90's LAN Theme requirements

There aren't many things you need to do to be 90's era compliant.

Basically, you can't have anything newer than December 30th 1999. Not hard. You can't have anything newer at our 90's LAN, minus the below exceptions.


1. Hard Drives.

PATA 100mb Drive

-You can have any age of hard drives that you want. For the most part, all spinning platter hard disks are the same. Were not going to limit you on size or speed. We feel those are needless limitations that just don't need to be dealt with. Also, we recognize that over 20 year old hard drives are getting hard to find, may be unreliable or just difficult to deal with. This means that you can have SATA or PATA hard drives. However, you can NOT have an SSD. Though flash memory did exist back then, it was insanely slow. If you really want to, you can use an old CF card to IDE adapter and make that your HDD. But its going to be super slow and small. But no proper SSDs. If you bring your “90”s PC” with a Samsung EVO in it, we won't let you use it. You have been warned, please don't make us do that.

2. SSDs

Samsung SSD

-As mentioned above, you can NOT have a proper modern SSD. You may only use a CF card to PATA/IDE adapter. But thats super slow and small and we don't recommend it.

3. Laptop Processors and Laptop Video Cards.

Pentium 1 laptop with passive matrix screen NEC VERSA 2435CD

-Though there is a hard limitation for the cutoff date and speed of 800MHz, we will allow certain exceptions for laptop hardware. This is because its not possible to swap parts like that in 90% of the laptops made around this time frame. You should check in with us ahead of time if your laptop is okay. But as a general rule, if its a couple of months newer than DEC 1999, you will probably be okay. But don't get ridiculous with it. We don't want to see you there with a 1.4GHz PIII or a first gen P4 in your laptop with Win 98 installed on it. That won't pass. Laptops were and still are ALWAYS slower than desktop PCs. You might want to re-think bring a laptop as a main gaming computer at these LANs. You might not have that great of a time on a laptop.

4. Power Supply Units.

Corsair PSU

-You can use any power supply that you want. Even if it was just made yesterday. If you want to build your 90's LAN PC with a 2kw Corsair power supply, then go ahead. It doesn't really matter. We know that older power supplies are getting harder to find, and harder to find working ones. Fans, bad caps and that sort.

5. Computer Cases.

Beige cases with SGI and Dell and generic in image

-Currently there is no reason to limit what case you use, but this may change soon. If you want to use an "Antec 1200" to show off your sweet 90's hardware, go ahead! You will get more props for nice old beige cases though. Like seriously, you should put a LOT of effort into a beige case.

6. Monitors

Viewsonic Monitor

-We would love to tell everyone “you must have a CRT”, but that isn't going to happen. Not only are CRT's power hungry, heat creating, space hogging monsters, but they are also getting VERY hard to find now days and if you do find them, they are VERY EXPENSIVE!. For all of those reasons, we encourage you to stick to LCDs. However, you can bring a CRT if you want. But you should mention it in your reg email so we can plan for it. We also strongly encourage you to get a 4:3 ratio LCD or your not going to have a great time. Almost no game from the 90's supported widescreen resolutions like 1080p by default or with out modding. If you use a non 4:3 monitor, it will look terrible and stretched. More props for 90's era LCDs! Please do your best to not show up with a 40 inch curved LCD/OLED display or something like that. It ruins the aesthetic of the LAN.

7. Keyboards and Mice

Microsoft intelleye mouse

-Peripherals from the 90's are getting harder and harder to find. Especially the Microsoft IntelleEye optical USB and PS2 mouse that was available in 1999. So, use what ever keyboard and mouse you want. But you will get mad props for using PS2 ball mice or serial ball mice. (I have spares)

8. System RAM

PC-100 RAM

-You can have any amount, type, vintage or brand of RAM. The motherboard/CPU requirements will govern this well enough.

9. Motherboard, Video Card and Processor Manufacture Dates.

Dual PIII 700 MHz with STALKER installed on it

(Pictured above: a dual slot 850MHz Pentium 3 system with AGP, 1GB System RAM and an FX5600 video card. This system runs S.T.A.L.K.E.R.)

-You can use any motherboard, video card or processor with any manufacture date on it that you want as long as the device was not a type that was released after DEC 1999. The reason for this is because they STARTED to produce the cards in DEC 1999 but made them well into 2000. So your GeForce 256 that was made in 2000 is perfectly fine because that card was available in DEC 1999. Just manufactured in 2000. Same for motherboards and processors. I don't think I need to explain this much more.

10. Operating Systems and Software.

Win 98se loading on a P1 with an ATI Rage 128 Pro PCI card

-Realstically you should only have one OS for these LANs and thats Windows 98 or Windows 98SE. You can't have anything newer than that anyway. But other operating systems that you can use are: Windows NT, Windows 95. I don't recommend playing with NT unless you know what you are doing. Lots of stuff does not like running in Win NT. But NT was the only Windows OS, at the time, to support more than one CPU.

A couple of things to help you. Windows 98 SE has a functional limit of 512MB of system RAM and can only see/use a single CPU. I have had systems with more than 512MB RAM work perfectly with Win98, and I have also had ten times more systems with more than 512MB RAM fail to even boot with Win 98. As for software. What ever software you want to run in Windows 98 is fine, though we may soon change this a bit. Even if it just came out yesterday. There is not really any point in limiting what software or games you can run in the OS. In fact, it will only serve as a testament to how amazing the OS and hardware were/are and how far you could push them. For instance, Max Payne or The Thing running on my 90's compliant PC is pretty amazing, Especially at high FPS. Please don't show up to a 90's LAN with Windows XP or ME installed on your machine... Not even dual boot. I've seen the temptation be too great and people just go for a quick boot into their installation of XP or Win 7 to do something real quick or pass the time. You can't do that at these LANs. Please don't make us ask you to leave.

If you are a monster, then you could try to use some version of Linux from the 90's. But you are probably gravely miss-remembering early Linux if you think you will be playing windows games with windows PC's without hundreds of hours of nightmarish and hacky fixes and workarounds to just barely be able to play. Linux has come a LONG way since then and has clouded some Linux useres memory.

That concludes the Exceptions/exemptions.

Some cool and helpful information for those who want to get the best you could have had in the 90's right from the start. (Not only that, but you shouldn't have anything newer than anything listed below)

The best processor(s) you could have possibly had in DEC 1999 are:

-Intel Pentium 800 MHz in either Slot 1 or Socket 370

PIII 700 MHz 256/100/1.65V

-Please remember the speed exception for mobile CPUs (950MHz MAX)

The best video card you could have possibly had in DEC 1999 is:

-The Nvidia GeForce 256 AGP (this was the fastest card on the market at the time)

-The ATI RAGE FURY MAXX wasn't bad, but failed in comparison to the GeForce 256

-3dfx Voodoo3 3500. Note: 3dfx didn't have anything great out in this small time frame.

Actually, slightly before this is where 3dfx started to falter and never caught back up with the two big names ATI and Nvidia. And then was acquired by Nvidia. Which wasn't the worst thing that could have happened to them.


A special note: Please come prepared, with complete systems. Dont bring a project that will detract from playing games. You can bring bits of hardware you wish to show off or sell to others. But please no active system building. We have other get-together days dedicated to that. However, if you are swapping video cards to another one, thats perfectly fine. Most of the focus at these LANs is on the video cards, processors and software.