VOGONS


First post, by aries-mu

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Alright fellow retro lovers.

I understand it's a lot. So, don't worry, just if you know it on top of your mind, no need to do research for that. Even just a partial reply on only a couple of points. Thanks a lot.

What brands/models of cards would be in your opinion the best bet (ideally supporting a Bus speed bumped up to 40 MHz) for each of the following categories?

(please only pre-1994ish-1995ish cards to maintain the spirit of nostalgia that is the very reason behind all this - for what I can remember, S3 968 / Cirrus 5434 and things like that were as late as it got until the market went wild and other interests caught my attention for a few years - I'd say Matrox Millenium and S3 Trio were already ahead of my desired time window):

1) A non-caching EIDE (PIO Mode 4) PCI controller
2) A non-caching EIDE (PIO Mode 4) VL Bus controller
3) A non-caching Ultra DMA 33/66/100 PCI controller
4) A non-caching Ultra DMA 33/66/100 VL Bus controller
5) A caching EIDE (PIO Mode 4) PCI controller
6) A caching EIDE (PIO Mode 4) VL Bus controller
7) A caching Ultra DMA 33/66/100 PCI controller
8) A caching Ultra DMA 33/66/100 VL Bus controller

9) A non-caching SCSI (possibly at least W, ideally UW) PCI controller
10) A non-caching (possibly at least W, ideally UW) VL Bus controller
11) A caching (possibly at least W, ideally UW) PCI controller
12) A caching (possibly at least W, ideally UW) VL Bus controller

13) Best DOS-DOS Games-Win 3.xx sweet spot graphics card, VLB
14) Best DOS-DOS Games-Win 3.xx sweet spot graphics card, PCI
15) Best DOS-DOS Games graphics card, VLB
16) Best DOS-DOS Games graphics card, PCI
17) Best Win 3.xx graphics card, VLB
18) Best Win 3.xx graphics card, PCI

19) Best 386 ISA motherboard for 386 DX 40 MHz + a 40 MHz FPU
20) Best 386 VLB motherboard for 386 DX 40 MHz + a 40 MHz FPU
21) Best 486 VLB motherboard for AMD 486 DX4 120 MHz (the lower the waitstates and the higher the bus clock, the better)
22) Best 486 PCI motherboard for AMD 486 DX4 120 MHz (the lower the waitstates and the higher the bus clock, the better)
23) Best Pentium VLB motherboard for AMD 486 DX4 120 MHz (the lower the waitstates and the higher the bus clock, the better)
24) Best Pentium PCI motherboard for AMD 486 DX4 120 MHz (the lower the waitstates and the higher the bus clock, the better)

Do we wanna even get into the L2 cache types wilderness? Oh somebody help us 🤣!!!!!

I understand it's a lot. So, don't worry, just if you know it on top of your mind, no need to do research for that. Even just a partial reply on only a couple of points. Thanks a lot.

Last edited by aries-mu on 2021-11-30, 21:57. Edited 1 time in total.

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Jesus said to them: The beginning, who also speak unto you

Reply 1 of 5, by dionb

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You're not explicit about the platform, but I'm assuming 486 with VIP-IO given the options, and given the DX4-120 you seem to want to run it at 40MHz.

For a 486, best performance is acheived with VLB with zero wait-states. That usually means max 33MHz, maybe 40MHz very, very rarely 50MHz. At 40MHz, you need to get lucky to do zero ws. With 1ws at 40MHz, performance is lower than at 33MHz with 0ws.

Assuming your controller can handle 40MHz zero ws, VLB non-caching gives best perofrmane, so 2 or 4 (not sure 4 exists...). SCSI gives you the option to run a vastly non-period correct U160 15k rpm monster on an old VLB system. Haven't ever compared that to a CF card on IDE, but in both cases, it's access times that matter, so I suspect that CF card on IDE (with only passive converter needed) would give best performance at far lower price and noise. That said, I love my dual P3 U160 SCSI build and it is also really fast (with WinXP), so it wouldn't hurt at 486, but I doubt it would give added value over a much simpler solution.

