Trying to build a Windows 98 Plus! Gaming PC

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by Missingphy, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. Missingphy
    OP

    Missingphy Pokémon Master, Console Bricker, and more...

    Member
    7
    Oct 7, 2018
    Mexico
    Hello :)

    As the title says, I want to build a retro gaming pc (of course not online I don’t want to get attacked by a virus again). But I have heard of some problems with components:

    1. About the component limitations, I have heard that you shouldn’t use >1GB RAM, >32GB hard disk, and >2GHz CPU. What are some good specs to play all games that also have drivers available?

    2. Is a dedicated graphics card really necessary or can I just use the cpu integrated graphics?

    3. It seems like besides all regular components I also need a sound card. Which one would you recommend?

    4. Can I use a CD-RW drive or does it have to be CD-ROM?

    5. What is the maximum monitor resolution for win98?

    6. Do I need a floppy drive or is it optional?

    7. Usb it possible to get an old SSD so that’s the pc doesn’t run that slow or do I have to stick to a hard drive?
     
    Last edited by Missingphy, Oct 20, 2019
    alexander1970 likes this.
  2. DinohScene

    DinohScene Feed Dino to the Sharks

    Moderator
    23
    GBAtemp Patron
    DinohScene is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    Oct 11, 2011
    Antarctica
    Восторг
    I tend to go for a Pentium III CPU.
    Dedicated GFX card is a must, those old CPU's don't have intergrated graphics.
    You can use a DVD drive if you want to.
    1024x768 is more then enough, 16:9 support is lacking when it comes to games, pretty much all games from the 90's are 4:3.
    Max resolution... no clue.
    Floppy can be useful but isn't needed.

    I've got a IBM T20 laptop that's a dedicated Win 98 gaming machine, granted I run old games on it in the likes of Rollercoaster Tycoon 1, HOMM3, AoE 1 etc.

    Edit: drivers... can be tricky to find, Intel recently purged all Win XP drivers from their website :c
    Win 98 updates can't be installed via Windows Update, the service got redesigned or w/e, Win 98 is simply unable to connect to it.
    Do prove me wrong on the Win 98 update part, I'd love to be able to scrape all win98 updates for archival.
     
    Last edited by DinohScene, Oct 20, 2019
    Missingphy and alexander1970 like this.
  3. Missingphy
    OP

    Missingphy Pokémon Master, Console Bricker, and more...

    Member
    7
    Oct 7, 2018
    Mexico
    Thanks for the Information. It seems that a laptop has already some good components preinstalled so I won’t waste that much money on parts and building. I was asking if the cd/dvd drive had to be ROM or if it could be Read and Write as well. What about the disk on that laptop? Can I switch it with a small SSD (of course windows 98 compatible [Non SATA]) and if those things existed in the 90s?
     
    alexander1970 likes this.
  4. DinohScene

    DinohScene Feed Dino to the Sharks

    Moderator
    23
    GBAtemp Patron
    DinohScene is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    Oct 11, 2011
    Antarctica
    Восторг
    I believe I've got a DVD writer in that T20, not entirely to sure but I don't really see why it wouldn't work.

    Get a IDE to mSATA adapter with a casing and get a 120GB mSATA, they're cheap and work perfectly fine.
    Infact, me iBook G4 has the same thing inside it ;p
     
    alexander1970 and Missingphy like this.
  5. alexander1970

    alexander1970 GBAtemp allows me to be here

    Member
    13
    Nov 8, 2018
    Austria
    Austria
    Hello.:)

    This is my "personal" Suggestion.
    For a "REAL" PC and not a PC with Virtual balderdash:

    1. A 1 Ghz CPU is enough -Pentium III is the recommendation,a Mainboard with Intels i815 Chipset also,please do not tinker around with an AMD Athlon/Duron and their "famous" Mainboards/Chipsets.128 MB RAM SD RAM is enough,maximum 512 MB.
    This depends on the Motherboard/Chipset you will use - the RAM limitation depends of it and also the Cacheable size of useable RAM - more is not recommended.
    20-40 Gb HDD is also recommended,maybe better are 2 seperate HDDs and please no SSD.

    2.Geforce 3 or 4 Series - 4400 Ti recommended.I would not use an ATI Readeon from that time,except you have good nerves on the Drivers....
    The Graphic Cards RAM is not so important this time.

    3.Soundblaster Live! Series - Live! 5.1 recommended

    4.You can also use a DVD Burner.Recommended,if you get one of this Gems -> Pioneer Slot-In DVD

    5.1280x1024 is recommended on a good 19" CRT Monitor.:P

    6.Yes,I would use one.

    7.Please use a IDE HDD or Two.

    Thank you.:)
     
  6. Missingphy
    OP

    Missingphy Pokémon Master, Console Bricker, and more...

    Member
    7
    Oct 7, 2018
    Mexico
    Where can I get that T20 thinkpad?
     
