GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

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

GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby mattrock1988 » 2019-5-20 @ 20:10

So I'm currently rocking a GeForce4 Ti 4600 (made by Leadtek under the WinFast brand) on the AGP bus. I do love this GPU, but the DVI out on the card is a bit... buggy. Games using standard VGA modes like Sierra adventure games from the early 90s (think Space Quest V) have extremely slow scrolling and redraw on the display. Also, on games like Dark Forces, I get additional artifacting in the status bar of my HUD. However, all of these problems virtually vanish when I use the VGA port. I'm ok with the VGA port for now, but when I get another flat panel display for this thing, I'd rather have bug-free DVI to work with.

I understand that in many ways, the GeForce FX series is considered a step back from the GeForce4 in terms of raw horsepower. However, since my intention is not to run games made past the year 2001 on my machine, I'm mostly unconcerned with splitting hairs on this point. I hear the GeForce FX cards do generally have very crisp images and still support all the modes that were slowly dropped from newer generations of GeForce cards, such as palettized textures and fog table. I'm thinking of setting my eye on the GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra) model as a possible replacement for several reasons...

1. The Ultra versions of these cards tend to use ridiculously loud fans and inefficient cooling solutions.
2. I need a card that only takes up one slot in my machine. I'm constrained on space and can't afford to sacrifice additional slots.
3. The FX isn't considered so new as to feel out of place in a Pentium III system. Not precisely period correct, but not overkill either.
4. I need something that's still a great card for use in both DOS and Windows 9x.

Is this a reasonable route to take? I'm up for suggestions if anyone has any outside of my initial thoughts. I'm also looking for one still new in the box if humanly possible. Not sure if that's even an unreasonable expectation, since I'm not the biggest fan of buying something used with a history that's unknown to me.
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby appiah4 » 2019-5-20 @ 20:29

GeForce FX is not considered a step back from GeForce4, it is nothing of the kind. The FX5900 beats the 4600 handily. It's just considered absolutely shitty compared to its contemporary ATI counterparts (9700 and 9800 Series) for DX9 games. For DX8 and earlier GeForceFX is better than GeForce4, and GeForce3 is better than both (more compatible but slower obviously).
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby SPBHM » 2019-5-20 @ 20:32

the only cases I can see FX being slower is if for example you run a game in SM 2.0 mode vs 1.1...
or if you are comparing lower models, like 5200 vs 4 Ti...

as for DVI, I think there are some threads here about it, and it's far from ideal for DOS even with the FX.
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby mattrock1988 » 2019-5-20 @ 20:36

appiah4 wrote:GeForce FX is not considered a step back from GeForce4, it is nothing of the kind. The FX5900 beats the 4600 handily. It's just considered absolutely shitty compared to its contemporary ATI counterparts (9700 and 9800 Series) for DX9 games. For DX8 and earlier GeForceFX is better than GeForce4, and GeForce3 is better than both (more compatible but slower obviously).


Well this is quite encouraging to hear. I'll set my sights on an GeForce FX 5900 and hope for the best.


spbhm wrote:the only cases I can see FX being slower is if for example you run a game in SM 2.0 mode vs 1.1...
or if you are comparing lower models, like 5200 vs 4 Ti...

as for DVI, I think there are some threads here about it, and it's far from ideal for DOS even with the FX.


Hmm, interesting point on the DVI. Was it just badly implemented in general or something? I had decent success with a GeForce FX 5200 PCI model several years ago with DOS games over DVI, so idk.
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby RaverX » 2019-5-20 @ 21:17

I had back in the time Ti4600, upgraded to 5900XT (a slighty slower version of 5900), it was quite faster (compared to Ti4600).
5900XT were quite common, you should find them now and they are probably cheaper than 5900, you might also consider one of those.

Anyway, I think you should get an older PC for those games, playing a DOS game from 1993 with a Ti4600 (or FX5900) is not quite the greatest "retro experience", you might as well play it in a modern system under DOSBox (if you play want to play it on a modern monitor - LCD with DVI). I understand that you might not care much for "period correct" and that you want a system that can play a wide range of games, but there are some limits.

