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Socket A for retrogaming?

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First post, by AlessandroB

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I came into possession of an asrock micro atx card with a Barton 3000+, AGP and PCI slot but no isa. I read very little about retrogaming about this cpu class, what are its pros and cons? Considering pushing myself to the very first games for winxp, and going down as far as possible towards the dos. tnks

Reply 1 of 49, by Warlord

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socket 462 can be a good alternative platform for retro gaming. VT8363A/VT82C686B Chipset boards are preferable since they have ISA. You can check to see if your chipset has DDMA though at least that's something, or better yet PCI/PCI.

I have a epox 8kta3 pro early rev 0.3 that I picked up somewhere for like $5.00 without raid with an isa slot, though I have never got around to fooling with it. Probably would make a good board for retro gaming with a mobile Athlon or a good revision Socket 462 cpu.

Reply 3 of 49, by Warlord

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Try it out. You might be the first. On paper the IGPU looks decent, but it on toms hardware the benchmarks make it to be slower than I865 intel GPU which is pretty bad. Maybe there are more mature drivers now but i doubt its any good, might be good for dos games you can try testing it.

DDMA support for sis chipsets end somewhere 962 and 964. It is present in 962 and not in 964 and there is no info if its there in 963.

I personally would avoid this board unless you own it already.

Reply 4 of 49, by BitWrangler

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By the way, intel IGPUs always used to cheat benchmarks, they'd skip frames like mad, you'd notice if you sat and watched, but if you just run it and look at the numbers when it's done, it looks good. True up through GMA series, HD series actually have grunt though. IMO in game EVERYONEs even SiS's IGPUs were better than intels.

2017: Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. 2021: Still starting, heh, many setbacks. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 6 of 49, by BitWrangler

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Dismal yes, Tom don't even trust that i865 score though "The comparatively good performance of the i865G in this test surprised us, especially considering that it wasn't mirrored in any of the real-world game tests." If it didn't cheat it could easily have scored lower than dismal. Just watch one in the first game test even, it's so blatant there's whole chunks missing.

2017: Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. 2021: Still starting, heh, many setbacks. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 7 of 49, by nd22

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Socket 462/A is perfectly suited for retro-gaming. It is actually its main purpose today. Asrock K7S41 has a SIS 741 chipset and supports 98SE. It would be an overkill Windows 98 machine with Athlon XP 3000 and would run any late Windows 98 era games perfectly at high resolutions and high details with a AGP graphic card such as geforce ti 4200/6600 gt/ radeon 9600pro/xt.

Reply 8 of 49, by PTherapist

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I've got one of those motherboards in my collection (with an Athlon XP 2600+), it came out of a generic custom-built office PC. Cheap/affordable and not really tailored towards early 2000s Windows XP gaming, though it can perform if you add a decent AGP graphics card.

I've no idea how the SIS chipset itself performs, compared with more popular chipsets such as the nForce 2 or the VIA Apollo etc, but it's safe to say that the onboard graphics is definitely a no go for 3D gaming.

If you add a decent graphics card, you should achieve your goal of early Windows XP gaming, just don't expect top performance with everything maxed out. You will obviously need to dual-boot Win 98 & XP anyway, if you want DOS too. But 1 thing to consider is that a lot of the early "XP era" games would just run on 98 anyway, so sticking with 98SE on it's own would probably suffice.

Reply 9 of 49, by gerry

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AlessandroB wrote on 2021-05-26, 21:34:

it an Asrock K7S41 if i remember... it will be good for a win98/dos gaming?

this?:

https://www.asrock.com/mb/SIS/K7S41/

the lack of ISA may hamper compatibility with some DOS games but here's a 'strategy' 😀

get as late an Athlon XP as possible, say an XP2500 or later, i think the board can manage any XP according to that page. add 512mb RAM and a nice AGP video card. Get it all set up with win 98 and drivers etc

the resultant setup will not just be powerful enough for just about any 1995-2003ish windows game, it will also play a fair few MS DOS games and trickier (usually older) DOS games can be tried in DOSBOX, for which this machine should be powerful enough to run many older games ok

well, that would b something i'd try anyway

Reply 10 of 49, by AlessandroB

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do not argue with the graphics because that I can easily replace it with an S3 PCI or any powerful AGP. What I was asking was how far this machine can basically go "down" If its only limitation is the lack of ISA slots or if the AthlonXPs are too fast for Late DOS, win95, win98 games. winXP games are the ones that interest me the least actually

Reply 11 of 49, by AlessandroB

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gerry wrote on 2021-05-27, 10:50:
this?: […]
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AlessandroB wrote on 2021-05-26, 21:34:

it an Asrock K7S41 if i remember... it will be good for a win98/dos gaming?

this?:

https://www.asrock.com/mb/SIS/K7S41/

the lack of ISA may hamper compatibility with some DOS games but here's a 'strategy' 😀

get as late an Athlon XP as possible, say an XP2500 or later, i think the board can manage any XP according to that page. add 512mb RAM and a nice AGP video card. Get it all set up with win 98 and drivers etc

the resultant setup will not just be powerful enough for just about any 1995-2003ish windows game, it will also play a fair few MS DOS games and trickier (usually older) DOS games can be tried in DOSBOX, for which this machine should be powerful enough to run many older games ok

well, that would b something i'd try anyway

yes it is that. I don't want to use dosbox or similar, just real hardware.

Reply 12 of 49, by Repo Man11

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AlessandroB wrote on 2021-05-27, 12:51:

do not argue with the graphics because that I can easily replace it with an S3 PCI or any powerful AGP. What I was asking was how far this machine can basically go "down" If its only limitation is the lack of ISA slots or if the AthlonXPs are too fast for Late DOS, win95, win98 games. winXP games are the ones that interest me the least actually

A relevant video by Phil: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5vYD0JMD_A

Reply 14 of 49, by AlexZ

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AlessandroB wrote on 2021-05-27, 18:52:

Can i say: where super socket 7 finish, socketA start? with two system cover every retro need, PIII become not essential...

