I really like playing a lot of older video games, particularly the old Tomb Raider games. I've come to see though that they don't quite function properly in newer operating systems like windows 7 or 8. I set out to build the best Windows 98 PC I could to replay these wonderful games once again. I ran into quite a few snags along the way though, most of them stemming from the fact that Windows 98 is a very unstable operating system. I actually had to delete and reinstall Windows four or five times to get it right. I decided to use a Geforce 6800 GTO (a part that was only available OEM out of Dell systems but performs somewhat better than the 6800 GT). My first issue was that the video driver (from Nvidia's website, for this card and this OS) didn't recognize the GPU. Luckily this was a relatively simple fix, I just had to determine the device id and add it to the .ini file. The next big issue was that the sound card on the motherboard does not have a driver for Windows 98 (no real surprise there) so I needed a dedicated sound card. Unfortunately when I got a 98 supported sound card it died after 3 hours. So I ended up ordering a different sound card through eBay. When I tried to install the drivers though it claimed it performed illegal operations and such and messed up the video immediately after the installation. At the next boot however the sound came on and worked fine. Playing these wonderful games is definitely worth the time and effort though, especially to see Tomb Raider II in full 1080p.
I didn't actually spend a lot on this computer, partially on patience and research, but very much on luck.
I bought the Case + 300W PSU + 250GB SATA HDD (which is used to dual boot it with Windows XP) + DVD reader + case fans off of craigslist for $25 (it had a POS MB with AMD Athlon 64 3500+ that I didn't need).
I got the Floppy Drive + 20GB IDE HDD + 2 Dell 17" 1280*1024 CRT monitors for free off of craigslist (was in an optiplex GX150)
The PS2 Keyboard + PS2 Mouse + 512MB DDR2-533 + Heatsink I got from my mom's 8 year old HP Media Center 7170N. (I upgraded it from a pentium D830 to a pentium G645 and 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3-1333 and would have used the Asus MB from that for this but it and the pentium D830 were fried by a cheap PSU.)
The E6400 was on eBay for $21.
The Asus P5N-E SLI was eBay again for $65.65.
The 6800 GTO I got for $30 from eBay.
The Sound Blaster Live! Value CT4870 Was also from eBay for 9.63.
I got really lucky when I was talking a little about this to my computer science teacher at school and he was willing to give me an old copy of Windows 98 Second Edition he (like most people) had no use for. He unfortunately did not supply a product key. I was lucky enough however that the Optiplex GX150 I got for free had a key stuck to the top of it for Windows 98 Second Edition.
Right now I have to switch the RAM manually to boot into Windows XP with 3GB of RAM because Windows 98 starts messing up if there is more than 512MB installed. I followed one of the fixes to this once and it worked, until Windows 98, being so unstable, inevitably messed up and I had to reinstall it; now I can't get it to work the same with a lot of RAM. It's okay though because I really mostly want Windows 98 operational so I can play these games on the OS they were intended for.
I don't have a proper bezel for the floppy drive because the optiplex had a 5.25" cover for it where the drive was offset to the side.
I was initially planning to use 2 6800 GTOs in SLI but I noticed only after I purchased the motherboard that it is missing the Asus SLI Quick Selector. I may still do it at some point but not for a while.
The biggest nuisance of Windows 98 is that it expects a dial up modem to connect to the internet so I have not been able to connect it through a regular cable modem, If anyone knows of a way please comment, but it isn't really that important.
Also I forgot to put on there that I bought 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2-533 on amazon for $15
I feel like I got all of the important angles on the computer but let me know if you want to see something not pictured above. (I will post pictures of Tomb Raider II in Full HD eventually.)
(I realize that I put the heatsink on there twice and IDK why the pictures are rotated, please don't beat me up about it.)