VOGONS


First post, by antillies

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Hi there,

I'm new to the site, and new to this particular area of PC-building, so I hope this is the appropriate location to post this. I am wanting to build a machine that is capable of dual-booting Windows 98 and XP to play late-90s to about 2004 games (mostly those from the golden age of LucasArts). I know from reading other threads on this site and elsewhere that dual-booting will work mostly fine but I am at a complete loss as to what sort of parts I should use and even which are compatible with which.

The limit of my gaming would be Star Wars Battlefront (2004), which has the following minimum requirements:
OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10
Processor: 1.8 GHz
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 9 and 256 MB VRAM DirectX: Version 9.0
Storage: 3 GB available space
Sound Card: 16-bit sound card

From other feedback I've received, I'm eying using the following parts:
GPU: Radeon 9800 PRO
CPU: Athlon XP (2600+, 2Ghz or above)
Sound: Sound Blaster Live! 5.1

That said, as mentioned above, I am completely out of my depth with this and am totally open to different variations or parts. I'm OK to sacrifice some performance for cost-effectiveness. I don't need this to be period-correct, but if older parts are less expensive, then I lean going that route.

My questions to you all (and thank you very much in advance for your insight and help) are:

  1. What sort of motherboard would work best for this build? I'm not sure what sort of connections/connectors I'll be needing for the other hardware. I know for sure I want to include an optical drive.
  2. Is there particular brand of memory that works best? I know I'll be using (or would like to use) sticks of 512mb.
  3. For hard drives, is there a preference for older or newer models?
  4. What sort of power supply will provide enough juice but won't roast the setup? I imagine the power requirements of this build are less but not sure if a modern power supply would be inappropriate to use.

I'd also appreciate (in addition to or in lieu of other feedback) direction to resources that may answer these questions for me. I'd really appreciate learning how to know whether X part is compatible with Y part.

Thank you very much for viewing and for any answers you might be able to provide me.

Reply 1 of 20, by boxpressed

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The 1GB RAM minimum of Battlefront could be a problem for dual boot because 98SE gets flaky beyond 512MB. There might be some kind of workaround I'm not aware of.

Reply 3 of 20, by aha2940

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antillies wrote on 2020-03-10, 23:56:
Hi there, […]
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Hi there,

I'm new to the site, and new to this particular area of PC-building, so I hope this is the appropriate location to post this. I am wanting to build a machine that is capable of dual-booting Windows 98 and XP to play late-90s to about 2004 games (mostly those from the golden age of LucasArts). I know from reading other threads on this site and elsewhere that dual-booting will work mostly fine but I am at a complete loss as to what sort of parts I should use and even which are compatible with which.

The limit of my gaming would be Star Wars Battlefront (2004), which has the following minimum requirements:
OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10
Processor: 1.8 GHz
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 9 and 256 MB VRAM DirectX: Version 9.0
Storage: 3 GB available space
Sound Card: 16-bit sound card

From other feedback I've received, I'm eying using the following parts:
GPU: Radeon 9800 PRO
CPU: Athlon XP (2600+, 2Ghz or above)
Sound: Sound Blaster Live! 5.1

That said, as mentioned above, I am completely out of my depth with this and am totally open to different variations or parts. I'm OK to sacrifice some performance for cost-effectiveness. I don't need this to be period-correct, but if older parts are less expensive, then I lean going that route.

My questions to you all (and thank you very much in advance for your insight and help) are:

  1. What sort of motherboard would work best for this build? I'm not sure what sort of connections/connectors I'll be needing for the other hardware. I know for sure I want to include an optical drive.
  2. Is there particular brand of memory that works best? I know I'll be using (or would like to use) sticks of 512mb.
  3. For hard drives, is there a preference for older or newer models?
  4. What sort of power supply will provide enough juice but won't roast the setup? I imagine the power requirements of this build are less but not sure if a modern power supply would be inappropriate to use.

