VOGONS


First post, by BSA Starfire

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Hi all,

I have had this build for many years and have just recently brought it out of storage and into regular use again, one of the things I'm using it for is watching old Video-CD movies with the excellent subhash VCD player 2.4. Now I'm wondering what games of the era would run on this system, what will be playable with such a low end 3D chipset and perhaps show it off to best advantage too?
The SiS 6326(rev c3) is built onto the motherboard and has it's own 4MB of SGRAM @65 MHz(according to a recent build of HWINFO) and is connected via the AGP bus 2x, the board has no external available AGP port/slot.
so the spec's are as follows:

Cyrix MII 333(75MHz x 3.5=262.5MHz).
Motherboard ECS P5SD-AS, SIS 5591-5595 chipset.
128 MB SD RAM(2x 64MB PC100).
ESS 1869 audio(on motherboard).
10 GB Maxtor Hard disk.
DVD ROM reader.
3.5' Floppy drive.
3COM etherlink III ISA network card.
Windows ME.

I'm not interested in upgrading this machine significantly, I have other machines more capable, of a similar-ish era I could use(Celeron 466 3DFX Banshee, Duron 650 Nvidia TNT,PIII 933 3DFX voodoo3) more interested in what this machine might be capable of(or not!) in the way of games.
One thing I do have is a discrete PCI 6326 card, also 4MB but I'm pretty sure it's a later revision although that is supposition right now. But reading the excellent vintage3D https://vintage3d.org/sis.php review it seems that the revision on my motherboard is not the optimal choice of 6326 chips and later revisions fix lots of bugs. Also the same review mentions that the SGRAM equipped 6326 although having low default clock is capable of great overclock speeds, so perhaps I would be better to overclock what I have on the board rather than go for the later(perhaps?) discrete card? I assume powerstrip would be the tool for this, if so what version should I be looking for?
So, to sum up, what games do you think this machine can run OK and show off the 6326?
Should I stick with the on-board chip or try the discrete card?
Best driver version?
Attempt overclock on the onboard SGRAM?
Another thing I'm toying with is trying out properly the Cirrus Logic Laguna 3D 5434 PCI card I have also had for years, with only 2MB RDRAM and after reading the again fascinating vintage3D review I don't have many expectations of it doing very much, but should be interesting to see!

Anyhow, thanks for any thoughts or input!

286 20MHz,1MB RAM,Trident 8900B 1MB, Conner CFA-170A.SB 1350B
386SX 33MHz,ULSI 387,4MB Ram,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A, MS WSS audio
Amstrad PC 9486i, DX/2 66, 16 MB RAM, Cirrus SVGA,Win 95,SB 16
Cyrix MII 333,128MB,SiS 6326 H0 rev,ESS 1869,Win ME

Reply 1 of 29, by BSA Starfire

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This is the 6326 card I have as an alternative to the on motherboard one.

286 20MHz,1MB RAM,Trident 8900B 1MB, Conner CFA-170A.SB 1350B
386SX 33MHz,ULSI 387,4MB Ram,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A, MS WSS audio
Amstrad PC 9486i, DX/2 66, 16 MB RAM, Cirrus SVGA,Win 95,SB 16
Cyrix MII 333,128MB,SiS 6326 H0 rev,ESS 1869,Win ME

Reply 2 of 29, by synrgy87

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Mid to late era DOS games should run fine, although i'd run windows 98se over windows me, less headaches for DOS and 95 era stuff, I'm not sure how capable the CPU is as I've not ran a Cyrix MII before but Quake/DOOM 1&2, Duke3D, Tomb Raider, GTA/GTA London, Network Q RAC Rally, Crusader No Remorse/Regret, C&C / Red Alert, Z, X-wing/Tie Fighter, Rebel Assault 1&2, Dark Forces, Shadow Warrior, Blood, Rise of the Triad.

