differences between the db60xg and the db50xg? I have also heard that a matrox g400 has absolutely wonderful 2d quality and they can be good for older machines. Is this true, or is my plan with the geforce 256 the better route to go? Again thankyou for any feedback in advance!

Reply 4 of 32, by dh4rm4

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The G400/G200 Matrox cards were not as good as the Mystique for 2D. The G series were more Windows centric and sometimes their BIOS VESA modes didn't work so well. The Mystique never had such issues as it was a chipset/card built for DOS gaming and excellent 2D performance (with S3 ViRGe- beating 3D speedwise if not for features - lack of texture filtering).

The Geforce 256 wasn't so simple to pin down for 2D DOS performance - in classic nVidia style performance and stability varied from vendor to vendor. ASUS cards had particularly peculiar BIOSes with no VESA support, no 320x200 support but hardware composite video input included (which was only supported in two custom-coded ASUS Windows drivers and wasn't even acknowledged by nVidia).

Who makes your GF256?

Reply 5 of 32, by 2Mourty

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Unfortunately I don't know the manufacturer. It's a Dell OEM part so it could have been made by anybody. I can get another one if I need to they are cheap enough on eBay, which manufacturers made cards with good 2d quality?

Reply 6 of 32, by 5u3

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2Mourty wrote:

The board I bought is revision 1.04 which is the version that works with the beta bios. I have to decide if I want to tinker and get it working or go for another motherboard, or just purchase a classic k6-3.

If you've already got a K6-3+, it wouldn't be worth getting a classic K6-III instead. Also, the + version is easier to cool and you can change the multiplier on the fly via software utilities.
In case you want to run older DOS titles, you could also buy an old Pentium I CPU (the P5A supports Pentiums down to the P90).

2Mourty wrote:

Well I got my sb16 and midi daughter board. The one I purchased was the db60xg, with shipping it was 54 dollars, a good deal I thought. Are there any drastic differences between the db60xg and the db50xg?

Congratulations! No, there aren't any important differences between these two daughterboards, at least from a gamer's point of view.

2Mourty wrote:

I have also heard that a matrox g400 has absolutely wonderful 2d quality and they can be good for older machines. Is this true, or is my plan with the geforce 256 the better route to go?

The Matrox Millenium and Gxxx cards are good for Windows and have unmatched signal quality, but unfortunately they are worthless for old DOS games. Not only they have problems with certain VESA modes, they also fail in VGA/ModeX and EGA games.
A classic NVidia card would be a much better choice. It's true that some of their BIOSes have buggy VESA modes, but most of them are OK.
If you are using the P5A board, do not get those fast TNT2/GeForce2 Ultra variants, they may need more power than the AGP slot on the P5A can provide.
I'd suggest trying out the Dell OEM GeForce you already have, if it doesn't work, I recommend a GeForce2 MX (these are cheap, need little power and usually have a decent VGA signal).

Reply 7 of 32, by 2Mourty

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I'll try my original card, hopefully it works, so here is an update of my specs:

Asus p5a motherboard rev. 1.04 compatible with
AMD K6 3+ 450ACZ (mobile version) processor
Geforce 256 AGP 32 MB ram
2 Voodoo 2's in SLI configuration Brand new in box
Soundblaster 16 with db60xg
SCC-1 Card
Soundblaster Live 5.1
128mb Ram

That's right! I just won an auction for an SCC-1 for $44!! I should be covered as far as music goes, and that is important to me because I am a Choir teacher and thus a music freak. I should probably get a pci soundcard to mount the db60xg to to avoid conflicts. Anybody know a good cheap pci soundcard I can mount the db60xg daughterboard to. I wish my soundblaster live 5.1 could accept it, but I can't see a waveblaster header on it. Again thank you for the help!
😁

Reply 8 of 32, by 5u3

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2Mourty wrote:

I just won an auction for an SCC-1 for $44!!

Congratulations! Nice price for a SCC-1 indeed. 😉
If you want to further expand your synth collection, you could also get a MT-32 and connect it to the SCC-1 MIDI OUT.

2Mourty wrote:

I should probably get a pci soundcard to mount the db60xg to avoid conflicts. Anybody know a good cheap pci soundcard I can mount the db60xg daughterboard to.

Hmm, it should be possible to configure all your current soundcards without conflicts. However, if you've got one of the SB16s with a buggy MIDI interface, buying a PCI card with waveblaster connector might be a good idea.

