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Thread: Past-proof PC?

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    He doesn't need Windows 10 Guntz. Windows 8.1 would do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post
    I think part of the problem though is that its looking like he'll need two computers, and one will have the potential to cover the earlier era anyway so he might as well go for it.

    I remember asking something similar on Vogons and that's pretty much what they told me.

    Here's that topic: http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=41593

    It might help him, but essentially what I remember is that you'll need an XP machine for games from 199-2007-ish and then everything past that will need a second machine.

    That'a why I suggested a dual-boot system. I did that with a Q9650 and a couple of GTX 460s in Sli back in 2010. I would run older stuff like the original StarCraft (DX8)with the Windows XP side, and games like Crysis 2 on the Windows 7 side with DX11.
    Last edited by Gamevet; 10-20-2016 at 01:34 PM.

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    If he wants his computer to have any future-proofing, he'll want to use Windows 10. But yes, 8.1 will also work.

    Your dual boot suggestion has a fatal flaw, in the form of UEFI and GPT. These are modern replacements for BIOS and MBR, respectively. If you see the term "Secure Boot" in your PC's "BIOS" settings, then you have a UEFI-equipped PC. It's being marketed under the pretense of being more secure, all that's really happening is soon you will have no choice but to use Windows 10 (or 8.1 for a limited time). You won't get older Windows or Linux due to Secure Boot. Even if you disable Secure Boot (which may not be possible in the future), you will still have to deal with the headache that is GPT. Windows 7 supports it, but GPT is difficult to work with. Windows XP has no support for GPT.

    If you want to avoid UEFI and GPT, you will have to use older, "outdated" hardware. If you want the latest and greatest, you are again restricted to Windows 10's legacy support, a Virtual Machine program or a 2nd older physical PC, much like how we all keep original consoles.
    Last edited by Guntz; 10-20-2016 at 01:55 PM.

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    He didn't ask for future proof. He cuts it off at last year.

    I also ran that dual boot with an Asus p8-z68 Pro board with a 2500K in 2012. Honestly, he really doesn't need Windows XP. He can run 2 Windows 7/8.1 partitions, with one using the older versions of DX for compatibilty for those late 90s and early 2000 titles, and the other operating system with the more up to date DX drivers.
    Last edited by Gamevet; 10-20-2016 at 02:18 PM.

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    Actually, his cut-off is 2013.

    The way I see it, being a fan of vintage hardware and software, playing Windows 9x games on WinNT should be considered the same as backwards compatibility on home consoles. For example, the PS2 can play a lot of PS1 games, but not all. I think the Salamander Deluxe Pack doesn't work on the PS2, there's also a Colin McCrae Rally game that isn't PS2 compatible.

    Why do I say this? Because Win9x and WinNT aren't the same thing. It's why WinNT doesn't have perfect legacy support. It's good, but not complete. In the context of playing late 90s Windows games, setting up a PC with Win98SE or ME should be perfectly acceptable and not be stigmatized. It's pretty much the same thing as setting up a PC for pure MS-DOS.

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    He bumped it up to 2015 in post #2.

    http://forum.digitpress.com/forum/sh...=1#post2041945

    I wouldn't run those old low-Rez 2D games on an LCD. They look really bad on a 1080p display.



    Alright. I've read up on GPT. It's not a big deal, if you backup your boot drive. I don't even care about it myself, because I don't partition my drives anymore. My main rig has 3 SSDs and an HDD and my secondary rig has 1 SSD (boot) and 2 HDDs for storage. I didn't even partition the drives (windows will automatically allocate a partition for recovery) to do the dual-boot system back then. I used two 500 GB HDDs with one being the XP side and the other being the Windows 7 side.

    http://www.howtogeek.com/193669/what...oning-a-drive/
    Last edited by Gamevet; 10-20-2016 at 05:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamevet View Post
    That'a why I suggested a dual-boot system. I did that with a Q9650 and a couple of GTX 460s in Sli back in 2010. I would run older stuff like the original StarCraft (DX8)with the Windows XP side, and games like Crysis 2 on the Windows 7 side with DX11.
    There's still a potential hiccup with that though: the hardware.

    Let's say you have a very advanced video card that handles Crysis 2 like a champ.... but then, oops, the Windows XP partition doesn't recognize it. Or perhaps the actual games don't.

    Then again the idea mentioned elsewhere of just having two Win7 boot partitions might work.

