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“Retro” Windows 9x Gaming PC

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#1
So, for quite some time I’ve had the idea rolling around in my head to try and get a “retro” gaming PC so that I can play some of my old Dos/Win9x games that I just can’t get running on modern hardware. The issue I am having, living in Australia, is that I just don’t seem to be having any luck with finding suitable hardware (back in the day I had a P3 1Ghz with, I think, 2GB Ram & a TNT2 card then a GeForce 3 Ti 500 - stupid me binned the system when I upgraded) for it (if I should just not bother & give up, please let me know)

I’ve tried to have a look via eBay and Gumtree (eBay alternative here in AU) but I just can’t find anything that would work well. I mean this could be me not searching right but I’m having a really tough time. I have been looking specifically for complete systems since trying to find individual pieces of hardware seems even more difficult.

I was wondering if anyone had any ideas/suggestions on this matter for me? (Please don’t suggest any sort of virtualization or Dosboxing as those methods haven’t worked out well for me either)
 
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#2
search for a system running windows 98 se. it was the best windows os built on dos.
and any system running windows 98 se should have hardware that suits your needs.
if the cpu is too fast for some games you can also run something like this:
http://www.oldskool.org/pc/throttle/DOS/

this is not emulation it just sets the cpu speed lower.
(old 386 towers used to have a turbo button to do the same thing)
 

dorsetknob

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#3
look in your local second hand / charity/goodwill shops (Scrapyards are also a fertile place to hunt,
beware of lurking spiders :))
they will be dirt cheap as this level of hardware is usually considered landfill even with it working.
 
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#4
Might have better luck finding a Pentium 4 second hand in place of the Pentium III.

 
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#5
look in your local second hand / charity/goodwill shops (Scrapyards are also a fertile place to hunt,
beware of lurking spiders :))
they will be dirt cheap as this level of hardware is usually considered landfill even with it working.
Yeah, that's the thing, not many places like that here in Sydney that have old computer parts. Not like the US or other places in that respect.

Might have better luck finding a Pentium 4 second hand in place of the Pentium III.
Yeah, I actually just today had a Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3R motherboard with (supposedly, what I was told) a P4 chip (not sure which one yet) and 2GB RAM handed to me but I wasn't sure as to whether that would be suitable for what I'm trying to do.
 

dorsetknob

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#6
that's Socket 775 if you were given it then try installing 98se (website only lists drivers from >win 2000 )
what i think your looking for is socket 478 P4
pity your in AU as i got a near brand new Asrock (used for 6 months then put away ) P4i65G motherboard ( designed for windows XP).
has drivers for 98se/ME/2000/XP on the Support CD

edit
:) might chuck it in a case with a p4 3.4Ghz ht CPU and a Sapphire 3850hd agp card myself as an older retro gamer :)
 
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#7
I bought an Athlon 1100, 384mb ram, socket a motherboard and a geforce 2 all for peanuts from ebay for the same thing, still have to get round to putting it all together though as of yet
 
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#8
that's Socket 775 if you were given it then try installing 98se (website only lists drivers from >win 2000 )
what i think your looking for is socket 478 P4
pity your in AU as i got a near brand new Asrock (used for 6 months then put away ) P4i65G motherboard ( designed for windows XP).
has drivers for 98se/ME/2000/XP on the Support CD

edit
:) might chuck it in a case with a p4 3.4Ghz ht CPU and a Sapphire 3850hd agp card myself as an older retro gamer :)
Man, damn it for me being in AU. It’s a great country, but for this specific type of project/idea, it’s horrible.
 
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#9
So, for quite some time I’ve had the idea rolling around in my head to try and get a “retro” gaming PC so that I can play some of my old Dos/Win9x games that I just can’t get running on modern hardware. The issue I am having, living in Australia, is that I just don’t seem to be having any luck with finding suitable hardware (back in the day I had a P3 1Ghz with, I think, 2GB Ram & a TNT2 card then a GeForce 3 Ti 500 - stupid me binned the system when I upgraded) for it (if I should just not bother & give up, please let me know)

I’ve tried to have a look via eBay and Gumtree (eBay alternative here in AU) but I just can’t find anything that would work well. I mean this could be me not searching right but I’m having a really tough time. I have been looking specifically for complete systems since trying to find individual pieces of hardware seems even more difficult.

