1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

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1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby ElDavo » 2017-2-11 @ 20:57

Hello Everyone

I am new here and this is my first post :)

I am working on making a PC with the best parts I can find from the 90's

I had hoped to get an Nvidia GeForce 256 SDR but they seem to be impossible to find, so the plan is to use a GeForce 2MX as a substitute until one turns up.
First one I ordered was DOA :( the second one seems to be under performing quite a lot from what I can tell.

the computers specs are:

Compaq Deskpro EN

Slot 1 motherboard
500mhz Pentium 3
384mb Ram
Soundblaster Live Value
100watt psu

running 3d mark99 I got a score of 3410 with the GeForce 2 MX 4127 with a Voodoo3 3000 and 4820 with a Matrox G400.

surely a GeForce 2 even a weak one should be outperforming these cards?

thanks

Dave
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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby chrismeyer6 » 2017-2-11 @ 21:42

If your power supply is truly only 100 watts then I think that might be an issue of not getting stable power delivery.
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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby candle_86 » 2017-2-11 @ 21:51

Get at least a quality 250W unit
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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby lazibayer » 2017-2-11 @ 21:58

ElDavo wrote:Hello Everyone

I am new here and this is my first post :)

I am working on making a PC with the best parts I can find from the 90's

I had hoped to get an Nvidia GeForce 256 SDR but they seem to be impossible to find, so the plan is to use a GeForce 2MX as a substitute until one turns up.
First one I ordered was DOA :( the second one seems to be under performing quite a lot from what I can tell.

the computers specs are:

Compaq Deskpro EN

Slot 1 motherboard
500mhz Pentium 3
384mb Ram
Soundblaster Live Value
100watt psu

running 3d mark99 I got a score of 3410 with the GeForce 2 MX 4127 with a Voodoo3 3000 and 4820 with a Matrox G400.

surely a GeForce 2 even a weak one should be outperforming these cards?

thanks

Dave


Does your GF2MX have 128bit VRAM or 64bit? DDR or SDR? The 64bit SDR version has narrower memory bandwidth and 3d mark99 doesn't utilize GF2 MX's advantage in T&L.
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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby ElDavo » 2017-2-11 @ 22:29

I've got a couple of 350w Dell power supplies I'll give one of them a go and see if I fare any better. not sure if it is 64 or 128 but I would guess its 64mb as it's an old Dell card

this one: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3K538-Dell-18 ... SwmLlX8Hj2
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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby lazibayer » 2017-2-11 @ 23:18

ElDavo wrote:I've got a couple of 350w Dell power supplies I'll give one of them a go and see if I fare any better. not sure if it is 64 or 128 but I would guess its 64mb as it's an old Dell card

this one: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3K538-Dell-18 ... SwmLlX8Hj2


It has SDR for sure, not DDR as advertised by the seller. By looking at the layout it's highly likely a 128bit SDR version. What does GPU-Z say?
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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2017-2-11 @ 23:20

Can you takea nice photo of the card you received?

As said already, poor performing budget cards usually have a weak memory system.
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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby boxpressed » 2017-2-11 @ 23:40

ElDavo wrote:I've got a couple of 350w Dell power supplies I'll give one of them a go and see if I fare any better. not sure if it is 64 or 128 but I would guess its 64mb as it's an old Dell card

this one: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3K538-Dell-18 ... SwmLlX8Hj2


Some of the old Dell PSUs have a proprietary pinout that's compatible only with some Dell mobos. The 350W ones might be recent enough to be standard ATX, though. I'd double check if you don't know.
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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby TheAbandonwareGuy » 2017-2-11 @ 23:49

Dell was quite famous for sending out "crippled" hardware that isn't marked differently from the real deal during that time period. They did it with just about any part they could get away with so I wouldn't be surprised at all if this is another example of that. Even the stuff they didn't was largely geared towards being sold en-mass to schools, corporations, and business's and thus were designed for lifespan vs performance. Alot of there cards were factory underclocked to lower heat output as well. Do check to make sure you're core clocks are wear there suppose to be.

Anyways keep in mind the MX series was a budget series and budget cards have always had sketchy build quality from the get go.
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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby Deksor » 2017-2-11 @ 23:52

Also which drivers did you use ?
NEVER EVER use the latest nvidia drivers for windows 9x. The 45.x drivers should be the last to be used IMO. The same thing goes for directx 9. You really don't need it as most computers running 9x won't be fast enough to really make dx9 games enjoyable, and dx9 creates some incompatibilities, so it's better to stick to dx8 unless you REALLY need it.

If you didn't do all of this, this will probably solve your performance issue ;)
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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby ElDavo » 2017-2-11 @ 23:56

TheAbandonwareGuy wrote:Dell was quite famous for sending out "crippled" hardware that isn't marked differently from the real deal during that time period. They did it with just about any part they could get away with so I wouldn't be surprised at all if this is another example of that. Even the stuff they didn't was largely geared towards being sold en-mass to schools, corporations, and business's and thus were designed for lifespan vs performance. Alot of there cards were factory underclocked to lower heat output as well. Do check to make sure you're core clocks are wear there suppose to be.

Anyways keep in mind the MX series was a budget series and budget cards have always had sketchy build quality from the get go.

This sounds very likely as this card does not even come with a heatsink and barely generates any heat at all... it just crashed running a screensaver :p
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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby meljor » 2017-2-12 @ 00:05

The problem here is cpu scaling.