    Still, if I were the OP I would instead build an XP machine for games from 1999-2006 then worry about later games.... well... later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post
    There's still a potential hiccup with that though: the hardware.

    Let's say you have a very advanced video card that handles Crysis 2 like a champ.... but then, oops, the Windows XP partition doesn't recognize it. Or perhaps the actual games don't.

    Then again the idea mentioned elsewhere of just having two Win7 boot partitions might work.

    Still, if I were the OP I would instead build an XP machine for games from 1999-2006 then worry about later games.... well... later.
    It's as easy as swapping out your video card. It's still much better than having 2 PCs vying for you desk space. I do know this though; I could remove my GTX 780 Classified from my main rig, and throw in my old GTS 250, and it would work fine with Nvidia's drivers.

    I don't think that having a modern graphics card, or sound card, would be a problem though. Origin hands out free old games all the time that are running through DOS Box. They've ran fine so far, though I think some of that old stuff wound be better on a crt. The problems I've had with running older games usually had to do with Direct X not supporting some of the features of older DX titles, and that is where having a secondary operating system with older drivers works out better.

    I do have an old PCI NVidia FX-5200 Ultra I could throw in my 2009 HP Pavilion PC (Windows 7), to see if it would actually work with NVidia's modern drivers. The Intel onboard graphics could pretty much run anything from before 2000 quite easily though.
    Last edited by Gamevet; 10-21-2016 at 09:11 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamevet View Post
    It's as easy as swapping out your video card.
    Which requires disabling your card's drivers so they won't conflict, then opening your computer up, removing screws, putting the new card in, re-inserting the screws (including the screws for the computer case itself unless you leave it open), and installing the drivers for the new card, and then doing final tweaks to make sure they don't conflict with anything and are working perfectly.

    Well actually, maybe nowadays the experience is more streamlined, but this is how I always remembered it working and its one reason I prefer building PCs with a specific intent rather than having them be modular.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post
    Which requires disabling your card's drivers so they won't conflict, then opening your computer up, removing screws, putting the new card in, re-inserting the screws (including the screws for the computer case itself unless you leave it open), and installing the drivers for the new card, and then doing final tweaks to make sure they don't conflict with anything and are working perfectly.

    Well actually, maybe nowadays the experience is more streamlined, but this is how I always remembered it working and its one reason I prefer building PCs with a specific intent rather than having them be modular.
    You don't have to disable your video drivers, if you are using the older card on the XP side. The XP side will have the drivers for the old card, while the Windows 7/8.1/10 side will have the drivers for the modern card. Windows will use it default drivers the 1st time you install the card, so it's just a matter of installing the drivers for that 1st time. I believe that any game made after 1998 will run fine on the most modern PC, it's just that those older titles don't behave right with Direct X 11, and that is where a secondary operating system with an older version of DX is necessary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamevet View Post
    and throw in my old GTS 250
    OLD? The GTS 250 isn't that old! I have one and it's still pretty damn advanced even for today's computing. Then again, I despise Steam, so that alone makes even modest video cards usable.

    I got a Thinkpad X40 I will be putting Windows ME on. It will likely have nearly the same hardware as the T42 and similar Pentium M Thinkpads. The only downside is the X40 seems to only ship with Intel Extreme Graphics 2. Yeah, it's not a great video chipset by any stretch, but it should work for my late 90s / early 2000s purposes just fine. Besides, even a 1.2GHz Pentium M is still pretty fast for Win9x. The main draw here is a 12" Win9x laptop.

    Although yes one could put WinXP on any decent Pentium M machine, I find it a waste of Win9x support which is hard to find in laptops. Usually, if you find a machine with a Pentium M (and therefore an Intel 845 or 855 mobo chipset), odds are good it'll have either an Intel, Nvidia or ATi video chipset with Win9x drivers. IBM often used SoundMAX for their Thinkpads, which has Win9x support. Dell usually has Sigmatel audio, again it works with Win9x. The only tricky part of any recent laptop and Win9x is getting Ethernet/Wi-Fi drivers. They are hard to find, but do exist.
    Last edited by Guntz; 11-05-2016 at 11:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guntz View Post
    OLD? The GTS 250 isn't that old! I have one and it's still pretty damn advanced even for today's computing. Then again, I despise Steam, so that alone makes even modest video cards usable.
    It's pretty much a 9800 GTX+ and both are based around the 8800 GTS. It's 8 years old now, and the 8800 GTS is even older. The card struggled to run the original Crysis on high settings and I'm pretty sure that it would have a hard time running the likes of Crysis 3 on low settings @ 720p.


