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Making a Win98SE HTPC run faster  

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am building a HTPC with Win98SE running on a PIII 450mhz and 256mb of PC133 Ram. HD is a WD 8gig 5400rpm.

I was using a Hollywood Plus card, but had to send it back because it would not properly play PAL DVDs on my NTSC TV (frame stuttering was the problem) and so I am trying an ATI RADEON VE, which many report is PAL to NTSC problem free.

Since I am under software decoding now, what can I do to Windows to free up resources and keep frame drops from happening? Any web sites out there that have tips? I have read the HTPC and Radeon FAQ's, but didn't find anything that I understood in this area. Both FAQ's got quite advanced in sections.

post #2 of 17
One thing I always do on 9x systems is lock the size of the disk cache. You can do this by going into the System.Ini and adding two lines:


(That'll set your cache to 32mb).

If you don't do this, the cache size tends to grow to the point where it's consuming so much RAM that your system has to use virtual memory. Locking the cache size keeps the system running smoothly over a long period of time. Since you have 256mb you may wish to use more RAM for the cache. YMMV.

-- Rob
post #3 of 17
The word I have directly from MS engineers is Win98 uses the same engine as 95 and CAN NOT take advantage of more then 64mb of ram, also more then 128mb in your system will actually slow the system down.

Before I get flamed here, I didn't believe it either, until I took my 850 T-bird with 256mb ram and upgraded to Win2K All my games and apps run twice as fast. The only change was the OS. Even my older apps (Lotus Notes) run way faster. I saw more improvement in going from Win98 to W2000 then I saw going from a 450 k-6 to an 850 T-bird.
post #4 of 17

In Windows 98, MS upped the addresable memory size to the maximum for 32 bit processors, 4GB. Same as all their other OS's now.

Something was seriously wrong with your Win 98 install if thats what happened, sice 2k really shouldn't be that much faster. If you use something like 98lite, you can get the installation down to a VERY small footprint.

Admittedly, there's a point where you have loaded everything and simply have too much RAM to do anything with. Having above 512mb really serves no purpose if you are not going to run a program that can use all that (something for a server) or want to run many things at once.

Unless you want to do a RAM drive or something like VMWare. Then you can easily burn through a gig no problem http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

But with prices as they are, you can get that for $80!

Cal Z.
Mits 65903 (65" widescreen HDTV)+ RCA DTC-100
Gateway Destination 27" (Princeton Arcadia based)+HTPC (Pentium II 400, 256mb, 20gb+9gb HD, Radeon LE, cybertainment tv tuner, asus dvd-rom, hercules game theater xp, Kenwood VR409 DTS receiver)

[This message has been edited by Namlemez (edited 07-18-2001).]
post #5 of 17

"If you use something like 98lite..."

What is that?


visit www.theHarangue.com
post #6 of 17
I beg to differ. I have heard many times Win98 cannot utilize that much RAM. It may recognize up to 4GB, but tht doesn't mean it can use it. The consensus is that Win98 can only realistically take advantage of about 128MB of ram. I have heard this from books, mags, computer experts, etc. It may be urban legend, it may be true. But my apps do run faster on Win2k than on 98, with the exact same hardware configuration. Again, this may be attributable to the OS engine itself, or it using all of my RAM.
post #7 of 17
You went from an old degraded win98 install to a squeaky clean (different file system) install of win2k. You probably had debris processes running taking away cpu cycles or other resources. Incidentally, I, for one, would not be surprised if Win2k's better file system wouldn't lead to better performance, but not this much.

I cannot find any reputable source of testing for performance under win98se, so I did a little test of my own using Winbench 99 on an old Dell PII 333 I normally use as server. I added memory (it started with 64mb and I went to 128, 256, and 512). The only difference in performance noticed was slightly longer boot times. So, I'll respectufully disagree with the unnamed microsoft engineers.

Rgrds-Ross Salinger
post #8 of 17
Hi Matt, I would highly recommend this tweaks: http://www.videoguys.com/speedtweaks.html I have been using them in my video editing workstation with excellent results.
best regards artur.
post #9 of 17
There are a lot of "old wives tales" out there, like set your virtual memory to be twice your physical memory http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

I don't remember seeing win98 underperform win2k on memory hog benchmarks like photoshop. It certainly does significantly underperform win2k on file server tests, of course it doesn't support smp,....

Before we spread this wild wives tale, could someone please post a benchmark showing this to be the case?

post #10 of 17

Just page thru this article. Its from Oct of 2000, but for the most part it benchmarks win2K VS 98, both with 128megs VS 256megs. If your setup is done properly there shouldn't be much difference between the two amounts. Although like they say in the end of the article, if ya like to mulitask 256MB's ain't a bad idea...and that goes for win98 or win2K. And that ain't even talking about the fact that a 256MB PC133 or DDR stick from crucial is going for ~$43~, which is really a bargin upgrade if there ever was one.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Very interesting responses. And helpful too. Thanks!
post #12 of 17
Win98SE can indeed use memory above 128MB, however it uses this space only for extended disk caching, all program swapfiles are below the 128MB boundary. Since even when heavily "multi-tasking" you are unlikely to approach the 128MB limit on a single-user workstation, you are unlikely to see or measure much difference between Win98SE and other Microsoft operating systems on a "personal" or single-user computer. The architectural differences between Win98SE and Win2000 are many, but typically only matter in a multi-user server environment. (This info from one of my officemate's Microsoft Certification study guides.)

Matt, one of my HTPC's is still a Celeron 466 with 64MB of PC100 (running at 66Mhz at that). It took a little tuning from time to time, but it has flawlessly performed without dropping frames using CineMaster, WinDVD, and PowerDVD. The main thing is to keep your fingers off the keyboard and mouse - even playing Solitaire will cause stuttering, and Web surfing is out of the question. If the time ever comes when I can't tune out a problem, I'll figure that's the time to upgrade this machine.


[This message has been edited by Gary McCoy (edited 07-19-2001).]
post #13 of 17
Some tips from when I was into video capturing on my (*SE system (nor Win2k, much better):

Setting the virtual memory is one tweak, another is setting the typical role of the computer to a Server (utilizes memory more effeciently), another is making the size of the swap file static: what you do is specify the min and max values to be the same, like 256 and 256.

Turn off all the Autostart features. This is the feature that will start WinAmp or whatever when you pop in a music CD and the same feature that will start up the install shield when you put in a data CD. Although some find this feature useful, this features causes Win9x/ME to "poll" the drives to keep an update on what is there. This can interrupt DVD playback.

Also, and this may sound funny, disable the clock in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Yes, yes, I know. But, when I was capturing a full motion video I had to tweak my system way out. And, these were all reccomendations (aside for the autostart one) from Matrox themselves on how to improve capture performance.

And, they all worked. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

Another thing you can get, which is fun in itself, is X-Teq Systems X-Setup . Its essentially a GUI for registry tweaks and hacks. So, instead of using regedit and typing stuff in, these guys made a program that allows you to check and uncheck what you want. And, I mean everything. All kinds of features. For Win9x and NT.
post #14 of 17
I have a feeling that my EWX24/96 has better sound and the dTV running better after installing these registry entries:


[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\System\\CurrentControlSet\\Services\\VxD \\BIOS]
post #15 of 17
macdaddy, http://98lite.net/


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post #16 of 17
Make sure you turn off your network card. Also, turn off the auto-insert notification, screen saver, power management stuff, etc.

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post #17 of 17
I'm curious as to why power management should be disabled I find it a useful feature myself. Does this mean you mus wait for your machine to shutdown before turning off or can it still do that automatically?

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