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What are, hardware limiations of Windows 98?

Last response: in Windows 95/98/ME
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December 15, 2012 9:10:47 AM

Example. Windows 7 has 64bit and 32bit, a hardware limitation of 32bit is that it can only read 4GB RAM for your system.

Does Windows 98 (I'll call it W98 from now on) have any hardware limitations? I plan to build a legacy computer for old games like Total War Mongol and Viking Invasion, so it still has to be fairly strong to avoid lag.



So...

1) Does W98 support Sata3?

2) Can I use a SSD with W98? If yes, does it support TRIM?

3) What is the largest Storage type windows 98 supports, can you use RAID0 (HDD/SSD or both?)? Yes/No? (I know that after 2TB, HDDs are not NTFS file system, and older OSs might only support that and FAT32 etc, legacy storage.

4) How many physical CPU cores can it detect? Does hyperthreading work ontop of that (e.g. If W98 hypothetically only supports 4 cores, will it also support an additional 4virtual cores or just 2physical with 2 hyperthreading as an alternative to 4 physical cores)?

5) Is DDR3 supported, Yes/No?

6) What Memory frequency is ideal before real-time performance 'cap' kicks in... e.g. 1600Mhz 9cas is the 'standard' of Windows 7 real-time performance because application load times almost cap at that point. What is the RAM frequency standard for W98 and how many GB of DDR3/2 can be used?

7) What is the VGA limitation? If none, at what point does the bottleneck kick if I get top of the line legacy hardware for all of the above?



Regards
December 15, 2012 11:40:06 AM

Why don't you run Windows 98 in a Virtual machine? You won't have to worry about hardware limitations and if you are running Windows 7 and you have a quad core CPU with hyper-threading and DDR3 etc. like you mentioned above, Windows 98 and any programs/games you install will work fine. You can install Windows 98 the same way on a virtual machine the way you would on an actual machine. I think that would be MUCH easier than trying to build a legacy machine and finding hardware from 10-15 years ago that would still be available today....
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December 15, 2012 7:14:42 PM

For starter, it's not true that 32-bit systems can only read 4GB of RAM.

As for the others, it's possible that Windows 98 would support a SATA drive in IDE mode, but you can forget trim. You may have problems with disks bigger than 137 GB.

Windows 98 will only support one processor, so one core and forget hyperthreading. I suppose DDR3 memory is possible, as long as it's 1GB or less, but I doubt that a motherboard that supports DDR3 would even run Windows 98. And you won't find drivers for any high-end graphics card.

Forget it; if you really need a Windows 8 machine then buy any old junk from eBay for a few dollars.
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December 16, 2012 12:51:13 AM

Just make a virtual machine using VMware Player or VirtualBox.
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December 17, 2012 4:06:45 PM

The Stealthinator said:
Just make a virtual machine using VMware Player or VirtualBox.

While I do always advocate the use of Virtual Machines for classic computing, it has it's disadvantages. Some programs don't like to run on emulators or they won't deliver the same experience as opposed to the actual system. I keep both an actual system and physical system so that I could avoid running into problems I can't fix on either.

As for OP, I would look more into a Pentium 4 system. Modern technology and obsolete operating systems don't go well together. A Pentium 4/Athlon XP system would have just as much power to keep up with the most demanding of games at the time, but if I am reading this game right, Total War would maybe be more comfortable on Windows 2000/XP over 98. Especially if you want to keep performance at a maximum.
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Best solution

December 17, 2012 7:55:40 PM

irlwizard said:
Example. Windows 7 has 64bit and 32bit, a hardware limitation of 32bit is that it can only read 4GB RAM for your system.

Does Windows 98 (I'll call it W98 from now on) have any hardware limitations? I plan to build a legacy computer for old games like Total War Mongol and Viking Invasion, so it still has to be fairly strong to avoid lag.

Windows 98 theoretically supports a maximum of 2GB. In practice 512MB is max for most systems due to a bug in 98.



Quote:
So...

1) Does W98 support Sata3?

In IDE/legacy mode, yes.

Quote:
2) Can I use a SSD with W98? If yes, does it support TRIM?

No

Quote:
3) What is the largest Storage type windows 98 supports, can you use RAID0 (HDD/SSD or both?)? Yes/No? (I know that after 2TB, HDDs are not NTFS file system, and older OSs might only support that and FAT32 etc, legacy storage.

Windows 98 doesn't support 48-bit addressing and is limited to 128GB and uses FAT32.

Quote:
4) How many physical CPU cores can it detect? Does hyperthreading work ontop of that (e.g. If W98 hypothetically only supports 4 cores, will it also support an additional 4virtual cores or just 2physical with 2 hyperthreading as an alternative to 4 physical cores)?

Only 1 CPU is supported. No hyperthreading.

Quote:
5) Is DDR3 supported, Yes/No?

That's a motherboard issue

Quote:
6) What Memory frequency is ideal before real-time performance 'cap' kicks in... e.g. 1600Mhz 9cas is the 'standard' of Windows 7 real-time performance because application load times almost cap at that point. What is the RAM frequency standard for W98 and how many GB of DDR3/2 can be used?

Windows 98 may not boot on a CPU running faster than ~2GHz

Quote:
7) What is the VGA limitation? If none, at what point does the bottleneck kick if I get top of the line legacy hardware for all of the above?

Don't expect to find drivers for anything produced in the last 6 or 7 years (maybe a little longer). Think Nvidia FX/MX series or the ATI equivalent at best.

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January 13, 2013 1:42:00 AM

Best answer selected by irlwizard.
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