nostaglic98

Big-Brand Computers and Windows 9x

26 posts in this topic

Okay, its been a while, and I'm back - and looking for a suitable 98 machine. The Celeron PC that I've used for this is unstable (being from 2004), even with 98 drivers for its components and very slow, is equally slow on XP for whatever reason.

I'm scouring the likes of eBay for computers that are compatible with Windows 98SE or Me. The HP DC7100u that I got in January for my Home-Server (on XP Pro) actually has chipset drivers for Windows 98, Me, 2000 and XP. Though I'm not going to try putting 98 on that (The server will instead be downgraded to Windows 2000 Pro or Server next year).

Basically, I'm looking for an older Big-Brand box, capable of playing older games (Pre-2003 or so) - so I suppose a P3 or better is advisable. What models would be capable of this, and aren't giant Pizza-Box (SFF) style models or are mini-towers?

The other issue I face is whether to go Windows Me or not. Almost 10 years ago, my 2nd computer ran that OS longer than the previous 98 installations, but I understand that I may not be able to get user created content/old updates on this site, with the OS being "jumped on" by Windows XP 10 months later... So 98 is really a first choice for me.

Thanks for any help guys: It is very appreciated!

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Win98se and WinME are pretty much interchangeable at the chipset level but device drivers for things like modems and things may have different packages.

You definitely do not have to go all the way back to 2003 because there are boards made into 2005 that are fine, and quite possibly even later. There are two main steps to take: get a supported motherboard, and then the CPU.

[1] You will want to start by targeting the motherboard by chipset, not the CPU. For Intel I believe the last fully supported chipset is i865, and for AMD on nVidia the last is nForce 2. I don't know what the last Via chipset is. There may be sketchy or modded support for Intel boards beyond i865 also and this forum is definitely the one to ask about them. You will soon have all the answers you need. "Fully Supported" means there are chipset drivers ( for Intel that is the so-called INF Installer ) that enable all the onboard functions in Windows 9x. There are ways to dodge this somewhat by using add-in graphics and sound cards that have native Win9x support thereby obviating the need for that component of the chipset drivers ( you will have no onboard video or audio capability ). But this gets into the esoteric and nitty gritty so you may not want to be in on that level of detail. I'll let others mention the newer chipsets but if you want safe i865 is the one.

[2] After you find a supported board, then you need to get the official specifications for that exact model, usually a PDF, and find the supported CPU list and find the best ones (single core is all that will ever work in Win9x though I think multi-cores might run but with obviously only one core utilized). By "best" I mean shorthand for non-Celeron, highest frequency with biggest L2 cache. For Intel these will invariably be a Pentium 4 from the earlier Northwood era or the later, faster and hotter Prescott era. You can actually get the 3+ GHz 2 MB L2 Prescotts working for Win9x.

Remember that the CPU comes after the motherboard! It is completely dependent on the motherboard specs. Just because you have a socket 478 board does NOT mean it is capable of using any 478 CPU. I actually have a few by Dell here that can only use chips before the later Prescott steppings limiting their boards to the 3+ GHz with only 1 MB L2 cache models, but other boards support all the steppings. So you shouldn't limit yourself to "big box" boards at all! They might actually limit your CPU choices. After you get a motherboard and research the maximum CPU possible then you head off to eBay and PriceWatch and find a single CPU for sale which will doubtlessly cost almost nothing these days ( unlike 10 years ago! ).

Also keep in mind that if you locate a great Win9x board with full chipset support, but say it comes with a crappy Celeron or too early non-Celeron ( 2.0 GHz rather than 2.6 GHz or 3.2 GHz ), as long as that board supports it there is nothing to stop you from pulling that CPU and replacing it with the maximum CPU allowed by the specs. This is probably a good plan actually. There are probably tons of retiring boards like this that the owners never considered upgrading the CPU. You're in luck because it is a buyers market! 3.4 GHz Prescott for $10 to $20 on this list. :thumbup

EDIT: typo

Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot
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...For Intel I believe the last fully supported chipset is i865...

i875. ;)

It's just that there seem to be very few boards actually using this chipset. But I can verify that the Intel D875PBZ (the REAL Intel version, NOT the "WASP" ones used by OEM's, they seem to be unpredictable) works 100% with 98SE.

(Note that the D875PBZ does not have integrated sound, which I thought was very odd for a "modern" motherboard. :huh: )

Searching for i865 boards will give a much wider range of choices though.

Edited by LoneCrusader
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When it comes to the VIA chipsets, I imagine that the VIA PT880 Pro/Ultra is the highest / last chipset with win-9x/me drivers. A popular (and probably one of the last) motherboards based on that chipset is several ASROCK Dual boards, in particular the Dual VSTA. There is one on ebay for sale for $30. It has AGP and PCIe slots, and also has both DDR and DDR2 ram slots. It takes Intel socket 775 CPU. If you can find any 775's still NOS (new, old stock) then great, but most likely the ram and CPU will be e-bay purchases as well.

