Low performance on Socket 7

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Low performance on Socket 7

Postby varrol » 2019-3-13 @ 19:02

My current setup for is: Asus P5A, Pentium 200MMX, 256MB RAM, GF 2 MX400, ISA ESS 1869 (but playing with no sound now)
Running boot into DOS from Windows 98 with extended memory option

Some time ago I had Pentium 120MHz (still have working CPU :) ) with ~64MB of RAM and some S3 Trio - I've noticed, that my current Socket 7 setup seems to have worse performance. Screamer 2 for example - was always one of my favourite games - there are 4 modes: low res - low color, hi res - low color, low res - high color and hi res - high color. Back then I remeber playing hi res - low color with no problems. And now hi res - low color is unplayable - quite low fps.

I've tried also windows game Sega Rally Championship - despite low requirements, it's also pretty slow.

I checked with AMD K6-2 350MHz and was even able to run Screamer 2 in high res - high color (FPS not great though) -> so CPU does make a difference.

Maybe my memory is wrong and it should be like that?

Unfortunately I don't have much time to play with my old computer stuff, so want to narrow down what to check - do you have any suggestions? I'm thinking of running benchmarks and compare to similar machines + remove all not used pci/isa cards.
Asus P5A | P55C 200MMX | 256MB | GF2MX400 | CT4750
AOpen AX6B+ | P3 1GHz@750Mhz slot1 | 1GB ECC REG | FX5200 | CT4810
Not plugged: K6 II 350MHz, P54C 120Mhz, TNT, TNT2 64, S3 Virge DX, CT4760, ESS1869
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Re: Low performance on Socket 7

Postby dionb » 2019-3-13 @ 20:17

Which revision P5A do you have?

1.05 or earlier has the older D/E revision of the Aladdin V chipset which can only cache 128MB of RAM. With 256MB you'd be outside your cacheable area and would have lower RAM performance. In that case, try dropping to 64MB if possible - it will probably run better, although not sure if it makes as much difference as you are describing here.

If you have a 1.06 P5A with G revision chipset it can cache at least 512MB, then this isn't the issue.
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Re: Low performance on Socket 7

Postby varrol » 2019-3-14 @ 09:56

Yup - got rev 1.04 - I think the smallest module I have is 128MB - changing to it does not make noticeable change (did not check in bench).

Removing Ultra ATA promise controller and sound card seems to improve performance. Checked with Sandra 99 and it looks pretty much ok - in comparison with 266MMX

I remember that I've forgot to clear BIOS after I had updated it - will also try it.

I wonder if I should try some older graphic card.
Asus P5A | P55C 200MMX | 256MB | GF2MX400 | CT4750
AOpen AX6B+ | P3 1GHz@750Mhz slot1 | 1GB ECC REG | FX5200 | CT4810
Not plugged: K6 II 350MHz, P54C 120Mhz, TNT, TNT2 64, S3 Virge DX, CT4760, ESS1869
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Re: Low performance on Socket 7

Postby PARKE » 2019-3-14 @ 10:41

There are several tweaks that improve performance of ALI V mentioned in this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=46&t=45283&

What does your setup score in 3DMark 1999/2000 ?
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Re: Low performance on Socket 7

Postby leonardo » 2019-3-14 @ 12:52

varrol wrote:My current setup for is: Asus P5A, Pentium 200MMX, 256MB RAM, GF 2 MX400, ISA ESS 1869 (but playing with no sound now)
Running boot into DOS from Windows 98 with extended memory option

Some time ago I had Pentium 120MHz (still have working CPU :) ) with ~64MB of RAM and some S3 Trio - I've noticed, that my current Socket 7 setup seems to have worse performance. Screamer 2 for example - was always one of my favourite games - there are 4 modes: low res - low color, hi res - low color, low res - high color and hi res - high color. Back then I remeber playing hi res - low color with no problems. And now hi res - low color is unplayable - quite low fps.

I've tried also windows game Sega Rally Championship - despite low requirements, it's also pretty slow.

I checked with AMD K6-2 350MHz and was even able to run Screamer 2 in high res - high color (FPS not great though) -> so CPU does make a difference.

Maybe my memory is wrong and it should be like that?

Unfortunately I don't have much time to play with my old computer stuff, so want to narrow down what to check - do you have any suggestions? I'm thinking of running benchmarks and compare to similar machines + remove all not used pci/isa cards.


Your video card is way too new. I remember trying a TNT2 on my old Pentium rig and the poor thing did worse than my Voodoo1.
This might not be the case for you, but it's the only thing that stands out from your spec sheet in the "what doesn't belong" column.

