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Use 98 SE.
I do. I floated back and forth between a few different OSes for awhile but for this PC in particualr 98SE seems to be the best fit. I also installed a bunch of patches and unofficial updates into it.
There are unofficial patches to support large amounts of RAM… but honestly: When using 98SE (and software from the era) there is no need for some GB of RAM.
A 98SE compatible PC with 512MB, a decent graphics card, unofficial service pack and universal USB mass storage driver makes a good gaming device. KernelEX can run some slightly more modern software.
Good luck and have fun!
Honestly the most I had in the system ever was 384MB. Taking it down to 128MB seemed to help performance. I don't know if this is the case but from what I've read it has to do with what my motherboard can efficiently handle, i could theoretically add more but it would just end up choking the system. I do already have all that software and a solid GPU though.