VOGONS


1999 - Dream Machine

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First post, by MartinC

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The Hardware:

CPU: Pentium III Slot A, 667MHz/256kb (acquired) <- Will be replaced with a 1GHz Slot-1 PIII
MOTHER: AOpen AX64-Pro (acquired) <- Replaced with GA-6BXC Slot-1 440BX
RAM: 512MB ,SDRAM, PC133 (acquired)
SOUND: AWE64, ISA (acquired)
img0061tm8.th.jpg

HDD: SCSI 18GB 1000RPM (acquired)
CD-ROM: 3 x UltraPLex 40Max, SCSI (acquired)
ultraplexej1.th.jpg

SCSI CARD: Adaptec 2940 40MB/s Ultra-Wide (acquired)
scsicardzj8.th.jpg

2D: Banshee, AGP with Fan (acquired) <- Will be replaced with a Geforce card for DirectX & OpenGL
3D: Voodoo2, SLI (acquired)
Creative 3D Blaster (12MB) + Magic 3D II (12MB) <-Will be replaced with "official" SLI - 2 matched cards to avoid potential quality & performance issues
Monitor: Sony 17" CRT (acquired)

The Software:

Application List:

  • * Windows 98 Standard + Service Pack
    * Office 97 - Word/Excel Capabilities
    * DirectX 7 - Version Supported by Graphics Card
    * FastVoodoo2 Gold Edition
    * Foxit PDF Creator - PDF Viewer/Editor
    * Opera - Web Browser
    * Winrar - Compression Utility
    * ACDSee Classic - Simple Image Viewer/Editor
    * ffdshow - Video/Audio Codec Compilation
    * Netlimiter 1.30 - Network Speed Controller
    * uTorrent - Torrent Client, Excellent

Games List:

  • * Prince of Persia 1.3
    * Wolf 3D
    * Starwars X Wing
    * Starwars Tie Fighter
    * NBA JAM T.E.
    * Simpsons Arcade Game
    * Mortal Kombat 3
    * StarCraft
    * Carmageddon 1
    * Quake I
    * Destruction Derby 2
    * Starwars: Episode 1 Racer
    * Need 4 Speed: High Stakes
    * Tomb Raider II
    * Unreal Tournament 99
    * Soldier of Fortune 1
    * Quake III

Still looking for a SLI cable, anyone who would like to donate one & help me get this rig going message me. <- Ended up successfully making one
3dfxslica2.th.jpg

Once it's finished I'll post some more pics.

This is the final product, a lot of changes on this project but all for the better thanks to the eBay bargains, forum input & my personal research I think we have developed my Dream Machine!

All parts used are from the 1998-2000 range.

================================================================
***********************1999 Dream Machine***********************
================================================================
OS: Windows 98 Standard
CPU: Pentium III Slot-1, 1GHz/256kb
MOTHER: GA-6BXC Slot-1 440BX
RAM: 768MB ,SDRAM, PC133
SOUND: AWE64, ISA
HDD: SCSI 18GB 1000RPM
CD-ROM: 2 x UltraPLex 40Max, SCSI
SCSI CARD: Adaptec 2940 40MB/s Ultra-Wide
DirectX: GeForce2 Pro
Glide: Creative 3DFX Voodoo2 12MB
Monitor: Sony 17" CRT
================================================================
Thanks for everyone's input espically gerwin, prophase_j, swaaye.
================================================================

As requested:
piiisystem.th.png
piiisystemcl2.th.jpg
piiisystemcpu.th.jpg
piiisystemram.th.jpg

Update: Machine is running Hitman 2 with Med/High settings & CoD1 with low settings at a constant frame rate, Windows boots extremely fast. SCSI HDD was removed, it was causing instability's, Windows was constantly crashing.

Last edited by MartinC on 2009-04-20, 07:20. Edited 24 times in total.

Reply 3 of 133, by MartinC

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Moogle! wrote:
MartinC wrote:

The hardware:

CPU: Pentium III Slot A, 667MHz/256kb (acquired)

WAT :p

The PIII's where the fastest CPU's available in 99' I'm aiming for a certain time frame. And the CPU should be more than enough for any game up to 2000.

Yes a dual CPU system was an option but as with most projects I had certain limitations when choosing the hardware such as budget, regardless I don't think any games where multi-threaded back then, nor was Windows 98.

I don't believe I will have any performance issues with a PIII & the Retro games I plan to run.

