VOGONS


Best VGA Card for 386

Topic actions

First post, by weldum

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Hello, I have an AMD 386DX 40 with 8 MB Ram and 250MB HDD.

I have these ISA video cards:

Oak Technology OTI037
Cirrus Logic CL-GD5420
Oak Technology OTI077
Trident TVGA8900

Who is better? For Windows 3.11, Windows 95 (i'm crazy 🤣 ), Pinball Fantasies, Second Reality and old dos games.

Also, I want to put into the machine some network and sound. The Sound Blaster ViBRA16 works under DOS/Win3.11 and no PNP systems?
The network cards that I have are PNP, will they work?

Thanks.

Ohh, the humanity 😢
386SX 25-C3 800-P3 900-Atom 1.6-C-D 2.13-P4 2.26-P4HT 3.0-P-DC 1.6-AFX 2.6-FX 3.3

Reply 1 of 60, by PhilsComputerLab

User metadata
Rank Hardware Mod
Rank
Hardware Mod

Don't know about Windows, but the CL should be the fastest. The OAK will likely be the slowest with the Trident in the middle.

YouTube, Facebook, Website

Reply 3 of 60, by weldum

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

how do I know how much memory it has?

soviet conscript: It say "Trident TVGA8900D"

I have 3 8900D and 1 5420. The 5420 has 2 memory chips (NEC 424270-80 9331EU005), two of the 8900D are with 4 chips(PIC BD48256-70 CED039 9410 and the other is HTK 514400J-70 9345-8288 USA) and the last 8900D (who seems to be newer than the others) has 8 chips (9503HCZ TC514256AJ-70) and a newer bios chip (Ver. C4.5 vs Ver. C4.4)

Ohh, the humanity 😢
386SX 25-C3 800-P3 900-Atom 1.6-C-D 2.13-P4 2.26-P4HT 3.0-P-DC 1.6-AFX 2.6-FX 3.3

Reply 4 of 60, by Jolaes76

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

I would use the 8900D 1 MB cards if they have above tolerable pic quality. These are the fastest of the family and have excellent compatibility modes. The Cl 5428 and above models are on par in most cases and faster.

Trident 8900D: The one with 8 chips is the 1 MB version.

Pnp cards should work as well, both NIC and Vibra. DOS configuration is a bit more involved though.

"Ita in vita ut in lusu alae pessima iactura arte corrigenda est."

Reply 5 of 60, by kixs

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

For Windows usage I'd recommend a card with GUI acceleration. For example:

- Cirrus Logic 5422 (does Win 3.1 but not Win95). Newer models are fine (5424, 5426, 5428, 5429, 5434)
- S3 801, 924...
- Tseng Labs ET4000/w32
- WDC 90C31
- ATI Mach32, Mach64

From your list only the one with 8 chips is 1MB. But you can't know how fast it is (in DOS) until you run some benchmarks. Usually 8900D are slow, but there are some cards that perform really good in DOS. All of your cards are slow in Windows, especially when you want to run in 8 or 15-bit colour modes.

My Amibay: SALE | BUY - Updated on 2020-05-25

Reply 6 of 60, by weldum

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

The NIC is only for Windows. I guess i'll use the 8900D.

Also, I have another sound card and a diy covox sound thing. The covox works very well but the other card is an OPTi 925 with IDE for CD-ROM. I don't know if that card has SB compatibilty under DOS. I can't even make it work in Windows 98SE so I don't know if it even works.

Does the OPTi card is better than the SB Vibra? or the two are the same? (emulated fm synthesis).

Ohh, the humanity 😢
386SX 25-C3 800-P3 900-Atom 1.6-C-D 2.13-P4 2.26-P4HT 3.0-P-DC 1.6-AFX 2.6-FX 3.3

Reply 7 of 60, by weldum

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

kixs, i don't expect to have the fastest GUI in Windows 95 on the 386. Before in that machine I had installed one OTI037. That really was slow. It was even frustrating at times.

It would be very good to have one newer Cirrus Logic card, or the posibility to use Simm72 ram modules in that motherboard. But no one can have everything, especially when it comes to older computers in some countries.

Ohh, the humanity 😢
386SX 25-C3 800-P3 900-Atom 1.6-C-D 2.13-P4 2.26-P4HT 3.0-P-DC 1.6-AFX 2.6-FX 3.3

Reply 8 of 60, by weldum

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Before i forget, this computer has the 504MB BIOS limit, how do I recognize the motherboard manufacter and/or model? It would be really good if I can find some bios update that solves this problem. My current HDD is 250MB and I'm afraid is very small. Windows 95 uses about 95% of the disk.

