my modern pci graphics card's (with onboard pci to pci-e reverse bridge) poor gaming performance in P3 rig

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my modern pci graphics card's (with onboard pci to pci-e reverse bridge) poor gaming performance in P3 rig

Postby gandhig » 2014-2-14 @ 10:19

i bought a modern graphics card (NVidia GT 520) with PCI interface for my old P3 system(in my signature) to play classic games upto 2001. unfortunately i didn't do much research on compatibility and paid the price. the card was not getting detected during boot. after a lot of struggle for an year, i was able to get it automatically detected by my bios after modding it. but still the system's game performance in old classics like deus ex 1, half life 1 etc are relatively poor. my 3dmark 2001 se scores are:
total=5443, game1(low,high)=59.9, 17.6 fps, game2(low,high)=107.3, 55.9 fps, game3(low,high)=65,27.9 fps, game4=54.7 fps (see the low fps in game1 for high settings)

i have tweaked the via chipset to get the bandwidth efficiency upto 95% in sandra 2003.

i don't know whether the problem is with the via chipset or due to pci slot bandwidth limitation or other issues.

is there a tool/utility to benchmark the pci throughput and check the burst transfers between my cpu to host bridge to pci-pcie bridge to gpu and vice versa. i even changed the pci latency timers of host bridge, pci to pci-e brige(onboard my gpu) but it only resulted in reduced performance. i also tweaked the via chipset registers related to pci bus flow, arbitration etc., but with no improvement.

please help me by sharing the pci dumps of a similar via chipset based good p3 motherboards (asus/abit/gigabyte etc).
Last edited by gandhig on 2014-4-20 @ 18:54, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby idspispopd » 2014-2-14 @ 11:01

I'd probably just get an old video card, preferably not newer than Geforce FX series. In 2001 not even Geforce4 was available so you won't really need anything much faster.
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby SPBHM » 2014-2-14 @ 11:14

5400 sounds like a decent result for a P3 system,
I think "final reality" measures the PCI speed

what have you done with the bios? I can't get my 8400GS to work with my P2B.

but I think it's better to go with an AGP card, Geforce 4 TI was already to fast for P3 imo.
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby gandhig » 2014-2-14 @ 11:52

hi idspispopd, i'm afraid i can't get old pci based graphics cards near my place. i have already spent a good amount on this graphics card and want to find out what the issue is. if it is a driver issue then i'm doomed. i have to keep trying till the p3 rig lives(already did a complete recap).

hi SPBHM, my mainboard has only pci slot. so agp was ruled out and i can't get old pci graphics cards.

my graphics card problems might be different than yours. it is basically a pci-e with a pci to pci-e reversible chip onboard. while booting, the bios pci enumeration routine could not detect the card as the pci to pci-e bridge onboard the gpu was not ready. it seems that it takes almost a second to be ready for normal operation after power on to comply with the specs(this fact i came across only after i modded the bios, struggled for a year). so i simply had to introduce a delay before the pci enumeration routine. how happy i was when it worked (and how sad when the system combination didn't perform as expected)!!! thanks a lot for the info on pci speed testing.
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby zstandig » 2014-2-14 @ 21:46

You got the Zotac right?

I did the same thing a year or two ago (only I got the gt420). You know, thinking "lol, holy crap, I'm gonna have a Pentium 3 with HDMI!" Anyway, long story short, it wouldn't install right, it would say it's installed, then I'd restart, and then nothing and back to the crappy integrated graphics. I switched back to the Radeon 9500ishxyz. Which I think was the best gpu on the PCI at the time before Zotac started shoving gt400,500, and 600s onto it.
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby kithylin » 2014-2-14 @ 21:57

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but no matter what you do to that thing, and no matter how much you tweak it, you're just flat out not going to get good Direct3D / 3D-Accelerated game performance out of a PCI video card. All PCI video cards pretty much are going to have really, really poor performance in 3D, just by the nature of the PCI bus in general. There's not enough bandwidth in the PCI bus to do well. The bottom line is you're pretty much going to have to try and switch it up to an AGP card of some sort. And if you can't do that... then what you're already seeing is going to be the best you're going to get for PCI.

They did make voodoo5's for PCI at one point, that might actually be better than what you have but it would probably be pretty much a waste.

Which OS are you using with this?
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby nforce4max » 2014-2-14 @ 22:54

kithylin wrote:I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but no matter what you do to that thing, and no matter how much you tweak it, you're just flat out not going to get good Direct3D / 3D-Accelerated game performance out of a PCI video card. All PCI video cards pretty much are going to have really, really poor performance in 3D, just by the nature of the PCI bus in general. There's not enough bandwidth in the PCI bus to do well. The bottom line is you're pretty much going to have to try and switch it up to an AGP card of some sort. And if you can't do that... then what you're already seeing is going to be the best you're going to get for PCI.

