VOGONS


First post, by vetz

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Many years ago I acquired a NOS NEC PCI-300SX/N 3D accelerator card ( https://vgamuseum.ru/gpu/3dlabs/3dlabs-glint-300sx-nec/ ). I read the manual that came with the card and saw it was only intended to work on Windows NT 3.51 running on the MIPS platform (see manual on VGAmuseum.ru). Since I didn't have such a system I just put that card away.

Today I started to do some digging and it seems the card was originally released by Densan in Japan as the PCI-300SX-A (http://www.yjfy.com/Museum/video/PCI-300SX_A.htm). The main difference I can see is that the Densan version has an extra VGA connector (boot pass-through according to their website) and is missing a small daughterboard. In the PC 3D Graphics Accelerators FAQ from the 90s it is mentioned with the following:

GLINT07) Densan PCI-300SX The PCI-300SX is a GLINT based PCI card including 4 Mbytes of VRAM framebuffer, 8 Mbytes of DRAM local […]
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GLINT07) Densan PCI-300SX
The PCI-300SX is a GLINT based PCI card including 4 Mbytes of VRAM framebuffer, 8 Mbytes of DRAM localbuffer, 64-bit IBM RGB525 RAMDAC and VGA pass thru implementation. Optimized drivers are provided for Windows NT 3.5 and OpenGL.

The Densan PCI-300SX now shipping as part of NEC RISCstation 2200.

For more detailed information, please contact:

Tetsuya Kawamoto or Zhang Yuanli
Tel: +81 3 3329 3871
Fax: +81 3 3329 9266
5-42-1, Kamikitazawa Setagaya-Ku, Tokyo, Japan

I managed to find their product website from 1997 and on it there are drivers for Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 95 for the Intel plattform (x86). I cannot find those files anywhere else online, but the filenames look very similar to the generic 3DLabs Glint driver files and the general version names (2.7 and 2.9 for Windows NT 4.0) also matches.

This got me thinking that the NEC PCI-300SX/N might actually work on the x86 platform even though it was released for MIPS. Do anyone have any extra light to shine on this? I thought it would be good to ask before open up the card and break the seal.

I also have the original driver floppy discs with the MIPS WinNT 3.51 driver and the OpenGL techdemos mentioned in the manual. I'll post images of these to vogonsdrivers.

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Reply 1 of 15, by Jasin Natael

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I'm not sure about that exact model.

But I have a Diamond FireGL PCI card that uses a Glint 3D chip supposedly based on the 300sx chip.

I'm pretty sure it has Windows 9x support, although I've never used it.

According the Wikipedia this FireGL card uses a 300sx for 3D and a S3 Vision 968 chip for 2D.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond_Multimedia#FireGL

AOpen AP53 AMD K6/2 - 233MHZ - 64MB RAM 20GB WD HDD Win98SE

Compaq Presario 5152 AMD K6-III+ 550MHZ 512MB RAM ATi Radeon 9250SE 256MB PCI Aureal Vortex 2

Asus A7V-VE AMD Athlon T-Bird 1.20GHZ 512MB RAM ATi Radeon 7500 DDR 64MB Vortex 2 32GB KingSpec SSD

Reply 2 of 15, by furan

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vetz wrote on 2020-10-18, 21:40:

This got me thinking that the NEC PCI-300SX/N might actually work on the x86 platform even though it was released for MIPS. Do anyone have any extra light to shine on this? I thought it would be good to ask before open up the card and break the seal.

Not as a bootable VGA card, but as a secondary card, I don't see any reason why it might not work. I know that there was a PCI card some of the CGL developers used that had a 300SX on it instead of a 300TX, so I wonder if there is some driver code in the 3D Blaster VLB CGL drivers.

Do you know what the PCI IDs of this card happen to be? I guess I could look through the original 3D Blaster VLB driver and see if I can find any [unused] PCI code in there.

