VOGONS


First post, by the_ultra_code

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  • (6/6/2018): Today is the day where I can say that I have finished making several upgrades to my system. I had recently installed an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB GPU, as from what I can gather, this series of Radeon cards dominated over Nvidia's FX series of cards (I could easily see the difference in DirectX 9 games under XP, but also a bit under DirectX 8 games under Windows 98 SE); I had also replaced the stock heatsink with a cheap Chinese VGA cooler that obviously had more cooling potential than the stock heatsink (this idea was PhilComputerLab's: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zejKjmpUtWc 😀 ). And today I installed a Pentium 4 HT 550 (SL8K4) along with a Thermalright XP-90 (of new-old stock) with a Noctua NF-A9 FLX 92mm fan to cool it. This processor has three benefits over the Pentium 4 2.80A it is replacing: one, it is hyperthreaded, which, while Win98 cannot make use of that, XP can, so DX9 XP games should benefit from that and run better; two, the clock speed it 600MHz higher; three, this CPU has a higher FSB frequency of 800MHz, so now I can run the RAM in the system at its max potential of 400MHz instead of at 333MHz, which is what it ran at with the 2.80A (whose FSB frequency was 533MHz). Finally, because of the fact that the ICH5 southbridge lacks the proper ESD protection for the motherboard's front I/O USB2 connectors, as pointed out by PCBONEZ below, I bought the same USB2 PCI card that I used in my P3 build and installed it with a adapter cable so that the front I/O USB2 port plugged into it, so as to circumnavigate away from using the motherboard's connector.

    At this point, asides from increasing the amount of RAM in the system (which I don't think is necessary at the moment), I have fully upgraded this system to be the best it could be, I think. 😀
  • (6/12/2018): Added a StarTech 5.25" bay for hot-swapping 3.5" drives that currently now houses the machine's hard drive, so that, in the future, when I start making periodic backups of my retro PCs' hard drives, I can do so easily.
  • (6/24/2018): Upgraded the fans that were in the system with with two Arctic F12 fans for front/rear and a Noctua NF-A9 PWN (basically a higher RPM PWM-controllable version of the NF-A9 FLX that I had in there) for my CPU heatsink. And boy, was it worth it. It dropped my idle temperature while sitting on the Windows XP desktop 10 degrees Celsius, down to the mid-40s!
  • (9/28/2018) Cleaned up the financial accounting by removing parts that either didn't stand out as a "main" or "important part" or were not in the build anymore.
  • (12/10/2018) Did a lot to the system. For one, I swapped the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro for a PNY Nvidia GeForce 6800GT with a custom modern cooler to keep it nice and cool. I also upgraded the RAM from 1GB to 2GB, swapped the locations of the optical drive and the hot-swappable 3.5" drive bay (redoing cable management a bit to help), and removed the Aureal Vortex 2 SuperQuad PCI sound card. Also cleaned up this post a bit, and added some new content. 😀
  • (12/22/2018) Added benchmark results for 3DMark99.
  • (9/30/2019) This PC has been rebuilt! Therefore, this post is now depreciated, and will not be updated anymore.

C2N4eIMl.jpg

Intro

Inspired by PhilsComputerLab (a member of VOGONS and a YouTube "content creator") and to a lesser extent Lazy Game Reviews (also a YouTube creator), and from all of the help from the former and a many VOGONS members, I built this amazing machine over the course of a few months, then spent a few more months getting it "operational."

Check out my full Imgur album (titled Pentium 4 Windows 98 SE/XP Retro Gaming Machine) showing off this build from many different angles and ways. When I add to this machine of mine, I will periodically update the pictures in this Imgur album.