In my opinion Super Socket 7 and Pentium III (450-700) fall into the same category - a fast Pentium processor for early 3d games (glide with Voodoo2 + very fast AGP graphics card, even some AGP 8x cards work in 2x mode). This PC can support up to 127GB HDD. Whether it is K6-2/3 or Pentium III is down to personal preference. It can also handle DOS games and cache can be disabled to slow it down further. Super Socket 7 has a slight disadvantage in requiring often an AT power supply (which are rare nowadays in good condition) and old DIN keyboard.

Socket A (Duron, Athlon XP, Barton) is useful for games the previous rig cannot handle. It can also handle DOS games. In my opinion this should be the primary choice if one wants just one retro PC. Early boards have ISA slot, late ones have AGP 8x and even SATA. Faster AGP graphics cards are available that do not work in Super Socket 7 / Pentium III rig.

PIII is definitely non essential just as K6 or older CPUs as Socket A will be able to handle most of their workload and more.

Pentium III 600E, ECS P6BXT-A+, 384MB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 128MB, 80GB HDD, 19" AOC 9GlrA

Reply 15 of 49, by ragefury32

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AlessandroB wrote on 2021-05-26, 21:34:

it an Asrock K7S41 if i remember... it will be good for a win98/dos gaming?

It’ll be fine. if it’s a SiS741/963L southbridge based board the machine will behave similar to an HP t5720, and will do decently for DOS/win98 gaming.
Swap in an ESS Solo or Yamaha YMF724/744 if you want DOS audio (the 963L is the last SiS chip to support DDMA if you need it), or conversely, a Radeon 9500, Geforce FX5200 or 6200 if you want more GPU ooomph. The SiS 315E Mirage integrated GPU off the SiS741 is okay/decent from DOS to DirectX5/6, but struggles on anything above that tech level (it’s similar to ATI’s RS200M chipset with the IGP340M).

Last edited by ragefury32 on 2021-06-07, 12:01. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 16 of 49, by appiah4

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Socket A is cool, even if it's one of the later boards (unless it's an nForce2 board, which is shit for retrogaming). If it's a VIA board then depending on the chipset you will have ISA slots or in the worst case the luxury of popping in a YMF7x4 PCI card and enjoying OPL3 as well as XG wavetable.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 17 of 49, by paradigital

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appiah4 wrote on 2021-06-07, 07:27:

Socket A is cool, even if it's one of the later boards (unless it's an nForce2 board, which is shit for retrogaming). If it's a VIA board then depending on the chipset you will have ISA slots or in the worst case the luxury of popping in a YMF7x4 PCI card and enjoying OPL3 as well as XG wavetable.

What's your objection to nForce2? Seems to fill a niche for me, I've got older machines to play 95 and DOS games, newer machines to play stuff from XP SP2+, which puts a nice Barton machine on nForce 2 right in that sweet spot for late 98/ME and early XP gaming.

Nothing at all wrong with my A7N8X machine!

a7n8x-build3.jpg

Reply 18 of 49, by user33331

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For me processors above 1,5 GHz are too fast.
Old slow Durons are nice for socket A/462. (+ Intel P3 is a good alternative.)
I use sega rally 1 to test. If it shows speed issues and is unplayable the processor is too fast.
Fastest I have that is not too fast is P3 Tualatin 1333 Mhz.

For a coarse range of: 1993-2003 games.
Funny fact I have tested that Sega rally 1 starts to be playable with Pentium 1 mmx 200mhz(and Pentium Pro 200mhz) +good late PCI 3d-card like Geforce FX5500.

I have these for retroing:
386 33Mhz machine for very old games. Don't like it: really hard to use, uses pretty much only floppies and memory is always full.
Pentium 1 machines. 3 pcs: 200mhz mmx, 200mhz pentium pro, 233mhz mmx. I like these best because in 1995-1998 or so lots of great games started to appear. +Can use CDs and DVDs big plus.
Duron 800 Mhz+Voodoo 3 3300. For 3Dfx games.
P3 Tualatin 1333 Mhz+FX5900XT. For late 3D-games max.2004.
Mini size Shuttle X SS51 pentium 4 from 2003. Because it is colorful, tiny and funny but too fast for retro.

Last edited by user33331 on 2021-06-07, 08:25. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 19 of 49, by appiah4

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paradigital wrote on 2021-06-07, 07:34:
What's your objection to nForce2? Seems to fill a niche for me, I've got older machines to play 95 and DOS games, newer machine […]
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appiah4 wrote on 2021-06-07, 07:27:

Socket A is cool, even if it's one of the later boards (unless it's an nForce2 board, which is shit for retrogaming). If it's a VIA board then depending on the chipset you will have ISA slots or in the worst case the luxury of popping in a YMF7x4 PCI card and enjoying OPL3 as well as XG wavetable.

What's your objection to nForce2? Seems to fill a niche for me, I've got older machines to play 95 and DOS games, newer machines to play stuff from XP SP2+, which puts a nice Barton machine on nForce 2 right in that sweet spot for late 98/ME and early XP gaming.

Nothing at all wrong with my A7N8X machine!

a7n8x-build3.jpg

The southbridge is useless for TDMA/DDMA etc. so it lends itself very poorly to anything but late Windows 98 games, which you can comfortably play on even faster hardware (Socket 754/939/940)

It is also a very unreliable and quirky chipset that is very selective with regards to parts compatibility, particularly with memory.

This is my experience. If you enjoy your computer, by all means, enjoy!

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.