First post, by pixelatedscraps
I’m piecing together a build from late ‘97 to early ‘98. It was a seminal year for me (halfway through my A-levels, my city being handed over to Mainland China (Hong Kong), girls and hormones aplenty. Oh, and boarding school in Scotland where my parents granted me one wish to take with me to help ease the transitional pain - a new PC.
I had feverish dreams of a brand new Pentium II (I think the 266Mhz was the fastest at the time) with a Millenium II and Voodoo 2 cards. In reality, my parents cut that short when they saw the price tag and in a cruel game of rationality I ended up with a much smaller and far more compact Pentium 120Mhz laptop from a Taiwanese brand (Twinhead? Hi-Note?) I no longer recall, though barely saving a couple of hundred $$, it did hold its own playing Championship Manager and Wing Commander III / IV.
Now I find myself with the following parts with just one thing on my mind: I need that Pentium II / Voodoo 2 rig, and I need it now. Here’s the parts list:
CASE: InWin IW-A500
CPU: 2x Pentium II 333Mhz ‘Deschutes’
MB: Asus P2L97-DS
RAM: 128MB PC133 SDRAM
VGA: Matrox Millenium II 8MB AGP
3D: 2x Diamond Monster 3D II 3dfx Voodoo2 12MB SLI
HDD: 9.1GB Seagate Cheetah 10k ST39103LW
OPTICAL: Plextor PX-20TSi SCSI CD-ROM 12/20x, Creative CD-RW RW4224E, iOMEGA Z100 Zip drive, Panasonic 1.44MB 3.5’, Epson SD-600 1.2MB 5.25’
SCSI: Adaptec 2940U2W
PSU: Seasonic SS300-FS
SOUND: Soundblaster AWE64 CT4390
MONITOR: Dell 2001FP
KEYBOARD: Intergraph ConcertMaster Multimedia Keyboard
JOYSTICK: CH Flightstick Pro
SPEAKERS: Roland MA-12C
I would like this to be as period accurate as possible (and I’m still in Hong Kong so shipping from USA / Poland / Russia - where most vintage PC parts seem to be found on eBay) is expensive, but doable and something I’m willing to absorb in this endeavour. I accidentally accepted a seller’s offer on eBay for the Matrox before realising it was a PCI and not AGP version. Oops, but my research shows me there were some initial Slot 1 boards without AGP. I’m fine with that - unless I’m going to suffer a performance hit on any of the games I want to play below.
I don’t necessarily need or want this to be the most powerful Pentium II build out there, but simply one that allows me to delve into some iconic hardware from the period of late 1997 to mid 1998 while still being able to run my favourite games from that period. I can afford to SLI Voodoo 2 but unless there are massive restrictions to the games below, I’m pretty happy with a single 3D accelerator.
I’ve got a lot of experience building and configuring PCs so am comfortable putting something together. However, I don’t own a soldering iron or a dremel so my repair skills are somewhat limited 😉
• Wing Commander III/IV
• Privateer 2
• Half Life
• Duke Nukem 3D
• Quake 1 / 2
• Championship Manager 97/98
• The Secret / Curse of Monkey Island
• and many more
Some questions I have:
1) Is it best to stay away from prebuilt from Compaq and Packard Bell or did they feature quality motherboards for that period?
2) I don’t have a case yet and may not be able to find one that scratches the itch. If I find a Compaq / PB, etc from that period, can I swap in a good third party motherboard easily and just use the chassis?
3) In the name of future proofing this, can one use a modern ATX PSU for rebuilds from this era? Everything else I’d prefer to keep period accurate apart from a good, platinum PSU with a long warranty that won’t jeopardise vintage components.
So I guess my question is this: what would your ideal late 97-early 98 Pentium II build look like if you had the parts above?