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Voodoo 2 SLI on AMD K6-2+ Dos / Win9x Gaming

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First post, by n3xu5

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Hello all, I've recently tossed a pm or two around with Mau1wurf1977 on the topic of using a Socket 7 PC for some DOS games, and Pre-2000 Win9x games. I've checked a lot of gamespot game details on games from 2001 and earlier, and it seems most have a minimum requirement within the specs of the PC i'm considering building. Of the most demanding sort I think I saw something that wanted a minimum of 400Mhz and 128mb ram (but recommended a 800Mhz cpu).

I'm considering building a AMD K6-2+ 550 or 570 socket 7 setup with 256mb ram. I think I could obtain a 600Mhz overclock with these chips and wonder how Voodoo 2 SLI might perform with only 600Mhz... How badly would the CPU bottleneck the system?

Can anyone with experience in this area provide some feedback on their test results, and or opinions?

...oh, and does anyone know how well a CF Card would perform (opposed to the typical hard drive of that era) in a CF to IDE adapter as a pre-2000 SSD ... 🤣 if it's even possible? I think the drivers exist, I've never tried it though.

Reply 1 of 64, by ratfink

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You will get some advantage from V2 SLI with that level of cpu - eg. quake will run at 1024x768. Faster cpus will get more out of them, but there's always that kind of issue. I would just think about what games you want to play and with what performance, and see if they will do that for you.

Reply 2 of 64, by luckybob

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There shouldn't be a problem. Personally I run my systems based off the video card and put the fastest reasonable processor I can on them. My voodoo 1 is using a (dual) Pentium 2, My voodoo 2 sli is going into a 1ghz slot A system, and my voodoo 5 sits in a dual 2800+ amd setup. It wasn't until about 2000 that games started to use the video hard heavier than the cpu. So Until 2000 (for sake of argument) it is actually advantageous to have more cpu power and memory than anything else.

As far as using a CF card, they suck. In VERY early systems they are fine, but anything after Pentium, just use an old quiet hard drive. That being said, it is possible to use multiple cards as a raid. IF you get a GENUINE raid card,like this one : http://www.ebay.com/itm/251046661080 Then add a few CF-IDE adapters (buy extras) and some cf cards then you are set. I actually have such a setup in my Pentium 2, but I haven't gotten around to actually testing it yet.

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.

Reply 3 of 64, by Soupdragon

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There is not a great deal of performance difference between my pii 400 and piii 700 running 3d games with sli 12mb voodoo2. They don’t need a really fast CPU to get the most out of them according to my casual benchmarking. I reckon SLI voodoo2 ran all the 3d games great up until Quake3 was released.

Reply 4 of 64, by n3xu5

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Thanks for the quick responses! 🤣
Perhaps I need to rethink my game plan and project entirely. I originally did not want to build two systems but I could since I have the parts laying around 🤣.

Perhaps some suggestions would be in order since I suck at flat out decision making without a year of research beforehand (I know, I'm a dork, geek, call me what you will). I have access to the following equipment, could anyone toss me some ideas?

Dell Dimension 4100 Tower
PIII Coppermine 1000Mhz / Socket 370
Dell Mobo - Intel 815E Chipset
2x 128mb PC133 SDRAM
Rage - ATI 128PRO AGP
SB 16 PCI - CT5807

Dell Dimension XPS D300 Tower
PII Klamath 300Mhz / Slot 1
Dell Mobo - Intel 440LX Chipset
2x 32mb & 1x 64mb PC66/100 SDRAM
Nvidia Riva 128 AGP
integrated Yamaha OPL3-SA3 Enhanced 3D Audio Controller / Wavetable MIDI Yamaha OPL4-ML2 (I keep wondering if this integrated stuff is any good)

Dell Dimension XPS R400
PII Deschutes 400Mhz / Slot 1
Dell Mobo - Intel 440BX Chipset
128mb PC100 SDRAM
Nvidia Riva 128 AGP

Gigabyte GA-5AX Socket 7 Motherboard (untested pulls)
AMD K6-2/300
AMD K6-2+ /550 /570
Vibra 16 Sound Blaster CT4180
A-Trend ATC-5200 Motherboard (VIA MVP3 Chipset)
S3 ViRGE/DX 4MB PCI

I do not have any Voodoo equipment and was going to make my mind up before buying. I may be wrong but I think I remember Voodoo being the major video card up until 2002 when the Nvidia GeForce 4 Ti4200/4400/4600 series was released. I was going to go with either a Voodoo 2 SLI Setup or perhaps one of the Ti4xxx cards if I ended up building multiple systems, in which case I thought about pairing them with a 1.4 Tualatin PIII.

