2-4Mb VLB Video Card

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

Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2018-1-10 @ 07:52

4MB VLB cards were always pretty uncommon. I think at one point the Diamond Stealth64 Video VRAM was the easiest one to get (with 2MB), and you could easily pick an upgrade module off of the PCI version. These days this card is pretty rarely seen for sale.

The Mach64 Graphics Pro Turbo was another somewhat common card, but unlike the Diamond cards it was much more challenging to get the upgrade module, because the PCI cards often used an incompatible module, even though they physically fit. You need to match up the part numbers.

I've also seen old S3 928 based cards with 4MB (ELSA Winner2000, Miro), as well as the Matrox cards (Impression?). Today I even learned about a card which I've never heard of before, the Spider64 VLB, which is unique in that it takes 4MB of DRAM rather than VRAM.

My personal favourite 4MB VLB card so far is the #9 Motion FX 771. It uses the same S3 968 chip as the Stealth64 VRAM Video, but comes standard with a 220MHz RAMDAC...and better drivers/software. I used to own the GXE64 Pro 4MB as well (S3 964), but foolishly sold it off to help pay down my mortgage :(
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby Baoran » 2018-1-12 @ 13:52

What can you do with 2Mb card that you can't do with 1Mb card? Any games that require 2Mb or games that allow you to play with smooth frame rates with higher resolution on a system that you would use a vlb card in?
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby vetz » 2018-1-12 @ 15:21

Baoran wrote:What can you do with 2Mb card that you can't do with 1Mb card? Any games that require 2Mb or games that allow you to play with smooth frame rates with higher resolution on a system that you would use a vlb card in?

I can't think of a single DOS game that can run on a VLB system that requires 2MB.

Higher memory is only a benefit if you're going to run Windows or other office applications on your system since it allows higher resolutions with higher amount of colors.
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby Baoran » 2018-1-12 @ 15:42

vetz wrote:I can't think of a single DOS game that can run on a VLB system that requires 2MB.

Higher memory is only a benefit if you're going to run Windows or other office applications on your system since it allows higher resolutions with higher amount of colors.


Thanks. There is someone selling one of those Tseng Labs ET4000/W32P 2Mb cards locally here for 10 euros. Probably not worth getting then.
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby elianda » 2018-1-12 @ 15:47

Anonymous Coward wrote:My personal favourite 4MB VLB card so far is the #9 Motion FX 771. It uses the same S3 968 chip as the Stealth64 VRAM Video, but comes standard with a 220MHz RAMDAC...and better drivers/software.


The 4 MB version of the Diamond Stealth 64 VRAM VLB comes also with a 220 MHz DAC: http://retronn.de/imports/hwgal/hw_grap ... front.html

Usually 2 MB cards have a 135 MHz or 175 MHz DAC, only very few come with a 220 MHz DAC.
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby vetz » 2018-1-12 @ 17:08

Baoran wrote:
vetz wrote:I can't think of a single DOS game that can run on a VLB system that requires 2MB.

Higher memory is only a benefit if you're going to run Windows or other office applications on your system since it allows higher resolutions with higher amount of colors.


Thanks. There is someone selling one of those Tseng Labs ET4000/W32P 2Mb cards locally here for 10 euros. Probably not worth getting then.

I'd get it for 10 euro! That is a very very nice price. The ET4000/W32P is a fast and compatible card and something you cant go wrong with in a 486 VLB build.
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby BeginnerGuy » 2018-1-12 @ 20:36

Here's an interesting somewhat relevant question.. Has anybody found a VLB card that will do 1024x768 in windows 3.x on a modern LCD without going to a spastic horizontal or vertical refresh causing "out of range" errors? Or are we doomed to CRTs for such a resolution out of VLB?

(my monitor is a sony SDM-S204)
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby oeuvre » 2018-1-13 @ 13:12

Some VLB cards come with a utility (Cirrus Logic) that lets you specify refresh mode in DOS. Setting it to 60Hz usually works fine.
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby westygw » 2018-1-17 @ 12:21

I was able to acquire a Cirrus Logic 5429 expanded to 2mb, thanks to this forum's help.
Also, as for why I was wanting >1MB DRAM.. it was more for personal gain and as a collectable.
Thanks for all the livelihood and responses, everyone! It's been a good/informative read.
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby chinny22 » 2018-1-17 @ 22:56

BeginnerGuy wrote:Here's an interesting somewhat relevant question.. Has anybody found a VLB card that will do 1024x768 in windows 3.x on a modern LCD without going to a spastic horizontal or vertical refresh causing "out of range" errors? Or are we doomed to CRTs for such a resolution out of VLB?

