VOGONS


My first retro project

Topic actions

First post, by DeadnightWarrior

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

It's been about 16 months since I started thinking about a retro gaming PC that could handle DOS, Windows 98 and some Windows XP games.
Today was maybe the first time I really saw my vision beginning to take shape.
Building, testing, scrapping, rebuilding and making mistakes on this project helped me through these painful times between lockdowns and quarantines. I romantically hope that, as my project is finally seeing the light, so will the entire world sooner or later.

So, 5 mainboards, 6 CPUs, 4 graphics cards, 3 sound cards, 2 hard drives, 2 SSDs and a plethora of optical drives, floppies and discs later, I hereby present to you my creation:

- CPU: Intel Core2Duo E6550 "Conroe"
- MB: Asus P5PE-VM
- RAM: 2x1Gb Kingston DDR-400
- GPU: Sparkle GeForce 6600 256Mb
- SSD: Crucial BX500 120Gb (with SATA to IDE converter)
- SOUND: Creative SoundBlaster Live! SB0100
- ODD: LG IDE DVD burner
- OTHER: Floppy / card reader combo drive
- CPU COOLER: Itek Icy-100
- CASE: Tacens AC4
- PSU: Tacens APSI500

oXv7Ghft.jpeg 0EZzkkZt.jpeg N9fLxEUt.jpeg e1Tk4tjt.jpeg aDVAWI8t.jpeg

One thing's for sure: it's been a long ride and trying to cable manage this thing was a NIGHTMARE!
Maybe it won't be final and down the line I'll want to swap some parts here and there but still, I'm proud of what I've done so far 😀

A huge thank you goes to all of you who helped me sort a lot of issues out: Vogons was my North star!

I just can't wait to put it to the test!

Last edited by DeadnightWarrior on 2021-04-27, 14:01. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 2 of 23, by bZbZbZ

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Nice build! This will be a great system for Windows XP.

I remember always wanting a floppy / card reader combo drive just like that one. I never got a chance to own one though.

You will probably need an unofficial patch to run with 2GB of memory in Windows 98. From what I've read, Windows 98 is stable with 512MB or less. Some have been okay with 1GB. 2GB won't work without the patch. If you're lucky you might be able to install & boot into Win98 using a single stick of memory (1GB), apply the patch, shut down, then boot with 2GB. If you're unlucky.... you might need to find a 512MB stick of RAM. Or skip Win98.

I'm not sure you'd be able to run pure DOS on this hardware... but I think this computer is so fast that it could run a lot of games in DOSbox. If you manage to get Win98 installed you could also run some DOS games in the Win98 DOS prompt.

Good luck!

Reply 3 of 23, by melbar

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

About this VGA card:

I have never seen this design on geforce 6600 GT.

It is really a GT ?
Searching on Sparkle geforce 6600 GT, the cooler design is different.

If it is a 6600 GT , then it shall have VGA ram chip's with square design ...

This looks like DDR or (G)DDR2 ram...

Reply 4 of 23, by Ydee

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

It is GF6600 non GT:

Attachments

  • 6600s.jpg
    Filename
    6600s.jpg
    File size
    161.93 KiB
    Views
    567 views
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • 6600.jpg
    Filename
    6600.jpg
    File size
    177.69 KiB
    Views
    567 views
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception

Reply 5 of 23, by DeadnightWarrior

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
bZbZbZ wrote on 2021-04-27, 01:17:

Nice build! This will be a great system for Windows XP.

Thanks! I hope it will 😀

bZbZbZ wrote on 2021-04-27, 01:17:

I remember always wanting a floppy / card reader combo drive just like that one. I never got a chance to own one though.