Given the circumstances, I have no problems sourcing out more parts as everything listed above was sourced for no more than $50. I'm curious as to what any of you would do if you were in my position, I need some inspiration please...

luckybob wrote:

As far as using a CF card, they suck. In VERY early systems they are fine, but anything after Pentium, just use an old quiet hard drive. That being said, it is possible to use multiple cards as a raid. IF you get a GENUINE raid card,like this one : http://www.ebay.com/itm/251046661080 Then add a few CF-IDE adapters (buy extras) and some cf cards then you are set. I actually have such a setup in my Pentium 2, but I haven't gotten around to actually testing it yet.

Are you suggesting to use 4 CF cards in raid0? I wonder what the transfer rates would be ... Ultra DMA ATA 33/66/100, hmm. Would it be possible to test your setup when you have time? I'm interested to see if there is a viable application for this with Pentium II and up. I remember the old days and the clicking of hard drives working and shudder 🤣.

Reply 6 of 64, by elfuego

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leileilol wrote:

Considering K6-2 heat i'd just use a Voodoo3 instead.

Why? I think V2 SLI would be a perfect match for a K6-2/3. V3 is also a great K6 companion - and heat should not be a major problem really. You can find great heat spreaders on the ebay these days that can cool down K6 even passively.

Reply 7 of 64, by Jorpho

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n3xu5 wrote:

I do not have any Voodoo equipment and was going to make my mind up before buying. I may be wrong but I think I remember Voodoo being the major video card up until 2002 when the Nvidia GeForce 4 Ti4200/4400/4600 series was released. I was going to go with either a Voodoo 2 SLI Setup or perhaps one of the Ti4xxx cards if I ended up building multiple systems, in which case I thought about pairing them with a 1.4 Tualatin PIII.

Given the circumstances, I have no problems sourcing out more parts as everything listed above was sourced for no more than $50. I'm curious as to what any of you would do if you were in my position, I need some inspiration please...

It all depends on what, exactly, you want to do. There's not much point in sticking with a Voodoo2 if you're not particularly interested in running Glide games and can get a better video card. (A Ti card ought to handle much of what you might want to throw at it.)

Reply 8 of 64, by n3xu5

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Jorpho wrote:
n3xu5 wrote:

I do not have any Voodoo equipment and was going to make my mind up before buying. I may be wrong but I think I remember Voodoo being the major video card up until 2002 when the Nvidia GeForce 4 Ti4200/4400/4600 series was released. I was going to go with either a Voodoo 2 SLI Setup or perhaps one of the Ti4xxx cards if I ended up building multiple systems, in which case I thought about pairing them with a 1.4 Tualatin PIII.

Given the circumstances, I have no problems sourcing out more parts as everything listed above was sourced for no more than $50. I'm curious as to what any of you would do if you were in my position, I need some inspiration please...

It all depends on what, exactly, you want to do. There's not much point in sticking with a Voodoo2 if you're not particularly interested in running Glide games and can get a better video card. (A Ti card ought to handle much of what you might want to throw at it.)

I never really experienced Glide back when it was really popular, and there's a lot of earlier games that I would like to play again (1996 - 2002) but I don't know if they support glide. A few of them are Deus Ex, Might & Magic VI-VIII, and the Thief Series.

Question 1: I've read that glide isn't smooth frame rate by today's standards does it appear jerky or what you might see at 10-20 fps on some games?

No doubt that obtaining Voodoo2 SLI will be difficult as it is a rare setup, but I would like to build something that would perhaps serve as both a dos machine and win9x gaming. Though based from what I've seen of this forum and previous posts, its better to build 2 separate machines.

Question 2: Has anyone built a single machine to accomplish this field before; if so, how did things work out for you and what walls if any, did you run into with the single machine compromise?

Reply 9 of 64, by Jorpho

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n3xu5 wrote:

I never really experienced Glide back when it was really popular, and there's a lot of earlier games that I would like to play again (1996 - 2002) but I don't know if they support glide. A few of them are Deus Ex, Might & Magic VI-VIII, and the Thief Series.

I'm not sure I understand. What is there to "experience" ? The game either looks right or it doesn't.

Question 1: I've read that glide isn't smooth frame rate by today's standards does it appear jerky or what you might see at 10-20 fps on some games?

I imagine that depends entirely on what game you're playing and the settings you are using.

