Help me choose a video card from a pile

Discussion about old graphics cards, monitors and video related things.

Help me choose a video card from a pile

Postby r00tb33r » 2017-3-15 @ 01:58

System: ASUS P3B-F (440BX chipset) + Slot 1 PIII 500MHz (100x5)

I should use FASTVID with 440BX, correct?

Video cards to choose from:
1. Diamond Stealth 64 (S3 Trio64V+), PCI, 2MB
2. Diamond Stealth II S220 (Rendition V2100), PCI, 4MB
3. ATI 3D Rage "Mach64 GT", PCI, 4MB
4. SiS 6326, AGP, 8MB (might be artifacting, not sure)

Please rank cards for each of the following: MS-DOS, Win3.x, Win9x

Looks like all four cards are compatible with UNIVBE according to this wonderful thread:
http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?t=15190

PS I also have a working Rage 128 Pro from PowerMac G4, but VBIOS not PC compatible, possible to flash?
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Re: Help me choose a video card from a pile

Postby kixs » 2017-3-15 @ 04:16

For P3 system you'd probably want some 3D capable card - Voodoo3 or TNT2. Or maybe one of your cards + Voodoo2.

From your list:

S3 Trio64v+ (good DOS, Win311, Win9X)
ATI 3D Rage (same as S3)
Rendition (good Win9X, but very bad for DOS)
I never liked SIS cards...
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Re: Help me choose a video card from a pile

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2017-3-15 @ 04:31

1. Diamond Stealth 64 (S3 Trio64V+), PCI, 2MB
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Re: Help me choose a video card from a pile

Postby lazibayer » 2017-3-15 @ 05:18

You can plug the rage 128 pro card in a PC as secondary video card and see if the flash utility can identify the card. If it could, save the current bios and try to flash it.
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Re: Help me choose a video card from a pile

Postby r00tb33r » 2017-3-15 @ 23:00

kixs wrote:For P3 system you'd probably want some 3D capable card - Voodoo3 or TNT2. Or maybe one of your cards + Voodoo2.

There lies the dilemma. A lot of Windows games from 1998+ either just work with patches on modern hardware and OS, or if used with Glide wrapper run even better than on hardware of the old days (with settings that weren't even possible back then). I can't think of a Win9x 3D game that requires me to use an old machine and old 3D accelerator. Maybe you can recommend one for me? :D
Would my choice be different if I had something other than P3? I have a Slot 1 P2 that will fit this board, I just can't think of anything to be gained from that...? I've got a couple good Socket 7 boards and a large assortment of Socket 7 Pentiums and maybe a K6...
kixs wrote:From your list:

S3 Trio64v+ (good DOS, Win311, Win9X)
ATI 3D Rage (same as S3)
Rendition (good Win9X, but very bad for DOS)
I never liked SIS cards...

One old Windows game that I think I want to at least try to run is the PC port of Road Rash from 1996. It ran fine on Windows 7, but since Windows 10 upgrade the framerate became poor, I think it has to do with how Windows 10 manages display modes and draw surfaces. I don't think it uses a 3D API, but probably benefits from good 2D acceleration. So I should choose a card with good 2D performance for Win9x.

On DOS I think I want to play Blood, a Build engine game, as this one has no source port for Windows, and DOSBox performance is not very good for this one. Which card from my pile is best for Build engine on DOS?
Another game is Little Big Adventure (LBA).

Funny, in summer of 2001 I got a cheap Socket A barebone for my 14th birthday. Gift money was all I had and not much of it. So onboard SiS 730 chipset with integrated SiS 305 video core was my first real 3D accelerator I ever owned. It was certainly good enough, and it was better than Intel's. When PC port of GTA 3 came out in 2002 it was playable on lowest quality with increased draw distance, which made me very happy, as plenty of kids at school couldn't run the game at all. It was okay. I still have that board but I don't think I need to revisit it. :D

PhilsComputerLab wrote:1. Diamond Stealth 64 (S3 Trio64V+), PCI, 2MB


I see S3 Trio64 cards are very popular for emulation, as well as old gaming PCs on this forum. So what makes these so great? Did it have superior 2D performance back then? I didn't own one back then.
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Re: Help me choose a video card from a pile

Postby keropi » 2017-3-16 @ 00:44

S3 cards are plentiful, cheap, VERY compatible and well supported because of the numbers they sold. From your pile there is no better DOS vga to use.
Have a look here: https://gona.mactar.hu/DOS_TESTS/
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Re: Help me choose a video card from a pile

Postby r00tb33r » 2017-3-16 @ 01:07

keropi wrote:S3 cards are plentiful, cheap, VERY compatible and well supported because of the numbers they sold. From your pile there is no better DOS vga to use.
Have a look here: https://gona.mactar.hu/DOS_TESTS/

That's a... very complete answer. I like that table. Thanks!

