VOGONS


First post, by God Of Gaming

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I've been wanting to build something a bit older for a while now, and I noticed I have just about enough 1997 components to put together a nice machine. To start, I have this Shuttle HOT-569A motherboard with the 430TX chipset, it's not the best of the year or anything like that, but should do for a start, till I find something better.

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For CPU to use, I have two Pentium MMX 166, one MMX 200 and one MMX 233, and I guess there's no reason to not just use the 233.

Digged trough my stash to find 1997 video cards, and I found those:

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First is Asus AGP-V3000 Deluxe (Nvidia Riva 128), which sadly seems to be dead, I tested it and it outputs image on screen, but for some reason is stuck on 640x480 at 16 colors and trying to raise resolution or color depth results in black screen. No idea if this is fixable, probably not. It's AGP anyways so I can't use it on this motherboard, and I can't find a PCI Riva 128. But according to the internet, the Riva 128 should be the fastest video card of 1997. Sad.

Next is a Rendition Verite V2200 8mb PCI, I suppose this is the card I will end up using here. It's a weird low-profile version with a bios from 99, but the V2200 first came out in 97 so should fit just fine.

Finally a Matrox Mystique 220 4mb PCI, but I believe this card would be worse than the Rendition in just about every way, so guess I'll keep it as a spare in case the Rendition dies on me.

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For audio I dugged up a Creative AWE64 Value CT4520 and a Turtle Beach Montego (Aureal Vortex), I suppose I'll use both.

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I do not have any 1997 network cards, but I found these 3 from 1996, so I guess I'll pick one of them. 3Com 3C905-TX, Intel PRO/100 and some HP oem card with AMD PCnet-FAST chip... not sure which of the 3 to go for... perhaps the 3com, should be a 96 model but someone has written 27.3.97 in black marker onto the main chipset, for some reason, so this particular card was probably manufactured in 97, guess it can be a reason to go for it here.

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I'm pretty short on storage options for that year, I only have this IBM Deskstar 8 hdd of 8.4gb 5400rpm, and it has some bad sectors too 🙁 It has 98 manufacture date but I know this model was first released in 97 so it counts. I believe I had a SCSI controller card from 1997 somewhere, so if I can find a cheap Seasgate Cheetah ST19101, 9.1gb 10000rpm, that would be my final pick, but for some reason those go for triple digits on ebay, it's crazy 🙁

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I have this Acme ACM301X case which I bought NOS a while ago, it seems to be manufactured in 2002-2003, but it appears to have been first released in 1997, or at least I believe so because of a marking I found on the back of the front panel. It is ATX, not AT, so mounting this motherboard in it will be a bit weird, but it will allow me to upgrade to a nicer ATX motherboard such as the Asus P2L97-DS some day 😀 Power Supply I will use is a CWT 235W that seems to be from 99. Sorry, I don't have a 97 PSU currently. I also don't currently have a 1997 floppy drive or optical drive, so might have to temporarily mount newer ones till I can find period-correct ones.

Finally, for OS... I'd like to set up a multiboot of the relevant OSes of the year, but I can't decide which to go for. Obviously the main OS of the year would be Win95 OSR2.5, and also the slightly older Win95 OSR2.0 would make sense as it probably performs better without IE4. OS2 Warp 4 is slightly older as well, but if I can get it working here, could be fun to tinker with. Should also add Win NT4 SP3 just because I can. I don't know if theres any point in also adding DOS 6.22 + Win 3.11, probably not.

1999 Dream PC project | 2001 Dream PC project | 2003 Dream PC project

Reply 1 of 19, by Namrok

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I love a good 1997 build. Those poor little machines may have had the least staying power of any. You were stuck between a Pentium 233 MMX machine with probably a Riva 128 and an AWE64 with 32 MB of RAM that might retail with all the accoutrements for $2500. Or you could go big on a Pentium II 300 machine with a Riva 128 and a Voodoo with all the same accessories as the other machine for $4000. Which adjusted for inflation comes out closer to $4000 and $7000 in 2021 dollars.

And if you'd picked the Pentium 233 machine, it would be struggling with games inside a year. Unreal, Shogo, Blood 2 and Half-Life would all feel decidedly beyond the capabilities of that machine. Even Quake 2 which probably runs the best of all of them will be running around 15-20 fps if there is a lot of action. All the others will frequently be single digit framerates. And even worse, at the time the Riva 128 didn't have OpenGL drivers, and Unreal only supported Voodoo! I first played both those games in software mode, at 320x240!

