3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

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Re: 3 retro battle stations

Postby rasz_pl » 2019-3-04 @ 08:41

rasz_pl wrote:
pshipkov wrote:I can run and post the full screen low and high settings for doom for completeness, if you think that's missing.

was there more than 1-2 fps between the cards?


pshipkov wrote:Updated the 386 Doom tests according to your suggestions.


so it was 3fps between the worst and best VGA in 386DX40 Doom, or ~30%, seems significant for attaining that unplayable/playable balance at the time, thank you.
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Re: 3 retro battle stations

Postby feipoa » 2019-5-02 @ 09:31

Not sure how I missed this juicy thread.
pshipkov wrote:Will try to "smoke" the ET4000 VL/PCI at some point soon.

I'm a little lost amongst all delicious pr0n posted herein. Did you benchmark the ET4000 PCI vs. ET4000 VLB on an identical system? What was the outcome?
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Re: 3 retro battle stations

Postby pshipkov » 2019-5-02 @ 16:59

feipoa wrote:I'm a little lost amongst all delicious pr0n posted herein.

Thank you Sir, your comment is well appreciated.

feipoa wrote:Did you benchmark the ET4000 PCI vs. ET4000 VLB on an identical system? What was the outcome?

Soon.
Monkeying around with some "impressive" underperforers at the moment. Wanted to post some results and findings already, but cannot get myself to move on. Will run some VLB/PCI tests right after.
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Re: 3 retro battle stations

Postby MrSmiley381 » 2019-5-31 @ 13:40

pshipkov wrote:Chips 65554 4Mb


How have your experiences been with this card? I saw on the video card compatibility list that this may be the only GPU that's VESA 2.0 natively and can handle the PowerVR version of Tomb Raider well. Is that a 4 MB card? Also, is that an integrated printer port?
I spend my days fighting with clunky software so I can afford to spend my evenings fighting with clunky hardware.
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Re: 3 retro battle stations

Postby pshipkov » 2019-6-01 @ 05:34

The video card is ok-ish. An average performer. It has 4Mb of memory. Travelling at the moment and cannot remember what was the other port, but you are probaby right - an LPT one.
The main issue with it is that it messes up picture size and aspect ratio on some LCDs.
Never tried it with pvr tomb raider, so cannot comment really - sorry.
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Re: 3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

Postby pshipkov » 2019-7-02 @ 13:43

The original post was about building exemplary retro PCs, but since then i spent some time playing with hardware from the other side of the spectrum - the underperformers.
Accumulated enough data and decided to update this thread with it.



286 from 1990-1992

HARDWARE

    motherboard: Ilon USA M216A rev 1.2
    cpu: Intersil CS80C286-25 25/30MHz
      Harris CS80C286-20 20MHz
    fpu: IIT 2C87-12 20/25MHz
    ram: 4Mb 60ns parity FPM
    vga: Tseng Labs ET4000AX 1Mb
    i/o: AHA-1520A
      Unknown, FDC37C65B
      Unknown, serial/parallel ports controller
    psu: 450W AT
    input: BTC 5121, MS Mouse
    os: DOS 4.01 + Windows 3.0
    partitions: 1x504Mb

NOTES

The motherboard is actually not that bad - handles IDE and FPU really well, but hates video cards - slows them down to a crawl.
Coretest for SCSI freaks-out when the CPU runs at 25MHz.
The Harris CPU does not overclock at all - anything above the default 20MHz is a no go.
IDE is much faster than the SCSI.

THE CULPRITS

http://petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/286_2_motherboard.jpg (featuring the Harris CPU)
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http://petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/286_2_et4000ax.jpg
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http://petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/286_2_ide.jpg
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http://petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/286_2_adaptec.jpg
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http://petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/286_2_io.jpg
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286 at 25MHz

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286 at 30MHz

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IDE
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SCSI
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386 from 1993-1994

