2D Quality: Rage Pro vs Millennium, how much of a difference is there?

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2D Quality: Rage Pro vs Millennium, how much of a difference is there?

Postby appiah4 » 2018-7-31 @ 06:40

I'm currently using a Virge/DX in my K6-2 PC and I hate its 2D quality, it has a very washed out, soft look to it in Win98 in contrast to the crisp image I had with my Mystique 220 (which I woefully traded away for a VLB VGA card, but I digress) so I am looking at my other contemporary options: A Matrox Millennium and an ATI Rage Pro.

I want to go with Rage Pro as the Millennium (probably) has similar DOS issues with older games to my Mystique 220 and while the Rage Pro is not as compatible as the Virge/DX after suffering the terrible IQ the S3 card I'm not sure I want to settle for something as inferior as that. Can anyone vouch for Rage Pro's 2D IQ?
1989:A500R6|+512K/RTC|ACA500+|HxC/df1:|C1084S
1992:HIPPO-VL+|DX2ODPR66|8M|GD5428|CT2290
1995:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|Voodoo1|CT3980/2M|DreamS2
1998:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|VirgeDX|Voodoo2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2000:GA-BX2000|PIII-700E|512M|GF2GTS|MX300
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Re: 2D Quality: Rage Pro vs Millennium, how much of a difference is there?

Postby oohms » 2018-7-31 @ 08:10

2D image quality depends entirely on the board design and the VGA cable. A different Virge card may give you a crisp image
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Re: 2D Quality: Rage Pro vs Millennium, how much of a difference is there?

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2018-7-31 @ 08:20

Overall ATI quality is better, even on something really old like Mach64VT. But you can just skip those and acquire something like Diamond Stealth III S530 PCI (S3 Savage 4 Pro 8mb).
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Re: 2D Quality: Rage Pro vs Millennium, how much of a difference is there?

Postby appiah4 » 2018-7-31 @ 10:45

The Serpent Rider wrote:Overall ATI quality is better, even on something really old like Mach64VT. But you can just skip those and acquire something like Diamond Stealth III S530 PCI (S3 Savage 4 Pro 8mb).


I am in the market for a Savage4 PCI, pro or otherwise.. I don't have one at the moment though. There are some sellers on eBay from Russia, but the shipping is a bit steep.
1989:A500R6|+512K/RTC|ACA500+|HxC/df1:|C1084S
1992:HIPPO-VL+|DX2ODPR66|8M|GD5428|CT2290
1995:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|Voodoo1|CT3980/2M|DreamS2
1998:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|VirgeDX|Voodoo2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2000:GA-BX2000|PIII-700E|512M|GF2GTS|MX300
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Re: 2D Quality: Rage Pro vs Millennium, how much of a difference is there?

Postby RaverX » 2018-8-04 @ 16:32

Old thread, I know, but maybe people will still want to know information about this.

I had Rage Pro back in the days, no quite when it was released, a bit later, but it was still relevant (from mid 1999 until late 2000). The exact model was AIW Pro 8 MB PCI. For me it was a great card. The 2D quality is very good, I remember people saying how great Matrox is in 2D, later I tried a few Matrox cards (G200, G400, G550), I wasn't impressed at all. 3D on Rage Pro is not bad either, performance is comparable to a V1 (I'd say it's better in D3D games) and to Riva 128ZX. Quality is decent, not as good as V1, the big problem is alpha textures and effects (smoke especially looks bad, it's not getting bilinear filtering at all). But it's better than Riva128ZX.

Against older S3 cards it's "no contest", Rage Pro is much, much better than S3 Virge, Trio, etc. S3 is decent only starting with Savage 4.
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Re: 2D Quality: Rage Pro vs Millennium, how much of a difference is there?

Postby derSammler » 2018-8-04 @ 16:53

Against older S3 cards it's "no contest", Rage Pro is much, much better than S3 Virge, Trio, etc. S3 is decent only starting with Savage 4.

