The Ultimate Windows XP PC Build
Hey guys this is Austin. I had an idea. In October Windows XP will officially be 15 years old and it has had quite the life. Not only was it a big step up over the ancient looking Windows 98 and ME but it remains one of the most popular OSes, running on around 7% of computers today. That got me thinking, could I build the ultimate Windows XP gaming PC? With minimum requirements of a 233MHz Pentium it’s not exactly tough to run but the tricky part are, well the parts. While official Microsoft support for XP ended in 2014 it’s actually still fairly well supported by hardware companies today and that includes the AMD FX-9590. This obscure CPU is actually still one of the fastest processors ever made even a few years later, it’s essentially a highly binned FX-8300 eight core CPU that can clock up to a whopping five gigahertz.
With eight cores to work with even the fairly old Piledriver architecture can wipe the floor with a lot of modern chips but the downside is that it’s power hungry. That’s where the ASRock 990FX Killer motherboard comes in, not only is it one of the few boards that can handle the kind of power the CPU needs but importantly it has drivers available. The only key thing missing are Ethernet drivers for XP but that’s easy enough to get around with a USB Wi-Fi adapter. The hardest part was actually finding a graphics card. Both AMD and Nvidia stopped supporting XP years ago but luckily AMD did make a driver for the Radeon R9 270X, one of the newest cards that will still work on XP. Another limitation is memory, even though they later made a 64-bit version we’re using the standard 32-bit edition of XP which tops out at four gigs of memory. One area where we have no problems is with an SSD, a 256 gigabyte Crucial MX100 works just fine. The real question is how does Windows XP run at five gigahertz? In a word: fast.
Really fast. It’s nearly indistinguishable from a modern OS when you add a fast CPU and SSD, there’s no delay in basic tasks and even web browsing feels just as quick as anything else. Unfortunately most browsers no longer support XP but Firefox is the exception for now but even so I wouldn’t really recommend this as your main system. Considering XP hasn’t seen updates in two years and it wasn’t exactly the most secure OS anyway the internet is a bit of a minefield when it comes to viruses. Luckily most programs do still support XP like CPU-Z where you can see the 9590 is fully recognized as well as all eight cores are showing up inside Task Manager. GPU-Z also shows the R9 270X up and running no problem, the older drivers really aren’t much of a problem either considering we’re limited to DirectX 9 games anyway.
Speaking of there are a fair few games that will work, older titles like the original Modern Warfare run no problem on XP, no Infinite Warfare required. Far Cry 2 blew my mind back in the day and it still looks decent eight years later, it’s even moderately taxing when you crank everything up. Compared to Mirror’s Edge Catalyst the original might not be able to hold up but it’s just as fun as ever and again looks decent. Moving on to a newer game we’ve got the 2013 reboot of Tomb Raider which again looks and works fine on XP, being limited to DX9 hurts a bit graphically but it’s no big deal. Of course no one is going to do all of this just to play Tomb Raider. You’re going to do it to play the greatest game of all time. Windows XP pinball pushes the hardware to the absolute limit with cutting edge 3D graphics, intense sound effects and most importantly the ultimate way to waste time straight outta 2001.
Another classic is Minesweeper, this might not be quite as demanding but thanks to our eight core five gigahertz processor we’re able to get it to just barely playable frame rates. So should you build the most overkill Windows XP gaming rig of all time? Probably not, XP is best left to a virtual machine or second partition but then again, the siren song of pinball is hard to resist. Smash that like button if you guys enjoyed this look back and let me know in the comments below what crazy PC build I should do next. Anyway guys thank you so much for watching and I will catch you in the next one..