VOGONS


First post, by kalohimal

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Built this rig about a year ago during my search for an all-in-one gaming PC, that can play XP/Win98 and most of my favorite DOS games. In the process I selected a few more exotic components just for the fun of it.

Specs:
- CPU: AMD Dual Core Opteron 180 @2.4GHz (approx equiv to Athlon64 x2 4800+) socket 939
- Motherboard: Asrock 939 Dual-Sata2
- Chipset: ULi M1695 + ULi M1567
- RAM: 1pc Micron PC3200 512 MB
- GPU: ATI FireGL V7100 (R423, modded to Radeon X800 XT)
- Audio: Yamaha YMF744B
- FDD: 3.5" 1.44 MB
- HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST3320620A 320GB PATA
- DVD+RW: Dell OEM Hitachi-LG HL-DT-ST DVD+RW DVD Writer
- LAN: Built-in 100mbps

The Asrock 939 motherboard is extremely flexible in that it has both full speed PCIE and AGP slots. I found an AMD Dual Core Opteron 180 selling cheap on eBay so I just opt for it. For GPU I choose ATI/AMD Radeon X800XT as it has driver for both XP and Win 98. Since the FireGL V7100 is cheaper than the X800XT, I bought that and modded it to X800XT. The Yamaha YMF744 was selected for audio as it has superb DOS compatibility. For playing DOS games, I use a small utility called CPUSPD which I wrote, to control the cache/multiplier/throttle of the CPU and slow it down enough for playing games from the 386/486 era.

Here are the photos:

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Slow down your CPU with CPUSPD for DOS retro gaming.

Reply 1 of 12, by kalohimal

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XP & Win 98 screenshots, and DOS boot up and slowdown for DOS games:

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    XP
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  • w98_2.jpg
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    3DMark2001
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  • IMG_20200607_212151.jpg
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    Using CPUSPD to slow down for games
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  • IMG_20200607_212047.jpg
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    Booting into DOS
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Slow down your CPU with CPUSPD for DOS retro gaming.

Reply 2 of 12, by kalohimal

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Running some of my favorite DOS games:

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    Day of the Tentacle
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    Day of the Tentacle
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  • IMG_20200607_212310.jpg
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    Wing Commander
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  • IMG_20200607_212254.jpg
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    Wing Commander
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  • IMG_20200607_212244.jpg
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Slow down your CPU with CPUSPD for DOS retro gaming.

Reply 3 of 12, by henk717

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Love this build! I am attempting to build something very similar but unfortunately could not find this motherboard anywhere.
I went for the ASUS A8V, Geforce 6800GT, and Athlon X2 4200+ instead.
I still hope it will all come together nicely as i do not yet have the required parts to test my build out yet and upon further inspection the 6800GT has the bridge chip unlike earlier revisions.

In case i do ever find this board for a good price, i assume it has working drivers for Win98?

Reply 4 of 12, by kalohimal

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Yes it does have drivers for Win98, it's one of the reasons why I bought it. And as you said it's very rare nowadays, occasionally you'll see it crops up on ebay, usually asking/selling for a ridiculous price. I was lucky to find it at a local used computer parts store for a reasonable amount of money.

What OS are you planning to install on your rig and are you aiming to play games on it? If so what sound card are you planning to use? I have an Asus A8V too, it's another of my favourites as it's an AMD board using VIA chipsets, which offers finer resolution and controls when throttling down for old DOS games.

Slow down your CPU with CPUSPD for DOS retro gaming.

Reply 5 of 12, by henk717

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I already have the YMF744B from AOpen so that will be going in the machine.
OS wise its designed to cover as many as possible, so Windows XP all the way to DOS, using a combination of CPUSPD from you and Slowdown to try and cover as much area's as possible. But ill also use 2GB of ram in combination with RAM patches and limiters to try to cover more of the high end range the GPU and CPU can do as well.
I might even see how high it can go and run something like Linux or Windows 10 on it just for fun.
And yes, my favorite gaming era is 2004 so i will definately be revisiting the games i love on this machine.

