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First post, by Pingaloka

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Hi guys, I'm putting up a Socket 7 machine and have a couple of questions.
Just want to get your different opinions.

First the processor, I'm doubting between a Pentium 120mhz or a Pentium 166MMX.
I want this computer to be my daily Dos game based machine. So ideally I want it to cover from 1989 up to 1996-1997ish...if I could play Blood at 640x680 res that would be magnificent.

My choice was a Pentium 133 because it can be slowed down nicely with L1 and L2 disabled caches. As I don't have a 133 CPU I thought about overclocking the 120mhz up to 133mhz. Is not a big difference, so I don't think I would made the computer unstable. BTW, do you guys think it would be necessary to change voltage just for 13mhz?

Another option would be putting the 166MMX, but from the info I gathered around, MMX's are the CPU's with less slow down. And in this case slowness is something we want to achieve.

Keep in mind this is an AT Socket 7 board. I'm not thinking about ATX or Super Socket 7, as I would have chose a AMD K6 II or something on that line

The other question is about what Graphic card I should choose. .

I thought of pairing a 2d Card with a Voodoo1. I have 3 options:

a) S3 Trio64+ 2mb
b) S3 Virge 2mb
c) Matrox Mystique 8mb

For compatibility I know S3 based cards are superior that the Matrox one, and to be honest I don't think I'll notice any difference in quality at low resolutions between these 3. Actually I have already tried the all of them, and didn't notice any difference in cuality.
BTW this will be a DOS only computer, no Windows.

I don't know the Board I'm using yet as it will be arriving tomorrow. I only know that it has a PS2 Mouse port, which is quite important.
I'll post some pictures when I get it.

Reply 1 of 33, by keropi

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Ah, another ss7 machine... my main DOS machine is a p200mmx with an agp riva128zx ... haven't found any serious problems (well, unless origin's titles like Ultima7 that need a build of their own...) and DOS "3d" games like Blood/dn3d/etc are playing great. ICACHE.EXE is a great way to disable L1 cache and bring the speed to slow 486 levels...
If I was you I would use one of the s3 cards... the virge is a good choice.

Be sure to use some ISA soundcard, a SB16 would be nice for a p1 build

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Reply 2 of 33, by badmojo

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Blood feels a bit sluggish on my 166MMX in SVGA, to me anyway. So I think anything slower than that would be too slow. I use a Mystique, which I think handles SVGA better than other cards I've tried.

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Reply 4 of 33, by Mau1wurf1977

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IMO SVGA is pushing it, unless you have an AMD K6-2 or similar running at a high clock speed.

Like you said, the MMX is the "fastest" cache-less CPU. It also the only one to really hit that 486DX2-66 speed, a great sweetspot for many. Also factor in that my results are with a top of the line ATX based SS7 board, fast AGP card, fast SDRAM and all of that.

An AT system with standard RAM, PCI card and slower timings will bench a little slower.

I recommend doing some 3dbench 1.0 and 1.0c benchmarks with all the cache option and get a baseline.

In the end it comes down to what games you want to play. E.g. you mentioned some 3D games and even SVGA so you could go with a Pentium MMX 233, which seems to be your fastest option.

These chips all bench almost the same with cache disabled, so clock speed is not an issue. Go as fast as you can so you have grunt for your 3D games.

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Reply 6 of 33, by Mau1wurf1977

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Oh and a fast Pentium is of course a good platform for a 3DFX Voodoo. Tomb Raider, MDK and all of those games 😀

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Reply 7 of 33, by ncmark

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My two cents..... for what it is worth I am running DOS on a pentium 233 MMX. At first I thought it was overkill, but now I am not so sure. I have played DOOM, Duke Nukem 3D, Radix, Terminator Future Shock, and Quake all the way through with no trouble.

Reply 8 of 33, by vetz

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Pingaloka wrote:

Badmofo, SVGA is 800x600 right? I'm happy with 640x480

SVGA is 640x480, but some games which claims SVGA is actually running in 640x400.

Also why have a Voodoo card and no Windows? You will miss out on alooot of games!

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Reply 9 of 33, by Markk

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Pingaloka wrote:

As I don't have a 133 CPU I thought about overclocking the 120mhz up to 133mhz. Is not a big difference, so I don't think I would made the computer unstable. BTW, do you guys think it would be necessary to change voltage just for 13mhz?

I don't think so. In fact, I have tried to overclock a 75MHz P54C Pentium, and succeeded in running it up to 133 MHz, without changing the voltage setting.

Reply 10 of 33, by Pingaloka

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ncmark wrote:

My two cents..... for what it is worth I am running DOS on a pentium 233 MMX. At first I thought it was overkill, but now I am not so sure. I have played DOOM, Duke Nukem 3D, Radix, Terminator Future Shock, and Quake all the way through with no trouble.

Thanx ncmark. I may ovelock my pentium 166mmx, but don't want to get passed the 200mhz border even if I have to sacrifice a bit of performance.

Reply 11 of 33, by Pingaloka

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vetz wrote:
Pingaloka wrote:

Badmofo, SVGA is 800x600 right? I'm happy with 640x480

SVGA is 640x480, but some games which claims SVGA is actually running in 640x400.

Also why have a Voodoo card and no Windows? You will miss out on alooot of games!

No Windows allowed here Vetz hehe...DOS machine only. It looses all its magic having a W95 installed... 😎

Reply 14 of 33, by bjt

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P233MMX here. According to Speedsys disabling cache has the following effects with this CPU:

L2 disabled = ~P133
L1 disabled = ~486 DX2/66
L1 & L2 disabled = ~386 DX/40

I still have to use a slowdown TSR for some older games (Wing Commander). Also have a Voodoo 1 and all the DOS Voodoo games fly on this machine. Blood/Duke are also playable, I wouldn't go for a slower CPU if you want to play these games at 640x480.

Reply 15 of 33, by sliderider

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vetz wrote:
Pingaloka wrote:

Badmofo, SVGA is 800x600 right? I'm happy with 640x480

SVGA is 640x480, but some games which claims SVGA is actually running in 640x400.

Also why have a Voodoo card and no Windows? You will miss out on alooot of games!

I believe that is wrong. I always thought that 640x400 was an EGA resolution and 640x480 was VGA. 800x600 is SVGA.

Reply 16 of 33, by Mau1wurf1977

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Hmm my understanding was always SVGA: 640 x 480 and XGA: 1024 x 768.

Maybe 800 x 600 is also called SVGA?

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Reply 18 of 33, by sliderider

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Mau1wurf1977 wrote:

Hmm my understanding was always SVGA: 640 x 480 and XGA: 1024 x 768.

Maybe 800 x 600 is also called SVGA?

From Wiki

Originally, it was an extension to the VGA standard first released by IBM in 1987. Unlike VGA—a purely IBM-defined standard—Super VGA was never formally defined. The closest to an "official" definition was in the VBE extensions defined by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA), an open consortium set up to promote interoperability and define standards. In this document, there was simply a footnote stating that "The term 'Super VGA' is used in this document for a graphics display controller implementing any superset of the standard IBM VGA display adapter."[3] When used as a resolution specification, in contrast to VGA or XGA for example, the term SVGA normally refers to a resolution of 800 × 600 pixels.
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Many of the tech entries on Wiki are done by VOGONers or respected contributors from other vintage computing forums, so I don't believe it's a case of someone who is misinformed writing the entry.