    I got a Thinkpad X40 I will be putting Windows ME on. It will likely have nearly the same hardware as the T42 and similar Pentium M Thinkpads. The only downside is the X40 seems to only ship with Intel Extreme Graphics 2. Yeah, it's not a great video chipset by any stretch, but it should work for my late 90s / early 2000s purposes just fine. Besides, even a 1.2GHz Pentium M is still pretty fast for Win9x. The main draw here is a 12" Win9x laptop.

    Although yes one could put WinXP on any decent Pentium M machine, I find it a waste of Win9x support which is hard to find in laptops. Usually, if you find a machine with a Pentium M (and therefore an Intel 845 or 855 mobo chipset), odds are good it'll have either an Intel, Nvidia or ATi video chipset with Win9x drivers. IBM often used SoundMAX for their Thinkpads, which has Win9x support. Dell usually has Sigmatel audio, again it works with Win9x. The only tricky part of any recent laptop and Win9x is getting Ethernet/Wi-Fi drivers. They are hard to find, but do exist.
    I have an old Dell laptop with Windows XP Pro that I had used to play the original StarCraft while I was on the road. It has a Celeron M and @ 2 GB of RAM. There is one old game that didn't run well on my Core2Quad rig, or the modern rigs that I own, and that title is Atari Anniversary Edition. It may work if I use core affinity, but I think I ran into issues when trying to do so. A single core laptop would probably be better suited for that kind of game.
    Last edited by Gamevet; 11-06-2016 at 12:18 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamevet View Post
    I have an old Dell laptop with Windows XP Pro that I had used to play the original StarCraft while I was on the road. It has a Celeron M and @ 2 GB of RAM. There is one old game that didn't run well on my Core2Quad rig, or the modern rigs that I own, and that title is Atari Anniversary Edition. It may work if I use core affinity, but I think I ran into issues when trying to do so. A single core laptop would probably be better suited for that kind of game.
    Celeron anything is a cost reduced version of a comparable Pentium chip. I've had a few Celeron-type machines, but they're really bottom of the barrel in terms of functionality. It's not so bad if you can use a lightwieght OS like Windows 2000 or some variety of 9x, but some Celeron machines don't have driver support for older OSes, so their usefulness is compromised.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guntz View Post
    Celeron anything is a cost reduced version of a comparable Pentium chip. I've had a few Celeron-type machines, but they're really bottom of the barrel in terms of functionality. It's not so bad if you can use a lightwieght OS like Windows 2000 or some variety of 9x, but some Celeron machines don't have driver support for older OSes, so their usefulness is compromised.

    I have an old HP computer that has a 2 Ghz Celeron. It was the Northwood-128 based on the Northwood Pentium 4. The only difference between the 2 chips was that the 256k of L2 cache from the P4 was reduced to 128k on the Celeron. It had all of the other features of the P4 chip though.

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    The L2 cache (along with L1) is pretty critical to any x86 CPU. Try disabling them sometime, the CPU will be utterly crippled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guntz View Post
    The L2 cache (along with L1) is pretty critical to any x86 CPU. Try disabling them sometime, the CPU will be utterly crippled.
    I'm well aware of that. My i5-2500k only has 6MB of L3 catch, compared to the i7-2600k's 8 MB. My Q9650 has 12MB of L2 catch compared to the Q6600's 8MB and will perform better than the Q6600 at the same clock speed, but the Q6600 was still no slouch.

    That Celeron I have performs somewhere between a P3 and a P4. There were older Pentium 4s that had as little L2 catch as that Celeron. It was good enough to run the likes of Halo and Star Wars: Empire at War with an FX5200 Ultra. It wasn't a gimped as a lot of those Celerons were, especially the laptop versions, but the laptop Pentium M was gimped as well.
    Last edited by Gamevet; 11-07-2016 at 10:41 PM.

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    Did i see stone one suggest installing windows me for legacy support?

    Why would some one do this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamevet View Post
    I'm well aware of that. My i5-2500k only has 6MB of L3 catch, compared to the i7-2600k's 8 MB. My Q9650 has 12MB of L2 catch compared to the Q6600's 8MB and will perform better than the Q6600 at the same clock speed, but the Q6600 was still no slouch.