I'd also appreciate (in addition to or in lieu of other feedback) direction to resources that may answer these questions for me. I'd really appreciate learning how to know whether X part is compatible with Y part.

Thank you very much for viewing and for any answers you might be able to provide me.

I think you'll want a pentium 4 board, something that has drivers for both win98 and XP. I have an Intel D845 which has both drivers, it supports upto 2GB RAM, it has AGP port. I use it with an AGP GeForce video card, and it dual boots win98 and XP, however I use it mostly for win98.

boxpressed wrote on 2020-03-11, 04:04:

The 1GB RAM minimum of Battlefront could be a problem for dual boot because 98SE gets flaky beyond 512MB. There might be some kind of workaround I'm not aware of.

Just install win98 using about 256MB of RAM, then configure himemx as suggested on this link: https://retrocomputing.stackexchange.com/ques … with-2gb-of-ram

Reply 4 of 20, by foil_fresh

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Motherboard: Socket 478 Pentium 4, Socket A for Athlon - DDR memory, AGP 8x, high FSBs. They should have both win98 and XP drivers available. Pick a company still alive so there's some sort of support in forms of cpu/mem compatibility lists, drivers, manuals.

RAM: no idea, i've never had DDR1 compatibility issues (apart from dead ram), things have just worked.

Hard drives: If you're running Socket 478 theres a big possibility of getting a board with SATA so just use an SSD. If you want to use HDD then that's fine. ATA133 will be common.

Power supply needs to be strong with 5v if you're chosing an athlon system that doesn't have the p4 power connectors (12v supplement). Pentium 4 motherboards wont have this issue. At least 400w to be safe and pick a company with some semblance of quality.

If you want to use win98 as well, you'll need to install a patch that allows more than 512mb of ram. look for Rloew win98 patch. i've not used it but that's the go-to solution. it's a win2000 or xp kernel patched into w98.

Alternatively, theres bound to be 98->XP patches for literally any game that came out around 99/2000/2001. this way you dont need dual boot or less than 512mb ram.

Pentium MMX 166MHz / Shuttle HOT591-p / S3 Trio3d2x / SB 16
Pentium II 266MHz / Lucky-Star 6ABX2V / Riva128 / AWE64 / AW744L
Pentium III 950 MHz / SY-7VBA / Voodoo 3000 / Aureal Vortex 2
Pentium IV 3.4GHz/ GA-8S655FX / Geforce 6800 GT / Audigy

Reply 5 of 20, by chinny22

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1) What sort of motherboard would work best for this build?
Cheap/ easy option would be a socket 478 as foil_fresh mentioned above. I prefer 478 over 775 as AGP is still common so graphic cards are easier to find. PCIE cards can be made to work if you really want though.

2) I'm not sure what sort of connections/connectors I'll be needing for the other hardware. I know for sure I want to include an optical drive.
Nothing special. will come down to whatever your motherboard uses.
Optical drive you are better off with an IDE drive as just about all have the connector for the cable that runs to the sound card for CD audio. Some SATA drives also have this but most used the sata cable which will mean no music games that used redbook audio. If this doesnt matter CD,DVD,IDE,SATA makes no difference

3) Is there particular brand of memory that works best? I know I'll be using (or would like to use) sticks of 512mb.
Just like modern stuff brand name is better then generic but no one brand is better its the timing that matters. If using 1 stick or 2 depends on the motherboard and if it supports duel channel or anything like that.
Windows itself doesn't care about brands, type, channels or whatever. it just uses what resources the motherboard presents it

4) For hard drives, is there a preference for older or newer models?
Newer is better as it'll have less hours on it. Sata to IDE adapters are invisible to the OS if you have spare drives lying around and you end up with a IDE motherboard.

5) What sort of power supply will provide enough juice but won't roast the setup?
Modern psu will be fine unless your going with socket A system in which case you might want to look at this.

