First post, by Subjunctive
After too many annoying experiences in trying to get certain games to work properly under modern versions of Windows, I decided to give them a dedicated Win98 machine.
This was my first real attempt at putting together such a system. I wasn't (and am not) an expert. And back in the day, gamer-level hardware was well beyond my means, so this wasn't even nostalgia. I just wanted to have the best system I could for running games from a certain period, and the ubergeek in me wanted the components to be era-appropriate.
As initially received, the machine was a stock Dell Dimension XPS D333, given up by a friend's aunt:
Pentium II 333 MHz
64 MB RAM
ATI Xpert 98
Turtle Beach Montego
5 GB drive
Windows 98 SE
Pentium II 333 MHz, soon to be Celeron 500 MHz
128 MB RAM
ATI Xpert 98 + Voodoo2 x2 (SLI)
SoundBlaster Live! CT4760
5 GB, 20 GB drives
Windows 98 SE
Both Voodoo2 cards are 12 MB Diamond Monster 3D IIs. To complete the Voodoo2 SLI configuration, I had to win two eBay auctions, one for the bare Diamond cards and one for a complete package of a 3dfx-branded V2 1000 that included the VGA passthrough and SLI ribbon cables. One side project down the road might be to see if I can get the 3dfx and Diamond cards working together in SLI by using the pure 3dfx reference drivers.
Replacing the Turtle Beach sound card was a no-brainer. I considered the AWE32 and AWE64 at first, but then realized that I'd want an EAX-capable card for EAX-capable games, and under Windows I'd prefer to deal with PCI than ISA anyway.
The additional RAM was from a Compaq Deskpro EP C500 that I got from a coworker a few months ago, and the Celeron will come from the same place. Big, big thanks to this 13-year-old Earthlink page for walking me through the slocket and BIOS upgrade prerequisites: http://home.earthlink.net/~billselk/al440lx/
My worries about obtaining drivers for all this hardware turned out to be unfounded. It was absurdly easy to find not only zips but ISOs of the original driver CDs that generous folks had thrown up on filesharing sites.
Here are some pictures of the components and complete system.
The Dell didn't come with a monitor, but I happened to have an appropriate CRT, a 14-inch Compaq V50. I will probably replace it with a 19-inch Samsung SyncMaster CRT that I also have lying around.