VOGONS


First post, by Zaza le Nounours

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Hello everyone.

I recently pulled the trigger and built a Win98 PC build. I decided to go for a P3-s 1.4 GHz on an Asus TUSL2-C motherboard, a GeForce 4 Ti 4400 AGP, and 512 MB of RAM. The build was a bit of a pain, because I forgot how clunky building a computer was 20 years ago (did you know that a simple thing like having a USB stick detected by Windows implied having to install some random generic USB mass storage driver in the first place ? Those were dark times for sure), but finally everything seems to be working fine now.

Except, I find the performance of the computer to be a bit... underwhelming ? I didn't get the opportunity the test a lot of games so far, and for example Half-Life and Need for Speed 3 both run just fine, even with anti-aliasing activated in the Nvidia drivers, but on the other hand in Max Payne 2 (released in late 2003) framerate is all over the place, and can drop as low as 20-something FPS, even with everything set to low and at a resolution of 640*480. NOLF2, released in 2002, also runs like shit.

Benchmarks also seem a bit disappointing : I get ~9800 in 3Dmark 2000 and ~8500 in 3Dmark 2001.

So, I don't know, were my expectations for this build too high ? Is my CPU bottlenecking my GPU, or the other way around ? Or do you think there might be something wrong with my build, that could explain these relatively poor performances ?

Reply 1 of 14, by SScorpio

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Max Payne 2 is a DX9 game, while the Geforce 4400 is a DX8 card. NOLF2 is a DX8.1 game and its specs are a match for the machine.

What drivers are you using for your GPU? With the Geforce FX series, the 44/45 are recommended over newer drivers, so you might want to try downgrading to those or even lower.

Looking at reviews for your card on a P4 2.2GHz, 3DMark 2001SE gets ~10,000 at 1024 and ~8,500 at 1280.

Personally, I stick to 2001 or older games on 98SE, and games newer than that will normally run without issue on XP, which in turn opens up a huge amount of hardware options that lets you max out settings in those games.

Reply 3 of 14, by kixs

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

You can't expect a 2001 CPU to run late 2003 games fine. It is just a no go. I'd use a Tualatin for up to 2001/02 max.

My Amibay | - Updated on 2021-12-01 | Requests also possible

Reply 4 of 14, by Zaza le Nounours

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

I'm currently using the 45.23 GeForce drivers.

But I guess I just forgot that games were much more CPU-dependent 20 years ago than they are now, and that a high-end CPU was completely outdated after just one year or two.

Reply 5 of 14, by cyclone3d

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++
Zaza le Nounours wrote on 2021-12-19, 17:18:

I'm currently using the 45.23 GeForce drivers.

But I guess I just forgot that games were much more CPU-dependent 20 years ago than they are now, and that a high-end CPU was completely outdated after just one year or two.

Oh, a bunch of newer games are really CPU dependent. With my overclocked on all cores to 4.6Ghz Xeon 1660v3 (i7 5960x), there are games that will use close to 100% CPU even with the graphics settings pretty maxxed out at 1440p on an RTX 2080 or RTX 3060 Ti.

Now if I had a nice, newer AMD Ryzen 5900x or 5950x I might feel different.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 6 of 14, by frudi

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

A GF4 Ti 4400 is going to be massively bottlenecked by a 1.4 GHz P3-S, that was never a high-end desktop CPU in the first place. By its release, not only was it not really meant for desktop use (that's what the non-S model with half the L2 cache was for), it was already up against 2.2 GHz Northwoods and 2100+ Palominos that easily outclassed it. The GF4 is meant more for high-end P4 or Athlon XP configurations. And so are the games that you are trying to run. Since you're already using a motherboard with no ISA slots, there's little reason to limit yourself to performance that a Pentium 3 can provide, when a much faster P4, Athlon XP or even Athlon 64 would not only give you much better performance but also cost way less. And given the games you seem interested in playing, I don't see why you wouldn't prefer to run Windows 2k or XP over 98, they would both run much more stable and allow for more powerful hardware.

Don't get me wrong, you have a very nice build there, it's just one that's not suited to what you seem to want from it. Use it for games up to about year 2000 and it will serve you great. For games you listed here, best look at building a more powerful system with Windows 2k or XP and a DirectX 9 video card.

Reply 7 of 14, by Zaza le Nounours

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
cyclone3d wrote on 2021-12-19, 19:56:

Oh, a bunch of newer games are really CPU dependent. With my overclocked on all cores to 4.6Ghz Xeon 1660v3 (i7 5960x), there are games that will use close to 100% CPU even with the graphics settings pretty maxxed out at 1440p on an RTX 2080 or RTX 3060 Ti.

I kept my i7 6700k for five years, and replaced it in 2020 with a 5900x, but it was still kicking strong after all these years, and I'm pretty sure it still would except for a few very CPU-intensive games. From what I "learned" in the past few days, I have a feeling that a CPU from 20 years ago wouldn't do much 5 or 6 years after its release.

frudi wrote on 2021-12-19, 20:24:

A GF4 Ti 4400 is going to be massively bottlenecked by a 1.4 GHz P3-S, that was never a high-end desktop CPU in the first place. By its release, not only was it not really meant for desktop use (that's what the non-S model with half the L2 cache was for), it was already up against 2.2 GHz Northwoods and 2100+ Palominos that easily outclassed it. The GF4 is meant more for high-end P4 or Athlon XP configurations. And so are the games that you are trying to run. Since you're already using a motherboard with no ISA slots, there's little reason to limit yourself to performance that a Pentium 3 can provide, when a much faster P4, Athlon XP or even Athlon 64 would not only give you much better performance but also cost way less. And given the games you seem interested in playing, I don't see why you wouldn't prefer to run Windows 2k or XP over 98, they would both run much more stable and allow for more powerful hardware.

