VOGONS


First post, by asasnat

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So, originally I wanted my win98 PC to be quite speedy, and not something you would expect for 1998/99. However, due to potential compatibility issues I changed to the opposite spectrum and instead, I want my PC to be pretty average for that time era now.
However, I've had a problem. The graphics card I wanted to buy (a Voodoo 3) was REALLY expensive where I live, sometimes being as expensive as 250$. Does anyone know any cheaper graphics cards that still are decently fast and good enough for games from the Win9x era?
P.S. I'm still trying to decide on the motherboard. Which one would be the best? I also want it to be decently cheap.

Reply 2 of 20, by asasnat

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Zup wrote on 2021-01-18, 15:44:

Geforce Ti4

When i search it up online, all i get is even more expensive brand new laptops, not mid-to-late-90s graphics cards. Could you maybe give the EXACT model name? Or is that a series of cards?

Reply 3 of 20, by Zup

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Sorry.

I had a Voodoo3 on Windows 98 and replaced it with a Nvidia Geforce 4 Ti4200. I guessed it was in your timeframe, Geforce 4 series of cards appeared on 2002.

Any Nvidia Geforce would outperform a Voodoo 3 (even more if you play DX7 games with T&L) but Geforce 256 appeared in 1999 and Geforce 2 on 2000. Other choice would be a Nvidia TNT2... but they lack the performance of Geforce and the charisma of Glide (and on usual Windows 98 games, with 16 bit colour depth and the usual resolutions the performance diference won't be noticeable). Other choices would be Matrox and ATI, Matrox being the "quality" reference (everyone praised the image quality, although that cards weren't as fast as their competitors). ATI had some interesting "multimedia" cards (integrating 2D, 3D, TV tuners...) but their multimedia offer usually were slow performers, and their performance cards weren't as fast as Nvidia ones.

Stay away from S3 or Trident. Their main selling point was that they were 3D and cheap... but you'll get "slideshow" performance. Other brands/early 3D chips had their quote of quirks... they have some charm but they're definitely not the ones you want to do some gaming.

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Reply 4 of 20, by Joseph_Joestar

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Best? Depends on how high you want to crank up the resolution and how much you care about backwards compatibility with older games. For gaming up to 1280x1024, excellent compatibility and a reasonable price, a GeForce4 Ti4200 is your best bet. If you want to go higher than that and also max out AA and AF, you may need something stronger but also probably less compatible like the Nvidia 6xxx series.

Most cost effective? A GeForce4 MX440 is super cheap and will run most Win9x games at 1024x768 with 60+ FPS. Older games should work fine at 1280x1024 as well, but some later titles like DeusEx might not.

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Reply 5 of 20, by asasnat

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Finally something costing below 25$. Thanks for letting me know about the MX440! I know you mentioned that some games may not function properly with it, but honestly that's not really a problem since I don't have much games to run on 98 anyway, and the only ones i will be running will probably be homebrew ones, and when I don't feel like gaming I'll just mess about with it and get a taste for the true Windows 98 experience.

Reply 6 of 20, by Joseph_Joestar

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asasnat wrote on 2021-01-18, 19:47:

I know you mentioned that some games may not function properly with it, but honestly that's not really a problem since I don't have much games to run on 98 anyway, and the only ones i will be running will probably be homebrew ones, and when I don't feel like gaming I'll just mess about with it and get a taste for the true Windows 98 experience.

Every Win9x game will work fine with the MX440, it's just that some of the later games may run a bit slow at high resolutions. Compatibility wise, there are no issues. You should basically treat that card as a cheap GeForce2 GTS. It has the same feature set and performs similarly or slightly better.

Be advised that the MX440 doesn't support DX 8.1 features. This is irrelevant for Win9x games, but if you want to cross over into the early XP era, any games which rely on pixel shaders (e.g. Morrowind) will not look their best on that card. The same might be true for homebrew games which use those features.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 8 of 20, by asasnat

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Also, an off-topic but important question:
I've been trying to find a copy of Windows 98 SE online, but so far the only ones I've found that I could really afford were ones that were only meant for "distribution via new PC machines". I have a question: are they legal, and can I just buy it and install it on my PC without worrying about CIA agents coming for me? Or should I buy a more costly, but legitimate boxed copy of it?

Reply 9 of 20, by Doornkaat

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The legality depends on your location. Selling and using original licenses - even OEM ones - is perfectly legal in the EU.

