First post, by red_avatar
Okay so, as you can see in my signature below, I've got several retro PC's for pretty much every 90's mini-era of games: DOS, Win 3.1, Windows 98 and early Windows XP. As a game collector, roughly two thirds of all my physical games fall within those years (1990-2002) but I've started noticing that a new "era" of games are starting to be finicky to run on modern PC's namely late Windows XP games (2003-2007). Think games such as Splinter Cell, Black & White 2, MGS 2, Neverwinter Nights 2, etc.
Because of this, I would like a dedicated Windows XP with maximum game compatibility. I was thinking of something along the line of:
My choice: Core2Duo E6600. Despite this being a multicore CPU which might cause some (minor) compatibility issues, I'd still go for this CPU since (a) I still have my own E6600 lying around and (b) the slightly older CPUs were far less efficient and capable.
Since I went with the C2D, the motherboard should have socket PLGA775. I don't have a working motherboard anymore for this socket so I'll have to do some ebay searching. Do any of you have any motherboard to recommend for this socket? It has to support the 7800 GTX (see below) which means it should ideally have PCI-e x16. I found this one on ebay for not too much money which would work I think: https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P5KPLAM/
My choice: 7800 or 7900 GTX. This was a tough one. I wanted a DirectX9 card because DX10 cards "emulated" DX9 causing some performance issues for DX9 games not to mention graphical glitches in some games. Because of this, I'd go for the 7800/7900 GTX. It's a very powerful card for that era and it should have the best compatibility. The 7800 GTX is easier to find, though so I'll probably go for that.
My choice: Creative Audigy 2. Very easy choice: the last Windows XP card that was really good. The X-Fi I own as well but I hate that card with a passion because it was sold as a Vista compatible card despite having drivers and software written by 5 year olds which made me actually tear it out in anger after months of issues and replacing it with a Xonar card. I later found out that starting with the X-Fi, Creative had sacked its US-based programming team and moved it to Malaysia where they got inexperienced freshly-graduated programmers to work for them at low wages. The Audigy had rock solid drivers and software, though.
My choice: 2GB DDR2 would be ideal to avoid running into problems with 4GB limits. Plenty of memory to find for this, still.
So what do you think of this setup? Any comments? Any improvement to make? My budget is around €125 - I figure €25 for the RAM, €40 for the GPU, €40 for the motherboard and €20 for a new DVD drive. The rest I can make from spare parts.
Retro game fanatic.
IBM PS1 386SX25 - 4MB
IBM Aptiva 486SX33 - 8MB - 2GB CF - SB16
IBM PC350 P233MMX - 64MB - 32GB SSD - AWE64 - Voodoo2
PIII600 - 320MB - 480GB SSD - SB Live! - GF4 Ti 4200
i5-2500k - 3GB - SB Audigy 2 - HD 4870