Choosing a Retro Gaming PC: Advice & What to Look For

Choosing a Retro Gaming PC: Advice & What to Look For

When asking the question “what classic PC should I buy,” there are plenty of options to consider. From real hardware to emulation, let’s dive into the topic and determine some of the best solutions!

● Featuring the opinions of these fine YouTubers:
The 8-bit Guy
https://www.youtube.com/adric22

MetalJesusRocks
https://www.youtube.com/MetalJesusRocks

Phil’s Computer Lab
https://www.youtube.com/philscomputerlab

Nostalgia Nerd
https://www.youtube.com/nostalgianerdvideos

Pushing Up Roses
https://www.youtube.com/pushinguproses

Brutal Moose
https://www.youtube.com/brutalmoose

Accursed Farms
https://www.youtube.com/chilledsanity

Pixelmusement
https://www.youtube.com/Pixelmusement

Retro Man Cave
https://www.youtube.com/RetroManCave

● Consider supporting LGR on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/LazyGameReviews

● Social links:

https://www.facebook.com/LazyGameReviews

● Music used courtesy of Epidemic Sound:
http://www.epidemicsound.com

50 Comments

  1. Ibrahim Hammoudi on January 24, 2023 at 3:31 am

    You forgot to mention the completely blasphemous option of building an IBM 5150 from scratch with 0 original components, meaning floppy emulators instead of actual drives & scratch-built rather than original case. I have no idea why I even came up with this kind of thing but I like challenges so I’ll get to it eventually!

  2. Jason Williams on January 24, 2023 at 3:34 am

    My presario 2200 could do anything!!!!!!! I even put 98 on it for a while!

  3. Dalle Samllhals on January 24, 2023 at 3:34 am

    Hmm, if Wing Commander’s to fast. Why not play it on your Amiga 500? ;-D

  4. Adam B on January 24, 2023 at 3:36 am

    9:59 yes! Septerra Core is such a good RPG that hardly anyone has heard of. MetalJesus knows.

  5. Mr. Anatomy on January 24, 2023 at 3:37 am

    SIXTEEN WHOLE MEGABYTE OF RAM?!???! IS THERE ANYTHING THIS PUPPY CANT RUN???

  6. um gui on January 24, 2023 at 3:37 am

    Holy Hanna, this ‘sode is very informative! "TYTYTYVM!" (in elvis voice)

  7. P Mosh on January 24, 2023 at 3:37 am

    A win 98 desktop is now over $500 on eBay

  8. Thomas Fields on January 24, 2023 at 3:39 am

    For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
    Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (James 4:4)
    And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: (Acts 17:30)

  9. Tommy on January 24, 2023 at 3:39 am

    why would you want to relive the laggy war craft 2 game play?

  10. dheeraj sankar.m on January 24, 2023 at 3:39 am

    therefore, on november 24 2017, the international round you-table confrence was held, which was a turning point in the history of retro gamers and users. history remembers…

    LOL

  11. Chemical_E on January 24, 2023 at 3:40 am

    DOSbox has gotten better in recent years thanks to community-made forks that make it more accessible to newcomers while adding new features and improving compatibility and optimization.

    With that said though, I’m grateful to have gotten my grandmother’s old PC in my possession which had a 633mhz PIII-based Celeron CPU circa 2000, 3.5" floppy drive, an Nvidia GeForce 2, 256MB of RAM, and a CD drive. Over the years I’ve upgraded it with components we had lying-around or I’ve found at Goodwill. Upgraded the RAM to 512MB (completely overkill but it’s nice to have for Win9x), added a SoundBlaster Live card for better DOS sound compatibility, replaced the CD drive with a Sony DVD drive, replaced CPU thermal paste, replaced the old 10GB HDD with a new old stock 120GB IDE HDD (also overkill but extremely useful), added an old Linskys USB Wifi adapter (a nice novelty for browsing theoldnet and using FTP I don’t use it for much more than that though), a Daewoo CRT monitor from 1998, a cheap toenail clipper IBM ball mouse I found at Goodwill, and my grandpa’s old Zenith alps switch mechanical keyboard which I absolutely love. It’s my preferred way to play classic PC games predating 2001 now. I might consider upgrading the CPU and GPU eventually though so I can maybe get it to push more games from 2003-2006 or so (as a matter of fact I’ve since put the OS on a 16GB CF-IDE drive, upgraded to a Pentium III 1ghz and a GeForce4 MX 420 64MB- some very nice upgrades that ensure almost any game that works on Windows 98 will run relatively nice).

    I would say Glide wrappers are now an essential part of retro PC gaming now since Voodoo cards have become prohibitively expensive at this point. They’re a nice thing to have but not really viable for folks who don’t have that kind of money. It’s also important to consider slowdown programs like CPU killer in order to run older DOS games that weren’t programmed with CPU speeds in mind, as they’ll run way too fast to be playable on a 486 or Pentium without that workaround unless you’re lucky enough to still have a turbo button.

  12. Zachary on January 24, 2023 at 3:42 am

    Would be interesting to see an updated video on this topic. Retro PC’s seem to have popped off the last couple years.

