Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

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

Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby murrayman » 2018-1-17 @ 02:58

With the advent of AGP 8x and PCIe during Windows XP's lifespan, I can't imagine many good standard PCI graphics cards came out. But I've got an old Pentium 4 HP computer from the late XP era that's a horizontal form-factor and only has standard PCI slots that I'd like to modify for fun, and I couldn't find any threads covering this specific topic. Does anyone know of any graphics cards of decent nature that came out for traditional PCI during XP's lifespan?
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby Auzner » 2018-1-17 @ 03:10

You're right, they're all entry level. But they still made them for awhile. I'm just pasting wikipedia, but I know there won't be like a "GTX 270 PCI" or anything to that effect. GT 630 has XP drivers as well. Even as entry level, they're going to surpass some of the real old cards as well as provide hardware video decoding, not to mention power efficiency.

GeForce GT 630
GeForce GT 520
GeForce GT 430
GeForce 210
GeForce 9600 GS
GeForce 9500 GT
GeForce 8400 GS
GeForce 6200


Radeon HD 5450
Radeon HD 2400 PRO
Radeon X1550
Radeon X1300
Radeon 9250
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-1-17 @ 03:24

There is also:

Geforce GT 610

ATI 9550

Quadro FX600

Was there actually a GT 630 PCI? I can't find any mention of it.

The fastest as far as I know is the GT430.

The bad thing about the faster PCI cards is that they are generally pretty hard to find and generally fetch prices reflecting their rarity.

The other option is the get a PCI to PCIe slot adapter and a PCIe riser card or cable with a power connector in order to give the PCIe video card enough power.
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/PCI-32bit-TO-PCI-e-Express-16X-8x-4x-1x-adapter-card/292141759.html
https://www.ebay.com/itm/USB3-0-PCI-E-1x-16x-Powered-Extender-Riser-SATA-Adapter-Card-Cable-lot-60CM-ZM/112481020806

The PCI to PCIe slot adapters use the same exact PCI to PCIe bridge chip that the newer PCI video cards use.
Last edited by cyclone3d on 2018-1-17 @ 03:38, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby Auzner » 2018-1-17 @ 03:37

cyclone3d wrote:Was there actually a GT 630 PCI? I can't find any mention of it.
The bad thing about the faster PCI cards is that they are generally pretty hard to find and generally fetch prices reflecting their rarity.

I never knew they went that late either. If it's inaccurate, the wikipedia oligarchy gets to rewrite history even if nobody ever had it.

They get rarer and rarer as built in video is an option difficult to not end up with. If a huge batch of older mini xeon workstations get replaced, then you see a wave of pci video cards show up. But now even Xeon workstation processors have built in video options.
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby cskamacska » 2018-1-18 @ 14:00

They stopped making new PCI graphics cards in 2012(together with native PCI bus chipsets, the B75-Q75 duo were the last ones on Intel side, all newer boards have bridge chips if they even have PCI slots anymore) while XPs support lasted till 2014 so practically all of them are XP era.
The best is Fermi based Geforce GT610 1GB, a renamed GT520 with VP5 Kepler level video core. GT430 should be better for gaming but the Zotac version is severely downclocked, only has 512MB memory, and both are so bottlenecked by the PCI bus the doubled shader count doesnt give it the advantage it should.

On AMD side theres Radeon HD7350 but thats just an euphemism for HD5450 and therefore slower in games and with worse video decoding than GT430/520.
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby gandhig » 2018-1-18 @ 15:47

If you are after accelerated video decoding/rendering on your old system with the help of a PCI GPU, sure, you can find these modern PCI-E to PCI bridged ones to be pretty functional.

However, don't try to game on them(just a friendly advice). I ended up wasting months trying something similar. If you have enough patience, you can check out this thread.
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby murrayman » 2018-1-18 @ 18:42

gandhig wrote:If you are after accelerated video decoding/rendering on your old system with the help of a PCI GPU, sure, you can find these modern PCI-E to PCI bridged ones to be pretty functional.