You say that you target games older than 2001, thats one more reason to get an older videocard, instead a newer one. If you want DVI, there are Geforce DDR cards, but they are quite rare and expensive. Another option would be GF2 Ultra, also rare and expensive. But GF3 Ti200 should be much more common and cheaper, why not try one of those?
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby SPBHM » 2019-5-20 @ 21:38

RaverX wrote:I had back in the time Ti4600, upgraded to 5900XT (a slighty slower version of 5900), it was quite faster (compared to Ti4600).
5900XT were quite common, you should find them now and they are probably cheaper than 5900, you might also consider one of those.

Anyway, I think you should get an older PC for those games, playing a DOS game from 1993 with a Ti4600 (or FX5900) is not quite the greatest "retro experience", you might as well play it in a modern system under DOSBox (if you play want to play it on a modern monitor - LCD with DVI). I understand that you might not care much for "period correct" and that you want a system that can play a wide range of games, but there are some limits.

You say that you target games older than 2001, thats one more reason to get an older videocard, instead a newer one. If you want DVI, there are Geforce DDR cards, but they are quite rare and expensive. Another option would be GF2 Ultra, also rare and expensive. But GF3 Ti200 should be much more common and cheaper, why not try one of those?


we are in 2019, I find running hardware from 2003 and older software to be a retro experience, and if you have hardware that just works with windows9x and DOS it's more authentic than dosbox,
2001 to FX is just 2 years...
I was playing recently NOLF (2000) with my FX 5900SE and it kinds of struggles (mostly decent, but had drops under 30FPS) with the game at 1280x960 max settings AA2x (but even without AA it can't lock to 60FPS), or maybe it's the 3GHz P4 :dead:

if the FX is not authentic or retro enough for DOS gaming, I really don't see any Geforce being, NV10 is 1999, NV 35 2003... in 2003 hardware still supported windows 9x and had consideration for DOS resolutions, perhaps FX is the last proper series for 9x/DOS, but it still is I think.
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby mattrock1988 » 2019-5-21 @ 20:36

SPBHM wrote:
RaverX wrote:I had back in the time Ti4600, upgraded to 5900XT (a slighty slower version of 5900), it was quite faster (compared to Ti4600).
5900XT were quite common, you should find them now and they are probably cheaper than 5900, you might also consider one of those.

Anyway, I think you should get an older PC for those games, playing a DOS game from 1993 with a Ti4600 (or FX5900) is not quite the greatest "retro experience", you might as well play it in a modern system under DOSBox (if you play want to play it on a modern monitor - LCD with DVI). I understand that you might not care much for "period correct" and that you want a system that can play a wide range of games, but there are some limits.

You say that you target games older than 2001, thats one more reason to get an older videocard, instead a newer one. If you want DVI, there are Geforce DDR cards, but they are quite rare and expensive. Another option would be GF2 Ultra, also rare and expensive. But GF3 Ti200 should be much more common and cheaper, why not try one of those?


we are in 2019, I find running hardware from 2003 and older software to be a retro experience, and if you have hardware that just works with windows9x and DOS it's more authentic than dosbox,
2001 to FX is just 2 years...
I was playing recently NOLF (2000) with my FX 5900SE and it kinds of struggles (mostly decent, but had drops under 30FPS) with the game at 1280x960 max settings AA2x (but even without AA it can't lock to 60FPS), or maybe it's the 3GHz P4 :dead:

if the FX is not authentic or retro enough for DOS gaming, I really don't see any Geforce being, NV10 is 1999, NV 35 2003... in 2003 hardware still supported windows 9x and had consideration for DOS resolutions, perhaps FX is the last proper series for 9x/DOS, but it still is I think.


Good points all around. Honestly, the GeForce FX series strikes me more as a Pentium 4 / AMD Athlon 64 era card anyway, but the fact that it does have great DOS compatibility still leaves it as a contender for consideration.
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby mothergoose729 » 2019-5-21 @ 20:49

FX cards support 8 bit textures and table fog, and are widely considered ideal for windows 98. I don't have any experience with DVI, but my Quadro FX card has performed admirably so far.
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby kolderman » 2019-5-21 @ 20:54

In my experience Ti4600 die so often it's really not funny. They are worse than Radeon 9700/9800 in my experience. OTOH I have never EVER seen any FX card die...I once had a FX5900U shipped from overseas...in a plastic satchel with no padding...it had a rough time, the PCI bracket was bent as were some heatsink fins...but it's still going strong years later. I would never ever buy another Ti4600 even NIB, but I usually bid on FX5900s if I see them going cheap.
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby RaverX » 2019-5-21 @ 21:06

SPBHM: In my opinion it's all about being period correct and trying to recreate the "back then" feeling. Of course that nobody stops you or anyone else to make a system the way they want and play whatever they want on that system.

