First post, by 2Mourty
I haven't posted anything in a few years.... life happens right 😊 But I have been lurking for the last few months and was inspired over Labor Day Weekend by some of the postings comparing the strengths and weaknessess of Tualitin machines and P4 machines for a Win98 gaming rig.
Notice I did not call this the Ultimate Win98 Gaming Machine. One could build a win98 machine with a core 2 duo processor and ddr2 ram etc. etc. etc. What I have thrown together though still seems in my mind completely ridiculous, but awesomely fun overkill for Win98.
I had some of these parts laying around the house for a few years and some of them were generously donated to me by QBiN a few years ago. I am happy to finally have them used in a project that has turned out to be a lot of fun for me.
For those who don't want to read my lengthy ramblings here is a rundown of the specs:
MSI 865PE Motherboard (socket 478)
Northwood 3.4 GHZ CPU
1 GB Corsair Memory (1 stick)
ATI x850 PRO AGP Video Card
60GB Quantum Fireball AT Plus IDE
Diamond Monster Sound mx300 with a DB60XG daughter board
The case is a slate grey Antec design from around 2003, with a window in the side:
I love this case. It reminds me of one I got in 2002, except mine did not have the window on it. I've got 4 fans running in it right now, so plenty of air is moving for the hardware that is used.
The motherboard is an MSI 865PE Neo2. I had one of theses back in the day when I built my 1st computer (came a bit late to the scene) It was wonderfully stable before my power supply died and took the motherboard with it. Red PCB and the north bridge fan has blinking lights on it. 😲 This motherboard was one of the wonderful donations that QBiN gave me.
The video card is an ATI x850 Pro. The last win98 drivers that ATI released (Catalyst 6.2) has support for this card. It has 12 pixel pipelines, it's clocked at 500mhz and has 256 mb of ddr3 memory. The only better win98 card I can think of is a Nividi 6800 Ultra, but those are going for ridiculous prices on ebay at the moment. Plus this card is good enough for anything I will run on this machine.
Win98 is installed on a 60GB Quantum Fireball AT Plus IDE drive. I know there are faster IDE drives but I love the fact that I'm using this extremely heavy but reliable drive in this build. Plus with the unofficial sp3 for Win98 the drive has been a lot more agile.
The sound card is a Diamond Monster Sound mx300 with a DB60XG daughter board attached. Great a3d support and dos sound blaster compatibility (if I can get it working. More on that later)
Windows 98 is up and running. I am using 1GB of ram in the machine at the moment. I have installed the unofficial Win98 SE SP 3.32 and along with that installed the updated USB stack that is optional. USB 2.0 functions wonderfully (that was a hassle) and Win98 is having no problem running flash drives or portable hard drives.
I ran 3dmark 2001 for kicks and giggles. The score was 18,345. I have also installed Neverwinter Nights. It is running far better than on my more modern laptop or extremely modern gaming pc. Really smooth frame rates hovering around 60 fps and the sound with a3d 2.0 is phenomenal, much better than I expected. I also adore this game, so it is nice to see it running so well again.
Only issue hardware wise I am having at the moment is that I can't get the midi daughter board, dos sound blaster Pro emulation, or the joystick port working on the Diamond Monster MX300. Windows tells me that it is installed on a secondary PCI bus so the above won't work. What does that mean and can I fix it? I have tried other PCI slots of course.
Also I forgot to mention that the CPU is a 3.4 GHZ north wood P4. It is running extremely cool. It came with the motherboard QBiN donated.
I'm going to install Diablo 2, CyberMage: Darklight Awakening (if I can get DOS sound working), DS9 the fallen, and of course System Shock 2 (the a3d sound should be wonderful)
I might also throw in my Voodoo 5500 PCI this weekend and try some 3DFX enabled games.
Hopefully the photos show up when I post this. I haven't tried embedding photos from a photo storage site before.
I plan on installing WinXP on a small SSD in this machine so I can install GOG games on that drive and copy them over to the Win98 hard drive. (I installed NTFS drivers in Win98.
Now that I am up and running on old hardware again I want to build two more retro rigs before the end of the year.
1. An "ultimate" 486 that will have a cyrix 5x86 120 mhz cpu, Radeon 128 Pro video card, and original Soundblaster Pro.
2. A dual Pentium Pro machine with the pentium 2 overdrive cpus installed. (Some of QBiN donated parts will be in the 2nd machine)
Thank you for taking a look! 😀