VOGONS


First post, by auron

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i have a couple of s3 vision series cards from elsa (winner 1000, 2000 etc), something they all have in common is non-standard higher refreshrates baked into the video BIOS. it's not that bad if it works, but i've had enough issues with it that i consider it a quite poorly implemented idea. on my vision 968 card from 1995, some of the low-res VESA 2.0 modes added by S3VBE20, like 400x300 (at 70-something hz) display heavily distorted, sort of like a bad VHS tape, on a trinitron much newer than those cards, and a vision 864 card from 1994 would just constantly swap between refresh rates every 30 seconds or so in DOS games.

supposedly there is an s3 DOS tool to adjust refresh rates, maybe anyone has it? or possibly there were some bios updates from elsa? also i wonder how this works anyway, are these cards able to at least poll EDID, even under DOS? i'm not sure how well cheaper monitors would have tolerated being run out of spec like that, not to mention fixed-sync ones...

i am aware of univbe of course, it's a tool i generally avoid due to flaky experiences with it, unless it'd be needed for some game as last resort.

Reply 2 of 4, by auron

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after some digging i did find a tool from ELSA for this. according to readme it supports both automatic setup via monitor DDC polling (up t0 85hz) and manually setting refresh rates per resolution. only possible drawback is that there's no mention of the low-res VESA modes added by S3VBE20, so i'm not sure how it will interact with that tool.

edit: S3REFRSH also attached now, though i couldn't find its full readme.

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  • Filename
    S3REFRSH.EXE
    File size
    126.21 KiB
    Downloads
    3 downloads
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • Filename
    XREFRS_E.TXT
    File size
    8.8 KiB
    Downloads
    5 downloads
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • Filename
    XREFRESH.EXE
    File size
    46.83 KiB
    Downloads
    5 downloads
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception

Reply 4 of 4, by auron

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from quick testing, for the supported modes these tools do exactly what they say.

as i suspected though, the low-res modes added by S3VBE20 aren't affected by them. testing chasm: the rift on my winner 2000avi vision 968 card, i realized that the distortion issue with 400x300 appears intermittently, and wrote some numbers down from monitor OSD. correct timings are 48.9khz/73hz (which basically matches what is listed in S3VBE20.txt), and the wrong ones are 55.4khz/83hz. it appears that switching around resolutions in menu causes a higher chance for the wrong timings to stick, but there's a seemingly random element to it as well... sometimes it starts at 73hz and will stay there if not touching any resolution settings, sometimes it starts at 83hz, but switches to 73hz a few seconds later.

i think the conclusion is that S3VBE20 just doesn't play well with the stunts they pulled with the video BIOS here, and the only real remedy would be a modded BIOS with default timings, which should have been the way to go anyway given that these tools exist and are easily configurable.