However, don't try to game on them(just a friendly advice). I ended up wasting months trying something similar. If you have enough patience, you can check out this thread.


Thanks for sharing, that thread and all the info really helped. I knew the PCI bus' bandwidth was going to be a major bottleneck for gaming performance, which indeed is what I want to use this HP for: period-appropriate gaming (so no games past 2006 / Vista release date, although I know many used XP long after '06; I personally didn't). But it was interesting to see how it also inhibited the CPU's baseline performance in benchmarks.

I'm in the process of moving, so the HP is currently boxed up, and I don't remember what model it is, thus I'm not sure what P4 it has. I know it's a later model, as it has modern Intel badging. In any case, at the beginning of February when I unbox it, I'll dig it out and get the specs, then peruse that thread some more, plus the advised cards in this thread. I'm not looking to build a top-tier gaming rig circa 2005; given what I remember about the HP's motherboard, the computer was a base model or entry-level business setup (especially since it was a horizontal form-factor), so that wouldn't be possible anyway what with memory bandwidth and max size constraints. I would like to create something along the lines of what would have been considered a budget gaming system for the time, something that could get the games running with basic settings (e.g. Quake 4). I have two Win98 machines to emulate such budget- and top-tier grades: a PII 350, 64mb PC100 RAM, and 4mb Rage LT Pro onboard video; and a PIII 933, 1GB PC133 RAM, and Voodoo5 5500 AGP. Personally, I love getting on the slower machine at times, just to play the games at their basic settings and see the thing do an admiral job. Perhaps that's weird, but that's what I want to do with this HP for XP-era games.
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby shamino » 2018-1-19 @ 07:40

I won't try to comment on the ATI cards, but for NVidia:

The 8400GS PCI is relatively common compared to the others. There were 2 different GPUs used on "8400GS" cards. I recall some old internet complaints that the older GPU was actually better for games, but the later GPU added H.264 video acceleration (which is the only way you'll ever play 720p/1080p video over a PCI bus). However, utilizing H.264 acceleration requires using a video player that supports it (MPC-BE should work).
I think 512MB cards reliably have the later GPU. If you'd prefer the older GPU then obviously avoid 512MB cards but even at 256MB I think it would be a coin toss. Actually, I'm not even sure if the older GPU was ever used on PCI cards.

The next step up would be the G210. It's faster than the 8400GS, but still not well thought of by gamers. I think it's something like half the speed of a GT220.

I think the next step above that would be the GT520/GT610 (which are the same). They are very late and uncommon PCI cards so last I was aware they were expensive.

Faster than those would be the Geforce 9400/9500GS/GT/whatever. Not sure exactly which variants of these were produced. I'm also not sure if these have the H.264 acceleration that all the other models discussed have.

Finally there's the GT430. In the past I've seen evidence posted that these beat the PCI Geforce 9500 cards in games, but I don't think it was much of a difference. They are close, and both significantly ahead of the GT520/610.

I've never seen mention of a GT630 PCI before, I suspect that's an error in wikipedia.

Zotac made the PCI models of GT430, GT520, and GT610 cards. I'm not sure if anybody else made them.


Given how you've described the machine, does it have full height slots, or are they low profile? I suppose most if not all of these cards ought to support a low profile bracket, but remember to pay attention to that if you need it.

If you are very fond of this machine then maybe you'll enjoy this project. But honestly, given the limitations of PCI cards and the typically high cost, it would probably make more sense to give up on this machine and find something with AGP or Express slots in it. That's what any gaming machine would have been equipped with.
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby murrayman » 2018-1-19 @ 16:15

shamino wrote:I won't try to comment on the ATI cards, but for NVidia:

...

Given how you've described the machine, does it have full height slots, or are they low profile? I suppose most if not all of these cards ought to support a low profile bracket, but remember to pay attention to that if you need it.

