VOGONS


First post, by squareguy

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I am working on a new PC and I am having a hard time where to draw the line on video cards.

Windows 98
Pentium III 850

I am really considering drawing the line at DirectX 7.0a (early 2000) but a part of me says push it to DirectX 8.0a (early 2001).

For the above I am talking DirectX hardware implementation, not software version.

I can easily use DirectX Eradicator to go between DirectX 7.0a (fully backwards DirectX compatibility) and DirectX 8.0a (fully backwards compatible back to 7.0).

For the above statement I stress the word fully.

For hardware that means choosing a GeForce4 MX 440 or GeForce4 TI 4400.

I guess since XP shipped with DirectX 8.1 then the TI 4400 would make the most sense and let the XP box handle everything else with decent overlap between the two systems... but I really like the low power draw of the MX 440.

Sometimes you gotta obsess over the little things. I mean come on... ADHD + OCD.

Gateway 2000 Case and 200-Watt PSU
Intel SE440BX-2 Motherboard
Intel Pentium III 450 CPU
Micron 384MB SDRAM (3x128)
Compaq Voodoo3 3500 TV Graphics Card
Turtle Beach Santa Cruz Sound Card
Western Digital 7200-RPM, 8MB-Cache, 160GB Hard Drive
Windows 98 SE

Reply 1 of 11, by firage

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I'd call the CPU more DX7 grade, but would decide based on what other systems I have available, because most of the old DX titles with compatibility concerns run fine on slower machines than that.

My big-red-switch 486

Reply 2 of 11, by squareguy

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Hey firage,

I I am trying to cover a very wide span on this PC and I just recently discovered Throttle. How on Earth did I not know about this before?!? It is absolutely wonderful. Anyways the 850 is well behaved at various Throttle settings and it plays Serious Sam the Second Encounter without a hiccup. Of course I am not playing at very high res, like 1024x768.

Thanks for the input. I guess some more game testing is needed. Let's toss something like Half-Life 2 at it and see what happens at 1024x768. I think that would represent a worse case scenario for high end.

Gateway 2000 Case and 200-Watt PSU
Intel SE440BX-2 Motherboard
Intel Pentium III 450 CPU
Micron 384MB SDRAM (3x128)
Compaq Voodoo3 3500 TV Graphics Card
Turtle Beach Santa Cruz Sound Card
Western Digital 7200-RPM, 8MB-Cache, 160GB Hard Drive
Windows 98 SE

Reply 3 of 11, by weldum

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i would say stick to directx 7 and use windows 98se, that way you can get the most performance
most directx 8 games would need a better processor to run fine at high resolutions

Ohh, the humanity 😢
386SX 25-C3 800-P3 900-Atom 1.6-C-D 2.13-P4 2.26-P4HT 3.0-P-DC 1.6-AFX 2.6-FX 3.3

Reply 4 of 11, by Scali

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I guess a Pentium III 850 is just on the edge...
The GeForce3 (the card that ushered in the DX8 era) was reviewed in an Athlon 1000 system by AnandTech, so close to a PIII 850: https://www.anandtech.com/show/742/4
So it's plausible, especially if you factor in that people would upgrade their GPU more often than the rest of the system. Upgrading a PIII 850 with a GeForce3 or newer DX8+ card during its lifetime is plausible.
Heck, I have a PII 350 that has a Radeon 8500 in it 😀
Works great with Half-Life 2.

http://scalibq.wordpress.com/just-keeping-it- … ro-programming/

Reply 5 of 11, by squareguy

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Well I'm not 100% decided yet.

I got a chance to look at Max Payne at 1024x768x32 and everything maxed out. There wasn't much difference in the two cards. The GeForce4 TI 4400 was faster than the GeForce4 MX 440, of course, but the FPS dips were about the same because of the CPU, down to about 40-FPS during dips.

I guess what it really comes down to is eye candy. I need to test games that have a reason for DirectX 8.0 hardware over DirectX 7.0 hardware for the added shadows and water that can still run ok on a Pentium III 850. I plan to test Half-Life 2 this weekend if I get a chance.

Would love to hear some differences in specific games from the 98/XP (DirectX 7.0/8.0) crossover era that would be playable.

Here is a visual aid in the DirectX differences. I wish it had higher resolution images. https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/DirectX_Versions

Weldum, I agree mostly. I'm planning on 1024x768 and maybe 1280x1024 maximum resolution.

Scali, A Pentium II 350? What resolution and what kind of frame rates are you getting?

