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Thread: I want to build a PC specifically for games from the 96 to 99 era...any suggestions?

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    Banana (Level 7) WCP's Avatar
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    Default I want to build a PC specifically for games from the 96 to 99 era...any suggestions?

    Around Spring of 1996, I built my first gaming PC. I'm not 100 percent positive, but I'm pretty sure it was based around a Pentium 200mmx and a Voodoo card. I went on to upgrade and build new PC's every so often, and continued to play PC games till the release of the Sega Dreamcast in September of 1999. After that, my interest in PC gaming basically died.

    I've got those nostalgic feelings for playing some PC games from 1996 to 1999. Basically, from the time 3D accelerators first appeared on the scene, until the launch of the Dreamcast.

    Games I'd like to play again:

    Quake
    Descent
    System Shock
    Phantasmagoria
    Carmageddon
    Dark Forces 2 - Jedi Knight
    Tomb Raider
    Tomb Raider 2
    Moto Racer
    Descent 2
    MDK
    Blade Runner
    Interstate 76
    Pod
    Unreal (the original)
    Half-Life
    Thief
    SiN
    GPolice
    Assault Rigs
    Quake 2
    Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now


    Those are a few of the games that come to mind, but I'm sure there are a ton of others. Basically, I would like to be able to play these games at max settings, and have them run as smooth and natural as possible. I have no idea what motherboard, cpu and which video card I should go with to accomplish this. I was thinking of two voodoo cards in SLI mode, but I don't know which voodoo cards to get. I'm guessing I should try to find a PC Gamer magazine from 1999, and try to see what was considered a kick ass gaming rig back at that point in time. I'm guessing I would want to have Windows 98: SE as my operating system.

    Does anybody have any suggestions?

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    Pear (Level 6) Soviet Conscript's Avatar
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    well, i can give you the specs of my win98 pc that pretty much plays everything from the era i throw at it great.

    windows 98SE
    450mhtz pentium II
    387mb ram
    dvd, cd and 3.5 floppy drive
    AGP voodoo 3 3500 video card
    Diamond MonsterSound MX300 sound card
    40GB hdd
    Last edited by Soviet Conscript; 03-31-2010 at 03:44 PM. Reason: have updated my win98 pc

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    Quote Originally Posted by Soviet Conscript View Post
    well, i can give you the specs of my win98 pc that pretty much plays everything from the era i throw at it great.

    windows 98SE
    450mhtz pentium II
    256mb ram (it acually may be a wierd number like 3XX ram, forget)
    dvd, cd and 3.5 floppy drive
    AGP voodoo 3 video card
    AWE64 gold sound card
    is a single voodoo 3 video card better than running 2 voodoo 2 cards in SLI?

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    Pear (Level 6) Soviet Conscript's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WCP View Post
    is a single voodoo 3 video card better than running 2 voodoo 2 cards in SLI?
    thats acually a great question that i asked myself right after i posted. i'm looking into it. its obviosuly simpler and your only useing 1 slot as opposed to 3.

    hmmm, well as long as its an AGP 3500 or possibly 3000 it seems to be both simpler and faster then duel voodoo 2's

    http://www.papadoc.net/Voodoo3500shootout.htm

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    Save yourself the trouble. You should be able to play pretty much all of those games you mentioned on any current PC with Windows XP or maybe even Windows 7. Most of them are for sale at GOG.com ; some of them are even on Steam. Certainly, there's nothing to be gained by playing any of them with a Voodoo card.

    The trickiest one would probably be Thief, but there are some excellent fanmade patches to solve problems you might have with that one.
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    Save yourself the trouble. You should be able to play pretty much all of those games you mentioned on any current PC with Windows XP or maybe even Windows 7. Most of them are for sale at GOG.com ; some of them are even on Steam. Certainly, there's nothing to be gained by playing any of them with a Voodoo card.

    The trickiest one would probably be Thief, but there are some excellent fanmade patches to solve problems you might have with that one.
    I remember trying to play the original Unreal game on my current PC, and the problem was, the game was TOO FREAKING FAST. Way too fast. I mentioned this to a friend of mine, and he explained that I would need to run it in some type of emulator that would simulate a PC from 1999 or so, so that it would run normally. He also said that it would be even better to just have an extra PC, circa 1999, that would run the games naturally, not having to run them in a special emulator.

    Doesn't GOG and Steam take those original games and run them in a special emulator that helps slow them down to a more natural speed?

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    Apple (Level 5) Arkhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WCP View Post
    I remember trying to play the original Unreal game on my current PC, and the problem was, the game was TOO FREAKING FAST. Way too fast. I mentioned this to a friend of mine, and he explained that I would need to run it in some type of emulator that would simulate a PC from 1999 or so, so that it would run normally. He also said that it would be even better to just have an extra PC, circa 1999, that would run the games naturally, not having to run them in a special emulator.