Now, for a list of its specs:

  • Intel Pentium 4 HT 550 SL8K4
  • Asus P4P800 Motherboard w/ 865PE chipset
  • G.Skill F1-3200PHU2-2GBNS 400Mhz DDR 2GB Kit (2x1GB) RAM
  • PNY Nvidia GeForce 6800GT 256MB AGP Graphics Card
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 250GB 7200RPM 3.5" SATA HDD
  • Toshiba Samsung Writemaster SH-S202J IDE CD/DVD Optical Drive
  • GOTEK 3.5" USB Floppy Drive Emulator (SFR1M44-U100K)
  • Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS (SB0350) PCI Sound Card
  • Deepcool Tesseract White ATX Mid-Tower PC Case
  • Corsair CX450 80+ Plus Bronze 450W Power Supply

For a complete list of nearly every part in my build and the cost of each part check out my "Financial Accounting for Pentium 4 Windows 98 SE/XP Retro Gaming Machine" Google Spreadsheet.

The Rough Beginning

Now, for those who don't know, if the title was not obvious, this is not my first RGM (retro gaming machine) rodeo. My first build, a Pentium 3 build (which you can find here), was intended to be a late DOS/early-to-mid-Win98 RGM (as has done its job wonderfully). While I planned for that build, I also had planned for another build that encompassed games that came out during a very small period of time, from 1999 to 2003-ish. This build would become this Pentium 4 build here today. (If you are wondering why 2003, its because that's when the last GPU line released by Nvidia that supported Win98 a lot legacy graphical effects effectively was the FX 5xxx line, and hence I only "trust" this build to handle games comfortable that came out before 2002).

After I got my P3 built, set up, and happily put through its paces, I finished gathering up the parts for this build and over a week or two built this PC. Everything was going great, until I got to setting up the operating systems. You see, to my chagrin, setting up a Windows 98 SE/XP dual boot system is not easy. Well, setting up a Windows 98/XP dual boot system where each OS existed in their own "C drive," that is.

I spent hours and hours and hours, trying again and again to "jank-ly" create that ideal dual boot environment by trying different orders and methods of installing the OSes, and even trying PLOP (to disastrous effect), but all for nothing. Because of this, this poor build sat stored away, while I waited and searched for a solution to this conundrum (or at least one that I could successfully implement, unlike the PLOP method).

Finally, luck struck. A very nice VOGONS member of the name of "schmatzler" shared their method of how they set up their "C drive-centric" Win98 SE/XP dual boot setup on my VOGONS topic on the matter (here's his post), and thanks to him, I was finally able (after months since its initial inception) able to create such a dual boot set up. I got a copy of FreeDOS's newer FDISK, replaced the FDISK of a Win98 bootdisk with that newer version, used that to set up the partitions, installed Win98, changed the primary partition using the newer FDISK, installed XP, installed the Boot-US boot manager through the Windows XP program, and "voila - I can easily boot into both systems." 😀

From there, things (slowly) took off, and after a month or two, I am here to share my story and more. In total, I spent 4+ months on just getting this damn RGM to where it should be. But finally, now that it is done, I can sit back, rejoice, and actually start playing some exciting games from that period that I spent +$300 on this machine for. 😀

Gaming-wise, it seems to be doing its job just fine. I just spent around 2 hours (1 more than I originally intended) playing the beginning of the just-plain-fun Deus Ex GOTY edition under Windows 98 SE, and have played some of Serious Sam: The First Encounter and Hot Wheels: World Race under Windows XP.

Some Specifics

Unlike with my first RGM, I chose to not to overclock the GPU because it would be just a lot of work to do so, especially to get things just right under both Win98 and XP.

I ran into a bit of a disappointment regarding the BIOS. You see, my guess was that this Asus motherboard was originally sold in a MaxData pre-built (hence the "MaxData" logo upon POST). I believe it is because of this fact that I am unable to update the BIOS with a newer BIOS straight from the Asus website because the BIOS (and maybe thus the motherboard) is ever-so-slightly different from just a retail P4P800 board.

