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XP Era Gaming Pc Help

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First post, by Robhalfordfan

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hi all

i am gonna be building a decent xp gaming era pc (early/mid 2000s - early 2010s)

i have my mobo (evga nforce 780i) (socket 775)
i have my eax sound card (creative sound blaster fatal1ty fps edition)
i have my hdds, dvd/rw drive and floppy drive

thinking of upgrading the processor to a Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 but prices are weird on ebay etc and most of the cheapest ones seem to come from china and not sure if to go for that.

i not sure which graphics card to go with to cover that era, if anyone if any ideas what to good fit and would a 500w psu be suitable which i know the GPU will determine that (was thinking maybe a 1gb or 1.5gb pci-e)

the cpu cooler, ram, case, case fans and psu will get at later date

Last edited by Robhalfordfan on 2019-09-18, 18:37. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 1 of 50, by candle_86

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680i = no 45nm quads except xeons

For video cards a good middle ground is a 6800 or 7900 series with good dx7 and 8 support.

Reply 2 of 50, by Doornkaat

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You're probably going to be happy with the HD 5870, HD 6870, GTX 560 Ti or GTX 660 Ti. All of them have a somewhat reasonable power draw and decent performance for XP games. Compatibility should be equal with late XP drivers. Nvidia cards give you GPU PhysX for the few games that support it but early PhysX games might be confused and you have to disable GPU PhysX.

As long as you're not using Crossfire or SLi (and I would suggest going with a faster GPU instead of two slower) you're definitely fine with a decent 500W PSU.

Reply 3 of 50, by mothergoose729

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There are some driver versions for later cards that can cause minor incompatibilities with some games.

2010 is the 9800gtx+ and 9800gx2 as far as graphics go. Personally I prefer to polarize. If you are mostly playing games after 2002, then I would get a GTX 7 series or a GTX 9 series card. Go full performance. If you are more concerned with games between 2000-2003ish, then I would get something like a geforce 6 or 7 instead. Any card with official drivers will work in 90%+ of games without issue, but later cards might have minor incompatabilities, while earlier cards are fast enough for late XP games.

Some people say that the GTX 285 is a good middle ground, so that is another suggestion.

Reply 4 of 50, by Robhalfordfan

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candle_86 wrote:

680i = no 45nm quads except xeons

For video cards a good middle ground is a 6800 or 7900 series with good dx7 and 8 support.

sorry i put the wrong mobo model, it is next one up 780i

Reply 5 of 50, by Robhalfordfan

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Doornkaat wrote:

You're probably going to be happy with the HD 5870, HD 6870, GTX 560 Ti or GTX 660 Ti. All of them have a somewhat reasonable power draw and decent performance for XP games. Compatibility should be equal with late XP drivers. Nvidia cards give you GPU PhysX for the few games that support it but early PhysX games might be confused and you have to disable GPU PhysX.

As long as you're not using Crossfire or SLi (and I would suggest going with a faster GPU instead of two slower) you're definitely fine with a decent 500W PSU.

i wont using sli or crossfire, i have always preferred a single card setup when possible

most of games i will running on the build is from 2005 - 2010ish and few before 2005

Last edited by Robhalfordfan on 2019-09-19, 10:02. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 6 of 50, by Robhalfordfan

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mothergoose729 wrote:

There are some driver versions for later cards that can cause minor incompatibilities with some games.

2010 is the 9800gtx+ and 9800gx2 as far as graphics go. Personally I prefer to polarize. If you are mostly playing games after 2002, then I would get a GTX 7 series or a GTX 9 series card. Go full performance. If you are more concerned with games between 2000-2003ish, then I would get something like a geforce 6 or 7 instead. Any card with official drivers will work in 90%+ of games without issue, but later cards might have minor incompatabilities, while earlier cards are fast enough for late XP games.

Some people say that the GTX 285 is a good middle ground, so that is another suggestion.

i am building this pc to cover games from 2005 - 2010 ish as most of games that would run on here and a few from wee bit eariler

i have a windows 98 build which covers games mid/late 90s to early 2000s ish and like to have a little overlap incase some games might run better on this xp build rather window 98 build

Reply 7 of 50, by kolderman

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I have a standard WinXP that I always stick closely to (mainly because I have a large number of matching parts for it):

- s775 mATX, core2duo E8500 3.2ghz
- 4gb DDR2 (2x2)
- ati radeon HD 5850 (best balance of performance and power draw/heat)
- xi-fi titanium (toslink out)
- 1TB Seagate SSHD (hdd with inbuilt ssd cache)

I actually dual-boot it with Win7 - XP for XP era games and Win7 for game/midi emulation (dosbox, scumm, falconsoft etc).

