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First post, by Shponglefan

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My attempt at an "ultimate" Windows XP setup.

I initially started by recreating a setup I had back in the late 2000's, before gradually upgrading various components to its current configuration.

Specs as of Nov 26, 2022:

CPU: i7-3770k CPU
MB: Asus P8Z68-V Pro/Gen 3 motherboard
GPU: eVGA GeForce GTX 980Ti
RAM: 2x2GB DDR3 (4GB total)
Sound card: Creative Labs X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion
Primary Storage: 250GB Samsung EVO 840 SSD
Secondary Storage: 500GB Samsung EVO 840 SSD
Removeable Storage: LG DVD Rewriter
Case: Fractal Design Focus G
Cooling: Be Quiet Shadowrock 2 Cooler, 2x Corsair ML120 120mm fans (CPU cooler/rear), 2x Fractal Design 120mm fans (front)
Power Supply: Seasonic 750W Prime 80 Plus Gold
Monitor: Asus ProArt PA248QV 24" @ 1920x1200 (native)
Speakers: Klipsch Promedia 2.1
Keyboard: Logitech G513 with Cherry Brown switches
Mouse: Logitech G703
OS: Windows XP SP3 (32-bit)

updated (Nov 26, 2022):

Upgraded to an i7-3770k CPU CPU, Asus P8Z68-V Pro/Gen 3 motherboard, and 2x2GB of DDR3 RAM.

edited (Oct 10, 2022):

Upgraded to an E8600 CPU, 24" Asus PA248QV monitor, Logitech G513 keyboard, and Logitech G703 mouse.

edited (April 3, 2022):

Made a few upgrades adding the GeForce 980Ti, X-Fi sound card, and NEC 21-inch LCD monitor.

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Last edited by Shponglefan on 2023-01-13, 19:41. Edited 14 times in total.

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

Reply 1 of 68, by Meatball

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Very nice!

The drivers wouldn't exactly be unofficial. It's the same drivers powering the weaker GTX 960. All that needs to be done is an INF modification. However, if the CRT is any indication of the resolutions you'll be running, even the Radeon R9 270X won't be breaking a sweat anytime soon. In addition to the CRT, the CPU would be the next gut-punch for the Radeon; more so for the 980Ti given it's 6 years behind the video card.

Awesome monitor, too!

Reply 2 of 68, by Shponglefan

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Meatball wrote on 2022-03-21, 23:06:

Very nice!

The drivers wouldn't exactly be unofficial. It's the same drivers powering the weaker GTX 960. All that needs to be done is an INF modification. However, if the CRT is any indication of the resolutions you'll be running, even the Radeon R9 270X won't be breaking a sweat anytime soon. In addition to the CRT, the CPU would be the next gut-punch for the Radeon; more so for the 980Ti given it's 6 years behind the video card.

Awesome monitor, too!

Good to know about the GTX drivers! I've been mainly running at 1024 x 768 @ 85 Hz, and you're right, both those video cards are overkill for that. 😁

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

Reply 3 of 68, by chinny22

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Nice clean build.
I am a fan of the X-Fi range of cards and think I can tell the difference between my X-Fi Titanium and the 2 ZS (or maybe it is placebo effect)
But for me it's not enough of a difference to go out and spend money on, Now if you want to use that ZS in a 9x build and you need to go buy a card anyway, that's what I did

Reply 6 of 68, by Shponglefan

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chinny22 wrote on 2022-03-22, 11:35:

Nice clean build.
I am a fan of the X-Fi range of cards and think I can tell the difference between my X-Fi Titanium and the 2 ZS (or maybe it is placebo effect)
But for me it's not enough of a difference to go out and spend money on, Now if you want to use that ZS in a 9x build and you need to go buy a card anyway, that's what I did

Thanks!

