My first "retro" PC - overkill Win 98/XP build

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My first "retro" PC - overkill Win 98/XP build

Postby Srandista » 2017-11-22 @ 07:33

I would like you present my first ever “retro” build. Why “retro” in quotes? Well, it’s not really period correct, but it’s compatible with systems, which I wanted to be from the beginning of the build.

So, what’s the specs?
MTB: ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2
CPU: Intel Pentium E6500K (replaces previous Core2Quad Q6600)
COOLER: SilentiumPC Spartan 3 LT
RAM: 256MB for Win 98, 2GB for Win XP
GPU: Radeon 9500@9700 AGP (perfectly working in Win 98, even with HDMI monitors), Radeon X850 Pro VIVO@XT PE AGP (fastest ATI card with Win 98 support, but doesn't work with HDMI monitors), Radeon HD4770 PCIe (FAST card for XP gaming), Voodoo4 4500 AGP (for Glide games)
HDD: WD 80GB IDE (for Win 98 and XP, replaces previous WD 80GB SATA) + WD VelociRaptor 150GB SATA (for Win XP+)
Sound card: Sound Blaster Live! Value (CT4830)
DVD: DVD-ROM IDE + DVD-RW SATA
PSU: No name 400W
CASE: Evolveo R05

So, the most important question probably is, why I build this machine, and why I used mentioned components?

Well, few months ago, for some strange nostalgic reason, I somehow found out, that I culpable miss whole AGP era. With my old PC, I used Voodoo 3 PCI, and after that I switched to laptop for some reasons. And when I came back and jump again to #PCMasterRace bandwagon with my new desktop, AGP was already long gone and PCIe was everywhere.

And then, few months ago I realized, that I have some leftover parts, and told myself, that it can be reused in some kind of a PC build. And then, I somehow end at Vogons in topic about LGA 775 Motherboards with AGP Slots. And that was the last straw, when I started looking for missing parts, and started building new machine.

I was also looking for some more resources on Vogons, and find topic Why 478 and not 775? In it, there was crucial information, which then shaped specs of the machine, since from that point I was determined, that my “retro” PC have to be running Windows 98, as well as Windows XP in dualboot. This give me some headaches and was the reason, why some parts are different then on beginning, and why it took me months instead of weeks to finish the build.

Since I had Pentium 4 HT 520 for LGA 775 socket, cooling solutions are cheap and widely available, and there are motherboards available with this socket and with AGP slots, decision about platform was easy. I started looking for motherboards with AGP slot on eBay, and then somehow I realized, why not go totally overkill, and I ordered C2Q Q6600, since its dirt cheap. I then found really nice ASRock ConRoe865PE, but auction went south really quickly. It ends with losing to a guy, who paid eye watering 121€ for that used motherboard. Sorry, but I didn’t pay that much even for my new board on my main Skylake machine, so I started to looking elsewhere. Next auction end up better for me, since I won ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2 with 2GB DDR2 RAM and some CPU. Before this combo arrived, I received my GPU, which was ATi Radeon 9500, the proper one, with 128MB L-shaped RAM and 256-bit bus width, and with hope, that it could be unlocked to full 9700. Fortunately, I had a lucky pick with this one, as it turned out later. Once I received motherboard combo, I immediately changed CPU for Q6600 and put all of this to my new case, which was cheapest black case on market with few requirements from my side: with PSU at the bottom, possible cable management, front USB 2.0 ports and available external 5,25” and 3,5” positions. I installed also my old SATA DVD-RW drive and also smallest (80GB) HDD, which I found at home, which also use SATA interface. And this is the point, where build hit the roadblock, at least for a while. On my machine with mentioned configuration, I was simply unable to install Windows 98, no matter what I tried. It try to boot from CD, but couldn’t find drivers for drive. I didn’t find any legacy/IDE or whatever option to emulate old IDE on SATA, so at the end, I just went with another DVD-ROM, with IDE interface. Ok, fine, I booted CD, installer started, but eventually, I run out my luck again. At the final moments of installation, whole process just hangs, and didn’t finish. At this point, I just put whole build away for some time, because I was quite frustrated. But, fortunately, this didn’t took long, and in few weeks I was again browsing auctions, for some IDE HDD. And after few days, I bring home same 80GB WD drive, just with IDE interface. Finally, after few months of unsuccessful tries, I was greeted with good old plain green background, only this time in FullHD. I have older, proper LCD with 1600x1200 resolution, but for installation and configuration, I will stick to my main monitor.