No doubt that obtaining Voodoo2 SLI will be difficult as it is a rare setup

Not necessarily; with custom drivers, you can have "mismatched SLI" using two non-identical cards.

n3xu5 wrote:

Question 2: Has anyone built a single machine to accomplish this field before; if so, how did things work out for you and what walls if any, did you run into with the single machine compromise?

If you want to run very old games (particularly very, very old games) it will be easier to do so on older hardware. Also, many people swear by ISA Sound Blaster cards, which likewise cannot be feasibly used on a newer machine.

Reply 10 of 64, by n3xu5

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Jorpho wrote:

I'm not sure I understand. What is there to "experience" ? The game either looks right or it doesn't.

I never saw glide in action or a game with 3D voodoo graphics on a computer, or visually experienced it ... back then, my PC had 4MB video I think.

Jorpho wrote:

I imagine that depends entirely on what game you're playing and the settings you are using.

I'm sure you know what I mean by jerky frame rate or stuttering as if the screen is very fast stop frame animation. If you're still unfamiliar with my meaning, you've been unnaturally blessed in your years to never have experienced a slow computer gaming session.

Jorpho wrote:

If you want to run very old games (particularly very, very old games) it will be easier to do so on older hardware. Also, many people swear by ISA Sound Blaster cards, which likewise cannot be feasibly used on a newer machine.

I'm not sure if these are very old, but a few to name would be Kings Quest, Duke Nukem, Might & Magic, Ultima, wizardy, etc. I suppose most of those are late 80s early 90s.

Reply 11 of 64, by sliderider

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Jorpho wrote:

Also, many people swear by ISA Sound Blaster cards, which likewise cannot be feasibly used on a newer machine.

Really?

http://www.arstech.com/item-USB-2-0-to-ISA-ca … S-usb2isar.html

http://www.arstech.com/item--usb2isax3.html

Reply 12 of 64, by elfuego

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n3xu5 wrote:

Question 1: I've read that glide isn't smooth frame rate by today's standards does it appear jerky or what you might see at 10-20 fps on some games?

Since you are asking this, its quite obvious you never used Voodoo before. 😊 You will not get any stuttering in virtually any Glide-compatible game with voodoo2 SLI. Actually, the first time I experienced stuttering (<28 fps) was when I switched to Nvidia 😵

Answer 2: Yes and this forum is full of those histories 😊

P.S. Of all the games you mentioned and to my knowledge, only Might and Magic supports Glide - and only M&M 7 (maybe even M&M6 with some patches, not sure). And even in M&M7 its not implemented properly.

...now If you wanted to play... say... Rollcage... or Quake, UT, old Need for speed's - or flight simulators like MiG29 Fulcrum and F16 - thats where the Voodoo really shines 😀

Reply 13 of 64, by Jorpho

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sliderider wrote:

If someone has used those with an ISA Sound Blaster, it hasn't been posted about here.

elfuego wrote:

Since you are asking this, its quite obvious you never used Voodoo before. 😊 You will not get any stuttering in virtually any Glide-compatible game with voodoo2 SLI. Actually, the first time I experienced stuttering (<28 fps) was when I switched to Nvidia 😵

Well, Voodoo2 was cutting-edge 3D hardware at the time, right? A developer would probably not release a game that would not run smoothly on even the most advanced hardware available.

n3xu5 wrote:
Jorpho wrote:

I'm not sure I understand. What is there to "experience" ? The game either looks right or it doesn't.

I never saw glide in action or a game with 3D voodoo graphics on a computer, or visually experienced it ...

Well, that's just it: there's really no difference between "3D voodoo graphics" and perfectly ordinary 3D OpenGL graphics or 3D Direct3D graphics.

Reply 14 of 64, by swaaye

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You should definitely load up AMD's Quake 2 3DNow patch which also includes a 3DNow-tuned Voodoo2 miniGL.

http://www.markshan.com/thesinraven/amd_3dnow_3.20.htm
http://www.markshan.com/thesinraven/patches-d … mos/3dnowq2.txt

I think this was the most aggressive 3DNow attempt and AMD had to do it themselves.

Reply 15 of 64, by elfuego

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Jorpho wrote:

Well, that's just it: there's really no difference between "3D voodoo graphics" and perfectly ordinary 3D OpenGL graphics or 3D Direct3D graphics.

Exactly - there is also really no difference between "Ferrari F360" and a perfectly ordinary Opel Corsa or a Lada. They all drive just fine.

On the side note: ... I would still rather drive a ferrari.

Reply 16 of 64, by luckybob

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That being said, the biggest if not only reason 3dfx was popular was the fact they were FIRST. The only debatable difference was how they did anti-aliasing. Everyone but 3dfx took a inferior shortcut way of doing it and 3dfx took the hard way. the hard way was "better" but slower.

