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First post, by Half-Saint

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This is targeted at people who tried to do something like the title suggests. What was your reasoning behind it?

I'm thinking maybe to see what's the fastest system that can run Win98 and on top of that dual boot to XP. That would cover about 15 years worth of games. I'm currently considering building a relatively fast socket 370 system (and it occured to me that it may be better to ditch it and go for Socket A instead.

What do you guys think?

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Reply 1 of 31, by revolstar

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Well, while my Win98 build may not be the fastest, it certainly is quite fast, and my reasoning behind it was to simply be able to conveniently play games from the late 90s with decent framerates.

Win98 rig: Athlon XP 2500+/512MB RAM/Gigabyte GA-7VT600/SB Live!/GF FX5700/Voodoo2 12MB
WinXP rig: HP RP5800 - Pentium G850/2GB RAM/GF GT530 1GB
Amiga: A600/2MB RAM
PS3: 500GB HDD Slim, mostly for RetroArch, PSX & PS2 games

Reply 2 of 31, by Shponglefan

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I think there are a couple different reasons for "fastest" Windows builds.

The first are practical builds with enough performance headroom so that one can run everything maxed out. So fast Athlon/Pentium III or maybe Athlon XP/Pentium 4 (Socket 478) builds.

The second are experimental builds that are more about seeing how far one can push older operating systems. These would be faster Athlon 64/Pentium 4 (LGA775) or even Core2 systems.

I'm currently working on a quad-boot Pentium 4 setup that is a bit of a both. Part of my motivation is having limited space for dedicated systems, having systems that can cover as wide a range of games as possible is highly appealing.

Last edited by Shponglefan on 2024-03-07, 16:01. Edited 1 time in total.

Pentium 4 Multi-OS Build
486 DX4-100 with 6 sound cards
486 DX-33 with 5 sound cards

Reply 3 of 31, by dionb

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The former appeals to me.

Back in the day, everything tended to run slower than you would have liked. The ability to run whatever I want with no hardware bottlenecks appeals a lot to me. However note the 'runs' - personally I'm less interested in pushing the envelope to the point that the OS runs, but it becomes challenging to actually play games due to driver support issues and the like. For Win98 I'd be happier with a late AthlonXP or P4 than with a Core2, even if the latter is theoretically possible.

Reply 4 of 31, by elszgensa

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I like to dabble in backporting software, i.e. dragging modern day code kicking and screaming into two-three decades ago. This newer code usually pays less attention to efficiency (sometimes through lack of optimization, but often just through having chosen a more expensive problem solving approach to begin with). Using a ridiculously fast machine counters that and makes these programs more bearable.

I also have a couple over-the-top XP builds, but those are mostly just for being able to crank games up to ultramax without having to think about it.

Reply 5 of 31, by DarthSun

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It will definitely still work with B450+RyZen if someone is curious about the ultimate limits. Although I was lucky with this one, I didn't update the UEFI/BIOS, there may be problems with the newer one.
Drivers are solved, there is also a modified patch for the VCache error, but with newer UEFI it does not go up to the installation level, solution - install on an older machine, e.g. Core2, and then transfer the HDD/SSD to a modern machine, although it is not easy for an S775/PCIe machine either to install.
It makes sense for the 3DMark99-2000-2001 running competition under Win98, but it can also be used well for other titles of the time.
XP is simpler. I have compiled a modern, convenient installer, from the available drivers, it can be installed on the latest machines without any problems.

The 3 body problems cannot be solved, neither for future quantum computers, even for the remainder of the universe. The Proton 2D is circling a planet and stepping back to the quantum size in 11 dimensions.

Reply 6 of 31, by adam731432

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I am building a K6-2 machine for nostalgia with the best video card and ram my motherboard will accept because it would have been unaffordable to me at the time and all parts are within a period correct 5 year time span. I don't really see the point in a Pentium II/III machine because its still not going to be a blazing multi media machine with 98's limitations. However i do have a dual boot computer with a MS6390 ver.30B motherboard that is from the perfect era for 98/XP driver compatibility. I can play all retro 98/XP games with ease and there is something cool about having an AMD Athlon XP w/ Geforce 6800GT in 98SE.