Why do I say this? Well, I tried to flash the latest 1021.006 beta BIOS onto the motherboard, but every time the board POSTed, I got "CMOS Settings Incorrect" (paraphrase) errors, even after changing BIOS settings and time and "saving" it (which it refused to save). As it turns out, the motherboard's original BIOS and the one from Asus's website have different "ROM IDs," so therefore the motherboard "refuses" the BIOS, I guess. (Guess that explains why the "Afudos.exe" DOS utility gave me a "ROM ID" error and refused to flash the BIOS, forcing me to use the motherboard's built-in EZ-flash flasher, eh?). Thankfully, I had made a backup of the original BIOS, so I was able to restore it without issue.

To make things more sad, I couldn't get any help directly from MaxData's reincarnation to find the latest BIOS they had released for the board because, as stated by support for MaxData's current incarnation, I quote:

Due to the MAXDATA AG Insolvency in 2008 we are unable to provide you with more information on the old systems then the ones located on our ftp server at ftp://ftp.maxdata.com/. Other options are unfortunately unavailable as we don't have access to materials from the old MAXDATA AG.

The brand MAXDATA was purchased by Maxdata GmbH (01.10.2008) and is currently owned OMEGA Handelsgesellschaft m.b.H.

The earliest boards they have any software for are the newer Asus P5 motherboards, obviously not my beloved P4P800 motherboard, so, oh well.

But, as I said, directly. VOGONS user PCBONEZ below was able to find in the Maxdata archives a complete collection of all of the BIOSes released for the board, and it turns out, I have the latest one, so I'm actually good to go. 🤣

I'm going to give a shout-out to the GOTEK floppy emulator in this build, like I did with my first RGM. Suggested by PhilsComputerLab ("GOTEK USB Floppy Emulator Simulator Review Tutorial"), it helped me get Windows 98 SE installed and set up the machine's dual-boot environment, and I would suggest it highly myself, even though it's not "true" floppy emulation I think. Regardless, it works, both reading and writing to floppy "images" on a USB stick I am using for the purpose, and that is all that needs to be said, I would think 😀.

I also enabled USB 2.0 support under Windows 98 using "nusb36.exe" (check out my guide here to get the download link for the executable and maybe to learn something new 😀 ), but it is not like I use my USB ports much, since I mainly due any file transfer to and from the machine over Ethernet (if you have not already connected your RGM to a home network and enable file sharing in the installed OS(es), then I would say get to it, because you are missing out; it changes your life to one of great convenience 😀 ).

Finally, I would like to note that I am using HimemX to limit the available RAM to 0.5GB under Windows 98 SE, just in case, even though I had no problem installing the OS or necessary drivers with the full 2GB installed RAM.

Benchmark Time!

Okay, it would not be my kind of build-post without some benchmarks, so here are the benchmark results for the following benchmarks:

Under Windows 98 SE:

  • 3DMark99 (all of the tests enabled and with "maxed-out" options at 1280x1024) - 20076
    Pb4eDNI.png
  • 3DMark2000 (all tests enabled, "maxed-out" @ 1280x1024) - 19072
    efnPVhV.png

Under Windows XP Professional SP3:

  • 3DMark2001SE (all tests enabled, "maxed-out" @ 1280x1024) - 14025
    qdgZ2Dh.png
  • 3DMark03 (all tests enabled, "maxed-out" @ 1280x1024) - 5169
    YzeD6Ah.png
  • 3DMark05 (all tests enabled, "maxed-out" @ 1280x1024) - 3232
    MCGpZt5.png
  • Roadkill's Disk Speed Version 2.0
    MnvZD5b.png
  • CrystalDiskMark 6.0.0
    B0NmSff.png

If you want to run the exact runs of the graphics benchmarks I ran, you can find them in this public Google Drive folder of mine named "P4_WIN98SE/XP_RGM_Grapics_Benchmarks". There, you can find the associated ".3dp" and ".3dr" files, as well as a file named "GBQRDT.txt", which lists the results for all of the graphics benchmark runs as stated above.

If you want to go to where I store anything I have linked from my Google Drive here click here. That link will take you to the "root" directory I created to store all of my "public" files and folders for this post of mine.