You can play Wolf3d on Pentium4 Extreme Edition with 6800 Ultra. It's clearly a retro system now. But is it the system for wolf3d? I don't think so. Or you can play it on a Pentium II and i740. Is it the "proper system" for Wolf3d? Of course not, but (in my opinion) it's a much better choice to a "proper system". Now you might ask, what's the proper system? Well, there's not a perfect answer, but something like 386DX with a TSENG ET4000 ISA video card is very close.

mattrock1988: I am only trying to point out that you are trying to run something that's so much older than the hardware that it almost doesn't matter anymore on what hardware you run it, you might as well emulate it. Since you play it on a LCD monitor with DVI it really doesn't matter so much, also the rest of the system is way newer than the game. Just go with the card that you like, if Geforce FX doesn't have problems with the game on DVI go for it.
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby BushLin » 2019-5-21 @ 23:36

The only difference I could find between VGA and DVI in DOS on an FX5900 is a delay on resolution change with DVI. Since the picture was perfect with VGA I just used that.
Screw period correct, I wanted a faster system back then. I choose no dropped frames, super fast loading, fully compatible and quiet operation.
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby oeuvre » 2019-5-22 @ 12:41

everything is perfect with VGA
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby Iris030380 » 2019-6-08 @ 11:03

A standard 5900 is very similar in performance to a Ti4600 in DirectX 8 and OpenGL titles if I remember. The only time the 5900 will grow more legs would be with AA applied. The FX5900 Ultras are a bit faster but still not a huge gap. DirectX 9 would be an entirely different story though.

Games like Dungeon Siege work almost identically on the 5900 / Ti4600, which would be a very period correct game. But shortly after there was FarCry and Doom 3, not to mention HalfLife 2 and other early DX9 titles, which made the Ti4600 look like an older gen card when really it was still a beast, as long as you avoided DX9.

And sure, people slated the FX5800 for being slaughtered by the 9700Pro, and sure Nvidia cheated like crazy on their drivers to artificially close that gap, but the later revisions of the 5900's and 5700's FX cards were much more capable in DX9 and I think the 5950Ultra actually beats the 9800Pro (maybe not the XT though) across the board, DX8 and DX9.
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2019-6-08 @ 16:44

later revisions of the 5900's and 5700's FX cards were much more capable in DX9

They didn't.

which made the Ti4600 look like an older gen card when really it was still a beast, as long as you avoided DX9.

There are plenty of DX8 games which GF4 Ti can't handle well due to heavy shader usage.

I think the 5950Ultra actually beats the 9800Pro (maybe not the XT though) across the board, DX8 and DX9.

Nonsense.
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby SPBHM » 2019-6-09 @ 03:22

Iris030380 wrote:A standard 5900 is very similar in performance to a Ti4600 in DirectX 8 and OpenGL titles if I remember. The only time the 5900 will grow more legs would be with AA applied. The FX5900 Ultras are a bit faster but still not a huge gap. DirectX 9 would be an entirely different story though.

Games like Dungeon Siege work almost identically on the 5900 / Ti4600, which would be a very period correct game. But shortly after there was FarCry and Doom 3, not to mention HalfLife 2 and other early DX9 titles, which made the Ti4600 look like an older gen card when really it was still a beast, as long as you avoided DX9.

And sure, people slated the FX5800 for being slaughtered by the 9700Pro, and sure Nvidia cheated like crazy on their drivers to artificially close that gap, but the later revisions of the 5900's and 5700's FX cards were much more capable in DX9 and I think the 5950Ultra actually beats the 9800Pro (maybe not the XT though) across the board, DX8 and DX9.