They did make voodoo5's for PCI at one point, that might actually be better than what you have but it would probably be pretty much a waste.

Which OS are you using with this?


The bus wasn't that bad and did serve well in older games such as glide game with very little loss. Problems with VIA chipsets are very well established which is I prefer to avoid them and most of the experienced members/lurkers know what to avoid. PCI when used right isn't a problem but choosing the right card is key and it isn't going to be the most modern card on the market. It takes time and money to track down older and vintage parts but it is worth it. People these days just expect fast and easy results while not putting in the effort to search for parts.
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby kithylin » 2014-2-14 @ 23:01

But the OP already said they're not using Glide games, they're trying to run Dues Ex 1, half-life 1, and other 2001 Direct3D/DirectX games, which are most likely not going to do well with PCI cards.

Edit: one too many 1's, needed to be a 0 instead, whoops.
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby nforce4max » 2014-2-14 @ 23:11

kithylin wrote:But the OP already said they're not using Glide games, they're trying to run Dues Ex 1, half-life 1, and other 2011 Direct3D/DirectX games, which are most likely not going to do well with PCI cards.


Not the best p3 rig for such games, those are very old titles that do run as glide. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-Life_%28video_game%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deus_Ex

Neither of those two titles are from 2011. I would have hunted down a board with agp and had more choices when it came to cards. The cream of the crop P3 era boards had DDR or RDRAM with a 4x universal agp slot and not capped at 512mb/1024mb when it came to the ram. A really rare one would be all the above and have the use of 64bit pci slots as well be SMP (dual cpu). Took me a long time and a lot of luck but I landed one of my dream machines for only a dollar.
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby kithylin » 2014-2-14 @ 23:17

I made a typo and meant 2001 :> ooops! Funny what a difference a 0 and a 1 make.
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby SPBHM » 2014-2-15 @ 02:59

gandhig wrote:hi idspispopd, i'm afraid i can't get old pci based graphics cards near my place. i have already spent a good amount on this graphics card and want to find out what the issue is. if it is a driver issue then i'm doomed. i have to keep trying till the p3 rig lives(already did a complete recap).

hi SPBHM, my mainboard has only pci slot. so agp was ruled out and i can't get old pci graphics cards.

my graphics card problems might be different than yours. it is basically a pci-e with a pci to pci-e reversible chip onboard. while booting, the bios pci enumeration routine could not detect the card as the pci to pci-e bridge onboard the gpu was not ready. it seems that it takes almost a second to be ready for normal operation after power on to comply with the specs(this fact i came across only after i modded the bios, struggled for a year). so i simply had to introduce a delay before the pci enumeration routine. how happy i was when it worked (and how sad when the system combination didn't perform as expected)!!! thanks a lot for the info on pci speed testing.


it could be the same problem, the 8400GS works the same way (PCIE 1x to PCI bridge chip), I've tested the PCI 8400GS on a "modern" (2007 Athlon) PC, 3dmark 2001se score was around 10k if I'm not mistaken, but the PCI bus was a real problem even for "basic" tasks, like "youtube" which worked fine on the onboard graphics, was slow with the 8400GS PCI, one thing these cards are good for is DXVA, you can probably run 1080P blu rays just fine using DXVA with the P3 + newer VGA...

but for gaming perhaps an older PCI card would give you an easier time, but as others have said, AGP is a lot better.
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby gandhig » 2014-2-15 @ 05:19

zstandig wrote:You got the Zotac right?

I did the same thing a year or two ago (only I got the gt420). You know, thinking "lol, holy crap, I'm gonna have a Pentium 3 with HDMI!" Anyway, long story short, it wouldn't install right, it would say it's installed, then I'd restart, and then nothing and back to the crappy integrated graphics. I switched back to the Radeon 9500ishxyz. Which I think was the best gpu on the PCI at the time before Zotac started shoving gt400,500, and 600s onto it.


@zstandig, yeah it is the zotac one. i fell for it too as i was just searching for best pci graphics card in 2012 and missed the component mismatch/incompatibility totally. i wasn't as lucky as you, i could not get the normal pci cards at my place. the only consolation for me was that i could get it properly detected and intialized before the os takes over.
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby noshutdown » 2014-2-15 @ 05:20

your score seems reasonable, there is not much you can do to improve it except changing your hardware.

