VOGONS


First post, by j^aws

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I've seen various versions of UNIVBE, and I was wondering when you have to load it manually to fix things? I was looking for examples like certain games/ demos/ apps and for what video cards.

The fastest card I have that works with UNIVBE is a TNT 2 Ultra. Is such a card needed for anything requiring UNIVBE to fix things? I haven't come across anything yet. It's a VBE 3.0 card.

I've also seen versions of UNIVBE upgrade certain cards from VBE 1.0 to 1.1 and 1.2, and also downgrade VBE 2.0 to 1.2. Have you ever come across a need to do this manually for any video card?

Reply 1 of 17, by elianda

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I very rarely use UNIVBE. Mostly the VESA TSR that comes from the cards manufacturer is fine.

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Reply 2 of 17, by j^aws

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elianda wrote:

I very rarely use UNIVBE. Mostly the VESA TSR that comes from the cards manufacturer is fine.

On these rare occasions, what do you use it for and for what video card?

Reply 3 of 17, by leileilol

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Usually for video cards with pre-VESA2 bioses, like the millions of S3 Trio 32/64s out there - but also for many, many many pre-VESA SVGA video cards before 1994. Many games provide it out of convenience of assurance that they can run their (SVGA) game. Not doing this, would mean packing a crapload of SVGA TSRs (see: Simcity 2000 😜)

UniVBE is pretty useless for anything modern from Riva128 onward.

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Reply 4 of 17, by boxpressed

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I've always wondered about UNIVBE too. Is it necessary for VLB video cards in general, or does it depend on the particular GPU on the VLB card? For example, without UNIVBE, I've never run into issues with my Diamond Stealth 64 DRAM VLB, a Trio64-based card.

Reply 6 of 17, by clueless1

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It's needed on video cards that do not support VBE2.0 for any games that do support VBE2.0. For example, Quake.

Regarding VLB cards, yes it can be used with them. My VLB CL-GD5428 needs it to run Quake in SVGA. Quake is unplayable in SVGA on a VLB system, so that's not the best example, but it's the one game I know for sure requires 2.0. There may be others that would make more sense on a 486 system, like maybe some graphic adventures that can run in SVGA?

The other thing it can do is give a minor speed boost in SVGA for games that run in VBE1.2. For example, I have a couple of S3 cards (a Virge and Trio64) that get 30% faster framerates in PCPBench 640x480 when running UNIVBE or S3 VBE.

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Reply 7 of 17, by Jorpho

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Are there any games that actually require VBE 3.0? I recall VBEHz supposedly required VBE 3.0, but it seems unlikely that just using UniVBE would satisfy it. Wikipedia suggests it is mainly of significance with stereo glasses.

j^aws wrote:

I've also seen versions of UNIVBE upgrade certain cards from VBE 1.0 to 1.1 and 1.2, and also downgrade VBE 2.0 to 1.2. Have you ever come across a need to do this manually for any video card?

NOFLB (or NOLFBLIM) disables the linear framebuffer and effectively downgrades VBE 2.0 to 1.2. But that's really only of significance in special situations, like the NTVDM.

Reply 8 of 17, by manuelink64

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For run :
- BLOOD (at higher resolutions than 640*480 or any Build Engine game)
- Genecyst x.xx (sega genesis emulator on DOS)
- A bunch of games that use the "undocumented" VGA mode X (320*240) like TITUS' games (Prehistorik 2)
- Some demos and bechmarks

Especially for the zillion card based on Cirrus Logic, S3,Trident and some ATI

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Reply 9 of 17, by DosFreak

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VESA Fix Utility Listing (for old video cards)

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Reply 10 of 17, by digger

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When I upgraded my 486DLC PC to a Pentium 100, I remember keeping my Tseng Labs ET4000 ISA card for awhile, since PCI video cards were pricy and the games I were playing at the time still ran fine with that card.

The 11th Hour was the first game that I tried that would refuse to run on the ET4000 card, since it required a graphics card with a linear framebuffer and VBE 2.0 support.

Even once I had upgraded to a Diamond PCI card with a Trio64V+ chipset, I had to run the bundled UNIVBE driver to get the game to run.

The same video card would later cause that PC to lock up whenever I tried to run Warcraft II with a sound card configured. Eventually I found out that the UNIVBE version that came bundled with Warcraft II was outdated and recognized the Trio64V+ as a regular Trio64 card. Once I found a newer version of UNIVBE with Trio64V+ support, and loaded that version first, Warcraft II would run properly, with sound.

Reply 11 of 17, by The Serpent Rider

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It comes with no surprise, because manufacturers more often than not were lazy asses or cheapskates. And thus we even have Virge/DX cards with only basic VBE 1.2 support.

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Reply 12 of 17, by carlostex

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I've settled myself on a PCI Voodoo 3. UNIVBE is useless with Voodoo 3, as it is really not supported. It works on the majority of games ok, there are TSR's that might help with some games too.

Unfortunately i haven't found a way to make the game "The Last Express" to work with the Voodoo 3. The program just complains that VESA mode 640 x 480 could not be switched. And no TSR really helps with this one.

Reply 13 of 17, by SodaSuccubus

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Excuse my inexperience but what does VESA even offer for performance improvements?

Duke3D has VESA screen modes down to 320x200, which iv never understood. I get that VESA is required for cards to handle higher resolution and sometimes fixes performance, hence Univbe/displaydoctor existing t patch unsupported cards.

But what benefit is there to using a low res VESA mode say..vs regular? I certainly don't feel any FPS gain.

Only time iv ever had to use these programs was with VLB cards. Most of my PCI cards seem fine without it.

Reply 14 of 17, by The Serpent Rider

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I certainly don't feel any FPS gain.

But it actually does in some cases. Duke Nukem 3D will run better on 486 with VESA lowres modes.

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Reply 15 of 17, by kjliew

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SodaSuccubus wrote on 2020-09-17, 00:50:

Excuse my inexperience but what does VESA even offer for performance improvements?

LFB, linear framebuffer addressing is a form of acceleration compared to VGA bit plane addressing. The CPU access semantics can take advantage of hardware read prefetch and posted write buffers for more efficient bus utilization and fully realize the performance benefits of CPUs supporting MTRRs.

Reply 17 of 17, by Sedrosken

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Well, my 486 has a TGUI9440AGi, and I've only had a single issue without UNIVBE. The only game I had a minor issue with (because it was loading the wrong VESA TSR) was SimCity2000, even that was quickly fixed by reconfiguring it. How common are those games that need it? I thought I had a fair amount of games installed already...