A 1997 machine, especially on the socket 7 platform, definitely feels like a machine that is looking backwards. Which can have a charm in it's own way.

Win95/DOS 7.1 - P233 MMX (@2.5 x 100 FSB), Diamond Viper V330 AGP, SB16 CT2800
Win98 - K6-2+ 500, GF2 MX, SB AWE 64 CT4500, SBLive CT4780
Win98 - Pentium III 1000, GF2 GTS, SBLive CT4760
WinXP - Athlon 64 3200+, GF 7800 GS, Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 2 of 19, by Hezus

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Nice system 😀 430TX is such a great chipset for the socket 7 platform. I've also paired my socket 7 with a 233 MMX.

What kind of 1997 games are you planning to play on this (if any)? 😀 The Curse of Monkey Island comes to mind.

Visit my YT Channel!

Reply 3 of 19, by God Of Gaming

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Was gonna talk about this when I finish the machine (so busy with work these days). I'd like to try out all 1997 pc games on it first and foremost, but I'm not sure that I have a complete list. Here's the ones I can find having 1997 release dates online:

  • Age of Empires
  • Blade Runner
  • Blood
  • Carmageddon
  • Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far
  • Diablo
  • Dungeon Keeper
  • Fallout
  • Grand Theft Auto
  • Hexen II
  • Imperialism
  • Independence Day
  • Independence War
  • Interstate '76
  • Jane's 688(i) Hunter/Killer
  • LEGO Island
  • MDK
  • Myth: The Fallen Lords
  • Need for Speed II
  • Need for Speed II: SE
  • Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
  • Outlaws
  • Panzer General II
  • Postal
  • Quake II
  • Riven: The Sequel to Myst
  • Shadow Warrior
  • Shipwreckers
  • Sid Meier's Gettysburg!
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II
  • Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter
  • The Curse of Monkey Island
  • The Last Express
  • The Lost Vikings 2
  • Tomb Raider II
  • Total Annihilation
  • Turok: Dinosaur Hunter
  • Ultima Online
  • Warlords III: Reign of Heroes
  • Wing Commander: Prophecy
  • Worms 2
  • Zork: Grand Inquisitor

Am I missing something here? Or are these all of them? Quite a lot of cult titles btw, nothing like what we get in recent years. 97 was certainly a strong year for gaming

1999 Dream PC project | 2001 Dream PC project | 2003 Dream PC project

Reply 4 of 19, by Namrok

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To this day I will swear that 1997 was the greatest year in gaming possibly ever. If you include consoles you get everything on your list plus Star Fox 64, GoldenEye, Armored Core, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Final Fantasy VII.

Add a few more months to catch all the 1997 games that slipped their release date and you get Might & Magic VI and StarCraft to name a few. But perhaps that's cheating.

Also, what's really fun is throwing all those 1997 parts in a 1999 Super Socket 7 board, and clocking the P233 MMX at 2.5x100 FSB with some PC100 SDRAM and enjoying a free 20% performance boost. Don't even need to change voltages.

Win95/DOS 7.1 - P233 MMX (@2.5 x 100 FSB), Diamond Viper V330 AGP, SB16 CT2800
Win98 - K6-2+ 500, GF2 MX, SB AWE 64 CT4500, SBLive CT4780
Win98 - Pentium III 1000, GF2 GTS, SBLive CT4760
WinXP - Athlon 64 3200+, GF 7800 GS, Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 5 of 19, by c0burn

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Namrok wrote on 2021-11-28, 15:55:

I love a good 1997 build. Those poor little machines may have had the least staying power of any. You were stuck between a Pentium 233 MMX machine with probably a Riva 128 and an AWE64 with 32 MB of RAM that might retail with all the accoutrements for $2500. Or you could go big on a Pentium II 300 machine with a Riva 128 and a Voodoo with all the same accessories as the other machine for $4000. Which adjusted for inflation comes out closer to $4000 and $7000 in 2021 dollars.

And if you'd picked the Pentium 233 machine, it would be struggling with games inside a year. Unreal, Shogo, Blood 2 and Half-Life would all feel decidedly beyond the capabilities of that machine. Even Quake 2 which probably runs the best of all of them will be running around 15-20 fps if there is a lot of action. All the others will frequently be single digit framerates. And even worse, at the time the Riva 128 didn't have OpenGL drivers, and Unreal only supported Voodoo! I first played both those games in software mode, at 320x240!

