VOGONS


First post, by Scandy

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Hi everyone,
I'd like some advice on the choice of components for my new retro-pc.
The goal is to mainly play DOS games like Crystal Caves, Monster Bash, Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3-D, Hexen etc. up to, at most, a few CD titles from the first Windows era (The Curse of Monkey Island would be the most recent). As OS I would therefore use Windows 98 SE on an ASUS P2BF mainboard with a Pentium II 400 Mhz and 512 Mb RAM.

I have the following audio cards:
- Creative Sound Blaster AWE64 (CT4520 - ISA, not Gold)
- Creative Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 (SB0060 - PCI)
- ESS Audiodrive ES1868 (ISA)

And the following video cards:
- S3 Trio 64V + (PCI)
- S3 TRIO 3D / 2 (AGP)
- Creative 3D Blaster Banshee (CT6750 - AGP)
- Nvidia Riva TNT 2 M-64 (AGP)

(I exclude my Matrox G400 due to scrolling problems in early DOS games).

Which setup would you recommend ?
Thank you!

Last edited by Scandy on 2021-05-05, 09:58. Edited 1 time in total.

THE NIGHTLAND is my board + video game for Commodore 64.

Reply 2 of 8, by chinny22

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

-S3 Not much difference between the 2 cards and none in the games you specifically mention, so would go with the AGP card unless it's incapability effects you specifically.
- TNT2 is also highly compatible a better match for a P2 This would be my pick.
- Banshee is also a great card for dos/early windows but as you haven't mentioned any glide games I'd save it for a Glide PC build unless you only have room for 1 retro PC in which case I'd use it here over the rest.

In case your not aware this has a lost of the cards and problem games
https://gona.mactar.hu/DOS_TESTS/

Sound
SBLive will give cleaner sound in Windows so could go with 2 card setup but as your only playing the earliest of Windows games I'd probably not bother in this instance.
AWE vs ESS would be a personal choice, The AWE would be better suited to later dos games and Windows but the ESS with its more "authentic" OPL sound may be more desirable for the earlier games.

Reply 3 of 8, by Scandy

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Thank you very much for your kind feedback.
I'm actually using the Creative 3D Blaster Banshee (CT6750 - AGP) and the Creative Sound Blaster AWE64 (CT4520 - ISA, not Gold) and I'm very happy of the results!

But I suspect that the AWE64 is one of the "partial-fake" cards, since it works perfectly in Windows 98 but in DOS (following @philscomputerlab tutorial on YouTube) I get no music if I use the AWE driver, while everything is OK with the SB16 driver.

P.S. It is normal that when I reboot in MS-DOS mode in Windows 98, there's no real reboot (I directly get the prompt)?

THE NIGHTLAND is my board + video game for Commodore 64.

Reply 5 of 8, by Scandy

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Thank you very much for your kind feedback.

In the end these are the final specs of my retro-PC:
- ASUS P2B-F
- Intel Pentium II 400 Mhz
- 512 Mb RAM
- Creative Sound Blaster AWE64 (ISA, CT4520)
- Creative 3D Blaster Banshee (AGP, CT6750)
- CD-ROM and floppy 3.5''

Not bad for a total cost of 25 euro (including shipping). I'm running Windows 98 SE.
May I ask which is the best tool to slow down the CPU in MS-DOS mode? The chipset should be Intel 440BX.
Thanks!

THE NIGHTLAND is my board + video game for Commodore 64.

Reply 6 of 8, by gerry

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
Scandy wrote on Today, 09:58:
Thank you very much for your kind feedback. […]
Show full quote

Thank you very much for your kind feedback.

In the end these are the final specs of my retro-PC:
- ASUS P2B-F
- Intel Pentium II 400 Mhz
- 512 Mb RAM
- Creative Sound Blaster AWE64 (ISA, CT4520)
- Creative 3D Blaster Banshee (AGP, CT6750)
- CD-ROM and floppy 3.5''

Not bad for a total cost of 25 euro (including shipping). I'm running Windows 98 SE.
May I ask which is the best tool to slow down the CPU in MS-DOS mode? The chipset should be Intel 440BX.
Thanks!

should be good and for 25 its great! several choices for slow down utilities such as mo'slo, bremze, slowdos, throttle, in fact such searching for 'slow down dos' should get most of these

Reply 7 of 8, by chinny22

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
Scandy wrote on 2021-05-01, 08:36:

P.S. It is normal that when I reboot in MS-DOS mode in Windows 98, there's no real reboot (I directly get the prompt)?

I'm not familiar with Phil's guide but if your accessing dos via the shutdown screen it doesn't do a full reboot and loads drivers off "dostart.bat"
I suspect the AWE drivers aren't here so no loaded.

I prefer something along the the steps here but rather then changing the "Exit to Dos" pif in the guide I create a new shortcut to command.com on my desktop and continue with the steps.
Phil's MS-DOS Mode Tutorial: Working Memory, Mouse, CD-ROM and Sound Blaster 16/32/64 in Windows 9x MS-DOS Mode

As for Slowdown tools, This isn't something the PII is very good at thanks to their locked multiplier, it may be that you have to run a tool on top of a tool depending on the game.
In my case most common is games with the Turbo Pascal Runtime Error , lucky patches exist to fix the game rather then having to slowdown the PC.

This is a good list of games and what needs doing, try the game first. I've had a few instances where I don't have the problem reported (or it's so minor it doesn't bother me)
https://www.vogonswiki.com/index.php/List_of_ … sensitive_games

Reply 8 of 8, by Joakim

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

I tried Phil's pif but it somehow locked me out of windows 98 after I installed a driver. I really would not recommend using tools like it if you don't understand what they do.

Personally I got myself an other SD card to boot DOS 6.2 from with Phil's DOS boot menu. Which I modified with the Teac CDrom driver (slowed down cause of noise) and an option to use an Usb memory stick, which is quite handy.