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What About a High End Retro System?

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March 19, 2007 4:06:38 PM

I just finished building a new system. I have two older systems now and was thinking about building a high end retro system that uses Win98SE. I have several games that either don't work or need a lot of tweaking to run in WinXP (and who knows what would happen with Vista?).

So with all my older parts and the fact that what was top notch gear several years ago is now fairly cheap to get, it seems not too far fetched an idea. If you were to build such a rig, what would you include to build a retro dream system?

More about : high end retro system

a b B Homebuilt system
March 19, 2007 5:37:32 PM

Old parts can cost almost as much as new parts.
Here is a ~$754.00 system:

CASE
Antec LifeStyle SONATA II Piano Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450Watt SmartPower 2.0 Power Supply
99.00 + 15.99 SH
OR
Rosewill R604TBLK-N 120mm Fan ATX Mid Tower Computer Case+450W Power Supply
59.99 + 14.81

MOBO
ASUS M2N Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce 430 MCP ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
80.99 + 6.13

VIDEO CARD
EVGA 256-P2-N615-TX GeForce 7600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card
109.99 + 5.64

CPU
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Windsor 2.0GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor
109.00 free sh

RAM
Kingston 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory
122.99 + 4.99


HDD
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS (Perpendicular Recording Technology) 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
89.99 free sh

DVD burner
LITE-ON Black 18X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 18X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM IDE Burner - OEM
28.99 + 5.64

Monitor (tell me what and where for the next two items)
Samsung SyncMaster 740B, 17", or a 940B, 19" LCD around 150.00

Keyboard
25.00
March 19, 2007 6:38:52 PM

Instead of using 98 try Ubuntu Linux and use Wine to emulate windows.
Related resources
March 19, 2007 6:45:02 PM

Quote:
I just finished building a new system. I have two older systems now and was thinking about building a high end retro system that uses Win98SE. I have several games that either don't work or need a lot of tweaking to run in WinXP (and who knows what would happen with Vista?).

So with all my older parts and the fact that what was top notch gear several years ago is now fairly cheap to get, it seems not too far fetched an idea. If you were to build such a rig, what would you include to build a retro dream system?

What parts do you have laying around that you can throw into a "new" system? If you need everything new, you are probably best to just buy an AMD socket 939 based system because parts for such a system are still in stock and very cheap. You can get a $50 CPU, $70 motherboard with integrated graphics, and 512MB of RAM for about $45. Throw in a DVD burner, hard drive, case, power supply (get a case with one), and moderately priced peripherals and you are looking at a total price of around $350. If you have parts you can re-use that would lower the price a bit.
March 19, 2007 6:52:30 PM

Anything over 128MB of RAM is overkill for Win98SE. Plus it doesn't address anything beyond that =). You got to think circa late 90's here... 512MB of ram was unheard of unless you had money to waste. 5-10GB drives were barely in circulation. At work back in the day I had an IBM P3 500Mhz 128MB of Ram on board video and audio. With a 6GB drive this was the bomb back then =)
March 19, 2007 6:57:07 PM

You guys are missing the point.

He wants to make a retro system that was high end back in 99-2000 to play old school games.

If I were you:

2x Voodoo 2 12mb in SLI.

Pentium 3 700 (I saw one for sale like $7)

Any Pentium 3 motherboard with an AGP slot

128 MB of PC100 SDRAM

Any IDE 20gb is enough to tide you over.

I had dreams of using an old school high end card for games like Quake 3 Arena.

Here's a few old school gems:

http://cgi.ebay.com/3dfx-Voodoo-5-5500-AGP_W0QQitemZ190...

http://cgi.ebay.com/Intel-Pentium-III-Processor-667-MHz...

http://cgi.ebay.com/256MB-32X64-SDRAM-KINGSTON-KTH6501-...

http://cgi.ebay.com/Intel-815-D815EEA-Computer-Motherbo...

the Pentium 3 motherboard with celeron 633 and 256mb of SD ram is the best deal for $30.