A 1997 machine, especially on the socket 7 platform, definitely feels like a machine that is looking backwards. Which can have a charm in it's own way.

This is a great post and I often think the same. Those PC's were so outdated so quickly, yet the PII and PIII had much more staying power.

I think that this applies even to the K6-2 and K6-3 SS7 builds - Half-Life and Unreal are not a pleasant experience by 2021 standards. That being said, if you focus on games that run great, a 1997 build is definitely a lot of fun. A Voodoo 1 (or even a 2 if you want to cheat) is a great addition too.

Reply 6 of 19, by God Of Gaming

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Progress report, I've been very busy with work past few days so things are going slow, I was able to test the Matrox Mystique 220 with Final Reality to confirm the card works fine, but is indeed inferior to the Rendition Verite V2200, so I'll leave the V2200. I'm ready to start installing OS. I decided to begin with Win95 OSR2.1 but without IE4, Win NT4 SP3, and OS/2 Warp 4. Might have to install two instances of Win95 because of the two sound cards. I'll try to use System Commander for the multiboot as I'm not sure how to best setup the boot loader included with os/2. I now notice I overlooked something important, I do not have any floppy drives or CD drives dated 1997. I could temporarily install newer ones, but I should start looking for period correct ones ASAP. What were the better floppy/CD drive models of 97?

P.S. gotta add "An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire" to the list of 1997 pc games above

1999 Dream PC project | 2001 Dream PC project | 2003 Dream PC project

Reply 7 of 19, by BitWrangler

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Unless you're carbon dating your ribbon cable for exact match, I wouldn't worry about what year a 3.5 floppy drive is. Very little change in those through the years. Sure the surface mount looks a bit clunkier on the 1993 vs 2003 ones but most of them are using the same faceplate moulds they began with. However, if you're that committed to detail, let us know how you solve the 1997 battery that still works problem.

Optical drives kinda sort themselves into year ranges by speed, so 16x or 24x drive might be typical of a 97 system.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 8 of 19, by TrashPanda

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I can smell that build from here ..you all know that familiar old electronic smell, wish I had the parts to build myself such a nice little rig.

When I was much younger than now I had a lovely little AM-386dx system would love to build another similar to it (To think I started with a Vic 20), spent hours upon hours playing Transport Tycoon on that machine, would leave it running 24/7 at times with the game running.

Lovely build.

Oh noes, the cap let the shmooo out 😁

Reply 10 of 19, by RandomStranger

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Nice. I have a similar one, but I skipped the Vortex. I couldn't find one for a reasonable price. However I chose the Mytique over others (my other options were Trio64V+ or ViRGE). My line of thinking is that it supposed to have the best 2D image and I use a Voodoo for 3D anyway. Since then I got a very well priced Diamond Monster V330 PCI and I consider replacing the Mystique.

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Reply 11 of 19, by God Of Gaming

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Vortex 2 is hard to find and usually pricy, but Vortex 1 (au8820) is really not that much of a problem to obtain yet, I see two for sale locally right now for next to nothing. And thats the card here, as its from 1997, vortex 2 is from late 98 (have one too, luckily).

I installed win95 osr2.1, and drivers, and took me several hours to get the vortex and awe64 to work nice together without fighting each other for resources, phew. Should have just installed 2 copies of win95, one for each card, but with the hdd being only 8.4gb large, figured I should try to not waste space. Seeing Final Reality at the end was worth it. The Rendition Verite V2200 was quite interesting to figure out as well. Turned out, if desktop is set to 32bit color, 3d hardware acceleration seems to disable itself, and it seems like it wouldn't auto-switch to 16bit color when launching a game. So desktop has to be set to 16bit color for 3d accel to work in games. So clunky 😁

This leaves Win NT4 and OS/2 Warp 4 for tomorrow, and after that, I guess it's vQuake II's turn first 😀

1999 Dream PC project | 2001 Dream PC project | 2003 Dream PC project

Reply 12 of 19, by Namrok

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That 16/32-bit issue with 3d acceleration I think was a generalized Win95 thing. I recall GLQuake said in a readme to make sure your desktop was set to 16-bit color in Win95? I'm assuming it was a limitation of the OS that 3D acceleration would natively try to run at the bit depth of the desktop. So if the card didn't support 32-bit 3d acceleration, it would probably be smart to disable it entirely with a 32-bit desktop in Win95.