Reply 9 of 32, by 2Mourty

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Well, still waiting for a few parts to arrive in the mail, and I am going out of town for a week, so when I get back I'll throw it together and let you guys know how it is going!

Thank you for the help!

Reply 11 of 32, by 2Mourty

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Well, I have thrown it all together, and it is awesome! All of my old sierra games sound amazingly good. Of course, when I played through them all I only had a sb16, amazing what a scc-1 does for them. FF7's soundtrack sounds amazing with the db60xg daughterboard, and with the voodoo2 setup it looks great without any garbled text and other annoying graphical glitches. I do not seem to have the hanging note problems. The version of the dsp on my soundcard is 4.12, but I have the opl3 chip on my sb16 board so that must keep me notes from hanging. Tie Fighter Cd-rom collector's edition is amazing with it's midi soundtrack in its full glory and a cpu that can run it's 640x480 mode without breaking a sweat. Thank you for the help guys this is vintage gaming nirvana. It will take a few days, but I'll post a picture or two so you can take a look at the rig and make fun of the old ibm server case I stuck it in. Again thank you for the help.

PS-I even got system shock 1 working! I don't think I have ever seen it work outside of dosbox running smoothly at 640x480! Now I have to decide if the scc-1 or the db60xg sounds better for the music. What a problem to have! =)

Reply 12 of 32, by pianoman72

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Congratulations, enjoy the wonderful retro system! Oh, and I would definitely go for the Yamaha daughterboard while playing System Shock. I tried both SCC-1 and DB50XG, and subjectively I prefer the fuller, rich bass sound of the Yamaha's orchestral tones.

Reply 13 of 32, by fillosaurus

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Oh well, I have 2 older PeeCees at home, along with a plethora of components (ISA, PCI and VLB video cards, ISA and PCI sound cards.
Me main oldie is an IBM PC 330; i got it for free with a Pentium 133 cpu, 32 Mb EDO RAM; right noo it is a Pentium MMX 200, with 64 Mb RAM and a 4 Gb Fujitsu HDD. It has onboard graphics, but I inserted a PCI graphic card with 2 Mb RAM and TV/o. As for soundcards I can choose btw SB 16 Vibra, SB 32 PnP, SB AWE 64, SB Live!, 2 cards with Aureal Vortex chipset, a Gravis Ultrasound ACE and several SB Pro compatibles (mostly with Crystal chipset).
For my 486 rigs I have 33, 66, 80, 100, 133 Mhz cpu's along with 2 motherboards, 8 Mb of RAM for one, 16 for the other, 2x2 Gb SCSI HDD's, CD-ROM 24x SCSI Pioneer, some VLB videocards (Tseng, S3 and Cirrus Logic) (1 and 2 Mb). Oh well maybe I'll buy back my nVidia RIVA 128 from the friend I sold it to. It has 4 Mb SGRAM and video I/O.

Voodoo box: Celeron 800 MHz, 512 Mb SDRAM, Voodoo 3 3000 AGP, 80 Gig Seagate, Yamaha OPL3 SAx 718+NEC XR 385, SoundBlaster Live!, NEC USB 2.0 PCI card.
WIP: external midi module based on NEC wavetable (Yamaha clone); VLB 486

Reply 14 of 32, by 2Mourty

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Really old post, but I have updated my rig and decided to update the post. My ss7 asus motherboard fried itself. Not sure how but oh well. Until I have the money to build my perfect P75 machine for dos games 1993 and older I decided to build a newer machine that could run some of my older games in dosbox, but still run my old windows glide games flawlessly. Here are the specs:

ASUS CUBX Motherboard Socket 370
1 GHZ Pentium III Coppermine
Nvidia 4200 TI
2 Voodoo 2's in SLI configuration
Aureal Vortex2 Superquad 2500 with a
DB60xg on the waveblaster header
AWE64 Gold
SCC-1A ISA Card
CM-32L

My old games still run great in dosbox or with slo'mo and I also use this rig to run my a3d games. NWN 1 has a3d 2.0 support and sounds amazing on this rig. Quest for Glory 4 runs great without Dosbox and now just working on getting Mechwarrior 2 3dfx up and running. FF7 runs great and sounds amazing with the dbxg60 daughtercard.

In many ways this is kind of a vain post..... so thanks for reading!