Reply 3 of 15, by vetz

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Furan, I agree, it will probably not work as a bootable card, but according to the Nec manual it does not state where to connect the VGA cable. If its supposed to connect to the PCI-300SX/N, then it must either be bootable or support some kind of internal passthrough (as with the PowerVR cards) from the internal NEC graphic card.

I do not know the PCI IDs, but I'll post it here when I test the card.

Also Stiletto found some reference to the Gigi in Cyberspeed demo, I'll post more about it in the Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster thread

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Reply 4 of 15, by furan

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vetz wrote on 2020-10-25, 18:30:

If its supposed to connect to the PCI-300SX/N, then it must either be bootable or support some kind of internal passthrough

My memory of how NT works on Alpha/MIPS/i860 was that it would execute x86 video BIOS code in the ROM on PCI cards, under a virtual machine, translating to the native architecture - this made it easy to make cards compatible.

I didn't think the 300SX had VGA compatibility, but there is at least a video BIOS on that card! Can you dump it for me? It could be that it's not really compatible but it has some bare minimum to satisfy mode setting via INT 10H. The contents of that chip could tell us what the story is here.

Reply 5 of 15, by furan

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I was able to find a driver. So, I have a trick I use on archive.org, for vendor websites - I will put a /* at the end, and then look at all of their .zip files/.exe files that have been archived. So if you go to this URL:https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.3dlabs.com/* and type ".zip" (no quotes) into the mime/file type filter, you'll see all of the zip files ever archived on the 3dlabs site. It will take a minute to list all of the URLs and filter them.

NT 3.5 driver: https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.3dla … rs/i3527r15.zip
NT 4.0 driver: https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.3dla … rs/i4029r20.zip
Win2k driver: https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.3dla … rs/i5029r20.zip
Demos: https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.3dla … rs/intdemos.zip

I had to use pkzipfix at least once to take a look at these, you may have to do that as well, or may need to download a different version. Files that start with a are for DEC Alpha, i is Intel.

Good luck!

Edit: I missed that you had seen the generic ones. It's likely that these will work with your card. Still curious about those PCI IDs and what's in the option ROM.

Reply 6 of 15, by Stiletto

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furan wrote on 2020-10-25, 20:37:
I was able to find a driver. So, I have a trick I use on archive.org, for vendor websites - I will put a /* at the end, and then […]
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I was able to find a driver. So, I have a trick I use on archive.org, for vendor websites - I will put a /* at the end, and then look at all of their .zip files/.exe files that have been archived. So if you go to this URL:https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.3dlabs.com/* and type ".zip" (no quotes) into the mime/file type filter, you'll see all of the zip files ever archived on the 3dlabs site. It will take a minute to list all of the URLs and filter them.

NT 3.5 driver: https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.3dla … rs/i3527r15.zip
NT 4.0 driver: https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.3dla … rs/i4029r20.zip
Win2k driver: https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.3dla … rs/i5029r20.zip
Demos: https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.3dla … rs/intdemos.zip

I use that trick all the time. Plus... once you discover the file names, you may be able to punch them into Google as search terms to sometimes find more reliable download sites! 😀

"I see a little silhouette-o of a man, Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you
do the Fandango!" - Queen

Stiletto

Reply 7 of 15, by vetz

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furan wrote on 2020-10-25, 20:37:

Edit: I missed that you had seen the generic ones. It's likely that these will work with your card. Still curious about those PCI IDs and what's in the option ROM.

Yes, those were the ones I found, but thanks for linking them in this thread 😀

I'll see if I can dump the rom when I get around to test the card out. I don't have an EEPROM reader/writer so need to use software to dump it from the card.

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Reply 8 of 15, by furan

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I would like to find this card. The Omnicomp 3Demon:

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From: omnicmp@phoenix.phoenix.net (OmniComp Graphics)
Subject: GLINT - 3DEMON FAQ (1/1)
Date: 3 Feb 1995 18:57:22 GMT

The 3DEMON by Omnicomp is a PCI-bus 3D accelerator, based on the GLINT
300SX chip from 3Dlabs. Omnicomp began shipping full-production 3DEMONs in
the last 2 weeks of January. There have been many questions generated
about the capabilities of this graphics board. We have answered the most
common questions below.