If you are very fond of this machine then maybe you'll enjoy this project. But honestly, given the limitations of PCI cards and the typically high cost, it would probably make more sense to give up on this machine and find something with AGP or Express slots in it. That's what any gaming machine would have been equipped with.


They are low-profile slots, and I'm already prepared to tackle that. I know some cards from the time supported low-profile adapters natively, but I've also rigged up some slot pieces for cards using the blank inserts from the target computer. It's not all that bad.

I also don't need H.264 support. This computer will never be connected to the internet, stream a single video, or play any game manufactured after November '06. It'll be run on a 5:4 LCD from the time, so resolutions will never be widescreen, and max out at 1280x1024 (though I'm expecting to play most games at 640x480 or 800x600). So I can forego a lot of the later cards that support the ability to navigate the modern internet and game attributes, so long as it can somewhat decently tackle games from its era - basically anything between DirectX 7 and 9.0c.

All that said, I'm willing to abandon this project if it becomes clear I can't achieve the bare minimum of what I want. Again, strange of a project though it may be, I'm just trying to build a basic-level rig, such as what a kid of the time would have done working with whatever basic breadbox computer their parents may have been willing to give them. It's what I would have done in '05 when I was fifteen had my resources been more limited, and it's the same thing I did with my PII rig. Used to have a Voodoo 3 3000 PCI in that before it died, but things were different back then; PCI was the standard unless you were lucky enough to early-adopt AGP. From what I've gathered here, it seems like once PCIe took off, standard PCI was almost totally abandoned, at least in terms of gaming-level graphics acceleration.

I did stumble across one Zotac PCI GT610 on eBay this past week that sold for $35. In my mind, given the scarcity of such PCI graphics cards, I'm prepared to pay upwards of $150. So if prices stay in that range or below, I'm alright with that. Unfortunately I can't scrounge around locally for things like this; Goodwill's policy here is to throw out all computer hardware (not peripherals), and the flea market is largely composed of Dell's from recent years. So it's dealing with the high prices of online for me. :dead:
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby shamino » 2018-1-20 @ 08:18

I once thought about buying one of the faster PCI cards for my file server. I wanted it to double as a usable desktop and support an extra participant in LAN games of Minecraft. I never did it though. $35 for that GT610 is cheaper than what I used to see. I remember those going for more like $50 to $60 back when I looked, so that was definitely a good price. Still, a GT430 or 9400/9500 would be even more desirable.
Although the mentioned cards are newer than 2006, they are low end for when they were made (especially in PCI form). So you'd still want the most powerful models you can come up with for playing games from the mid-2000s.

===
Yeah, I used to enjoy shopping for computer hardware at Goodwills, but internal components (let alone complete systems) are a rare find nowadays. I guess the recyclers or lawyers got to them. Occasionally I might still see a sound card or something, but usually it's just external peripherals.
A couple years ago I saw a computer at a Goodwill that had slipped through. It was disguised as some kind of video capture surveillance system thingy, and had multiple cards installed with BNC jacks on them, but under the dressing it was obviously really an ATX computer. I loved the case and decided I'd pay some decent money for it, even without knowing what was inside. Unfortunately it didn't have a price on it, and when I asked for one, it came back with them wanting $150 for it. Uh.... never mind.
Made me wonder if they realized it was a computer and just stuck a high price on it to chase me off.

The Salvation Army here sells computers, but they're expensive. It seems they actually take the time to reimage them and test them, but I don't want that kind of service, I just want As-Is, DIY cheap.
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby Asaki » 2018-1-20 @ 08:36

murrayman wrote:...what I want to use this HP for: period-appropriate gaming (so no games past 2006 / Vista release date...


2006 might be pushing it a little, since DOOM 3 and Half-Life 2 were already old games, and most games were requiring pixel shader 2.0 or 3.0 support by then. I'm no expert on hardware, but I'd be really surprised if anything like that came out for PCI. Interesting topic.