Out of your parts list
GPU: Radeon 9800 PRO -Last card with official Win9x support from ATI so price is expensive. Nvidia has slightly longer compatibility with official driver support upto 6800 series although the FX has better backwards compatibility.
CPU: Athlon XP (2600+, 2Ghz or above) -Will need a PSU with strong 12v rail
Sound: Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 -Good cheap card if a bit dated for XP. you can go upto a Audigy 2 and still have Win98 support if you wanted.

Phils computer lab on youtube has covered pretty much each question so would check him out. He also has a few on duel boot machines so recommend checking his videos out if for no other reasons then to get some ideas

Reply 6 of 20, by antillies

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Thank you all for your responses! I really, really appreciate the help.

Going to respond to everyone individually as best I can.

boxpressed wrote on 2020-03-11, 04:04:

The 1GB RAM minimum of Battlefront could be a problem for dual boot because 98SE gets flaky beyond 512MB. There might be some kind of workaround I'm not aware of.

That’s what I’ve been reading. It seems like there are workarounds, as aha2940 noted below. If it becomes an insurmountable issue, I may just stick to an XP build.

mothergoose729 wrote on 2020-03-11, 04:29:

Which one of your games won't work in XP?

Most of the benefit of win9x is DOS. PC parts that can do late DOS through early XP is pretty specific, and there will be a lot of compromises.

Mostly Star Wars TIE Fighter and maybe X-Wing, though I think that one has less trouble. I’ve never been able to play it because I could never get DosBox working. Plus, I’d like the nostalgia of being able to have access to a W98 system.

aha2940 wrote on 2020-03-11, 04:58:

I think you'll want a pentium 4 board, something that has drivers for both win98 and XP. I have an Intel D845 which has both drivers, it supports upto 2GB RAM, it has AGP port. I use it with an AGP GeForce video card, and it dual boots win98 and XP, however I use it mostly for win98.

I appreciate the suggestion. I apologize if this is an obvious/dumb question but would using a Pentium 4 board require me to use an Intel processor? Also, because of the AGP port, does that mean I wouldn’t be able to use an AMD GPU?

foil_fresh wrote on 2020-03-11, 05:05:

Motherboard: Socket 478 Pentium 4, Socket A for Athlon - DDR memory, AGP 8x, high FSBs.

In your opinion, is it better to go with a Pentium 4 or Athlon? I’ve read that the Pentiums of the XP era tended to be inferior to the AMD CPUs, but that may not hold true for those falling around the transition from W98 to XP.

foil_fresh wrote on 2020-03-11, 05:05:

Power supply needs to be strong with 5v if you're chosing an athlon system that doesn't have the p4 power connectors (12v supplement).

By this do you mean that the motherboard I would pair with an Ahtlon CPU would lack the connections more common to Pentium 4 boards?

chinny22 wrote on 2020-03-11, 12:46:

Cheap/ easy option would be a socket 478 as foil_fresh mentioned above. I prefer 478 over 775 as AGP is still common so graphic cards are easier to find. PCIE cards can be made to work if you really want though.

Thanks very much for that. That does seem the consensus. Am I right in thinking then that I would need to pair the 478 with an Intel CPU? Does that affect what GPU I can get as well?

Would you have any particular recommendations for which 478 board might be good?

chinny22 wrote on 2020-03-11, 12:46:

GPU: Radeon 9800 PRO -Last card with official Win9x support from ATI so price is expensive. Nvidia has slightly longer compatibility with official driver support upto 6800 series although the FX has better backwards compatibility.
CPU: Athlon XP (2600+, 2Ghz or above) -Will need a PSU with strong 12v rail
Sound: Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 -Good cheap card if a bit dated for XP. you can go upto a Audigy 2 and still have Win98 support if you wanted.

Thanks for your suggestions. For GPU, would the NVIDIA FX5600 256MB be an example of what you’re talking about? Are there any between AMD or NVIDIA in that range that you would recommend? I just know Battlefront requires it to be 256MB so that seems to be the limiting factor.

Do you have an opinion between Athlon or Intel CPU? The Athlon XP had be recommended to me previously but I’m not at all set on it.

