Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

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Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby Synaps3 » 2019-3-12 @ 12:58

I have just finished my AMD K6 build and I am looking for the best graphics card for it. I know that there are already threads dedicated to this, however, mine is a bit different. I don't want to use a Voodoo or something super high end from that era. I'd rather use a more modern card that is still compatible (for cost reasons).

I am looking at the Geforce FX 5xxx series and the Radeon 8xxx and 9xxx series. I understand that I should look for only double slotted AGP cards. Is that the only physical compatibility aspect?
I've read that the Nvidia drivers for these cards are very unstable on a super socket 7 system. What would you use, Nvidia or ATI?

Here is my system right now:
GA-5AX REV 4.1 motherboard
AMD K6-2 400 OC to 506MHz
768MB RAM
Radeon 7000
CF Card adapter with 16GB
Windows 2000 Pro SP4

The Radeon 7000 I am using now is too slow. However, the drivers are very stable and the res goes all the way up to 1920x1200. Not that I need it that high, but I am impressed. Someone wrote that the nvidia drivers that work with this system are not HD????
Systems:
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ASUS CUV4X-D | 2GB | 2 x PIII Tualatin ~1.5 GHz | Radeon HD 4650
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby dionb » 2019-3-12 @ 15:07

A Radeon 7000 "too slow" with a K6-2 400???

Sounds more like you are bottlenecking on CPU...

If you're convinced it isn't the CPU and want to try a faster GPU, I'd stick to the same drivers you are using now - you could look for a Radeon SDR/DDR or a Radeon 7500. Theoretically a R8500 might also work with same drivers, but the other physical contstraint you have is how much power the AGP slot can deliver. I would be very wary of putting such a big draw into any really early AGP system like this.

But again, I'd expect you to be totally CPU-bottlenecked with a K6-2 and a Radeon 7000. Simple check: see how game benchmarks scale with CPU clocking. If you lose near to 20% dropping from 500MHz to 400MHz, it's your CPU, not the GPU that's the problem.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby Aragorn » 2019-3-12 @ 15:44

One advantage of a fast GPU is it often lets you crank up the resolution and detail settings with little drop in performance on a CPU bottlenecked machine.

So sure, an Athlon or something will improve overall performance, but a Geforce 2 or 3 is still likely to provide a decent boost in performance over a TNT2 or whatever.

As an example:
Celeron 366 https://www.anandtech.com/show/429/10
vs
P3 700 https://www.anandtech.com/show/429/6

At 1600x1200, they're almost identical.

At 1024 the Celeron with the Geforce DDR is still a good bit faster than the slower cards, but the progression between the cards is similar.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby leileilol » 2019-3-12 @ 16:01

Aragorn wrote:One advantage of a fast GPU is it often lets you crank up the resolution and detail settings with little drop in performance on a CPU bottlenecked machine.

The real issue in this case is whether your Super Socket 7 chipset is going to loathe a real AGP card that's not a 3dfx Voodoo Banshee or better (like VIA chipsets). Various PCI problems have caused headaches for relatively modern video hardware on those at least....

Synaps3 wrote:Someone wrote that the nvidia drivers that work with this system are not HD????

Since you've mentioned the FX, I can get 1920x1080x32 with that. :)
by the way, DOSBox is not for running Windows 9x
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2019-3-12 @ 16:08

What are you intending to play on this system? A K6-2 will be quite underpowered for any games made after 1999 or so. For retro systems they're mainly useful for playing DOS games since the clock speed and cache allow them to be slowed down for older games.

If you are having speed issues, I doubt anything beyond a GeForce 2 mx would offer much improvement other than allowing for higher resolutions in games that support it.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby rasz_pl » 2019-3-12 @ 16:18

dionb wrote:Sounds more like you are bottlenecking on CPU...