Just get that, a case, PSU and the voodoo 5 and you'll be set.
March 19, 2007 6:59:50 PM

The problem is the reliability of that hardware is not what it used to be. I no longer have any retro systems cause they all died on me. My oldest system is a 1.7 P4 Dell.
March 19, 2007 7:26:14 PM

I have an old Gateway system with an Intel 1.2 GHz CPU, a GeForce TI4600 w/256 RAM, 512 RAM, a mini- tower case, and a CDRW drive. I'm not sure what the MB or PSU is but will be checking them out. I also have the keyboard that came with it. What I would need is a new mouse, monitor, and floppy drive (they're only $6 these days and I might need it for something).

I posed the question to see what feedback I'd get. I may upgrade some of these parts just to "top things off" if you know what I mean. This system was purchased in April 2001 and was not the best but fairly close to being a good performer back then. Games I'd be playing would be Battlezone 1 & 2, EAW and M1 Tank Platoon from MicroProse. I'd also be installing my emulations of Amiga, C64, and MAME (for all my arcade games from the 80's). Maybe a few others as well.

One question I have is whether I can use an LCD monitor with such a system? I'm thinking I can but would rather be sure naturally.
March 19, 2007 8:05:02 PM

Should be plenty of power. Just make sure the LCD you get has a VGA connector and you will be good to go.
March 19, 2007 8:49:05 PM

dumb question.

but have you tried dual(triple?) booting to windows 98?
March 19, 2007 9:17:00 PM

The os would be the easiest thing, today's CPU speeds are just hell on the older games. I used to have to use a progam call mo'slower to run games at the near correct speed. I still like the old Moight and Magic and the older Ultimas. Look for those multigame "treasure" packs with 4-6-10 older games, like old SSI games
March 19, 2007 10:20:09 PM

Quote:
dumb question.

but have you tried dual(triple?) booting to windows 98?


Yes. I had a dual boot system (WinXP/Win98) with that Gateway computer but since PCI Express graphics cards came out, Win98 doesn't work anymore (no driver support). My last system had a 7800GTX and I couldn't install Win98. Now I have an 8800GTX which takes it one step further away.
March 19, 2007 10:28:34 PM

If you want to play those old game on that old system, why do you feel the need to upgrade the old system at all? Does it have problems playing those old games? If so, just read the specs for those games and upgrade any components that are below those specs. I would imagine that the video card is the only thing you may want to upgrade.

The problem is that you will have to buy those old components used on Ebay. Old memory (like the RAMBUS I have on my old P4 1.7 system) can cost more than the latest DDR2 stuff. Finding an old PCI video card video card that works may not be easy. Who is going to waste their time trying to sell a card that they may get $1 for?
March 19, 2007 10:32:14 PM

Quote:
... M1 Tank Platoon from MicroProse. ....

:trophy: :trophy: :!:
March 19, 2007 10:52:55 PM

Quote:
You guys are missing the point.

He wants to make a retro system that was high end back in 99-2000 to play old school games.

If I were you:

2x Voodoo 2 12mb in SLI.

Pentium 3 700 (I saw one for sale like $7)

Any Pentium 3 motherboard with an AGP slot

128 MB of PC100 SDRAM

Any IDE 20gb is enough to tide you over.

I had dreams of using an old school high end card for games like Quake 3 Arena.

Here's a few old school gems:

http://cgi.ebay.com/3dfx-Voodoo-5-5500-AGP_W0QQitemZ190...

http://cgi.ebay.com/Intel-Pentium-III-Processor-667-MHz...

http://cgi.ebay.com/256MB-32X64-SDRAM-KINGSTON-KTH6501-...

http://cgi.ebay.com/Intel-815-D815EEA-Computer-Motherbo...

the Pentium 3 motherboard with celeron 633 and 256mb of SD ram is the best deal for $30.

Just get that, a case, PSU and the voodoo 5 and you'll be set.
I agree with this gentleman, except the p3 part, i would get a 1ghz athlon, 256 megs of ram, and a geforce 2 or 3 with 64 or 128 megs ram.
March 19, 2007 10:55:03 PM

socket a boards are still plentiful and cover all socket a processors, i had a socktet a 1ghz mobile chip, that was 10 dollars on ebay, and a old kt 333 msi board for 20 dollars
a b B Homebuilt system
March 19, 2007 11:30:18 PM

I would say if are building from scratch.

Get any old socket A board
XP2000+ or better(even semprons)
9800pro or better
512megs or ram or better
80gig hard drive or better
Sonata II + 450watt psu

Most of this should be cheap as dirt used and even new

The reason here is this should all be 98 ready to let your old games fly. Also a dual core is a waste since 98 can not use it as far as i know. 512megs minimum, why? Even old games knew how to eat ram.

