VOGONS


1994 PCI Video Cards

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First post, by Smack2k

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In my never ending quest to not only obtain knowledge but plan for setups based on a small window of time (8-10 months), I was curious what some of the good video cards from 1994 would be...

I have an ATI Mach64GT that I think is from 95 as well as a couple S3Visions (DIamonds), but wanted to know what other goodies were out there?

Thanks for continuing to inform me and help me along the way!

Reply 1 of 31, by clueless1

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ET4000/w32p
ATI Mach64 CX
ATI Mach64 GX
S3 Trio64
S3 Vision 864/868/964

Are all 1994 cards. Also, more as a curiosity, the Number Nine Imagine 128 came out in '94. First 128-bit card.

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Reply 2 of 31, by Smack2k

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Hadnt heard of the Number Nine card before....will have to take a look!

I have a Vision and Trio64, as well as the TSENG ET4000 on PCI..how was the TSENG ET4000 once they made the jump to PCI?

Reply 3 of 31, by clueless1

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The Imagine 128 is more of a Windows card, I have no idea how it does in DOS. But I remember it having issues in 3D games, so that's why I said more out of curiosity. 😉

The ET4000/w32p is middle of the pack as a PCI DOS card when you compare it to newer PCI cards. But in 1994, it was one of the fastest. I think only the ARK Logic 1000PV and Trio64 were faster in 1994, and only slightly so. In '95, the Millennium came out and it was considerably faster. And the fastest PCI DOS card of them all, the TNT2 M64, came out in 1999, when DOS was no longer relevant. 😀 But for us retro gamers, it's a great card for PCI DOS systems.

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Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 4 of 31, by elianda

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The Imagine 128 uses a regular Cirrus Logic CL-GD5422-80QC-D as VGA Core with 1 MB if you expand the memory:
retronn.de/imports/hwgal/hw_number_nine_imagine128.html

Are you sure there were no S3 Vision 968 cards available in 1994?
My earliest Vision968 are from 7th week of 1995 while the PCB states (c) 1994. Maybe there were already a few in 1994?

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Reply 6 of 31, by clueless1

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elianda wrote:

Are you sure there were no S3 Vision 968 cards available in 1994?
My earliest Vision968 are from 7th week of 1995 while the PCB states (c) 1994. Maybe there were already a few in 1994?

I'm going by the History Tree at vgamuseum.info. That says the 968 is a 1995 card.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 7 of 31, by Smack2k

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My Vision is a VIision964 which appears to be from 94....

That could be my winner...unless I hunt down a Mach64 GX

That Map / Tree on vgamuseum.info for all the cards with the years is amazing...puts me in nerd heaven!

Reply 8 of 31, by Tetrium

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elianda wrote:

The Imagine 128 uses a regular Cirrus Logic CL-GD5422-80QC-D as VGA Core with 1 MB if you expand the memory:
retronn.de/imports/hwgal/hw_number_nine_imagine128.html

Are you sure there were no S3 Vision 968 cards available in 1994?
My earliest Vision968 are from 7th week of 1995 while the PCB states (c) 1994. Maybe there were already a few in 1994?

Smack2k wrote:

My Vision is a VIision964 which appears to be from 94....

That could be my winner...unless I hunt down a Mach64 GX

Think it's possible the S3 Vision 968 chip was pin-compatible with any of S3's previous chips?
In that case they could reuse any leftover PCBs they might have in order to accelerate production of the card.

If the Vision 968 chip was already available in 1994, it could be very well possible some of those cards made it into the wild.

edit: Mine has a "GPU" date of late 1995. Not sure about the PCB, but I'd guess the PCB is likely to be of 1995 vintage as well

That Map / Tree on vgamuseum.info for all the cards with the years is amazing...puts me in nerd heaven!

Yes it does! 😁

Fantastic job done there, even my non-retro friends liked it!

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Reply 9 of 31, by Anonymous Coward

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As far as I know, the 968 was a drop in replacement for the 964.
I think the Mach64 may have also been a drop in replacement for Mach32.

What I know for certain is that Diamond makes a Stealth64 card that has either the 868 or 864, but exactly the same PCB.

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Reply 10 of 31, by j^aws

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This might be one of the earliest PCI VGA cards:

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The BIOS is dated 1993, and chipsets dated early 1994.

Reply 13 of 31, by peklop

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I checked September 1993 PC Magazine and 1MB PCI graphic card was offered for 149USD:
https://books.google.cz/books?id=5KSmAX ... ci&f=false

if you have free time check all 1994 PC Magazines and Infoworlds and search for PCI cards.

Reply 14 of 31, by peklop

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This early Avance PCI card has BIOS labeled 1992!
But if you look at the PCB it was manufactured 21st week od 1994 (2194). Yes, still very old card from first half of the 1994 but not 1992.
www.vgamuseum.info/index.php/component/ ... -alg2301-a

Reply 16 of 31, by j^aws

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peklop wrote:

This early Avance PCI card has BIOS labeled 1992!
But if you look at the PCB it was manufactured 21st week od 1994 (2194). Yes, still very old card from first half of the 1994 but not 1992.

I see, but that is a generic preprinted copyright sticker on the Avance BIOS.

On my Mach32 card, it is explicit: "PCI MACH32" with the same dot matrix-style printout also saying "1993" on the BIOS sticker. Regarding the age of the card, it is debatable, but I would take the newest component on the PCB.

EDIT:
Also, just noticed that the back of the Mach32 card has what seems to be a similarly printed sticker - the PCB manufactured date?

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It reads March 1994...

Reply 17 of 31, by peklop

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There is 9404 number (4th week?), i think PCB was manufactured January 1994 and complete card was finished March 1994.
It´s very early PCI graphic card.

Reply 18 of 31, by Anonymous Coward

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I believe the main IC and RAMDAC are also from the first week of 1994 on the Mach32 card. Everything points to early 94.

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Reply 19 of 31, by brostenen

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Back in early 95, I was introduced to the name Number-9. Back then I was told, that they were good for autocad and 3d-studio.
To this day, I have absolutely no idea if the teacher told bullcrap or was telling me what they indeed were good for.

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