Then VGA - same applies, for DOS at least, bus performance is key, so whatever runs at 40MHz 0ws will beat 40MHz 1ws regardless of controller. Assuming you have a lot to choose from, it's the usual ranking, so for DOS Ark1000, Tseng ET4000w/32 and UMC 85C418F with S3 DRAM (8xx series) following, although Advance Logic ALG is known to run at higher speed 0ws than most. In Windows, acceleration features matter, so S3 9xx and ATi Mach32 get better, as do Weitek and Matrox. For Windows and DOS, S3 VLB cards are generally the best bet.

Reply 2 of 5, by aries-mu

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dionb wrote on 2021-11-30, 21:21:
You're not explicit about the platform, but I'm assuming 486 with VIP-IO given the options, and given the DX4-120 you seem to wa […]
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You're not explicit about the platform, but I'm assuming 486 with VIP-IO given the options, and given the DX4-120 you seem to want to run it at 40MHz.

For a 486, best performance is acheived with VLB with zero wait-states. That usually means max 33MHz, maybe 40MHz very, very rarely 50MHz. At 40MHz, you need to get lucky to do zero ws. With 1ws at 40MHz, performance is lower than at 33MHz with 0ws.

Assuming your controller can handle 40MHz zero ws, VLB non-caching gives best perofrmane, so 2 or 4 (not sure 4 exists...). SCSI gives you the option to run a vastly non-period correct U160 15k rpm monster on an old VLB system. Haven't ever compared that to a CF card on IDE, but in both cases, it's access times that matter, so I suspect that CF card on IDE (with only passive converter needed) would give best performance at far lower price and noise. That said, I love my dual P3 U160 SCSI build and it is also really fast (with WinXP), so it wouldn't hurt at 486, but I doubt it would give added value over a much simpler solution.

Then VGA - same applies, for DOS at least, bus performance is key, so whatever runs at 40MHz 0ws will beat 40MHz 1ws regardless of controller. Assuming you have a lot to choose from, it's the usual ranking, so for DOS Ark1000, Tseng ET4000w/32 and UMC 85C418F with S3 DRAM (8xx series) following, although Advance Logic ALG is known to run at higher speed 0ws than most. In Windows, acceleration features matter, so S3 9xx and ATi Mach32 get better, as do Weitek and Matrox. For Windows and DOS, S3 VLB cards are generally the best bet.

Thanks a lot bro!
Makes sense.

And I'd totally go SD or some other solid state stuff in any case, whether it's EIDE, UATA, SCSI, whatever.

They said therefore to him: Who are you?
Jesus said to them: The beginning, who also speak unto you

Reply 5 of 5, by aries-mu

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retardware wrote on 2021-11-30, 23:27:

Was UW SCSI already a thing in 94/95?
Isn't PIO mode slower than busmaster DMA (SCSI)?

• Oh yes absolutely, even before, 1993 if I recall. I had copies of PC Professionale (the Italian version of PC Magazine) showing FAST SCSI-2 UW on their issues.
• Well, PIO mode 4 offers a 16.6 MB/sec speed, whereas with SCSI you get these speeds:

SCSI Type----------Clock Speed----------Bus Width---------Data Throughput
Original SCSI--------5 MHz------------8 Bits--------------5 MB/s
Wide SCSI----------5 MHz------------16 Bits--------------10 MB/s
Fast SCSI-----------10 MHz-----------8 Bits---------------10 MB/s
Fast Wide SCSI-------10 MHz----------16 Bits---------------20 MB/s
Ultra SCSI----------20 MHz-----------8 Bits---------------20 MB/s

You have to get to Fast Wide SCSI to exceed PIO Mode 4.

They said therefore to him: Who are you?
Jesus said to them: The beginning, who also speak unto you