I've had this unit for at least a decade, it's actually the only part I already owned.
34 pin ribbon for FDD and a USB 2.0 internal header for the card reader. It's a very nice little unit that allows me to quickly transfer files via SD cards instead of having, say, to burn a CDRW.

bZbZbZ wrote on 2021-04-27, 01:17:

You will probably need an unofficial patch to run with 2GB of memory in Windows 98. From what I've read, Windows 98 is stable with 512MB or less. Some have been okay with 1GB. 2GB won't work without the patch. If you're lucky you might be able to install & boot into Win98 using a single stick of memory (1GB), apply the patch, shut down, then boot with 2GB. If you're unlucky.... you might need to find a 512MB stick of RAM. Or skip Win98.

I'm not sure you'd be able to run pure DOS on this hardware... but I think this computer is so fast that it could run a lot of games in DOSbox. If you manage to get Win98 installed you could also run some DOS games in the Win98 DOS prompt.

Actually Windows 98SE installs and boots without any issue even with 1Gb of RAM: I just installed it and to do so I had to take one memory stick out. It works perfectly with 1Gb. Then, I will need to use himemx to make it at least boot with 2Gb (it won't "see" the whole 2Gb but it won't hang either).
As for DOS apps, I'm planning to use DOS prompt or boot in DOS mode, it depends on the particular game / program.

Reply 6 of 23, by DeadnightWarrior

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
Ydee wrote on 2021-04-27, 12:32:

It is GF6600 non GT:

Yes, my bad!
It's indeed a Sparkle but it's a plain 6600, I don't know why I was convinced it was a GT 😁

Reply 7 of 23, by enaiel

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Great build! I was wondering how you managed to get the Core2Duo E6550 CPU to work with the Asus P5PE-VM motherboard? I have the same CPU but I thought it required a motherboard with a 1333 MHz FSB, and this motherboard with its 1066 (O.C)/800/533 MHz FSB did not support it (https://www.asus.com/supportonly/P5PE-VM/HelpDesk_CPU/). Thanks!

DOS PC: Socket 370 / VIA C3 1.0 GHz / S3 Trio64V2/DX + Trident Blade3D / SBPro + YMF744 + AWE64 + SC-7

Reply 8 of 23, by DeadnightWarrior

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
enaiel wrote on 2021-04-27, 14:29:

Great build! I was wondering how you managed to get the Core2Duo E6550 CPU to work with the Asus P5PE-VM motherboard? I have the same CPU but I thought it required a motherboard with a 1333 MHz FSB, and this motherboard with its 1066 (O.C)/800/533 MHz FSB did not support it (https://www.asus.com/supportonly/P5PE-VM/HelpDesk_CPU/). Thanks!

You need a 1501 "modded" BIOS, you can find out about it here: Re: Best LGA 775 Motherboard with AGP and DDR400?
Then of course you'll need to tinker with FSB settings, which I'm still about to fully figure out myself!
Anyways, even if the E6550 is not running at its full speed at the moment, it's working fine thanks to this mod. Before flashing it, the E6550 wouldn't even boot.

Reply 9 of 23, by appiah4

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

My advice would be to reconsider that sound card if you really want to play DOS games on this. Go for a YMF7x4 PCI or ForteMedia FM801 PCI card.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 10 of 23, by enaiel

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
DeadnightWarrior wrote on 2021-04-27, 16:23:

You need a 1501 "modded" BIOS, you can find out about it here: Re: Best LGA 775 Motherboard with AGP and DDR400?
Then of course you'll need to tinker with FSB settings, which I'm still about to fully figure out myself!
Anyways, even if the E6550 is not running at its full speed at the moment, it's working fine thanks to this mod. Before flashing it, the E6550 wouldn't even boot.

How stable is this build since it's being massively overclocked to even run that CPU? I have all the parts for a similar build excluding the motherboard, so I'm really curious to know. Please keep us posted on your testing!

DOS PC: Socket 370 / VIA C3 1.0 GHz / S3 Trio64V2/DX + Trident Blade3D / SBPro + YMF744 + AWE64 + SC-7

Reply 11 of 23, by DeadnightWarrior

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
appiah4 wrote on 2021-04-27, 21:00:

My advice would be to reconsider that sound card if you really want to play DOS games on this. Go for a YMF7x4 PCI or ForteMedia FM801 PCI card.