Other than that, there's a whole cavalcade of BIOS/chipset/driver related issues that could be bogging you down, but that's the road you didn't want to take so...
My retro rigs
Methuselah, AMD K6-III+ 400 MHz, Voodoo 3 PCI, etc...
Longbottom, Pentium III 1 GHz, RivaTNT 2, Aureal Vortex 2 etc...
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Re: Low performance on Socket 7

Postby appiah4 » 2019-3-14 @ 13:00

Have you tried using stuff like FASTVID or a VESA driver like UNIVBE? Newer graphics cards can need help with DOS graphics modes.. Newer is not always better. Try testing with a simple S3 card.
1989:A500|1M|ACA500+|C1084S
1992:HIPPO-VL+|U5SX-33|8M|GD5428|CT2290|S2
1995:P5I430VX|P133|32M|T64+/MX2|V1|CT3980/32M
1998:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|RagePro|V2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2001:GA-6OXT|PIII-1200|512M|GF3Ti200|MX300
2004:K8VD|3700+|2G|X1950P|SB0350
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Re: Low performance on Socket 7

Postby varrol » 2019-3-14 @ 23:28

Hah - 3DMarks 99 and 2000 won't run - both reporting card not compatible with Directx 6/7 or higher. I'm running directx 9.0c on win98. Could it really be no backward compatibility or the card is broken in terms of 3D?

I'll try other graphics when I get it + some tweaks from the topic PARKE suggested
Asus P5A | P55C 200MMX | 256MB | GF2MX400 | CT4750
AOpen AX6B+ | P3 1GHz@750Mhz slot1 | 1GB ECC REG | FX5200 | CT4810
Not plugged: K6 II 350MHz, P54C 120Mhz, TNT, TNT2 64, S3 Virge DX, CT4760, ESS1869
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Re: Low performance on Socket 7

Postby canthearu » 2019-3-15 @ 00:23

Hmmm, I haven't had an issue getting 3dmark 99/2000 to run on my PCI geforce 2mx on my Intel TX based bard. 3D performance is pretty gimped however, being a slow processor and on the PCI bus.

Nor have I seen any performance degradation vs S3 Virge DX. In fact, it is far faster than the S3 Virge, and has much less blurry VGA output.

I think I have windows 95 on that Pentium, will have to check tonight.
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Re: Low performance on Socket 7

Postby _UV_ » 2019-3-15 @ 20:38

Maybe, maybe... you just don't need DX9c and GeForce on W9x without 700MHz+ CPU? Too much overheadin drivers and API, incompatibilities between modern drivers and old games, mix of VXD and WDM drivers. Maybe TNT(TNT2/m64) or Rage 128pro + DX6.1 would be proper choice for such rig?
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Re: Low performance on Socket 7

Postby varrol » 2019-3-19 @ 23:33

So the problem was in graphic drivers - I had to downgrade detonator to 23.11 (probably higher is achievable as I was testing on DirectX 6.1). Also downgraded DirectX to 7.0. Both 3DMarks working fine. I've tested also on TNT2 64MX and performance in 3DMark is pretty much the same as on GeForce 2 MX 400 (~1050 in Mark99') - CPU seems to be a bottleneck here. Yet speed is not the point for retro machines, so it will stay like that - maybe when I got K6 550MHz I'll do some more testing.

PS. Also checked S3 Virge DX card - no performance difference in terms of DOS games - and yeah - image is worse.
Asus P5A | P55C 200MMX | 256MB | GF2MX400 | CT4750
AOpen AX6B+ | P3 1GHz@750Mhz slot1 | 1GB ECC REG | FX5200 | CT4810
Not plugged: K6 II 350MHz, P54C 120Mhz, TNT, TNT2 64, S3 Virge DX, CT4760, ESS1869
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Re: Low performance on Socket 7

Postby PARKE » 2019-3-20 @ 13:46

varrol wrote:So the problem was in graphic drivers - I had to downgrade detonator to 23.11 (probably higher is achievable as I was testing on DirectX 6.1). Also downgraded DirectX to 7.0. Both 3DMarks working fine. I've tested also on TNT2 64MX and performance in 3DMark is pretty much the same as on GeForce 2 MX 400 (~1050 in Mark99') - CPU seems to be a bottleneck here. Yet speed is not the point for retro machines, so it will stay like that - maybe when I got K6 550MHz I'll do some more testing.


Nice !
I like to max out my stuff to some degree so speed is sort of like of the essence over here. Last year I finally got a P5A to go with an AMD K6-3+ 400 that I had bought for another board that did not like it. I did some testing with a Geforce2 MX 400 64Mb and overclocked to 550 Mhz the 3DMark99 1024x768x16 score was around 3000 points (cpu score +/-7500). With various tweaks as described here:
viewtopic.php?f=63&t=52486
and driver 776 + BIOS 1011 it hit on 4000 points (cpu score +/-8000). I bet you will have a lot of fun with a K6-3 550MHz if you decide to upgrade.
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