Just an example of my old 98 rig(not in service no more)

K7S5A
Athlon XP 1800 @ 1.93
Sound Blaster Live
1 gig of ddr 266
120gig HDD
8x DVD burner
Radeon 9800 Pro
Antec Sonata with 380tp PSU
March 19, 2007 11:33:17 PM

I have an old P1 and working mobo if you want it, I'll only charge $20 :lol: 
March 19, 2007 11:49:18 PM

Geez this brings back memories. I have a pentium 3 pc sitting next to me and It's still running fine. A broken Multiprocessor AMD MP 1800 pc sitting next to that as well....LOL..I find it funny that this computer of like 8 years or so it still working...While my dual AMD MP 1800 system died in 3 years...::hugs his p3 machine:: I use it now as a secondary rig when my main rig is beind modded on. Only new thing in there was a OLD 80 gb hard drive I salvaged out of the sucker...Also salvaged in a 30.8 gb IBM Deskstar..LOL....Got two of those floating around here somewhere. Even though I had hard ware damage I think I'm going to resassemble my amd mp 1800 system...Back then I didn't have much experience in fixing computers...But now I can do it with my eyes closed..Time to pull that bugger up and see what's wrong with it ^.^.
March 19, 2007 11:50:24 PM

The rig in my sig is a retro gaming rig. The most it can play is Quake. If it had an AGP slot, I would have probably put in a voodoo 3 or TNT2, as both had great 3D NOW capable drivers.
March 20, 2007 12:25:30 AM

If you want a real high-end retro system, then you need one of these:

http://cgi.ebay.com/3dfx-Voodoo-5-5500-AGP_W0QQitemZ190...

Pair it with a 1GHz P3, 256-512MB of RAM, and (if you can get one) a 10k RPM HDD (one of the old SCSI workstation models). Then, of course, you'll need a big-ass 100+ lb CRT monitor. And a boring beige case. And a mouse with a ball. And, of course, a copy of Windows 98.
March 20, 2007 12:37:41 AM

I have an old Radeon 32MB card I actually used in my current machine when my old 7900GT broke and I needed a working machine before I got my current X1900XT.

Would you believe I could actually play WoW on that card? Looked like crap, but it ran at the bare minimum settings. It also supported my desktop res of 1680x1050. That was impressive.

What was more impressive was that it was bought several years ago for my old Win 95 machine, and has been sitting in a box since then. Still worked. God, I loved that card, let me play Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 on the old Win 95 machine.
March 20, 2007 12:46:40 AM

You didn't say exactly what old parts you have. Some parts are better off in the dumpster. Win98 is just wrong.
March 20, 2007 2:13:44 AM

Have you considered DOS-Box? It'll let you run those old DOS games and you got emulators for everything else :D 
March 20, 2007 12:22:52 PM

yeah Dos, and ZSNES has a DOS emulator, and no doubt there is a nes one
March 20, 2007 1:25:03 PM

Thanks for the feedback...lots of info to work with. One person asked why upgrade if the old parts I have can run the games already. Think of it like this...back when you bought or built the system, perhaps you couldn't go all out but now that those parts that used to be top shelf are becoming older, they may be more affordable allowing you to build the system you drooled over back then.

I want to build this system partly for the games and partly for the nostalgia. I will post a full list of my parts once I pull everything apart and look it over. I'm currently still tweaking my new system which is only mildly overclocked to 3.3GHz, which is more than enough speed.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 23, 2007 5:08:01 AM

Quote:
yeah Dos, and ZSNES has a DOS emulator, and no doubt there is a nes one

nesticle was the nes one...damn i am soooo gonna go play my roms again....or better yet find the snes power adapter....

If you want retro try Esnes....no transparency for fog...had to turn off the layers....but runs on a p75 :) 
March 23, 2007 8:18:20 AM

My retro dream system would be a AMD thunderbird at 1.4 ghz, a voodoo 5 6000, and 512 ddr. As for the hdd, well plenty.
All this running win98.

As for my actual retro system, i have a P3 550 mhz slot1, 256 mb sdram and a voodoo5 with 64mb agp. Hdd sucks so much, a slow 10 gb spining at 5400rpm.
!