Reply 4 of 133, by MartinC

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bugs_bugger wrote:

Why dont you put a TNT 2 in instead of that Banshee?

The information I found online all states that the Banshee is an excellent 2D card, that's all that is necessary as the Voodoo2's will do the 3D work.

And how could I put an Nvidia card in with a 3DFX card? 😢

This was 3DFX's time...

Reply 5 of 133, by ratfink

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Can banshee and v2 work together? Presumably you will have to play with glide file swapping.

On games and dual proc's, I used to have a dual p3/866 system, using win2k. I think around that time only Quake 3 had code that could use dual proc's. I recall the diablo 2 played ok on it, but when i loaded LOD it basically ceased to function - all sorts of slowdowns and weirdness.

Last edited by ratfink on 2009-02-05, 11:45. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 6 of 133, by DosFreak

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The advantage with dual-processors at that time was having a smooth desktop experience, being able to multitask and being offload the load of the OS to the other processor for a smoother gaming experience.

This would only take effect in NT+ OS's though. 9x wouldn't care about the other processor.

So if Windows 2000 was on their I'd definetly make it dual-processor but if it's just 9x then single is fine.

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Reply 7 of 133, by gerwin

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[no dual processors in windows 9x.. Noted thanks.]

The processor is Slot-1 (not Slot-A)
The mainboard is a bit of an odd choice, as I would expect an 440BX chipset instead of an apollo 133A. The main 133A features are proper 133MHz bus support, instead of 100MHz, AGP 4x support, and UDMA 66 disk access. But you don't use these features with this setup, that's no problem though. I think you can run the games you mentioned just fine ( I can't speak for the voodoo cards though, I never had any).

Reply 8 of 133, by Malik

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Banshee gives me the creeps. Maybe it's because of the almost all reviewers finally slapped the "it's uh...good idea with not so good benchmark results" information on it, which negatively influenced me not to buy one.

Anyway, how are you planning to get your Voodoo2 output? By passing the Banshee's out to the voodoo? From AGP to PCI? I haven't tried this type of setup yet.

Otherwise, opting for a classic Voodoo2 SLI configuration is a good move.

For a Slot-1 processor, you can try a 866MHz cpu if you want a faster setup.

Last edited by Malik on 2009-02-05, 17:17. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 9 of 133, by Anonymous Coward

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You should go for a RAMBUS setup.

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 10 of 133, by laxdragon

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This is a very similar setup to my computer Clank

* Abit ATX motherboard in Custom Built System
* Intel 800 MHz Pentium III CPU
* 256 megabytes of PC 100 DIMMS
* nVidia GeForce 2 MX
* Dual 3dfx Voodoo 2 PCI in SLI mode
* 30 gigabyte Seagate IDE HDD
* Creative Labs Encore 6X DVD
* 31/2 Floppy
* Creative Labs Dxr3 mpeg2 decoder PCI
* Creative Labs Sound Blaster AWE 64 Gold ISA
* Dlink PCI 10/100 NIC
* OS: Windows 98 se

I've been very happy with this rig. It runs a large variety of old games.

laxDRAGON.com | My Game Collection | My Computers

Reply 11 of 133, by prophase_j

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I thought all the old RAMBUS stuff was for the P4 chipsets. I could be wrong though. Either way have you seen the price for that stuff? That would make up about half the total cost right there. Overall though I think it's not a bad start, your choice in components is in good taste, just loose that Banshee. Yes they have good 2D but since you have the voodoos it is really redundant 3D wise. I'm pretty sure the the voodoo's will smoke it even in D3D mode. If you even care about the D3D capabilities then go with a TNT2 or Geforce2, plus Nvidia's 2D and VESA support ain't half bad at all. The TNT2 and Voodoo2 SLI combo was a rather popular setup back then, although you may want to lean towards the GF2 if you want a broader feature set on your platform. You might even be better off going with a 2d only Virge card and leaving the 3D up to the voodoo's.

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Reply 12 of 133, by swaaye

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DosFreak wrote:

So if Windows 2000 was on their I'd definetly make it dual-processor but if it's just 9x then single is fine.

Problem with 2K back then was that the drivers for things like sound and video cards were both buggier and slower than in 9x. By a large margin....

Now days I'd go with XP. I've found XP to be just about always faster than 2K as long as you run >256MB RAM.

