This is somewhat of a continuation of the project “Compaq Armada 1700 Windows 98 Gaming Machine”.
That machine was great and ran well but it lacked 3D acceleration and the Pentium 2 processor struggled a bit. I did actually replace this machine with another slightly more modern laptop with a Pentium 3 900Mhz and also an ATI Rage Mobility GPU for 3D acceleration. This was great but for whatever reason many games had texture issues and even that GPU struggled at times.
So, I decided to bite the bullet and build the ultimate Windows 98 gaming machine. So far I have purchased a CRT monitor, some old 90’s PC speakers and a brand new desk.
Now, the important part… The PC build…
Last night i ordered a ton of stuff which is all now on it’s way. The machines spec will be as follows:
Intel Pentium 4 (socket 478) 2.26Ghz 533Mhz FSB CPU
Nvidia Geforce 4 Ti 4200 128 MB AGP x8 graphics card
Intel Desk Board D865GLC motherboard
512MB DDR 1 RAM
40GB Western Digital hard disk
DVD ROM drive
300W SFX PSU
Brand new, small micro ATX case
The main part of this build is the beating heart… the PNY Geforce 4 Ti 4200.
Now the eagle eyed of you will notice the top left capacitors are unwell… I ordered this card anyway though as I actually had one of these in my first PC build which i actually built all by myself from the ground up using new parts so it’s a pretty sentimental card. Ironically, the Geforce 4 series is the highest end card you can use with Windows 98 without problems so it was the perfect card to use. I have ordered some Panasonic caps and will replace those when it arrives.
The case I’ve chosen is perfect for the spot on my desk as space is somewhat limited. And it’s new which helps a bit.
Finally got round to ordering my sound card. The sound on these machines are an absolute nightmare and you have to think about so many factors.
I went with this, an original Sound Blaster Live! which features good support for Windows 98 games as well as Sound Blaster 16 emulation for MS-DOS games.
Finished spec is:
Intel Pentium 4 2.26Ghz 533Mhz FSB SL6PB with brand new cooler
Intel Motherboard D865GLC with AGP 8x
Nvidia Geforce GF4 Ti4200 AGP 8X 128MB
Creative Sound Blaster Live PCI CT4620
512 MB DDR RAM
DVD ROM Drive
40GB Western Digital HDD
300W SFX PSU
New, small micro ATX case
Just need to wait for it all to arrive now…
A few parts arrived today, first up. My Pentium 4 CPU (Cost: £1.80!)
Still a little dirty so I gave it a good clean with some isopropanol.
Now it’s nice and clean and ready to go!
Next up, the all important Intel motherboard (cost: £15)
Everything looks good, capacitors are in great shape.
I put the CPU in it’s socket as it’s the safest place for it. Bent pins are not fun!
Next, the Sound Blaster Live! (cost: £20)
I paid a bit more for this model as it has the gold plated ports and is the more rare 2.0 model which works better with Windows 98. The 5.1 model has a few issues so I’m told so I went for the more pricey first gen model.
It looks great!
Model CT4620, this translates into a retail gold edition. In the first editions there were value and gold series.
Should have more arrive tomorrow and hopefully we can begin building it!
The rest of the parts arrived today.
Now to tackle that Geforce 4, as mentioned earlier the capacitors are swelling and leaking so time to swap those out!
All done, ready to build! Just waiting on the case to arrive.
While waiting for the case to arrive i had a good look over the card, all seems fine but i notice the fans bearings are shot. It is really loud when the fan spins so i had a look for a replacement fan and good old eBay came up with a winner.
a 35mm fan which will fit nicely into the original heat sink. The mount points are a little different but I will simply glue it down to the heat sink.
It even comes with the correct header to plug it into the card.
Case arrived so let’s BUILD!
First thing i did was replace the CMOS battery on the motherboard.
All built and ready for power on…
It’s ALIVE! Greeted by the Ti 4200’s BIOS.
Looking good! Dual channel enabled, CPU clock speed correct, going well so far.
Onwards to fdisk to partition the drive.
All done, time to format it in Windows 98 setup.
Into setup we go… detecting hardware…
Uh oh… not good…
After spending ages trying to work out which part was was causing this BSOD during hardware detection. I realized it was the onboard SATA ports! I completely missed the fact this board even had SATA. Once disabled everything went smoothly.
Once in Windows i added all the drivers.
Sound Blaster installing.
Here we see the all important Sound Blaster 16 emulation driver. This will allow me to play DOS games with sound.
After that was done I did the Geforce 4 Ti 4200’s driver.
Going by what people have said online, I went with the Forceware 40 series drivers and these apparently give the best performance on Windows 98.
After this, I ran a 3D Mark benchmark.
The machine maxed out the benchmark and hit it’s 100 fps limit! Awesome!
One finishing touch i added was a 120mm fan. I guessed the size of the hole on the case and unfortunately got it wrong (it’s 90mm not 120mm) but I made it fit anyway.
Now time for the all important gaming session!!
Running like an absolute dream! Silky smooth FPS and all 3D acceleration effects are now working.
I still need to change the 35mm fan on the graphics card as it is really loud at the moment. But otherwise it’s done and I’m off to do some retro PC gaming!
The GPU fan arrived at last so it’s time for the finishing touch…
It’s running much, much quieter now. I also changed the LED fan for a blue one which runs off molex as the 3 pin one i had before would flicker when the BIOS set the fan speed to low and it was annoying.