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Building the Ultimate Windows 98 Gaming PC

Discussion in 'Retro Gaming and Vintage Computing' started by Retro6, 9 Feb 2019.

  1. Retro6

    Gangster

    Joined: 30 Jan 2019

    Posts: 123

    So I was thinking about building a Windows 98 gaming machine.

    The best candidate would be an Intel Pentium III motherboard or whole computer but old computers like Pentium III are hard to find and when they do come up on ebay there have a high price and a lot of the time they are listed as untested or don't work at all, most of them are over priced scrap and even if they do work its only a matter of time before they die.

    A newer board like a socket 478 motherboard that has been tested with an Intel Pentium 4 processor at 1.5 GHz is perfect and parts are cheap... for now.

    There is already a great interest in Pentium 4 computers so it wont be long before those start going for a lot of money.

    I could get a socket 478 motherboard for 12 pounds tested and working from a trusted seller.
    I can get my 1.5GHz processor for 2 pounds tested and working I'd buy a couple of those 1.5 GHz processors seeing that they are cheap right now.

    I already have a box of AGP videos cards so I'll go with a GeForce AGP that I have.
    I also have a couple sound blaster cards
    I've also got plenty of working ATX power supplies and CD/DVD drives and a few floppy drives so once I have the motherboard and processor I will just need to get a retro PC case...

    I've got lots of spare fans as well. I do have a couple spare CPU heat sinks somewhere but I don't know where I've put them so I may have to buy a CPU heat sink and cooler. I have some thermal paste as well and I've got plenty of old DDR RAM so I'll have 2X 256 MB RAM making 512MB RAM which is plenty for Windows 98.

    Even though this is already a cheap project its always good to keep costs down, so I will try to find a board that has its processor cooler still on it, that way I wont have to buy the CPU cooler separately.

    Now with the motherboard depending on what model of socket 478 motherboard I get I'll have to do some research beforehand to make sure that Windows 98 can run natively without hunting down chip set drivers for the motherboard which is always a nightmare.

    Generally with most socket 478 motherboards from 2000 to 2004 I should be good to go. I'll be using Windows 98 SE then I'll install the service pack 3 which is the latest update for Windows 98SE
     
  2. almoststew1990

    Soldato

    Joined: 12 May 2011

    Posts: 5,636

    Location: Southampton

    I would hesitate to call that the ultimate W98SE PC on the basis that the early P4 processors were significantly slower than the late P3 processors, for the type of usage you have in mind. Take a look at this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqCPnO97Vl0

    Of course late P3s are abhorrently expensive so I'd brute force my way to more power by getting a faster P4 :D Something like 2GHz+ / 533MHz FSB CPUs from a year or two later. But what 5GHz processors are you talking about? Also what AGP cards do you have? This also might be a stupid suggestion but just check the CPUs you're getting are for Socket 478 and not Socket 423 which only took those early P4s and lasted about 5 minutes.

    There comes a point when the ultimate Windows 98 PC is a bit pointless as any game that needs that level of grunt will work perfectly on XP, and if it works on XP you can build (an equally as cheap) 775 PC that will be able to max those late 90s early 2000s games like Legacy of Kane, Medal of Honour Allied Assault, Morrowind etc, without braking a sweat. More reliable components, quieter, native SATA, quiet and readily available CPU coolers fans, able to get online with adequate usability etc.

    Its because of this that some people might disagree on "more power" = "ultimate" for W98 gaming. I'd see the ultimate W98 PC as 800MHz - 1.2GHz range with 256MB RAM (512 is unnecessary and brings compatibility issues I think, unless you use the unofficial service packs... which also bring issues) a AWE64 Gold and a Live! soundcard, maybe a GeForce 2 GTS or 3 ti of some kind. Ultimate basically equating to more expensive (I feel like I am 5 years too late to this hobby...)

    If you're looking to run games from the mid 90s that prefer W9x, then that build will be completely overkill. I've fallen into this trap myself and to be honest a lot of my retro gaming now happens on a Core 2 Duo PC with XP and W7 installed on it, a £15 PCI-E GPU and 3GB of DDR2 RAM.

    Of course an overkill P4 PC is not an issue as such; P4s are the most sensible way into W98 gaming. DDR1 is dirt cheap, stick a GeForce MX of any kind in there, and you're good to go.
     
  3. cee-S-dee

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 5 Dec 2002

    Posts: 1,534

    Location: The 80's

    Windows 98 covers a large array of hardware and games that i think is just impossible to cover with one machine. I have two machines which are my go to Win98 Machines One is a 233 mmx on with a S3 GFX Card along with a Voodoo 1 and second is a P3 Tualatin 1.4 with a GF4 Ti 4600. My 233 mmx is for the low end stuff along with most DOS games and the 1.4 the higher end stuff along with late SVGA Dos games. Both have 3+ ISA which is great for sound card choice.

    I'd look at the games you really want to play and build a machine around those, else you will start buying parts and it can get expensive..
     
  4. Rannoch

    Soldato

    Joined: 15 Apr 2012

    Posts: 5,951

    Location: Rannoch

    I have a box full of old P3s, will have to dig it out the attic.
     
