Good value Win98 Graphic Card

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Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby WildW » 2019-5-12 @ 22:45

Been looking at a graphics card for a general Windows 98 gaming build, mostly aimed at good compatibility and performance but also not spending too much. The obvious candidates for "best" Windows 98 cards, Geforce 6 or Radeon 9700/9800 are all getting very expensive, and I've also read some threads here that suggest that their 9x compatibility isn't the best either. I guess there was a lot of change going on in graphics around this era, with DirectX 8 and 9 bringing new features, the change from shader model 1 to 2 and 3 all happening quickly.

Can anyone suggest a good value card that is "plenty" for any games from that just-before-XP era? Hopefully one that can still be picked up fairly cheaply. I'm not planning to run really late DirectX 9 titles. This is mostly for a bunch of awkward Star Trek games that never quite worked right in XP.

This is to pair with an otherwise overpowered Athlon 64 system. I'm currently running a Radeon 9250 which I believe is DirectX 8.1, but I could probably use a bit more grunt for smooth FPS games at 1024x768 or so. It also seems to be quite a "late" card which some folks seem to suggest is a bad thing.
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby mothergoose729 » 2019-5-13 @ 01:26

A little bit hard to answer, because there is a lot of overlap between ideal and overpriced. I can suggest what to look for, and then it is on you to try and find a good deal.

You want a card that supports 32 bit colors, 8 bit palatized textures, table fog, and is fast enough for late era 98 games. That actually isn't a lot of cards.

Geforce 3 ti and Geforce 500 ti (100$ usually)
Gerforce 4 ti cards, ti 4200 can be reliably found for 50$ and is quite ideal.
Gerforce FX cards, but with a lot of astericks. There are a lot of model of fx cards, and most of them aren't very good. You want a fx 5700 or better, as even a fx 5500 is a huge drop off in performance compared to a geforce 4200 ti.

Those are the most ideas choices, there are a few not bad options. The Geforce mx 440 and 460 are pretty good (about 80% as fast a Geforce 3 ti) and you can reliably find them for around 20$.

There are some geforce 4 quadro cards, like that 900xgl, that are just as good as the geforce ti GPUs that you can sometimes find for cheap.

Probably the best option is an FX Quadro 2000 or FX Quadro 3000, which you can often find for less than 40$. They are pretty much the same as a fx 5800.

My recommendation is to get a Geforce 4200 ti or a Fx Quadro 2000/3000 if you can find them for less than 50$.If you are trying to save some money, a mx 440 or mx460 is a good choice for less than 30$. An Fx 5700le or fx 5600 is in roughly the same territory, and assuming you can find a good deal.

You can go lower than that. An fx 5500 AGP card is plenty fast for playing 98 games, you just have to drop down to something like 1024x768 resolution sometimes instead of 1600x1200, and you might get only 30fps in some games where you could get closer to 60 or better with more powerful cards. So it's is all relative.

Almost all games from the 1999-2002 era can be played on windows XP, and most of them are available on steam or GoG without serious compatibility issues with modern GPUs. My GTS 250 plays Unreal Gold and Quake III quite well.
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby clueless1 » 2019-5-13 @ 02:47

Maybe this article is helpful:
80 Video Cards of 1999-2003: 3D Benchmarking
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby WildW » 2019-5-13 @ 06:01

Thanks guys, that's some useful stuff to think about. I realise that most games from this era work ok in XP, but I reckon that if there's a compatibility sweet-spot as narrow as Geforce 3 to Geforce 5 then it's probably also important to have the right graphics card. I can always dual-boot to XP.

This is all (somewhat) because Star Trek Armada is a pain in the ass under XP.
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby God Of Gaming » 2019-5-13 @ 07:16

My advice is to try to not use ebay at all and rely on local used parts site/market, its much more likely to find decent stuff at low prices, you just might have to be more patient and wait longer while checking every day. Also check for FX 5900XT, it can still be found cheap with some luck, and its plenty capable and compatible enough.
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby BushLin » 2019-5-14 @ 18:22

I would avoid anything newer than an fx5900, the 45.23 Geforce drivers are the gold standard and that came out just before the release of the fx5500 and fx5900zt; those examples are an .inf edit away but there's no benefit from trying to make the GF6* line work.