If you are looking for a way to see the results of any 3DMark2000, 3DMark2001SE or for that matter even the older 3DMark2001, you can find the executables for all three of those Result Browsers for those suites here in my Google Drive. There, you can find the latest version of the Result Browsers, straight from Futuremark's servers (find out more here 😀 ).

Again, a big shoutout to PhilsComputerLab and VOGONS members for making this possible!

Last edited by the_ultra_code on 2019-10-01, 00:28. Edited 20 times in total.

Builds

Other:
* USB2 PCI Card in Win98 SE
* Futuremark Result Browsers

Reply 1 of 9, by Illutorium

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Compare from My build (MicroATX): vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=58852
Then case would be nice,but if a "S478" about a Fan then I can't be have a disuse about a this build...
But when You can be buy a SD Card IDE Adapter... could be fastest of less miliseconds inputs and are be much cheaper.

Modern Retro PC|Illutorium's Modern Retro PC|Celeron D360|GeForce FX5500|Windows 98 Second Edition

Reply 2 of 9, by PCBONEZ

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Not how I would have done it but - CONGRATS!

Just some thoughts...

I have been doing multi-BOOT going on 2 decades now.
I have to say the way you set it up is a wee bit INSANE. (IMHO)
Mostly I don't see the point to it.
XP works perfectly well booting from places other than C drive.
The system I'm writing this with has it on the D drive.
Been setup like this for at least 4 years and sees daily use.
No problems at all, and I have A LOT of programs on it.
Just sayin'.

I have one or two of those boards in box(es) somewhere. Some production runs (those with OST, UCC KZG/KZJ or Nichicon HM caps) are frequent caps blowers so sometimes you can get them cheap. I intended to work out a poly mod but never got around to it. The caps issues are common to most brands of mobo built around that time.

Some of the ICH used with i865 and i875 had a defect such that the USB ports would die when you plugged in.
Using front ports was more likely to cause the problem than using back ports, but either could do it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I/O_Controller_Hub#ICH5
Asus boards had a lot of problems with that including this model.
Use the back ports. Use the I/O shield. And cross your fingers.
If you want front ports get an add-in card. Might be a good idea anyway.

Were you using the new or old version of Afudos?
IAW Asus's website BIOS 1014 or later requires the new version.
The wrong flasher could explain your ROM ID error.
It comes (by download) packaged with BIOS versions 1014-1018.

Asus (like many others) does not provide proper Release Notes for their BIOS updates but you can see what CPUs were added by looking at the CPU support page were it says "since BIOS" or similar.
Looks to me like going from 1019.x to 1021.x only gets you these.
Celeron D 310 revG0(2.13 GHz, 533 FSB, Socket478)
Celeron D 325 (2.53 GHz, 533 FSB, Socket478, revE0)
Celeron D 350 (3.20 GHz, 533 FSB, Socket478, revG1)
P4-3.40 GHz (800 FSB, L2 cache:1MB, rev.G1)

I'm thinkin' if there were any fixes that were critical in BIOS 1021 it wouldn't still be a Beta version.

Just for giggles here are MaxData's BIOS Release Notes.
ftp://ftp.maxdata.com/MAXDATA_PCs/Desktop/01_ … 800-History.txt
.

Last edited by PCBONEZ on 2018-04-12, 09:17. Edited 1 time in total.

GRUMPY OLD FART - On Hiatus, sort'a
Mann-Made Global Warming. - We should be more concerned about the Intellectual Climate.
You can teach a man to fish and feed him for life, but if he can't handle sushi you must also teach him to cook.

Reply 3 of 9, by dr_st

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One idea for future builders:

Since these builds are obviously not used for any pure DOS gaming, would it not make more sense to dual-boot WinMe and XP rather than 98SE and XP? You'd get built-in USB mass storage support without hacks, and a few other modernizations.

Is there any difference in the support level for DOS games running under Windows between 98SE and WinMe?