  13. Mr. Swada on January 24, 2023 at 3:44 am

    Emulation and CRT is the way to go. But I really need that voodoo rig ASAP.

  14. Voodoo Vinny on January 24, 2023 at 3:47 am

    I know this is an old video, but I just have to ask. The path to playing these old games seem to be the Linux + wine, but the question is which Linux? So much of Linux these days has dropped support for older hardware such as my old R9 280X and some of the network adapters. So much for the saying, put Linux on the old computer and revive the old hardware. I was watching a video yesterday and the guy was talking about an i7-9700K as old and outdated.

  15. ThatRadioGeek on January 24, 2023 at 3:47 am

    I don’t have the money or the space for more than my main Windows 10 PC, so DOSBox-X is my go-to for DOS games. For older Windows games, fan patches and source ports are where it’s at.

  16. Keith Kenney on January 24, 2023 at 3:47 am

    I really love the support for the 486, mostly because it’s one of the few processors I’ve never actually had. I’ve had a Commodore 64, Commodore 128, Tandy 1000, a 286, a 386SX, a few Pentium 133’s, a Pentium MMX 166, PII MMX 266 and tons of everything newer up to modern machines. I guess I should get a hold of a 486 someday!

  17. Daniel Dougan on January 24, 2023 at 3:47 am

    I would love to know exactly how many computers Clint owns.

  18. PolygonYT on January 24, 2023 at 3:49 am

    Everyone is here: Retro PC Gaming Edition

  19. Asher Rumfield on January 24, 2023 at 3:50 am

    Great video! Can you post all your specs of the windows 98 build? I am new to building retro pcs and don’t know what to order

  20. George's Channel on January 24, 2023 at 3:51 am

    Great episode!

  21. Heffsta02 on January 24, 2023 at 3:52 am

    This video is warming my soul right now, I just want to hang out with y’all.

  22. Go Clunker on January 24, 2023 at 3:55 am

    I had a 486dx4 with 128mb ram and it couldnt even run gameboy color full speed. Lol

    A pentium 3 is the ultimate retro

  23. CorkBulb on January 24, 2023 at 3:55 am

    As much as I love blowing demons away with a shotgun, ZDoom is just too easy, and DOSBox brings the old nostalgia from the DOS prompt and old .MUS music and original gameplay. Still, one day soon, I want to build an old Windows 95 machine with a Pentium 2 233MHz and some Hercules graphics card so I can remember how long it used to take to load Quake 3 and RTCW in minimum graphics mode when I was 11.

  24. Hovig Vanoyan on January 24, 2023 at 3:55 am

    Seeing this makes me appreciate DOSBox that much more, even though it’s not perfect.

  25. paulslocum on January 24, 2023 at 4:00 am

    Really fantastic video, I love it when you cover video game conservation topics. Awesome getting perspectives from a lot of different people too.

  26. _ HTZ on January 24, 2023 at 4:03 am

    Lol, 8-bit guy is always like, "I ain’t got room for this s***!"

  27. Uscareme on January 24, 2023 at 4:04 am

    Decay is part of life, treasure this moments has if they were your last. Mortal Kombat.

  28. L-Renaud on January 24, 2023 at 4:05 am

    Obsolete PC’s everywhere. My house if I didn’t have kids and a wife.

  29. argent2020 on January 24, 2023 at 4:07 am

    I fall asleep while watching this video and I was dreaming everything related to what I was hearing. Funny though, I was being chased by a Mouse, jumped in an indoor pool, hold my breath while swimming under the water, etc. Weird . Now, I fall asleep because I didn’t sleep in the entire night, basically.

  30. Saif Al-Badri on January 24, 2023 at 4:08 am

    I snagged an hp omnibook 800ct notebook from eBay (was a cheap deal), it has a tft screen, 166 pentium mmx cpu, sound blaster standard, 2GB hdd and 80MB ram. It’s small with 10” display and full of features. External cd and floppy. Love it so far.

  31. Anton Mandl on January 24, 2023 at 4:08 am

    what fascinates me most are the CRT screens. They present the most accurate graphics fidelity that TFT cant provide.

  32. James Davis on January 24, 2023 at 4:09 am

    I laughed so freaking hard when Ross screamed "help" and Clint "aggghhh"’ed. I wish Ross and Clint would do a couple of game reviews together.

  33. Marius Liviu on January 24, 2023 at 4:10 am

    It’s called "Turbo" lol, it slows things down?

  34. Gain on Ten on January 24, 2023 at 4:11 am

    i vote +1 for dosbox. Run it on my macbook pro, anytime, anywhere.

  35. sinni800 on January 24, 2023 at 4:12 am

    A 2022 perspective now is just throwing Windows out of the door entirely and using Linux with Wine and Dosbox. Dosbox for the DOS games (obviously) and Wine for the Windws95+ games.

    Why wine? Modern Windows messes up a LOT of games. Wine gets them all to work. A lot of glide games work well with glide wrappers too, and I was able to play a lot of early 2000s games that stopped working right on modern Windows there just fine.