Thanks all

Gateway 2000 Case and 200-Watt PSU
Intel SE440BX-2 Motherboard
Intel Pentium III 450 CPU
Micron 384MB SDRAM (3x128)
Compaq Voodoo3 3500 TV Graphics Card
Turtle Beach Santa Cruz Sound Card
Western Digital 7200-RPM, 8MB-Cache, 160GB Hard Drive
Windows 98 SE

Reply 6 of 11, by squareguy

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Hmmm. A GeForce FX 5200 may be good middle ground between power draw and performance here. It can still use the 45.23 drivers that I like.

Now finding an non-gimped, high quality 5200 at a reasonable cost might be an issue but I saw a couple good ones on eBay. 128-bit memory bus, decent price, good maker and high build quality. I passed on them.

Instead... I decided on a Quadro FX 500 for a little less money, high build quality (of course), non-gimped (of course) and uses the same NV34 GPU. It is also supported by the 45.23 drivers I am so fond of.

The Quadro FX 500 GPU is clocked at a GeForce FX 5500's speed (really the other way around since the 5500 came out after the fact) and has memory clocked at 240-MHz instead of 200-MHz. The Ram on the card is 3.6ns which is good to 275-MHz.

I am looking forward to testing this card. It's either gonna be this or the Quadro4 380 XGL (MX 440) I have now. I am not going to use use Quadro4 700 XGL (TI 4400).

And besides, my case already has a Powered by Quadro case sticker on it and we all know that stickers are more important than anything, just like on race cars.

EDIT:

Link to cards

https://www.techpowerup.com/gpu-specs/quadro-fx-500.c1350

https://www.techpowerup.com/gpu-specs/geforce-fx-5200.c60

Gateway 2000 Case and 200-Watt PSU
Intel SE440BX-2 Motherboard
Intel Pentium III 450 CPU
Micron 384MB SDRAM (3x128)
Compaq Voodoo3 3500 TV Graphics Card
Turtle Beach Santa Cruz Sound Card
Western Digital 7200-RPM, 8MB-Cache, 160GB Hard Drive
Windows 98 SE

Reply 7 of 11, by squareguy

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I'm in a huge fight with Valve right now trying to get Half-Life 2 installed from DVD. I really hate Steam. I think I am making progress ?!?!

Gateway 2000 Case and 200-Watt PSU
Intel SE440BX-2 Motherboard
Intel Pentium III 450 CPU
Micron 384MB SDRAM (3x128)
Compaq Voodoo3 3500 TV Graphics Card
Turtle Beach Santa Cruz Sound Card
Western Digital 7200-RPM, 8MB-Cache, 160GB Hard Drive
Windows 98 SE

Reply 8 of 11, by squareguy

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I don't think I can say how I got it installed and working but it is.

Totally CPU bound so resolutions and settings have little to no effect on frame rates. At least what little I have done so far. Just got my suit on.

It is choppy but totally playable! I am impressed.

Quadro 380 XGL / GeForce4 MX 440

1280x1024x (color bpp ? I am guessing 32 but it does not say. No dithering though)
4:3 Aspect Ratio
Full Screen

Model Detail: High
Texture Detail: High
Water Detail: Simple Reflections
Shadow Detail: Low
Antialiasing Mode: None
Filtering Mode: Anisotropic 2x
Shader Detail: High
Wait for vertical sync: Off

Hardware DirectX Level: DirectX v7.0
Software DirectX Level: DirectX v9.0

Gateway 2000 Case and 200-Watt PSU
Intel SE440BX-2 Motherboard
Intel Pentium III 450 CPU
Micron 384MB SDRAM (3x128)
Compaq Voodoo3 3500 TV Graphics Card
Turtle Beach Santa Cruz Sound Card
Western Digital 7200-RPM, 8MB-Cache, 160GB Hard Drive
Windows 98 SE

Reply 9 of 11, by SPBHM

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Half Life 2 was amazing at scaling with lower end GPUs, it was not as forgiving with ram and CPUs (unless you are an Xbox, "p3" 733 + 64MB of memory 😎 )
of course you are missing a lot of visual fidelity by using DX7 (even DX8 affects the water and some other shaders quite a bit, but DX7 affects more obvious things like distance of rendered objects), but the visual style is mostly intact, and still looks quite good at times.

Reply 11 of 11, by RetroBoogie

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vvbee wrote:

It always grabs my eye when people target 2000 or so with hardware and software but then want to run them at modern resolutions.

In a good way or bad way? I've found that sub-native resolutions (since I no longer use CRTs) and frame rates are no longer pleasing to my aging eyes. That, coupled with the ability to max out fidelity in silly ways is that wasn't achievable or affordable for me back then is part of the fun. I find either way fine if the end user is happy.