Reply 7 of 31, by maxtherabbit

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Half-Saint wrote on 2024-03-07, 12:45:

This is targeted at people who tried to do something like the title suggests. What was your reasoning behind it?

I'm thinking maybe to see what's the fastest system that can run Win98 and on top of that dual boot to XP. That would cover about 15 years worth of games. I'm currently considering building a relatively fast socket 370 system (and it occured to me that it may be better to ditch it and go for Socket A instead.

What do you guys think?

I don't build systems with any specific game(s) as a target. I build systems because I am interested in the hardware. Tweaking and maxing a specific platform *is* the game for me

Reply 8 of 31, by Joseph_Joestar

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I built my Core2 + Radeon X800 system to play Win9x games at 1600x1200 with AA and AF cranked up as desired, while still getting 60+ FPS.

It fulfills that role quite well.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 9 of 31, by Shponglefan

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adam731432 wrote on 2024-03-07, 17:57:

I don't really see the point in a Pentium II/III machine because its still not going to be a blazing multi media machine with 98's limitations.

Once reason for a slower machine would be speed sensitive software and/or hardware. Which surprisingly was still a thing even into the late 90s.

Pentium 4 Multi-OS Build
486 DX4-100 with 6 sound cards
486 DX-33 with 5 sound cards

Reply 10 of 31, by RetroPCCupboard

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I wanted the ability to run games at the smoothest possible speeds and have an OS that doesn't lag. But I wanted a GPU that was still highly compatible, so didnt go too crazy with that. My fastest Win98 PC has a Core 2 Duo x6800, 512Mb RAM, Soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS, Geforce 4600. I plan to build a more "Normal" Win98 PC soon with Voodoo 3500, Pentium III 1Ghz, Aureal Vortex 2 for Windows and ISA Soundblaster 16 for DOS.

Reply 11 of 31, by midicollector

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I like period correct or roughly period correct machines or pure nostalgia machines, I also feel a little weird when I see people trying to build the fastest retro machine but now that I think about it there’s probably a really practical reason: they want to run windows 98 software as fast as possible.

So they’re not really going for hardware, what they want is ultimately the software. They want a windows 98 machine, and want it as fast as possible. The kind of thing where they would use completely modern hardware if they could because it’s more about the software.

Or it could just be the coolness of like owning the periods fastest possible machine, like a hot rod. I’m not really into that, but I can see the reasoning behind it.

Reply 12 of 31, by chinny22

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I've a a Socket 478, GF6 Ultra, Audigy 2 ZS
P4P800 End of Win98 Support Build

Built it as I like running OS's on much newer hardware then really needed.
Doesn't get much use though. Win98 has compatibility issues and games don't really benefit from the extra speed, and the same hardware makes for a slow XP build so better off using my dedicated XP rig.
Mostly I just keep it for bragging rights.

I find my Slot 1 P3 600 plays all my 9x games just fine and anything that does struggle (eg GTA3) works fine in XP anyway

Reply 13 of 31, by PcBytes

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I think I had a "fast" 98SE machine aswell that I sold, comprised of:

- P4 HT 630
- ASRock 775i65G
- FX5500 I think
- 120GB Hitachi SATA HDD off an Xbox 360 (set to Compatibility Mode I think)
- 512MB DDR400

It ran rather well, with very little issues. I know, a GF6 or 7 would have been the true "bragging rights" choice, but I wanted compatibility, and the FX was the right card to go to (aside from going Radeon, which I usually had issues with.)

file.php?mode=view&id=187590
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"Enter at your own peril, past the bolted door..."
Main PC: i5 3470, GB B75M-D3H, 16GB RAM, 2x1TB
98SE : P3 650, Soyo SY-6BA+IV, 384MB RAM, 80GB

Reply 14 of 31, by DarthSun

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I also like the retro machines of the time, but I have already prepared many articles and tests about them. Also, everyone already knows everything about them, how much they perform, etc.
In recent years, I've been more interested in newer hardware and older operating systems. Modern retro...overkill retro.
For example Category 3DM01 running under Win98 with air cooling - I am world champion.