The moral of the story is, Build what you want. As long as your are happy with how it comes out, that's all that matters.

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.

Reply 17 of 64, by Mau1wurf1977

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n3xu5 wrote:
Gigabyte GA-5AX Socket 7 Motherboard (untested pulls) AMD K6-2/300 AMD K6-2+ /550 /570 Vibra 16 Sound Blaster CT4180 A-Trend ATC […]
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Gigabyte GA-5AX Socket 7 Motherboard (untested pulls)
AMD K6-2/300
AMD K6-2+ /550 /570
Vibra 16 Sound Blaster CT4180
A-Trend ATC-5200 Motherboard (VIA MVP3 Chipset)
S3 ViRGE/DX 4MB PCI

Are you suggesting to use 4 CF cards in raid0? I wonder what the transfer rates would be ... Ultra DMA ATA 33/66/100, hmm. Would it be possible to test your setup when you have time? I'm interested to see if there is a viable application for this with Pentium II and up. I remember the old days and the clicking of hard drives working and shudder 🤣.

I'd go with the SS7 option!

It will have plenty of grunt for your Voodoo 2 SLI cards. Disable L1 cache and you will have a 486DX2 and also disable L2 cache and it's a 386 which will allow you to run older / speed sensitive games.

The ISA slots will allow you using all the Sound Cards and will give you 100% compatibility.

For storage I can highly recommend old notebook IDE harddrives. Just get cheap 2.5" to 3.5" adapters from eBay and you are set. The capacities of notebook HDDs always lagged behind desktops, so you should find a size that the Gigabyte BIOS supports without any isses 😁

For anything with Windows I can't recommend CF cards, but I use them for my MS-DOS 6.22 machines.

Reply 18 of 64, by n3xu5

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luckybob wrote:

That being said, the biggest if not only reason 3dfx was popular was the fact they were FIRST. The only debatable difference was how they did anti-aliasing. Everyone but 3dfx took a inferior shortcut way of doing it and 3dfx took the hard way. the hard way was "better" but slower.

The moral of the story is, Build what you want. As long as your are happy with how it comes out, that's all that matters.

I cannot agree with you more, my problem is that I'm the type of person who builds something and does research for 2-4 months prior to the actual purchasing / building. When it comes to something this old, I know it hardly matters in this day and age, I just hate putting things together and then I turn around, see something that makes me drool and wish I did something different.

I know it can't be helped, it's going to happen no matter what 🤣

Mau1wurf1977 wrote:
I'd go with the SS7 option! […]
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I'd go with the SS7 option!

It will have plenty of grunt for your Voodoo 2 SLI cards. Disable L1 cache and you will have a 486DX2 and also disable L2 cache and it's a 386 which will allow you to run older / speed sensitive games.

The ISA slots will allow you using all the Sound Cards and will give you 100% compatibility.

For storage I can highly recommend old notebook IDE harddrives. Just get cheap 2.5" to 3.5" adapters from eBay and you are set. The capacities of notebook HDDs always lagged behind desktops, so you should find a size that the Gigabyte BIOS supports without any isses 😁

For anything with Windows I can't recommend CF cards, but I use them for my MS-DOS 6.22 machines.

I'm seriously leaning towards that route and placing a nice low profile copper heatsink on the K6-2/3 and overclocking it to 600Mhz. I'm thinking of a way to come up with a 3 way toggle switch for L1, L2 Cache enable disable. How did you use your CF cards for DOS? IDE > CF adapter? How well do they run or how slow are they? 😊

Reply 19 of 64, by ux-3

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n3xu5 wrote:

I'm thinking of a way to come up with a 3 way toggle switch for L1, L2 Cache enable disable.

AFAIK, there is software to do L1 for pentiums. It even works for some P3 boards.

How did you use your CF cards for DOS? IDE > CF adapter? How well do they run or how slow are they? 😊

For DOS, they are rather fast. More important, they are quiet!

luckybob wrote:

The moral of the story is, Build what you want. As long as your are happy with how it comes out, that's all that matters.

Rather: No matter what you build, once you're finished, you won't be perfectly happy with it. So keep building...

A K6-2/500 is fast enough for almost any DOS game at speeds that seemed fair enough at the time. And it does cover a fair share of win95 games. However, when it comes to (military) simulations (the reason to have glide), you might find it lacking.

A K6-2 at 500 MHz is too slow to cause the RT200 bug in Turbo Pascal games while a P2-266 is fast enough already.

Retro PC warning: The things you own end up owning you.