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My retro Win98 build discussion.

by Lam3r0iD / December 3, 2017 8:54 PM PST

Hiya to everyone. Right now I'm building a vintage PC with those specs:

Motherboard: Acorp 6A815 ver. 1.0
CPU: Intel Pentium III 933 MHz
RAM: 160 MB PC133 (128+32)
Video card: ATI Radeon 7500 AGP x4 128 MB VRAM
HDD: Western Digital WD400 IDE 40 GB
CD drive: TEAC 552E 52x CD-ROM with CD-RW support
PCI sound card, not really concerned on which one exactly just yet
10/100 Mbps PCI network card
OS: Windows 98 SE

Let's discuss how much such machine can handle. Also, even though this computer is mainly intended for nostalgia purposes and old games, I want to give it an ability to do some non-heavy modern tasks. Like install KernelEx to run versions of some applications that are newer than the ones officially supported by Win98, and set a page file to add some additional memory over the physical 160 megabytes - by the way, how big the page file for such specs should be?

Feel free to post your thoughts Wink

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Needs driver files.
by James Denison / December 3, 2017 9:51 PM PST

I don't see it listed as a Win98 motherboard, so doubt there are w98 driver files for it.

Automatic driver update for Acorp 6A815
OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10


Also a RAM limit. I remember running 1.5 GB RAM max with it, but that was only after I installed it, added a memory management program that extended the RAM usage allowed, and then put the extra RAM in. Otherwise it faced a 512MB RAM limit. Since that motherboard had only 2 RAM slots and didn't use ECC and DRAM was limited to 512MB max size DRAM, I used a trick. I put the 512 MB stick in the first slot, and it read the SPD from it, and I put an 1GB ECC DRAM in the second slot and it used that like it was the non-ECC DRAM.
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/304943/computer-may-reboot-continuously-with-more-than-1-5-gb-of-ram

http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/118097-day-to-day-running-win-9xme-with-more-than-1-gib-ram/

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Re: Needs driver files.
by Lam3r0iD / December 5, 2017 4:14 AM PST
In reply to: Needs driver files.

I'm actually quite surprised that it has drivers for Windows Vista and newer, and especially Windows 10 which would have resource issues with even the maximum of resources that this board can support. It is just not designed for such old hardware. Windows 98 was still common back when this mobo came out, but the mobo itself was long irrelevant by the time Windows 10 came in.

For the RAM: I was not talking about a gig or more of RAM in sticks because I ONLY have sticks for 128 and 32 megs of RAM. I was talking about how big should the PAGEFILE be.

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I would make the pagefile
by James Denison / December 5, 2017 4:41 AM PST

about another 256 MB in size.

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160 MB of hardware RAM+256 MB of software RAM=
by Lam3r0iD / December 5, 2017 5:11 AM PST

416 MB of overall RAM. I think that oughta be enough for most pre-mid '00s games, some light web browsing and stuff. Considering we also have a 933 MHz CPU, a 128 MB video card and a 7200 RPM HDD I think there shouldn't be too many performance issues.

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Just remember a term
by James Denison / December 5, 2017 5:53 AM PST
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I found a good pdf on similar (same?) motherboard
by James Denison / December 5, 2017 6:06 AM PST
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I don't think you could even run...
by James Denison / December 5, 2017 4:44 AM PST

...Puppy Linux on that without larger RAM. DSL might, but I think that's quit being developed.

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CD drive: TEAC 552E 52x CD-ROM with CD-RW support
by James Denison / December 3, 2017 9:55 PM PST

You will need to set that up in config.sys and autoexec.bat using the oakcdrom.sys (I think that was the name for generic that worked for all CD drives). You will need to know how to set up the MSCDEX.EXE file too.

https://www.computerhope.com/mscdex.htm

You will need to find manufacture driver files for the sound card, the video card, and the network card.

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For Win98. nod to 0.5GB
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 5, 2017 7:20 AM PST

If you want to avoid odd Out Of Memory messages. This was indeed a bug in the apps but the reason for the sub 2.0GB memory was due to the memory mapping had to be open for devices below the 2GB ceiling. There will be folk claim they ran with more. If you want the true W98 experience without side trips down "why isn't it working" start with the 0.5GB RAM setup.

Another limit was the HDD size of 32GB. There were ways to get to 64GB but again, if this is just for retro use, 32GB and smaller for a setup that apps and games expected then.

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