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Late 90s retro gaming build advice

CLXIV

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Hello, I'm planning on a 90s vintage gaming setup and would really appreciate some advice. I'd like something along the lines of:

- 400-900MHz P3 / K6-2 / Athlon
- 128-256MB
- horizontal desktop case
- 14-17" CRT monitor

I already have a Voodoo 3 (PCI), Soundblaster AWE64 Gold (ISA) and a Samsung 40GB IDE HDD and there's local guy selling one of these for cheap:

http://www.motherboard.cz/mb/qdi/KinetiZ 7E.htm

Including an unknown CPU, RAM and cooler (judging by what the board supports though, any compatible CPU should be fine).

My first question is if I'll be able to install this (pretty normal-looking) motherboard in a horizontal case? I was young in the 90s so only have vague recollections, but didn't horizontal systems require riser boards etc? Would I be able to get this board into a horizontal case with my Voodoo and Soundblaster?

Also I've seen a lot of talk about popped capacitors. Realistically will I need to re-cap or will it most likely work fine?

And for operating systems, presumably if I install MS-DOS 6.22 first, I can install Windows 98 second for a dual-boot on a single partition?

Thanks for any advice.
 

dorsetknob

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Dorset where else eh? >>> Thats ENGLAND<<<
Standard Horizontal Case will fit standard Motherboard and your be able to use standard full height expansion cards.
Tower cases came about with the desire of a smaller footprint (turn yours on its side and you got a tower :) ).
As to the Re capping check them all and have them replaced if needed (they would probably benefit from being replaced anyway )
 
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Hello, I'm planning on a 90s vintage gaming setup and would really appreciate some advice. I'd like something along the lines of:

- 400-900MHz P3 / K6-2 / Athlon
- 128-256MB
- horizontal desktop case
- 14-17" CRT monitor

I already have a Voodoo 3 (PCI), Soundblaster AWE64 Gold (ISA) and a Samsung 40GB IDE HDD and there's local guy selling one of these for cheap:

http://www.motherboard.cz/mb/qdi/KinetiZ 7E.htm

Including an unknown CPU, RAM and cooler (judging by what the board supports though, any compatible CPU should be fine).

My first question is if I'll be able to install this (pretty normal-looking) motherboard in a horizontal case? I was young in the 90s so only have vague recollections, but didn't horizontal systems require riser boards etc? Would I be able to get this board into a horizontal case with my Voodoo and Soundblaster?

Also I've seen a lot of talk about popped capacitors. Realistically will I need to re-cap or will it most likely work fine?

And for operating systems, presumably if I install MS-DOS 6.22 first, I can install Windows 98 second for a dual-boot on a single partition?

Thanks for any advice.
Well for a re-cap, you'd want some pro's to look at some high quality pictures for you. @Bones would be one to advise you well and would be able to spot physical damages in seconds.

Some of the stand-offs in old cases where taller than the ones used today. Something to keep an eye out for. If the form factor is ATX, it'll fit juust about any ATX case out there.

K6 Athlon. Boy that brings back memories.

Run two separate HDDs for booting different operating systems. This helps for redundancy.

Don't get a board with a VIA chipset. You won't have any fun.

Get Gigabyte GA-5AX or Asus P5A or something along these lines. Yes more expensive, getting really hard to find now, but your over-all experience will be much better.
 
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If going for an era-correct build a board made by Abit, Asus or even Soyo would be the thing here.

I do know those three along with Gigabyte were around and doing well, esp Abit and Soyo.

Recapping would be a good idea, even if the caps aren't bulging they do have age on them and could well require a complete recapping of the board to ensure longevity, plus boards of that era were known to have weak/bad caps anyway.
If you can do the recap yourself that will take time but worth doing.

EDIT:
VIA chipped boards were common during this time, the NF2 chipset was yet to appear in any form. SiS, Ali and VIA were the chipset makers for the majority I'm aware of, Nvidia had to be in there somewhere but didn't have anything that stood out during all this.
Really doesn't matter alot, a good VIA board in this will do the job just as well as any other - They were all slow anyway. :D
 
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CLXIV

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Thanks everyone for the guidance!