    That Celeron I have performs somewhere between a P3 and a P4. There were older Pentium 4s that had as little L2 catch as that Celeron. It was good enough to run the likes of Halo and Star Wars: Empire at War with an FX5200 Ultra. It wasn't a gimped as a lot of those Celerons were, especially the laptop versions, but the laptop Pentium M was gimped as well.
    Some Celeron-brand CPUs are definitely usable, they just tend to be pointless when better CPUs for any given socket are easy enough to get.

    The Pentium M is hardly gimped, it's based on the Pentium III and is therefore a good CPU. Obviously, it's not as good as a C2D or other newer CPUs, but if you want to use something older than Windows XP, you're at the mercy of that all important driver support. C2D systems (laptops in particular) rarely have full Win9x support.

    Quote Originally Posted by Niku-Sama View Post
    Did i see stone one suggest installing windows me for legacy support?

    Why would some one do this?
    Because Windows ME (OEM version) is good?

    For years I bought into the Windows ME urban legend too, but then I actually tried it. I downloaded an OEM install disc, installed it on a few different systems and found it to be an excellent OS. It boots faster than Windows 98 SE, it has more built-in drivers, it has USB mass storage support built in, it has a faster and more refined Win32 layer and still has the 16-bit subsystem and MS-DOS manager for legacy support. I highly recommend Windows ME for systems too new for good DOS support, but too old for Windows XP. As in, anything with a Pentium M, or even a good Pentium III / 4 system.

    All that Windows ME really lacks is Real Mode DOS, which over the years I found to be not very useful due to a lack of drivers in pure DOS when you are depending on WDM drivers for your system. After using Windows ME for almost a year, I can conclude the common complaint "Windows ME has trouble starting, running programs and shutting down" is a complete lie. Windows ME is no more unstable than Windows 98 SE, in fact I'd say it's better. If Windows ME is unstable on your system, so will Windows 98 SE, which means you need a different system. Windows ME works beautifully on intel chipsets, it helps if you download the right chipset driver from Intel's site.

    I grabbed Windows ME from here. Be sure to get the OEM Full version, I've tried the retail disc and for some bizarre reason, you can't boot it from the BIOS.

    https://winworldpc.com/product/windows-me
    Last edited by Guntz; 11-08-2016 at 02:08 PM.

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    While I do agree that WinME gets a lot of undeserved hate, it should be noted that at least some older Maxis games such as SimTower and SimCity 2000 have a memory leak when running in WinME, but not Win95 or Win98. If I am remembering correctly this also affected SimEarth, SimLife, and I think (maybe) SimCopter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guntz View Post
    Some Celeron-brand CPUs are definitely usable, they just tend to be pointless when better CPUs for any given socket are easy enough to get.

    The Pentium M is hardly gimped, it's based on the Pentium III and is therefore a good CPU. Obviously, it's not as good as a C2D or other newer CPUs, but if you want to use something older than Windows XP, you're at the mercy of that all important driver support. C2D systems (laptops in particular) rarely have full Win9x support.
    Here's where things don't make sense though. You will be graphics bound with that laptop, before you are ever CPU bound. And for the record, I just dusted off my old Dell Latitude D610; it has the 1.73 Ghz Pentium M with 1 GB of system memory. It has Windows XP Pro and the games I played on it were the original StarCraft, Railroad Tycoon 3 and the original Fallout. I've also used it for MAME, ZSNES and K-Fusion. There's no way that thing is running anything 3D from early 2000s. I do have an IBM Thinkpad T60 that I refurbished and gave to my wife several years ago. I've never tried gaming on that Centrino Duo based laptop.