When it comes to intel chipsets, there is i845 - i875 (and the older P4 CPU's), and I keep thinking that some version of the 910 or 915 chipset might have 9x/me drivers.

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My idea on this topic.

If you are a programmer, unlike me, then you should be able to alter the device drivers, ( like I have a AGP graphics card I want to install in my 9X machine but I do not have the right drivers ). So you have to understand, how to understand, how to edit device drivers. Not just add, the driver but update it correctly, so it can work 100% not Something that few people on this board knows how to.

The main problem with 9x/NT/OS9/OSX or any other system is the requirements, as somebody mentioned, is drivers that can identify the hardware and will run on it. Like their is distubutions of Apple OS that can run on what Windows runs on.

Again, as far as I know a person could pop any windows inside a PC type machine ( whatever thet term is i386 i582 ??? ) but once you get to drivers,

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Hi again,

I was go through eBay and found this motherboard: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Asus-A7V400-MX-SE-Socket-462-Motherboard-KM400A-NEW-/120755670875?pt=AU_Components&hash=item1c1d994f5b&_uhb=1

Checking Asus' website shows there is support from NT4 right through to XP (and higher, I presume, but excluding Windows 95). Would this board be suitable, or has someone had poor experiences with the board?

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I don't know about that particular Motherboard, but it seems odd that Win95 isn't supported since NT4 is.

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I don't know about that particular Motherboard, but it seems odd that Win95 isn't supported since NT4 is.

Thats what Asus suggests, anyway :wacko: It may very well support Windows 95, and there is some error. I might check that and get back to you on that

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I didn't read the PDF yet but NewEgg has a page here. Did you find the exact PDF yet? If not, you really should :yes: because you must research all the details. This appears to be it., but I don't have time to read it now.

Quickly glancing at the specs at the old NewEgg page says Via chipset. Now IMHO these are the worst of the three major possibilities, but they can work if you get the Via 4-in-one or whatever it was called. If Asus has the correct chipset driver package, fine.

CPU says it accepts Athlon XP, which is a chip I liked very very much and was awesome with Windows XP so you know that on Win9x it will be fast as all heck on it. Big thumbs up! :thumbup For comparison, the highest end Intel Pentium 4 Prescotts at 3.4 GHz will be more absolute horsepower seen in synthetic CPU benchmarks like Whetstone, but the tradeoff comes in the dramatically different cooling heat sinks and fans. Athlon XP gets away with tiny little coolers but those Intel P4 Prescotts use monsters. I can't remember the TDP off the top of my head but they do gobble up power.

Now for the RAM, it says DDR memory which is I believe the best possible for Win9x ( definitely do not get a board using old SDRAM! ) so that's a definite thumbs up.

SoundMax audio and S3 video ( onboard ) are pretty much the lowest but if you have cards to replace them it is a moot point. Keep in mind that it is adding complexity when adding these cards, more failure vectors for device drivers under Win9x, but it is successfully done all the time.

USB 2.0 is also important ( it has it ) because anything less I wouldn't accept. Another thumbs up.

Anyway, I just want to re-state that you should first target the motherboard by chipset, then get the PDF and find all allowable CPU's. Once again, be aware that certain motherboards might not allow the use of all the CPU's that physically fit the socket. You will want the Athlon XP 3200 or 3000 supported. It makes no sense today to get a motherboard that limits it to one of the earlier Athlon XP models ( I don't know if this one does because I didn't read that PDF ). Historically it was a cost consideration, but today it is not. It is only a motherboard availability consideration.

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I didn't read the PDF yet but NewEgg has a page here. Did you find the exact PDF yet? If not, you really should :yes: because you must research all the details. This appears to be it., but I don't have time to read it now.

Quickly glancing at the specs at the old NewEgg page says Via chipset. Now IMHO these are the worst of the three major possibilities, but they can work if you get the Via 4-in-one or whatever it was called. If Asus has the correct chipset driver package, fine.

Yes, I did glance through this, which brings me to realise it isn't natively supporting Windows 9x/Me - you can download drivers, though it seems there may be some glitches, considering it isn't native support

But, there are always other motherboards around! I'm sure I can find something decent. Though I'm slightly concerned about CPU speed - I though that Windows 98/Me had issues when going above around 2.1GHz. I know Windows 98 had it for sure - which might explain why the present computer I've used with 98 has been soooo terrible (2.8GHz Celeron, Socket 478 from 2004).

I suppose I'll keep hunting. So you recommend an nVidia nForce 2 Chipset for AMD? Looks like I might *just* go and look at Intel, though the current machine we have has i865/ICH5 and was flaky with 98 (Asus P4P-800MX)

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Well, that didn't take long! I found an Asus A7N8X with the nForce 2 chipset from the same eBay seller. This has support from 98SE through all versions (at least to XP anyway).

