VOGONS


First post, by pewpewpew

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A7N8X_W98SE_test.jpg
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This build is for the games that XP doesn't like to play. I've paused to make three installs to compare raw 98SE with Unofficial SP 2.1a and Unofficial SP 3.35.

I've used Phil's awesome-easy-benchmarking package.
Phil's Ultimate VGA Benchmark Database Project

==HDD 1==
=RAW=
3DB 5144
PCP 441.8
DOOM 2134/593
QUAKE 969 frames 3.6 seconds 269.7 fps

==HDD 2==
=RAW=
3DB 5144
PCP 441.8
DOOM 2134/590
QUAKE 969 frames 3.6 seconds 269.2 fps

=2.1a=
3DB 5144
PCP 441.8
DOOM 2134/592
QUAKE 969 frames 3.6 seconds 268.1 fps

==HDD 3==
=RAW=
3DB 5144
PCP 440.4
DOOM 2134/593
QUAKE 969 frames 3.6 seconds 269.3 fps

=3.35=
3DB 5144
PCP 444.0
DOOM 2134/598
QUAKE 969 frames 3.6 seconds 269.1 fps

General comment - USP 3.35 offers a large set of packages to make 98se a contemporary full-service computer. I only installed a handful since I want a gamebox. USP 2.1a offers much less, and is more oriented to what I'd care to add.

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Feel free to sidetrack the thread with build advice. 98SE was my daily box for years, but everything I used to do was meant to make it as fast & modern as possible. Optimizing for DirectX 7 is new territory.

In advance: I'm using the FX5200 is because it's the FX I have. All my faster AGP are ATI. I know it's a resounding stinker, but I think it ought to be more than adequate for this build, no? I also have MX440SE and MX400 if those have an advantage I've missed.

A7N8X Deluxe rev2.00, original driver CD 2003
nForce2 Ultra 400, nForce2 MCP-T, final BIOS 1008 2004
Athlon XP 2500+ 2003
2x256MB PC3200 DDR400
Asus V9520MAGIC/T FX5200, Nvidia driver 45.23 2003
SB Live Value CT4830, original driver CD 1999 *
DirectX 7.0a 1999

* in the excitement I lost count and forgot to install the SB Live drivers.

Must say I am not enamoured with how this box is taking to 98SE. Bit of a pig-wrestle, especially to get USB flash sticks recognized. And it takes several minutes too long to boot. Right now I'm leaning towards installing on the old A7V133 to compare before continuing.

Reply 1 of 14, by Chewhacca

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I feel your frustration, I had a tremendous amount of trouble installing 98SE with my Abit NF-7. So much trouble in fact that I gave up after about a dozen re-installs. I still have the 98SE cd-key committed to memory after all these years.

Reply 2 of 14, by alexanrs

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For USB sticks I've always used these:
http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/43605-maximus … ve-usb-drivers/

Also, can you isolate what is taking so long during the boot process? I recall having longer boot times with DHCP in a PC way back then that was connected directly to a PPPoE router, so try disabling the network card for troubleshooting. Also, if you are loading a lot of drivers before the Windows cache kicks in, you might want to load SMARTDRV in AUTOEXEC.BAT

Reply 3 of 14, by pewpewpew

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Funny, I perused the logs and System Information and got nowhere. Installed the SB's drivers and still have a couple of broken mystery items in Device Manager. PCI Ethernet and PCI RAID. No difference after marking as Removed from this profile.

It has the earmarks of a SATA RAID detection's overlong timeout, but there's nothing in BIOS to disable so that's a dead end too.

Happily I am not stuck with this board. It was a nice experiment to run 98 on something overthetop, but there's nothing about it worth deep fussing. It'll make a fine secondary XP for gamepad games over with the consoles. Swap the FX and SB into the A7V for DirectX 7. At least it ran well enough to answer the curiosity about the service packs.

Reply 4 of 14, by alexanrs

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Interesting... but if this slowdown is during Windows 98 bootup (and not the bios part), I'd hardly believe it is RAID stuff, seeing that it's drivers aren't installed. And if it is a pre-OS bootup delay, XP will suffer from the same issue. I'd try to see if both safe mode and safe mode+networking have the same problems. If not, it's probably a driver thing and XP will probably behave better.