  5. xb8browney

    Soldato

    Joined: 19 May 2005

    Posts: 6,427

    Why not just build a sleeper pc
     
  6. Retro6

    Gangster

    Joined: 30 Jan 2019

    Posts: 123

    I forgot all about the Pentium 3 processors were faster so I'll go with a 2GHz I have a 2.5GHz so that will do. So I've just been having a look in my box of video cards and I've got to many to name but most are ATi Radioen AGP cards the one I had in mind is the Geforce 4 Ti 4400

    The 1.5 GHz processor I had in mind is this one but I know now I'm better off with the one I have @ 2.5 GHz
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Intel-Pe...h=item3d2ac0e784:g:nrwAAOSwal5YIaF7:rk:6:pf:0

    I might build an XP machine one day but I don't feel much nostalgia for Windows XP and I had my heart set on Windows 98 for some time.

    For the RAM I'll get 2x 128MB sticks and have 256MB RAM

    I'll be looking out for a CRT Monitor to go with the set up as well.
     
  7. Retro6

    Gangster

    Joined: 30 Jan 2019

    Posts: 123

    I'd be interested to know what you have :)
     
  8. cee-S-dee

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 5 Dec 2002

    Posts: 1,534

    Location: The 80's

    Good Luck with your build! If one of those AMD card is a 9xxx cards that's a great card for a 9x build. A CRT will be the nice finishing touch to a retro build.

    I finished putting this together last week and having a lot of fun with it. Its built around an Athlon Thunderbird 1.2ghz

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 10 Feb 2019
  9. LewisRaz

    Mobster

    Joined: 23 May 2016

    Posts: 3,247

    Location: North Essex

    My win98 build is a 1ghz athlon with 256mb Ram and a geforce 4 mx 440.
    Anything that it cant cope with is handled by my 1.8ghz athlon with 1gb of ram, ati 9600xt and windows XP.
    As almoststew said, there isnt much point going for epic performance on win98 because games that need that sort of hardware will also work on XP and that opens up a world of much better, cheaper components.
     
  10. Retro6

    Gangster

    Joined: 30 Jan 2019

    Posts: 123

    That's a nice setup you got there.

    I still haven't managed to find myself a CRT monitor yet but what I did get is a nice Dell Dimension Pentium II I've opened it up and all looks good inside but the hard drive is missing. I'm going to give it 24 hours before I power it up as its been out in the cold. I have no idea if it will power up.
     
  11. Retro6

    Gangster

    Joined: 30 Jan 2019

    Posts: 123

    I've been thinking about a Windows XP build. I have a dual core 2 machine laying about and has 4GB RAM and a GeForce 1GB video card which was a sleeper build I did some years back, it has Windows 7 installed but I could always install 32bit Windows XP to that. The only problem I have with Windows XP is the activation.

    I have a PII computer now running Windows 98 its only 333MHz tho so it don't play all my games but its good for nostalgia purposes and running retro games that don't require higher performance.

    I'm still going to go ahead with a Windows 98 build as I'm just generally interested in building one.
     
  12. Retro6

    Gangster

    Joined: 30 Jan 2019

    Posts: 123

    I picked up a COMPAQ D500 evo I got it for cheap and its designed to run Windows NT4.0 or Windows 2000 so it will run Windows 98SE with no problem.

    The specs are 2 GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor with a 400 MHz bus speed and has 768 MB SD RAM which I will down grade to 256 MB RAM. I've installed Windows 98SE on it. The only drivers missing were the onboard Ethernet, Sound and has a video Card so I've found the drivers for the onboard audio and drivers for the Video card. I don't care much for the Ethernet as it wont be connecting this computer to the internet although it would be nice just to have it installed encase I want to network it with another old computer one day for file sharing or something. I'm quite chuffed with this little machine.

    These COMPAQ D500 computers are going for just under 100 pounds on ebay but I'm not going to sell it. I have another retro Windows 98SE computer for my collection. Its always good to have a few retro machines just encase one goes bad.

    I'm still building a Pentium 4 Windows 98SE machine anyway but couldn't resist getting that COMPAQ.
     
  13. Retro6

    Gangster

    Joined: 30 Jan 2019

    Posts: 123

    I tried playing some games on the COMPAQ D500 and many games will play very fast and some will have jumpy audio and the graphics can be unreadable, other games will just quit.

    It was interesting tho just to see how Windows 98SE plays old games on a Pentium 4. It still plays plenty of other games fine like Sim City 3000. Its always fun to experiment with these things.

    I've changed my mind about building a Windows 98 gaming computer now seeing that I've got a few old computers running Windows 98. If I ever get hold of a Pentium III processor at 800 MHz or higher and a motherboard then I'll build one.

    I'm going to try something more challenging and try build a Windows 95 nostalgia PC out of a Pentium 4 processor and motherboard instead.
     
  14. Duke

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 29 Jun 2003

    Posts: 33,920

    Location: Wiltshire

    Why not something older like a P2 or P1? :) Or do you have a machine with those already? I remember my P150 @ 166MHz fondly :p
     
  15. Retro6

    Gangster

    Joined: 30 Jan 2019

    Posts: 123

    I have a few old machines with P1 & P2 processors but I'd like to try building one or two more. It would be brilliant if I could find a board and processor that has either P1 P2 P3 but those are very hard to find and overpriced plus there are always risks that the boards will be problematic or not function at all so I'd only be willing to pay as much as 10 pounds for one, 20 at a push.

    P4 boards are likely to work properly, I'm keeping my eyes peeled for an old P1 P2 or P3 bored with the processor even a 486 board will do for DOS.6,22 & Windows 95. I know a lot of PIII processors/boards can't run Windows 95 but if I see one going cheap or going for free I'll take it, I can't afford to be to fussy in day and age. 486 or P1, P2 board with processor is what I'm mainly looking for to run MS-DOS 6.22 - Windows 95 nostalgia machine.
     
    Last edited: 21 Feb 2019