I'm assuming this computer already has integrated Intel graphics? I've heard some of that stuff wasn't too bad, but I've only dealt with older chips (2002-ish).
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby murrayman » 2018-1-20 @ 16:09

Asaki wrote:
murrayman wrote:...what I want to use this HP for: period-appropriate gaming (so no games past 2006 / Vista release date...


2006 might be pushing it a little, since DOOM 3 and Half-Life 2 were already old games, and most games were requiring pixel shader 2.0 or 3.0 support by then. I'm no expert on hardware, but I'd be really surprised if anything like that came out for PCI. Interesting topic.

I'm assuming this computer already has integrated Intel graphics? I've heard some of that stuff wasn't too bad, but I've only dealt with older chips (2002-ish).


Integrated Intel, just not sure of the specs. Admittedly, I haven't tested any games on it using the integrated chipset; I'll probably do that when I unbox it, just to see what it's like. If I recall correctly, it shares memory with the RAM, and I think maxes out at 128mb. Can't recall for sure, but I know it wasn't much.
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby nforce4max » 2018-1-20 @ 21:17

The main problem I've experienced with these sort of late cards is where the pci bus is just too slow and cripples the performance.
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-1-20 @ 21:38

nforce4max wrote:The main problem I've experienced with these sort of late cards is where the pci bus is just too slow and cripples the performance.


However... the bridge chip that they use support 66Mhz PCI. Pretty much all consumer boards are only 33Mhz PCI.

So if you actually have a board that does 66Mhz PCI I bet the results would be a lot different.
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby Scraphoarder » 2018-1-23 @ 00:31

shamino wrote:I once thought about buying one of the faster PCI cards for my file server. I wanted it to double as a usable desktop and support an extra participant in LAN games of Minecraft. I never did it though. $35 for that GT610 is cheaper than what I used to see. I remember those going for more like $50 to $60 back when I looked, so that was definitely a good price. Still, a GT430 or 9400/9500 would be even more desirable.

Also wanted some better graphics for some old HP Proliant DL380 G4 servers with only PCI-X slots at my work. We wanted to use them with Windows 7 as rack mounted service PCs and the onboard Rage XL was not supported. Tried a bunch of older PCI cards without luck and ordered one Zotac GT 610 PCI and it worked just fine. Tried it in an even older DL380 G3 just for fun and also success there. The cards were cheap then and we ordered more of them to use in other servers, but today only one are still in service and that will be virtualized soon.
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby dirkmirk » 2018-1-24 @ 06:26

Heres some good reading on PCI cards relevant to the Pentium 4 era

https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=54413
viewtopic.php?f=46&t=51076

ATI 9100 - 2003
Nvidia FX5200/5500/5600(or fx600) 2003
Nvidia 6200 - 2004



For me personally, I dont like the idea of 64bit cards even though the memory speed is what counts :lol: ! The 6200 is a 64 bit card

When testing the FX600/5600(overclocked FX600), Unreal tournament 2003 ran fine at high details so PCI cards are definitely useful, its games like Doom3 or Farcry that will slaughter PCI cards of the era.

https://ru-clip.com/video/GCPsfWfdFmw/t ... i-bus.html

The above is a video from youtube user pixel pipes pretty sure he frequents this forum too, he tested some very late PCI cards (GT430 & GT520), the interesting thing for me were the scores for 3DMARK 2001SE, about 8,100 points for both cards, interestingly my FX600 score was just under 8,000 points (7,986).

Another interesting benchmark from pixel pipes is the Quake 3 arena test, not sure what demo he uses buts hes getting 80fps & 95fps @ 1280x1024.

At default settings MY ATI 9100 scored 170fps @ 1280x1024 & 190fps @ 1024x768 using default settings (cant remember which demo or what exactly the default settings were!).

All the information is in the top 2 threads, I havent got around to doing a proper spreadsheet of my findings.

