Pentium vs Cyrix 6x86 in Integer 3D games

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Pentium vs Cyrix 6x86 in Integer 3D games

Postby F2bnp » 2017-10-23 @ 10:16

Greetings!
I've been thinking about doing a clock for clock comparison in 3D games between a classic Pentium and a Cyrix 6x86, let's say a Pentium 133 and a 6x86 PR166+, both of which run at 133MHz on a 66MHz FSB. I know we've all seen just how poor the 6x86's FPU is, but I would be more interested in seeing how it performs in the area it excels at, integer performance!

The idea is to make a list of games that don't make use of the FPU or make very light use of one, i.e. games that will run okay on 486 systems (so, no Quakes here). These are the ones that have come to my mind at the time being, please feel free to recommend your own, this is why I am making this thread in the first place :).

MDK
Tomb Raider 1
Tomb Raider 2 (my reasoning is that it's a light game)
Star Wars : Jedi Knight (runs okayish on low end hardware)
Wing Commander 3 or 4 (did Privateer 2 include a benchmark like these two?)
Terra Nova : Strike Force Centauri
Doom
Duke Nukem 3D
Magic Carpet
Descent/Descent 2
Little Big Adventure 2
Syndicate Wars
Mechwarrior 2

Testing would probably include both Software mode 320x200 (or 320x240) and 3Dfx accelerated systems. Comparing performance between systems would be a little hard, as most of these games do not offer timedemos/benchmarks or even a frame counter. I could perhaps use a Voodoo3 and capture performance off of the S-Video port on that however, so you could compare on your own :).

I should explain beforehand that I am not planning to undertake this project immediately. Mostly because I am lacking a classic or low power 6x86 at the moment. I have a 6x86MX PR233 but that would be unfair since it has MMX and 64KB L1 cache. Now if anyone was willing to donate or lend me one... ;)
I am also in the middle of doing a clock for clock test in a lot of games for the Pentium Pro 233 - Pentium MMX 233 - Pentium II 233, so stay tuned for that, it's coming pretty soon :).

By all means, suggest more games if you can think of them.
Last edited by F2bnp on 2017-10-23 @ 22:56, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pentium vs Cyrix 6x86 in Integer 3D games

Postby kanecvr » 2017-10-23 @ 22:09

As far as I know, tomb raider, tomb raider 2, descent and descent 2 are "real" 3d games witch make use of the fpu. They also perform quite poorly on a 486. Descent is only playable on a 133Mhz amd 586, and is comfortable to play on a 133Mhz pentium. It should run well on a 686, but it will probably be faster on the pentium. Unfortunately I don't think most of these games have a built-in benchmark, so I don't know how you plan to gauge performance...

Descent for example - it's not specifically stated that it requires a fpu, but system requirements quote a 486DX-50 CPU, and when I tried to run it on a 40Mhz 386 w/o a FPU and it gave an error and crashed to dos. They also recommend a Pentium CPU for optimal performance. Might be unrelated tough. Here's a link to interplay's webpage with system requirements: http://www.interplay.com/games/support.php?id=263
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Re: Pentium vs Cyrix 6x86 in Integer 3D games

Postby leileilol » 2017-10-23 @ 22:26

All of the Build games don't know what a floating point anything is.


Mechwarrior 2 also touts itself only using integer math. (sadly its later derivatives i.e. i76, bzone, hgear are not the case.)
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Re: Pentium vs Cyrix 6x86 in Integer 3D games

Postby F2bnp » 2017-10-23 @ 22:56

kanecvr wrote:As far as I know, tomb raider, tomb raider 2, descent and descent 2 are "real" 3d games witch make use of the fpu. They also perform quite poorly on a 486. Descent is only playable on a 133Mhz amd 586, and is comfortable to play on a 133Mhz pentium. It should run well on a 686, but it will probably be faster on the pentium. Unfortunately I don't think most of these games have a built-in benchmark, so I don't know how you plan to gauge performance...

Descent for example - it's not specifically stated that it requires a fpu, but system requirements quote a 486DX-50 CPU, and when I tried to run it on a 40Mhz 386 w/o a FPU and it gave an error and crashed to dos. They also recommend a Pentium CPU for optimal performance. Might be unrelated tough. Here's a link to interplay's webpage with system requirements: http://www.interplay.com/games/support.php?id=263


woah nice! I was pretty sure Descent would not require an FPU, but what do you know, I guess it does. Thanks for letting me know!
I seem to remember the original Tomb Raider as an integer only affair, I think someone ran it on a 386, but it could have included a 387. At the very least, it's one of those games that should do somewhat well, it runs pretty well on fast 486s at 320x200.

leileilol wrote:All of the Build games don't know what a floating point anything is.
Mechwarrior 2 also touts itself only using integer math. (sadly its later derivatives i.e. i76, bzone, hgear are not the case.)


