First post, by Soli
Hi guys, I'm new. Grew up during the Windows 98 days. Love to watch Phil's Youtube channel. Never had the latest and greatest tech in the old days, but I mostly played Quake so there was no need. I kinda jumped from Windows XP with and Athlon XP2500+* to the reboot of Tomb Raider on Windows 10. I did use Win7 too, both with my old Athlon but also P4, though I don't think I ever was gaming in this period. (I had a PS3 for that)
* (got the right revision thing, was supposed to overclock like crazy, but it never was stable at XP3200+ speed, but maybe that was because I always wanted my machine to be as silent as possible, even in the days NO machine was silent, and even a "silent" case was nowhere silent 😀)
I few years ago, i threw away all my old machines. This included the legendary Asus A7N8X Deluxe 2.0 with the Swiftech 462+ cooler, and the god like Abit NF7-S v2. (I still have numerous custom/hacked BIOSes for this board laying around in my old backup folder) Those were the days:) Just a few months later I discovered the Retro PC thing and totally regretted getting rid of my PCs!!
So anyways, I've now got a few "older" motherboards, gpus and other stuff I've gotten mostly for free, and even tried to buy complete P2 machines and similar stuff. But I always came to the conclusion that they were to heavy, too bigh, too noisy. I tried to convert to mATX motherboards, including Athlon XP, P4 HT, but I still think mATX is too big when I alreay have numerous machines in my apartment. (To be fair, I could probably live with the Cerberus mATX case, but that's besides the point)
I use a Dan Case A4-SFX cabinet for my main universal rig, and the same for my gaming rig connected to my TV. Those cabinets are 7,2L and I am incredibly satisfied with how little space they occupy and their functionality regarding how to cram in as much hardware possible in as little space possible - with full performance and quietness to boot.
I always kept thinking that it would be great to have a Windows 98 rig in the same form factor, but never thought it was actually possible to have it the way I wanted. Since ITX is "supposed" to have only 1 expansion slot, and running Windows 98 (and especially pure DOS) you'd probably want a PCI port for a sound card (you can definately forget about getting an ISA port on an ITX mobo), but then you'd have to stick with IGP for graphics and that kinda sucks. I believe some VIA boards are compatible with some sort of 1to2 PCI-extender, but what I really wanted was an AGP slot in an ITX board. I didn't know such a thing existed, and even if it did, I would then have to rely on built-in soundcard since ITX is supposed to have just that one expansion slot.
I searched everywhere, even on this site, but I just came upon VIA boards and other obscure boards with only 1 PCI slot. But after some more googling, and to my amazement, I somehow got to this page: http://slipperyskip.com/page14.html , which features the KONTRON 886LCD-M/mITX motherboard, an industrial Pentium-M board which has both AGP and PCI slots (And even a CF slot underneath)! It even has 3 gigabit ethernet ports, IDE, SATA: you name it, it got it! And they support this board has is just ridiculous too: https://www.kontron.com/support-and-services/ … roduct_id=87083
It has offical support for Windows98 til Windows XP, but I know for sure it will even run Windows 10 (With Dothan, not Banias). It has only 1 DIMM slot so at the time it only supported 1G of RAM, but I believe it will work with 2Gigs if you can get hold of such a stick.
So fast forward to now, I've gotten hold of such a board and I'm planning to put it in a Dan A4-SFX case. I probably probably have to order 2 AGP flex extender cables from moddiy.com since they only sell them in 15CM lengths. My plan is getting a AGP GPU anywhere between Radeon 9700 Pro and HD3850, and for the sound card I'll probably look after a Vortex2 since Phil recommends this card, although I'll try a couple of other cards I have laying around too.
I'll probably order a Pentium M 770 Dothan 2,13GHZ from Ebay too. (Under 4usd shipped, since the 780 at 2,26GHZ costs over 16usd). I'm kinda surprised that noone here has talked about this motherboard, and there's hardly any information about it anywhere (except on Kontron's site, which has almost too much information about, including a Windows XP embedded preset for it).
So what do you think about this motherboard? Disregarding the fact that you will never get an ISA slot in a ITX motherboard, IMHO this must be the ultimate Windows 98 ITX board, and I really look forward on tinkering with it and mess around with Windows 98/98SE again.
ps. I think you can get it on Ebay, although it's very pricey.
ps2. Kontron Also has the 986LCD-M/mITX, which is based on mobile CoreDuo/Core2Duo which supports up to the T7600 Core2Duo@2,33. Just like the first generation Intel Mac minis. It has a PCIe slot instead of the AGP slot but still has the PCI slot plus it's got 2 DIMM slots. This board might be more suitable for those that wish to have a mobo that will support both Win98 (although not officially supported) and be able to dual boot to Windows XP/7 for heavier/newer games. For me it's not so interesting because if I want a killer XP setup, I'd just use my Intel Ivy bridge ITX board which offically supports XP and upwards, put in a HD5870 and be done with it, but YMMV.