I was wondering if anyone had any ideas/suggestions on this matter for me? (Please don’t suggest any sort of virtualization or Dosboxing as those methods haven’t worked out well for me either)

here you go

 
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#10
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#11
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#12
I’ve tried to have a look via eBay and Gumtree (eBay alternative here in AU) but I just can’t find anything that would work well. I mean this could be me not searching right but I’m having a really tough time. I have been looking specifically for complete systems since trying to find individual pieces of hardware seems even more difficult.

I was wondering if anyone had any ideas/suggestions on this matter for me? (Please don’t suggest any sort of virtualization or Dosboxing as those methods haven’t worked out well for me either)
I had a quick browse on eBay in vintage computers and systems and saw a few complete running systems for around $100 plus postage.
 
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#13
Yeah, that's the thing, not many places like that here in Sydney that have old computer parts. Not like the US or other places in that respect.
It may be surprising for some to hear, but it is my experience that even here in the US, finding such legacy hardware is nearly impossible - and I have spent a lot of time searching here in the Omaha area, but also major metropolitan areas like Kansas City, Phoenix, and Minneapolis-St Paul.

For years, I used to collect old hardware and make working computers from the parts, then donate those computers to local charities for needy families with school age children. But it got to the point they would no longer accept them unless they had at least, Windows 7 on them.

It is not that they were unappreciative or didn't want them. The problem is, these young students, churches, schools and other non-profit organizations need computers that (1) are secure, (2) networked, (3) ran software compatible with their other software. Such legacy hardware just cannot be properly secured these days. :(

So, since the donated computers could not be properly secured (because bad guys are scumbags! :mad:) or run the modern software needed by the organization used in the classroom, those donated computers became big paperweights the church or school then needed to somehow get rid of without contaminating the environment with hazardous waste. :(

So the computers I donated thinking I was doing something good ended up being burdens for those organizations. :( I note soon, when all support for W7 ends, even those running W7 that cannot be upgraded will be turned away.

So back to your point, what happens today when such old computer parts are donated to the Salvation Army or similar places is the computers are stripped, the aluminum and steel are sold for scrap value, plastics go in the plastic recycle bins, the RAM and processors are recycled for their precious metal content, hard drives are sent through drive shredders and circuit boards go through whatever environmentally safe disposal methods circuit boards go through. Only the newer computers are put on the shelf for resale.

So what I do now with my old hardware is just take it out our local electronics recycling center where they pay me scrap value for the parts. A couple years ago I took just over 1000 pounds of old parts and they paid me $80 for it. Better than nothing and I got a spare bedroom back.

What I recommend you do is watch out for "estate" sales and garage/yard sales. But understand most people think that old hardware is worth a lot more than it really is. Remind them it is just scrap and you are really doing them the favor by taking it off their hands and keeping the hazardous waste out of our rivers, lakes, oceans and drinking water.

One word of warning about old CRT monitors. The electronics recycling center here does not accept old CRT monitors or TVs because they have a small drop of mercury inside the tube. To remove it, those tubes must be opened which, because of the vacuum in the tubes, creates a serious hazard of implosions which can results in deadly shards of glass being projected across the room. Then the mercury has to be recovered and properly disposed of. This entire procedure, because of the danger and environmental hazards (and mercury recovery regulations) is very expensive, more than the recycle value of the materials. Just something to think about.
 
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#14
Does anyone know which is the best motherboard for overclocking "EDO" memory modules. Motherboard must have PCI slot.
 
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#15
I had a quick browse on eBay in vintage computers and systems and saw a few complete running systems for around $100 plus postage.
Yeah, so I had a look myself and I couldn’t see anything that I would consider suitable. A lot of the listings for complete systems just to be from one bloke in Victoria.

It may be surprising for some to hear, but it is my experience that even here in the US, finding such legacy hardware is nearly impossible - and I have spent a lot of time searching here in the Omaha area, but also major metropolitan areas like Kansas City, Phoenix, and Minneapolis-St Paul.

For years, I used to collect old hardware and make working computers from the parts, then donate those computers to local charities for needy families with school age children. But it got to the point they would no longer accept them unless they had at least, Windows 7 on them.