Microsoft is not known for going after people using Win9x keys they have found online, apparently not even really for the sites hosting them, and Win98 does not need online activation or registration so how would they find out what key you're using? But of course I would not recommend pirating your OS and encourage you to buy a valid license key instead of using one of the keys that are plentiful on various websites. You didn't ask for that anyway so everything is fine but I don't think you have to worry about breaking the law if you bought a legit license sticker and CD.

Reply 10 of 20, by asasnat

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Doornkaat wrote on 2021-01-18, 21:07:

The legality depends on your location. Selling and using original licenses - even OEM ones - is perfectly legal in the EU.

Microsoft is not known for going after people using Win9x keys they have found online, apparently not even really for the sites hosting them, and Win98 does not need online activation or registration so how would they find out what key you're using? But of course I would not recommend pirating your OS and encourage you to buy a valid license key instead of using one of the keys that are plentiful on various websites. You didn't ask for that anyway so everything is fine but I don't think you have to worry about breaking the law if you bought a legit license sticker and CD.

Sorry for not replying in a while, I had to go to sleep.

Anyway, I guess I can buy that "CD drive, boot floppy and some manuals all packed inside some foil" legally.

Reply 11 of 20, by mothergoose729

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The MX440 or the slightly faster MX460 are great value. Another good option is an FX5200 or FX5500 if you can find them for a good price and in AGP (PCI will work too but you lose a lot of performance).

It used to be the case that you could find quadro equivalents to FX and geforce 4 GPUs for a lot cheaper. That is a lot harder to find these days but it can't hurt to look. Those are Quadro 800gl, Quadro FX 1000, 2000, 3000 and a couple other models.

Reply 12 of 20, by The Serpent Rider

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The MX440 or the slightly faster MX460 are great value

Proper GeForce 4 MX440-8x beats all.

Another good option is an FX5200 or FX5500

Not really, you can easily find FX5600 variations for the same price.

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Reply 13 of 20, by appiah4

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Most cost effective is probably the GeForce4 MX440 but it will not give you all the eye candy for post-200 games. For that you may want to go for a cheap Radeon 9000PRO/9100 if you come across one, although that will lose you some compatibility with some earlier games.

For "best" I think you should get a Radeon X1950PRO AGP. If you want a native AGP card a Radeon X850XT PE will also get you to max everything out at obscene resolutions like 1600x1200 for late Win9x gaming. If you are concerned with better compatibility with earlier games you can go for a GeForce FX5900/5950 Ultra as well.

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Reply 14 of 20, by asasnat

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Ok so I've found an GeForce FX5200, and thankfully it's AGP. However, something strange I've noticed is that it advertises itself as a 128-bit card. Is it still going to work wine with Win98? or are those 128 bits just going to be too much for it?

Reply 15 of 20, by Doornkaat

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asasnat wrote on 2021-01-19, 10:23:

Ok so I've found an GeForce FX5200, and thankfully it's AGP. However, something strange I've noticed is that it advertises itself as a 128-bit card. Is it still going to work wine with Win98? or are those 128 bits just going to be too much for it?

This is related to the card's memory bus. The OS has nothing to do with it, no problem. The 128bit version is the one you want, the 64bit is much slower.

Reply 17 of 20, by The Serpent Rider

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For "best" I think you should get a Radeon X1950PRO AGP

X1xxx series is not supported.

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Reply 18 of 20, by RandomStranger

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IMO (based on prices where I live)

Tier 1 - Unbeatable
MX200-400-440; TNT2 M64; S3 Trio3D
They are often given away for free or less than 5$. You can't be more cost effective than getting something for free.

Tier 2 - very cheap
Geforce3 Ti200; Geforce 4 Ti 4200; FX5200; Radeon 7000; Radeon 7500; Radeon 9000; Radeon 9200; Radeon 9550; Radeon 9600 Pro; S3 Savage4; Matrox G400/450
They can often be found in the 5-15$ range.

Tier 3 - cheap-to-reasonably priced
FX5700; TNT2; Voodoo3; Radeon 9600XT
Anything between 15-50$ (around 40-50 for the V3, the rest is closer to 15-25).

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You can find just about any card for just about any price if you wait long enough. Rare historical pieces for Tier1 pricing from people who don't know or don't care.

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Reply 19 of 20, by appiah4

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2021-01-19, 11:18:

For "best" I think you should get a Radeon X1950PRO AGP

X1xxx series is not supported.

That's true, X800 Series is final to support Win98. My bad.

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