I did end up ordering an X-Fi card, so I guess I'll see if I can tell if there is a difference or not. I do have a few games that specifically support the X-Fi, although I'm not of the extent of the extra effects it provides? Guess I'll find out soon enough. 😀

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

Reply 7 of 68, by Shponglefan

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Made a few upgrades to the my Ultimate XP build this week:

  • 21 inch NEC Multisync LCD2170NX monitor
  • Geforce GTX 980 Ti graphics card
  • Creative Labs X-Fi Titanium PCIe sound card

Much nicer running games at 4:3 aspect ratio @ 1600x1200 resolution on the bigger screen. 😁

Also ordered an Intel q9650 processor. Don't know if going quad core will make a huge different in games under Windows XP, but I'm curious to try it out all the same.

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

Reply 8 of 68, by FFXIhealer

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I'm interested to know how the SSDs fare under Windows XP without direct TRIM support. I'm debating going SSD in my future Windows XP build myself. I was going to use a similar speed Core 2 Duo and also trying to decide on a graphics card, probably a used 750Ti or something.

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Reply 9 of 68, by mrzmaster

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I also have a XP build based around an Asus P5Q, C2Q Q9650, and Fractal Design Focus G. 😁

I've got a GTX 560 in it and it's super fast, so I can only imagine how amazing yours is with the GTX 980 Ti.

Do you know if the X-Fi Titanium has a front panel audio connector on it? I would like to upgrade to one from my Audigy2 ZS, but don't want to lose the front panel connector since I like plugging headphones into the 3.5mm jack on the top of the case.

Reply 10 of 68, by Shponglefan

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FFXIhealer wrote on 2022-04-06, 17:01:

I'm interested to know how the SSDs fare under Windows XP without direct TRIM support. I'm debating going SSD in my future Windows XP build myself. I was going to use a similar speed Core 2 Duo and also trying to decide on a graphics card, probably a used 750Ti or something.

So far they seem to be working well.

I set up the drives with partition alignments (using AOMEI Partition Assistant), as well as over-provisioning them by allocating ~80% of the available drive space to the partitions.

Windows XP boots extremely fast and games load quite quick as well. Oddly Windows XP seems to boot faster than my Windows 98 machine (also using an SSD).

I haven't explicitly benchmarked drive speed yet, but I may in the future.

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

Reply 11 of 68, by Shponglefan

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mrzmaster wrote on 2022-04-06, 17:19:

I've got a GTX 560 in it and it's super fast, so I can only imagine how amazing yours is with the GTX 980 Ti.

It's pretty great. 😁

I've been mainly playing Battlefield 2 on it, which I can do at 1600x1200 with max settings. It runs at a consistent 60 FPS. The previous card I had (ATI 270 9X) struggled to maintain FPS at that resolution and I'd get constant screen tearing. But the 980 Ti is super smooth..

Do you know if the X-Fi Titanium has a front panel audio connector on it? I would like to upgrade to one from my Audigy2 ZS, but don't want to lose the front panel connector since I like plugging headphones into the 3.5mm jack on the top of the case.

It does! There is a 20 pin connector on the X-Fi Titanium, which is mainly designed for the X-Fi's 5.25 drive bay I/O panel. But it looks like they set up the pin arrangement to also allow for 10-pin front-panel audio connectors, based on the labeling on the card.

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

Reply 12 of 68, by FFXIhealer

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Well I definitely wanna do a Windows XP Gaming machine very much like you're doing here. When I bought pieces in 2010 to build my Windows 7 gaming rig, I ended up buying a Creative Labs X-Fi Titanium Fatality PCIe card, but when I found out that Windows 7 didn't support EAX audio and the motherboard's audio was just as good, I removed the card and put it back in its box. It's been sitting there, unused, unloved, for 12 years now.

I think it's home will be in this new XP build.

I have a Core 2 Duo. I have a Micro-ATX 775 motherboard and case.
I THINK I have 2 GB of RAM, but I'd have to check. I'm at work right now.
I have the X-Fi Titanium at home.