If there are other questions you need answered, or feel should be in this
list, please contact Omnicomp by E-Mail (omnicmp@phoenix.phoenix.net), fax
(713-827-7540), or phone (713-464-2990).

Q1: How much memory does the 3DEMON have?
Q2: What is the price of the 3DEMON?
Q3: Does the 3DEMON support Texture Mapping? What about the GLiNT 300TX?
Q4: Should I wait a few months before buying a 3DEMON, when the hardware
is more stable?
Q5: What motherboards are compatible with the 3DEMON?
Q6: What system configuration is recommended for the 3DEMON
Q7: Does the 3DEMON support PCI bus-mastering?
Q8: Does the 3DEMON have on-board VGA?
Q9: When will I see a $600 GLiNT board?

------
Subject: Q1: How much memory does the 3DEMON have?

A: The 3DEMON model SX44 has 4 MB of VRAM for the frame buffer, and 4 MB
of DRAM for the local buffer (Z-buffer). The 3DEMON model SX48 has 4
MB of VRAM for the frame buffer and 8 MB of DRAM for the local buffer
(Z-buffer).

------
Subject: Q2: What is the price of the 3DEMON?

A: The list price (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) of the 3DEMON
model SX44 (4 MB VRAM + 4MB DRAM) is $1,995. The list price of the
3DEMON model SX48 (4 MB VRAM + 4MB DRAM) is $2,390. Reseller,
Developer, and quantity discounts are available.

------
Subject: Q3: Does the 3DEMON support Texture Mapping? What about the
GLiNT 300TX?

A: The 3DEMON with the GLiNT 300SX DOES support texture mapping. The
300SX does the filtering and application calculations for texture
mapping. The host provides the data, including the texture, to the
300SX. The 300TX, when available, will allow storage of textures in
the local buffer. This is one reason the 3DEMON is designed to
support an 8 MB local buffer. Boards purchased with the 300SX are not
upgradeable to change to the 300TX because the GLiNT is a 304 pin,
fine pitch, surface mount device. There has been some mis-
understanding that the 300SX does not support texture mapping. This
is because the BETA version of the OpenGL drivers for Windows NT do
not currently implement texture mapping. This was a software
limitation, and not a hardware limitation.

------
Subject: Q4: Should I wait a few months before buying a 3DEMON, when the
hardware is more stable?

A: Today's shipping 3DEMON has very stable hardware. It has already been
a few months since the first board using the GLINT was built. By now,
the hardware bugs have been worked out, and all modifications or
changes are in the shipping version of the 3DEMON. In fact, the
3DEMON has NO wires or last-minute modifications on the board.
Drivers today are at the final stages of BETA. Updated release
versions of the drivers will be available near the end of February.
Current drivers should support any existing application written to
OpenGL under Windows NT.

------
Subject: Q5: What motherboards are compatible with the 3DEMON?

A: Omnicomp has tested the 3DEMON with the INTEL designed PENTIUM
motherboard used by Gateway and DELL in their PENTIUM 90 machines. We
have also tested it with various motherboards using the OPTI chipset
for PENTIUM. The 3DEMON has also been tested in MIPS-based Windows NT
systems. The board is now in the hands of many customers, and we are
keeping track of the systems our customers are using.

------
Subject: Q6: What system configuration is recommended for the 3DEMON?

A: For INTEL-based Windows NT, we recommend a PENTIUM-90 with 32 MB RAM
for OpenGL development.

------
Subject: Q7: Does the 3DEMON support PCI bus-mastering?

A: Yes. The 3DEMON conforms to the PCI Local Bus Specification Revision
2.0 and does support bus-mastering.

------
Subject: Q8: Does the 3DEMON have on-board VGA?

A: The 3DEMON does not support VGA BIOS calls. For an INTEL based
system, you must have a VGA card installed for system boot, or DOS
command-line. Single monitor operation is provided using an external
pass-thru. This form of pass-thru is compatible with any VGA. Once
in Windows, the 3DEMON provides the whole display. In other platforms
such as MIPS, the 3DEMON may often act as a boot display. This varies
by system vendor.