Reply 4 of 9, by squiggly

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dr_st wrote:

One idea for future builders:

Since these builds are obviously not used for any pure DOS gaming, would it not make more sense to dual-boot WinMe and XP rather than 98SE and XP? You'd get built-in USB mass storage support without hacks, and a few other modernizations.

Is there any difference in the support level for DOS games running under Windows between 98SE and WinMe?

Doesn't win98sp3 include the parts of Me that do stuff like mass storage but without giving up pure Dos mode?

Reply 5 of 9, by dr_st

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squiggly wrote:

Doesn't win98sp3 include the parts of Me that do stuff like mass storage but without giving up pure Dos mode?

The question is - how much you trust that unofficial kludge of backported hacks.

Also, obviously, it does not include everything that was changed in WinMe compared to 98SE.

And in any case - the assumption was that the build is not expected to utilize pure DOS mode.

Reply 6 of 9, by chinny22

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Again I have a similar build!
P4P800 End of Win98 Support Build

It was also the most troublesome, and dare I say it one of my least loved PC's. When I'm feeling nostalgic I prefer my P3. Where the P4 comes in is when I want to play a Win9x game more then relive my childhood and can have everything maxed out including AA and all those other refinements a seriously overkill graphics card can handle.

dr_st wrote:

One idea for future builders:

Since these builds are obviously not used for any pure DOS gaming, would it not make more sense to dual-boot WinMe and XP rather than 98SE and XP? You'd get built-in USB mass storage support without hacks, and a few other modernizations.

Is there any difference in the support level for DOS games running under Windows between 98SE and WinMe?

I've got my P4 setup for pure dos, if want to make up numbers for a DOS LAN game, but it's not out of the question. Other thing against Win98 is no nostalgic memories.
But if your simply after a true Win9x based system with USB then I'd agree and say ME is probably a good choice

Reply 7 of 9, by the_ultra_code

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Hey guys, thanks for the responses!

I actually have a few things to say:

PCBONEZ wrote:
XP works perfectly well booting from places other than C drive. The system I'm writing this with has it on the D drive. Been set […]
Show full quote

XP works perfectly well booting from places other than C drive.
The system I'm writing this with has it on the D drive.
Been setup like this for at least 4 years and sees daily use.
No problems at all, and I have A LOT of programs on it.
Just sayin'.

Cool. I just decided to go that "extra safe" route. You know, 'cause I can. 🤣

PCBONEZ wrote:
I have one or two of those boards in box(es) somewhere. Some production runs (those with OST, UCC KZG/KZJ or Nichicon HM caps) a […]
Show full quote

I have one or two of those boards in box(es) somewhere. Some production runs (those with OST, UCC KZG/KZJ or Nichicon HM caps) are frequent caps blowers so sometimes you can get them cheap. I intended to work out a poly mod but never got around to it. The caps issues are common to most brands of mobo built around that time.

Some of the ICH used with i865 and i875 had a defect such that the USB ports would die when you plugged in.
Using front ports was more likely to cause the problem than using back ports, but either could do it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I/O_Controller_Hub#ICH5
Asus boards had a lot of problems with that including this model.
Use the back ports. Use the I/O shield. And cross your fingers.
If you want front ports get an add-in card. Might be a good idea anyway.

Yeah. The capacitor plague. Hope nothing happens to my board. I mean, it seems in tip-top shape to me, with no bulging caps, but still... *shiver* Yeah, over time I'll keep a look-out. Also, I did not know about that front-USB-port problem. I'll be careful about that.

PCBONEZ wrote:

Were you using the new or old version of Afudos?

The latest, I swear. But, nothing. 🙁

PCBONEZ wrote:
Asus (like many others) does not provide proper Release Notes for their BIOS updates but you can see what CPUs were added by loo […]
Show full quote

Asus (like many others) does not provide proper Release Notes for their BIOS updates but you can see what CPUs were added by looking at the CPU support page were it says "since BIOS" or similar.
Looks to me like going from 1019.x to 1021.x only gets you these.
Celeron D 310 revG0(2.13 GHz, 533 FSB, Socket478)
Celeron D 325 (2.53 GHz, 533 FSB, Socket478, revE0)
Celeron D 350 (3.20 GHz, 533 FSB, Socket478, revG1)
P4-3.40 GHz (800 FSB, L2 cache:1MB, rev.G1)

Wait a sec. Where did you find that info?