K6-2 was targeting extreme budget. 1998 wasnt a good year for AMD.
Synaps3 wrote:AMD K6-2 400 OC to 506MHz

is probably around Celeron 333MHz (almost $100 cheaper in 1998) without 3dnow patches, and still slower than 300@450 with them
viewtopic.php?f=46&t=47029

Edit: Tomshardware used to have "Benchmark Marathon: 65 CPUs from 100 MHz to 3066 MHz"
at http://www.tomshardware.com/2003/02/17/ ... index.html moved to https://www.tomshardware.co.uk/benchmar ... w-640.html
sadly this move killed all the image links :(, but if you could see them you would witness celeron 333-400 eating fastest K6-3 available
for example page23.html "OpenGL-Performance: Quake 3 Arena" score was "K6-3 450Mhz @ 49.8fps, Celeron 400 (Mendocino) @ 52.8fps"


Radeon 8500 is the best you can try, still good luck with drivers, agp on ss7, and crashes.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby Aragorn » 2019-3-12 @ 21:17

leileilol wrote:
Aragorn wrote:One advantage of a fast GPU is it often lets you crank up the resolution and detail settings with little drop in performance on a CPU bottlenecked machine.

The real issue in this case is whether your Super Socket 7 chipset is going to loathe a real AGP card that's not a 3dfx Voodoo Banshee or better (like VIA chipsets). Various PCI problems have caused headaches for relatively modern video hardware on those at least....


Yeh perhaps. Back in the day i had a K6-3 450, and upgraded from a TNT of some description to a Geforce DDR which i got for christmas '99. Was a massive step up and it worked well enough. I dont recall what chipset i had though, but it was probably an Apollo MVP3.

I do remember switching from Windows 98 to an RTM build of Windows 2000 at the earliest opportunity though, which looking at the dates will have been around the same time. Win2k was massively more stable, but had pretty serious performance degradation, which was eventually solved with improved drivers.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby bakemono » 2019-3-12 @ 21:25

Never tried Win2k on a socket 7 board (except for a Toshiba Pentium-MMX laptop) but I did run a Radeon 9200 AGP under Win98 on an MVP3 board. At the time, the newest driver I found would crash so I had to go back a version and then it worked fine. It looks like it was Catalyst 6.2 that worked.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby swaaye » 2019-3-12 @ 21:34

You want Glide support for a system like this. The CPU overhead is lower. It will improve performance overall. Voodoo3 was the way to go.

By the way, the K6Plus forum was home to many people sticking to K6 CPUs long past their time. Lots of info there.
http://www.k6plus.com/phpBB3/index.php

If not a Voodoo, I'd probably consider a GeForce 4 MX. Excellent game compatibility, lower power usage, nice image quality, decent DOS support. ATI not so much.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby Synaps3 » 2019-3-12 @ 22:04

rasz_pl wrote:
"OpenGL-Performance: Quake 3 Arena" score was "K6-3 450Mhz @ 49.8fps, Celeron 400 (Mendocino) @ 52.8fps"


Radeon 8500 is the best you can try, still good luck with drivers, agp on ss7, and crashes.


Maybe there is something wrong with the driver? With the Radeon 7000 I am only getting like 10 fps in Quake 3 at 800x600. It should be able to run this, right?

I got an FX5600 because it was super cheap, but I think I'll get the 8500 as a fall back.

Ozzuneoj wrote:What are you intending to play on this system? A K6-2 will be quite underpowered for any games made after 1999 or so. For retro systems they're mainly useful for playing DOS games since the clock speed and cache allow them to be slowed down for older games.

If you are having speed issues, I doubt anything beyond a GeForce 2 mx would offer much improvement other than allowing for higher resolutions in games that support it.


Games? Half-Life 1, Quake 3, Arx Fatalis. With it barely handling quake, I think there is something wrong. I reduced the texture resolution and maybe getting about 15fps. The FPS(s) are just a guess, but it's slow enough to be unplayable.

I also plan on doing some game-dev on it. I've got it running AGS and PureBasic and they seem to run decently. Very happy to know those things don't force SSE, so they work just fine. I noticed that I had to change the AGS renderer to software because it would crash with either DirectX or OpenGL, however, other stuff does run in DX or GL, just slower than expected. This is further indication that there might be a problem.

bakemono wrote:It looks like it was Catalyst 6.2 that worked.

