VOGONS


First post, by AwesomeMarioFan

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Hello,

I bought an S3 Virge card recently and it has open sockets for putting in more RAM so I would like to upgrade it. There are 2 soldered RAM chips along with 6 sockets, 2 of which are populated, so there are a total of 4 chips which are 512KB each. The part numbers of these chips are VG264265BJ-4, and after doing some research it looks like these are 40ns maximum response time chips. I am having a hard time finding ones that have that timing though, most of the ones I am seeing are 60/70ns. Am I able to put in RAM chips that are slower or faster than the current ones, or do they need to match exactly? Also, how would I go about finding chips for this card on eBay or Aliexpress, and what would be the maximum memory size that I can put in it?

Also, when I tried playing Monster Truck Madness 2 on this card it seems like it is running at a lower framerate, I now realize this is because the S3 Virge is not great with 3D graphics. Is there any way that I can overclock this card?

Reply 1 of 21, by Doornkaat

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I do not know what speed ram chips the card needs.
The card can take up to a total of 4MB video memory.
I know there are ways of overclocking the card (Powerstrip?) but I'd have to look further into how it's actually done. Still overclocking the card will not yield great results and if you want good and fast 3D acceleration you better stick with another card. The Virge is one of the worst semi-functional 3D accelerators and something like a cheap Nvidia Riva TNT2M64 PCI is going to outperform it easily.
The Virge is not a bad video card and in fact one of the most compatible DOS 2D cards. It's just not great for hardware 3D acceleration.

If you'd like some recommendations on what to get please tell us what motherboard and CPU you're using and what games you'll mostly be playing.

Reply 2 of 21, by RichB93

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ViRGE cards were sold in a wide variety of configurations by third party manufacturers. The best cards have 35ns RAM whilst the worst have 60ns stuff. Most have generic BIOSes with a 55MHz clock regardless of the RAM that is actually on the card. Cards were built with whatever RAM they had on hand at the time.

Is your card an original ViRGE (86c325) or a later DX/GX model (86c375/86c385 respectively)?

If the silicon on the card is good, you have fast RAM, and you add a heatsink, 80MHz is achievable, however the card is still dog slow even with such a large overclock. I had two DX cards with 35ns RAM; one ran at 80MHz, the other at 72. Sadly both died by means of using an ATX power supply on my AT board (grounding power good and using the power supply main switch isn't a good idea because you get power spikes - I learned the hard way!).

The fastest 'decent' branded card I've seen is the Diamond Stealth 3D 2000 Pro which runs at 66MHz I believe. There's also an STB Nitro 3D which uses the GX chip instead; the main benefit of this chip is that it can use SGRAM too and I believe the RAM clock is independent to the core, but I may be wrong.

You can use MCLK to overclock the card, and if you're feeling brave, you can also BIOS mod the card to hard mod the value.

The GX2 is the best of the bunch but is annoyingly AGP only. It also has compatibility issues with Terminal Velocity I'm led to believe.

Direct3D is slow, period. The only 3D acceleration you'll want to do on these cards is if you specifically want to play any games that only have an S3 3D patch (Destruction Derby and Terminal Velocity; there may be others!). If you have an original ViRGE (325), I wouldn't really recommend it for much of anything, except as a solid 2D card with good compatibility.

Reply 3 of 21, by Jo22

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Good morning! 🙂 If memory serves, the original 325 could nicely be overclocked, though.
If overclocked, it can compete just fine with the VX/GX models - but without having compatibility issues with S3D titles.
Also, it has a 2D core that works with the old Trio64V software.

Edit: Slow Direct3D support is because of the poor S3 drivers. They work so awkward, that the ViRGE's performance is degraded.
I forgot why it is that way. Maybe the ViRGE's internals work completely different than Direct3D works. Also, the feature richness is what made the 325 a deccelerator.
Games with S3D support often enabled all features simultaneously, which was too much for this poor thing. 😢
Anyway, speaking under correction here. 3D Accelerators are not my special subject, so to saything. 😅

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In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 4 of 21, by Putas

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AwesomeMarioFan wrote on 2020-10-16, 21:46:

Also, how would I go about finding chips for this card on eBay or Aliexpress, and what would be the maximum memory size that I can put in it?

Probably it would be easier to find other cheap card with socketed memory to pull them out of.

RichB93 wrote on 2020-10-17, 01:48:

The GX2 is the best of the bunch but is annoyingly AGP only.

No, there are PCI cards as well.

