VOGONS


First post, by jm1607

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

I’ve been a long-time lurker but this is my first ever post. Hi guys!

I want to build a vintage PC to run DOS games and early Windows games and I’ve been doing research for weeks now and keep going back and forth between build ideas… One issue I’m having in most of my searching for “DOS gaming” or “Retro gaming” the emphasis is always on some of the later DOS games. I “mainly” want to play really old games like Bard’s Tale and text adventures like Zork. I found a chart on CPU sensitive games, most of which I don’t care about or haven’t heard of. The 1 or 2 I do like I can live without, np. No one ever talks about the really old ones like these though?? Will they handle well on something newer like a Pentium 1? I don’t remember having any issues running them on my 486 back in the day.. But I was also like 9 years old 🤣

With that being said, I would also like to play games as late as Quake 1, Duke Nukem 3D, and Warcraft II. Possibly even Fallout 1/2, but not required. I’m sure anything that can run those could also run Doom, Wolfenstein & ROTT. So, I guess I want to be good up till about 1996 with little to no lag.

So... I’m torn and I really only want to build one machine (if possible).

I guess the whole build just starts with the processor choice. I have it down to either a 486DX66 or a Pentium 1 (100-233 MMX).

From what I understand, if I go with the Pentium there’s not really any reason not to go all-in with the 233 then I can disable the cache and slow it down in bios or using software for older games. This leads me to my next question which is if I went with a 100, 133, or even 166 would it be more well rounded for what I want to do? I’d kind of like to set it and leave it and not have to reconfigure my cache/speed depending on which game era I’d like to play if that makes sense.

*I also LOVE the idea of the turbo button but from what I understand that would only be possible if I went the 486 route and I’m not sure a 486 would handle the later DOS games I mentioned above. Would it??

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Sorry, this post got long fast 🤣

Reply 1 of 33, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Go with a Pentium MMX 233.

You can slow it down however you want using the SetMul utility. That way, you won't have any issues with speed sensitive games.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3350P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 2 of 33, by Doornkaat

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

For a single build with good compatibility I'd absolutely recommend a P1MMX over a 486. The later games you want to play will be sluggish on a 486 and socket 7 boards and CPUs are usually better avaliable, more reasonably prices and generally better compatible than 486 parts.
You can clock down a Pentium MMX233 using all multipliers except for 1.5x (which will be interpreted as 3.5x). There's no reason to get a slower MMX.
I hope this helps! 😀

Reply 4 of 33, by Jorpho

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++
jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-16, 17:44:

I want to build a vintage PC to run DOS games and early Windows games and I’ve been doing research for weeks now and keep going back and forth between build ideas…

Is there something specific you don't want to run on much newer hardware for some specific reason? There are ports of things like Doom, Quake 1, and Duke Nukem 3D that will run on modern hardware and operating systems in an entirely acceptable fashion, for instance. If so, that specific reason should guide your decision. If you are in pursuit of some intangible "feeling", well, let your feelings guide you, then.

Reply 5 of 33, by jm1607

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
Jorpho wrote on 2020-10-16, 18:41:
jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-16, 17:44:

I want to build a vintage PC to run DOS games and early Windows games and I’ve been doing research for weeks now and keep going back and forth between build ideas…

Is there something specific you don't want to run on much newer hardware for some specific reason? There are ports of things like Doom, Quake 1, and Duke Nukem 3D that will run on modern hardware and operating systems in an entirely acceptable fashion, for instance. If so, that specific reason should guide your decision. If you are in pursuit of some intangible "feeling", well, let your feelings guide you, then.

It's more of an intangible feeling and nostalgia than anything. I have DOS Box but I want to actually used a floppy drive and run an old CRT, etc.

Well dang, looks like the 233 is the consensus.. Let me go the other direction, is there any reason at all for me to step up to a Pentium 2/3? Would it do anything better for my specific purposes? Would it be less compatible?

Reply 6 of 33, by jakethompson1

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-16, 18:46:

Well dang, looks like the 233 is the consensus.. Let me go the other direction, is there any reason at all for me to step up to a Pentium 2/3? Would it do anything better for my specific purposes? Would it be less compatible?