And during this time, I also found, that with much faster X850, it wouldn’t be so easy. For some inexplicable reason, X850 is unable to send its video signal via DVI->HDMI adapter into HDMI monitor. And what’s even stranger, older 9500, with very similar GPU have no problem with that. On DVI, there’s no issue tho. Just want to mention this, since X850 it’s the fastest ATI card with Windows 98 support, but for whatever reason, it’s not working with HDMI via adapter. I will definitely use it tho, just with VGA or DVI on older monitor.

Also, once I will finish installation and configuration of machine, I will maybe insert dedicated sound card into this machine, since there is laying one Sound Blaster Live! Value for PCI on my table. And already, there is another CPU, which will replace current one on way, and also second HDD for the system.

So, this is story of my first “retro” PC. But since picture will say more than 1000 words, here you go, how it’s looking currently. Cable management isn’t my best (and with my current PC, there’s just no contest), but it’s a hell of a lot better, than what I remember was with my old PC back in the day.

Image

And of course I will be updating this thread, how I’m continuing with build in future.
Last edited by Srandista on 2018-2-10 @ 16:12, edited 5 times in total.
My overkill "retro" PC - Pentium E6500K, 2GB RAM, Radeon 9500@9700 (Softmod), 80GB HDD, Win 98/XP
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Re: My first "retro" PC - overkill Win98/XP build

Postby Samir » 2017-12-16 @ 19:46

Nice! :cool:
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Re: My first "retro" PC - overkill Win98/XP build

Postby chinny22 » 2017-12-19 @ 13:05

Good start!
I've got a socket 478 with 6800 Ultra that while it should be fine running Win98 it still puts up a fight, All part of the fun though and when it isn't do what you did, leave it for a bit then come back to it fresh.

Cant believe you missed out on AGP though! although, I only moved up to PCI express 2 years ago.
I did miss out on PCI (I went from VLB to AGP) so it is easily done
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Re: My first "retro" PC - overkill Win98/XP build

Postby Srandista » 2017-12-19 @ 15:40

chinny22 wrote:Cant believe you missed out on AGP though! although, I only moved up to PCI express 2 years ago.

Yeah, what can I say? I vent from Voodoo 3 PCI (and I have that card some time after the launch, when AGP was already well established) to notebook, since I was traveling a lot for my girlfriend into another country. After few years, when I moved to that country permanently, settle down and bought desktop PC again, AGP was already a history, but fortunately, revived now with this machine :)

I had some issues with USB 2.0 driver installation lately, will have to troubleshoot that, and once I finish everything with Windows 98, I will be creating dual boot with Windows XP. Hopefully, with that much more suited system for HW, there will be less issues.

In the meantime, I reinstalled old DVD-RW drive with SATA interface. I was quite surprised, when I found out, that it's shorter, then regular DVD-ROM drive, albeit with PATA interface. It will be used, when I would have to burn something, since I don't have any other DVD drive in house (beside this "retro" machine, I have only my main modern system right now, and there is no position for any 5,25" drive in it). And also got my first ever 10000rpm WD (Veloci)Raptor HDD. Never had anything faster then 7200rpm, so I can't wait to install separate XP installation there, and do some benchmarks. Unfortunately replacement CPU, which I ordered from eBay few weeks ago still didn't arrive, and I fear, that it's again lost, so would have to order 3rd (!) piece. So, for now, Q6600 would have to do.

I replaced photo of PC in 1st post with current state, and will do again in future, if there will be any changes.
My overkill "retro" PC - Pentium E6500K, 2GB RAM, Radeon 9500@9700 (Softmod), 80GB HDD, Win 98/XP
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Re: My first "retro" PC - overkill Win98/XP build

Postby Samir » 2017-12-24 @ 08:01

q6600 is faster than anything I have so if you're ever going to part with it, let me know!
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Re: My first "retro" PC - overkill Win98/XP build

Postby tonychen » 2018-2-06 @ 12:39

I feel that 775 is more suitable than 478 for reasons that it supports duo core, which could speed up when running some big software such as Eclipse, JDK,Visual Studio 2008, 3DS MAX, etc. Multithread has been applied to these apps.

For video card, it seems that Geforece7 with AGP slot is your friend. 9500 is the beginning level of supporting DirectX 9.0C, and it run slowly on DX9 games. To name just a few, Doom3, Quake4, Need for Speed Most Wanted, Command & Conquer 3.

For the legacy IDE mode, it should be in the BIOS SATA section.
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Re: My first "retro" PC - overkill Win98/XP build

Postby Srandista » 2018-2-06 @ 15:53

Well, honestly, I didn't build this machine for any productive apps, only point was old games :) And since Win 98 doesn't support more than one core, any other cores could be utilized only in Win XP, which is only 2nd system in dual boot on this machine.

