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First post, by RetroSpector78

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Hi,

I have an AMD K6-2 system here that I am experimenting with. It has an integrated AGP video card that I am not using. It is very slow (SiS chip) and it keeps on flickering my screen for some reason.
Unfortunately I don't have an AGP slot so I am limited to PCI.

Now, 3DFX cards seem to work really well here (banshee / voodoo 2). I'm sure a PCI Voodoo3 would be ideal but I don't have one.

So I wanted to explore some Direct3D / OpenGL options using other PCI cards. Now the bulk of my non-3dfx PCI stack includes

  • Boring and slow S3 Trio / Cirrus Logic / Trident stuff
  • Exciting but slow Matrox / Rendition cards
  • Some faster / newer ATI / Nvidia PCI cards

So far from ideal. Would like to have some Riva TNT / Savage4 stuff in PCI, but I don't .... so I wanted to eplore those faster / newer PCI cards in windows 98se setting.

Taking the Nvidia FX5500 PCI card as an example, I noticed the following :

  • OpenGL performance is ok-ish (playable) when using older nvidia drivers but not great. (around 15 - 20 fps)
  • 3D mark scores / gameplay is about the same as my PCI Voodoo banshee
  • In some synthetic benchmark sections it scores a lot better but in gameplay not really
  • It struggles with a lot of Direct3D titles (NFS 3 / Midtown madness are all < 10 fps)

Is that the best I can get out of this AMD K6-2 platform with PCI ?
Are there other tricks and tips I can apply to make this a better experience ?

Are there other cards I should look at ?

Had this on my PCI wish list (but very expensive)

  • Nvidia Riva 128
  • Nvidia Riva TNT
  • NVidia Riva TNT2
  • ATI Rage XL
  • ATI Rage 128 Pro
  • Rendition V2220
  • S3 Savage Pro 4

And this for the more modern ones

  • Hercules 3D Prophet 4000 XT
  • Radeon 7000 PCI
  • MX4000
  • GF2 MX
  • GeForce FX 5500 pci.
  • fx 5200 pci
  • radeon 9250
  • GeForce 6200 pci.
  • PCI nVidia FX5200

Thx a lot

Reply 1 of 41, by Jo22

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Hi, I'd like to help, but my experience with 3D accelerators is limited.
The FX5200, though, is something had experience with.
I used it many years ago for my sister's PC, so she could get Win 7 running in Aero Glass mode (needs Shader Model 2).
From what I can tell, the card is/was quite compatible with the Freeware games of the early-to mid 2000 (the like of Caves Story, The white chamber etc). So maybe, it will also work fine with 90s era games.
But performance was low, perhaps because the memory interface was 64-Bit only.

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Reply 2 of 41, by Con 2 botones

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RetroSpector78 wrote on 2020-10-23, 13:18:
Hi, […]
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Hi,

I have an AMD K6-2 system here that I am experimenting with. It has an integrated AGP video card that I am not using. It is very slow (SiS chip) and it keeps on flickering my screen for some reason.
Unfortunately I don't have an AGP slot so I am limited to PCI.

Now, 3DFX cards seem to work really well here (banshee / voodoo 2). I'm sure a PCI Voodoo3 would be ideal but I don't have one.

So I wanted to explore some Direct3D / OpenGL options using other PCI cards. Now the bulk of my non-3dfx PCI stack includes

  • Boring and slow S3 Trio / Cirrus Logic / Trident stuff
  • Exciting but slow Matrox / Rendition cards
  • Some faster / newer ATI / Nvidia PCI cards

So far from ideal. Would like to have some Riva TNT / Savage4 stuff in PCI, but I don't .... so I wanted to eplore those faster / newer PCI cards in windows 98se setting.

Taking the Nvidia FX5500 PCI card as an example, I noticed the following :

  • OpenGL performance is ok-ish (playable) when using older nvidia drivers but not great. (around 15 - 20 fps)
  • 3D mark scores / gameplay is about the same as my PCI Voodoo banshee
  • In some synthetic benchmark sections it scores a lot better but in gameplay not really
  • It struggles with a lot of Direct3D titles (NFS 3 / Midtown madness are all < 10 fps)

Is that the best I can get out of this AMD K6-2 platform with PCI ?
Are there other tricks and tips I can apply to make this a better experience ?

Are there other cards I should look at ?

