EGA DOS benchmarks?

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EGA DOS benchmarks?

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2017-11-29 @ 17:18

I know this is pretty obscure, but I have an IBM 5150 which I have upgraded with an EGA card to get 16 color support on the IBM 5153 CGA monitor (this works as long as the resolution isn't too high). The system also has a Tiny Turbo 286 7.26Mhz upgrade card installed along with 640K memory.

I wasn't all the interested in the limited 4 color CGA games that the system could run natively (our first PC, a Tandy 1000 at least had 16 colors), and I basically already had everything I needed to upgrade it to be far more capable while still using the original monitor, so the quest began to squeeze as much as possible out of the original IBM PC.

I have noticed that some EGA games like Galaxian tend to bog down a bit and I'm considering trying a newer video card to see if it is a video bottleneck, rather than CPU. The system currently has an Everex EV659 Micro Enhancer Deluxe (8bit ISA, EGA, plus parallel). I also have another Everex EV-653 EGA card without a parallel port. I have an OAK OTIVGA 16bit ISA card that has 8bit support and has an EGA port a well. I'd like a way to compare the performance of these cards.

Anyone know of any video benchmarks with EGA support? I guess it'd also need to support running on an IBM PC, or at least a 286 with 640K.

So far the only things I've found that will run and give a video benchmark result are Checkit 3.0, and Landmark System Speed Test 6.00, but neither really show much on the display for these tests, so I don't know how well these reflect 2D gaming performance.

I guess I should also ask if anyone has tested EGA or VGA+EGA cards before and found any that perform significantly better than others when attached to an EGA display?
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Re: EGA DOS benchmarks?

Postby vlask » 2017-11-30 @ 01:01

Not only mine graphics cards collection at http://www.vgamuseum.info
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Re: EGA DOS benchmarks?

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2017-11-30 @ 01:36

Thanks! I'll give DIAG a try. :)

In the mean time, here are my results with the cards I have that will connect to my 5153 (by the way, the 5153 is technically a CGA monitor, but for reasons that are beyond my technical knowledge, it can display most 16 color EGA modes, aside from the highest resolutions).

Landmark Video Test:
Everex EV-659 = 413 chr/ms
Everex EV-653 = 380 chr/ms
Oak OTIVGA (OTI-037C, set to CGA) = 408 chr/ms

Checkit 3.0 Video BIOS CPS:
EV659 = 462 Char./Sec
EV653 = 1488
OTIVGA = 860

Checkit 3.0 Direct Video CPS:
EV659 = 15708 Char./Sec
EV653 = 15708
OTIVGA = 14740

I'm really not sure how to interpret these results. Looking at other benchmarks for OAK cards, they tend to be extremely slow, so this probably isn't the best representation of a later card that might improve performance. Most likely the 7Mhz 286 add on CPU is bottlenecking things, but I'd probably need more cards and more benchmarks to know for sure. I wish I could find something that at least looked like a 2D game that had a benchmark feature.

Anyone know why the BIOS speed would vary so much? What does that even mean anyway?
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Re: EGA DOS benchmarks?

Postby Jo22 » 2017-11-30 @ 02:26

Ozzuneoj wrote:Anyone know why the BIOS speed would vary so much? What does that even mean anyway?

Hi there! while CGA is handled by the PC BIOS itself,
EGA and VGA cards have their own BIOS extension each.

Usually, it is stored on EPROM chips on the cards themselves.
During the benchmark, CheckIt! accesses graphics cards both directly and via BIOS ROM routines.

Without Shadow Memory, ROM code is read from these EPROMs each time a graphics command is issued.
Depending on the access or response time of each EPROM and how it is connected (interleaved or not),
speed may vary. For example, there are EPROMs with an access time of 45 to 200ns.
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In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Re: EGA DOS benchmarks?

Postby dr.zeissler » 2017-11-30 @ 08:56

https://www.flickr.com/photos/94839221@ ... 0715046016

Some "Benches" if my FAST :) TowerAT (EGA)
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Re: EGA DOS benchmarks?

Postby derSammler » 2017-11-30 @ 10:21

Ozzuneoj wrote:(by the way, the 5153 is technically a CGA monitor, but for reasons that are beyond my technical knowledge, it can display most 16 color EGA modes, aside from the highest resolutions)

Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a CGA monitor. The 5153 is a color monitor with digital RGBI input. Restrictions of CGA don't apply, as those come from the video memory limitations of the CGA card, not from the monitor. EGA works, since it is using digital RGBI as well. Only modes with a higher scan rate (>15 KHz) won't work, as the 5153 can not sync to anything but 15 KHz.
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Re: EGA DOS benchmarks?

Postby Scali » 2017-11-30 @ 12:49

derSammler wrote:Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a CGA monitor. The 5153 is a color monitor with digital RGBI input. Restrictions of CGA don't apply, as those come from the video memory limitations of the CGA card, not from the monitor. EGA works, since it is using digital RGBI as well. Only modes with a higher scan rate (>15 KHz) won't work, as the 5153 can not sync to anything but 15 KHz.


Yes, and to expand on that:
The EGA card was specifically designed to be backwards compatible with RGBI monitors for CGA in 200-line modes (320x200 and 640x200).
EGA actually has an RrGgBb interface rather than RGBI (that is, r, g and b are separate intensity signals for the 3 basic colours). This allows for 64 indivdual colours on a real EGA monitor (you can select 16 of these 64 colours into the EGA palette).
But because of the CGA compatibility, this only works in the 640x350 mode (EGA monitors are also hardwired to be RGBI-compatible in 200-line modes, so they simply use one global intensity and ignore the other intensity signals). This is a shame, since this resolution is too high for any kind of action game. So most games are stuck to 320x200 and the fixed 16 colours known from CGA textmode, PCjr, Tandy and Plantronics.
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Re: EGA DOS benchmarks?

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2017-11-30 @ 17:11

Thanks for the info guys! One thing I discovered is that using the OTIVGA card with the 5153 requires the card to be set to CGA mode, otherwise the display is garbled (probably because it is trying to send a higher refresh rate text mode during bootup?). This works for some things that use EGA graphics, like display mode tests in Checkit, but other games and programs detect only CGA graphics, and when you force them to use EGA graphics the display is blank. Switching to CGA graphics in those games simply gives 4-color CGA.

When I use one of my "native" EGA Everex cards set to CGA (Color 80x25) via their dip switch, programs and games usually detect EGA graphics capability and display the correct graphics automatically, or when told to use EGA modes.

So, this does limit my ability to compare performance between the newer OAK VGA\EGA card and the older Everex EGA cards. I would assume that a more capable EGA monitor, like the 5154 wouldn't have any of these problems.
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