Edit:
This page is very useful, anything before August 2003 will be the easiest route.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of ... sing_units

Or inspect the .inf of the 45.23 drivers and use that as a starting point.
https://www.nvidia.com/object/win9x_45.23.html
Screw period correct, I wanted a faster system back then. I choose no dropped frames, super fast loading, fully compatible and quiet operation.
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby appiah4 » 2019-5-14 @ 20:12

For DX9, Radeon 9600PRO/XTs are still plentiful where I live. 9550s are basically EVERYWHERE so they are the cheapest DX9 option I know of. For DX8 Ti4200s are getting scarce but could be had for really cheap until not long ago. 9250s are basically everywhere and certainly not bad cards. For DX7 original GeForce and Radeon are fairly rare but GeForce 4 MX440/480, GeForce 2 MX400 and Radeon 7500 are everywhere and great value cards. Matrox G400 and Rage128 are also not bad options.
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby Jasin Natael » 2019-5-14 @ 20:32

Radeon 7500/8500 (or FireGL 8800) are good choices for cheap enough.

Green team I'd say MX460 MX480 or Geforce 3 something or another.
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby mothergoose729 » 2019-5-14 @ 21:21

BushLin wrote:I would avoid anything newer than an fx5900, the 45.23 Geforce drivers are the gold standard and that came out just before the release of the fx5500 and fx5900zt; those examples are an .inf edit away but there's no benefit from trying to make the GF6* line work.

Edit:
This page is very useful, anything before August 2003 will be the easiest route.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of ... sing_units

Or inspect the .inf of the 45.23 drivers and use that as a starting point.
https://www.nvidia.com/object/win9x_45.23.html


Why do people recommend this driver version? What issues are you referring too?

Might just be me, but I found performance on the 45.23 to be very poor with my Quadro 2000. The 56.63 drivers performed significantly better. I haven't run into any issues so far that I have been able to tie back to the driver version.
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby cyclone3d » 2019-5-14 @ 21:26

God Of Gaming wrote:My advice is to try to not use ebay at all and rely on local used parts site/market, its much more likely to find decent stuff at low prices, you just might have to be more patient and wait longer while checking every day. Also check for FX 5900XT, it can still be found cheap with some luck, and its plenty capable and compatible enough.


In my area, there are exactly 0 places I can get old parts locally.

Any stuff placed on Craigslist is almost always listed at insane prices (might as well go to the store any buy new) and in the past 10 years I have seen absolutely 0 pieces of older stuff.

The last recycling center anywhere near here shut down around 3 years ago. Glad I cleaned them almost completely out of their old hardware before then. They only had a few sound and video cards.

eBay and other online marketplaces is pretty much my only option.

There are thrift stores, but the amount of useful old stuff they get in is pretty much 0.

I did find a place that sells old hardware in a different state and have since bought ALL of the ISA sound cards and all ISA and VLB video cards that they had.

I do still find good/great/unbelievable deals on eBay but it is getting more rare as of late.
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby BushLin » 2019-5-14 @ 22:04

mothergoose729 wrote:
BushLin wrote:I would avoid anything newer than an fx5900, the 45.23 Geforce drivers are the gold standard and that came out just before the release of the fx5500 and fx5900zt; those examples are an .inf edit away but there's no benefit from trying to make the GF6* line work.

Edit:
This page is very useful, anything before August 2003 will be the easiest route.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of ... sing_units

Or inspect the .inf of the 45.23 drivers and use that as a starting point.
https://www.nvidia.com/object/win9x_45.23.html


Why do people recommend this driver version? What issues are you referring too?

Might just be me, but I found performance on the 45.23 to be very poor with my Quadro 2000. The 56.63 drivers performed significantly better. I haven't run into any issues so far that I have been able to tie back to the driver version.