I can't speak toward game compatibility but for Pentium II/III it's easer to find an ATX motherboard so that takes a little pain out of getting a case and power supply. The Intel 440BX chipset is a common recommendation here. Whatever you should get should, ideally, have an ISA slot for painless sound card DOS compatibility though.

Reply 7 of 33, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-16, 18:46:

Well dang, looks like the 233 is the consensus.. Let me go the other direction, is there any reason at all for me to step up to a Pentium 2/3? Would it do anything better for my specific purposes? Would it be less compatible?

You can't slow down a Pentium 2/3 in quite the same manner as the MMX, so your options will be more limited.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3350P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 8 of 33, by jm1607

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-10-16, 18:56:
jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-16, 18:46:

Well dang, looks like the 233 is the consensus.. Let me go the other direction, is there any reason at all for me to step up to a Pentium 2/3? Would it do anything better for my specific purposes? Would it be less compatible?

You can't slow down a Pentium 2/3 in quite the same manner as the MMX, so your options will be more limited.

Ok, that's what I was wondering. This is all pretty new to me.. I'll just keep it simple and stick to the MMX

On to the rest of the hardware 🤣. Here's what I have right now if I'm going the P1 route:

MB: Asus TXP4?? Is this a good fit? Any better ideas? I'm mainly concerned with reliability/compatibility. I'm a big Asus fan but open to options.. I probably don't need a SS7 board for this chip?
RAM: 64MB PC-100 (or is there any benefit to PC-133 on these boards?)
Video: Diamond Stealth 3D 2000 Pro (or should I run a Voodoo 1,2,3?)
Sound: SB AWE32 seems like a good fit for me

Reply 9 of 33, by Jorpho

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++
jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-16, 19:31:

MB: Asus TXP4?? Is this a good fit? Any better ideas? I'm mainly concerned with reliability/compatibility. I'm a big Asus fan but open to options.. I probably don't need a SS7 board for this chip?
RAM: 64MB PC-100 (or is there any benefit to PC-133 on these boards?)
Video: Diamond Stealth 3D 2000 Pro (or should I run a Voodoo 1,2,3?)

The way I see it, if you need to have a 3DFX card to give you that "intangible feeling and nostalgia", then clearly nothing else will do. If not, then just go with whatever is readily available and don't worry about it. If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there. There is no single perfect solution – or at least, not one that won't leave you collecting dusty computer parts for the rest of your life.

You certainly don't need a Super Socket 7 board for anything other than a K62 or K63, as https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Socket_7 will tell you – unless you want AGP for some reason your intangible feeling and nostalgia, and AGP support for SS7 is kind of dodgy anyway.

Reply 10 of 33, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-16, 19:31:

RAM: 64MB PC-100 (or is there any benefit to PC-133 on these boards?)

It's not recommended to go over 32MB RAM for a pure DOS rig. Some games have problems with more memory and may crash or refuse to start. You can remedy this with ramdisk utilities and such, but if you have a 32 MB stick available, it's simpler to just go with that.

Video: Diamond Stealth 3D 2000 Pro

That ranks among the best cards for DOS game compatibility. You can always add a Voodoo1 on top of that since it's purely a 3D card which would still use the Stealth for 2D functionality.

Sound: SB AWE32 seems like a good fit for me

That's an excellent sound card overall, but be aware of these bugs which may or may not bother you depending on your preferences.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3350P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 11 of 33, by jm1607

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-10-16, 20:06:
It's not recommended to go over 32MB RAM for a pure DOS rig. Some games have problems with more memory and may crash or refuse t […]
Show full quote
jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-16, 19:31:

RAM: 64MB PC-100 (or is there any benefit to PC-133 on these boards?)

It's not recommended to go over 32MB RAM for a pure DOS rig. Some games have problems with more memory and may crash or refuse to start. You can remedy this with ramdisk utilities and such, but if you have a 32 MB stick available, it's simpler to just go with that.

Video: Diamond Stealth 3D 2000 Pro

That ranks among the best cards for DOS game compatibility. You can always add a Voodoo1 on top of that since it's purely a 3D card which would still use the Stealth for 2D functionality.

Sound: SB AWE32 seems like a good fit for me

That's an excellent sound card overall, but be aware of these bugs which may or may not bother you depending on your preferences.

Awesome, ty!

I've read about people running 3D cards as well.. I guess I can't picture it, how would I physically hookup both cards to my monitor?