I've made the mistake of accidentally running GLQuake with a 32-bit desktop on a Riva 128 in Win95 before. You get about 1 frame every 5 seconds, with horrific sound stuttering, and unresponsive controls so you can barely quit. I'd have rather it just told me it couldn't create an OpenGL context or something.

Win95/DOS 7.1 - P233 MMX (@2.5 x 100 FSB), Diamond Viper V330 AGP, SB16 CT2800
Win98 - K6-2+ 500, GF2 MX, SB AWE 64 CT4500, SBLive CT4780
Win98 - Pentium III 1000, GF2 GTS, SBLive CT4760
WinXP - Athlon 64 3200+, GF 7800 GS, Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 13 of 19, by RandomStranger

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God Of Gaming wrote on 2021-12-09, 23:57:

Vortex 2 is hard to find and usually pricy, but Vortex 1 (au8820) is really not that much of a problem to obtain yet, I see two for sale locally right now for next to nothing. And thats the card here, as its from 1997, vortex 2 is from late 98 (have one too, luckily).

Not in my area. There is only one Diamond Monster Sonic Impact S90 offered for sale in the whole country for 45€ and I won't pay more than 20 for one. Aside of A3D support there are other equally good PCI sound cards (YMF2x4, SB100) in the 10-20€ range.

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Reply 14 of 19, by leileilol

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God Of Gaming wrote on 2021-11-29, 23:23:

Am I missing something here?

1997 had a lot of choppers.

Cobra Gunship
Comanche 3
Extreme Assault
G-Police*
Helicops
Jane's Longbow 2
Nuclear Strike
SWIV 3D Assault**

* flies similarly
** Updated rerelease of 1996 game

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long live PCem

Reply 15 of 19, by God Of Gaming

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Thanks! I wonder why there is no complete chronological list of all PC game releases, anywhere online... Theres pretty complete chronological lists of the games for just about any console, but nothing anywhere near as reliable for pc games 🙁

1999 Dream PC project | 2001 Dream PC project | 2003 Dream PC project

Reply 16 of 19, by Joseph_Joestar

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God Of Gaming wrote on 2021-12-10, 15:26:

Thanks! I wonder why there is no complete chronological list of all PC game releases, anywhere online...

Mobygames can do that. Just sort by platform and then by year.

It's pretty easy to see what Windows and DOS games were released in 1997. Not sure about the accuracy though, as they tend to include re-releases as well, such as gold editions and whatnot.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 17 of 19, by God Of Gaming

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wow, there's over 1000 pc games listed for 1997 on mobygames, thank you... beating all of those on this machine will take a while 😁

1999 Dream PC project | 2001 Dream PC project | 2003 Dream PC project

Reply 18 of 19, by God Of Gaming

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Finally complete. Ended up being just a Win95 OSR2.1 with Microsoft Plus! machine. Couldn't find video drivers for Win NT4. OS/2 Warp 4 didn't like the hdd being 8.4gb, seems like it would only install on max of 8gb hdd, so it barelly doesn't make the cut.

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AoE doesn't look any different than it did when I last played it on 2003 pc, but it sure sounds a lot different. That Advanced Wave Effects Synthesis sure is something else

1999 Dream PC project | 2001 Dream PC project | 2003 Dream PC project

Reply 19 of 19, by leileilol

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1997 also had a lot of odd ideas and software. Many would probably think AWE64's WaveSynth driver to apply reverb on all sources on Windows games was an immersion enhancer (before SBLive did that through hardware and tried to standardize it with EAX)
Desktop themes were at a peak too (long before the turn-of-the-millenium corporate spyware vector takeover of community theme sites). There was a theme for just about every IP then. It wasn't a novelty to dress the desktop up with what you liked, even if the theme was crap (and most were)

It was also the time of the multiplayer boom, especially with loads of the "2D vehicle shoot other 2D vehicles with good predictability over dialup" formula like ARC, Subspace, and many many lobby services for connecting (Mplayer, TEN, Kali, to name a few).

then again it's also a time of poor internet security where viruses and worms over the internet were a high concept as everyone's still recovering from classic high-profile boot sector viruses.

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long live PCem