The thing regarding graphic card (or any other part in the system for that matter), I always aimed to possibility running Win 98 on that machine, and this limits available HW parts. All games, you mentioned can be played without any issues on my main modern system, without worrying about low FPS or lack of power. GeForce7 (at least officially) isn't supported on Win 98, and for the intended use, it's kind of pointless. Also, as mentioned in first post, I still do have much more powerful X800 and X850, but I'm not using it right now because of DVI->HDMI issue. And one another thing, I bought mentioned ATI cards, because they could be unlocked either by Softmod method (for 9500, successfully done) or by using BIOS from higher model (for X800Pro/X850Pro, not done yet, will do in future), which is fun, something not possible to do with today's cards, and I wanted to know, if I would be lucky in this kind of lottery :)

That legacy SATA option does not exist in BIOS. I later found out, that this can be bypassed with using RAID option. But this is not something, what I want to do, and I already resolve this issue by using IDE drives (SATA drives are still usable without issues in Win XP).

Anyway, some news regarding build. I upgrade (?) CPU for Pentium E6500K. Yeah, it's not a quad core anymore, but Pentium is much higher clocked and even for this kind of build, quad core was unnecessary. Also, this Pentium is stone cold (65W vs 105W TDP) and its cheapest LGA775 CPU which has unlocked multiplier. Will try to overclock it in the future, but I'm also curious about underclocking, I'm eager to see, how the system will cope with that. Small note, if you want to change the multiplier either way on board used in my build (ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2), you have to disable Intel SpeedStep technology in BIOS.

And last new addition to my build is Voodoo4 4500, only graphic card from 3dfx, which officially supports AGP 4x with 1,5V. Can't wait to try some games in Glide after more than a decade! I will not however use this card as main one in this system, it's too valuable for me to do that.
Last edited by Srandista on 2018-2-08 @ 09:41, edited 1 time in total.
My overkill "retro" PC - Pentium E6500K, 2GB RAM, Radeon 9500@9700 (Softmod), 80GB HDD, Win 98/XP
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Re: My first "retro" PC - overkill Win98/XP build

Postby vetz » 2018-2-06 @ 16:00

I've personally had problems running that board in Win98. Not saying you will experience the same, but I had strange issues popping up all the time. This only happened in Win98, XP was stable and had no problems. It got so annoying that I killed the project as a Win98 system.
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Re: My first "retro" PC - overkill Win98/XP build

Postby Srandista » 2018-2-06 @ 21:52

I didn't do a long term testing of this machine, but so far during installation, and benchmarking under Win 98, everything went smoothly. Will see, how it will behave during more usage. If there will be problems, well, I do have some ideas, how can I cope with it, but hopefully everything's gonna by fine :-)
My overkill "retro" PC - Pentium E6500K, 2GB RAM, Radeon 9500@9700 (Softmod), 80GB HDD, Win 98/XP
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Re: My first "retro" PC - overkill Win98/XP build

Postby duga3 » 2018-2-06 @ 22:25

tonychen wrote:
9500 is the beginning level of supporting DirectX 9.0C, and it run slowly on DX9 games.


Thats exactly what I was thinking, the 95(7)00 is not fast enough even for early XP games unless you dont mind lower FPS/resolution/details. Personally I would keep this rig W98 only and be happy if I would not run into any compatibility issues with games (which I had on 9600XT under both W98 and XP).

What games did you test already and how did they perform/look? BTW I often miss people sharing such information in their threads and I think it could be of interest to others (good example)
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Re: My first "retro" PC - overkill Win98/XP build

Postby Azarien » 2018-2-07 @ 14:10

Does it make sense to use Windows 98 in a Q6600 machine? Seems like an overkill and you would use at most 25% of it ;-)

Q6600 is still my main PC (WinXP + Win10).
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Re: My first "retro" PC - overkill Win98/XP build

Postby Srandista » 2018-2-07 @ 15:19

duga3: the thing is, right now, when I'm mainly working in Win 98, I need to use Win 98 compatible card. If I would need a bit (well, a lot) more umpf, I can always swap card for my HD4770. Didn't try that so far, but from what I read on internet, card should be compatible with my motherboard (it's not PCIe 3.0 card) and for Win XP gaming, it's plenty powerful.

Azarien: It doesn't really, that's why I replace it with Pentium E6500K (I need to edit my OP to reflect this information). It was planed a long time ago, but 1st CPU was lost during the shipment, and 2nd was really late with arrival (it was during Christmas time).
My overkill "retro" PC - Pentium E6500K, 2GB RAM, Radeon 9500@9700 (Softmod), 80GB HDD, Win 98/XP
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