What I DON'T have is a graphics card. And I don't know which one to get. I don't want to go past the GTX 480 because I already have two of those in my Windows 7 rig, which I STILL have (but that's another project). And my Current XP gaming system is a Dell Inspiron XPS Gen 2 with a 7800GTX card in it (yes, the laptop version, but it's got 256MB dedicated Vram and is modular and swappable, separate from the motherboard so I'll continue calling it a "card").

Aaaand I just realized I'm probably bogarting the thread. Sorry.

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Reply 13 of 68, by Shponglefan

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FFXIhealer wrote on 2022-04-06, 17:51:

Aaaand I just realized I'm probably bogarting the thread. Sorry.

No worries, bogart away! 😉

The X-Fi will be a really nice card in your XP setup. I've only used one for a week and I already am really glad I added it to my rig (esp. for Battlefield 2 which has X-Fi specific settings/effects).

For the GPU, I suppose it will largely come down to what sort of games you want to play on Windows XP and at what resolution/settings. There's a lot of options in that early to late 2000's XP-era.

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

Reply 14 of 68, by FFXIhealer

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Well, the games for XP are going to literally be the games for XP. Games too advanced for Windows 98 but still very basic-looking compared to the Windows 7 era circa 2010. Games like...
The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind
Doom 3
Half-Life 2
F.E.A.R. (1)
FarCry (1)
Call of Duty 1 & 2
Vampire the Masquerade: Redemption
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
And other games that would be amazing with EAX support.
Again, all of this is playable on my laptop, but it's still a laptop with only the most basic of audio and no EAX support at all. It's only real bragging rights is that it has the 7800GTX graphics chip and an amazing 17" 1920x1200 display. I'd be looking for something along the lines of the 8800 or 9800 series of power, so I was just thinking a 750Ti would be so unbelievably powerful that it would play all those games at fully capped 60FPS at 1920x1080 and use very little power in the process. I'm also debating on one really big hard drive or two SSDs with overprovisioning. SSDs are getting closer and closer to "cheap" now.

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Reply 15 of 68, by Shponglefan

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Recently completed some more upgrades on this computer.

This included swapping the E8400 processor for an E8600, replacing the 21" NEC monitor with a 24" Asus ProArt display, and replacing the previous keyboard/mouse combo with a Logitech G513 keyboard and G703 mouse.

I ultimately moved to a 16:10 widescreen setup to cover that mid-to-late 2000's adoption of widescreen gaming, especially the patching in of widescreen support for games like BF2 and F.E.A.R.

This monitor also nicely supports auto-switching between 4:3 and 16:10 depending on the signal received. It gives me pixel perfect 1920x1200 and 1600x1200 resolutions @ 75 Hz depending on what the game supports.

The one caveat is it won't do pixel perfect 800x600 as it does apply some image smoothing/anti-aliasing. There doesn't appear to be a way to disable the image smoothing which is a bit disappointing. Instead, I have a separate CRT based setup for when I want to play any 4:3 games at lower resolutions.

All in all, I'm quite happy with how this set up has turned out. It's virtually silent, runs everything from the 2000s era of games with excellent performance.

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Last edited by Shponglefan on 2022-10-10, 18:59. 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 16 of 68, by Shponglefan

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Here are a few comparison shots of the different iterations of this setup.

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  • XP_machine02a.jpg
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  • XP Upgraded 03a.jpg
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Pentium 4 Multi-OS Build
486 DX4-100 with 6 sound cards
486 DX-33 with 5 sound cards

Reply 17 of 68, by chrismeyer6

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That is a beautiful system you built and a very nice looking overall setup nice work. That system will just be a monster powerhouse for XP games. Nothing like all the settings maxed out with high frame rates and EAX audio.

Reply 18 of 68, by Shponglefan

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chrismeyer6 wrote on 2022-10-10, 21:55:

That is a beautiful system you built and a very nice looking overall setup nice work. That system will just be a monster powerhouse for XP games. Nothing like all the settings maxed out with high frame rates and EAX audio.

Thank you! I've been putting it through its paces and it's been keeping up just fine. It even runs Crysis. 😁

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