And thank you for your input on the sound card. Audigy sounds great to me.

Reply 7 of 20, by foil_fresh

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@antilles a P4 3.2ghz barely beats out the Athlon XP 3200+ so take your pick really. both systems can run hot with the top processors so cooling can be expensive/complicated. I'd go with whatever motherboard/cpu combo is cheapest.

as for the 5v topic, you'll need at least 35w of 12v for an athlon xp 3200+. There's often a table on the side of the psu showing the power output of each rail.

Pentium MMX 166MHz / Shuttle HOT591-p / S3 Trio3d2x / SB 16
Pentium II 266MHz / Lucky-Star 6ABX2V / Riva128 / AWE64 / AW744L
Pentium III 950 MHz / SY-7VBA / Voodoo 3000 / Aureal Vortex 2
Pentium IV 3.4GHz/ GA-8S655FX / Geforce 6800 GT / Audigy

Reply 8 of 20, by aha2940

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antillies wrote on 2020-03-11, 20:46:
aha2940 wrote on 2020-03-11, 04:58:

I think you'll want a pentium 4 board, something that has drivers for both win98 and XP. I have an Intel D845 which has both drivers, it supports upto 2GB RAM, it has AGP port. I use it with an AGP GeForce video card, and it dual boots win98 and XP, however I use it mostly for win98.

I appreciate the suggestion. I apologize if this is an obvious/dumb question but would using a Pentium 4 board require me to use an Intel processor? Also, because of the AGP port, does that mean I wouldn’t be able to use an AMD GPU?

Hi, yes, using a pentium 4 motherboard implies using an Intel Pentium 4 CPU. With the exception of all the oldies, the socket 3 (used by 486 CPUs) and Socket 7 (Used by Pentium MMX), I think no socket has been compatible between AMD and Intel CPUs, so they always have their own socket, therefore their own motherboards. Regarding the AMD GPU, I don't think it matters, however IIRC, in the AGP era there were no AMD GPUs, because then it existed ATI, which was the rival of nvidia. Later, ATI was bought by AMD.

Do keep in mind though that if you want to use a Voodoo AGP card, you cannot use a Pentium 4 motherboard, it should be a Pentium 3 or AMD one (or using a PCI voodoo card). That's because IIRC the AGP port in Pentium 4 boards lacks some features required by AGP voodoo cards.

Reply 9 of 20, by The Serpent Rider

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The 1GB RAM minimum of Battlefront could be a problem for dual boot because 98SE gets flaky beyond 512MB. There might be some kind of workaround I'm not aware of.

Just use Rudolph Loew patch.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 10 of 20, by mothergoose729

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For what you are trying to do, I think maybe your only good choice is a pentium IV with AGP. I have an asus board with a 865 chipset and it works great in windows 98. I think ideally you would want an FX card, but an ATI 9800 or a Geforce 6 series are also good choices. I would also suggest getting a northwood processor over a prescott, as prescott runs much hotter and has basically the same performance.

For sound, something with decent sb pro emulation within windows is definitely the easiest to get working. It is infinitely easier to get working than genuine sound blaster emulation in pure dos.

The audigy 2 zs is the best card you can get working in windows 98, but the driver can be a bit of a pain to get installed. An SB Live card will give you less trouble. Both are also great for XP, especially the Audigy 2.

When it comes to RAM, I would say stick with 512mb of system memory. Windows 98 will still boot just fine on 1gb, but it might be less stable. If your newer games require more memory, I would just try and play them on a more modern PC. Chances are good it will run pretty well.

Reply 11 of 20, by The Serpent Rider

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I would also suggest getting a northwood processor over a prescott, as prescott runs much hotter and has basically the same performance.

Prescott G1 will run fine. Also it's capable to achieve 4+ Ghz overclocking.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 12 of 20, by antillies

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foil_fresh wrote on 2020-03-12, 00:45:

@antilles a P4 3.2ghz barely beats out the Athlon XP 3200+ so take your pick really. both systems can run hot with the top processors so cooling can be expensive/complicated. I'd go with whatever motherboard/cpu combo is cheapest.