Throwing a Voodoo 1 4MB in there would give a lot better 3D hardware support for the machine for things like Carmageddon, Tomb Raider, Screamer Rally games,

Driver might run on it, Diablo, basically test em out n see pick things you like.

Reply 3 of 29, by BSA Starfire

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Ok, a few observations, driver version 1.28 seems to have less issues with features and speed than the last available driver 1.32. Daytona USA runs fine on the 1.28 driver but has corrupted sky and other problems on 1.32, ziff Davis 3D Winbench '98 also runs better with fewer anomalies on the older driver, but flickering textures and unreadable HUD text is still present, but things are much faster and show far less problems that's for sure. I wonder if the older drivers are more suited to the earlier revision of the core I'm using currently and later driver is optimized more for the later cores?
Unreal Gold runs and displays OK apart from HUD issues and then menu being blank boxes, but actual graphics seems to be fine if too slow to make a playable game, but this is as expected, pretty good for a budget card though on a MII.
Final Reality also runs better on the 1.28 drivers, visually all is well on both but under 1.32 the sound broke up and even stopped this is not a problem with the 1.28 until the final city scene, but nowhere near as severe. Difference in score between driver versions 1.86 Reality marks on driver 1.32, 2.04 on driver 1.28.

286 20MHz,1MB RAM,Trident 8900B 1MB, Conner CFA-170A.SB 1350B
386SX 33MHz,ULSI 387,4MB Ram,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A, MS WSS audio
Amstrad PC 9486i, DX/2 66, 16 MB RAM, Cirrus SVGA,Win 95,SB 16
Cyrix MII 333,128MB,SiS 6326 H0 rev,ESS 1869,Win ME

Reply 4 of 29, by BinaryDemon

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Discrete will trump onboard. I’d recommend Jedi Knight Dark Forces , fun game that runs great on just about anything that can run Win9x.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 5 of 29, by BSA Starfire

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BinaryDemon wrote on 2020-05-09, 14:46:

Discrete will trump onboard. I’d recommend Jedi Knight Dark Forces , fun game that runs great on just about anything that can run Win9x.

Are we sure in this case as the on board has it's own dedicated SGRAM and is connected via AGP.

286 20MHz,1MB RAM,Trident 8900B 1MB, Conner CFA-170A.SB 1350B
386SX 33MHz,ULSI 387,4MB Ram,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A, MS WSS audio
Amstrad PC 9486i, DX/2 66, 16 MB RAM, Cirrus SVGA,Win 95,SB 16
Cyrix MII 333,128MB,SiS 6326 H0 rev,ESS 1869,Win ME

Reply 6 of 29, by BSA Starfire

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synrgy87 wrote on 2020-05-09, 13:54:

Mid to late era DOS games should run fine, although i'd run windows 98se over windows me, less headaches for DOS and 95 era stuff, I'm not sure how capable the CPU is as I've not ran a Cyrix MII before but Quake/DOOM 1&2, Duke3D, Tomb Raider, GTA/GTA London, Network Q RAC Rally, Crusader No Remorse/Regret, C&C / Red Alert, Z, X-wing/Tie Fighter, Rebel Assault 1&2, Dark Forces, Shadow Warrior, Blood, Rise of the Triad.

Throwing a Voodoo 1 4MB in there would give a lot better 3D hardware support for the machine for things like Carmageddon, Tomb Raider, Screamer Rally games,

Driver might run on it, Diablo, basically test em out n see pick things you like.

Thanks,
whole bunch of titles there I've not played before. I'll do as you suggest and try stuff out and see what I enjoy and runs well.