Yeah I had never heard of this motherboard manufacturer before either but it's selling really cheap (near enough free) including the CPU, RAM and cooler (a Coolermaster) so I might as well go for it and see what happens. My main concern was fitting it into a horizontal case (probably going to be tricky to find one of those but maybe I'll just find an old 486 or something and swap out the contents).

Re-capping will be new to me (I've never even soldered) but seems like something that would be rewarding to do and keep things running and healthy for longer.
 
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If going for an era-correct build a board made by Abit, Asus or even Soyo would be the thing here.

I do know those three along with Gigabyte were around and doing well, esp Abit and Soyo.

Recapping would be a good idea, even if the caps aren't bulging they do have age on them and could well require a complete recapping of the board to ensure longevity, plus boards of that era were known to have weak/bad caps anyway.
If you can do the recap yourself that will take time but worth doing.

EDIT:
VIA chipped boards were common during this time, the NF2 chipset was yet to appear in any form. SiS, Ali and VIA were the chipset makers for the majority I'm aware of, Nvidia had to be in there somewhere but didn't have anything that stood out during all this.
Really doesn't matter alot, a good VIA board in this will do the job just as well as any other - They were all slow anyway. :D
Could never get the dang VIA chipsets to overclock. I was the probably to blame, but never had any good luck with them, but they did turn on and work!!

If its cheap enough, got nothing to loose. I say go for it.
 

CLXIV

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Ah well I wasn't planning on overclocking anyway, but only because it hadn't even occurred to me... you know what, I actually might. I remember those 600MHz Durons had some insane headroom on them.
 
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Recapping is worth doing but since you've indicated you have never soldered before, would be best to let someone do it for you - Soldering, as simple to do as it is has to be done right or you will have problems. You can pickup a junk board or something with caps and use that for practice to learn how - If you mess up it's no harm done.

Which manufacturer are you referring to you haven't heard of before?

Could never get the dang VIA chipsets to overclock. I was the probably to blame, but never had any good luck with them, but they did turn on and work!!

If its cheap enough, got nothing to loose. I say go for it.
I guess you never saw what my old Soyo could do........

Mind you this is for a Socket A board, Soyo was known for being a performance board back in the day and that includes the named era of Socket 5/7 and 370.
 

CLXIV

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Recapping is worth doing but since you've indicated you have never soldered before, would be best to let someone do it for you - Soldering, as simple to do as it is has to be done right or you will have problems. You can pickup a junk board or something with caps and use that for practice to learn how - If you mess up it's no harm done.

Which manufacturer are you referring to you haven't heard of before?


I guess you never saw what my old Soyo could do........

Mind you this is for a Socket A board, Soyo was known for being a performance board back in the day and that includes the named era of Socket 5/7 and 370.
Sorry, I was referring to QDI. I do remember Abit (I owned at least one), and the name Soyo is familiar, though I never owned one and I don't think my friends did.
 
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I see - It was most likely an off-brand, you'd be better off going with a known name since driver support is still important.
Finding stuff like that you'd need for it nowadays can be difficult to say the least of it.

I know from experience after trying to find stuff for the Premio 219-H board I have. ;)
 
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You shouldn't need to install MS-DOS 6.22 if you have a Win98 boot disk (floppy if you want to stay true to the ideal).
Create one from here and then load setup from cd-rom.
Great fun!
 

CLXIV

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I see - It was most likely an off-brand, you'd be better off going with a known name since driver support is still important.
Finding stuff like that you'd need for it nowadays can be difficult to say the least of it.

I know from experience after trying to find stuff for the Premio 219-H board I have. ;)
Really good point - I hadn't even considered drivers (modern OSs have spoiled me). I looked them up and it's a Chinese manufacturer, probably the cheapest option the original buyer found at the time. That being said, it's not getting internet access and I won't be using onboard audio or graphics (assuming it even has them) so I might not need much beyond chipset drivers?
 
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@Splinterdog I believe he wants to setup an actual DOS OS partition along with Win 98 on the machine.
Is that correct?

I seriously doubt it has onboard graphics - Possible but don't count on it.
 

CLXIV

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Yeah I did consider MS-DOS 7.1 or whatever Microsoft called the one built into Windows 98 (assuming it would be as compatible as 'real' MS-DOS) but then read about some config being loaded from .ini files in the Windows folder etc... just sounded like it would be quite different to the standard config.sys and autoexec.bat based configuration that I remember. And possibly less compatible with some games?