PCBONEZ wrote:

I'm thinkin' if there were any fixes that were critical in BIOS 1021 it wouldn't still be a Beta version.

Yeah. That's why I'm not that worried. 😀

PCBONEZ wrote:

Just for giggles here are MaxData's BIOS Release Notes.
ftp://ftp.maxdata.com/MAXDATA_PCs/Desktop/01_ … 800-History.txt

Okay, damn, I can't believe you found... wait a sec... *goes up a directory* What?!? They have that all of the BIOSes and s*** right there? I thought I checked hard enough!! Hah! *shakes head* Well, thank you very much, for your rather indirect and unintentional act of aid. 😁

dr_st wrote:

Since these builds are obviously not used for any pure DOS gaming, would it not make more sense to dual-boot WinMe and XP rather than 98SE and XP? You'd get built-in USB mass storage support without hacks, and a few other modernizations.

Is there any difference in the support level for DOS games running under Windows between 98SE and WinMe?

First of all, mmm, yeah, you could go WinME without USB hacks, since it is not going to touch DOS. I just stuck to what was comfortable for me, and what I know, but I don't think that if I went with WinME I would complain. PhilsComputerLab has some of his own investigatory videos on the subject, and really there is absolutely nothing wrong with WinME:

Regarding DOS, though, I think there is an attitude regarding WinME that DOS support under that OS is less than par compared to Win98SE, because, from the top of my head, WinME was trying to "hide" DOS and push it into a corner, and thus DOS under WinME is lackluster and has nothing to be desired. I guess that is a nice bonus for Win98SE: if I want to run anything DOS, I still could.

squiggly wrote:

Doesn't win98sp3 include the parts of Me that do stuff like mass storage but without giving up pure Dos mode?

Oh, now there's a hack for yah. I'm not sure. I do know that Phil seems to use the "core updates" of that unofficial service pack, but I rather just leave that alone. Keep my OSes relatively clean of third-party stuff. Nothing against it, but IDK, rather not. But to answer your question: yeah, IDK.

Builds

Other:
* USB2 PCI Card in Win98 SE
* Futuremark Result Browsers

Reply 8 of 9, by PCBONEZ

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the_ultra_code wrote:
PCBONEZ wrote:
Asus (like many others) does not provide proper Release Notes for their BIOS updates but you can see what CPUs were added by loo […]
Show full quote

Asus (like many others) does not provide proper Release Notes for their BIOS updates but you can see what CPUs were added by looking at the CPU support page were it says "since BIOS" or similar.
Looks to me like going from 1019.x to 1021.x only gets you these.
Celeron D 310 revG0(2.13 GHz, 533 FSB, Socket478)
Celeron D 325 (2.53 GHz, 533 FSB, Socket478, revE0)
Celeron D 350 (3.20 GHz, 533 FSB, Socket478, revG1)
P4-3.40 GHz (800 FSB, L2 cache:1MB, rev.G1)

Wait a sec. Where did you find that info?

As I said, Asus's CPU support page for your mobo.
.
https://www.asus.com/supportonly/P4P800/
https://www.asus.com/supportonly/P4P800/HelpDesk_CPU/
.

GRUMPY OLD FART - On Hiatus, sort'a
Mann-Made Global Warming. - We should be more concerned about the Intellectual Climate.
You can teach a man to fish and feed him for life, but if he can't handle sushi you must also teach him to cook.

Reply 9 of 9, by the_ultra_code

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*face-palm*

You know, I've seen that before, and yet I forgot about it. :p

Thanks for reminding me about that! 😀

Builds

Other:
* USB2 PCI Card in Win98 SE
* Futuremark Result Browsers