(my monitor is a sony SDM-S204)


Didn't know that was an issue! My Mach64 happy goes upto 1280x1024 on a Dell 19"
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby gerwin » 2018-1-17 @ 23:27

BeginnerGuy wrote:Here's an interesting somewhat relevant question.. Has anybody found a VLB card that will do 1024x768 in windows 3.x on a modern LCD without going to a spastic horizontal or vertical refresh causing "out of range" errors? Or are we doomed to CRTs for such a resolution out of VLB?)

In windows 95 I had 1024x768 8bpp working from the start, on a cheap Dell 1024x768 flatscreen. The same resolution in 16bpp got me an "out of sync" monitor message, this with both a CL-GD5428 and an S3 Vision 864. But the S3 stock driver came with a Windows refresh rate dialog: Setting all to 60Hz fixed it. Today I installed the DirectX 5 S3 driver and the refresh rate dialog has vanished, but fortunately 16bpp still works.
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2018-1-18 @ 01:03

I think the only reason your monitor is going nuts is because you're trying to run 1024x768 in an interlaced mode. Make sure it's NON interlaced.
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2018-1-18 @ 01:12

elianda wrote:
The 4 MB version of the Diamond Stealth 64 VRAM VLB comes also with a 220 MHz DAC: http://retronn.de/imports/hwgal/hw_grap ... front.html

Usually 2 MB cards have a 135 MHz or 175 MHz DAC, only very few come with a 220 MHz DAC.


My meaning is that while only some of the Stealth64 VRAM Videos have the 220MHz RAMDAC, the Motion 771 always has it. On the other hand, the Diamond cards can usually be upgraded, whereas the #9 requires soldering if you get the 2MB version, which is strange since the GXE64 Pro let you upgrade with standard PLCC ICs.

The Mach64 VRAM on the other hand never comes with a 220MHz RAMDAC, because they only produced such a version for PCI bus.
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby BeginnerGuy » 2018-1-18 @ 01:13

Anonymous Coward wrote:I think the only reason your monitor is going nuts is because you're trying to run 1024x768 in an interlaced mode. Make sure it's NON interlaced.


Not sure how, never really toyed around with win 3 much in my life. The Cirrus Logic SETRES utility simply lets me choose resolution and color. No mentions of interlaced vs non-interlaced in windows setup with the drivers that I installed for the cirrus logic. The technical reference says it does 1024x768 @ 256 colors non-interlaced.

edit: v1.50e windows drivers
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2018-1-19 @ 13:44

Generally speaking, any refresh rate lower than 60Hz is an interlaced mode. However....sometimes the manufacturer tries to get creative and claims for example that the 43Hz mode is really 86Hz because there are *two* fields.
BTW, if you ever figure out what that extra MB on the CL GD5429 does please let me know. I was only able to determine that it allowed for 64k colours in 1024x768, but ONLY in interlaced mode...which makes its usefulness rival that of the Creative CSP chip.
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby gerwin » 2018-1-19 @ 21:10

Anonymous Coward wrote:BTW, if you ever figure out what that extra MB on the CL GD5429 does please let me know. I was only able to determine that it allowed for 64k colours in 1024x768, but ONLY in interlaced mode...which makes its usefulness rival that of the Creative CSP chip.

Interesting! Is that the reason I never got that mode to work with the CL-GD5428 and a flatscreen? In comparison; With a 2MB S3 card I had that mode running in 10 minutes, after configuring it to 60Hz.
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby feipoa » 2018-2-07 @ 05:32

Anonymous Coward wrote:On the other hand, the Diamond cards can usually be upgraded, whereas the #9 requires soldering if you get the 2MB version, which is strange since the GXE64 Pro let you upgrade with standard PLCC ICs..

I hope you can get to soldering on your the extra RAM to your #9 771 VLB sometime this year. I have the #9 771 in PCI format, which based on the memory IC's datasheet, came with 2 MB RAM. For some reason, Speedsys only shows it as 1 MB. Any idea what could be causing this?

The back of the card has missing solder pads for 4 more memory IC's, 3 resistors, a resistor array, and caps. I soldered on all the missing components, yet Speedsys continues to identify the card as only having 1 MB, when I expect the memory amount to double. Is there some circuit input which needs to be set high or a BIOS updated needed so the card knows to use more RAM?

I have one other card, a PCI Mach64, which acts in a similar manner with Speedsys. The card clearly has 2 MB, yet Speedsys shows 1 MB. All my other graphic cards are identified correctly for RAM quantity.
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby kixs » 2018-2-07 @ 07:52

Speedsys is know for this. At least I noticed it with several cards.

Try other programs to identify memory, like Aida16 or NSSI.
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2018-2-07 @ 13:45

I agree. Don't trust speedsys.
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Re: 2-4Mb VLB Video Card

Postby feipoa » 2018-2-07 @ 18:38

I had tried one other program at the time, forget what the name was now - I think it was NSSI or, for the ATI card, the ATI DOS setup utility - but both showed 1 MB of RAM.
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