VOGONS


First post, by Rikintosh

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Yes I know, everyone will say 3dfx, ati, nvidia... But in what order? And why?

Take a look at my blog: http://rikintosh.blogspot.com
My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfRUbxkBmEihBEkIK32Hilg

Reply 1 of 18, by BitWrangler

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

Curveball nominations... TGUI9680.. because they're real easy to get working in 9x for second monitor... Rage II/C/+/pro or XL/XC because they're cheapest thing to stick in your AGPn't socket 7 that are reasonable on dx5/6 some have some gl support (was late arriving in the day).... Number Nine Revolution IV 32MB, because obviously you want wide screen res in windows 3.1

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 2 of 18, by Unknown_K

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

It depends on if you are talking about gaming or want to use something for broad OS support.

I kind of like Matrox PCI cards because they have drivers for pretty much any OS you would want to use (Win 3.1/NT 3.5, W95, OS/2) and have decent resolution and screen image.

Collector of old computers, hardware, and software

Reply 3 of 18, by waterbeesje

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

For DOS use: Definately the S3 Virge. Cheap and boring, but very strong vesa support.

Windows 9x: anything Nvidia or Matrox, probably none faster than the Geforce 2 MX. Possibly even a GF4 Mx series, but it won't get up to speed for to the PCI bottleneck.
Anything 3DFXwith 2D chip would do, but they are way too expensive.
My ATI experience is not very good: slow and often seem to lack full vesa support.

On NT just any Matrox, supreme image and you'll only want that. NT4 gaming is no to me.

Stuck at 10MHz...

Reply 4 of 18, by Tetrium

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

I'd say my list would go something like this: 3DFX, S3, NVidia, Rendition and Matrox.

EDIT: I forgot to answer the 'why?' portion.
I'd like to stress that this is just my personal list, it doesn't reflect a, like, uuultimate definitive list of what teh best evah PCI cards are for everyone and their cats 😜

I've always been a fan of 3DFX even before they became popular in retro world. I've also always liked the PCI S3 cards (especially the Virge and Trio64) because they always just worked. Sure they were slow if put into newer rigs and 3D was not their turf, but they always just worked. And they are plentiful and as I had to work with what I had at the time (dumpsterdiving and not buying as I was a poor sob really) I rapidly got to appreciate them for what they are.
NVidia because I liked using their TNT2 M64 PCI cards and also their PCI MX cards are fairly useful for my needs.
Rendition because of those Diamond Stealth II S220 that was apparently quite popular back in the days here in The Netherlands (Rendition Verite 2100 4MB PCI). Aside from that they also looked cool, almost like a miniature GF2 or something 😜
Matrox because need I say more? I used more other manufacturer cards (like SiS and Ati (and theoretically Intel)) but from this little lot I think Matrox is the most solid one.

Last edited by Tetrium on 2021-11-16, 10:25. Edited 4 times in total.

Whats missing in your collections?
My retro rigs (old topic)
Interesting Vogons threads (links to Vogonswiki)
Report spammers here!

Reply 5 of 18, by 386SX

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Obviously it depends on what are used for, but I do like the high end target of the Matrox Millennium and Mystique cards with its output quality, GUI speed, and native PCI period correct chips and also drivers support still easy to find much later. Unfortunately S3 back in those times had too many low end PCB version for their chips and to compare the vga output quality is just impossible most of the times. I don't know if it's also cause time has passed and maybe capacitors migh have been at end of their life but the difference with the cards I tried was usually night and day. Obviously the final price target were also different.

Reply 6 of 18, by dionb

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

"Best" can mean so many things to so many people.

I used high-res CRT monitors back then, so was a huge fan of Matrox cards because of the quality of their analog output - I lusted after the G400 Max, but had to make to with G200 until I got a G450 (but that was in this millennium). For gaming, the TNT2-M64 I bought around the same time as the G200 was vastly better, but if I tried to let that output 1600x900 to my Sony w900, I got instant headache.