My question for you is, do you want a proper work horse time period card for your pentium 4 or a showpony that might score higher results in newer games but pointless because they're unplayable anyway?

edit: I basically recommend a FX5200 or FX5200 but MUST BE 128BIT!! After that overclock the card and aim for 325mhz clock/550mhz memory, that would replicate the performance of the INNO3D FX5600 PCI but Ive never seen one for sale, I got close with a Quadro FX600(320/550mhz).

http://www.gpureview.com/geforce-fx-550 ... d-439.html
http://www.gpureview.com/geforce-fx-520 ... d-438.html

For example, theirs a nice boxed PNY FX5500 card on ebay for a good price but is a crippled 64bit version, I dont know if theirs a sure way to get a 128bit card but it appears the 256meg versions are more likely to be 128bit.
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby cskamacska » 2018-1-24 @ 10:52

dirkmirk wrote:PCI über alles! :D


Oh that Ru-Clip site is so confusing, heres the direct link to teh Tube PixelPipes -
The Fastest Graphics Card on a PCI Bus


It pretty much confirms my statememnt about GT610-430 performance, poor 430 got downclocked to the bottom. Not sure well ever see a 8400GS-8500GT-9400GT-9500GT and HD2400Pro-HD3450-HD4350-HD5450 and GT430-GT520-GT610 really ultimate ultimate PCI performance comparison. :happy:

Until then some link spam:
Suhian.com Ultimate PCI Round-up courtesy of the Internet Archive from almost 15 years ago
Then available low and mid range cards PCI versions duke it out in era appropriate games.
I honestly expected more from the FX5600 compared to the FX5200, but looks like its optimisations are reserved for DX9 games that the PCI version cant run properly anyway. :D Its on par with the PCI Radeon 8500LE at least.

http://vganfo.uw.hu/lenoxvga.html
Has some pretty pics of Radeon 9200, 9100, and FX5700 LE, with some 3DMark numbers to boot.

Zotac GT430 PCI user test by frescho(prolly lurking around here too) on Logout.hu

Nice complete review of the card with pics and benchies. Ok its a bit weird after Google translate, but them pics and benchies!

Zotac GT610 PCI user test by kálmi on Logout.hu

Bit more brief than the last one, but still has pics and benchmarks.


Anyway the tldr for the op is that if you decide to stick with the project, the best(as in fastes and available and compatible) PCI card you can get for pure DOS - TNT2 or its cheaper M64 version, for Windows98 - 128bit FX5200/FX600(/5600/5700) or whatever you can get(Gef 6200 tend to crop up too, that would be FX5700 level, but people had problems with Win98 era stuff and its newer drivers), for XP possibly GT520/610/430 or 9500GT

PCI graphics cards are slower than their AGP/PCI-E versions for sure but not unusable. I played Half Life 2, CounterStrike Condition Zero(with 8x aniso and even some AA :cool: ), and W40k Dawn of War on a PCI FX5600 256MB in late 2006 with no problems when the main card was under replacement, and even played a small stealth mission map of Men of War Assault Squad 2 on a GT610 1GB not too long ago.

Oh btw PCI GT430 can be used as a nice nVidia PhisX accelerator for older PhisX titles even with a main AMD card with haxord drivers.
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby Asaki » 2018-1-24 @ 13:19

cskamacska wrote:...the best(as in fastes and available and compatible) PCI card you can get for pure DOS - TNT2 or its cheaper M64 version...

I didn't know there were DOS games that used nVidia, I've only seen a dozen or so that use Glide.

Wish I could use my Voodoo 3 in my current Win98 machine, but I can't get any PCI video cards that I've tried to work with this motherboard, it just defaults to AGP.

Hmm...though now that I think about it, I haven't tried updating the BIOS yet...
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby murrayman » 2018-1-24 @ 14:08

Lots of good information here and in the supplied threads -- thanks, all! Interesting to see the 128bit lines of Quadro FX600 and the FX5200 / 5500 / 5600 have all been used for similar benchmarks and some gaming, which is on par with what I was looking for.

dirkmirk wrote:...
My question for you is, do you want a proper work horse time period card for your pentium 4 or a showpony that might score higher results in newer games but pointless because they're unplayable anyway?
...