The geforce2 mx is no beast by any means but it gets the job done and is fast enough for a retro pc. I tested a while ago the gf2 mx400 (the fastest one). Also did a lot of other cards including voodoo's and matrox.

in 3dmark 99 gf2 mx400 did in my tests:

k6-2 450mhz 2495 3dmarks (v3 3000 agp 2372, matrox g400 2837)
p2-450mhz 3114 3dmarks (v3 3342, matrox 3834)
p3-s 1400mhz@667mhz 4201 3dmarks (v3 4239, matrox 4888)
p3-s 1400mhz@1050mhz 5194 3dmarks (v3 4400, matrox 4902)
p3-s 1400mhz 5824 3dmarks (v3 4403, matrox 4921)

These tests were all at 1024x768 16bit color. You see that the v3 and matrox do not scale higher at this resolution after the 667mhz cpu, they stopped probably even a bit sooner (like 550-600mhz cpu).

Your p3-500 is a good match for a v3 and matrox but it lacks power to get the most out of the gf2 mx. The gf2 mx may give you ''free'''AA as it has some power left, or it can do higher res at the same speed the other cards can do lower res.
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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby ElDavo » 2017-2-12 @ 00:12

I was using the most recent drivers, I will try the earlier ones tomorrow but i get the feeling that it is just this card being awful. I will post a photo of the card tomorrow as well (it's midnight here now) I just tried the other G2MX and got the beep codes for a video error, it's definitely seated properly so I am guessing it is just the card is dead as the fan doesn't spin up. Looks like I'll be heading back to ebay.
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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby meljor » 2017-2-12 @ 00:16

Did you read my post? Nothing will be much faster on a p3-500.



Edit: did another quick test for you. On my k6-3+ 550mhz system i ran 3dmark99 on a (much faster) geforce2 gts. It did 3666 at 800x600 and 3362 at 1280x1024.

2,5 times heavier on the card and almost just as fast!
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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby lazibayer » 2017-2-12 @ 01:20

meljor wrote:The problem here is cpu scaling.

The geforce2 mx is no beast by any means but it gets the job done and is fast enough for a retro pc. I tested a while ago the gf2 mx400 (the fastest one). Also did a lot of other cards including voodoo's and matrox.

in 3dmark 99 gf2 mx400 did in my tests:

k6-2 450mhz 2495 3dmarks (v3 3000 agp 2372, matrox g400 2837)
p2-450mhz 3114 3dmarks (v3 3342, matrox 3834)
p3-s 1400mhz@667mhz 4201 3dmarks (v3 4239, matrox 4888)
p3-s 1400mhz@1050mhz 5194 3dmarks (v3 4400, matrox 4902)
p3-s 1400mhz 5824 3dmarks (v3 4403, matrox 4921)

These tests were all at 1024x768 16bit color. You see that the v3 and matrox do not scale higher at this resolution after the 667mhz cpu, they stopped probably even a bit sooner (like 550-600mhz cpu).

Your p3-500 is a good match for a v3 and matrox but it lacks power to get the most out of the gf2 mx. The gf2 mx may give you ''free'''AA as it has some power left, or it can do higher res at the same speed the other cards can do lower res.


Interested results. I 'member back in 2000 when nVidia went full power on hyping about hardware T&L and how less CPU dependent their GPUs were but your results are showing the opposite.
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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2017-2-12 @ 01:27

AFAIK you want to use 3DMark 2000 for TnL tests. Just go into the options and change it from D3D Software TnL to D3D Hardware optimisation or something like that.

GeForce 256 with a fast CPU you get better scores than with the GPU TnL.

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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby meljor » 2017-2-12 @ 02:27

That's absolutely correct. But the testing he did was in 3dmark99 so i gave him results i had of 3dmark99.

TnL can give a very big boost. I have a game on the k6-3+ that the v2 sli can not run fast enough with that cpu but on the geforce2 gts it is very playable because the game supports TnL.
In other situations both the v2 sli and the gts are fairly equal because the cpu is the bottleneck.
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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby ElDavo » 2017-2-12 @ 13:48

So I managed to get the Card that looked as if it was dead to work in a different computer with a P4 running on windows xp.

The Dell MX almost doubled the performance of the Tornado MX2 200 in 3dmark 2001 unfortunately i could not get the G400 to work for a comparison and the Voodoo 3000 wont even fit in the slot.

I also tested all 3 cards using 3dMark 2000 instad of 99 and got these results:

G400 2620

Voodoo 3 2594

GeForce 2 3052

However playing Dungeon keeper 2 I seem to get worse performance...More testing to do

also as far as upgrading my CPU goes, it looks like my motherboard can only support Katmai pentium 3 which only go as far as 600mhz I can get one for about £13 on ebay, do you think the extra 100mhz would make that much of a difference?
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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby meljor » 2017-2-12 @ 22:57

100mhz extra means 20% faster in your case. Nothing extreme but it should be noticeable. But look at it this way: 20fps vs 24fps or 30fps vs 36fps etc. because that is what in theory would be the maximum improvement you will get, and in most cases it will be less.

But you don't NEED a faster cpu, the card works fine and so does your system. It all depends on the games you want to play.

If you need anything faster i would suggest you leave the voodoo3 in the p3 500mhz and build a 2nd computer with a p3-1ghz or something like that, maybe even a bit faster.
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Re: 1999 PC and the mystery of the Geforce 2 MX

Postby Tetrium » 2017-2-12 @ 23:21

ElDavo wrote:and the Voodoo 3000 wont even fit in the slot.

How is this even possible? Sometimes you have to wiggle it a bit. And just to be sure, you are not trying to fit a PCI V3 into an AGP slot, right??

Edit: I overread he was using a P4 board and not the Slot 1 he was using earlier, so mystery is solved lol
Last edited by Tetrium on 2017-2-13 @ 23:12, edited 1 time in total.
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