Building a cheap Windows 98 and DOS Retro Gaming PC with AMD Athlon 64 processor

We are building a Retro Gaming PC with the AMD Athlon 64 processor. The machine will run Windows 98 and DOS games with working Adlib and Sound Blaster sound. We will go over all the computer components, installing the drivers and we have benchmark results for Windows and DOS. I also cover power draw, CPU and GPU bottlenecks, Anti aliasing and An isotropic filtering and we will attempt to get Wing Commander to run at the correct speed. All parts are fairly cheap and easy to obtain!

FX 5900 XT provided by Electromyne:
Online store:
20% discount code: PHILSCOMPUTERLAB

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20 thoughts on “Building a cheap Windows 98 and DOS Retro Gaming PC with AMD Athlon 64 processor”

  1. Makochan143 says:

    I managed to get wing commander running "fine" on a xeon e3 1280 v5. I have ubuntu 8 installed with pci passthrough via kqemu with different video cards like the gtx 1070, geforce 3, VooDoo 2, and the diamond edge 3d 3240 all on the same mobo. I currently run all operating systems (windows 10, XP, 98, 3.11) at the same time with different monitors.

    Took me about 90+ man hours to get it all working, but I have one computer to rule them all.

  2. I owned a custom built Athlon 64 setup back in the day; it was a great gaming PC. It was the first PC I owned where the processor lasted me a good 2 1/2 years before I had to upgrade it. I did eventually upgrade the video card, but that’s all I had to do.

  3. linoxyard says:

    Also, if you want EAX support, the onboard sound chip AD1988 SoundMAX on that motherboard has an excellent implementation of the EAX and the EAX 2.0 technologies

  4. linoxyard says:

    The ESS is really good. The Aureal Vortex 2 might be more compatible, but it has that awful 12kHz cutoff. I wish there was a way to disable it

  5. great machine! how would a AMD Athlon 64 3400+ would differ from tha Athlon 64 3000?

  6. Ratto Poika says:

    Athlon 64 2800+ with Geforce 4400 was my 2nd computer ever and the first one that was bought new. Brings back memories

  7. The Gmork says:

    Sir, you have inspired me! The oldest and slowest PC I own is a Sony 233 mhz box that originally came with Windows 98. A neighbor was trashing it and I'm not 100% sure if it is complete but between that and some other components I've scavenged I'm going to see if I can get it running DOS / Win 3.1 and if I am really feeling ambitious a dual boot option for Windows 95. I think it is both hilarious and awesome that 486 and early Pentium PCs seem to be becoming more and more sought after while you can't give away something from the XP era like an Athlon X2 that can run Windows 10 comfortably as a daily driver.

  8. Twintania says:

    My retro gaming PC is not terribly old but I grew up with it I love it- Windows XP Athlon XP 2200+ 1.5GB Ram and a FX 5200 but I have a AMD card for it. I also am using a soundblaster sound card for it

  9. Paul Donald says:

    Phil do you sell retro PC's on ebay? If yes can I have the link?

  10. krugtech says:

    That was kind of a childish move, blocking me from the retro facebook group, what did I do besides stand up for myself? Good luck, I don't need you. Keep your head in the sand.

  11. dr-nerd says:

    Great, clear build vid, thanks for this, I feel inspired to get on with my own builds!

  12. I am trying to ressurec my pcchips to use my amd duron to make a retro pc like that.
    Until now, it doesnt even give any signal of life

  13. Nice one! I just refurbished an old Compaq desktop with the ESS Solo-1 es1938s chipset onboard. It had no problems in DOS but I can attest to the ESS Solo-1 Windows drivers being a problem. I’ll give the Terratec ones a try. :)

  14. I had an Athlon XP 2500+ 98SE build with a Radeon 9200SE, 512 MB DDR 400 memory in dual channel, 120 GB hard drive. That system flew! Too bad the board failed in a few months, it was rather nice for later games.

  15. if running this with 1-2 gb of ram can it still run modern task acceptably well in say windows Xp, 7, and or Linux? (480p/720p youtube, microsoft office, facebook, modern websites with modest javascript, etc)

    My dad used my cheap "high school" computer that I used from 2005-2008 until 2012 and it could run things acceptably well until then even youtube, although not today in 2018. I say this because my high school pc was a piece of junk compared to a athlon 64 3200. (the athlon 64 3200 was infact my dream build of 2005 because it would have been relatively affordable 😀 )

    My junk high school pc: (this PC's biggest nail in the coffin is the lack of modern SSE instructions newer browsers require)
    Socket A Sempron 2500+ 1.75ghz
    768mb ddr 333mhz memory
    256 mb ati radeon 9550 (easily overclockable to 9600 Pro speeds with Ati Tool 😀 )
    sound blast audigy platinum sound card
    80gb maxtor hdd
    Windows XP Pro

  16. Nerd Spark says:

    You deserve more subs Phil, great vid thanks mate, keep it up :)

  17. I would probably use the Sound Blaster Live! card instead. They are very cheap on Ebay ($5 plus $4 shipping, lots of them available) and they have good DOS drivers and work well under Windows 98.

  18. Behemothtek says:

    Seeing this has made me realize that I don't need to go looking for an old 486 system, I can indeed build something a little more recent to play all my old games again on actual hardware rather than using emulation. I suspect I have everything I need and won't actually need to buy anything to get going either :)

  19. And here we have 7 dislike trolls.
    Good indepth video video Phill.
    Do you have any experience with the Audigy 2 ZS and SB Live PCI cards in DOS ? DO they work in DOS with most games?And which works best with DOS emulated drivers?
    Do DOS have any issues with a 512 memory stick? (I don't have smaller in DDR)
    I might be converting my A64 PC to WIn98 instead of XP. But now.. looks like it might work in DOS as well? (But my old 6.22/ Pentium 133 is not going anywhere :)
    Will build a C2D E6600 /4GB RAM / 8800GT PCI-E to handle WinXP instead. That should eat any WIn XP games up to 2008 on max settings – except Crysis! :)
    Also regarding videocard. My 7600 AGP looks like have to be switched with my Geforce 6600 AGP. That does work in 98.
    From Grforce 7xxx upwards.. no WIn98 support in drivers.
    Retro building is time consuming… All be aware!
    (Thank god..I have the best most patient GF in the world!! – well she have to be to be with me – because I'm not changing my passion) :)

  20. How you deal the frequent problem with – high-speed processor on the old system = "floating point zero divide" ? Many programs or games running on fast CPU causes the appearance of such an announcement

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