It is not that they were unappreciative or didn't want them. The problem is, these young students, churches, schools and other non-profit organizations need computers that (1) are secure, (2) networked, (3) ran software compatible with their other software. Such legacy hardware just cannot be properly secured these days. :(

So, since the donated computers could not be properly secured (because bad guys are scumbags! :mad:) or run the modern software needed by the organization used in the classroom, those donated computers became big paperweights the church or school then needed to somehow get rid of without contaminating the environment with hazardous waste. :(

So the computers I donated thinking I was doing something good ended up being burdens for those organizations. :( I note soon, when all support for W7 ends, even those running W7 that cannot be upgraded will be turned away.

So back to your point, what happens today when such old computer parts are donated to the Salvation Army or similar places is the computers are stripped, the aluminum and steel are sold for scrap value, plastics go in the plastic recycle bins, the RAM and processors are recycled for their precious metal content, hard drives are sent through drive shredders and circuit boards go through whatever environmentally safe disposal methods circuit boards go through. Only the newer computers are put on the shelf for resale.

So what I do now with my old hardware is just take it out our local electronics recycling center where they pay me scrap value for the parts. A couple years ago I took just over 1000 pounds of old parts and they paid me $80 for it. Better than nothing and I got a spare bedroom back.

What I recommend you do is watch out for "estate" sales and garage/yard sales. But understand most people think that old hardware is worth a lot more than it really is. Remind them it is just scrap and you are really doing them the favor by taking it off their hands and keeping the hazardous waste out of our rivers, lakes, oceans and drinking water.

One word of warning about old CRT monitors. The electronics recycling center here does not accept old CRT monitors or TVs because they have a small drop of mercury inside the tube. To remove it, those tubes must be opened which, because of the vacuum in the tubes, creates a serious hazard of implosions which can results in deadly shards of glass being projected across the room. Then the mercury has to be recovered and properly disposed of. This entire procedure, because of the danger and environmental hazards (and mercury recovery regulations) is very expensive, more than the recycle value of the materials. Just something to think about.
Yeah I can get that it wouldn’t be great availability but I’m speaking in a more general sense.

As for the disposal of stuff, over here, at least via work, there seem to be a lot of companies that will take the eWaste and dispose of it properly which is good
 
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#16
Pieces for the Socket A era all ran Win 98 and such, drivers for them based on that OS are common, I can't say where you'd find drivers for everything but they can still be found with many models like the Abit NF7/NF7-S or the AN7.

I even have said drivers for those archived around here somewhere.

Another one would be the A7N8X from Asus, that being a very common board and it's pretty good too overall with what some have described as awesome onboard sound - That being a plus and yes, got drivers for those too. There are several variants of the A7N, best ones are the A7N8X Deluxe 2.0 and the A7N8X-E, stay away from the -X and others if possible, esp the LA version, it's just crap.

You could also grab a decent Barton core CPU, a good AGP slot GPU such as a NF4 MX 400, maybe an ATI X800 XT/GTO. Later AGP cards such as the HD 3870 are the best you'll find and not out of range for these, just a couple of years after but within the expected lifespan of such a system.
Don't be in a hurry, just keep looking - The pieces will appear eventually and you'll be set.
 
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#17
Fellow Australian here.

Over the last few months I've been building up a "reverse sleeper" PC with the design goal of sourcing the best possible components (within reason) which have Windows 98 SE driver compatibility. This is all to go inside a modern case design which supports:
  • cable management
  • lighting
  • airflow
  • and cooling
An important initial consideration was the motherboard and chipset. What I was able to settle on was an AMD socket 939 motherboard with the nForce3 chipset. This is an ECS board with an AGP socket, which is also an important consideration as to my knowledge there is no PCIe driver support for Windows 9x.

I was able to pick up an AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ on eBay for around AU $20.00 on eBay. This is fine for Windows 98, but only one core is used by the operating system, and obviously only in 32-bit mode.

I had a couple of 1GB sticks of DDR memory laying around in the drawer. Using 1 of these sticks is perfect and Windows 98 SE will see the 1GB RAM and boot. Apparently you can use 2GB of RAM if you modify some setting in the OS, but considering the type of software this system will be running, I think that is kind of pointless.

For the GPU, I picked up an ATI Radeon X800 Pro with 256MB VRAM - this is not quite the best possible card for Win9x, but comes pretty close. I think that title belongs to the X850 variants, or perhaps even some later PCI based GPUs that came out later on. I may stand corrected there though.

Initially I had a GeForce 6600GT with 128GB VRAM which I bought new back in 2004, but this was struggling at higher resolutions on some of the late release Win9x games (UT2004 for instance). I just needed a little tiny bit more, hence the X800 Pro.

Cooling the CPU was interesting. As it turns out, the bracket which sits on top of the 939 socket is actually the same specification as AM3+! Therefore, I was able to look for a CPU cooler which fits socket AM3+ so long as it doesn't require a back-plate for installation (the mounting holes are different). I was able to find two coolers on the market which don't rely on a backplate which are compatible with AM3+. One was from CoolerMaster, and one was from Thermaltake. I ended up going with the Thermaltake in the Thermaltake Contac 9 CPU Cooler. I also put a different fan on the cooler as the stock one is pretty noisy when you aren't using a PWM motherboard to lower the RPMs. I got a 1500RPM 3-pin fan and things are a lot quieter now.

For the case, I picked up a Cougar MX330-G Tempered Glass. This was for 5 reasons - it's ATX, it looks good, it's cheap, it has a tempered glass side panel to show off my wares, and importantly it has a 5.25" bay to mount a CD-ROM drive.

For case cooling and lighting, I got 3 x CoolerMaster SickleFlow X 120mm Green LED fans. They're cheap and suit the requirements and give the case a subtle green glow. I had to pair these with 3-pin noise reduction adapters (AU $11.00 total on eBay) to quiet these suckers down though as my room sounded distincly like a wind tunnel before.

Lastly, for storage I was able to use a OCZ Agility 3 120GB SSD drive. I was able to achieve that by using an old PATA IDE to SATA adapter which I had bought years ago from who-knows-where. Using this device (and much to my surprise) I was able to get Windows 98 SE to recognize and install to the SSD. Oh boy Windows 98 boots fast using this, even with the 133MB/s IDE bottleneck.

Component list:
  1. ECS NFORCE3-A939 mobo - AU $50 eBay Europe
  2. AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ - AU $20 eBay
  3. ATI Radeon X800 Pro HIS Excalibur - AU $45 eBay
  4. 1GB DDR PC3200 - N/A, already owned
  5. OCZ Agility 3 120GB - N/A, already owned
  6. Cougar MX330-G TG case - AU $59 PCCaseGear
  7. CoolerMaster SickleFlow X 120mm Green LED fans x 3 - AU $27 PCCaseGear
  8. Thermaltake Contac 9 CPU Cooler - AU $29 PCCaseGear
  9. Replacement fan for CPU cooler - AU $14 eBay
  10. 450W Corsair PSU (of some description) - N/A, already owned
Pics below:

IMG_1613.JPG IMG_1612.JPG
 
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Storage Samsung 850 Pro 256GB SSD, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB SSD
Display(s) Samsung S24E650BW LED x 2
Case Fractal Design Define R4
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Mouse Microsoft Wireless 5000
Keyboard Microsoft Wireless Comfort 5050
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#18
Yeah I can get that it wouldn’t be great availability but I’m speaking in a more general sense.
Me too. I don't see how you can get more specific unless you put an ad in your local paper and on-line want ads. The problem there is, when you let folks know they have something specific you want, and they know it is getting rare, the price goes up.
 
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#19
I just finished building a WindowsXP/98 dual boot machine for my retro gaming needs...
It contains:
3RSystem HT 3000 Case (nice lcd on front with music, temps, fan rotation control, etc...)
Cougar 400w PSU
Asus P5PE-VM (i865p chipset S775 socket with AGP)
Pentium Dual Core E5800
2GB DDR400 Samsung
Radeon HD 3850 512MB AGP
Sound Blaster X-FI Xtreme Music (Nice EAX effects)
DVDRWdrive
1TB WesternDigital Black HD
2 6cm blue led Coolers and one 12CM blue led cooler...