I'll look for that. Thanks!
Systems:
BOARD | RAM | CPU | GPU
ASUS CUV4X-D | 2GB | 2 x PIII Tualatin ~1.5 GHz | Radeon HD 4650
DELL DIMENSION XPS 466V | 64MB | AMD 5x86 133MHz | Number Nine Ticket to Ride
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby Synaps3 » 2019-3-12 @ 22:15

forgot to ask...
Is it bad to install DirectX 9.0c on a system that doesn't support it? I updated to the latest DirectX for win 2k.
Systems:
BOARD | RAM | CPU | GPU
ASUS CUV4X-D | 2GB | 2 x PIII Tualatin ~1.5 GHz | Radeon HD 4650
DELL DIMENSION XPS 466V | 64MB | AMD 5x86 133MHz | Number Nine Ticket to Ride
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby Synaps3 » 2019-3-12 @ 22:50

Just tried the 6.2 drivers. Now it just crashes.
Systems:
BOARD | RAM | CPU | GPU
ASUS CUV4X-D | 2GB | 2 x PIII Tualatin ~1.5 GHz | Radeon HD 4650
DELL DIMENSION XPS 466V | 64MB | AMD 5x86 133MHz | Number Nine Ticket to Ride
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby rasz_pl » 2019-3-12 @ 23:19

Synaps3 wrote:
rasz_pl wrote:"OpenGL-Performance: Quake 3 Arena" score was "K6-3 450Mhz @ 49.8fps, Celeron 400 (Mendocino) @ 52.8fps"
Radeon 8500 is the best you can try, still good luck with drivers, agp on ss7, and crashes.

Maybe there is something wrong with the driver? With the Radeon 7000 I am only getting like 10 fps in Quake 3 at 800x600. It should be able to run this, right?


Tomshardware: "For clarification: to ensure that the CPU (or platform) is the dominant influence on the overall performance, we fitted all systems with an ATI Radeon 9700 Pro AGP display adapter and 512 MB of RAM. The Socket 7 system based on the VIA-MVP3 chipset was the only exception to this - here we used a GeForce 4 Ti 4600 at 3.3 V due to the lack of AGP compatibility. Because the CPU performance is weak, the fast graphics card does not really affect the results."

Synaps3 wrote:I got an FX5600 because it was super cheap, but I think I'll get the 8500 as a fall back.

maybe try the FX first? ATI might give you more trouble due to agp.

Synaps3 wrote:Games? Half-Life 1, Quake 3, Arx Fatalis. With it barely handling quake, I think there is something wrong. I reduced the texture resolution and maybe getting about 15fps. The FPS(s) are just a guess, but it's slow enough to be unplayable.


Windows 2000 is definitely not helping with performance
Radeon 7000 is a rebranded Radeon VE, slower than even gf2mx, lacks T&L, still with fast cpu it can do 100fps in q3 (640x480x16)
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby swaaye » 2019-3-13 @ 03:10

GeForce FX cards hit the CPU harder than older GeForce cards. A forum member ran tests showing that years ago. Not good for a K6.

And newer drivers can cause problems too with systems/games. Get something old from 2000-2001. If a GeForce FX, get 45.23 or 43.45 since they are about the oldest compatible drivers.

But it is quite possible that GeForce and Radeon cards will not be stable regardless of what you do.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby oohms » 2019-3-13 @ 05:52

It's a very mismatched system.. is there a reason for the specs being what they are?

Windows 2000 is very much not a gaming OS, 768mb of ram is overkill, radeon cards of that era are only going to cause you grief

A geforce 2 mx is more than enough for it, consider dropping to 512mb ram if you want to put windows 98 on it
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby elianda » 2019-3-13 @ 11:05

I have a K6-2+ 600 MHy system and decided on a Quadro2 Pro with Voodoo2 SLI.

Actually a GF2 MX400 is already completely CPU bound, however the Quadro2 Pro offers DVI as output which goes well with modern TFTs.

I use Win98SE with the NVidia 12.90 driver and the latest ALi AGP driver as the mainboard is a ASUS P5A.