Don't get me wrong, you have a very nice build there, it's just one that's not suited to what you seem to want from it. Use it for games up to about year 2000 and it will serve you great. For games you listed here, best look at building a more powerful system with Windows 2k or XP and a DirectX 9 video card.

I also have a Voodoo 2 on the way to add to the build, my plan was to use it for older DOS/Glide games, at least the P3 shouldn't have too much trouble with them. And in the future I might consider building another system running XP with something like an A64 3800+/4000+ (which can be found for only a few eurobucks here) and a GF6800 or something like that (which is crazy expensive).

Reply 9 of 14, by gex85

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
Zaza le Nounours wrote on 2021-12-19, 13:38:

...
Benchmarks also seem a bit disappointing : I get ~9800 in 3Dmark 2000 and ~8500 in 3Dmark 2001.
...

My P3-S 1400 hits ~7900 in 3Dmark 2001 with a GF4 Ti 4200 and ~8900 with a Ti 4600. So your machine reaching 8500 seems perfectly fine.

My retro computers

Reply 10 of 14, by bloodem

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Zaza le Nounours wrote on 2021-12-19, 22:04:

From what I "learned" in the past few days, I have a feeling that a CPU from 20 years ago wouldn't do much 5 or 6 years after its release.

Well, that's a known fact. The technology was RAPIDLY evolving during that time.
In fact, in the '90s/early '00, there was a high chance for a CPU being all but unusable even 2 years after its launch.
Like, imagine playing Need for Speed High Stakes/Quake 3 (1999) on a Pentium MMX 233 (1997) : even when overclocked at 290 MHz the experience is still VERY bad, completely unplayable - just tested it one day ago 😀.

2 x PGA132 / 5 x Socket 3 / 9 x Socket 7 / 12 x SS7 / 1 x Socket 8 / 14 x Slot 1 / 5 x Slot A
5 x Socket 370 / 8 x Socket A / 2 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 7 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: Core i7 7700k

Reply 11 of 14, by RandomStranger

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

I've no experience wiht NOLF2, but Max Payne 2 dropping to 20fps does indicate that something is off. MP2 is a very well optimized game and both the Tualatin and the Geforce 4 Ti is perfectly capable of running it with framerate consistently in the 60s.

What are the full specs of the PC? Could be some driver issue with some other component (motherboard, soundcard) that throttling your performance.

sreq.png retrogamer-s.png

Reply 12 of 14, by PARKE

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Zaza le Nounours wrote on 2021-12-19, 13:38:

Benchmarks also seem a bit disappointing : I get ~9800 in 3Dmark 2000 and ~8500 in 3Dmark 2001.

When I benched my setup I got the same results => +/-8500 points.
ASUS TUSL2-C + 1400S SL6BY / Gainward GF Ti 4800 / Windows ME + driver 45.32 / 3DMark 2001 1024x768x32
(The Gainward is similar to your card, a Ti 4400 @ AGP8x)
With the later driver 77.72 the score dropped some 500 points.

Reply 13 of 14, by Zaza le Nounours

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
bloodem wrote on 2021-12-20, 09:39:

Well, that's a known fact. The technology was RAPIDLY evolving during that time.
In fact, in the '90s/early '00, there was a high chance for a CPU being all but unusable even 2 years after its launch.
Like, imagine playing Need for Speed High Stakes/Quake 3 (1999) on a Pentium MMX 233 (1997) : even when overclocked at 290 MHz the experience is still VERY bad, completely unplayable - just tested it one day ago 😀.

I don't recall it being this bad. But it was more than 20 years ago, and perhaps it was why I stopped playing on PC for a couple years when the PS2 released. The old family computer (a very high end P2 450 + Voodoo 2 bought during the summer of 1998) was probably having a hard time in 2000, and I had to wait until 2001-2002 and one of my first paychecks to buy my first own PC (Athlon 1800+ and GeForce 4200 if I remember correctly).

RandomStranger wrote on 2021-12-20, 10:20:

I've no experience wiht NOLF2, but Max Payne 2 dropping to 20fps does indicate that something is off. MP2 is a very well optimized game and both the Tualatin and the Geforce 4 Ti is perfectly capable of running it with framerate consistently in the 60s.

What are the full specs of the PC? Could be some driver issue with some other component (motherboard, soundcard) that throttling your performance.

Not much else to add : P3-s 1400, Asus TUSL2-C, 2x256 MB RAM CAS3, HDD 128 GB, and a Sound Blaster Live (not the 5.1 model). But Max Payne 2 is not alone : even Deus Ex (the first one from 2000) is having a hard time.

Reply 14 of 14, by LubieCipy

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

P3-s 1.4 GHz, Via 694T mobo, 256 MB RAM CL3, NV drivers 44.03, Geforce 4 Ti 4200 250/500

All benchmarks at standard settings:
3DMark2000 - 10443 points
3DMark2001SE - 8150 points