286 20MHz,1MB RAM,Trident 8900B 1MB, Conner CFA-170A.SB 1350B
386SX 33MHz,ULSI 387,4MB Ram,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A, MS WSS audio
Amstrad PC 9486i, DX/2 66, 16 MB RAM, Cirrus SVGA,Win 95,SB 16
Cyrix MII 333,128MB,SiS 6326 H0 rev,ESS 1869,Win ME

Reply 7 of 29, by BSA Starfire

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Tried out a few more games, Moto Racer demo works perfectly, fast smooth and no artifacts or anything odd at all, 100% playable with D3D driver 1.28.
Need for speed 2 also works a treat with all setting high, I'm pretty sure this game just uses a software renderer though right? None the less runs great!
Need for speed 3 runs in D3D mode(you have to force it) despite only supporting a few cards like 3DFX and nvidia according to the readme file. There are some problems in the menu's with some objects drawn as big white squares, but it's perfectly navigable, setting resolution to 512/384 gives good fast frame rates in game with no visual issues at all, it's perfectly smooth and playable and looks pretty decent. Definitely on the 100% playable list.(note: it is much faster with D3D than the software renderer that barely offers a playable frame rate regardless of resolution, so that's a win too!)
Star Wars Episode 1 racer is a different story however, issues in menu's but nothing too serious, in game frame rates are dreadful, not playable at all and the HUD is also messed up and not drawn correctly, also pause menu is not readable either. This one is a total bust playable wise but it does at least run I guess!

The experience with this chip is not bad at all so far considering what it is, if you don't expect too much I guess you aren't disappointed right? But there were certainly games of the era that run play-ably on the card, faster than software mode and look nice too.
Would I recommend it for a build today focused on 3D games? of course not, but back in the day it was VERY cheap and would allow you to play some games much better than with say a purely 2D card or a ViRGE or Mystique or something along those lines.
Anyhow I'm enjoying the experience so far, I'm going to try that discrete card next and see what revision it actually is and then go from there.
After that it'll be the Cirrus Laguna 3D.....

286 20MHz,1MB RAM,Trident 8900B 1MB, Conner CFA-170A.SB 1350B
386SX 33MHz,ULSI 387,4MB Ram,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A, MS WSS audio
Amstrad PC 9486i, DX/2 66, 16 MB RAM, Cirrus SVGA,Win 95,SB 16
Cyrix MII 333,128MB,SiS 6326 H0 rev,ESS 1869,Win ME

Reply 8 of 29, by BSA Starfire

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The discrete card is working and identifies in HWINFO as Palit Microsystems and the DRAM memory is clocked at 89.7 MHz. The 6326 chip revision is H0, so the last revision of the chip.
Instantly I notice a difference in Need for speed III, the menu's are now working much better, only small anomaly is a transparent grey square over the scrolling car marque names on the menu, this was previously a plain white cube on the C3 chip, so it's an improvement. Performance seems pretty much the same otherwise, runs and plays well using the same settings as the c3 chip. So we have an improvement here for sure.
Final Reality gives a score of 1.89, but I think this is heavily weighed by bus transfer speed going from AGP to PCI, I wish I'd noted down all the numbers now from the c3 AGP tests, not just the final reality mark. One thing that is noticeable though is that audio stuttering is much reduced and only now manifests in a minor way in last section of city scene.
The really big change though is Star Wars Episode 1 racer, this was utterly unplayable on the c3 revision but works perfectly on the Ho, no graphic anomalies anywhere and frame rates make for a very playable experience, it's amazing the change in this game, it's gone from a slideshow(near enough!) and broken graphics and menu's to a flawless experience and nice looking game, I'm more than happy to play this game on this system with the H0 revision chip.
I used driver version 1.28 for all the tests on the H0 card so far, I might try version 1.32 again and see if that is in fact better for later chip revisions, but so far I've found no problems with 1.28.
Anyhow one conclusion I can draw so far is that the later H0 revisions of the chip really make a huge difference to compatibility and experience. So if you do plan on giving a 6326 card a test drive then try to find and use one of the later ones(post C3 at least).

