VOGONS


First post, by sgt76

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Hi there, just sharing my simple Pentium 2 build along with the hardware choices and some random notes. I've had this build for some time now along with some other retro projects I have going on, but in the last 3-4 years or so I've not been as active in posting up my rigs as I used to be. Hopefully this changes this year.

I built this as an ultimate Pentium II system circa 1998 with as many period correct parts as I could. Some of the hardware choices may not be to everyone's taste, but I picked stuff which I'm comfortable with. Reliability is the key word here.

For the key components, I went with a Slot 1 AOpen AX6BC BX based board which has a 1/5/2 layout. I think AOpen made some great stuff during this era and I'm very partial to their boards. This board has options up to 133mhz fsb but contemporary testing found it to not be so stable at that speed. The CPU is a Pentium II 450mhz Deschutes SL2WB, clocked at 504mhz, offering amazing performance for 1998 IMHO. For ram, I have a 128mb Infineon PC100 module. This combination provides a solid stable platform for Win98SE.
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Video is provided by a Matrox G200 and 3dfx Voodoo 2 SLI combination. Why the Matrox instead of its great Nvidia contemporary the TNT which arguably was the best card of 1998? Well, the Matrox has superb 2D picture quality which looks sharp even after passing through the Voodoos, I have plenty of Nvidia based systems and I just like Matrox, ok? One of the Voodoos is a Pixelview with 100mhz ram and the other I can't identify, but it has 110mhz ram. Not an issue though, as I'm using FastVoodoo2 4.6 with support for mismatch SLI. These drivers mildly overclock the cards to 93mhz, which is fine and I haven't seen any reason to change this.
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A garden variety Creative SB64 AWE (CT4500) is installed in the last ISA slot, and was chosen as it provides good sound , doesn't need any specific drivers if you load Win98 and is a really reliable card that doesn't give any weird installation headaches (I'm looking at you SB Live!). Of course, it doesn't have positional audio but that's something I can live with for this build. Networking is provided by a 3Com 3c-905B TX.

Drives are an old Creative CD-RW from 2000 that still works great- they really built these things well in those days. There's a regular boring old floppy in there that I think is a Sony as well. As for the hard drive, I tend to favor new IDE laptop drives in my retro builds, in this case a Toshiba 40gb IDE. This step doesn't cost much at all and saves you the aggro of using 15-20 year old shagged drives in your retro rig.

The case is just an old generic beige ATX case I picked up in a PC shop's junk pile for a few bucks. It's pretty solid and doesn't have sharp edges, so it's ace. A nice, clean refurbished Enlight 250w provides the watts and is sufficient for this build. For cooling, I installed 2 80mm fans, which I chose out of my pile for their quietness (I really dislike noisy PCs).
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Thanks for viewing and looking fwd to your comments.

Reply 1 of 6, by Skyscraper

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Nice build!

A Voodoo 2 SLI setup can benefit from a faster CPU but you know that already and I'm guessing you are aiming at keeping the system period correct for 1998.

New PC: i9 12900K @5GHz all cores @1.2v. MSI PRO Z690-A. 32GB DDR4 3600 CL14. 3070Ti.
Old PC: Dual Xeon X5690@4.6GHz, EVGA SR-2, 48GB DDR3R@2000MHz, Intel X25-M. GTX 980ti.
Older PC: K6-3+ 400@600MHz, PC-Chips M577, 256MB SDRAM, AWE64, Voodoo Banshee.

Reply 2 of 6, by subhuman@xgtx

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Indeed, great choice of hardware 😉 and the Creative drive just 'fits' with the case's front shell white/baby blue combination

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Reply 3 of 6, by petro89

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Great build! I love the looks of it, and yes there is something about the Aopen boards from that time frame. They look great, perform well and are rock stable.

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Reply 4 of 6, by PhilsComputerLab

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Very nice.

My go-to Slot 1 board is also an AOpen 😀

When I had a V2, I had a Pentium II 300 MHz, so this PC is a good fit.

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Reply 5 of 6, by sgt76

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Skyscraper wrote:

Nice build!

A Voodoo 2 SLI setup can benefit from a faster CPU but you know that already and I'm guessing you are aiming at keeping the system period correct for 1998.

Thank you. Yes, I've aimed for period correctness here. The late 90s were special to me in terms of gaming both, in terms of great games released as well as the exponential pace of hardware capability. Getting to build stuff that I could only drool over back then is a lovely nostalgia trip.

subhuman@xgtx wrote:

Indeed, great choice of hardware 😉 and the Creative drive just 'fits' with the case's front shell white/baby blue combination

Thank you. Now that you mentioned it... it does, doesn't it!

petro89 wrote:

Great build! I love the looks of it, and yes there is something about the Aopen boards from that time frame. They look great, perform well and are rock stable.

Thank you. AOpen made some classic Slot 1 and s370 hardware. I've been lucky enough to own a few over the years.

PhilsComputerLab wrote:

Very nice.

My go-to Slot 1 board is also an AOpen 😀

When I had a V2, I had a Pentium II 300 MHz, so this PC is a good fit.

Thanks Phil. While admittedly this is a very good board, the platform was so good that I think almost every BX board had something going for it.

Reply 6 of 6, by Darkman

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I like it, Matrox cards are very nice, not necessarily best in 3D (although the G400 is no slouch either) but as a 2D card for the V2 you can't fault them.

only thing I would have done different is add more RAM , but I tend to go overboard with RAM (a PII with 768MB? no problem)