That's not true at all. As already stated above by oohms, the graphics chip has nothing to do with that. I have a no-name S3 ViRGE 325 card that has better image quality than even the best Matrox cards. But then again I have three ViRGE/DX cards which are all crap. A Savage 4 I own also has so-so image quality. From two Mach64 cards, one is very good, one as bad as my ViRGE/DX cards. It all depends on board design. (and for that matter, on aging caps as well)
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Re: 2D Quality: Rage Pro vs Millennium, how much of a difference is there?

Postby Unknown_K » 2018-8-04 @ 17:44

The quality of the video signal (analog VGA) was a function of the RAMDAC quality and speed. Basically once the chip set up the video page it sent the 3 RGB signals to a DAC chip which sent the analog output to your monitor.

"For a quick estimation on the pixel clock for a given output, you can do: horizontal pixels x vertical lines x 1.4 (for blankings) x refresh rate (based on VESA's GTF calculation sheet). Usually the RAMDAC rating has to be (quite a bit) better than the pixel clock to produce sharp edges. " <=== from the RAMDAC wiki.

RAMDAC for the following chips:
Matrox Millenium 220Mhz
Matrox Millenium 2 250Mhz
ATI Rage Pro Turbo 230Mhz
S3 Virge 325/MX 135Mhz
S3 DX/GX/GX2 170Mhz
S3 VX 220Mhz
S3 Savage 4 RAMDAC 300Mhz
Generally if you are running at low resolution and refresh (DOS modes) RAMDAC speed should not be too much of a problem but at higher resolutions and refresh rates things will get blurry with the early S3 chips.

Earlier video chips had external RAMDAC or a shitty internal one that could be upgraded with a dedicated external chip (ATI Mac32 VLB comes to mind).

People say the Matrox Parhelia chip had great analog video output mostly because it used 10bit DAC instead of 8 bit and had a RAMDAC clock of 400Mhz.
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Re: 2D Quality: Rage Pro vs Millennium, how much of a difference is there?

Postby derSammler » 2018-8-04 @ 18:02

RAMDAC speed has no effect on video signal quality, only on available refresh rates. Early VGA cards had RAMDAC speed of 45 MHz. But still these could provide sharp image at 640x480.
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Re: 2D Quality: Rage Pro vs Millennium, how much of a difference is there?

Postby Unknown_K » 2018-8-04 @ 18:47

derSammler wrote:RAMDAC speed has no effect on video signal quality, only on available refresh rates. Early VGA cards had RAMDAC speed of 45 MHz. But still these could provide sharp image at 640x480.

It has a big affect on video quality since it does the conversion of a digital image into an analog output that goes to the monitor, just like how a bad DAC in a CD player can make the sound output weird.
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Re: 2D Quality: Rage Pro vs Millennium, how much of a difference is there?

Postby vvbee » 2018-8-05 @ 03:41

Baseline.
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Re: 2D Quality: Rage Pro vs Millennium, how much of a difference is there?

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2018-8-05 @ 10:44

Baseline.

S3 Virge can do 24-bit (32-bit) color. Pretty sure Mystique can do it too.
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Re: 2D Quality: Rage Pro vs Millennium, how much of a difference is there?

Postby RaverX » 2018-8-05 @ 15:00

derSammler wrote:That's not true at all. As already stated above by oohms, the graphics chip has nothing to do with that. I have a no-name S3 ViRGE 325 card that has better image quality than even the best Matrox cards. But then again I have three ViRGE/DX cards which are all crap. A Savage 4 I own also has so-so image quality. From two Mach64 cards, one is very good, one as bad as my ViRGE/DX cards. It all depends on board design. (and for that matter, on aging caps as well)


Almost all "old" S3 cards I've tested had bad image quality. And I mean *bad*. Black wasn't black, it was gray, or even worse, various shades of green. AndI had cards made by Diamond (for example), not only generic cards. Low quality RAMDAC on all? Probably, but I've also had a lot of Rage Pro cards (AIW Pro AGP and PCI, Xpert, etc). They all had outstanding image quality, colors were great, text was sharp, no flickering, crystal clear image.

