PC for older (xp ish) games

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by HurtTown, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. HurtTown

    HurtTown Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2017
    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW
    Hi All,

    Sorry if it's been covered already but I am thinking of buying (building if I have to) for older pc games.

    I currently have a 8th gen 2080 etc build.

    If I want to play older titles, sometimes it is a bit of a stuff around.
    Can't think of many at the moment but nfs underground comes to mind.

    Some of them just work easier on single core and older video cards.

    Is there a pc that can be bought that is of that age that people use for this purpose?

    Maybe something that I can add an older graphics card to if needed.

    Pentium 3/4, early geforce etc?

    Would be running xp and kept offline.

    Any help would be appreciated
     
  2. Grant

    Grant Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Messages:
    1,544
    Location:
    Wollongong
    I think the cheapest and most abundant second-hand PCs would fit that role well, so you can pretty much go with anything you find for free or super cheap.

    Stuff from the Win98 era that later supported XP (ie. Pentium 3) is getting old enough to start creeping up in price.

    You'd be fine with an older multi core CPU like a Core 2/Phenom, and any GPU would be fine from a GeForce 2xx-6xx.

    These still supported 32-bit WinXP well, which is the main point for compatibility.
     
  3. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    65,197
    Location:
    brisbane
    unpoppular opinion but have you checked GoG for games you might want to play?

    If it's the FULL FAT old PC experience you are after that's fine I get it I own 4 Amiga's after all, just that GoG make a lot of this painless.

    NFS Underground specifically has fan made patches to get it running under modern OS's, with improvements (actually many NFS games do). Some games *just work*.

     
    okclock123 and cdtoaster like this.
  4. OP
    OP
    HurtTown

    HurtTown Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2017
    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW
    Right yeah I should of mentioned the smaller form factor the better
    and yeah a core2 duo would do the job.


    Yeah I've checked gog but there are some pains.
    Like no original mafia 1 music
    Shogo not running properly etc etc

    The need for speed thing is one of them with the necessary patching which is what I'm trying to avoid

    Just want to install and work without patching

    Are there any like dell prebuilts or something from that time that would work?
     
  5. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    43,089
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Drivers are my biggest issue in deciding hardware. Which is why if I was in your shoes, I'd use that as your goal posts instead of hardware.

    Start tracking down USB drivers, motherboard drivers, video drivers, etc from around that era. Take a look and see what hardware they support - e.g.: what the most recent video card is, etc.

    Then work backwards from there. So if you've made the decision to go with a video card that has good WinXP drivers, what cards are supported by those drivers? And what interface is that? AGP 1x/2x/4x? Then from there, what motherboards support that?

    I find people work from the hardware up, rather than the driver down, and always end up in driver hell. Hence why I recommend doing it that way.

    There are great YouTube channels like Phil's Computer Lab that look at running slightly older software on slightly more modern hardware, and Phil always ends up talking about the same thing - the drivers, and whether or not they were easy to get a hold of and run. He hosts loads of that stuff on his website too, which is great.
    https://www.philscomputerlab.com/
    https://www.youtube.com/c/philscomputerlab/search?query=windows xp

    And there's tools like "Snappy Driver Installer" which still supports WindowsXP, and can turn a real chore into something quite simple if you've got the hardware to match:
    https://sdi-tool.org/download/

    I always keep an up to date cache of those, and they can tell you a lot. For example:

    Code:
    elvis@server:/data/os/windows/drivers/SDI_RUS/drivers$ 7za l DP_Video_nVIDIA-XP_20090.7z | awk -F '/' '{print $4}' |sort | uniq
    175.19
    198.01
    307.90
    340.46_MCP
    340.52
    368.81
    368.91_iCafe
    71.84
    72.14
    93.71
    
    So they are all the WinXP Nvidia drivers in the current Snappy repo. You could look a few of those up and see what cards they support, and from there start to narrow down your choices on a given system type/configuration/age. (Only an example, if you want a different brand card, that's all cool by me).

    I can pull out any other info from the other drivers if you want. Let me know and I'll grab version numbers out of the matching 7z files and paste them in here.
     
    BiggusDickus likes this.
  6. hutts24

    hutts24 Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2016
    Messages:
    111
    Location:
    Brisbane
    If you're concerned about finding drivers, go with stuff made by ASUS or Gigabyte - they still seem to have drivers for just about everything on their websites. The VOGONS website has a pretty good collection of drivers in the driver library. Personally I find that drivers are usually easy enough to hunt down on the internet (for now) and sites like VOGONS or archive.org really help in finding the more obscure or older ones.

    Grant gave some good advice about Core2 and Geforce 2-6. I'd suggest you could even go as high as Geforce 8 series. Avoid Radeons prior to the X series from the mid 2000s - ATI's drivers were pretty trashy back then and every second revision tended to be unstable.