EDIT:Running ziff davis 3D winbench '98, all the HUD messages are now clearly readable on H0 "front buffer only, expect flashing" unlike on c3 chip so I now know that the flickering is expected and intentional rather than bugs and glitches as I assumed(first time I have used this test suite, only grabbed it off vogons drivers yesterday!) so the c3 was behaving as it should for the most part outside of those unreadable corrupted HUD messages(something that revision seems to have a real issue with in many games too).

286 20MHz,1MB RAM,Trident 8900B 1MB, Conner CFA-170A.SB 1350B
386SX 33MHz,ULSI 387,4MB Ram,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A, MS WSS audio
Amstrad PC 9486i, DX/2 66, 16 MB RAM, Cirrus SVGA,Win 95,SB 16
Cyrix MII 333,128MB,SiS 6326 H0 rev,ESS 1869,Win ME

Reply 9 of 29, by BSA Starfire

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Unreal gold also works with the H0 chip and D3D 1.28 drivers, menu's are displayed as they should be and again it's playable at 512/384 resolution with some of the detail settings turned down. Is this the ideal and perfect way to play? No, but again it shows that the little 6326 with a Cyrix MII in can manage games in a playable way. Perhaps one's you'd not expect to work with such low spec hardware.

286 20MHz,1MB RAM,Trident 8900B 1MB, Conner CFA-170A.SB 1350B
386SX 33MHz,ULSI 387,4MB Ram,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A, MS WSS audio
Amstrad PC 9486i, DX/2 66, 16 MB RAM, Cirrus SVGA,Win 95,SB 16
Cyrix MII 333,128MB,SiS 6326 H0 rev,ESS 1869,Win ME

Reply 10 of 29, by BSA Starfire

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Here is the machine I'm using, thought it'd be more fun to document the process a little more. Mostly in case someone finds this of interest in the future.

286 20MHz,1MB RAM,Trident 8900B 1MB, Conner CFA-170A.SB 1350B
386SX 33MHz,ULSI 387,4MB Ram,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A, MS WSS audio
Amstrad PC 9486i, DX/2 66, 16 MB RAM, Cirrus SVGA,Win 95,SB 16
Cyrix MII 333,128MB,SiS 6326 H0 rev,ESS 1869,Win ME

Reply 11 of 29, by Putas

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BSA Starfire wrote on 2020-05-09, 13:06:

DSC_0225.JPG

This is the 6326 card I have as an alternative to the on motherboard one.

I am glad somebody else deep dives into the often shamed 6326, congrats!
But this castrated card has 32 bit memory interface. You can find better ones.

Reply 12 of 29, by BinaryDemon

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Glad it worked out, I didn’t realize it was a PCI card (lol it says 6326 AGP on the chip!).

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 13 of 29, by candle_86

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I use mine for dos games and then 2d games, works great for civilization 2, red alert win95, even ran alpha centuri on it

Phenom II X4 840T @ 4ghz - ASUS M3N72D-SLI - GTX 560 Ti- 4GB DDR2 1066 - 1TB HDD - Windows XP
Pentium 4 3.4C - MSI 865PE NEO2 - x850 XT PE - 2GB DDR 400 - 500GB HDD - Windows XP
Duron 1600 - ASUS A7N8X - 512MB DDR 266 - Radeon 8500 LE

Reply 14 of 29, by BSA Starfire

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Putas wrote on 2020-05-10, 16:48:
BSA Starfire wrote on 2020-05-09, 13:06:

DSC_0225.JPG

This is the 6326 card I have as an alternative to the on motherboard one.

I am glad somebody else deep dives into the often shamed 6326, congrats!
But this castrated card has 32 bit memory interface. You can find better ones.

Yep, I see that is true, I'd like to get a H0 revision card with 64-bit memory on PCI, 8MB would be nice too, if anyone has one loitering around in a box somewhere they don't need or use I'll give it a good home!