Reply 13 of 133, by swaaye

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RAMBUS sucks. Unless you are locked in the era when i850, P4 and RDRAM gave you the most bandwidth you could get at the time. PC3200 dual channel solved that though. And Athlon XPs with piddly single-channel PC2100 were faster compared to i850 most of the time anyway. 😀

Putting RDRAM in a P3 was just stupid. That was a very strange move on Intel's part.

Malik wrote:

Banshee gives me the creeps. Maybe it's because of the almost all reviewers finally slapped the "it's uh...good idea with not so good benchmark results" information on it, which negatively influenced me not to buy one.

Banshee is ok. It's basically a Voodoo3 with one less TMU and a few extra bugs. It's really a very fast card for 2D and is as fast as a Voodoo2 for games that don't do multitexturing.

MartinC wrote:

fastest CPU's available in 99' I'm aiming for a certain time frame. And the CPU should be more than enough for any game up to 2000.

1999 was the year of 1GHz. And of Slot A Athlons that beat Intel to 1GHz. 😀

Last edited by swaaye on 2009-02-05, 19:40. Edited 5 times in total.

Reply 15 of 133, by MartinC

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gerwin wrote:

[no dual processors in windows 9x.. Noted thanks.]

The processor is Slot-1 (not Slot-A)
The mainboard is a bit of an odd choice, as I would expect an 440BX chipset instead of an apollo 133A. The main 133A features are proper 133MHz bus support, instead of 100MHz, AGP 4x support, and UDMA 66 disk access. But you don't use these features with this setup, that's no problem though. I think you can run the games you mentioned just fine

Yeah the CPU & mainboard I got free but I wanted a Slot-1 PIII anyway because as I remember they where high end at the time.

The CPU uses a 133MHz FSB but Internet bechmarks show that the 440BX performance better than the competition overclocked to 133MHz so...either chipset would have been a good choice, I like the fact this mainboard has only 1 ISA slot, has AGP, USB & the GOLD plated heatsink is swank too!

Reply 17 of 133, by swaaye

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Let's call it the big race of late '99 / early '00. They cranked up from ~550 MHz to a GHz in like 8 months, with lots of steps in between. 😀 That was maybe the first time Intel was actually obviously concerned about staying ahead (see unstable P3 1133 launch). It was a fun race to watch.

Athlon 1000 	1000 MHz 	512 KiB 	200 MT/s 	10x 	1.80 V 	65 W 	Slot A 	March 6, 2000 	AMD-K7100MNR53B A

Reply 18 of 133, by Anonymous Coward

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There is a reason to go RAMBUS on the PIII. From what I recall back then if you wanted 133MHz FSB with an intel chipset, you pretty much had to use the i820 or i840. The i815 which came out later was gimped because you couldn't upgrade beyond 512mb. i840 can go to 2GB.

I have heard that the memory bandwidth on a PIII with RAMBUS is actually pretty damn good. I think the bigger issue at the time was that it was @#$%ing expensive. If I were going to build the ultimate PIII system of 1999, I say i840. I think I could learn to love it like my P60 VLB system.

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 19 of 133, by swaaye

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The catch is that PC133 already saturates a Pentium 3's FSB. They have the same bandwidth. 64-bit 133 MHz SDR FSB = 64-bit 133 MHz SDR SDRAM.

There were also some DDR P3 chipsets from VIA. They were rather pointless again because of how PC133 was already saturating the FSB. They were also VIA products so best to stay away if there were other options. Wow were some of the Apollo Pro mobos I ran into just pure garbage..

The only reason I can see it being beneficial to have more memory bandwidth than FSB bandwidth is if there is something else in the system using that bandwidth. AGP perhaps. But I don't think I've ever seen a major benefit in any reviews. Even today with Core 2 CPUs, you don't get much by going outside of a 1:1 ratio.

2GB of PC800 RDRAM would've cost an unreal amount of money. I actually doubt that it even existed when RDRAM P3s first showed up. There were shortages of PC800 to the point that Dell loaded machines up with PC700 and made systems slower than old 440BX. The pricing is probably still ugly today. I remember pricing out some RDRAM in 2005 for a Pentium 4 running on i850 and it was still not worth upgrading it from the 256MB it came with. Super expensive yet because it never got cheaper, due to the lack of volume once Intel effectively dropped RDRAM when i845 DDR came out.

i840 makes more sense than i820 though because it's a multi-proc chipset and the CPUs have to share the RAM.