Reply 8 of 50, by mothergoose729

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Robhalfordfan wrote:

i have a windows 98 build which covers games mid/late 90s to early 2000s ish and like to have a little overlap incase some games might run better on this xp build rather window 98 build

In my opinion, go for fast then. A GTX 960 is officially supported, a GTX 970 or faster will require a simple inf edit. The 10 series is not supported. I think ATI dropped support sometime around the R9 series.

Reply 10 of 50, by Robhalfordfan

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mothergoose729 wrote:
Robhalfordfan wrote:

i have a windows 98 build which covers games mid/late 90s to early 2000s ish and like to have a little overlap incase some games might run better on this xp build rather window 98 build

In my opinion, go for fast then. A GTX 960 is officially supported, a GTX 970 or faster will require a simple inf edit. The 10 series is not supported. I think ATI dropped support sometime around the R9 series.

i currently have gtx 660 in my windows 7 build and using gtx 970 sli in modern windows 10 build

my windows 98 build use a 256mb graphic card, which is why i thinking maybe 1gb or 1.5gb

Last edited by Robhalfordfan on 2019-09-19, 10:00. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 11 of 50, by Robhalfordfan

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candle_86 wrote:

Then yes go fast, GTX 680s are cheap and fast enough to max Crysis at 1080p

i am already using a 2gb graphic card (gtx 660) in my windows 7 build and was thinking of somewhere maybe 1gb or 1.5gb area but not sure

Reply 12 of 50, by Robhalfordfan

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kolderman wrote:
I have a standard WinXP that I always stick closely to (mainly because I have a large number of matching parts for it): […]
Show full quote

I have a standard WinXP that I always stick closely to (mainly because I have a large number of matching parts for it):

- s775 mATX, core2duo E8500 3.2ghz
- 4gb DDR2 (2x2)
- ati radeon HD 5850 (best balance of performance and power draw/heat)
- xi-fi titanium (toslink out)
- 1TB Seagate SSHD (hdd with inbuilt ssd cache)

I actually dual-boot it with Win7 - XP for XP era games and Win7 for game/midi emulation (dosbox, scumm, falconsoft etc).

ok think that's close to idea i am looking for but nae sure as i would like to a good balance of max performance of games from 2005 to 2010

Reply 13 of 50, by kolderman

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Robhalfordfan wrote:
kolderman wrote:
I have a standard WinXP that I always stick closely to (mainly because I have a large number of matching parts for it): […]
Show full quote

I have a standard WinXP that I always stick closely to (mainly because I have a large number of matching parts for it):

- s775 mATX, core2duo E8500 3.2ghz
- 4gb DDR2 (2x2)
- ati radeon HD 5850 (best balance of performance and power draw/heat)
- xi-fi titanium (toslink out)
- 1TB Seagate SSHD (hdd with inbuilt ssd cache)

I actually dual-boot it with Win7 - XP for XP era games and Win7 for game/midi emulation (dosbox, scumm, falconsoft etc).

ok think that's close to idea i am looking for but nae sure as i would like to a good balance of max performance of games from 2005 to 2010

I think you are spanning two eras there - WinXP and WinVista/7. WinXP games came out in 2002 and span up to around 2006. From 2007 onwards you have Vista games which are very compatible with today's hardware. The XP build I described about is purely for XP games from around 2002 to 2006. If it came out in 2007 (e.g. crysis, bioshock, STALKER) it's getting played on my modern PC, and pretty damn well too.

Reply 14 of 50, by Robhalfordfan

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kolderman wrote:
Robhalfordfan wrote:
kolderman wrote:
I have a standard WinXP that I always stick closely to (mainly because I have a large number of matching parts for it): […]
Show full quote

I have a standard WinXP that I always stick closely to (mainly because I have a large number of matching parts for it):

- s775 mATX, core2duo E8500 3.2ghz
- 4gb DDR2 (2x2)
- ati radeon HD 5850 (best balance of performance and power draw/heat)
- xi-fi titanium (toslink out)
- 1TB Seagate SSHD (hdd with inbuilt ssd cache)

I actually dual-boot it with Win7 - XP for XP era games and Win7 for game/midi emulation (dosbox, scumm, falconsoft etc).

ok think that's close to idea i am looking for but nae sure as i would like to a good balance of max performance of games from 2005 to 2010

I think you are spanning two eras there - WinXP and WinVista/7. WinXP games came out in 2002 and span up to around 2006. From 2007 onwards you have Vista games which are very compatible with today's hardware. The XP build I described about is purely for XP games from around 2002 to 2006. If it came out in 2007 (e.g. crysis, bioshock, STALKER) it's getting played on my modern PC, and pretty damn well too.

yeah roughly that but like have that little bit extra room for games that may be a bit of a pest to get running perfectly on modern systems (without third party patches or modding of game/system files) which i like to try a cover early and late xp era and at a push, edging into early vista era (which why i don't mind a little bit of an overlap)

Reply 15 of 50, by candle_86

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Well to give you an idea here is my Late XP rig, it covers anything including Fallout 3 under XP just fine, and it's a really nice rig to play with.