Reply 6 of 12, by kalohimal

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Execellent choice, I love the YMF744 as it has excellent compatibility with DOS. Just one thing though, with the VIA 8237 chipset you'll most probably need Yamaha's dsdma TSR, and it will reset the system when RAM size is greater than 512MB (not sure if there's a bug). So with 2GB you'll need JEMMEX to limit the extended memory size to what it likes to see. In config.sys JEMMEX will be something like this:

DEVICE=C:\DOSDRV\JEMMEX.EXE MAXEXT=512M NOVME I=B000-B7FF

You'll also need a modded copy of setupds to support the 8237. Btw, with CPUSPD you won't need slowdown any more. 😁

Slow down your CPU with CPUSPD for DOS retro gaming.

Reply 7 of 12, by henk717

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I already got a single boot floppy complete with all the memory manages i might need JEMMEX included but i mostly noticed its useful for newer systems that do not run stable with EMM386 (Have not been able to solve EMM386 instability yet regardless of the parameters i try on HIMEM(X) and EMM386).
For older systems i prefer a EMM386 + HIMEMX combination as HIMEMX allows you to do the same thing with the memory limitation but still has support for things like Windows 3.11 or even Windows 98. I limit my Windows 98 installs the same way and i have yet to run into issues by taking that approach.

To do so simply load HIMEMX before Windows 98 starts and it should then smoothly work with more ram installed, even on systems where the now free Rloew memory patch is not stable.

With this setup i have already used the card succesfully in my old Corei5 system, i also noticed incompatibility with the driver if i load it prior to the setup utility so i always load it after.

As far as slowdown goes i have it in my arsenal just in case, especially since i want to slow all the way down to the first IBM generation and really try to cover everything. Hardware throttling alone may not get me that far.

Reply 9 of 12, by pii_legacy

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Awesome! Love to see a machine that can run anything. I have a LGA 775 board with an onboard GeForce 7100 which has been great for everything from Win 95 to 10. I haven't tried 3.1 on it or very much DOS (at least nothing with heavy graphics).

Reply 10 of 12, by kalohimal

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I guess your 775 board is either having i845 or older chipset, or chipset from 3rd party like VIA? As far as I remember Intel chipsets after i845 no longer have any Win9x drivers. And GF 7100 doesn't have official Win9x drivers as well, modded drivers perhaps?

Slow down your CPU with CPUSPD for DOS retro gaming.

Reply 11 of 12, by pii_legacy

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kalohimal wrote on 2020-06-13, 02:04:

I guess your 775 board is either having i845 or older chipset, or chipset from 3rd party like VIA? As far as I remember Intel chipsets after i845 no longer have any Win9x drivers. And GF 7100 doesn't have official Win9x drivers as well, modded drivers perhaps?

7100 doesn't have official 9x drivers but there are unofficial drivers that work without issue for 98SE & ME.

In windows 95 I could not do anything but run graphics without drivers.

This board has nForce 630i chipset. Honestly I don't remember but I am pretty sure I used no drivers at all for the chipset. It's a GA-73PVM-S2H.

So if your board has proper 9x chipset drivers, it's a better choice for compatibility i'm sure, but the 775 board has native HDMI output which is really nice especially on those unusual display resolutions that VGA-HDMI boxes can't cope with well 😀

Treat your Yamaha sound card well! Those XG chips aren't easy to find and have some really great sounds on them.

Reply 12 of 12, by vetz

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I'm currently thinking about using the 939Dual-SATA2 for a Win98SE/WinXP build. Two questions:

- How is stability in Windows 98? I know the chipset supports Win98, but the board does not officially support it. I have had my troubles with Win98 on unsupported boards, but supported chipsets in the past (see: Asrock 775Dual VSTA & Core4Dual thread), so want to know your experiences.
- Did you test a newer PCI-E GPU in the board? The Asrock 775Dual VSTA maxes out on Geforce GTX 580.

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