Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

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

Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby retro games 100 » 2018-11-28 @ 08:56

I am looking through my old PC components, and I came across this graphics / video card, and wondered what it was! (I seem to have forgotten.) Any thoughts please? Thanks a lot!
number nine back--33m.JPG
number 9 front--33m.JPG
Last edited by retro games 100 on 2018-11-29 @ 09:21, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby dionb » 2018-11-28 @ 09:24

It's a Number Nine-made S3 928 card, the original GXE by the look of it.

Number Nine was one of the better-known high-end card manufacturers in the early to mid 1990s, generally using S3 chipsets on their mid/low-end stuff and their own Imagine 128 / Ticket to Ride chips on the high-end. Unfortunately they priced themselves out of the market and missed the 3D boat. I have one of their last cards, the SR9 with S3 Savage4 Extreme chip.

And the chipset here? Bog-standard S3 928, so good compatibility and VRAM support for theoretically higher performance than the DRAM-based 8xx series. It looks like it has 2MB of VRAM (and 512k DRAM...). In 1993 this was an upper mid-range card, which you probably wanted if you did a lot of Windows or Unix desktop work and needed higher resolutions.

Edit:
Hang on, just did a search for this and found... a topic here on Vogons about it, opened by you in 2011 :P
viewtopic.php?t=27338
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Re: Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby kixs » 2018-11-28 @ 09:26

It's an ISA S3 928 VRAM card that also has Windows acceleration. It's good for Windows and average in DOS by performance.
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Re: Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby retro games 100 » 2018-11-28 @ 14:34

Thanks a lot!
I really like the design on the back. It's so classy! What a shame they disappeared. An end of an era...
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Re: Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby feipoa » 2018-11-28 @ 19:09

Why doesn't the chipset show S3 on it? Was S3 called something else back then? I couldn't find the datasheet. How do you know it has 2 MB of memory?
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Re: Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby SW-SSG » 2018-11-28 @ 19:35

feipoa wrote:Why doesn't the chipset show S3 on it? ...

But it does, doesn't it? That's S3's old logo. You can see the "3".

That's some pretty distinctive silkscreening on the back of that card...
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Re: Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby jamesp15 » 2018-11-28 @ 19:54

That is the original (or one of the first) S3 logos on it, the 3 wavy lines followed by a 3.
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Re: Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby Scali » 2018-11-28 @ 20:11

Video cards named after Beatles' songs, video chips named after Porsches. Those were the days.
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Re: Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby feipoa » 2018-11-28 @ 20:14

Ahhh, I see it now. I've never owned an S3-based card with this logo, so my mind couldn't discern the more artistic "S3".
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Re: Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby dionb » 2018-11-28 @ 22:26

feipoa wrote:[...]

I couldn't find the datasheet. How do you know it has 2 MB of memory?

Look at the chips. The pics are good enough to read the markings. 256kB VRAM. 256kB x 8 = 2MB
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Re: Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby feipoa » 2018-11-28 @ 23:31

This is what I see:

E1 and E2
2x KM416C256J-7

and

U10 thru U17
8x MT42C8254DJ-7

You are saying that U10 thru U17 are 256Kbyte each? And if so, how do you know this?
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Re: Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby dionb » 2018-11-28 @ 23:56

feipoa wrote:This is what I see:

E1 and E2
2x KM416C256J-7

That's the 2x 256kB DRAM. Not sure what this is actually for...
and

U10 thru U17
8x MT42C8254DJ-7

You are saying that U10 thru U17 are 256Kbyte each? And if so, how do you know this?

Well, intuition - and of course googling "MT42C8254DJ-7"
Manufacturer Part Number MT42C8254DJ-7; Description Video DRAM, 256KX8, 70ns, CMOS, PDSO40, 0.400 INCH, PLASTIC

256KX8 = 2Mb / 256kB
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Re: Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby feipoa » 2018-11-29 @ 00:18

So you weren't able to find a PDF datasheet? Because my first thought was 256Kx4. But if it is 256Kx8, then that's a good amount of DRAM for an old ISA card.
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Re: Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby leileilol » 2018-11-29 @ 01:11

jamesp15 wrote:the 3 wavy lines followed by a 3.


You sure it's not 3 slugs in pursuit of a 3?
Voodoo2s aren't 100mhz stock
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DOS gaming isn't a bilinear 320x200 16:10
DOS PCs aren't better than the Macintosh
DOSBox is not for running Windows 9x
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Re: Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2018-11-29 @ 01:28

Man, that's a cool looking card. I love the neat screen printing on old cards like that and Number Nine were some of the best. I've been wanting to start a thread dedicated to unique screen printing on older cards...
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Re: Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby dionb » 2018-11-29 @ 10:33

feipoa wrote:So you weren't able to find a PDF datasheet? Because my first thought was 256Kx4.

Not seen any datasheets for this particular chip, buf found lots for MT42C425xx-xx chips. They are definitely 256kx4 chips, so I'm pretty confident that an MT42C825xx-xx chip is going to be 256kx8, all the more so given that it's advertised as such.
But if it is 256Kx8, then that's a good amount of DRAM for an old ISA card.

Yes, these would have been very nice cards to have in 1993. 1152x864@16b colour was a lot better than I could do back then. Apparently there was even a 4MB version.
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Re: Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby oeuvre » 2018-11-29 @ 14:13

Admittedly, #9 made some really cool lookin' cards
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Re: Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby vlask » 2018-11-29 @ 23:12

oeuvre wrote:Admittedly, #9 made some really cool lookin' cards

Yep, so sad they haven't found followers. Now its only about coolers....

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Re: Your thoughts on this "Number Nine" 16-bit ISA graphics card please?

Postby blurks » 2018-11-29 @ 23:47

They even cared about the projection distortion of the USA contour line. Probably the reason why they failed in the end. They went the extra mile that nobody asked for.
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