Matrox? Everybody keeps saying they were the greatest, I remember trying a G400 long ago, only to find out that text is not very sharp. Faulty card? I don't think so, I tried later many more, all had the same problem. And that's G400, a card much newer than Rage Pro and with almost double RAMDAC speed.

I'm not saying that there isn't a good S3 card. I'm just saying that, based on my experience, it's most likely to get a bad S3 card than to get a good one. Same with Rage Pro - you will have a high chance to get a good one.

One more thing - image quality, especially from VGA signal on CRT monitors is very subjective, some like vivid colors, some don't. Some want very sharp text, other find slighy blurry text more pleasant.
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Re: 2D Quality: Rage Pro vs Millennium, how much of a difference is there?

Postby vvbee » 2018-8-05 @ 19:20

The Serpent Rider wrote:
Baseline.

S3 Virge can do 24-bit (32-bit) color. Pretty sure Mystique can do it too.

I wanted 16 bits when I took the captures. They can do that as well.
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Re: 2D Quality: Rage Pro vs Millennium, how much of a difference is there?

Postby appiah4 » 2018-8-05 @ 21:52

I've actually tried them all today. I've found that one of the Virge/DX cards I have (the one originally installed) causes terrible interference-like noise in Windows graphics modes but is mostly flawless in DOS - weird. Anyway, I had another Virge/DX lying about, which I also tried, and I've found that Ati Rage Pro and S3 Virge DX have fairly comparable image quality but the Millennium is really in a league of its own.

I ended up sticking with the Virge. Millennium would probably make a terrific card for a NT4.0/Warp4 dual-boot build somewhere down the line.
1989:A500R6|+512K/RTC|ACA500+|HxC/df1:|C1084S
1992:HIPPO-VL+|DX2ODPR66|8M|GD5428|CT2290
1995:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|Voodoo1|CT3980/2M|DreamS2
1998:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|VirgeDX|Voodoo2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2000:GA-BX2000|PIII-700E|512M|GF2GTS|MX300
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Re: 2D Quality: Rage Pro vs Millennium, how much of a difference is there?

Postby RetroBoogie » 2018-8-10 @ 18:36

I've been benchmarking various new cards in DOS, and every PCI Rage card (iic, iic pro, etc.) I have has had horrible shimmering and blurriness in DOS. Now, it could be the power supply or motherboard giving dirty rippled power or interference, but I have other cards (Matrox or S3) that are generally sharper and less prone on the same system. No ATI+DOS for me, I guess.
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Re: 2D Quality: Rage Pro vs Millennium, how much of a difference is there?

Postby amadeus777999 » 2018-8-12 @ 17:44

The Rage Pro that I have has pretty good output quality both in DOS and Windows. The card itself, like the Rage II, also looks pretty well made.

All S3s I tested are semi-ok, so pretty blurry(even on a CRT) and in no way comparable to the various Matrox models which rule the field. Honorable mention: NVidia128/TNT.
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Re: 2D Quality: Rage Pro vs Millennium, how much of a difference is there?

Postby appiah4 » 2018-8-12 @ 21:50

amadeus777999 wrote:The Rage Pro that I have has pretty good output quality both in DOS and Windows. The card itself, like the Rage II, also looks pretty well made.

All S3s I tested are semi-ok, so pretty blurry(even on a CRT) and in no way comparable to the various Matrox models which rule the field. Honorable mention: NVidia128/TNT.


This mirrors my experience.
1989:A500R6|+512K/RTC|ACA500+|HxC/df1:|C1084S
1992:HIPPO-VL+|DX2ODPR66|8M|GD5428|CT2290
1995:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|Voodoo1|CT3980/2M|DreamS2
1998:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|VirgeDX|Voodoo2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2000:GA-BX2000|PIII-700E|512M|GF2GTS|MX300
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