I do have a YMF724 and a Solo-1, I'll definitely want to try out both of them. Though, based on previous testings I made, all three sound cards gave me some kind of headache... I guess there is really no "perfect" PCI sound card for DOS 🙁

Reply 12 of 23, by DeadnightWarrior

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
enaiel wrote on 2021-04-28, 00:23:
DeadnightWarrior wrote on 2021-04-27, 16:23:

You need a 1501 "modded" BIOS, you can find out about it here: Re: Best LGA 775 Motherboard with AGP and DDR400?
Then of course you'll need to tinker with FSB settings, which I'm still about to fully figure out myself!
Anyways, even if the E6550 is not running at its full speed at the moment, it's working fine thanks to this mod. Before flashing it, the E6550 wouldn't even boot.

How stable is this build since it's being massively overclocked to even run that CPU? I have all the parts for a similar build excluding the motherboard, so I'm really curious to know. Please keep us posted on your testing!

Well, the first attempt at overclock failed miserably for now.
I'll try to go one step at a time, if I'm not getting anywhere I might try that Q6600 I have lying around, a quad core, yes, but with a 1066 FSB instead of 1333. I'll keep you updated!

Reply 13 of 23, by bloodem

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
DeadnightWarrior wrote on 2021-04-28, 04:46:

I do have a YMF724 and a Solo-1, I'll definitely want to try out both of them. Though, based on previous testings I made, all three sound cards gave me some kind of headache... I guess there is really no "perfect" PCI sound card for DOS 🙁

The YMF724 is as close to perfect as it gets when it comes to PCI sound cards for both Win98 & DOS, however there’s a catch: its “perfection” can only be achieved on certain platforms (yours is not really suitable for it).

4 x Socket 3 / 4 x Socket 7 / 6 x Super Socket 7 / 5 x Slot 1 / 3 x Slot A / 5 x Socket 370
5 x Socket A / 1 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 4 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: AM4 - Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: LGA1151 - Core i7 7700k

Reply 14 of 23, by appiah4

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++
DeadnightWarrior wrote on 2021-04-28, 04:46:
appiah4 wrote on 2021-04-27, 21:00:

My advice would be to reconsider that sound card if you really want to play DOS games on this. Go for a YMF7x4 PCI or ForteMedia FM801 PCI card.

I do have a YMF724 and a Solo-1, I'll definitely want to try out both of them. Though, based on previous testings I made, all three sound cards gave me some kind of headache... I guess there is really no "perfect" PCI sound card for DOS 🙁

Solo-1 won't work on that mainboard but YMF724 could. Ruthan is the resident expert on PCI sound cards on newer ICH motherboards.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 15 of 23, by DeadnightWarrior

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
appiah4 wrote on 2021-04-28, 08:05:
DeadnightWarrior wrote on 2021-04-28, 04:46:
appiah4 wrote on 2021-04-27, 21:00:

My advice would be to reconsider that sound card if you really want to play DOS games on this. Go for a YMF7x4 PCI or ForteMedia FM801 PCI card.

I do have a YMF724 and a Solo-1, I'll definitely want to try out both of them. Though, based on previous testings I made, all three sound cards gave me some kind of headache... I guess there is really no "perfect" PCI sound card for DOS 🙁

Solo-1 won't work on that mainboard but YMF724 could. Ruthan is the resident expert on PCI sound cards on newer ICH motherboards.

Funny... I thought the P5PE-VM had an "old enough" ICH to make these cards work properly... When I had a Via K8M800 I had all sorts of issues, that's why I went looking for an Intel chipset.