BTW I used to have a 800MHz duron with a MX460 and when I exchanged it for my 2.0 GHz Athlon64 3000+ and a FX5200, I noticed that some DX7 stuff was actually slower, but not by much. Could be drivers though, and the OS (W98+2000 dualboot vs XP)

Reply 5 of 14, by PhilsComputerLab

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Stick with Intel. I know it sounds fan boyish but I've mucked around with enough hardware that I value my time and nerves and stick with Intel and Nvidia.

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Reply 6 of 14, by pewpewpew

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Fair advice. I do have some reading bookmarked about the Via chipset I'm approaching next.

Since this A7V was my favorite and last board under 98SE in the day, I at least know this one can have a happy ending.

Reply 7 of 14, by pewpewpew

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*Facepalm* Those are all DOS benchmarks; of course they'd all be the same. WTF was I smoking? Right. Will get some Win benchmarks and get those posted before moving on. The hardware hasn't been torn down yet.

Reply 8 of 14, by swaaye

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The two big causes of weird Win9x problems are ACPI and PCI bus issues (try disabling onboard devices and removing cards). Win9x has quirks with both. You can try forcing a APM mode install too.

Of course it's worth mentioning that having more than 512MB RAM will cause some problems and more than 1GB is big trouble. Vcache needs a tweak starting at 512MB and beyond 1GB you need maxphyspage to limit the OS's RAM addressing. Install will fail with more than a gig too (on the second boot IIRC unless you edit system.ini beforehand).

The magic voodoo unofficial service packs don't do anything for games in my experience.

Reply 9 of 14, by pewpewpew

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Yah. I'm not expecting them to, but I am curious if they actually slow things down any. I was surprised to notice the spread of opinions about this here & without referencing tests, so I figured I'd do that on the next install.

In the day, 2.1a was part of my recipe for a happy stable sparky 98 experience. But only "part of", and that was for general computing and dx9c.

Reply 10 of 14, by PhilsComputerLab

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The fastest systems I installed Windows 98 SE on were Intel 865 chipset board with Pentium 4 3.2 GHz. Used two 256 MB sticks of RAM, SATA set to compatibility and with a 32 GB capacity limit on the drive and had zero issues.

Chipset drivers from Intel, Voodoo 2 SLI and a basic GeForce. Vortex 2 for sound.

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Reply 11 of 14, by 3Dude

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Just some comments based on my hands on experience

A7N8X and win98 are a troubled relationship, caused a lot of headaches back in the day, just Google it, the info is there.... VIA chipsets are much better for win9x if you are staying on the AMD wagon. They even support nicely win95.

Best pure DX7 card is the Gefroce2 Ultra, period. That offers 100% DX7 compatibility and just pure brute force way faster than a lot of newer cards (except maybe GF4MX 460 or 440-8x). I had to deal a lot with DX7 rendering problems with every graphics card newer than a geforce 3 or radeon 8500. DX7 backwards compatibility is a false perpetuated myth.

Reply 12 of 14, by eFatal2ty

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Which ServicePacks do you mean? Win98SE doesent have any official

*ASUS P3B-F *Intel Pentium!!! 450MHz Katmai@133fsb *Hynix 4x128MB SDR PC133 CL2 *Matrox G400MAX 32MB + Procomp Voodoo2 12MB SLi *Creative SB Live! CT4760 *3Com 3C905C-TX-M *2xSeagate 40GB 7200rpmn *EIZO T68 19"CRT * Creative FPS1000 *OS: MS Win 98SE

Reply 14 of 14, by pewpewpew

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Right, it's dingo kidneys. I've run 3DMARK2000 and 3DWINBENCH2000 on all three, plus with & without a fixed swap. No change made any difference greater than what occurs by simply running the app twice.

So to be very clear: the Unofficial Service Packs did not give the machine rabies or slow things down. Nor did they speed anything up.

----

An explanatory aside for people new to the Unofficial packs.

2.1a is a now old 'final' collection of Microsoft bug fixes, as well as popular tweaks, configurations, & apps.

I like it. I figure the bug fixes can't hurt, and it saves me collecting and remembering the various apps'n'tweaks I liked to do in the day. About all I add to this is O'Reilly's Utilities.
file.php?id=15983
That said, 98SE is already a formidable bug-fix of 98. For a gamebox, running the raw install is probably entirely fine, and several members do quite happily.

3.35 is the 2.1a project taken on by a new maintainer and adds a truck-load of fixes and mods to make 98SE a modern daily-use operating system. It is an active project.

Which is interesting in itself but it has nothing to do with gaming.