1. your cpu is the bottleneck. even a p3s-1.4g+gf6800/r9800 combination can only score around 10000pts, and your p3-850 is just about 60% as fast as the p3s, so the highest score possible for your cpu is around 6000pts, even with whatever fastest video card you can use.
2. the newer nvidia drivers consumes a lot more cpu power than old ones, making your cpu even slower.
3. pci also provides a little bottleneck.
so the best solution for your p3 rig is to get a geforce2/3/4 and use older drivers, and give the gt520 to someone else.
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby gandhig » 2014-2-15 @ 05:29

kithylin wrote:I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but no matter what you do to that thing, and no matter how much you tweak it, you're just flat out not going to get good Direct3D / 3D-Accelerated game performance out of a PCI video card. All PCI video cards pretty much are going to have really, really poor performance in 3D, just by the nature of the PCI bus in general. There's not enough bandwidth in the PCI bus to do well. The bottom line is you're pretty much going to have to try and switch it up to an AGP card of some sort. And if you can't do that... then what you're already seeing is going to be the best you're going to get for PCI.

They did make voodoo5's for PCI at one point, that might actually be better than what you have but it would probably be pretty much a waste.

Which OS are you using with this?


@kithylin, agreed mostly. but the card is basically a pci-express one with a bridge to pci, so the bottlenecking should be only due to pci bandwidth. then again i'm trying to play games only upto 2001 which i guess should not saturate the pci bus. i disabled all the devices-serial, parallel, sound, usb (except eide of course) that can cause pci bus contention, but not much improvement.

os is win xp sp3
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby gandhig » 2014-2-15 @ 05:39

nforce4max wrote:
kithylin wrote:But the OP already said they're not using Glide games, they're trying to run Dues Ex 1, half-life 1, and other 2011 Direct3D/DirectX games, which are most likely not going to do well with PCI cards.


Not the best p3 rig for such games, those are very old titles that do run as glide. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-Life_%28video_game%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deus_Ex

Neither of those two titles are from 2011. I would have hunted down a board with agp and had more choices when it came to cards. The cream of the crop P3 era boards had DDR or RDRAM with a 4x universal agp slot and not capped at 512mb/1024mb when it came to the ram. A really rare one would be all the above and have the use of 64bit pci slots as well be SMP (dual cpu). Took me a long time and a lot of luck but I landed one of my dream machines for only a dollar.


@nforce4max, this old system was already with me and i was trying to squeeze more performance by getting a pci card to overcome the poor integrated graphics. as i said earlier it was my mistake that i didn't do a proper research and unfortunate that i didn't come across this forum. i only wanted to play some old classics and didn't have the luxury to get retro components at my place. i'm happy that your efforts paid you more than luck, i guess
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby gandhig » 2014-2-15 @ 06:16

SPBHM wrote:it could be the same problem, the 8400GS works the same way (PCIE 1x to PCI bridge chip), I've tested the PCI 8400GS on a "modern" (2007 Athlon) PC, 3dmark 2001se score was around 10k if I'm not mistaken, but the PCI bus was a real problem even for "basic" tasks, like "youtube" which worked fine on the onboard graphics, was slow with the 8400GS PCI, one thing these cards are good for is DXVA, you can probably run 1080P blu rays just fine using DXVA with the P3 + newer VGA...

but for gaming perhaps an older PCI card would give you an easier time, but as others have said, AGP is a lot better.


@SPBHM, yeah youtube was real slow. but i thought, it must be due to my usb data card also geting connected to the southbridge resulting in pci bus contention with the graphics card. now that you mention youtube is slow even on a modern system, my guess must be wrong.
do you have your 3dmark2001 se scores still with you? if so, can you share it?
DXVA was too good. i use MPC and how smoothly i could view 1080P videos on this P3 system with a 24" monitor!!!
thanks to you, i tested my system with final reality benchmark.

Benchmark results:
Radial blur, 5A, 53.58, rips, 7.411, Rmark
Chaos zoomer, 5A, 83.79, rips, 4.071, Rmark
25 Pixel, 5A, 528.30, kpps, 16.884, Rmark
Robots, 5A, 38.79, rips, 10.050, Rmark
Fillrate, 5A, 17.87, MPps, 3.867, Rmark
City scene, 5A, 48.33, rips, 11.992, Rmark
Video card bus transfer, 5A, 15.34, MBps, 0.488, Rmark
Direct3D bus transfer, 5A, 19.28, MBps, 1.648, Rmark
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Visual appearance, 100.00, percent
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Overall 3D, 3.780, Rmark
Overall 2D, 5.741, Rmark
Overall bus rate, 0.836, Rmark
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
OVERALL SCORE, 3.927 Rmark

2d bus transfer rate is abnormally low.
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby gandhig » 2014-2-15 @ 06:31

noshutdown wrote:your score seems reasonable, there is not much you can do to improve it except changing your hardware.