Reply 12 of 33, by Jorpho

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++
jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-16, 20:12:

I guess I can't picture it, how would I physically hookup both cards to my monitor?

The Vooodoo1 and Voodoo2 use a passthrough – you connect your other video card to the Voodoo card, and then plug the Voodoo card into your monitor. (Or if you like, you can connect both cards to a KVM and switch the input manually whenever you're using the Voodoo card – but there's not much reason to do so.)

The Voodoo Rush, Voodoo Banshee, and Voodoo3 are all-in-one cards that do not require a second video card, but the Banshee and especially the Rush have major issues.

Reply 13 of 33, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-16, 20:12:

I've read about people running 3D cards as well.. I guess I can't picture it, how would I physically hookup both cards to my monitor?

You use a pass through cable to connect your 2D card to the Voodoo.

Here's a video from LGR showcasing that.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3350P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 14 of 33, by jm1607

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Gotcha. Easy enough!

Is there any reason the Voodoo 3 (a pci one) wouldn't be a good all around 2D/3D choice? It seems pretty compatible on the DOS chart.. I just want to try to keep my options open since some of the parts are tough to find and can get pricey quick..

Also, is there a good marketplace to buy older computer parts besides Ebay and locally on FB/CL?

Reply 15 of 33, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-16, 20:48:

Is there any reason the Voodoo 3 (a pci one) wouldn't be a good all around 2D/3D choice? It seems pretty compatible on the DOS chart..

Some DOS Glide games won't work correctly with a Voodoo3.

See this post for more details.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3350P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 16 of 33, by jm1607

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-10-16, 20:59:
jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-16, 20:48:

Is there any reason the Voodoo 3 (a pci one) wouldn't be a good all around 2D/3D choice? It seems pretty compatible on the DOS chart..

Some DOS Glide games won't work correctly with a Voodoo3.

See this post for more details.

Cool. Ok, I'll stick to the plan then 🤣

So...

Pentium 233 MMX
ASUS TXP4
32MB SDRAM PC100
Diamond Stealth 3D Pro 2000
Voodoo 1 or 2 3D Accelerator
SB AWE32

Then add an Ultra ATA/33 HDD (not sure size yet) and some sort of power supply & LAN card...

Reply 17 of 33, by SScorpio

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Think about either an SD or CompactFlash to IDE adapter rather than an HDD. Once you have them partitioned and formatted, you can easily plug them into a modern PC to move files around. You'll lose out on noisy and the slow speeds of old HDDs if you really want the retro experience.

For PSU, get an ATX -> AT adapter so you can use a modern power supply. An AT PSU is going to be 25+ years old, you'll need to possibly replace components, and you run the risk of it taking out something you just spent money on when it eventually fails.

Reply 18 of 33, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

If you're going with the AWE32, try to get a model with a genuine OPL3 chip on board.

Later revisions of that card use Creative's CQM instead, which sounds harsher/different. You can listen to some examples here.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3350P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 19 of 33, by jm1607

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
SScorpio wrote on 2020-10-16, 21:18:

Think about either an SD or CompactFlash to IDE adapter rather than an HDD. Once you have them partitioned and formatted, you can easily plug them into a modern PC to move files around. You'll lose out on noisy and the slow speeds of old HDDs if you really want the retro experience.

For PSU, get an ATX -> AT adapter so you can use a modern power supply. An AT PSU is going to be 25+ years old, you'll need to possibly replace components, and you run the risk of it taking out something you just spent money on when it eventually fails.

That sounds like a good idea. I don't reallllly need an old HDD for the experience. I'll have to think on it but that sounds so much easier..

What's a good PSU wattage to get? 200W? Not planning on running much in the way of accessories I haven't listed..

Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-10-16, 21:20:

If you're going with the AWE32, try to get a model with a genuine OPL3 chip on board.

Later revisions of that card use Creative's CQM instead, which sounds harsher/different. You can listen to some examples here.

Will do! Thanks!!

Are there any other solid SB choices for what I want to do? Or any you would recommend over the AWE32? I was told to stay away from the AWE64 due to no OPL3..

***Oops, just saw your link. Ya... OPL3 is the way to go.....

Last edited by jm1607 on 2020-10-16, 21:41. Edited 1 time in total.