  7. DinohScene

    DinohScene Feed Dino to the Sharks

    Moderator
    23
    GBAtemp Patron
    DinohScene is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    Oct 11, 2011
    Antarctica
    Восторг
    Ebay, Craigslist.
    I must warn you tho, the T20 suffers from the blink of death.
    You'll have to replace a SMD chip to get rid of it.

    You could look for alternative Pentium 3 laptops.
    Any of around 2000/2001 should do fine.
     
  8. Tom Bombadildo

    Tom Bombadildo SkyTom

    pip Contributor
    22
    GBAtemp Patron
    Tom Bombadildo is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    Jul 11, 2009
    United States
    I forgot
    The problem with older laptops for retro PC builds is they don't really include that great of hardware (especially the GPU) so if you're looking to play a lot of heavy 98 era games, you'll be a bit disappointed. And they're way more prone to failure, and much more difficult to fix than a desktop. Plus you'll be dealing with dead batteries, dying screens, awful IO, poor mouse input options (trackpoints and trackpads from then are awful) etc etc.

    If you were going to build a retro W98 desktop PC, I'd probably go for:
    CPU: PIII or P4. The PIII is for more "age appropriate", P4 would be if you want the best of the best that you'll never have an issue with
    RAM: 512mb would be plenty for Windows 98.
    GPU: Here I'd go for a 3 or 4 series GeForce card (which may be a bit overkill), but if you can get your hands on a Voodoo card (maybe Voodoo 2 or Voodoo 3), go for that 100%.
    HDD: Here you could either go for an IDE->SATA adapter and put a small modern SSD in it, or go for an IDE->Compact Flash adapter and 32GB CF card (which is usually preferred for W98 stuff)

    And the rest is whatever. You'll definitely want to find an old CRT monitor if you can for the ultimate experience, but flat screen LCDs is fine too if you can't get any CRT for free or super cheapo.
     
    KleinesSinchen and Missingphy like this.
  9. KleinesSinchen

    KleinesSinchen The Backup Reminder

    Member
    9
    Mar 28, 2018
    Germany
    Don’t ask me where I’ve seen this… there are patches to get Windows 98 to work with more than 512MB of RAM if your computer has too much RAM (never thought I would ever say “too much RAM”).

    No clue about laptops in general, I’ve used desktop computers with mainboards from about the year 2004 under Windows 98. Resolution is in general no big problem. With correct graphics drivers I’ve had no problem using my big CRT with 2048*1536 (though 1600*1200 is much more pleasant on that monitor). I agree with the general problem of bad GPU in laptops from that time period.

    Windows 98 does not include generic mass storage drivers. In order to use USB sticks you would have to install one (I believe it was called NUSB).

    For using slightly more modern software, KernelEx can be somewhat helpful in some cases.

    As the official Windows Update features have been disabled for the old DOS based systems you would have to find some inofficial service pack in order to get all components to the latest version.
    • Internet Explorer 6 (the browser is useless, but some old things rely on it so it makes sense to include it)
    • DirectX 9
    • If you want/need it .NET Framework 1.1 (and maybe even version 2)
    Floppy drive is not needed unless you want it for retro feeling.

    There is a limitation on the fdisk utility. It will show garbage values for HDDs bigger than 80GB – but it can still partition them fine using %-values. It don’t think bigger HDDs are a problem. There is definitely no 32GB limit. (That is an artificial limit in modern Windows which refuse to format bigger partitions to FAT32 – Windows 98 will happily use more than 32GB)

    CD/DVD writers are no problem either. I used them back then with Nero under Windows 98.
     
    Last edited by KleinesSinchen, Oct 20, 2019
    alexander1970 likes this.
  10. B4rtj4h

    B4rtj4h Gaming addict #2 and some

    Member
    6
    Apr 16, 2007
    Netherlands
    Bikini Bottom
    As an IT guy: first test your setup with virtual machine...
     
  11. gnmmarechal

    gnmmarechal GBAtemp Guru

    Member
    14
    GBAtemp Patron
    gnmmarechal is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    Jul 13, 2014
    Portugal
    https://gs2012.xyz
    For old machines, the CPUs may not have integrated graphics, but the board itself often does iirc.
     
    alexander1970 likes this.
  12. Ryccardo

    Ryccardo and his tropane alkaloids

    Member
    14
    Feb 13, 2015
    Italy
    Imola
    Good luck getting exploited on 98, most modern software (of all levels of reputation) doesn't even support XP SP2 :P

    No problem with large disks - as far as Windows itself is concerned, that is (the only problematic bundled software is ironically fdisk, which breaks down at 64 GB due to using 16-bit numbers for partition sizes, but you can partition and format the disk with 3rd party software (eg any linux distro) just fine)

    Same for software having problem with high speeds - they already were well on their way out (it was the network stack in 95 that broke at over 2 GHz, Pascal software may need the crt library patch, etc)

    Whatever works - at the time, even 2D acceleration was not a given (but more than welcome)

    Search for "unofficial service pack" to find the appropriate forums :)
    Drivers were not distributed as updates until multiple versions later, iirc

