Question Building a win98 machine

Oct 6, 2022
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Hello first time posting here.

I am building a windows 98 PC and i already got:
Motherboard: A7V600-X with compatible ram
CPU: Amd athlon 3200+
all other parts are accounted for

all im missing is case, power supply and graphics card and monitor my questions are
  1. Can i use a modern power supply? which one should i get?
  2. Can you guys recommend a good gpu that can run win98 games in 1600 x 1200
  3. which monitor should i get? i want it to be non CRT and compatible with the games from the era of win98 (1997-2002ish)
 

Math Geek

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psu and monitor is not really important. get what you want.

gpu is going to be the problem. anything even close to modern is not going to have any drivers for it. you will need to source something rather old and do some homework to ensure it can run with such an old OS. been so long i don't even remember what was out back then.
 

Eximo

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1. Depends. If you have a lot of period drives and accessories, the low 5V and 3.3 volt output might be bad. An older design with larger 5V and 3.3V rails might be worth it. Or you'll have to get an oversized PSU.

2. Well, AGP would be a good start. The tail end of that slot type would be the best cards you could likely get. PCI was kind of a dying breed, but there also would be some of those around.
Depends a lot on the games too.

3DFX was still pretty big so something like a Voodoo 3 or Voodoo 5 would make those games look about as good as they could.

Nvidia Geforce 2 through Geforce 5500 or so

ATI would have had like the old Rage cards, then the numbered cards up to 9000 series or so, and after that they kept making X class AGP cards for a good while.

Any 4:3 LCD panel with a VGA or DVI port would do I would think. No specific models I can think of.
 
Can i use a modern power supply? which one should i get?
Yes. You can get anything you want, but since ~500W is about the most you should get, I'd recommend something like a Corsair CXM450 or an EVGA SuperNova 450GM.

Can you guys recommend a good gpu that can run win98 games in 1600 x 1200
For games strictly in Windows 98's heydey, I would say find a Radeon 9700 or 9800. If that's not available, maybe a GeForce FX 5800/5900 or a GeForce 4 Ti 4600/4800. Though keep in mind your motherboard is only compatible with 1.5V or universal AGP cards. See:


which monitor should i get? i want it to be non CRT and compatible with the games from the era of win98 (1997-2002ish)
As long as it has a DVI or HDMI input, anything should be fine.
 
  1. Can you guys recommend a good gpu that can run win98 games in 1600 x 1200
  2. which monitor should i get? i want it to be non CRT and compatible with the games from the era of win98 (1997-2002ish)
Then why even bother with building a separate system for it?!
Most of the games will run natively on modern windows just by using some kind of glide wrapper and a lot of them run in dos-box with a win98 install.
Especially any game that scales to the resolution you want will probably work fine under win 10 or any other win, but any game that doesn't scale that high will give you the same problems on win98 that it would on a modern os.
 

Eximo

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Well, it is iffy, and glide wrappers don't always work (would be nice if they did). There are a lot of Win98 titles that just hate NT and will refuse to load. That DX6-8 era is questionable. Better to spin up a VM to run games I think.

Also GoG for modern compatibility.
 
So a few things about why run Windows 98 natively than finding some other method:
  • DOSBox doesn't emulate hardware beyond what a early 90s computer would've had (https://www.dosbox.com/status.php?show_status=1). So anything that can use 3D acceleration won't.
    • Though there is a fork of DOSBox called DOSBox-X that has better support for more recent hardware.
  • VMs also don't emulate hardware beyond what's minimally required. At best you're getting is something like a SoundBlaster 16 compatible audio and an S3 ViRGE if that.
  • Some games are very finnicky when it comes to running on something other than Windows 9x. And heck, sometimes even beyond the OS it was originally released for.
    • As an example that I keep saying, LGR has a game he likes to play/test with that only works well enough on a small set of hardware around the time it was released.
    • I also have a game that I wanted to play, but it has a weird DRM feature that requires an IDE optical drive to work with. At least that's the only way I've been able to play the game.
 
So a few things about why run Windows 98 natively than finding some other method:
  • DOSBox doesn't emulate hardware beyond what a early 90s computer would've had (https://www.dosbox.com/status.php?show_status=1). So anything that can use 3D acceleration won't.
    • Though there is a fork of DOSBox called DOSBox-X that has better support for more recent hardware.
  • VMs also don't emulate hardware beyond what's minimally required. At best you're getting is something like a SoundBlaster 16 compatible audio and an S3 ViRGE if that.
  • Some games are very finnicky when it comes to running on something other than Windows 9x. And heck, sometimes even beyond the OS it was originally released for.
    • As an example that I keep saying, LGR has a game he likes to play/test with that only works well enough on a small set of hardware around the time it was released.
    • I also have a game that I wanted to play, but it has a weird DRM feature that requires an IDE optical drive to work with. At least that's the only way I've been able to play the game.
But the system he is building has all the same issues, it's not going to be era appropriate and any game that has issues with VM or newer hardware will have issues with that system as well.
CPU is too fast for finicky games, GPU is going to be too fast, resolution is going to be waaaaay to high, ram he didn't specify but more than 256Mb and some games will crash just for that...
 
CPU is too fast for finicky games
Which is the outlier, and the example I gave was just that, an example. And CPU speed tends to only be a problem with early DOS based games. A lot of the better developers in the early 90s started finally making sure the games performed the same independent of the CPU.

Also if performance really is a problem, OP can just de-tune it.

GPU is going to be too fast
Not really a factor in most games.

resolution is going to be waaaaay to high
AnandTech has tested with 1600x1200 since at least the GeForce 2 days, so it's not unreasonable to want to use that resolution

ram he didn't specify but more than 256Mb and some games will crash just for that...
I got a Windows 98 PC with 512MB of RAM and none of the games I've thrown on it crash immediately.

Also similar to the CPU thing, I did run Windows 98 with an Athlon XP 2600+ for a few month and nothing problematic came out of it.
 
Last edited:
Oct 6, 2022
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thanks for all the information.

since the target era is 1997-2002 i dont have to worry about CPU being too fast, by 1997 that wasn't an issue anymore

and since the cpu is quite overkill and the gpu will be too, i might aswell optimize for the highest resolution available for those old games, which is generally 1600 x 1200

i was thinking of getting a Dell 2007FP monitor for this, its 4:3 and has its native resolution at 1600 x 1200

i prefer to avoid emulation because it feels right, any comments about using virtual machines or making games run in windows 10 is pointless, i know that its possible many games back in the day will work with tweaks and fixes in windows 10 but alot of them still has minor flaws even when fixed
 
i was thinking of getting a Dell 2007FP monitor for this, its 4:3 and has its native resolution at 1600 x 1200
I'd argue unless you're absolutely trying to go for the look and feel of an older computer, avoid older LCD monitors. Even a cheap IPS 1080p monitor will look a lot better than one of those. And looking at older driver release notes, it looks like graphics cards could do 1:1 scaling back then over the DVI port.

The only thing you'd need is an HDMI to DVI converter unless you happen to have a monitor with DVI already. And the signal can be converted passively.
 

Eximo

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Back in the day I ran my old games on a 1080p panel that I still have. You can still find pretty decent monitors that have all four connections. VGA, DVI, HDMI, and Display Port, they exist for that very reason.

I had no issues running 4:3 games at 640x480/320x240. Heck I still don't today with a 1440p monitor

Then again, hitting up thrift stores for a CRT might be fun.
 

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