Would they be able to co-exist on a single partition? I'm fairly sure I had that dual boot at the time without having to partition, but maybe I'm remembering wrong.
 
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Or a Cobain (Korbin).
 
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Nah - However both were equally crap-tastic pieces even if of a different make.
 
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I'd make sure to get a PCB you'll be able to get drivers for.

Some older board manufacturers no longer have anything available for older hardware.
I have a DFI socket 7 mobo, and I was lucky to still have the disk that came with it, and that was only in 99.

I'd bet you'll have to recap the board; as bones said, it's not the easiest thing to do.
I had a beast of a time replacing caps on an ASUS P6wd2 board recently.

Be sure to buy real caps; the counterfeits on Amazon will go bad in no time; I buy caps from Digikey or Mouser.

IMHO, the K6-III processors were the best that ever fit that socket; I have two of the 450's running now.
They have huge cache sizes; if you want to OC, you'll want an intel or K6-2, as they get hot fast when you drank up the speed.

Those are the last boards I have with ISA slots, lol.

Good luck on your project; that should run old games really well. :)
 

CLXIV

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I'd make sure to get a PCB you'll be able to get drivers for.

Some older board manufacturers no longer have anything available for older hardware.
I have a DFI socket 7 mobo, and I was lucky to still have the disk that came with it, and that was only in 99.

I'd bet you'll have to recap the board; as bones said, it's not the easiest thing to do.
I had a beast of a time replacing caps on an ASUS P6wd2 board recently.

Be sure to buy real caps; the counterfeits on Amazon will go bad in no time; I buy caps from Digikey or Mouser.

IMHO, the K6-III processors were the best that ever fit that socket; I have two of the 450's running now.
They have huge cache sizes; if you want to OC, you'll want an intel or K6-2, as they get hot fast when you drank up the speed.

Those are the last boards I have with ISA slots, lol.

Good luck on your project; that should run old games really well. :)
Thanks :) I had planned originally on a 486-era setup (it's mostly DOS games I'm after) but figured it would be better to have the option of early Windows gaming too (and I'd love to game on a Voodoo3 again). I know next to nothing about capacitors but always heard that Japanese are good and Chinese are bad. Or is that an over-simplification?
 
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Abit BH-6, Celery 333 @ 666. Should go good with your Voodoo :rockout:
 
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Abit BH-6, Celery 333 @ 666. Should go good with your Voodoo :rockout:
More or less anything that's Socket A era or older will do but for true era-correct gaming that's about right.
 

CLXIV

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I am officially impressed. I'm aware of very few CPUs that will do a 100% overclock and didn't realise the old Celerons could.
 
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... I know next to nothing about capacitors but always heard that Japanese are good and Chinese are bad. Or is that an over-simplification?
There are certain caps that were just bad; the whole Dell-era capacitor plague was horrible.

But most of the older mobos I've been playing with recently have swelled/leaked caps on them, and those are dead, if not ready to explode.
I had one on a P5B mobo go off like a firecracker, after powering it on after a few years. :)

Look carefully at the mobo; you can see bad caps.



Those are bulged, getting ready to go.

These have leaked their electrolyte:



These have "Grown Cheese" as we used to say:


That's the electrolyte leaking.

The numbers on the side are the important thing for replacing them, as well as type of capacitor.

These are 6.3V 2200uF caps made by nichicon.
The other important thing is to get low esr, high frequency, long lifetime caps.
 

CLXIV

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There are certain caps that were just bad; the whole Dell-era capacitor plague was horrible.

But most of the older mobos I've been playing with recently have swelled/leaked caps on them, and those are dead, if not ready to explode.
I had one on a P5B mobo go off like a firecracker, after powering it on after a few years. :)

Look carefully at the mobo; you can see bad caps.



Those are bulged, getting ready to go.

These have leaked their electrolyte:



These have "Grown Cheese" as we used to say:


That's the electrolyte leaking.

The numbers on the side are the important thing for replacing them, as well as type of capacitor.

These are 6.3V 2200uF caps made by nichicon.
The other important thing is to get low esr, high frequency, long lifetime caps.
Thanks for this, that's really, really helpful. On the first image, the sides still look fairly straight so I guess it's the tops I'm looking at for bulging?
 
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