mothergoose729 wrote on 2023-01-24, 18:44:
All of the intel chipsets should work really well, the 865p chipset just has the most features. 865p will have SATA 1.5 which is really nice if you are planning to use an SSD boot drive. Some 845 chipsets will have USB 2.0 support (the E and G series I believe). There might also be limitations on CPU or FSB support (could be limited to 533mhz when you might prefer to use an 800mhz part, ect). None of those are serious impediments. The biggest difference isn't stability it's I/O.
For a windows 98/xp hybrid the faster 3.0ghz+ CPUs northwoods and prescotts can make a difference if you are trying to play later XP games like FEAR and Farcry. For windows 98 (so pre 2003) a northwood 2.2ghz or 2.4ghz is plenty fast enough.
Socket 754 is another good option. An athlon 3200+ is plenty cheap and fast for a hybrid machine for any later XP game (except crysis). VIA 754 chipsets are also plenty stable and performant in windows 98. Make sure to get the 1mb cache CPU if you are reaching for later XP games.
^excellent advice. I second this.
One note on SATA and Win98 -> for best results use windows 98 second edition. Also, make sure to set your SATA ports to "IDE mode" or "Compatibility mode" in BIOS, otherwise you will encounter issues ranging from "no fixed disk available" during windows setup to stability issues or even failure to boot after OS install. Some motherboards (like Abit) have a "Combo mode" setting in BIOS witch also seems to work well with win98.
Oh and stay away from "unofficial service pack".
chinny22 wrote on 2023-01-25, 16:11:
Basically what mothergoose was saying is both the 865 and 845 are so overkill for Win98 you wont notice any difference.
Main limitation is 865 gives you SATA where as 845 is IDE only (probably some exceptions but I'm talking in general)
I've 2 Win98/2k PC's based on 845 chipset with a 3.06 Nothwood CPU and can play my win9x games just fine
i845 is perfectly fine. I have an IBM Thinkcentre I'm current using as my main 98/early XP machine, which uses an intel i845 mainboard, and it performs beautifully. It came with a 2666Mhz Northwood which is borderline overkill for win98 games, but adequate for early windows XP titles (unreal tournament 2004 runs great for example). It also came with a Quadro FX3000 video card (basically a slightly underclocked FX 5900 Ultra) witch I kept in the PC - the only thing I upgraded is the memory (from 256MB which is perfect for 98 - to 1GB so XP will run as smooth as possible) and disk drive. I also installed Patchmem.
@OP - Another quick note - do not add too much ram to the machine if all you plan to run is windows 98. 256MB is more then enough, 512 is also OK. Note that unpatched, win98se will only be stable with a total (system memory + video memory) of 1GB. For example, 768MB of system ram + 256MB of video ram is OK. If you install 1GB of system ram and use a 256MB video card, you are likely to get instability or even failure to boot (the "out of memory error" on boot) after installing the video card driver. You can prevent or fix this by installing PATCHMEM - useful if you plan to dual-boot XP or 32 bit windows 7.
Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2023-01-27, 03:06:
AlexZ wrote on 2023-01-24, 19:30:
Avoid socket 754 for Windows 98 as there are known performance issues with AGP. Windows XP is unaffected.
I concur, but would add that this issue only affects (certain) VIA chipsets. Socket 754 motherboards based on ULi and SiS chipsets should work fine, at least judging by the information available so far.
That said, it is possible to get some VIA based socket 754 systems to run properly under Win98, but it's kinda like playing the lottery. You need to use an older BIOS version, some very specific SATA settings and your southbridge needs to be a late revision model. I have such a system and it runs great, but it took a lot of research and tweaking to get it there.
Setting SATA to "compatibility" or "IDE" mode should prevent that issue. All VIA based socket 939 or 754 win98 PC's I've built so far (and I've built dozens for friends and family, for retro gaming exclusively) have worked flawlessly provided sata is correctly configured in BIOS, virtualization is disabled, and total memory is kept under 1GB (video + system ram). For the 939 platform it also helps to install AMD cool and quiet or disable the feature in BIOS. Some games like NFS V do not like having CPU speed jump around. Same with intel Speedstep. If using some PCI devices (like the Aureal Vortex and in some cases the YMF725) it might also help to disable ACPI support in BIOS. This will let windows manage system resources instead of ACPI / BIOS and will permit the user to change IRQ and DMA for some devices in control panel. It also frees up an IRQ resource (usually IRQ 9). One example is setting the Aureal Vortex or Yamaha legacy virtual device resources to IRQ 5 and DMA 1 - needed to get sound in DOS games running under win98. IRQ 7 and DMA 3 will also work, but I've noticed that sometimes ACPI assigns higher resources, like IRQ 11 to this device, a resource witch DOS game setup programs cannot use as most only let you select up to IRQ 9, often no higher than IRQ 7... If the board does not allow you to disable ACPI, you can try setting IRQ 5 and DMA 1 to "reserved" under resource management in BIOS, and if you're lucky the virtual device will automatically be assigned those resources.
I've learned all these tricks by trial and error - by building dirt cheap retro machines for people who want to get into the hobby - because in my corner of the world socket 754 and 939 machines are more common and cheaper then 478 and socket A. Most of what I've come across use a VIA chipset. LGA775 builds are not scarce either, but 90% of what I've found use newer PCI-E and DDR2 intel chipsets like the i915. I've never come across a SiS 939 / 754 system board - you made me very curious about them. I know about the ULi boards, they are great for win98. The only one I have is a budget Jetway A689DAS and it's very stable and quite quick so it left a great impression.