Reply 15 of 32, by Fender_178

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2Mourty wrote:
Really old post, but I have updated my rig and decided to update the post. My ss7 asus motherboard fried itself. Not sure how […]
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Really old post, but I have updated my rig and decided to update the post. My ss7 asus motherboard fried itself. Not sure how but oh well. Until I have the money to build my perfect P75 machine for dos games 1993 and older I decided to build a newer machine that could run some of my older games in dosbox, but still run my old windows glide games flawlessly. Here are the specs:

ASUS CUBX Motherboard Socket 370
1 GHZ Pentium III Coppermine
Nvidia 4200 TI
2 Voodoo 2's in SLI configuration
Aureal Vortex2 Superquad 2500 with a
DB60xg on the waveblaster header
AWE64 Gold
SCC-1A ISA Card
CM-32L

My old games still run great in dosbox or with slo'mo and I also use this rig to run my a3d games. NWN 1 has a3d 2.0 support and sounds amazing on this rig. Quest for Glory 4 runs great without Dosbox and now just working on getting Mechwarrior 2 3dfx up and running. FF7 runs great and sounds amazing with the dbxg60 daughtercard.

In many ways this is kind of a vain post..... so thanks for reading!

Congrats with the new retro and getting Quest for glory 4 working with out dosbox since that game has problems galore from what I have read. May I ask what operating system are you running with this rig?

Reply 16 of 32, by Amigaz

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Nice to see someone else doing what I'm doing right now 😀

have set up too many systems lately that I must decide which one's to keep, 🤣

does the video signal from the GF 4200 deteriorate any when passed thru the Voodoo(s)?

Have that problem on my Pentium Pro rig but not on my recent 2x Voodoo SLi Pentium 100mhz rig I built

My retro computer stuff: https://lychee.jjserver.net/#16136303902327

Reply 17 of 32, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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Amigaz wrote:

does the video signal from the GF 4200 deteriorate any when passed thru the Voodoo(s)?

Have that problem on my Pentium Pro rig but not on my recent 2x Voodoo SLi Pentium 100mhz rig I built

Makes me wonder: what is the video card you use on the Pentium Pro rig, and what is the one on the P100?

See, every video card's signal degrades when being passed through add-on cards like Voodoo (or AcerMagic MPGED card), but IIRC, video card with good quality RAMDAC can compensate for such thing. My old P100 rig uses AcerMagic MPEG card (where the video signal is passed through); previously I used a cheap SiS video card, but after upgrading to Matrox Mystique, picture quality improved somewhat.

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.

Reply 18 of 32, by Amigaz

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Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:
Amigaz wrote:

does the video signal from the GF 4200 deteriorate any when passed thru the Voodoo(s)?

Have that problem on my Pentium Pro rig but not on my recent 2x Voodoo SLi Pentium 100mhz rig I built

Makes me wonder: what is the video card you use on the Pentium Pro rig, and what is the one on the P100?

See, every video card's signal degrades when being passed through add-on cards like Voodoo (or AcerMagic MPGED card), but IIRC, video card with good quality RAMDAC can compensate for such thing. My old P100 rig uses AcerMagic MPEG card (where the video signal is passed through); previously I used a cheap SiS video card, but after upgrading to Matrox Mystique, picture quality improved somewhat.

There's an OEM Virge GX PCI card in each box

My retro computer stuff: https://lychee.jjserver.net/#16136303902327

Reply 19 of 32, by 5u3

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2Mourty wrote:
ASUS CUBX Motherboard Socket 370 1 GHZ Pentium III Coppermine Nvidia 4200 TI 2 Voodoo 2's in SLI configuration Aureal Vortex2 Su […]
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ASUS CUBX Motherboard Socket 370
1 GHZ Pentium III Coppermine
Nvidia 4200 TI
2 Voodoo 2's in SLI configuration
Aureal Vortex2 Superquad 2500 with a
DB60xg on the waveblaster header
AWE64 Gold
SCC-1A ISA Card
CM-32L

Way to go! 😉

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:

but IIRC, video card with good quality RAMDAC can compensate for such thing.

I don't think a better RAMDAC on the "2D" card has that much influence on the resulting picture quality. You'll have a better signal quality to begin with, but it'd make the degradation from the Voodoo2 cable and circuitry even more noticeable.
From my experience, those cables shipped with V1 and V2 cards are really crappy. They blur an image more than a good cable ten times the length!

@Amigaz
Ever tried swapping the Voodoo loop-through cables between the PPro and P100 machines?