HARDWARE

    motherboard: Unichip 367C rev 1.0 WB
    cpu: AMD Am386DX 40MHz
    fpu: Cyrix FasMath CX-83D87-40-GP 40MHz
    ram: 8Mb 70ns parity FPM
    vga: Genoa Systems Windows VGA 24 8500 1Mb (Cirrus Logic GD-5426)
    i/o: AHA-1540B
      PC Chips F82C712
    psu: 450W AT
    input: BTC 5121, MS Mouse
    os: DOS 6.2 + Windows 3.11
    partitions: 1x504Mb

NOTES

This motherboard is a top underperformer.
Initially i thought it may be unoptimized BIOS, but trying 30 other BIOS-es strongly indicated that the problem is the hardware itself. From past experience - if the hardware is ok, some BIOSes can improve its performance at least partially. Not this time around. There is a real log jam somewhere in that mobo.
SpeedSys memory metrics indicate no cache, which is strange. Tried different sets of chips to eliminate the chance of faulty ones - no bueno. This seems to be the main issue of the board.

THE CULPRITS

http://petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/386_2_motherboard.jpg
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http://www.petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/386_cirruslogic_1.jpg
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http://petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/386_2_ide.jpg
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http://petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/386_2_adaptec.jpg
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IDE
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SCSI
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no FPU, IDE
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no FPU, SCSI
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FPU, IDE
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FPU, SCSI
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486DX2 from 1993-1994

HARDWARE

    motherboard: Unknown, SIS 85C461
    cpu: Intel A80486DX2-66 66MHz
    ram: 16Mb 70ns parity FPM
    vga: Trident TGUI9440AGI 2Mb (primary)
      S3 805 1Mb
      Cirrus Logic GD-5428 1Mb
      Weitek Power 9000 2Mb
    i/o: AHA-1542C
      GoldStar Prime 2
    psu: 450W AT
    input: BTC 5121, MS Mouse
    os: DOS 6.2 + Windows 3.11
    partitions: 1x504Mb

NOTES

Another impressive underperformer.
Kind of strange, because exactly the same chipset is used successfully by Asus and other manufacturers in very fast motherboards.
Visual inspection and comparison with such motherboards confirms that the hardware components match. So it must be the BIOS then.
Tried over 40 different BIOS-es. Started with ones from other SIS 461 based boards, but at the end the one that finally "clicked" was an UMC BIOS. Unexpected i admit, but the mobo woke up. VGA and IDE performance was where i expected them to be. The only trouble was an apparent disagreement between the BIOS and the memory controller about the amount of installed RAM. So, they settled on 1MB only.
The system does not boot at 40MHz FSB.

Cannot find manual for the CL combo board. Its default IDE performance is the same as the GoldStar Prime 2.
Also, there are memory expansion slots - any idea what chips should go there ?

THE CULPRITS

http://petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/486dx2_motherboard.jpg
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http://www.petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/486dx2_trident.jpg
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http://www.petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/486dx2_s3.jpg
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http://www.petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/486dx2_cirruslogic.jpg
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http://www.petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/486dx2_weitek.jpg
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http://petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/486dx2_adaptec.jpg
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http://petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/486dx2_goldstar.jpg
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http://petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_images/components/486dx2_chips.jpg
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IDE
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SCSI
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IDE
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SCSI
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BENCHMARKS

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RENDERING

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Last edited by pshipkov on 2019-7-03 @ 03:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

Postby SirNickity » 2019-7-02 @ 18:41

D'aww! I <3 motherboards that are just big enough for their ISA slots. ^_^

There's a pretty significant difference between those Adaptec SCSI cards. Huh. Would not have expected that. And I'm still trying to get over how fast the Trident 8900 is.

I haven't ever really been concerned with benchmarks before, but this is kind of making me want to run some comparisons on the hardware I have lying around. I've got a 386SX/25 and a DX/40 that I've been trying to decide which to pair with an Orchid Fahrenheit 1280 and a Trident 8900D. I'm a little more concerned with Win 3.11 performance on the DX and assumed the 1280 would be faster than a Trident. But now I'm not so sure...

Now I'm also wondering how my three VLB graphics cards compare... my DX2/66 has an ATI Graphics Pro Turbo (mach64) because that's my old setup from back in the day, but I also have a Cirrus and Tseng ET4000/w32i. I could be missing out.