286 20MHz,1MB RAM,Trident 8900B 1MB, Conner CFA-170A.SB 1350B
386SX 33MHz,ULSI 387,4MB Ram,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A, MS WSS audio
Amstrad PC 9486i, DX/2 66, 16 MB RAM, Cirrus SVGA,Win 95,SB 16
Cyrix MII 333,128MB,SiS 6326 H0 rev,ESS 1869,Win ME

Reply 15 of 29, by BSA Starfire

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New card! A friend who lives locally just dropped this card off to me, another SiS 6326 H0 Rev, 8MB 64-bit PCI card. Exactly what I was looking for! Hopefully this will give me a bit of a boost and be fairly conclusive of what the chip was capable of in my machine best case scenario.
Benchmarks on this card and conclusions to follow.

286 20MHz,1MB RAM,Trident 8900B 1MB, Conner CFA-170A.SB 1350B
386SX 33MHz,ULSI 387,4MB Ram,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A, MS WSS audio
Amstrad PC 9486i, DX/2 66, 16 MB RAM, Cirrus SVGA,Win 95,SB 16
Cyrix MII 333,128MB,SiS 6326 H0 rev,ESS 1869,Win ME

Reply 17 of 29, by BSA Starfire

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Well, the odds were pretty good, I helped my buddy put together a Pentium Pro rig a fair few years ago and I gave him this very 6326 to use as it was all I had spare at the time,frankly I didn't recall much about it beyond it being 8MB, called him today and it was HO rev, made a deal to trade it for a nice Diamond Stealth 64 I now had as spare, far more appropriate for his rig, so worked out perfectly really.
OK on to the first looks of this card as to performance, as expected it runs Star Wars Episode 1 racer fine, feels a fraction more responsive than the Palit card but not a night and day difference, perfectly playable but not what you'd describe as a mindblowing difference.
Final Reality gives 1.97 reality marks vs 1.89 on the Palit card, again a bit better than the Palit card, but still has some audio stuttering in the later part of city scene onwards.
Hwinfo reports the card as having DRAM @ 74.6MHz, this is significantly slower than the Palit card's at 89.7MHz but faster than the 65Mhz reported for the SGRAM of the C3 on the motherboard. At this point I'm only assuming that the new card is 64-Bit, it looks like it is and being the max of 8MB ram that'd make sense, so I guess theoretically this would be the fastest of the bunch as far as memory is concerned? I really have no idea how SGRAM, DRAM, 64-bit vs 32-bit on these cards effects performance, or how accurate the software tools are with this ancient undocumented stuff. Also I have no way of knowing what clock speed the actual 6326 itself is running on any of these cards. If anyone can point me in a direction that'll give me accurate numbers here I'd be happy.

286 20MHz,1MB RAM,Trident 8900B 1MB, Conner CFA-170A.SB 1350B
386SX 33MHz,ULSI 387,4MB Ram,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A, MS WSS audio
Amstrad PC 9486i, DX/2 66, 16 MB RAM, Cirrus SVGA,Win 95,SB 16
Cyrix MII 333,128MB,SiS 6326 H0 rev,ESS 1869,Win ME

Reply 18 of 29, by BSA Starfire

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With the 8MB card the transparent grey box in the menu over the scrolling car marques of Need for speed III is now gone, so that makes that title 100% error free now!

286 20MHz,1MB RAM,Trident 8900B 1MB, Conner CFA-170A.SB 1350B
386SX 33MHz,ULSI 387,4MB Ram,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A, MS WSS audio
Amstrad PC 9486i, DX/2 66, 16 MB RAM, Cirrus SVGA,Win 95,SB 16
Cyrix MII 333,128MB,SiS 6326 H0 rev,ESS 1869,Win ME

Reply 19 of 29, by pentiumspeed

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To compare apple to apple, anyone have a SiS 6326 8MB AGP with same games tested? How is performance is compared to AGP like TNT 16MB, TNT2?

Also, how is the performance of SiS 6236 fare under DOS for early games? Wanted to have other options besides virge DX and GX that I have.

Cheers,

Great Northern aka Canada.