    People are often giving away C2D setups for next to nothing here. Just start watching the for sale threads. A lot of the C2D sales are posted in the non retro for sale forum. Pentium III and earlier tends to be more scarce these days and pricey because of the DOS compatibility that more or less ended with Pentium 4, but Pentium 4 and Athlon XP should be pretty easy to get hold of if you want something more 'classic' Windows XP.
     
    cdtoaster and adz like this.
  7. Arctic_Silver08

    Arctic_Silver08 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2012
    Messages:
    1,312
    If I were doing what you want to do, getting an old PC - I'd at the very minimum put an SSD in. (Assuming SATA rather than IDE era?)
    That way you can enjoy the games but without the horrid wait times.

    SSD's now are cheap and even if you get a low capacity one, games and programs from that time take up sfa space
     
  8. OP
    OP
    HurtTown

    HurtTown Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2017
    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW
    Right it's looking a lot harder than I remember lol.
    Might just have to go the used c2d setup as suggested and go from there.
    Haha, will definitely make sure it's got an ssd if possible.
    If only I'd just kept my old pcs throughout the years ....
     
  9. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    43,089
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I think C2D sits nicely between "retro therefor expensive" and "not fast enough to run new stuff".

    They too will explode in price in a few years, like everything, but are sitting in that lull for now where nobody wants them.

    In 5-10 years time there'll be infinity threads of people complaining how they got rid of their C2D systems and should have held on to them. :lol:

    What I was saying about is more about finding the cut-off point. There are certain families of cards that didn't first get supported until Win7+, due only to how Nvidia and co bundled drivers, so you obviously don't want them. Finding that magic line in the sand is the trick.
     
  10. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    65,197
    Location:
    brisbane
    OP wants an off the shelf solution without too much messing about, an old Dell might fit the bill nicely.

    Just be prepared for some kind of stuffing around OP - that's pretty much all we did with old PC's, lol.

    The alternative for some of these games is believe it or not the original xbox, a lot of these games exist ON the platform and are often pretty good conversions too.

    I know, I know but it's more FFT.
     
  11. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    43,089
    Location:
    Brisbane
    New PCs too. There's no "off the shelf" anything with computers of any era or type.

    I work with high end computers all day, and loathe the idea of coming home to do more maintenance on my home PC just to play games. Drivers, updates, figuring out performance issues, BAH. This is why I'm a "console baby".
     
  12. OP
    OP
    HurtTown

    HurtTown Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2017
    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW
    Yeah off the shelf with minimal hassle is what I'm after.
    I have an old optiplex 780 that would be available for me if I choose.

    You think that would do the job?
     
  13. OP
    OP
    HurtTown

    HurtTown Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2017
    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW
    Or a hp compaq 6200 pro small form factor
     
  14. bYrd

    bYrd Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Messages:
    2,161
    Location:
    NE Melbourne
    XP was around for a long time, covering a lot of hardware. Ideally you could get an Athlon XP/Pentium 4 system for nothing, chuck in a Geforce 4 era card and be done with it - however around this time was a plague of bad capacitors, and overly hot running systems that just die.

    Early C2D systems would be a better choice for reliability, but you'll want to be 100% on XP driver support. As you've noted I'd look around for a nice SFF system, even something like a Shuttle XPC or equivalent which would tie nicely in with your newish desktop without taking over in size or noise.

    JB
     
    hutts24 likes this.
  15. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    65,197
    Location:
    brisbane
    that spec looking online looks perfect, it was on the market while Vista was around and many OEM's offered XP as well.

    DDR2, SATA - does it have PCIe? Scratch that looks like it does.

    Yep this machine would be a winner if it's in good working condition.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
  16. OP
    OP
    HurtTown

    HurtTown Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2017
    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW
    Will have to check as it's a company that I've worked for getting rid of old computers when they were phased out

    The integrated chips on that wouldn't be enough to run the older stuff?
     
  17. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    65,197
    Location:
    brisbane
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
  18. OP
    OP
    HurtTown

    HurtTown Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2017
    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW
    It would be the desktop ones from memory.
    Don't know if they have the room or capability for discrete cards
     
  19. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    65,197
    Location:
    brisbane
    according to that link

     
  20. Daft_Munt

    Daft_Munt Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2003
    Messages:
    7,397
    Location:
    Hobart, The Federal Group
    I suspect the SFF would have some limitations due to PSU. Also might be an idea to check out some older laptops. Tempting me to turn an old Vosto laptop (17", C2D, 4GB, GF8400, running ubuntu) into an XP machine, I think I still have the OEM disks for it.
     
    Vanne and MUTMAN like this.

Share This Page

Advertisement: