VOGONS


First post, by gerry

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I realise almost all my cards are budget cards, or at least ones that are now considered cheap

TNT2, Geforce 2mx, fx5200, geforce 6200

and some machines just stay with their integrated graphics!

one thing I've noticed is that they are never quite as bad as people made them out to be at the time, as long as you don't throw high end games (from the same year the card was released) with all the settings at them

i played far cry happily on an athlon xp2400 with an fx5200 without having to turn all settings low (just taking modest middle settings) and the same setup played UT2003 nicely and anything like UT99, quake3 etc looks really good at max settings

I'm not sure i actually have a point! Ah yes, there is one - lots of high end cards out there are very expensive, prohibitively so.

Rather than get a 'period correct' high end card its sometimes worth getting a later budget card, one that's really not considered good but in truth will play the games you want to play adequately, for me once a game gets to 30fps its doing fine already and in the heat of the action i don't really notice every water ripple or leaf sweating on the breeze anyway!

Reply 1 of 23, by Warlord

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very subjective and it depends what you consider expensive and high end. when talking of vintage rarity comes into play and rarity drives prices most of the times. for example I wouldn't consider 3dfx high end its sought after for other reasons. a lot of prices have gone up and it will only get worst and it has little to do with things being high end and more about them being in short supply.

Reply 2 of 23, by bZbZbZ

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Nothing wrong with using budget cards.... maybe in some cases you might feel reluctant to put hours on expensive stuff (and maybe risk them dying). Some of the collectors hardware also has terrible reliability.

As you described, using lower end hardware that's a generation or two newer than your game is a great alternative to paying for high end period correct stuff.

A Core 2 Duo or AMD Phenom with an early PCIe video card (Radeon HD 5xxx?) is dirt cheap, runs Windows XP, and provides a terrific experience for Far Cry / UT2003.

Reply 3 of 23, by kolderman

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> far cry happily on an athlon xp2400 with an fx5200

Ye gad the worst card from a family of cards that was notoriously bad with dx9 games...I am amazed the game did not simply refuse to run with a popup saying "you wot mate?".

Reply 4 of 23, by Putas

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The internet discourse have a tendency to sort averything into worst or best cathegory, nothing in between. Real experience thus differs from expectations. After all, games tend to have options to adapt to various graphics performance.

Reply 5 of 23, by The Serpent Rider

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TNT2
Vanilla flavored variation is kinda redundant at this point. Usually easier to pick up more faster TNT2 Pro. M64 and Vanta are abundant to this day, but barely can handle anything beyond 800x600 16-bit. Usually should be avoided, but can serve as a substitute to original TNT on some Socket 7 systems.

GeForce 2 MX
Absolutely fine chip which has performance of GeForce 256, just avoid 64-bit versions. Cheap, available, has access to early drivers with low driver overhead.

GeForce FX 5200/5500
Deserves all negative feedback it has.

GeForce 6200
Similar to TNT2, redundant due to negligible difference in prices and availability between true 6200, unlockable 6200 and 6600.

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Reply 6 of 23, by gerry

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bZbZbZ wrote on 2021-04-05, 23:25:

Nothing wrong with using budget cards.... maybe in some cases you might feel reluctant to put hours on expensive stuff (and maybe risk them dying). Some of the collectors hardware also has terrible reliability.

As you described, using lower end hardware that's a generation or two newer than your game is a great alternative to paying for high end period correct stuff.

A Core 2 Duo or AMD Phenom with an early PCIe video card (Radeon HD 5xxx?) is dirt cheap, runs Windows XP, and provides a terrific experience for Far Cry / UT2003.

exactly, sometimes one can either use a later budget card for less money than period correct high end card, or just play the game and enjoy it without all the settings maxed. good point about the hardware dying too

Reply 7 of 23, by gerry

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kolderman wrote on 2021-04-05, 23:34:

> far cry happily on an athlon xp2400 with an fx5200

Ye gad the worst card from a family of cards that was notoriously bad with dx9 games...I am amazed the game did not simply refuse to run with a popup saying "you wot mate?".

😀 I needed to fiddle the settings, but certainly not turning everything to minimum and once playing i really didn't need to stop and admire the water all the time, or gasps at various effects and particles. I might play again on a later system and see what i missed, but like so many HD remakes after the first couple of minutes it doesn't really matter, the game is the game

Reply 8 of 23, by gerry

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Putas wrote on 2021-04-06, 01:32:

The internet discourse have a tendency to sort averything into worst or best cathegory, nothing in between. Real experience thus differs from expectations. After all, games tend to have options to adapt to various graphics performance.

very true, a kind of group think over the net reinforcing a strongly held opinion (one that might be reasonable, but isn't quite so absolute in reality)

Reply 9 of 23, by pixel_workbench

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In some ways newer budget or midrange cards are actually preferrable to older high end, due to lower noise and power consumption.

Funny thing is even if the first time I played the game on a crappy card, I still enjoyed the game. We're talking year 2000 - 2001 games like NFS Porsche, NOLF and Max Payne barely playable at low settings on a laptop running the mobile version of a Rage Pro from 1997. But I wouldn't want to recreate that experience for the next playthrough.

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Reply 10 of 23, by auron

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high-end cards are perhaps mostly of interest when it comes to AA/AF performance, and in the lower fps regions even a few frames might decide between playable or not... that being said, when even a gf2 gts gets somewhat hard to find i'm all for just going with budget cards instead of paying insane prices. later series can also have some advantages that aren't talked about so much, for instance afaik the dxt1 quality issue is improved or fixed even on gf4mx, so vs. gf2 gts you get better quality at roughly similiar performance. there's also some cases like the 9500 -> 9700 pro bios unlock, so those would seem as rather desirable budget cards.

a big part of why FX is badly regarded is the (at the time) confusing naming scheme; ti4200 dumpsters fx5200, and that's before factoring in the 64-bit variants. this is of course due to them getting rid of the MX line while also introducing lower-end chips instead of just a single one for the entire lineup.

there's also the argument to be made that budget cards represent the average user experience better than high-end ones since they were in most OEM machines.

Reply 11 of 23, by elfoam

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I always had high end cards but it's also the reason I stopped using PCs for gaming. In the late 90s staying ahead of the curve was very expensive. These days I think it's much better to just run average hardware one or two generations ahead of the games you want to play. I'd love to run a high end Vodoo and slotted Celeron/Pentium 2.. But it's much more sensible to run a socketed Pentium 3. Or even a Core 2 duo if you want to go overkill.

Reply 12 of 23, by Cyberdyne

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I always use newer generation low end cards, they take less electricity, and are more silent(no vent) and reliable(no heat).

By the way FX5200 and FX5500 are the best retro pre DX9 all arounder cards. And Geforce 2/4 based MX cards are also good ones.

I am aroused about any X86 motherboard that has full functional ISA slot. I think i have problem. Not really into that original (Turbo) XT,286,386 and CGA/EGA stuff. So just a DOS nut.

Reply 13 of 23, by 386SX

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I imagine it's all about the reason we should assemble a config for. For example for a SS7 K6-2/+ I did use a Radeon 7200 (the original R100 SDR) and it was a wonderful card, with light early drivers, a great PCB layout passive heatsink design and components, and more the enough for any K6-x oriented machine. I could have used some higher end card but at the end I found that there were no differences and the R100 Radeon gpu was a great one with most features wanted. Similar thing might be done with the original Geforce2 MX even if I'd not say many third party assembled PCB had the same quality compared the the original ATi one that was its competitor.

Reply 14 of 23, by gerry

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agree with cyberdyne, 386sx and others - one of the things i like is passive cooling and modest power consumption, for certain budget cards these traits becomes an advantage as well as low cost and 'adequate' performance for most titles

I have a win 7 PC circa 2013, a quad core with yet another budget card (a radeon 68something i think), it just about copes with GTA IV, traditionally a hog (even after latest updates applied) but absolutely storms through anything from around 2005/6 or before, and lots of those games from the end of the XP era will run happily enough on win 7 anyway. That system is 'modern' to me! 😀

Reply 15 of 23, by canthearu

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For cheap but pretty good DX7 gaming, you can't really go past a decent Geforce 4 MX graphics card ... just try to avoid any 64bit, SDR or SE versions.

For Windows XP, a Core 2 Duo or Quad with a Geforce GTX 260 will go a LONG way to cheaply scratching your retro itch in a vastly superior experience.

Reply 16 of 23, by gerry

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I was about to buy a relatively cheap geforce 4 mx400 recently, then noticed an FX5200 even cheaper so after some quick checking and online comparisons decided they'd be very similar in reality and bought the cheaper fx5200! ( have one fx5200 already, so i maybe was swayed by knowing it was 'meh but ok' )

Reply 17 of 23, by The Serpent Rider

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decided they'd be very similar in reality

Depends. GeForce 2 has advantage of early drivers, which work much better on slow CPUs.

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Reply 18 of 23, by gerry

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2021-04-09, 15:40:

decided they'd be very similar in reality

Depends. GeForce 2 has advantage of early drivers, which work much better on slow CPUs.

that's true, just the sheer size of newer driver downloads amazes me sometimes!

the fx5200 is to go on an athlon 1400 winxp system, so hopefully no problem with that. that system currently has a gf2 which can then go to another older system. I dont expect much of an improvement in the A1400 at all, but it just allows me to spread my budget 3d cards around a bit more without spending much

Reply 19 of 23, by dionb

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Another potential advantage of newer ones - if you're not using an old CRT: DVI port. For trouble-free late DOS builds an FX5200 with DVI is hard to beat.

But yes, another vote for "depends what and why you're building" here. If you're only after a platform to run old SW on, relatively low-end newer cards can be good. If you're looking to build the dream machine you could never afford in the day, less so. And if you're trying to recreate exactly what you once had, it depends on what you had of course, though that generally won't have been ultra high end.

Consider that in 1996 most people had a Cirrus Logic GD543x chip, in 1999 ATi Rage and a year or two later i810 and i845 integrated VGA were commonest. Compared to that even the unloved TNT2-M64 was lightyears ahead.