Had this on my PCI wish list (but very expensive)

  • Nvidia Riva 128
  • Nvidia Riva TNT
  • NVidia Riva TNT2
  • ATI Rage XL
  • ATI Rage 128 Pro
  • Rendition V2220
  • S3 Savage Pro 4

And this for the more modern ones

  • Hercules 3D Prophet 4000 XT
  • Radeon 7000 PCI
  • MX4000
  • GF2 MX
  • GeForce FX 5500 pci.
  • fx 5200 pci
  • radeon 9250
  • GeForce 6200 pci.
  • PCI nVidia FX5200

Thx a lot

I suspect you are searching the best option for the Packard Bell you are working on in you latest videos (great videos, by the way).

There are a couple of , non expensive, Matrox (G450 & 550) PCI cards published right now on eBay (USA). I am not sure I am allowed to share those links here. If interested I can send it to you (PM).

Reply 3 of 41, by Joseph_Joestar

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A GeForce2 MX paired with period correct drivers should perform quite well on that CPU.

Later Nvidia cards need newer drivers which expect more modern CPUs.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 4 of 41, by Hanamichi

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-10-23, 15:05:

A GeForce2 MX paired with period correct drivers would perform quite well on that CPU.

Later Nvidia cards need newer drivers which expect more modern CPUs.

Agree with this, you need more beans in the CPU dept. for new cards (assuming it's not running at 550MHz)

Fastest W98 PCI card is a FX5700 PCI (rare)

FX5500 = FX5200 more or less. 64Bit ones exist of both and should be avoided.

Lean and efficient PCI cards for your CPU would be the GF2 MX, 4000MX and the Savage 2000 PCI (rare)
Ati 7500 PCI might be okay but ATI drivers usually have higher CPU overhead.

Reply 5 of 41, by The Serpent Rider

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Fastest W98 PCI card is a FX5700 PCI (rare)

But not with K6 processor.

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

Reply 6 of 41, by RetroSpector78

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Con 2 botones wrote on 2020-10-23, 14:58:

I suspect you are searching the best option for the Packard Bell you are working on in you latest videos (great videos, by the way).
There are a couple of , non expensive, Matrox (G450 & 550) PCI cards published right now on eBay (USA). I am not sure I am allowed to share those links here. If interested I can send it to you (PM).

Indeed 😀 But I'm kinda on a budget as I have about 10 cards on my list that I still need to purchase 😀 So the search might take a bit longer.
I was hoping I would be able to beat the Banshee card somehow with what I had lying around here.... but no luck yet. (still a couple of more to go).

3DFX is soooooo easy to setup on a platform like that .... there is great driver and game support, and seems to work really well with this CPU.

Will try to get my hands on some Riva PCI cards m cause I guess those were the only contenders for the 3DFX crown If I recall correctly.

I was a bit surprised that the Direct3D performance was sooooo bad with the FX 5500 (even with the older nvidia drivers).
10fps on NFS 3 / Midtown Madness is really bad.

Reply 7 of 41, by RetroSpector78

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Jo22 wrote on 2020-10-23, 14:13:
Hi, I'd like to help, but my experience with 3D accelerators is limited. The FX5200, though, is something had experience with. […]
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Hi, I'd like to help, but my experience with 3D accelerators is limited.
The FX5200, though, is something had experience with.
I used it many years ago for my sister's PC, so she could get Win 7 running in Aero Glass mode (needs Shader Model 2).
From what I can tell, the card is/was quite compatible with the Freeware games of the early-to mid 2000 (the like of Caves Story, The white chamber etc). So maybe, it will also work fine with 90s era games.
But performance was low, perhaps because the memory interface was 64-Bit only.

I'm expecting an FX5200 to arrive soon ... will let you know how it worked out ....

Reply 8 of 41, by RetroSpector78

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-10-23, 15:05:

A GeForce2 MX paired with period correct drivers should perform quite well on that CPU.

Later Nvidia cards need newer drivers which expect more modern CPUs.

Didn't realize these older PCI cards were so expensive ... been collecting retro stuff for almost 2 years now and never really paid much attention to PCI cards ....
Have tons of 8 bit and 16 bit ISA cards but I'm now confronted with the fact that my PCI collection is below expectation 😀

Did get a Geforce2 on loan from a friend so will try that one later tonight....