Reply 16 of 23, by DeadnightWarrior

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
bloodem wrote on 2021-04-28, 05:01:
DeadnightWarrior wrote on 2021-04-28, 04:46:

I do have a YMF724 and a Solo-1, I'll definitely want to try out both of them. Though, based on previous testings I made, all three sound cards gave me some kind of headache... I guess there is really no "perfect" PCI sound card for DOS 🙁

The YMF724 is as close to perfect as it gets when it comes to PCI sound cards for both Win98 & DOS, however there’s a catch: its “perfection” can only be achieved on certain platforms (yours is not really suitable for it).

What would be a suitable platform for the YMF?

Reply 17 of 23, by bloodem

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

In my experience, a Pentium 3 Coppermine / 440BX motherboard (with DDMA or even better - SBLink connector) works great with YMF7xx cards.
Also, have had very good (almost perfect) experience with KT400/KT600 motherboards + Athlon XP, although the YMF does have some minor glitches in Win98 with these chipsets, so it's better to use a SBLive for Windows and the YMF7xx for DOS (and in DOS it does work great, although you do need to use DSDMA, which requires an expanded memory manager).

4 x Socket 3 / 4 x Socket 7 / 6 x Super Socket 7 / 5 x Slot 1 / 3 x Slot A / 5 x Socket 370
5 x Socket A / 1 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 4 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: AM4 - Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: LGA1151 - Core i7 7700k

Reply 18 of 23, by appiah4

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++
DeadnightWarrior wrote on 2021-04-28, 09:16:
bloodem wrote on 2021-04-28, 05:01:
DeadnightWarrior wrote on 2021-04-28, 04:46:

I do have a YMF724 and a Solo-1, I'll definitely want to try out both of them. Though, based on previous testings I made, all three sound cards gave me some kind of headache... I guess there is really no "perfect" PCI sound card for DOS 🙁

The YMF724 is as close to perfect as it gets when it comes to PCI sound cards for both Win98 & DOS, however there’s a catch: its “perfection” can only be achieved on certain platforms (yours is not really suitable for it).

What would be a suitable platform for the YMF?

K8M880 is an very, very compatible chipset when it comes to PCI sound cards for DOS.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 19 of 23, by DeadnightWarrior

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

...well! It wouldn't be fun without some sort of trouble, right?

First, I changed a couple of things: swapped the E6550 with a Q6600 (I figured its FSB would be more compatible and in fact it runs at its regular speed... RAM stays 350Mhz or thereabouts) and installed a YMF724 in place of the Soundblaster.

Now, while trying to complete my Windows 98SE install, I'm having one major issue and another very annoying one:
1) More often than not, the system stops booting properly. Digging a bit deeper with the likes of Gparted, Parted Magic and a live Lubuntu distro, I noticed the "hard drive" reports some random "bad clusters" or the system can't "read from cluster X or Y".
Then maybe after some restarts it boots fine. When it works, it works perfectly. BIOS is set to ignore SATA ports and use "legacy" and "compatible" modes for IDE; also, I set as "not installed" anything else than primary master (the SSD) and secondary master (the DVD).
As I'm using a "no name Chinese" SATA to PATA adapter for my 120Gb SSD, I strongly suspect it's the main culprit. Should I call it a day, scrap the SSD and use a regular IDE hard drive?

2) I'm using a KVM 'cause I literally have no space to afford a separate keyboard/mouse/display. And of course I don't have two PS/2 ports on my daily Ryzen PC.
The KVM has USB only for keyboard and mouse and they do work fine on the retro PC, even in DOS and Windows 98. However I keep a PS/2 keyboard attached for troubleshooting purposes. Under Win98SE, the basic Intel USB 1.1 drivers install and work just fine.
BUT.
As soon as I try to install the USB 2.0 driver (and it's the OFFICIAL ASUS driver found on the P5PE-VM page), everything just stops working: USB keyboard and mouse are never to be seen again and even the PS/2 keyboard does not respond!
Should I avoid the USB 2.0 driver and live with the yellow exclamation mark?

As usual, any help will be greatly appreciated!