Thanks for the tip! I did think about Mechwarrior 2, but I think it will probably run full-speed at 320x200 on both processors and then 640x480 will be woefully slow on both. Worth a try I suppose though!
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Re: Pentium vs Cyrix 6x86 in Integer 3D games

Postby feipoa » 2017-10-24 @ 01:22

How will you take the fps results from games with a frame counter, like simply moving forward at the start of the game and jotting down an instantaneous frame rate?
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Re: Pentium vs Cyrix 6x86 in Integer 3D games

Postby Koltoroc » 2017-10-24 @ 01:42

kanecvr wrote:As far as I know, tomb raider, tomb raider 2, descent and descent 2 are "real" 3d games witch make use of the fpu. They also perform quite poorly on a 486. Descent is only playable on a 133Mhz amd 586, and is comfortable to play on a 133Mhz pentium. It should run well on a 686, but it will probably be faster on the pentium. Unfortunately I don't think most of these games have a built-in benchmark, so I don't know how you plan to gauge performance...

Descent for example - it's not specifically stated that it requires a fpu, but system requirements quote a 486DX-50 CPU, and when I tried to run it on a 40Mhz 386 w/o a FPU and it gave an error and crashed to dos. They also recommend a Pentium CPU for optimal performance. Might be unrelated tough. Here's a link to interplay's webpage with system requirements: http://www.interplay.com/games/support.php?id=263


Descent, At least the early dos releases, does NOT need an FPU. it actually ran (well, crawled) on a 386. I had it back in the day. Descent 2 might require an FPU and rereleases might use the descent 2 engine, but the original definitely does not require an fpu and ran fine on a 33Mhz 486.
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Re: Pentium vs Cyrix 6x86 in Integer 3D games

Postby kanecvr » 2017-10-24 @ 04:16

Koltoroc wrote:
kanecvr wrote:As far as I know, tomb raider, tomb raider 2, descent and descent 2 are "real" 3d games witch make use of the fpu. They also perform quite poorly on a 486. Descent is only playable on a 133Mhz amd 586, and is comfortable to play on a 133Mhz pentium. It should run well on a 686, but it will probably be faster on the pentium. Unfortunately I don't think most of these games have a built-in benchmark, so I don't know how you plan to gauge performance...

Descent for example - it's not specifically stated that it requires a fpu, but system requirements quote a 486DX-50 CPU, and when I tried to run it on a 40Mhz 386 w/o a FPU and it gave an error and crashed to dos. They also recommend a Pentium CPU for optimal performance. Might be unrelated tough. Here's a link to interplay's webpage with system requirements: http://www.interplay.com/games/support.php?id=263


Descent, At least the early dos releases, does NOT need an FPU. it actually ran (well, crawled) on a 386. I had it back in the day. Descent 2 might require an FPU and rereleases might use the descent 2 engine, but the original definitely does not require an fpu and ran fine on a 33Mhz 486.


If by fine you mean speedy slideshow then yeah. Tried it before posting (just to make sure) on a 66MHz IBM PS/2 Valuepoint - not enjoyable. Don't know the exact framerate since "frametime" command didn't work, but I'd guess anywhere between 8 (explosions) to 20 (looking at a wall) fps, with an average of 14-15.

I don't know if it uses the FPU or not, but it really needs a pentium CPU for the game to be enjoyable.
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Re: Pentium vs Cyrix 6x86 in Integer 3D games

Postby F2bnp » 2017-10-24 @ 08:35

feipoa wrote:How will you take the fps results from games with a frame counter, like simply moving forward at the start of the game and jotting down an instantaneous frame rate?


I'm not sure yet. The best thing to do would be to record footage and allow everyone to draw conclusions. You should be able to tell which system runs faster/smoother this way.

The other thing I can do is run a small segment or level from any given game and write down my experience. So it could be like this: "The game runs quite smoothly, usually around 40-45 fps, but when many enemies are on-screen, it drops to around 25-30fps and chugs a little. Minimum reported framerate was 12fps and the game dropped to it quite often when there was a lot going".
Something along these lines, which I know is not ideal in any way imaginable, but at least it's something.
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