@foil_fresh
I think I may be leaning toward a P4 now. Could you point me to where I might be able to figure out what mobo/CPU combos work? The wiki is pretty good but there’s still so many options. It’s somewhat overwhelming for me since I have no experience with older hardware (regrettably).

aha2940 wrote on 2020-03-12, 00:45:

Hi, yes, using a pentium 4 motherboard implies using an Intel Pentium 4 CPU. With the exception of all the oldies, the socket 3 (used by 486 CPUs) and Socket 7 (Used by Pentium MMX), I think no socket has been compatible between AMD and Intel CPUs, so they always have their own socket, therefore their own motherboards. Regarding the AMD GPU, I don't think it matters, however IIRC, in the AGP era there were no AMD GPUs, because then it existed ATI, which was the rival of nvidia. Later, ATI was bought by AMD.

Do keep in mind though that if you want to use a Voodoo AGP card, you cannot use a Pentium 4 motherboard, it should be a Pentium 3 or AMD one (or using a PCI voodoo card). That's because IIRC the AGP port in Pentium 4 boards lacks some features required by AGP voodoo cards.

@aha2940
Thanks for the clarifications. I assume that if I went with a Radeon or NVIDIA FX GPU I could still use a P4 board?

mothergoose729 wrote on 2020-03-12, 05:54:

For what you are trying to do, I think maybe your only good choice is a pentium IV with AGP. I have an asus board with a 865 chipset and it works great in windows 98. I think ideally you would want an FX card, but an ATI 9800 or a Geforce 6 series are also good choices. I would also suggest getting a northwood processor over a prescott, as prescott runs much hotter and has basically the same performance.

@mothergoose729
Thanks for that. Am I right in thinking the 865 chipset is socket 478? If so, you are in agreement with others above and I am definitely leaning toward that.

Is there a Northwood processor that you would recommend particularly?

And I agree 100% with you about Audigy.

Reply 13 of 20, by chinny22

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an 865 based motherboard is what I would have gone with. Asus P4P800 series is held in high regard both back then and even now. It's got some nice features but just about any 865 M/B will do the job if you find a good deal on something else. They will all work with ATI or Nvidia cards.

Once you get a motherboard then check it's CPU compatibility but 865 was pretty late in socket 478 so most likely whatever you get will support the entire S478 range in which case go for the fastest you can get. Win98 won't care but it'll help in WinXP. The important thing is clock speed, Win98 can't take advantage of Hyper Threading, XP can but of limited use for games rig so don't worry if it has it or not. I'd probably stick with the 800Mhz FSB CPU's just because.

As reference this is my duel 98/XP PC, It's a bit different as backwards compatibility wasn't a major concern but the basic's are the same
P4P800 End of Win98 Support Build

Reply 14 of 20, by mothergoose729

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The 865 chipset is socket 478. It comes with a good combination of "modern" and old school, like SATA 1.5, dual channel support, and support for higher clocked P4 processors, as well as IDE, AGP, and drivers for windows 98.

I have an Asus P4P800-E Deluxe with a Northwood 3.0ghz/800mhz FSB and dual channel DDR memory. The drivers were a little tricky to get installed, but it screams in windows 98 and is very stable.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_I ... d_(130_nm)

Look for pentium IV HT model numbers. They aren't that hard to find at all. A 2.8ghz or 3.0ghz model can be overclocked if you really need more performance.

Lastly, consider a cheap SSD for storage. I bought a kingston 120gb driver for about 20$ and it great for XP and win98.

Reply 16 of 20, by pentiumspeed

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98se likes AGP based computers best and 512MB max for max safety and reliability , while XP works best with late AGP and PCIe boards. But problem is AGP with high performance cards is expensive to meet demands of newer games that goes with XP territory easier said is PCIe mothrboards best fit for XP and PCIe GPU cards are much easier to get and not as costly.