AMD Opteron 180
Epox Nforce4 SLI
7900GTX SLI
2GB OCZ Black DDR400 2-2-2-5
1TB HDD
DVD-RW
Windows XP Pro SP3

That rig will handle any games that don't work on newer OS's or ones that don't support wide screen that I keep to my 4:3 screen all the retro's are connected to via my KVM.

Anything that is widescreen and post 2007-2008 will simply work on 7/10, and my 7900GTX's allow me to even run Oblivion at high 1600x1200 without breaking a sweat.

For you, you've already got a 775 board with SLI, and your looking for something more era correct to it, might i suggest then go for the ultimate on core 2 with XP support, grab Dual 8800 Ultra cards and do SLI. I know some say avoid SLI, but the period from 2005-2012 saw wide spready SLI support and it really worked quite well.

Reply 16 of 50, by Robhalfordfan

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candle_86 wrote:
Well to give you an idea here is my Late XP rig, it covers anything including Fallout 3 under XP just fine, and it's a really ni […]
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Well to give you an idea here is my Late XP rig, it covers anything including Fallout 3 under XP just fine, and it's a really nice rig to play with.

AMD Opteron 180
Epox Nforce4 SLI
7900GTX SLI
2GB OCZ Black DDR400 2-2-2-5
1TB HDD
DVD-RW
Windows XP Pro SP3

That rig will handle any games that don't work on newer OS's or ones that don't support wide screen that I keep to my 4:3 screen all the retro's are connected to via my KVM.

Anything that is widescreen and post 2007-2008 will simply work on 7/10, and my 7900GTX's allow me to even run Oblivion at high 1600x1200 without breaking a sweat.

For you, you've already got a 775 board with SLI, and your looking for something more era correct to it, might i suggest then go for the ultimate on core 2 with XP support, grab Dual 8800 Ultra cards and do SLI. I know some say avoid SLI, but the period from 2005-2012 saw wide spready SLI support and it really worked quite well.

yeah that sounds more like it and like to give it a little overlap in the next era ish and had a look for 8800 ultra cards online and prices are too rich for my blood for even just one of those cards which is why "era correct hardware" is not too much a big deal to me, if that makes sense.

to give a better idea of the era of games i would to run (out of the box and max settings if possible) mafia 1 + 2 (i know mafia 1 runs on windows 98 and doesn't need high specs but seems to play better on xp than 98 and also thats how i remember playing it), star wars knights of the old republic (original) + 2, doom 3 + expansion, gta san andreas, gta 4 and expansions, fear 1 and its expansion, the witcher 1 and 2, la noire, quake 4, assassin creed 1, 2, brotherhood and revelations, fallout 3 and new vegas and prob loads more but that ones off top of my head 😀

Reply 17 of 50, by FFXIhealer

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Robhalfordfan wrote:

thinking of upgrading the processor to a Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 but prices are weird on ebay etc and most of the cheapest ones seem to come from china and not sure if to go for that.

I'll probably be the only one to "latch onto" this point. Have you considered getting the exact same processor as the Q9650 quad-core, but using the Xeon E5450 instead and doing a simple mod? The thing is, the E5450 Xeon runs at 80 Watts TDP where the Q9650 is 95 watts, and the QX9650 runs 130 watts, so it runs A LOT cooler. They also have different thermal limits - the Q9650 has the highest thermal limit before throttling (71.4°C), the Xeon is in the middle at 67°C, with the QX9650 the lowest at 64.5°C. They're both 3.0 GHz stock and they both have the same cache layout, same FSB speed, same core count.

I bought a Q9650 for around $45 US + shipping and then bought TWO E5450 Xeons for about $20 US each + shipping, so effectively I got two Xeons for the same cost as the Q9650. One is running my home media server and the other is sitting on my desk waiting for a new LGA775 project.

I carefully used a Dremel tool to put new notches into the CPU package substrate in order to fit into a standard LGA775 socket and then put the little pin sticker on. I've tested both and they both work just fine on an LGA775 motherboard. The only tricky part is if you want to mod your BIOS to include the microcode for those CPUs, which I did successfully on two motherboards. The DELL bios was tricky only because I had to go through a number of steps just to unpack the BIOS files in the first place (they were packed into an EXE that I had to figure out how to unpack just to get to the files I needed to edit). The editing itself was quite simple.

