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Underrated PCI 3D Accelerators

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First post, by RJDog

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Everyone knows the 3Dfx Voodoo 3D accelerator card series, as an add-on card to your rig, and by Voodoo3 it was handling 2D as well, now being a one-stop shop for all your graphics needs. However, by this time, AGP was gaining ground and becoming the defacto slot for graphics processors. I am sure many of you would argue that if the system is too old to have an AGP slot, it probably isn't powerful enough to fully utilize anything better than a Voodoo2 anyway. But, there are later machines, especially OEM P3s and P4s I seem to recall, which had some god-awful integrated graphics and no AGP slot either, so, you're left with stuffing something into a PCI slot to upgrade your gaming experience.

Now, everyone is familiar with Nvidia RIVA TNT2 and ATI Rage 128 and their PCI options.. but what underrated PCI 3D graphics accelerators are out there? Is this even a real question given that so many Nvidia and ATI lines had PCI variants for eons? Just cuirous what ya'll's thoughts are on the subject.

Reply 1 of 58, by The Serpent Rider

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GeForce 6200 PCI. Most of them were with 64bit memory bus, but performance is still on par with GeForce 3 cards or even higher.

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Reply 2 of 58, by sd_entertainmnt

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I played some quake3 and Unreal gold the other day on a 3Dlabs Oxygen VX1 PCI quite well. Kind've wish they would comeback into mainstream to give red and green some competition.

Reply 3 of 58, by The Serpent Rider

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3Dlabs were not mainstream cards and quite horrible for games in general.

I must be some kind of standard: the anonymous gangbanger of the 21st century.

Reply 4 of 58, by dirkmirk

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Its a very interesting debate as it depends on what your trying achieve.

If I can sum up my thoughts, you can use a 6200 which will score higher in paper benchmarks like 3dmark 2001/03/05 but it doesn't translate to a useful gaming experience over something like a FX5500

E.G Doom3, still pretty crap even if its twice as fast, I prefer to use the FX5500 because it has better compatibility in windows 98SE and dos,

Something like the 6200 which is a 2005 vintage will not make any game that uses its DX9 features playable.

If I can get a fast retro machine running I'll do some further testing between the 6200/5500 and a radeon 9100.

Reply 5 of 58, by PhilsComputerLab

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dirkmirk wrote:

If I can get a fast retro machine running I'll do some further testing between the 6200/5500 and a radeon 9100.

That would be awesome and I'm keen to hear of your findings!

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Reply 6 of 58, by matze79

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Unless the GeForce 6200 has the old NV43 its pretty useless.
NV44/NV44A and co are really crippled.
There even 32bit Memory Bus Versions which are simply made for office computers..
if you really want a 6200, stay a way from LE and A-LE (A-LE 2 Shader, 1 Vertex)
better get a 9550 radeon pci.

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Reply 7 of 58, by The Serpent Rider

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dirkmirk wrote:

Something like the 6200 which is a 2005 vintage will not make any game that uses its DX9 features playable.

But will make older games run faster. Let's face it, FX 5200/5500 were bad cards even for older games.

matze79 wrote:

NV44/NV44A and co are really crippled.

PCI cards are 4 shader/3 Vertex and 64 bit bus. Comes in 256/512mb variants to avoid any stuttering issues due to lack of AGP texturing.

matze79 wrote:

better get a 9550 radeon pci.

They actualy have similiar performance and 9550 is much harder to find.

I must be some kind of standard: the anonymous gangbanger of the 21st century.

Reply 8 of 58, by RJDog

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My personal favorite is ATI's All-in-Wonder series. I had an ATI All-in-Wonder Radeon back in the day. I thought it was pretty slick, but obviously looking back it was underpowered for most applications.

Reply 9 of 58, by Oldskoolmaniac

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Anyone remember this card, 8400 GS 512 MB PCI? The last of pci video cards. A lot of proprietary boards had no agp slot so you couldn't upgrade you're existing motherboard.

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Reply 10 of 58, by Arctic

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dirkmirk wrote:
Its a very interesting debate as it depends on what your trying achieve. […]
Show full quote

Its a very interesting debate as it depends on what your trying achieve.

If I can sum up my thoughts, you can use a 6200 which will score higher in paper benchmarks like 3dmark 2001/03/05 but it doesn't translate to a useful gaming experience over something like a FX5500

E.G Doom3, still pretty crap even if its twice as fast, I prefer to use the FX5500 because it has better compatibility in windows 98SE and dos,

Something like the 6200 which is a 2005 vintage will not make any game that uses its DX9 features playable.

If I can get a fast retro machine running I'll do some further testing between the 6200/5500 and a radeon 9100.