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Asus-A7N8X-X-Socket-A-462-MOTHERBOARD-AMD-nforce2-/120672440524?pt=AU_Components&hash=item1c18a350cc&_uhb=1

This board is also $10 cheaper than the other, which is pretty nice too. This seller IS offering an AMD XP 3200+ , but it will cost $89 total, whereas the other (Athlon XP 2800+) will be $46 - and for a fairly small gain in my opinion. Thankfully, I won't need extra RAM, since I can "steal" that from the current Celeron machine (a single 512mb stick).

I'm still tossing up whether to get Windows Me or stick with Windows 98 (which is additional cost, as I already have to "fork out" for Office 2000) - the built USB drivers on Windows Me would be nice, but NUSB is available (though in my experience) can be "flaky." I might dig around here and see what I can find regarding that - do I install the NUSB driver's INSTEAD of the Motherboard USB 2.0 drivers, or use the MB drivers, then install NUSB?

Now all I have to do is find a decent AGP 8x card that will give nice gaming performance on 98SE/Me - then I'm all set

Thanks for all the help guys! Especially CharlotteTheHarlot - you've given superb advice and have avoided me making a dud purchase too :thumbup

When I get the PC together, I might put in another thread with the full specs and do some benchmarking, see where I'm at.

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Looks like I'm too late to tell you to buy this board:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ASRock-775i65GV-Motherboard-Socket-775-/111076487638?pt=AU_Components&hash=item19dcacb1d6

$30.

The vendor says 3 available. If I lived in Australia, I'd buy all three.

I've never seen a socket 775 motherboard with i865 chipset. Perfect for Win-98. It would beat the pants off the Athlon board you did buy.

You can still buy this one, you know...

================

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=775i65GV

- Intel® 865GV chipset

- Supports LGA 775 FSB800/533MHz processor, Prescott Ready and H-T Technology

- Support Intel® Dual Core Processors, including Pentium® D and Extreme Edition

- Supports DDR400 and Dual Channel Technology

- Int. Intel® Extreme Graphics 2, ASRock AGI8X - VGA upgrade interface

- Advanced storage interface SATA 1.5Gb/s

- 5.1 channel Audio, 10/100 PCI Ethernet LAN

- ASRock I/O Plus: 6 ready-to-use USB 2.0 ports

- Supports DDR400/333/266 non-ECC, un-buffered memory

- DIMM slots: 2

- Max. capacity of system memory: 2GB

- ASRock A.G.I.8X graphics upgrade slot (AGP8X/4X compatible)

- 3 x PCI slots( PCI 2.2 compliance)

- 1 x AMR slot

OS - Microsoft® Windows® 98SE / ME / 2000 / XP compliant

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Oh dear... You've got me in a pickle! But reading over some benchmarks done, I can see that the performance difference isn't all that great. At the top end of the gaming sector, AMD is practically equal with Intel and AMD beats Intel in some 3D-Mark tests.

Thanks for the offer though. I may pursue this option if I bring my other PC into the 98 era with this.

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Yes, I did glance through this, which brings me to realise it isn't natively supporting Windows 9x/Me - you can download drivers, though it seems there may be some glitches, considering it isn't native support

But, there are always other motherboards around! I'm sure I can find something decent. Though I'm slightly concerned about CPU speed - I though that Windows 98/Me had issues when going above around 2.1GHz. I know Windows 98 had it for sure - which might explain why the present computer I've used with 98 has been soooo terrible (2.8GHz Celeron, Socket 478 from 2004).

I suppose I'll keep hunting. So you recommend an nVidia nForce 2 Chipset for AMD? Looks like I might *just* go and look at Intel, though the current machine we have has i865/ICH5 and was flaky with 98 (Asus P4P-800MX)

If you can download drivers for Windows 9x for a board, that's really all you need. If you want something that is natively supported by Windows 9x without having to download drivers, youre going to have to go waaayy back... :ph34r:

CPU speed is not an issue. Windows 95 and Windows 98FE were affected by a processor clock speed bug at 2.1GHz, but both of these issues have long been solved. Microsoft issued a HotFix for 98FE that fixes the problem, and 95 is solved by FIX95CPU. Windows 98SE and ME are not affected.

The computer you refer to is/was terrible for two reasons - Celeron is garbage. Get rid of it and use a P4 chip. Also 512MB of RAM is just not enough for modern machines, especially if you use them for everyday computing tasks.

I use Intel 845/865/875 boards + P4 processors for all of my 9x machines and have never had any issues.

Also - last ATI AGP graphics cards supported under 9x are the x800/x850 series. Not sure about nVidia, but others here can help with that.

Edited by LoneCrusader
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