    The only reason I have that old HP Pavilion with a 2 Ghz Celeron is because it was only @ $400 in 2002. Like the laptop, it was graphics bound before I ever got close to overwhelming the CPU. Unlike the laptop, I was able to upgrade the GPU over the years from a Geforce 2 (64MB) to a Geforce 4 MX440(64Mbb) to an Geforce FX5200 Ultra (256MB). It ran Halo, Half-Life, Star Wars Galaxies, Star Wars: Jedi Knight, Sins of a Solar Empire, The Elder Scrolls 3: Marrowind, Doom 3 and Grand Theft Auto Vice City. The Intel integrated graphics (64MB) ran 3D games like crap.
    Last edited by Gamevet; 11-08-2016 at 07:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RP2A03 View Post
    While I do agree that WinME gets a lot of undeserved hate, it should be noted that at least some older Maxis games such as SimTower and SimCity 2000 have a memory leak when running in WinME, but not Win95 or Win98. If I am remembering correctly this also affected SimEarth, SimLife, and I think (maybe) SimCopter.
    Hmm, yeah I have noticed that occasionally with Windows ME, but it's only worse if you have more than 512MB RAM, not that any version of Win9x has ever needed that much RAM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamevet View Post
    Here's where things don't make sense though. You will be graphics bound with that laptop, before you are ever CPU bound. And for the record, I just dusted off my old Dell Latitude D610; it has the 1.73 Ghz Pentium M with 1 GB of system memory. It has Windows XP Pro and the games I played on it were the original StarCraft, Railroad Tycoon 3 and the original Fallout. I've also used it for MAME, ZSNES and K-Fusion. There's no way that thing is running anything 3D from early 2000s. I do have an IBM Thinkpad T60 that I refurbished and gave to my wife several years ago. I've never tried gaming on that Centrino Duo based laptop.

    The only reason I have that old HP Pavilion with a 2 Ghz Celeron is because it was only @ $400 in 2002. Like the laptop, it was graphics bound before I ever got close to overwhelming the CPU. Unlike the laptop, I was able to upgrade the GPU over the years from a Geforce 2 (64MB) to a Geforce 4 MX440(64Mbb) to an Geforce FX5200 Ultra (256MB). It ran Halo, Half-Life, Star Wars Galaxies, Star Wars: Jedi Knight, Sins of a Solar Empire, The Elder Scrolls 3: Marrowind, Doom 3 and Grand Theft Auto Vice City. The Intel integrated graphics (64MB) ran 3D games like crap.
    I don't play graphically intensive games. The closest to that would be Serious Sam First/Second Encounter and Jedi Knight II. I'm happy if a computer can run Age of Empires 1. I am a very low-power kind of user. A new 2016 PC in my hands would be wasted.

    I buy older laptops to exercise nerdy activities like proving Windows 9x can be installed on them, seeing what they are capable of and on occasion, dedicated use. I think a WinME netbook would be really sweet. Every now and then I also get laptops with exotic features, such as a Dell Latitude D600 with a 15" 1920 x 1200 monitor. This is a Pentium M system btw, with an Nvidia GeForce 4200 chipset. As expected, it's not really designed to do HD games, but the high resolution is great for things like internet and light photoshop work.

    Why laptops? Because desktops take up a lot of space, which I don't have. It is also ends up being costly to obtain desktop parts online, which is my only option. Laptops are far cheaper comparatively speaking, are portable and don't take up much space. My favorite part is the "luck of the draw" aspect. Because laptops often had multiple hardware configurations, not to mention so many makes and models exist, it's exciting to hunt down a laptop with everything you are looking for.
    Last edited by Guntz; 11-09-2016 at 12:07 PM.

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    If you have certain games in mind check and see if they have fan or official patches for Windows 7+. There are more than you could imagine. I would go with the two machine option. i5 or i7 with 970gtx if in the budget will play just about everything maxed at 1920x1080. I would go with Windows 10. I think almost everything from 2007 (vista) will work, and some older stuff randomly works. Core2Duo with XP for the second machine. Should run most other stuff. May even make a boot disk for DOS gaming, but DosBox will work on either machine. I have not tried a VM in awhile but it was too much hassle and graphic cards were not supported well enough.


    If a game does not run, search the web - someone may have found/created a solution.

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    Actually I'd avoid Windows 10. It has some compatibility problems between the switch up from 7/8.1 to it. I had some stuff that 10 would just laugh at and blue bar over and throw the wall up over that 8.1 was happy and fine with. I get loathing on the 8/8.1 interface as off tablet/phone it's awful, but that's what "Classic Shell" is for so you can re-skin the whole OS to be like 7 or even XP if you desire.

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    I've never run into any old software problems on 10

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    Kirby (Level 13) Tanooki's Avatar
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    I ran into a few, but it was stuff that already was a little bit touchy about win7/8 and they just wouldn't load up at all in 10. It's older stuff though, which seemed to apply here being a past proof PC. I'm talking 90s stuff like Sim City 2000 for windows for example.

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    Cherry (Level 1) Guntz's Avatar
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    In case anyone cares to know, I tried WinME on the Thinkpad X40 and the Intel Graphics driver couldn't properly allocate system memory for video use, so I've gone with good old Windows XP instead, works very well as expected.

    Come join us on Micro-64

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