    Doesn't GOG and Steam take those original games and run them in a special emulator that helps slow them down to a more natural speed?

    euh. I play unreal on a dual core CPU. "simulating a CPU" from 1999 isn't going to do too much for you since those CPUs were pentium or better.. You might just need to patch the game properly. I've had games on dual core machines require a patch to get rid of speed instability.

    the only time you need to throttle down a game is stuff designed on pre Pentium stuff, or games that used the CPU processing speeds as a sort of timer (like Ultima)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkhan View Post
    euh. I play unreal on a dual core CPU. "simulating a CPU" from 1999 isn't going to do too much for you since those CPUs were pentium or better.. You might just need to patch the game properly. I've had games on dual core machines require a patch to get rid of speed instability.

    the only time you need to throttle down a game is stuff designed on pre Pentium stuff, or games that used the CPU processing speeds as a sort of timer (like Ultima)

    Hmm. Maybe I should try it again then. I remember when I was playing Unreal, I did get the last patch that it had, and I applied that patch, but it still just seemed like it was running at 200 frames per second or something, and it was pretty unplayable. I'll try it out again...

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    The computer I have is 500mhz and I believe it is from 1999 (maybe even 2000).

    Whatever you get, go ahead and max out the RAM (mine tops out at 384 meg).

    Possibility is infinity! You must be satisfied!

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    Quote Originally Posted by WCP View Post
    Hmm. Maybe I should try it again then. I remember when I was playing Unreal, I did get the last patch that it had, and I applied that patch, but it still just seemed like it was running at 200 frames per second or something, and it was pretty unplayable. I'll try it out again...
    lol I wonder if maybe the original time you played it is was just going sooooo slooooooow because your computer wasn't able to handle it!


    Google like "Unreal dual core patch" or something.

    http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=983781

    something like that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WCP View Post
    Doesn't GOG and Steam take those original games and run them in a special emulator that helps slow them down to a more natural speed?
    You might be thinking of Gametap. I believe GOG.com does use DOSBox for its DOS games (as it would be pretty much a necessity). Steam also uses DOSBox for some things, but aside from that there is no "special emulator" involved.

    As Steam is still selling Unreal, there are almost certainly patches available for it that will make it run on a typical PC. Steam doesn't have a monopoly on these things (at least as far as non-Valve software is concerned).

    Quote Originally Posted by WCP View Post
    Hmm. Maybe I should try it again then. I remember when I was playing Unreal, I did get the last patch that it had, and I applied that patch, but it still just seemed like it was running at 200 frames per second or something, and it was pretty unplayable. I'll try it out again...
    You realize that if it was actually running at 200 frames per second, your monitor would have to be refreshing at 200 frames per second?
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post

    You realize that if it was actually running at 200 frames per second, your monitor would have to be refreshing at 200 frames per second?
    Lol... Yeah, Obviously I'm exaggerating a wee bit. The bottom line is that it was running WAY faster than it should have been. It was like my character was Flash or something.

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    Actually, the game logic could be running at 200 fps while the screen is operating much slower. If that wasn't the case then the answer to running the game slower could be as simple as turning down the refresh rate of your monitor(some old games did work this way).
    "Game programmers are generally lazy individuals. That's right. It's true. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Since the dawn of computer games, game programmers have looked for shortcuts to coolness." Kurt Arnlund - Game programmer for Activision, Accolade...

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    Quote Originally Posted by WCP View Post
    Around Spring of 1996, I built my first gaming PC. I'm not 100 percent positive, but I'm pretty sure it was based around a Pentium 200mmx and a Voodoo card. I went on to upgrade and build new PC's every so often, and continued to play PC games till the release of the Sega Dreamcast in September of 1999. After that, my interest in PC gaming basically died.

    I've got those nostalgic feelings for playing some PC games from 1996 to 1999. Basically, from the time 3D accelerators first appeared on the scene, until the launch of the Dreamcast.

    Games I'd like to play again:

    Quake
    Descent
    System Shock
    Phantasmagoria
    Carmageddon
    Dark Forces 2 - Jedi Knight
    Tomb Raider
    Tomb Raider 2
    Moto Racer
    Descent 2
    MDK
    Blade Runner
    Interstate 76
    Pod
    Unreal (the original)
    Half-Life
    Thief
    SiN
    GPolice
    Assault Rigs
    Quake 2
    Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now


    Those are a few of the games that come to mind, but I'm sure there are a ton of others. Basically, I would like to be able to play these games at max settings, and have them run as smooth and natural as possible. I have no idea what motherboard, cpu and which video card I should go with to accomplish this. I was thinking of two voodoo cards in SLI mode, but I don't know which voodoo cards to get. I'm guessing I should try to find a PC Gamer magazine from 1999, and try to see what was considered a kick ass gaming rig back at that point in time. I'm guessing I would want to have Windows 98: SE as my operating system.