Runs great every game from 1998 thru 2010... plus every emulator
Been using more than my main rig, been playing Privateer Wing Commander, and about to finish Wolfenstei 2009...
Great fun!
Spent about 1400 brazillian Reais, about 350 dollars
 
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Case NZXT H500
Power Supply Corsair RM650x Gold 650W
Mouse Razer DeathAdder 2013
Keyboard MaxKeyboard Nighthawk X8 (Cherry Brown)
Software Kubuntu
#20
I just finished building a WindowsXP/98 dual boot machine for my retro gaming needs...
It contains:
3RSystem HT 3000 Case (nice lcd on front with music, temps, fan rotation control, etc...)
Cougar 400w PSU
Asus P5PE-VM (i865p chipset S775 socket with AGP)
Pentium Dual Core E5800
2GB DDR400 Samsung
Radeon HD 3850 512MB AGP
Sound Blaster X-FI Xtreme Music (Nice EAX effects)
DVDRWdrive
1TB WesternDigital Black HD
2 6cm blue led Coolers and one 12CM blue led cooler...

Runs great every game from 1998 thru 2010... plus every emulator
Been using more than my main rig, been playing Privateer Wing Commander, and about to finish Wolfenstei 2009...
Great fun!
Spent about 1400 brazillian Reais, about 350 dollars
How did you get the HD 3850 to run in Windows 98?
 
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Motherboard Gigabyte Z68-D2H-B3/HP Intel HM77
Cooling Zalman CNPX 10X Extreme/ HP DV6
Memory 2x8GB G.Skill Cas9 1600mhz/ 2x8GB DDR3 1600mhz Samsung
Video Card(s) PNY Geforce GTX 970/ Geforce GT 650M 2GB GDDR5
Storage 2x120 GB EVO 840 System, Hitachi 2TB 7200rpm Games, Raid1 3x1.5TB Seagate 5900rpm Data/ HDSSD 750GB
Display(s) Asus 27" VP278H Gaming LCD/15.6" FHD IPS LED panel
Case Chieftech Bravo Full ATX/ HP DV6 Metal
Audio Device(s) ALC1150/ IDT HD Audio
Power Supply Corsair 600W 80Plus/HP 120w PS
Mouse CM Storm Devastator/Logitech Wireless
Keyboard Corsair K55 /HP DV6
Software WIndows 10 Pro, QubesOS/Windows 10
#21
I have the Radeon HD 3850 AGP connected via DVI on my LCD 17" and a Matrox G450 32mb PCI on the vga RGB analog, when I boot into windows98 se I use the G450, in XP I use de Hd3850...
 
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Video Card(s) ASUS Radeon RX 580 8GB Dual-fan OC Edition
Storage Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe 250GB
Case NZXT H500
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Mouse Razer DeathAdder 2013
Keyboard MaxKeyboard Nighthawk X8 (Cherry Brown)
Software Kubuntu
#22
Ah okay. That makes sense now.
 
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Benchmark Scores Never high enough
#23
The HD3850 card in question came with those on it's driver disk so IF drivers are available, that not the problem but finding them is another....
However I believe you can still get them from AMD's site.
 
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Joined
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Memory 2x8GB G.Skill Cas9 1600mhz/ 2x8GB DDR3 1600mhz Samsung
Video Card(s) PNY Geforce GTX 970/ Geforce GT 650M 2GB GDDR5
Storage 2x120 GB EVO 840 System, Hitachi 2TB 7200rpm Games, Raid1 3x1.5TB Seagate 5900rpm Data/ HDSSD 750GB
Display(s) Asus 27" VP278H Gaming LCD/15.6" FHD IPS LED panel
Case Chieftech Bravo Full ATX/ HP DV6 Metal
Audio Device(s) ALC1150/ IDT HD Audio
Power Supply Corsair 600W 80Plus/HP 120w PS
Mouse CM Storm Devastator/Logitech Wireless
Keyboard Corsair K55 /HP DV6
Software WIndows 10 Pro, QubesOS/Windows 10
#25
I forgot to mention de G450 on the PCI slot, had to find out the hard way that there is no Win98 driver for the HD3850. Anyway the G450 PCI does its job well running older games pre 2002...
 
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