Another vote, BTW, for the 4000 VLB vs PCI. I don't have a PCI 486, and I'm curious how VLB and PCI compare.
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Re: 3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

Postby pshipkov » 2019-7-02 @ 20:36

Yeah, the compact mobos are cool in their own way.
I really like the Trident VLB VGA, even S3 does a bit better in Doom, which is the test that actully matters, i am still using the Trident one as the main video card in the rig.

Run some tests if you have the time - any info like tht is well appreciated.

In case my questions got lost in the long post above:
- i cannot find any info about the Cirrus Logic combo jumper settings. Any hints ?
- what memory should go into its available slots ?

Any idea why the 386 mobo seems to be cache-less ?
It is not BIOS settings, or faulty chips for sure.

Ok, will post VLB vs PCI tests at some point soon.
Too bad i fried a ET4000w32 VLB adapter during some of my "underperformers" jurney. It was a dark day. :(

Thanks.
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Re: 3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

Postby SirNickity » 2019-7-03 @ 18:17

It seems my VLB Tseng ET4000/w32i bit the dust as well. I just get an "unsupported resolution" on my workbench LCD, and my OSSC shows a couple red boxes on the screen, but that's it. sigh...

Wish I could help with the questions. That combo card is quite peculiar, and handy given the low number of VLB slots available on 486 boards. The SIP slots look like RAM, alright -- presumably video RAM. But so many pins! I've never seen SIP memory that long.

I decided to test my ISA / VLB kit. This is all on a 486 DX2/66 motherboard with VLB, using Landmark 6.0 (char/ms), PC Player Benchmark (fps), and 3DBench2 (fps). I bring you, the ISA Trident trio, ISA and VLB Orchids, and ATI Mach64 VLB:

Trident 8900CL (512K) - LM: 1164 chr/ms; PCP: 2.3fps; 3DB2: 16.4fps
Trident 8900D (1M) - LM: 4349 chr/ms; PCP: 4.1fps; 3DB2: 32.8fps
Trident 9000C (512K) - LM: 2678 chr/ms; PCP: 3.2fps; 3DB2: 26.4fps
Orchid Fahrenheit 1280 (1M) - LM: 1755 chr/ms; PCP: wouldn't run; 3DB2: 16.3fps
Orchid Kelvin 64 VLB (Cirrus GD-5434, 2MB I believe) - LM: 8330 chr/ms; PCP: only runs in 320x200 (10.8fps); 3DB2: 44.7fps
Tseng ET4000/w32i VLB (2M) - forfeit on account of not working anymore, apparently. suck.
ATI Graphics Pro Turbo VLB (Mach64, 4MB) - LM: 9274 chr/ms; PCP: 4.5fps; 3DB2: 45.7fps

Most surprising to me is, again, how fast that 8900D really is. What a sleeper. Who knew? The PCPlayer benchmark is clearly CPU limited, but you do get to see where the cards hold back performance a little. VLB is faster (around 2x in this case), but not 4x despite the 8MHz to 33MHz bus clock speed jump. Interesting.

I'm rather happy with these results, as it turns out the builds I wanted for nostalgic reasons turned out to be the best performers. Nice!
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Re: 3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

Postby pshipkov » 2019-7-04 @ 05:09

Put your numbers in charts for better readability. Thanks for making the effort. It will be awesome if we see some doom stuff as well.
Btw, what is the mobo you tested on ? Brand, model, chipset, etc.
I will try to test all the isa, vlb and pci cards on my asus pvi-486sp3 mobo and merge your results as well.

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Re: 3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

Postby SirNickity » 2019-7-08 @ 20:08

TBH, I don't know how you make those graphs. I've seen that style before -- is it an app or site that you use? I could toss them in Excel or something, but it wouldn't be as pretty. :-)

The board is a Chaintech 4ULD with a UMC chipset (UM8498F).
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Re: 3 (+3 more) retro battle stations

Postby pshipkov » 2019-7-09 @ 06:49

It is Excel. There are some templates in the "view" bar when you select a chart.

Thanks for the clarification about the Mobo.
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