    Does anybody have any suggestions?
    If you want a system fast enough to handle anything from that time period, and you want something reliable, here is a list of stuff for you with some links for some stuff ebay wise:

    AMD Slot A Athlon cpu from 600-700MHZ speed wise (make sure you get one with a cooler attached):
    http://cgi.ebay.com/AMD-Athlon-600Mh...item335ae7f15a

    Gateway Kadoka Slot A motherboard (does not rely on electrolytic capacitors, very durable):
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Gateway-Kadoka-O...item3caa15dbf0

    3DFX Banshee:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Ensoniq-GB1000-A...item4839b4a3aa

    http://cgi.ebay.com/MaxiGamer-Phoeni...item563a4c1d99

    3DFX Voodoo 3:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/3DFX-VOODOO-3-16...item33594f72f1

    TNT2 Ultra, Geforce 256, or Geforce 2 GTS/Ultra will also cover the graphics card area also. Prices on them vary on ebay. The 256 came in Sdram and DDR Sgram flavors, so if you planned to gun for one, try to find a DDR one as its a bit faster.

    Soundblaster PCI Live or Live Value:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Creative-Sound-B...item3caad0dba3

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Soundblaster-Liv...item5191199bc6

    DVD or decent CD-R drive will run you around $25 after shipping.
    256 megs of PC133 Sdram maybe $10 at the most. 40 gig ATA 133 hard drive will run around $20 after shipping.

    Rocketfish 550 watt power supply (excellent and reliable, and wont even begin to break a sweat powering all the above, and it has cord management):
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Rocketfish-550-W...item2559529348

    A cheap old lan card will run 5 to 10 bucks.

    Full size to medium size ATX PC case can run cheap, between $30-50 with shipping. Windows 98Se or ME will get you by either way. On any used CPU or graphics card you get, be prepared to swap out the fans if the part is used. Most gpus from back then that had fans used 40mm size fans. Cpu fans on slot A coolers tended to be 40 to 60mm.
    Last edited by PC-ENGINE HELL; 03-10-2010 at 10:05 PM.

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    Today I actually tried playing Quake (the first one), on my current PC. The game runs perfectly fine. It was pretty enjoyable experience overall playing it. I think I'll just try running a bunch of these games on my current PC, and just see if they run ok. Maybe I don't really need to build a specific 1999,2000 era PC after all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WCP View Post
    Maybe I don't really need to build a specific 1999,2000 era PC after all.
    You sure the hell dont! The only thing that has changed aside from faster CPUs and moar rams, and the obvious advances in graphics hardware, is the OS.

    New video cards, sound cards, etc, are all legacy compatible and you should be able to play just about anything from the win98 era on a new machine.

    Youll run into some hiccups on some games and have to fiddle around to get it to run, but yeah.... that happened BITD too.


    I just ran Betrayal at Krondor, Descent 1, Lords of the Realm 2, Quake 1, and Unreal on my one newer machine, all perfectly.:

    AMD dual core cpu
    4gb RAM
    SLI'd video cards (DirectX 10!!11112233445)

    Windows 7

    yes, SEVEN.

    even diablo 2 on the internet worked!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkhan View Post
    New video cards, sound cards, etc, are all legacy compatible
    Heck no! There are apparently tremendous compatibility problems with NVidia drivers newer than 77.x, and said drivers are needed if you have one of the newer NVidia cards. NVidia might have finally fixed that recently, though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WCP View Post
    Quake
    Dark Forces 2 - Jedi Knight
    Unreal (the original)
    Half-Life
    SiN
    Quake 2
    All of these have been released via Steam, and work perfectly on modern systems. Many have been patched to run in newer systems (though you can't use the Wages of SiN expansion with the Steam version.) The Quake games do -not- have CD audio, but you can use a Windows engine port to run the games that way, and even use MP3/FLAC rips of the audio tracks.

    Interstate 76
    Descent
    Phantasmagoria
    Descent 2
    MDK
    You can get all of these from GOG.com for cheap, or you can install them on modern systems with DOSBox.

    I haven't dealt with the other games, but apparently Blade Runner runs on Windows XP and 7, but not Vista.
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    My current rig runs all those games well:

    Pentium 233 MMX
    128mb RAM
    20gb hard drive (ok, not period correct lol)
    ATI Radeon 7000 64mb PCI
    3com 10/100 PCI ethernet
    SB AWE64 ISA sound card
    Internal stereo speakers
    14" LCD on the case

    Quote Originally Posted by flack
    This thread is like Ultimate Fighting for retards.

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    I'm torn about what OS to use for games from this era... I have 95, 98 (not SE), and ME available.

    Here's my expected build:
    AMD 1400 chip (I forget the name, runs either 1050 or 1400mhz)
    512mb DDR 333
    3dfx Voodoo 3 2000 AGP (maybe a 3000 with TV out if my eBay offer goes through)
    Sound Blaster Live (gives me EAX...)
    160gb IDE

    Is this overkill, or should I just set up my Pentium II 266 for a dual-boot? I'm trying to shift that one to DOS and early Windows, but the framerates on 1999-era stuff aren't perfect.

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