Summed it up a few times above, but I think some posters may have missed it. Haven't mentioned an fps limit though: I'm looking for a machine that, at the bare minimum, can play a good number of period-appropriate games (2001 - 2006) at their lowest graphical settings and achieve somewhere around 25fps or above. That's a playable speed for me.

I would prefer to use a card from the time, such as the recommended FX-series cards and some of the ATI cards. At the time, I was an AMD / ATI fanboy (when the two were separate), and strictly used their products. In this case, since I have a P4 machine, and didn't use one much at the time, I'd like to use an nVidia card, just to mirror my experience from the time. In this case, that also includes performance level, since my setup of the time was a gaming rig with an oc'd 2500+ Barton and oc'd 9600XT AGP.

I unbox the computer on Feb 1, at which point I'm going to check one thing first: see if it can post to PCI VGA. Looks like some of the supplied threads have had folks encounter an issue where their BIOS wouldn't post using a PCI graphics card, but that appeared more to do with late-model P4 mobos that had AGP. I'll retrieve the other specs too while I'm at it; very curious as to how late-model my P4 / mobo are. There were many mass-market computers of the time with a "Designed for Windows XP" sticker that also said "Vista ready" or something like that. This one doesn't have that, but it does have the modern Intel sticker, which came out in 2005. Given it seems like a business machine, that could have something to do with it.

cskamacska wrote:
dirkmirk wrote:...
Anyway the tldr for the op is that if you decide to stick with the project, the best(as in fastes and available and compatible) PCI card you can get for pure DOS - TNT2 or its cheaper M64 version, for Windows98 - 128bit FX5200/FX600(/5600/5700) or whatever you can get(Gef 6200 tend to crop up too, that would be FX5700 level, but people had problems with Win98 era stuff and its newer drivers), for XP possibly GT520/610/430 or 9500GT

PCI graphics cards are slower than their AGP/PCI-E versions for sure but not unusable. I played Half Life 2, CounterStrike Condition Zero(with 8x aniso and even some AA :cool: ), and W40k Dawn of War on a PCI FX5600 256MB in late 2006 with no problems when the main card was under replacement, and even played a small stealth mission map of Men of War Assault Squad 2 on a GT610 1GB not too long ago.
...


One advantage to my target setup is it won't play games or use an OS before or after its time, so strictly XP and games designed with XP in mind -- that keeps the window narrow and manageable. Already got a Win98 and Win2000 machine, so late DOS games and the late 90s are covered.

Admittedly, I do see the GT610 crop up a lot, but I'm going to have to do more specific research comparing its gaming performance between the FX cards of the period. If the performance advantage / disadvantage isn't too great, I will likely seek out a 128bit FX card. Depending on final verdict, I may opt for both cards and benchmark them (gaming only, no 3DMark) back to back, just to see what they're like. Though stats already exist for the two separately, as I've seen.

It's all food for thought. I'll come up with a verdict in a week or two and report back. Any further input is welcome, of course.
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Re: Best standard PCI video card of XP era?

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-1-24 @ 21:27

Asaki wrote:I didn't know there were DOS games that used nVidia, I've only seen a dozen or so that use Glide.

Wish I could use my Voodoo 3 in my current Win98 machine, but I can't get any PCI video cards that I've tried to work with this motherboard, it just defaults to AGP.

Hmm...though now that I think about it, I haven't tried updating the BIOS yet...


I think he's maybe overstating the case for TNT cards. They're pretty good for DOS compatibility and decently fast, but I'm not sure that they're better than VESA 2.0 S3 cards. For DOS 3d work, you'd almost certainly want a 3dfx based card (ideally a Voodoo 1) alongside or as the sole video card. There are also a handful of specialty titles that are best with a Verite or 3d blaster CGL cards (of which I'm definitely no expert).
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