I've been attempting to recreate a late 90s PC for the purposes of native retro gaming/application use and also a bit of fun.

To begin I've obtained a Gigabyte GA-5AA Socket 7 Motherboard, this was bundled with a AMD K-2 500, NVidia Geforce MX-400 GPU, a C-Media Soundcard and 256 MB RAM.

Setting up the hardware was fine, and I got away to formatting a 6GB Western Digital IDE Drive and setting up the partitions. Oddly this had a very old version of Linux Mint on this.

For ease I used a copy of the Win9x collection (a bootable ISO holding Windows 95, 98, 98SE, ME and some additional tools), and got away to installing Windows 98SE.

Installation was fine and took about 15-20 minutes.

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Strangely my serial mouse was undetected and PS/2 mouse via USB adapter was neither working... So keyboard only for now.

Windows 98SE was now booting and was missing a couple of drivers for the NVidia card and sound card. So off to install those!

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With some success with the nvidia drivers, hurray 32bit colours!
And endless errors and a BSOD from the C-Media drivers (que "In the Hall of the Mountain King" playing in the background), I was mostly there.

Upon a reboot I met my first real snag. The machine stopped POSTing! Turns out one of the RAM DIMMS had died, removed it and off we went with half the memory that I had before.

Overall for now not bad but could improve, not having a motherboard with actual PS/2 and USB connectors is a little challenging.

The GA-5AA motherboard itself had been interesting to setup. Cables were provided for the Mouse PS/2 motherboard header and serial connector for the Comm ports so it was ready to go, just a matter of enabling the headers in the BIOS.

Issues

As noted previously above this initial experience has not been without it's issues, I'll list the issues below:

  • The serial mouse will not work with the Comm port, could be that the mouse had died.
  • The mouse PS/2 port I can't confirm is currently functioning with the USB mouse via PS/2 to USB adapter (though the mouse is powered).

But an actual PS/2 mouse is probably the way to go and fingers crossed it works!

  • A stick of RAM had died.

128MB of the RAM has died from the total of 256MB but nothing that I wouldn't expect with RAM of this age but, 128MB is still plenty for Windows 98SE.

Additional items being obtained later:

  • NEC USB PCI card (2.0 and 1.1 standards), for USB under Windows 98SE.
  • Intel 100/Pro Network PCI card, for LAN connectivity.
  • PS/2 Mouse