Half Life 2 by default runs in DX8 mode on Geforce FX (even 5950) because it's very slow at shader 2.0, so it's exactly the same as a TI 4600 but faster...
even a radeon 9600PRO is way better than the 5950U at HL2 DX9.

also, standard FX 5900 offers the same number of pipelines but higher clocks, an extra vertex shader unit and double the memory bit rate, it should always be a little faster than the ti 4600, even the 5900SE should.
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby appiah4 » 2019-6-10 @ 07:42

Iris030380 wrote:And sure, people slated the FX5800 for being slaughtered by the 9700Pro, and sure Nvidia cheated like crazy on their drivers to artificially close that gap, but the later revisions of the 5900's and 5700's FX cards were much more capable in DX9 and I think the 5950Ultra actually beats the 9800Pro (maybe not the XT though) across the board, DX8 and DX9.


That's some totally weird revisionist history shit there bro.
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby swaaye » 2019-6-10 @ 17:22

I have a nice video of how great the 5950 Ultra runs Half Life 2 in DirectX 9 mode.
https://youtu.be/KwUxxLzu-uk?t=67

I think a Radeon 9550 might be faster. :)

The FX series is hopeless at Shader Model 2 for a variety of reasons. It would be interesting to pick the brains of a NV engineer to understand how that came to be. It seems they just had their own plans for programmable floating point shading and weren't interested in building a chip just like ATI's R300. R300 has its limitations even if it looks great running an API designed exactly for it. NV didn't build a good chip for SM2 until GF6 (and GF6 is quite a bit more interesting than R4xx stuff).
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby BushLin » 2019-6-10 @ 19:23

appiah4 wrote:
Iris030380 wrote:And sure, people slated the FX5800 for being slaughtered by the 9700Pro, and sure Nvidia cheated like crazy on their drivers to artificially close that gap, but the later revisions of the 5900's and 5700's FX cards were much more capable in DX9 and I think the 5950Ultra actually beats the 9800Pro (maybe not the XT though) across the board, DX8 and DX9.


That's some totally weird revisionist history shit there bro.


I'm not sure it is, that's coming from someone who has only bought Nvidia GPUs for quite some time. Somewhere around 2004 the Geforce drivers suffered, trying to cheat benchmark results and lowering image quality; it's one of the reasons people swear by the 45.23 Win98 drivers.
The reason I don't care now is that the DX8 (and below) performance and compatibility of 2003 and prior Nvidia GPUs is still the best for Win98 and if you want DX9 then you can run XP with GPUs all the way to the GTX 960 with better HDTV compatibility and superior HDMI and sound output.
Screw period correct, I wanted a faster system back then. I choose no dropped frames, super fast loading, fully compatible and quiet operation.
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby swaaye » 2019-6-11 @ 00:19

The 4x.xx drivers do have some cheats. They were cheating with 3DMark 03 and were caught for example. If you go newer though you can run into problems with some older games.

The driver optimizations aren't all bad. I mean they were optimizing for new hardware after all. The drivers have a shader compiler and that was being worked on for ex. However with some Shader Model 2 games there are some instances that NV replaced shader code and reduced its complexity so the FX cards could render them at a reasonable rate. I remember seeing Aquanox 2 screens with visible simplications. But would you even notice without side by side comparison? It's questionable really. But yeah it's best to just avoid SM2 games on those cards. The hardware is simply not any good at SM2.

Doom 3 is an interesting one to run on FX cards. The game is quite a good example of how to get the most from them. Less math more texturing tricks. And NV has the higher stencil performance just for that sort of rendering. ATI has problems such as their hierarchical Z failing to work with the rendering due to an oversight in the functionality there so their efficiency goes down.
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Re: GeForce4 Ti 4600 vs GeForce FX 5900 (non-Ultra)

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2019-6-11 @ 03:03

They were cheating with 3DMark 03 and were caught for example.

They were also cheating with 3DMark2001 Nature test, significantly simplifying vertex shader used on trees and grass - http://ixbtlabs.com/articles2/antidetect/index.html
With Forceware 56.64 (default driver used in Windows XP SP3) GeForce 5900 performance in Nature test is on par with Radeon X800 Pro.
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