    Sure, reading data works the same way (assuming an ATAPI-compatible drive which is pretty much a given for the pentium 3 age)

    SSDs were around at the time (usually but not exclusively as PCMCIA cards), they were usually called "disk on module" though and of course at prices that were ridiculous even by 2009 SSD standards
    You can use SATA ones (or compactflash cards with a passive adapter, or SD with an active converter, ...) just fine - they are compatible with, or can be converted to, IDE
    If you really wanted to, you could of course get a PCI SATA controller... :)
     
  13. DinohScene

    DinohScene Feed Dino to the Sharks

    Moderator
    23
    GBAtemp Patron
    DinohScene is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    Oct 11, 2011
    Antarctica
    Восторг
    Done it before, I must say I'd rather have official patches then unofficial ones.
    Nothing against the unofficial ones but I prefer having a true Win 98 environment.
     
    KleinesSinchen likes this.
  14. KleinesSinchen

    KleinesSinchen The Backup Reminder

    Member
    9
    Mar 28, 2018
    Germany
    If you have a complete set of the individual Windows 98 updates this is great.
    However, unofficial Service Packs sometimes contains more patches than all the official stuff. I’m not too concerned about possible instabilities/incompatibilities because Windows 98 should not be a productive system at all.

    Where to get all the official, unmodified updates? I believe they were even different for each language sometimes. The only thing I do have is a security update CD for those who did not have fast internet connection. One could order them for free (and no shipping costs either!) back then. Sadly it does not contain the latest Windows 98SE patches (the system was supported until 2006 and the disc is from February 2004).

    SecurityUpdate.
     
    alexander1970 likes this.
  15. DinohScene

    DinohScene Feed Dino to the Sharks

    Moderator
    23
    GBAtemp Patron
    DinohScene is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    Oct 11, 2011
    Antarctica
    Восторг
    I've searched the web for Win 98 updates and couldn't locate much of them.
    I'm currently in the process of scraping all PPC OS X updates tho haha.

    To bad your disc is a German one, I do say make an ISO of it and upload it to winworldpc.
    It'd be a shame if it where to be lost .
     
  16. Sakitoshi

    Sakitoshi GBAtemp Official Lolimaster

    Member
    10
    May 8, 2012
    Chile
    behind a keyboard or a gamepad
    I can tell you my own experience having one myself.

    Motherboard: Asus P3B-F (it has the legendary Intel 440BX chipset)
    CPU: Pentium III 866Mhz
    Memory: 448Mb RAM (1x256, 1x128 and 1x64. it's all I have)
    Storage: 80Gb HDD for Windows ME (an Excelstor I believe, still going strong)
    Storage: 10Gb HDD for MS-DOS 7.1 (a Seagate? can't remember, it works just fine)
    FDD: a run of the mill 3 1/2 Floppy disk drive
    Optical: a Pioneer DVD-RW, don't ask me the exact model
    GPU: Nvidia GeForce 256 32Mb (Asus AGP-V6600 Deluxe)
    Soundcard: Sound Blaster PCI 128 (CT4750)
    Soundcard: Sound Blaster 16 (CT2291)
    Monitor: Samsung Syncmaster 551v (15inch)

    The chipset doesn't officially support a 133Mhz FSB, but I overclocked it to 133Mhz so I can make full use of the CPU, is stable as a rock regardless of that.
    I have 2 HDD so I can dualboot Windows ME and MS-DOS 7.1 with XOSL (eXtended Operating System Loader).
    2 soundcards because the PCI 128 doesn't have good DOS support but it has a pretty good midi synth, so the SB16 takes care of DOS sounds and the PCI 128 plays midi.
    If you are asking why Win ME, I just like it, I never had problems back in the day and sure enough I'm not having problems now. It has lots of nice little features that are very common in XP that you'll miss.
    DOS 7.1 has FAT32 support so I can make full use of the 10Gb HDD.

    Windows games works like a charm thanks to the powerful CPU and GPU combo.
    Unreal goes beyond 90FPS at 1024x768 and looks beautiful.
    GLQuake is a treat to play at any resolution you want.

    DOS games also work well, not all perfect though since the CPU is too powerful for some. You can use SetMul to lower your CPU multiplier (doesn't work with all CPU's) or disable the cache L1 and L2 to artificially slowdown your CPU (this works with all CPU's). Here is a list of games that have problems with faster CPU's.
    Jill of the Jungle can have sound problems, luckily there is a patch you can find in vogons.
    Xargon has a similar patch.
    Jazz Jackrabbit need to be patched (TPPatch here) or it crashes (runtime error 200) also can have it's sound quality limited if you have a SB16 because of a programming error, you can find the solution in vogons here.
    Quake can stutter because it runs fast at times and normal at others. I recommend sticking to GLQuake on Windows.
    All the other games I tried run well (Commander Keen 1-6, Doom, Heretic, Duke3D, Wacky Wheels and MBF).
     
    Last edited by Sakitoshi, Oct 20, 2019
    alexander1970 and Missingphy like this.
Quick Reply
Draft saved Draft deleted
Loading...