Reply 5 of 21, by mkarcher

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RichB93 wrote on 2020-10-17, 01:48:

ViRGE cards were sold in a wide variety of configurations by third party manufacturers. The best cards have 35ns RAM whilst the worst have 60ns stuff. Most have generic BIOSes with a 55MHz clock regardless of the RAM that is actually on the card. Cards were built with whatever RAM they had on hand at the time.

That's interesting. I guess 40ns EDO RAM was still quite expensive at that time, as it got never to the volume of 60/70ns EDO RAM. While the memory clock is always 55MHz, how likely is it that 35/40ns RAM is driven in "single-cycle EDO" mode, whereas cards with 70ns memory use "dual-cycle EDO mode", which essentially halves the burst speed of the memory?

Reply 6 of 21, by The Serpent Rider

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whereas cards with 70ns memory use "dual-cycle EDO mode"

No, most of the time they were just clocked at miserable 40-45 Mhz.

The best cards have 35ns RAM

I think the best I saw was 30ns, on EDO based Virge GX card. Although, at this stage, the chip itself becomes primary limiting factor for overclocking. 30-35ns RAM can handle 80-90 Mhz, while chip couldn't.

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Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 8 of 21, by RichB93

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Putas wrote on 2020-10-17, 07:59:
Probably it would be easier to find other cheap card with socketed memory to pull them out of. […]
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AwesomeMarioFan wrote on 2020-10-16, 21:46:

Also, how would I go about finding chips for this card on eBay or Aliexpress, and what would be the maximum memory size that I can put in it?

Probably it would be easier to find other cheap card with socketed memory to pull them out of.

RichB93 wrote on 2020-10-17, 01:48:

The GX2 is the best of the bunch but is annoyingly AGP only.

No, there are PCI cards as well.

Oh? I've only ever seen AGP ones around. Would be nice to get my hands on a PCI GX2.

Reply 9 of 21, by Jo22

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http://vintage3d.org/virge.php

Has a lot of information for the ViRGE. 😀

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 10 of 21, by RichB93

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Jo22 wrote on 2020-10-18, 10:26:

http://vintage3d.org/virge.php

Has a lot of information for the ViRGE. 😀

Yes, that site is run by Putas himself!

Are you sure there was a GX2 PCI? I've not even come across a picture of one, let alone an eBay listing.

Reply 12 of 21, by matze79

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The GX2 is no AGP Chip, its simply a PCI Chip running at 66Mhz Bus on AGP. Like Voodoo 3 etc.

I have S3 Virge 325 1Mb haha 😀

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Reply 13 of 21, by RichB93

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matze79 wrote on 2020-10-18, 15:37:

The GX2 is no AGP Chip, its simply a PCI Chip running at 66Mhz Bus on AGP. Like Voodoo 3 etc.

I have S3 Virge 325 1Mb haha 😀

I know it just uses the AGP bus as a 66MHz PCI one, but I've yet to see a GX2 card that actually has a PCI connector. Technically it's possible, but all I've seen are AGP cards.

EDIT: Bit more googling, finally found one! WinFast S860 - https://collection.batyra.pl/graphics/other/w … 80#&gid=1&pid=3 and https://hw.fagear.ru/s3-virge-gx2-leadtek-winfast-s680-vivo/

So they do exist, just hard to find.

Last edited by RichB93 on 2020-10-18, 15:42. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 14 of 21, by matze79

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Yeah it was bit uncommon , the gx2 was late at the party and so.. PCI Cards are rare 😀

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Reply 15 of 21, by The Serpent Rider

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Eh, not really late. There's plenty of PCI Trio 3D cards for example. But I suspect "AGP" was huge buzz word at the time of GX2 release, so manufacturers primarily focused on that and just sold old stocks of Virge DX and GX as PCI solution.

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Reply 16 of 21, by Joseph_Joestar

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Out of curiosity, how do S3D DOS games run on an overclocked DX? Or a GX2 for that matter?

I'm mostly wondering if Tomb Raider can finally hit 30 FPS at 640x480.

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Reply 17 of 21, by Putas

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-10-18, 17:08:

Out of curiosity, how do S3D DOS games run on an overclocked DX? Or a GX2 for that matter?

Better. No Virge is ever fast enough so push them as much as possible.

Reply 18 of 21, by The Serpent Rider

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When it comes to performance, GX2 aren't any better than good DX cards clocked around 70-75 Mhz.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 19 of 21, by matze79

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Virge DX 4Mb runs Terminal Velocity pretty good @ Pentium 60Mhz.
But for 100% fluid playing you should disable Billinear Filtering..

https://dosreloaded.de - The German Retro DOS PC Community
https://www.retroianer.de - under constructing since ever

Co2 - for a endless Summer