    VMs like VMware never do them justice really, usually 3d acceleration is just crap in VMs.

    Examples of games that I got to work just fine under Linux without even bothering to tinker are Unreal Tournament 99, Earth Series, Expendable and Incoming (two of my nostalgia childhood arcade games), Forsaken, MDK, Uprising 2… For UT99, adding a modern DX10 or OpenGL graphics backend can even use the S3 MeTaL textures and it doesn’t have the weird speed issues it has under Windows.

    What I can recommend is using Lutris and Gamescope on these. Gamescope is a tool made by Valve that runs as a wrapper around games. It makes the games behave on a Linux desktop by wrapping them into a borderless fullscreen window. This made it possible that I never got stuck ALT+TAB scenarios, stuck resolutions and all of this dandy stuff. It also properly scales the game to your full screen resolution, integer too if you want.

    Hardware wise I would recommend just having an AMD APU build, dont even need a dedicated GPU (especially not for like early 2000s games). Avoid nvidia for this because gamescope is not nvidia compatible and the proprietary nvidia driver just has issues sometimes. The AMD driver is in the linux kernel though and has no to very little issues in this sorta thing.

    Honestly, the upcoming Steam Deck could be a very competent retro gaming implement here. It can run modern stuff, but it can also run a crapton of games that hail from older times, and stuff from GOG, using Lutris as the manager to make it easy to manage, managingly.

  36. Toof on January 24, 2023 at 4:14 am

    Serious question: why buy an old PC when a modern PC can run better games AND old games with DOSbox? I don’t see the need for old hardware. The beauty of master race is that we appreciate our heritage.

  37. mlthmp on January 24, 2023 at 4:14 am

    My parents got my first PC when I was 14. It was a 80486DX2. What I remember the most? It was low spec (500mb drive, 4mb ram) but the guy that built it for us.. put one of the fastest video cards of the day. It was almost 1/3 the price. Wish I could remember what it was

  38. Count Vronsky on January 24, 2023 at 4:19 am

    5:40 Holy fucking shit, that’s a fine lookin’ mouse pad

  39. Ryan Mac on January 24, 2023 at 4:19 am

    12:17 what’s that game demo running in the background? It looks incredibly familiar but I can’t put a name to it.

  40. KoleckO LP on January 24, 2023 at 4:22 am

    I know this video is old but how is PCem?

  41. DRAP on January 24, 2023 at 4:23 am

    Brutalmoose!

  42. pxlDSiLz on January 24, 2023 at 4:23 am

    That Voodoo5 could probably play Minecraft man

    Edit: that Nvidia 8800 is better than what I had as late as 2014 and God damn it could struggle but Minecraft beta worked.

  43. Wolferunners on January 24, 2023 at 4:24 am

    To each his own, there is no one answer here and I love the multiple answer format. Nothing truly scratches the nostalgia itch like having actual old hardware. Having said that, dos box and modern hardware is so accessible, reliable and a hell of a lot let hassle to setup. For me personally, a huge part of running old os and games is the fun of tinkering with settings. Dos box is so customizable and fun to mess with in this regard, plus I am able to access everything else on my computer.
    I love your channel and getting to watch you handle projects that I have long thought of but don’t have the time/resources to carry out.

  44. sofacat on January 24, 2023 at 4:24 am

    Ideally I’m after an all-in-one Win98 machine, like a Gateway Astro. But they’re ridiculously hard to come by

  45. LGR on January 24, 2023 at 4:25 am

    Considering this is the most-asked question I receive, I hope this video helps those of you that have been requesting the assistance!
    Also, _huge thanks_ to the other YouTubers who added their voice to this episode: Nostalgia Nerd, Metal Jesus Rocks, Pixelmusement, PushingUpRoses, Brutalmoose, RetroManCave, Phil’s Computer Lab, The 8-Bit Guy, and Accursed Farms! They brought up lots of stuff I didn’t think of, so I am grateful 🙂

  46. ksp1278 on January 24, 2023 at 4:25 am

    I keep coming back to this video. So full of content and different perspectives on this subject. I must have watched it 20 times since you published it. Such a great video. Well done LGR. Love your channel. Due to this video I have bought the parts to build several of these alternatives, so I can compare and contrast.

  47. Shiboline M'Ress on January 24, 2023 at 4:28 am

    Not long ago I had no idea that retro computing and gaming was even a thing, and now I follow many of those interviewed here. It’s so cool that you all know each other! Keep on rockin’! 🙂👍

  48. Brendan Sweeney on January 24, 2023 at 4:29 am

    The tech lingo was gibberish to me but I love your videos!!!

  49. djb1ge on January 24, 2023 at 4:29 am

    Wow. All this makes me glad to be a lifelong console gamer. Just emulate everything in Retroarch, plug in a USB controller of your choice, and you’re pretty much good to go. All of these different setups for different OSes/eras is impressive though.

  50. steven camp on January 24, 2023 at 4:29 am

    I just have various machines for different eras…the parts hunt is never over lol…cheapest option would just be emulators like dosbox

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