Namrok wrote on 2023-05-15, 14:56:
Huh, lots of recommendations for an Athlon XP or a Pentium 4, paired with a Geforce 4XXX or 5XXX for the period of 1997 to 2000. That's... aggressive. Especially if the cutoff period is late 2000.
For a small sanity check, in the Dec 2000 issue of Computer Gaming World, this is their "Power Rig". A Pentium III 1Ghz, a Geforce 2 Ultra, a Sound Blaster Live Platinum and 256 MB of RAM. It had a 300W PSU. I recall at the time, from 2000-ish until 2003 I did all my gaming on a PII 700 with a Geforce 2 GTS and was more than happy. Was actually one of the better rigs at the LAN parties I went to in highschool.
I built a PIII 1Ghz system ridiculously cheap a year or two ago. Got a Socket 370 motherboard for $20, the CPU for another $17.50, 512 MB of PC133 for $10.99, the Geforce 2 GTS for $25, SBLive CT4670 for $14.60. I probably spent the most money on a new PSU.
This might seem strange but there is some reason to recommending at least some of the newer hardware options. If the aim is to play games and not to tinker you want stability and an otherwise more or less issue free experience. Back then the hardware development was fast, the players making the hardware many and issues that got fixed with BIOS updates and hot-fixes were common. Issues that didn't crop up until the hardware in question went out of production rarely got fixed at all.
The best way to avoid as many issues as possible today when we can pick and choose the hardware is to use hardware that is known to just work.
More or less issue free chipsets for a fast Windows 98 rig.
1998. Intel 440BX. This chipset is fast and extremely stable, Motherboards usually have 1-3 ISA slots. Best used with something like a P3 1000(100).
2000. Intel i815. Not as fast as 440BX but support 133 MHz FSB. Motherboards do not have any ISA Slots. The easy to get boards are best used with a P3 1000(133) .
2003 . Intel 875p/865p. Fast and super stable, supports USB2, supports a wide range of CPUs . No ISA slots, no AGP 3.3V. Best used with any Norhwood P4 CPU.
If you need the system to handle DOS games in real DOS the choice is obvious, go for 440BX. If you do not need good DOS support the choice isn't as easy. I my self use a pin modified overclocked Tualatin P3 1400-S on an Asus CUSL2 (i815) with a FX5900 Ultra. A system like this can max out (almost) any game (best played) in Windows 98 but the same result can be obtained much easier and cheaper by using an Intel 865 or 875 series chipset motherboard and a fast P4 CPU.
When it comes to Socket A (all of it), VIA, SIS, RDRAM, and other Intel P4 chipsets than the 875/865 series these are fun and have their uses for sure but most also have their quirks. I love to tinker with it all but that isn't the same as saying I would recommend any of it as a first retro build. Keep it simple! 😁
The timeline of minimal head ace! 😁
DOS 1992- ................... Windows 98 1997- ...................... Windows XP 2001-
Intel 430xx ---> Intel 440BX/Intel i815/i865P/i875P ---> X58/P55/P68/Z68/Z77
New PC: i9 12900K @5GHz all cores @1.2v. MSI PRO Z690-A. 32GB DDR4 3600 CL14. 3070Ti.
Old PC: Dual Xeon X5690@4.6GHz, EVGA SR-2, 48GB DDR3R@2000MHz, Intel X25-M. GTX 980ti.
Older PC: K6-3+ 400@600MHz, PC-Chips M577, 256MB SDRAM, AWE64, Voodoo Banshee.