I haven't done any testing with utilities yet, do you think I will be able to bump up the refresh rate in SVGA modes? For something like a Build engine game. I'm using a CRT. What's the maximum pixel clock on these?
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Re: Help me choose a video card from a pile

Postby Rhuwyn » 2017-3-16 @ 04:50

What do you plan on doing with this machine? Most of those cards would be fine for a high end DOS machine but once you get into Windows Games I don't thing any of them will cut it unless your talking about except for maybet he Rendition for RRedline based games.
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Re: Help me choose a video card from a pile

Postby r00tb33r » 2017-3-16 @ 07:18

Rhuwyn wrote:What do you plan on doing with this machine? Most of those cards would be fine for a high end DOS machine but once you get into Windows Games I don't thing any of them will cut it unless your talking about except for maybet he Rendition for RRedline based games.

Number one reason I kept this motherboard around was to play around with old sound cards, specifically their synth features (dare I say MIDI, because not all of them are). It's the most modern board I have that has ISA slots.

When it comes to Win9x 3D gaming, anything that was worth playing, anything that has any sort of fanbase was patched to run on newer OS. Road Rash for Windows is currently my only game on the Win9x list, and I think it uses 2D APIs for it's soft-rendered semi-3D environment. Civ2 is another one, it has patches out there, but even with patches I had a few broken screens, so... And also the Civ1 port for Windows, that's also cool.

There wasn't whole lot of gaming on Win3.x but I do have a favorite oldie that I haven't touched in over a decade - Chessmaster 4000 Turbo. That's 2D, obviously. I hadn't checked if it runs on Win9x or newer.

On my DOS list aside from trying a bunch of games with various sound cards for music, I just have Blood and LBA.

Do you have an oldie-but-goodie that you keep coming back to, that doesn't run well on modern OS or in DOSBox? Recommend something for me?
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Re: Help me choose a video card from a pile

Postby keropi » 2017-3-16 @ 07:37

@r00tb33r
your best bet is to get UniVBE6.7 and use it's UniRefresh program, it will detect your card's capabilities and will allow you to set refresh rates in DOS for VBE modes (Duke3D, Blood, Quake use them for example).
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Re: Help me choose a video card from a pile

Postby r00tb33r » 2017-3-16 @ 08:59

keropi wrote:@r00tb33r
your best bet is to get UniVBE6.7 and use it's UniRefresh program, it will detect your card's capabilities and will allow you to set refresh rates in DOS for VBE modes (Duke3D, Blood, Quake use them for example).

Sounds good, I'll give it a try. I was getting a garbled screen with VBEHz in both Warcraft 2 and Blood.
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Re: Help me choose a video card from a pile

Postby r00tb33r » 2017-3-17 @ 03:02

keropi wrote:@r00tb33r
your best bet is to get UniVBE6.7 and use it's UniRefresh program, it will detect your card's capabilities and will allow you to set refresh rates in DOS for VBE modes (Duke3D, Blood, Quake use them for example).

Okay, got all that running.

UniVBE seems to take care of whatever FASTVID does, so FASTVID becomes redundant, or so it seems. UniRefresh worked where expected, very nice.

Now... I did a round of totally unscientific testing and found that... Well, my main rig emulates a machine in DOSBox faster than a real P3 and video cards I have here. And that's a bummer.

From those four, the SiS card clobbers the rest in both Doom timedemo and Blood framerate, considering it's the only card on the list on AGP and the only chip with heatsink, I think the comparison is perhaps not fair. 3D Rage card is a distant second and only a hair quicker than the S3 Trio64V+. Rendition card is very very distant last. Just for giggles I fished out a 1988 WDC Paradise 256KB VGA ISA card, and ran the Doom timedemo on it. Pretty even with the Rendition card. Timedemo on Rendition and Paradise were slower than realtime. Again, totally unscientific.

In another totally unscientific test I raised PCI clock and found that S3 Trio64V+ benefits from PCI clock increase much more than ATI 3D Rage, overtaking it by a healthy margin.

DOSBox on my main rig clobbers them all by wide margin. Not good, because I'm not exactly happy with how Blood runs.(a light pun right there)

Some observations:
UniVBE 6.7 I used while increases framerate, also causes severe flickering of weapon and HUD in Blood on S3 Trio64V+. 3D Rage suffers from a different artifact - horizontal stripes on sprites. No artifacts on the SiS card caused by UniVBE. The artifacts I mentioned in first post on the SiS card seems to be caused by AGP timings, I lowered AGP clock to about 55MHz and the few flickering pixels in Doom went away.(only in Doom, and not Blood)
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Re: Help me choose a video card from a pile

Postby r00tb33r » 2017-3-19 @ 05:02

I'm getting brief palette problems in Wolfenstein 3D with S3 Trio64V+. Specifically on the menu screens on fade in/out effect. Did anyone else notice this with S3 cards?

[EDIT]
I noticed palette problems on fade effects in DOS version of Civ 1 as well with S3 Trio64V+. Hmm.
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