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The 3 body problems cannot be solved, neither for future quantum computers, even for the remainder of the universe. The Proton 2D is circling a planet and stepping back to the quantum size in 11 dimensions.

Reply 15 of 31, by DarthSun

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PcBytes wrote on 2024-03-07, 23:11:
I think I had a "fast" 98SE machine aswell that I sold, comprised of: […]
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I think I had a "fast" 98SE machine aswell that I sold, comprised of:

- P4 HT 630
- ASRock 775i65G
- FX5500 I think
- 120GB Hitachi SATA HDD off an Xbox 360 (set to Compatibility Mode I think)
- 512MB DDR400

It ran rather well, with very little issues. I know, a GF6 or 7 would have been the true "bragging rights" choice, but I wanted compatibility, and the FX was the right card to go to (aside from going Radeon, which I usually had issues with.)

file.php?mode=view&id=187590
file.php?mode=view&id=187591

The 775i65G is a good motherboard with native Win98 support from the factory.

The 3 body problems cannot be solved, neither for future quantum computers, even for the remainder of the universe. The Proton 2D is circling a planet and stepping back to the quantum size in 11 dimensions.

Reply 16 of 31, by fosterwj03

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Because it’s awesome!

In all seriousness, I love building retro rockets. I would have killed for 100x better performance in nearly all respects at a reasonable price back in 1998-1999. I get to relive those days with way over the top hardware we only dreamed would ever get manufactured back then.

I’ll readily admit that I never used Win98 (either FE or SE) back then because I migrated to NT 4 for personal use just before Microsoft released Win98. I have a bit of a new-found appreciation for Win98 since then even though I still prefer the NT-based OS’s of the era.

As for modern hardware, I’ll echo some of the sentiments above. I enjoy pushing the boundries of what you can get old software to run on. My most modern Win98 experience was with a Devil’s Canyon platform (Core i7-4790k, H97 motherboard, 16GB RAM [1.7 GB usable], Blu-Ray and DVD Burners, 128GB SSD, and a Radeon x800 XL). It was a fun project and worked exceptionally well for my game and application tastes, but not really all that much faster than my usual Win98 machine that uses an Ivy-Bridge Xeon at 3.6GHz with similar peripherals.

I’d like to try Win98 on something newer than the i7-4790k, but I’m not really interested in buying newer hardware for such a build at the moment (I’m running out of space for cases). Maybe in a couple of years.

P.S. Build whatever you like. It's all part of the fun.

Last edited by fosterwj03 on 2024-03-08, 02:11. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 17 of 31, by Shponglefan

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chinny22 wrote on 2024-03-07, 22:57:
I've a a Socket 478, GF6 Ultra, Audigy 2 ZS P4P800 End of Win98 Support Build […]
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I've a a Socket 478, GF6 Ultra, Audigy 2 ZS
P4P800 End of Win98 Support Build

Built it as I like running OS's on much newer hardware then really needed.
Doesn't get much use though. Win98 has compatibility issues

Out of curiosity, what were the compatibility issues? Were they GPU related since I've heard the 6800 series isn't the best for Windows 98.

Pentium 4 Multi-OS Build
486 DX4-100 with 6 sound cards
486 DX-33 with 5 sound cards

Reply 19 of 31, by chinny22

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Shponglefan wrote on 2024-03-08, 01:43:
chinny22 wrote on 2024-03-07, 22:57:
I've a a Socket 478, GF6 Ultra, Audigy 2 ZS P4P800 End of Win98 Support Build […]
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I've a a Socket 478, GF6 Ultra, Audigy 2 ZS
P4P800 End of Win98 Support Build

Built it as I like running OS's on much newer hardware then really needed.
Doesn't get much use though. Win98 has compatibility issues

Out of curiosity, what were the compatibility issues? Were they GPU related since I've heard the 6800 series isn't the best for Windows 98.

Yes all GPU related, Hardware itself runs fine in windows. just some games don't work correct with the 6800.
Something like a GF4 Ti or FX would make it much more useable but that's not in the spirit of the build.