Reply 9 of 41, by RetroSpector78

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Hanamichi wrote on 2020-10-23, 15:10:

Lean and efficient PCI cards for your CPU would be the GF2 MX, 4000MX and the Savage 2000 PCI (rare)
Ati 7500 PCI might be okay but ATI drivers usually have higher CPU overhead.

I've been testing with a Geforce2 MX 400 64MB PCI card right now, and it performs a little bit slower than the FX5500.
All using the nvidia 45.23 driver. Quake and unreal are kinda playable if you tone down the settings. Games like NFS3 and midtown madness struggle even with lower settings (getting < 20 fps).

How much do you think performance is hampered by the PCI bus in this case ? Obviously the CPU plays a big part but I saw some benchmarks on the link below with an AMD K6-2 500 with a whole bunch of AGP cards

Re: Sharing my benchmark results on a AMD k6-2 with various AGP cards

I noticed for example that he is getting 25 - 36 fps on this quake 3 timedemo with his AGP MX 400 where I am maxing out at around 20fps on my PCI MX 400.

Reply 10 of 41, by Joseph_Joestar

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RetroSpector78 wrote on 2020-10-24, 10:23:

I've been testing with a Geforce2 MX 400 64MB PCI card right now, and it performs a little bit slower than the FX5500.
All using the nvidia 45.23 driver.

That driver may be too new.

Try version 8.05 instead. Also, stick to a DirectX version 7.0a.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 11 of 41, by Pierre32

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I've just been through a very similar scenario, although not quite similar enough to be helpful to you. My system is an Aptiva 2196, which is a small form factor machine with K6-2+ 533 and SiS onboard everything. As soon as I got it the search was on for a PCI sound card & video card - but the limitations of SFF took the wind out of my sails before too long.

I ended up finding a low profile PCI MX440, but got no extra performance out of it. The onboard graphics scored marginally higher in 3dmark. The MX440 was ahead in several tests, but I think the internal AGP bus gave the SiS graphics the edge overall. The sound card search was a complete bust - for anything of the appropriate period anyway.

I decided "it is what it is" and now just use it for Doom/Duke/Descent type games, as well as some Win95 era stuff. That filled a gap in my collection, so I'm happy enough. Interesting reading about earlier drivers here though - perhaps I will revisit at some point.

Reply 12 of 41, by RetroSpector78

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-10-24, 10:33:

That driver may be too new.
Try version 8.05 instead. Also, stick to a DirectX version 7.0a.

Small improvement indeed for Quake3 with the video driver downgrade.

  • Quake 3 went up from 17.5fps to 23.5fps (OpenGL)
  • But Unreal Tournament city intro went down from 14fps to 11fps (Direct3D, OpenGL crashed with both driver versions)

3DMark 99 performance was also a bit lower with the older driver.
Direct X downgrade from 9 to 7 didn't make much difference at first glance.

The Unreal Tournament city intro is really slow in the beginning and end (about 5fps). In the middle it is pretty fast.

Reply 13 of 41, by RetroSpector78

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Pierre32 wrote on 2020-10-24, 12:33:

I've just been through a very similar scenario, although not quite similar enough to be helpful to you. My system is an Aptiva 2196, which is a small form factor machine with K6-2+ 533 and SiS onboard everything. As soon as I got it the search was on for a PCI sound card & video card - but the limitations of SFF took the wind out of my sails before too long.

I ended up finding a low profile PCI MX440, but got no extra performance out of it. The onboard graphics scored marginally higher in 3dmark. The MX440 was ahead in several tests, but I think the internal AGP bus gave the SiS graphics the edge overall. The sound card search was a complete bust - for anything of the appropriate period anyway.

I decided "it is what it is" and now just use it for Doom/Duke/Descent type games, as well as some Win95 era stuff. That filled a gap in my collection, so I'm happy enough. Interesting reading about earlier drivers here though - perhaps I will revisit at some point.

Yeah can imagine the SFF can be limiting, but surprised that the MX440 would be on par with the internal SIS. On my Packard Bel, the SIS 530 IGP is unusable for anything 3D.
With a PCI Geforce2 MX400 I can play nfs 3 (low settings) / quake 1,2,3 / unreal tournament / midtown madness (low settings).
OpenGL based stuff like quake is actually really good. Direct3D is a bit limiting (dunno yet if it is related to PCI or a driver issue / direct x / settings / .....)
Switching to older drivers definitely helps.