Cheers,

Great Northern aka Canada.

Reply 17 of 20, by Baoran

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You don't even need to patch windows 98 in any way because you can limit the ram that win98 can see by using HimemX. I built Athlon64 system with Asus A8V deluxe because that motherboard also has win9x drivers. If you don't care about dos games you have a lot of options how to build the system. Not sure why all people seem to recommend Pentium 4 system in this thread. I used Athlon64 FX-60 cpu that is a dual core and big advantage in winXP and using just one of the cores in win9x is fast enough.

Reply 18 of 20, by gdjacobs

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Baoran wrote on 2020-04-06, 03:34:

You don't even need to patch windows 98 in any way because you can limit the ram that win98 can see by using HimemX. I built Athlon64 system with Asus A8V deluxe because that motherboard also has win9x drivers. If you don't care about dos games you have a lot of options how to build the system. Not sure why all people seem to recommend Pentium 4 system in this thread. I used Athlon64 FX-60 cpu that is a dual core and big advantage in winXP and using just one of the cores in win9x is fast enough.

I've found PCIe to be problematic with Win98, particularly some of the newer NIC LOMs, so I'd suggest sticking with AGP and plain PCI. For A64, that leaves 939 and 754 in scope.

As for the Win9x high memory patch, as many here will know, the original author passed away last year. His estate has generously released all his software for free. I had a look at the site Rudolph Loew's family has with all his utilities and some of his source code. He definitely had the hallmarks of an old school Real Programmer with pure K&R C, ASM, and very parsimonious comments in his code. As the article says, "Programmers don't need comments: the code is obvious".

HIMEMX is great and does solve the issue for normal mode Win9x, but I've never had luck with the mod including HIMEMX in safe mode. If you choose to patch Windows with Rudolph Loew's software, you take care of both sides of the problem and perhaps get a glimpse of a craftsman at work even after his mortal address space has been reclaimed.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 19 of 20, by Baoran

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gdjacobs wrote on 2020-04-07, 04:25:
I've found PCIe to be problematic with Win98, particularly some of the newer NIC LOMs, so I'd suggest sticking with AGP and plai […]
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Baoran wrote on 2020-04-06, 03:34:

You don't even need to patch windows 98 in any way because you can limit the ram that win98 can see by using HimemX. I built Athlon64 system with Asus A8V deluxe because that motherboard also has win9x drivers. If you don't care about dos games you have a lot of options how to build the system. Not sure why all people seem to recommend Pentium 4 system in this thread. I used Athlon64 FX-60 cpu that is a dual core and big advantage in winXP and using just one of the cores in win9x is fast enough.

I've found PCIe to be problematic with Win98, particularly some of the newer NIC LOMs, so I'd suggest sticking with AGP and plain PCI. For A64, that leaves 939 and 754 in scope.

As for the Win9x high memory patch, as many here will know, the original author passed away last year. His estate has generously released all his software for free. I had a look at the site Rudolph Loew's family has with all his utilities and some of his source code. He definitely had the hallmarks of an old school Real Programmer with pure K&R C, ASM, and very parsimonious comments in his code. As the article says, "Programmers don't need comments: the code is obvious".

HIMEMX is great and does solve the issue for normal mode Win9x, but I've never had luck with the mod including HIMEMX in safe mode. If you choose to patch Windows with Rudolph Loew's software, you take care of both sides of the problem and perhaps get a glimpse of a craftsman at work even after his mortal address space has been reclaimed.

I can understand the problem with himemx and safe mode because it skips the stuff in config.sys/autoexec.bat when going to safe mode. Luckily I have not needed safe mode so far and it was the simplest way to get things working when I installed win98se and winXP on the PC. Perhaps I will try the patch some time too. So far I have only used AGP cards that have drivers for both win9x and winXP, but I have been considering trying faster AGP card in winXP and perhaps putting a pci voodoo3 card to see if I can make it that win98se would use the voodoo3 card while winXP would use the faster AGP card automatically.