I also second Trident TGUI9680 for second screen, not just VGA but also TV out (in fact it was the least troublesome PAL TV-out I've encountered, just set resolution to 800x600 and it just works (tm)). I used that for a 3" CRT I scavenged from a 1970's era video camera that I modded into three drive bays. It worked on 12V power, so could be hooked up to a Molex, and video was just a single composite signal (it even shared GND with the power signal). Was it practically useful? Nope. But Winamp on a mini CRT in my case was a great gimmick 😉

For DOS I'd not so soon recommend any S3 Virge, as the output quality of too many of those cards was way sub-par. A good Miro, Elsa, Diamond or STB card was great though. 3dfx and nVidia also had excellent VESA support, so a V3 PCI or TNT2 PCI was also good, particularly if you wanted a combined DOS/Windows build that could actually do Windows 3D games too.

Reply 7 of 18, by Rikintosh

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

The use would be for windows and dos games.

I have an "onboard" PCI S3 but I noticed the low quality of the generated image. I'm sure I could investigate which components are responsible for filtering the output, and replace them with better quality ones, but I don't want to do that now.

Take a look at my blog: http://rikintosh.blogspot.com
My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfRUbxkBmEihBEkIK32Hilg

Reply 8 of 18, by vetz

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

1. Voodoo3 PCI - good 3D performance, good DOS support, fast in VESA and Windows, excellent output, Glide support, it's the best combo card of them all and an Ebay price to match!
2. TNT2 PCI - good 3D performance, good DOS support, fast in VESA and Windows, good output (on most cards)
3. Matrox G200 - Acceptable Direct3D performance, excellent output, fast in VESA and Windows.
4. S3 Virge (from a good vendor!) - Excellent DOS performance and compatibility.
5. ET6000 - The best DOS performance, acceptable output, but no 3D and compatibility not as good as S3.

3D Accelerated Games List (Proprietary APIs - No 3DFX/Direct3D)
3D Acceleration Comparison Episodes

Reply 9 of 18, by schlomoe99

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Great discussion!

This might be a good time to reference the excellent Late PCI, early and middle AGP video chips DOS game compatibility test results link:
https://gona.mactar.hu/DOS_TESTS/

But yeah, if I could only have one card, it would be a Voodoo3 PCI for the reasons listed in the posts above.

Last edited by schlomoe99 on 2021-11-16, 14:43. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 10 of 18, by BitWrangler

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++
waterbeesje wrote on 2021-11-16, 09:50:

Windows 9x: anything Nvidia or Matrox, probably none faster than the Geforce 2 MX. Possibly even a GF4 Mx series, but it won't get up to speed for to the PCI bottleneck.

Since 90s is specified, 2/4MX only qualify as a sub for the barely qualifying because it was very late 1999 Geforce 256 PCI which is not gonna be easy to find.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 11 of 18, by MN_Moody

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

1) Nvidia TNT2
2) Voodoo 3 series
3) Trident Blade 3D/XP
4) Voodoo Banshee
5) TNT2 Vanta / M64 / Riva TNT / Riva 128

From a value standpoint, I think the Nvidia TNT2 based cards offer the best balance of price, compatibility and value among the video chipsets available between 1995 and 1999. They are my personal go-to when I'm building value focused retro systems or BiY motherboard bundles for Free Geek twin cities. The Voodoo3 needs no introduction... the Trident Blade surprised me with a good blend of speed (Voodoo2 level) and image quality at a fairly affordable price. I use the Banshee cards in slower systems including late PCI equipped 486/5x86 based machines where being CPU limited negates much of the advantage of a faster 3D card.... The rest of the Riva series is really common in old machines, much like the ATI stuff, but has better compatibility in DOS and easier to install Windows drivers so they round out my list.

ATI's Rage 128 was tempting to include because they are cheap and plentiful with good performance in a lot of titles... but the benchmark cheating and horrible driver support depending on who made the card knocks it off my list, though if you don't mind the hassles they are a great value. A Matrox example would make my list if I were considering 2-card solutions. Ark Logic, Tseng ET6000, Rendition Verte are all interesting but expensive for cards with DOS compatibility issues and limited 3d utility. The S3 968/Trio/Virge series and pre "blade" Trident models are cheap, great for DOS and widely available... but they don't do much for 3D gaming and output quality is highly variable based on manufacturer so I left them off as well.

Reply 12 of 18, by j^aws

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Rikintosh wrote on 2021-11-16, 04:20:

Yes I know, everyone will say 3dfx, ati, nvidia... But in what order? And why?

I like these:

1. Apocalypse 5D (Tseng 6100 + Power VR PCX2) combined with...

1. Obsidian2 X24 (Voodoo 2 SLI, single slot)

3. ATI All-in-Wonder 128 Pro (nice multimedia card with everything thrown in)

4. Powercolor S3 Virge DX (great 2D image quality on a CRT and compatibility)

5. Voodoo 3000 (covers many bases)

Reply 13 of 18, by retardware

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

For DOS gaming on CRT there is no better card than Spea V7 Mercury P64[V].
The only card I know of that can do 100Hz refresh in (almost) all DOS graphics and text modes.
Completely flicker-free and high output quality (135MHz DAC).

Otherwise, I agree with most of you, S3 Virge is the best allrounder.
Unspectacular but best price/functionality ratio.

For Windows definitely Matrox or Nvidia... cheap and good drivers.
3dfx is only for gamers 😜

Reply 14 of 18, by gundstaff

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
retardware wrote on 2021-11-17, 23:47:
For DOS gaming on CRT there is no better card than Spea V7 Mercury P64[V]. The only card I know of that can do 100Hz refresh in […]
Show full quote

For DOS gaming on CRT there is no better card than Spea V7 Mercury P64[V].
The only card I know of that can do 100Hz refresh in (almost) all DOS graphics and text modes.
Completely flicker-free and high output quality (135MHz DAC).

Otherwise, I agree with most of you, S3 Virge is the best allrounder.
Unspectacular but best price/functionality ratio.

For Windows definitely Matrox or Nvidia... cheap and good drivers.
3dfx is only for gamers 😜

A Matrox G450 has great compatibility with everything from DOS to directx6. If you are building a machine focused on DOS/DX6 games, I would definitely recommend this model due to the low cost and ease of finding. ATI will also be a great choice if you are using an R9600, older models may have issues with some games. Nvidia is not good for old games, Nvidia started to exist for me from the Shader Model 3, with old games there will be problems with several games for DOS or Windows 98. The focus of 3DFX is glide and less powerful processors, in this case there are no competitors the height. If you don't want to waste time and money for your DOS/9X machine, buy a G450 or R9600.

Reply 15 of 18, by dionb

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

Matrix G450 has poor DOS VESA SVGA support. Prepare for choppy scrolling and worse.

For DirectX its performance is poor, significantly worse than its G400 predecessor. I'd recommend it purely for DVI support.

NVidia does actually have excellent VESA support so but confused about your statement that it's not good for older games, at least up to Gf4

Reply 16 of 18, by Gmlb256

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Older nVidia cards are decent for most 90s games, so I don't get why it isn't good either.

VIA C3 Nehemiah 1.2A @ 1.46 GHz | ASUS P2-99 | 256 MB PC133 SDRAM | GeForce2 GTS 32 MB | Voodoo2 12 MB | SBLive! | AWE64 | SBPro2 | GUS

Reply 17 of 18, by Intel486dx33

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

For DOS game play compatibility anf good game play performance.

1) S3 trio64 DX/VX ( Play and play cards with great compatibility. )
2) ATI Rage
3) Riva TNT
4) Matrox Millennium / Mystic
5) Geforce MX

Last ) Voodoo 3 3000 ( Very few still around because of over heating issues and leaking capacitors which destroyed the PCB traces ).

Reply 18 of 18, by The Serpent Rider

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

Matrox G450 can be overclocked to G400 MAX frequency with just passive cooling. Also it has better 16-bit dithering, compared to Nvidia. But VESA support is worse than G200/G400.

I must be some kind of standard: the anonymous gangbanger of the 21st century.