In 3D Mark 99 (800x600) I got a score of 1465 3D Marks / 4272 CPU 3D Marks with the Geforce2 MX400.

Reply 14 of 41, by bloodem

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RetroSpector78 wrote on 2020-10-24, 13:08:
Small improvement indeed for Quake3 with the video driver downgrade. […]
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Small improvement indeed for Quake3 with the video driver downgrade.

  • Quake 3 went up from 17.5fps to 23.5fps (OpenGL)
  • But Unreal Tournament city intro went down from 14fps to 11fps (Direct3D, OpenGL crashed with both driver versions)

3DMark 99 performance was also a bit lower with the older driver.
Direct X downgrade from 9 to 7 didn't make much difference at first glance.

The Unreal Tournament city intro is really slow in the beginning and end (about 5fps). In the middle it is pretty fast.

Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament are not meant to be played on SS7 😀
That being said, your benchmark scores seem very low. What frequency is your K6-2 running at?
On a K6-2+ 550 MHz & an AGP GeForce 2 MX (with driver version 7.76) I get ~ 40 FPS in Quake 3 at 640 x 480 x 16 (without any other fine tuning).
The K6-2+ is typically 15% faster than a normal K6-2 of equivalent frequency. So with a K6-2 550 MHz, I would expect to see ~ 35 FPS, while a K6-2 500 MHz, would probably be around ~ 32 - 33 FPS.
You only scored 23.5 FPS. So either your K6-2 has a lower frequency, or something else is going on - the fact that you have a PCI GeForce 2 MX shouldn't make a difference at low resolutions...

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Reply 15 of 41, by RetroSpector78

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bloodem wrote on 2020-10-24, 14:01:
Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament are not meant to be played on SS7 :) That being said, your benchmark scores seem very low. What fr […]
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Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament are not meant to be played on SS7 😀
That being said, your benchmark scores seem very low. What frequency is your K6-2 running at?
On a K6-2+ 550 MHz & an AGP GeForce 2 MX (with driver version 7.76) I get ~ 40 FPS in Quake 3 at 640 x 480 x 16 (without any other fine tuning).
The K6-2+ is typically 15% faster than a normal K6-2 of equivalent frequency. So with a K6-2 550 MHz, I would expect to see ~ 35 FPS, while a K6-2 500 MHz, would probably be around ~ 32 - 33 FPS.
You only scored 23.5 FPS. So either your K6-2 has a lower frequency, or something else is going on - the fact that you have a PCI GeForce 2 MX shouldn't make a difference at low resolutions...

It is running at 500Mhz. (100* 5) but getting nowhere near 30fps. (23.5 was in 640x480x16 with geo / texture detail low)

That was with a basic quake 3 install (v1.11) ... haven't installed any patches. I'm executing the following in the console

"/cg_drawfps 1"
"\timedemo 1"
"\demo demo001"

Wit v1.32 I get pretty much the same (using demo four).

Don't know if the motherboard can play a part in this (because it is a Packard Bel computer).

Reply 16 of 41, by bloodem

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Do you have any other devices besides the VGA/sound card (like a USB 2.0 PCI card, maybe)? If yes, remove them.
By the way, what sound card are you using?
The GeForce 2 MX (even on PCI) should be able to handle much more than 60 FPS in Quake 3 at 640x480x16.

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Reply 17 of 41, by matze79

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No Permedia 2 on your List ?

If you use PCI Cards you should avoid using 33Mhz PCI Cards at the Same Time or you will kill your Bandwith.
(Eg legacy Network Cards.., Ancient SCSI Stuff..)

For 3Dfx, it does not matter if PCI or AGP.
The V3 does not support AGP Features anyway.

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Reply 18 of 41, by The Serpent Rider

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The GeForce 2 MX (even on PCI) should be able to handle much more than 60 FPS in Quake 3 at 640x480x16.

Eh no. GeForce 2-4 cards on PCI bus suffer quite greatly, when it comes to max FPS, which drags average FPS in Quake 3 timedemos below 100 fps even on much more powerful CPUs.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
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Reply 19 of 41, by matze79

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2020-10-23, 17:42:

Fastest W98 PCI card is a FX5700 PCI (rare)

But not with K6 processor.

i guess a ATI Radeon 9550 PCI with 256Mb and 128bit is faster then this FX Stuff.
And as it shares same GPU then 9600 Series you also can OC if you get good RAM on it.

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