------
Subject: Q9: When will I see a $600 GLiNT board?

A: A $600 GLiNT design would be possible using 2 MB of DRAM (not VRAM)
for the frame buffer, and 2 MB or less of DRAM for the local buffer.
Also, such a price would require production volume in the tens of
thousands, or possibly a lower-end version of the chip, if 3Dlabs
chooses to do so. Such a board would be targeted at the home games
market. This type of board would not meet the performance of a 4 MB
VRAM + 4 MB DRAM 300SX design.

Reply 9 of 15, by vetz

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Doesn't look good getting the card to work. It makes the computer lockup after detecting the IDE drive. I've tested in two different systems now, one 440FX and one 430VX, both with AWARD bios. I've tried to disable every kind of VGA/video setting in the bios with no luck. Might get lucky with another type of BIOS, but I don't have such a system ready to go atm.

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Reply 11 of 15, by vetz

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furan wrote on 2020-10-28, 20:11:

Try with the EPROM removed. It might actually be an option ROM and it might have MIPS code that locks up when run as x86.

I'll try it out. Could also be the daughterboard. Looking more closely at the board I see the whole board is socketed into where the chip named G288A32 should be. The cables on the backside also go to different pins compared to the Densan:

Densan backside: http://www.yjfy.com/images/oldhard/video/PCI-300SX_1.jpg
NEC backside: https://vgamuseum.ru/wp-content/gallery/3dlab … int_300sx_r.jpg

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Reply 12 of 15, by vetz

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Did some more testing:

- Unplug daugtherboard and PC doesn't boot at all.
- Unplug EEPROM and PC boots as normal

I got into Windows 98 and both 0.95 and the 1997 driver installs normally. Unfortunately when using the 1997 drivers the card isn't detected as a display adapter but as a "3D accelerator". There is no picture on the VGA output (I have a second monitor connected).
For the 0.95 BETA it hangs after installation when trying to load UPTPV.VXD. Maybe the drivers won't work under Windows 98, or it won't work due to missing ROM.

PCI ID is PCI\VEN_3D3D&DEV_0001 (same as 3Dlabs 300SX generic)

EDIT: Tested in Windows 95 with 0.95 drivers. No crash on UPTPV.VXD, but device manager says "Device failure: Try changing the driver for this device (Code23)". No picture on VGA output.
EDIT2: I manually added the PCI ID to the 1997 driver to force it to install as Display driver, but got same issue as with the 0.95 driver.

Looks more and more that the card needs a x86/intel ROM to function. If anyone got a Densan PCI-300SX/A card let me know.
Last attempt is with Windows NT, but does not look promising.

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Reply 13 of 15, by furan

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Fujitsu Sapphire 2SX is also 300SX-based and may have more useful drivers or someone may have that card.
http://vogonsdrivers.com/getfile.php?f ... enustate=0

It also has the same PCI VID/PID so any drivers you fine should be able to be applied just fine.

Reply 14 of 15, by Stiletto

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vetz wrote on 2020-10-28, 21:58:

Looks more and more that the card needs a x86/intel ROM to function. If anyone got a Densan PCI-300SX/A card let me know.

Looks like yjfy has/had one: http://www.yjfy.com/Museum/video/PCI-300SX_A.htm

furan wrote on 2020-10-28, 23:40:

Fujitsu Sapphire 2SX is also 300SX-based and may have more useful drivers or someone may have that card.

There's one on eBay right now, don't ask the price...

as for the person who posted that to VogonsDrivers (NitroX Infinity), I think he parted out and sold his collection maybe.

[EDIT] Hmm http://www.zaptech.com/commentary/3dlabs/faq/ … phire2SXsupport

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do the Fandango!" - Queen

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Reply 15 of 15, by furan

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Stiletto wrote on 2020-10-29, 01:05:

The reference design has broken DMA (at least according to USENET). So I would imagine it's some tweak around that.