According to one of Phil's YT videos, the Geforce 5500 PCI wouldn't work in a PCI only system 🙁

Reply 11 of 58, by PhilsComputerLab

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Arctic wrote:

According to one of Phil's YT videos, the Geforce 5500 PCI wouldn't work in a PCI only system 🙁

It might just be this particular model that I'm using. I just wanted to ensure nobody buys that particular model (lots of them on eBay) and then it doesn't work.

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Reply 12 of 58, by elianda

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Actually I have a GeforceFX 5200 PCI and similar issues that the screen stays black in older systems. Though I can't pin point the cause exactly.
But then I can still use this card: Underrated PCI 3D Accelerator

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Reply 13 of 58, by PhilsComputerLab

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elianda wrote:

Actually I have a GeforceFX 5200 PCI and similar issues that the screen stays black in older systems. Though I can't pin point the cause exactly.
But then I can still use this card: Underrated PCI 3D Accelerator

True. One viewer mentioned that not all cards are doing this. So hopefully I can get a BIOS to try flashing it. There are apparently two revisions of that GPU. I have the B version in the FX 5500 I have.

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Reply 14 of 58, by Rawit

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I've used a Gainward GeforceFX 5200 PCI (the extra slow edition) in a PCI only system (Cyrix MediaGX board). It does seem that it requires more power than the PSU/mainboard delivers, as it sometimes fails to boot. Replace the card with something else and no boot issues.

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Reply 15 of 58, by dirkmirk

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Hi guys I've got the pieces ready to test these cards which will be.

Geforce FX5200/5500 128/256mb*
Geforce 6200 - 256mb
ATI 9100 - 64mb

*Ive got both 5200 & 5500 cards, I will try and overclock the cards to replicate the performance of a Quadro FX600 & FX5600 PCI, very rare cards, all identical except for memory & cpu clocks.

The test bed is a Pentium 4 2.4ghz on a 865PE chipset with 1gig of ram, will be able to test up to 1600x1200 but really this era machine is more of the 1024x768/1280x1024 resolution.

I'm going to focus the testing on windows performance but will do some dos tests as I have seen big differences between the Nvidia & ATI cards, the ATO doesn't score well compared to Nvidia in DOS quake for example.

Thinking along the lines of PCPBENCH/QUAKE/DUKE3D,testing things like Doom & 3dBench is not really relevant...

After that I will install windows XP for simplicity & stability.

I will test these cards beyond their limits IE DOOM3 but ultimately it will be a test designed to find what kind of games can give a good experience on a PCI only system.

I got some initial tests before my old system carked it.

in 3Dmark 2003 in game test 1 which is a DX7 flight simulator the 9100 is faster than the 6200 (89 vs 70fps)

Game test 2 Battle of Proxycon the 6200 kills the 9100 but is still too slow to be playable (12.9 vs 4.3fps)

Game test 3 Trolls Lair the 9100 is faster than the 6200 (24 vs 11.6fps)

Doom3 timedemo was no good for the 9100 vs the 6200 (9.1 vs 17.5fps)

In Quake 3 the 9100 was smashing out 190fps @ 1024x768 & 170fps @ 1280x1024

Max Payne in 3dmark 2001se was 51fps in high quality mode which suggests this game might do well on a pci only system despite being a DX8 title.
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AS I said earlier when considering a card for a PCI only system is it worth getting the 6200 because it can play DOOM3 & Battle of Proxycon at higher framrates compared to the 9100?

No practical advantage their, Im interested in finding games around 2000-2003(4?) that will be playable at 1024x768 with good frame rates as any card will blitz Quake 3 regardless of what the framecounter says.

Reply 17 of 58, by FFXIhealer

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The Serpent Rider wrote:

They actualy have similiar performance and 9550 is much harder to find.

I have one in an AGP format, and it totally works. But I can't sell it unless I can get a WORKING Radeon 9800 Pro or XT in my system. I'm trying to make a 2003 Gaming Performance system with Windows XP SP3 and a 3200+ Athlon XP.

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Reply 18 of 58, by Jade Falcon

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Oldskoolmaniac wrote:

Anyone remember this card, 8400 GS 512 MB PCI? The last of pci video cards. A lot of proprietary boards had no agp slot so you couldn't upgrade you're existing motherboard.

Zotac had a PCI 520
https://www.techpowerup.com/gpudb/913/geforce-gt-520-pci

Zotac also made a 610 pci
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?I … N82E16814500262

Reply 19 of 58, by dirkmirk

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Just purchased 2 Quadro fx600s so it'll be a couple of weeks and I'll have a good stash of pci cards to test, hopefully the fx600 will overclock to fx5600 speeds and I'll be satisfied I've tested all the relevant high end pci cards for this era (win98-early XP, max directx8).

Dos compatibility should be good for nvidia, ATI was a little slower, I'm ordering a 3.2ghz p4 chip as my 2.4ghz was actually a celeron, probably won't make difference but really want a pci/GPU bottleneck.