In fact, I think Phil's Computer Lab has done a video on this very mod as well if you want to have a look on YouTube. Though I think a quad-core CPU is a bit over-kill for Windows XP, a dual-core would be more than powerful enough. I ran Vista on a Core 2 Duo for years with no issues, though I never did try to play games on it - it was only a daily use computer for basic office tasks like web surfing, video playing, and some minor games like mahjongg and solitaire.

But I'll be following this thread, because I have an LGA775 system with a Pentium dual-core I was thinking about getting a gaming graphics card for to see how the Pentium measures up to a full-blown Core 2 Duo in Windows XP for gaming. The big difference is it only has 1 MB of L2 cache, where the Core 2 usually has double or more. The Pentium I think is around 2.6 GHz, so it's already way more than the 2.1 Pentium M single-core on my 2005 gaming laptop, and that thing was a gaming beast back then (7800GTX graphics chip with 256MB video memory).

Last edited by FFXIhealer on 2019-09-19, 13:44. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 18 of 50, by Robhalfordfan

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FFXIhealer wrote:
I'll probably be the only one to "latch onto" this point. Have you considered getting the exact same processor as the Q9650 qua […]
Show full quote
Robhalfordfan wrote:

thinking of upgrading the processor to a Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 but prices are weird on ebay etc and most of the cheapest ones seem to come from china and not sure if to go for that.

I'll probably be the only one to "latch onto" this point. Have you considered getting the exact same processor as the Q9650 quad-core, but using the Xeon E5450 instead and doing a simple mod? The thing is, the E5450 Xeon runs at 80 Watts TDP where the Q9650 is 94 watts, so it runs cooler. They're both 3.0 GHz stock and they both have the same cache layout. I myself bought a Q9650 for around $45 US + shipping and then bought TWO E5450 Xeons for about $20 US each + shipping, so effectively I got two Xeons for the same cost as the Q9650. One is running my home media server and the other is sitting on my desk waiting for a new LGA775 project.

I carefully used a Dremel tool to put new notches into the CPU package substrate in order to fit into a standard LGA775 socket and then put the little pin sticker on. I've tested both and they both work just fine on an LGA775 motherboard. The only tricky part is if you want to mod your BIOS to include the microcode for those CPUs, which I did successfully on two motherboards. The DELL bios was tricky only because I had to go through a number of steps just to unpack the BIOS files in the first place (they were packed into an EXE that I had to figure out how to unpack just to get to the files I needed to edit). The editing itself was quite simple.

In fact, I think Phil's Computer Lab has done a video on this very mod as well if you want to have a look on YouTube. Though I think a quad-core CPU is a bit over-kill for Windows XP, a dual-core would be more than powerful enough. I ran Vista on a Core 2 Duo for years with no issues, though I never did try to play games on it - it was only a daily use computer for basic office tasks like web surfing, video playing, and some minor games like mahjongg and solitaire.

But I'll be following this thread, because I have an LGA775 system with a Pentium dual-core I was thinking about getting a gaming graphics card for to see how the Pentium measures up to a full-blown Core 2 Duo in Windows XP for gaming. The big difference is it only has 1 MB of L2 cache, where the Core 2 usually has double or more. The Pentium I think is around 2.6 GHz, so it's already way more than the 2.1 Pentium M single-core on my 2005 gaming laptop, and that thing was a gaming beast back then (7800GTX graphics chip with 256MB video memory).

i not wanting to mod processors etc as i have no idea and worry if i screw up etc

my "current" xp build which i thinking of turning that my win98 build has a p4 2.8ghz and seem limted for what i wanting my "xp era machine" to run and has agp not pic-e

Reply 19 of 50, by FFXIhealer

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Robhalfordfan wrote:

i not wanting to mod processors etc as i have no idea and worry if i screw up etc

my "current" xp build which i thinking of turning that my win98 build has a p4 2.8ghz and seem limted for what i wanting my "xp era machine" to run and has agp not pic-e

Fair enough. Not everyone has a Dremel tool and not everyone has steady hands - so I gotcha there. People DO sell pre-modded CPUs, but then there's still the issue of modding the BIOS and flashing that to your MB, so if that idea scares you, then you're better off not doing it... or having someone like myself do it for you. *wink*

Did you say your Win98 system was AGP or that your WinXP build you're contemplating uses AGP? Because a lot of the replies you've been getting on here have been suggesting MUCH later PCI-Express cards for your build, like the 660 cards and such.

I've never used a Pentium 4 - I've always heard they ran very hot and not very efficient. Luckily for me I skipped the P4 generation by moving to the Athlon XP cpu for early Windows XP, then when I got my laptop, Intel had already returned to the P3 architecture to make the Pentium M CPUs before coming out with the CORE microarchitecture. Some people love their Pentium 4s, but I've never really had a chance to find out for myself.

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