As already mentioned the most important point on SS7 with AGP is to find a combination/setting where it runs stable. Otherwise just stick to a PCI graphis card, there won't be much of a performance hit.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby LunarG » 2019-3-13 @ 12:29

I'm running a K6-3+ which is significantly faster than a K6-2, and even then, my Matrox Millennium G400 MAX is being bottlenecked by the CPU. For most 3D games, I use Voodoo 2 and GLide, since it has very good 3DNow! optimisations. So why you'd need something super fast for a K6-2, I don't really understand. It seems like a waste of money.
WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
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DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, ELSA Winner 1000PRO, GUS 1MB, SB16.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby swaaye » 2019-3-13 @ 18:12

Yeah I think G400 Max keeps scaling up to about a P3 1000. Might be CPU overhead there too. G400 has the interesting option to use TurboGL, their miniGL which has SSE and 3DNow optimization. Good for Quake games but I think it's not exactly focused on rendering accuracy (more speed).

G400 doesn't always get along with Super 7 boards though.

Old GeForce/Quadro + Voodoo2 is a nice combo. Just have to hope the GeForce likes your motherboard.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby LunarG » 2019-3-13 @ 18:32

swaaye wrote:Yeah I think G400 Max keeps scaling up to about a P3 1000. Might be CPU overhead there too. G400 has the interesting option to use TurboGL, their miniGL which has SSE and 3DNow optimization. Good for Quake games but I think it's not exactly focused on rendering accuracy (more speed).

G400 doesn't always get along with Super 7 boards though.

Old GeForce/Quadro + Voodoo2 is a nice combo. Just have to hope the GeForce likes your motherboard.


Yes, the G400 MAX performs MUCH better in my P3 1400 than it does in my K6. Never had any issues with in on the super 7 board though. My board is the AOpen AX59 Pro. It's always seemed like a very solid board to me.
WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, Waveforce 192XG.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby Synaps3 » 2019-3-13 @ 18:37

swaaye wrote:GeForce FX cards hit the CPU harder than older GeForce cards. A forum member ran tests showing that years ago. Not good for a K6.

And newer drivers can cause problems too with systems/games. Get something old from 2000-2001. If a GeForce FX, get 45.23 or 43.45 since they are about the oldest compatible drivers.

But it is quite possible that GeForce and Radeon cards will not be stable regardless of what you do.


Thanks. I'll remember about that driver.

elianda wrote:Otherwise just stick to a PCI graphis card, there won't be much of a performance hit.


Yeah, I may end up trying that if this doesn't work. Something I found is that the Radeon 7000 runs OK as long as the ALi AGP is not installed. Maybe it's running in PCI mode or something. It's kind of slow, but it seems to be the only way that it is stable using this card.

oohms wrote:It's a very mismatched system.. is there a reason for the specs being what they are?

Windows 2000 is very much not a gaming OS, 768mb of ram is overkill, radeon cards of that era are only going to cause you grief

A geforce 2 mx is more than enough for it, consider dropping to 512mb ram if you want to put windows 98 on it


Yeah, it's what I had left over in a drawer. The only thing I bought was the mobo (GA-5AX). Why 768mb? I keep a lot of my games compressed in 7-zip and so I'm using that extra memory to uncompress. I have over a GB of PC133 RAM, so it was just easy to put more in. I understand it may work better with 256mb and I will try it at some point when I get the graphics working. If I ever upgrade to a K6-3 (has built in cache), then the RAM size doesn't need to be lower to cache it anymore, right?

I also just love pushing the limit of old hardware. Along with the gaming, it's another fun part of the process for me. Everyone uses voodoo, so I thought a newer card would be interesting to try and it wasn't any more expensive than a good voodoo (actually cheaper) even though it's newer.
Systems:
BOARD | RAM | CPU | GPU
ASUS CUV4X-D | 2GB | 2 x PIII Tualatin ~1.5 GHz | Radeon HD 4650
DELL DIMENSION XPS 466V | 64MB | AMD 5x86 133MHz | Number Nine Ticket to Ride
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