The Underdog

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The Underdog

Postby Munx » 2017-7-29 @ 11:41

So this is a build of mine that contains under-priced and under-powered 1999 hardware which has under-utilized APIs and instruction sets - S3 MeTal, S3TC, A3D and 3Dnow!.
All the games tested here take advantage of at least one.

The heart of this PC is an AMD K6-2 with it's 3Dnow! instructions, running at 350MHz.
P_20170406_184316.jpg


The motherboard is a Mitac 5114vu with VIA MVP4 SS7 chipset. This motherboard contains an ESS ES1989 sound chip and the MVP4 chipset features an integrated Trident Blade 3D, which would have made for an under-powered, yet cheap gaming rig already, however there are no proprietary/rarely used API's for them, so I went with different choices for sound and graphics:

Aureal Vortex 8820 sound card by Turtle beach for A3D sound
CAM00008.jpg


Diamond Stealth III S540 (S3 Savage 4 pro), with its support for MeTal API and S3TC. PCI version since the integrated Trident uses AGP.
P_20170221_164750.jpg


All packed in a tiny modern case - AeroCool PGS QS-182
P_20170708_172752.jpg

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Time for a few benchmarks!
Unreal timedemo - 23.7 FPS (800x600, 32bit)
Quake 2 demo1 - 42.2 FPS (800x800, 16bit)
Quake 3 demo four - 22.3 FPS (640x480, 32bit, max settings)




Unreal and Unreal Tournament were the only games I had that support MeTaL.

Unreal tournament runs decently and stays 25-35 FPS most of the time, even when playing on FPS-hitting maps:
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Unreal works just as well and here you can see S3TC in action:
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Looks really amazing for the time, though it appears the PCI interface is bottlenecking the S3 card in the S3TC DEMO maps, as FPS tanks to sub-1 when more textures are on screen. Seems that even with 32 megs of memory it still needs to borrow some from the system RAM, as I didn't encounter such problems when running these maps on the AGP version.
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Next up is Quake 2, which is one of those games that properly takes advantage of 3Dnow! and so the game runs quite smoothly and looks good on the Savage4
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Quake 3 is also playable @ 640x480 with max settings, although for a smooth game I would go with lower settings.
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Lastly we have Half-life. While most of the time it hovers in the 25-30 FPS range, the high FPU requirements and the lack of 3Dnow! is a bit too much for the K6 and so during more intense moments the framerate can drop to ~10 FPS. Overall, I would still consider it playable, though an Intel or Athlon CPU would really help.
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Entire album:
http://imgur.com/a/yVqhm
My builds!
The FireStarter 2.0 - The wooden K5
The Underdog - The budget K6
The Voodoo powerhouse - The power-hungry K7
The troll PC - The Socket 423 Pentium 4
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Re: The Underdog

Postby Tetrium » 2017-7-29 @ 12:19

I like the approach of your build, it reminds me somewhat of my K6-2/300-ish build (which used a K6-2/350 iirc and ran at 66MHz or 75MHz FSB (it was more of a testing rig, so I tried out a couple things on it)), though I ended up using a PCI Blade 3D and I think an ISA sound card? (don't remember which one it was).
Seems your Athlon XP HSF will overchill your CPU, so no problems there lol

Only potential problem that I can see is that you used a retention clip which used only the center CPU extension thingy, so a bit of too much force and it may snap (happened even to me once, even though I had been very aware of this exact problem, it happened quicker then I thought).

Which OS and what type of storage are you using?
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Re: The Underdog

Postby Munx » 2017-7-29 @ 12:26

Tetrium wrote:I like the approach of your build, it reminds me somewhat of my K6-2/300-ish build (which used a K6-2/350 iirc and ran at 66MHz or 75MHz FSB (it was more of a testing rig, so I tried out a couple things on it)), though I ended up using a PCI Blade 3D and I think an ISA sound card? (don't remember which one it was).
Seems your Athlon XP HSF will overchill your CPU, so no problems there lol

Only potential problem that I can see is that you used a retention clip which used only the center CPU extension thingy, so a bit of too much force and it may snap (happened even to me once, even though I had been very aware of this exact problem, it happened quicker then I thought).

Which OS and what type of storage are you using?

I actually don't have any smaller coolers for Socket 7 so I was kinda forced to use this one :lol: I also bent the retention clip a bit so it wouldn't break anything.

I ran Windows 98SE and put it on a 40GB (in 32GB mode for compatibility) Western Digital WD400
My builds!
The FireStarter 2.0 - The wooden K5
The Underdog - The budget K6
The Voodoo powerhouse - The power-hungry K7
The troll PC - The Socket 423 Pentium 4
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Joined: 2015-3-21 @ 19:36
Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Re: The Underdog

Postby marquisor » 2017-8-09 @ 20:05

How did you get 23.7 in Unreal Timedemo?
I'm struggling at 23.2 in 640x480x16 with AMD K6-2/550 and Voodoo 3 3000. 3dfx driver, all details high though if that makes a difference. I use Unreal Gold 227i...
EDIT: 226b 40.xx :blah:
Last edited by marquisor on 2017-8-10 @ 06:57, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Underdog

Postby badmojo » 2017-8-10 @ 04:29

Cool build! Quake2 looks really nice with that Savage4 - I've seen it look a lot worse!
If it's broke, then fix it!
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Re: The Underdog

Postby Rawit » 2017-8-10 @ 13:00

badmojo wrote:Cool build! Quake2 looks really nice with that Savage4 - I've seen it look a lot worse!


Indeed! When I saw the screenshot I was amazed how good it looked. Seems the Savage4 is better at texture filtering than some of its competitors from back in the day.
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Re: The Underdog

Postby Munx » 2017-8-10 @ 14:32

marquisor wrote:How did you get 23.7 in Unreal Timedemo?
I'm struggling at 23.2 in 640x480x16 with AMD K6-2/550 and Voodoo 3 3000. 3dfx driver, all details high though if that makes a difference. I use Unreal Gold 227i...
EDIT: 226b 40.xx :blah:

yeah, I used 226 (default Unreal Gold)
My builds!
The FireStarter 2.0 - The wooden K5
The Underdog - The budget K6
The Voodoo powerhouse - The power-hungry K7
The troll PC - The Socket 423 Pentium 4
User avatar
Munx
Member
 
Posts: 431
Joined: 2015-3-21 @ 19:36
Location: Kaunas, Lithuania


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