I had trouble with the 8x.xx drivers on Geforce cards under Win98, in my search I found many references to 45.23 and using those, my problems disappeared. I can't find the test results now but generally performance also degraded on newer versions. Maybe it's not the same story for Quadros. Under Windows NT I ended up using 61.76 to avoid buggy screen detection and Win2k almost certainly warrants more mature versions.
Screw period correct, I wanted a faster system back then. I choose no dropped frames, super fast loading, fully compatible and quiet operation.
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby SPBHM » 2019-5-15 @ 05:20

those FX 5200/5500s (128bits only please!) and MX440s (same) are probably the easiest/cheapest thing and are fast for games bellow 2001
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby WildW » 2019-5-15 @ 10:45

I've grabbed an FX5600 128MB on eBay for £15, which feels like a nice deal and should be plenty of horsepower for what I want. Anything more high-end, or a Geforce 4 TI, seems to start around £50.
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby appiah4 » 2019-5-15 @ 11:32

WildW wrote:I've grabbed an FX5600 128MB on eBay for £15, which feels like a nice deal and should be plenty of horsepower for what I want. Anything more high-end, or a Geforce 4 TI, seems to start around £50.


Not a bad choice for DX8, just don't try DX9 with it.
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby mothergoose729 » 2019-5-15 @ 15:01

appiah4 wrote:
WildW wrote:I've grabbed an FX5600 128MB on eBay for £15, which feels like a nice deal and should be plenty of horsepower for what I want. Anything more high-end, or a Geforce 4 TI, seems to start around £50.


Not a bad choice for DX8, just don't try DX9 with it.


DX9 games didn't start appearing until after 2004 anyway. There are much better GPUs for that era than a high end FX card.
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2019-5-15 @ 19:48

DX9 games didn't start appearing until after 2004 anyway

They actually did. Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness and Halo CE were infamous examples of FX series drawbacks.
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby Zero_sugar » 2019-5-16 @ 04:05

For a cheap DX7 card, a Geforce4 mx440 is a good deal. Just make sure you get a 128bit version. They'll perform on par with a high-end Geforce2 series. Radeon 9100 is a good substitute for an 8500. 9600 Pro is about as high as I would go for a budget Windows 98 build. Everything beyond that is Windows XP territory. That being said. I have a 6800GT in my current high-end Windows 98 PC and it is awesome.

My ideal Windows 98 GPU is a Geforce3 ti500 or Radeon 8500. Something in that DX8 range. DX8 was a flash in the pan, so those cards are uncommon now. 9600 Pro or maybe a ti4200 are what I would choose if I had to pick one Windows 98 era card that won't break the bank.
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby clueless1 » 2019-5-16 @ 10:51

One question I haven't resolved yet is where the OPs current Radeon 9250 fits in. What's it about as fast as? Whatever that card is, we should only be recommending faster cards than that. The 80 card review I linked to earlier in the thread does not have the 9250 in it but it does have the 9600SE, which another review I found says is about as fast as the 9250. And the 9600SE seems to be about on par with a GF3 Ti200 / FX 5200 128 bit. So if the OP is looking for a faster card, than we should be recommending cards on par with or faster than a GF4, from my perspective.
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby appiah4 » 2019-5-16 @ 10:59

clueless1 wrote:One question I haven't resolved yet is where the OPs current Radeon 9250 fits in. What's it about as fast as? Whatever that card is, we should only be recommending faster cards than that. The 80 card review I linked to earlier in the thread does not have the 9250 in it but it does have the 9600SE, which another review I found says is about as fast as the 9250. And the 9600SE seems to be about on par with a GF3 Ti200 / FX 5200 128 bit. So if the OP is looking for a faster card, than we should be recommending cards on par with or faster than a GF4, from my perspective.


9250, if it's not a 64-bit SE model, is about as fast as a 9000/9200 (Non-Pro) which is about equivalent to a 8500LE.
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Re: Good value Win98 Graphic Card

Postby BushLin » 2019-5-16 @ 11:34

Also, sometimes it's about more than just grunt though, the fx line added 8x anti-aliasing and quality video outputs were more common around that time.
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