1. your cpu is the bottleneck. even a p3s-1.4g+gf6800/r9800 combination can only score around 10000pts, and your p3-850 is just about 60% as fast as the p3s, so the highest score possible for your cpu is around 6000pts, even with whatever fastest video card you can use.
2. the newer nvidia drivers consumes a lot more cpu power than old ones, making your cpu even slower.
3. pci also provides a little bottleneck.
so the best solution for your p3 rig is to get a geforce2/3/4 and use older drivers, and give the gt520 to someone else.


@noshutdown, i'm actually not as much bothered about the high scores as the minimum fps i get while playing. if you see my test results, i'm getting only 17 fps in game 1 high settings and i don't have any pci card results to compare with. i get around 12-14 fps in deus ex 1 opening dock scene and sudden dip in fps around the first bend(into the open area) and the place where there is radioactive material near the end of the intro sequence in half life 1. this pci graphics card worked perfectly well in a core2duo pc with smooth playability even in more modern games (NFS:MW-2005) than the one i'm playing. that's why i feel the problem is not in the card itself but probably due to the combination of via chipset's pci performance and/or this card's pci to pci-e bridge. this is the reason that is driving me in my quest to explore the possibility of tweaking differnt config space registers on my hostbridge and the graphics card's reverse bridge.
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby gandhig » 2014-2-15 @ 06:46

gandhig wrote:hi idspispopd, i'm afraid i can't get old pci based graphics cards near my place. i have already spent a good amount on this graphics card and want to find out what the issue is. if it is a driver issue then i'm doomed. i have to keep trying till the p3 rig lives(already did a complete recap).

hi SPBHM, my mainboard has only pci slot. so agp was ruled out and i can't get old pci graphics cards.

my graphics card problems might be different than yours. it is basically a pci-e with a pci to pci-e reversible chip onboard. while booting, the bios pci enumeration routine could not detect the card as the pci to pci-e bridge onboard the gpu was not ready. it seems that it takes almost a second to be ready for normal operation after power on to comply with the specs(this fact i came across only after i modded the bios, struggled for a year). so i simply had to introduce a delay before the pci enumeration routine. how happy i was when it worked (and how sad when the system combination didn't perform as expected)!!! thanks a lot for the info on pci speed testing.


@SPBHM, i forgot to add one more thing. i found out that the award bios 6.00 upto 2004 afaik don't handle the combination of 'prefetchable' and '64 bit memory space" request correctly for resource allocation to the pci devices at the time of bus enumeration. it probably will allocate only non-prefetchable memory space even if the device is requesting prefetchable type in 64 bit memory space. i had to patch that too in my bios. you mentioned that you had switched to some other card. if you still have 8400gs pci, i will be happy to check for a workaround if your motherboard has award bios 6.00 as the pci enumeration routines didn't change much with different manufacturers.
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby d1stortion » 2014-2-15 @ 11:17

I really think putting such a new card in a P3 makes for a bizarre combination... my guess is that the drivers expect SSE3 as that is the lowest common denominator for quite some time (or just a lot more general CPU performance than what your P3 offers), which may be why you are getting such bad frame rates even in old games like Deus Ex. It's not a completely fair comparison obviously, but still worth mentioning that Xbox had a 733 MHz P3/Celeron hybrid with a GF3 and that played 2004 games like HL2 and Doom3 well enough.

Getting a 3dfx card or at least something up to Geforce FX would make a lot more sense for such a PC if you are talking about compatibility...
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Re: my modern pci graphics card's poor performance in P3 rig

Postby sliderider » 2014-2-15 @ 13:38

d1stortion wrote:I really think putting such a new card in a P3 makes for a bizarre combination... my guess is that the drivers expect SSE3 as that is the lowest common denominator for quite some time (or just a lot more general CPU performance than what your P3 offers), which may be why you are getting such bad frame rates even in old games like Deus Ex. It's not a completely fair comparison obviously, but still worth mentioning that Xbox had a 733 MHz P3/Celeron hybrid with a GF3 and that played 2004 games like HL2 and Doom3 well enough.

Getting a 3dfx card or at least something up to Geforce FX would make a lot more sense for such a PC if you are talking about compatibility...


And aren't there also backward compatibility issues with new cards trying to run old games anyway? A DX11 video card is going to lack features present in a DX5 or DX6 video card simply because those features are no longer needed because newer functions added to later cards have rendered those features obsolete. Why continue to support something that programmers aren't going to use anymore, right?
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