Ohh, the humanity 😢
386SX 25-C3 800-P3 900-Atom 1.6-C-D 2.13-P4 2.26-P4HT 3.0-P-DC 1.6-AFX 2.6-FX 3.3

Reply 9 of 60, by kixs

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Win95 usually takes less than 50mb.

There is a solution to 504mb limit with DDO software - search the forum.

About vga cards... just keep an eye out if something pops in your area. Good gui accelerator makes a big difference in user experience.

My Amibay: SALE | BUY - Updated on 2020-05-25

Reply 10 of 60, by weldum

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

I think I know where to find a better card.

About the Win95 install, I format the hdd with format c: /s , then copy the contents of the Windows 95C OEM disk that I have onto the hdd and run install from the DOS version copied before.
I install win95 that way because I don't have any floppy disk.

With that, the HDD only has 40MB or less free aproximately. The disk uses 110MB and about another 110MB for the installation.

Last edited by weldum on 2016-02-21, 19:14. Edited 1 time in total.

Ohh, the humanity 😢
386SX 25-C3 800-P3 900-Atom 1.6-C-D 2.13-P4 2.26-P4HT 3.0-P-DC 1.6-AFX 2.6-FX 3.3

Reply 11 of 60, by weldum

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Also, the bios tend to recognize a little bit less than the full capacity of the HDD.
The HDD is 250MB, but the bios recognizes 245MB aproximately. It's not a big deal, but I can't format the HDD on another computer because it doesn't get recognized and/or the partition and MBR gets corrupted.

Ohh, the humanity 😢
386SX 25-C3 800-P3 900-Atom 1.6-C-D 2.13-P4 2.26-P4HT 3.0-P-DC 1.6-AFX 2.6-FX 3.3

Reply 12 of 60, by vlask

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Best will be Cirrus Logic, after him is Oak 077, then Trident and slowest is Oak 037. Dunno about WIn 3.11, but for dos is Cirrus best. Some benchmarks can be found at mine site - http://vgamuseum.info/index.php/benchmarks

Sadly GUI acceleration is supported since Cirrus Logic CL-GD5426, so Oak might be better in Win3.11

Not only mine graphics cards collection at http://www.vgamuseum.info

Reply 13 of 60, by weldum

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

what are good dos bechmarks to see what vga card is best?

Ohh, the humanity 😢
386SX 25-C3 800-P3 900-Atom 1.6-C-D 2.13-P4 2.26-P4HT 3.0-P-DC 1.6-AFX 2.6-FX 3.3

Reply 14 of 60, by soviet conscript

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
kixs wrote:

. Usually 8900D are slow.

I seem to recall a member here performing benchmarks and the 8900D coming out very near the top which is surprising from a card from Trident. the D revision has something to do with the memory where its quite a fast DOS card.

Reply 15 of 60, by weldum

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Searching on the web I found that the 8900CL and 8900D have incorporated FIFOs to speed up VRAM operations, and because of that, in some benchmarks gets near ET4000.

In this page: https://th99.bl4ckb0x.de/v/U-Z/54493.htm
I found how to configure the jumpers on the 8900D, but I don't know what are Wait State and Scan Rate. Can someone explain to me?

Ohh, the humanity 😢
386SX 25-C3 800-P3 900-Atom 1.6-C-D 2.13-P4 2.26-P4HT 3.0-P-DC 1.6-AFX 2.6-FX 3.3

Reply 16 of 60, by badmojo

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
soviet conscript wrote:

I seem to recall a member here performing benchmarks and the 8900D coming out very near the top which is surprising from a card from Trident. the D revision has something to do with the memory where its quite a fast DOS card.

Yes the 8900D can be a very useful card - decent speed, great image quality (in my experience), great compatibility and even a top notch CGA mode.

Life? Don't talk to me about life.

Reply 17 of 60, by weldum

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

I see later what VGA I choose. Now, I have to clean the motherboard and the I/O boards, maybe battery replace.

Anyone knows how to remove oxide from the slots and the cache chip pins? I don't have replacements for these chips.

Also, does 60ns fpm ram has a real difference compared to 70ns and 80ns? because I only have 4MB of 60ns ram, but on 70ns I have 8MB.

Ohh, the humanity 😢
386SX 25-C3 800-P3 900-Atom 1.6-C-D 2.13-P4 2.26-P4HT 3.0-P-DC 1.6-AFX 2.6-FX 3.3

Reply 18 of 60, by kixs

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
soviet conscript wrote:
kixs wrote:

. Usually 8900D are slow.

I seem to recall a member here performing benchmarks and the 8900D coming out very near the top which is surprising from a card from Trident. the D revision has something to do with the memory where its quite a fast DOS card.

Like I said... some are slow, some are fast. I have both. Fast are almost as fast as ET4000.

My Amibay: SALE | BUY - Updated on 2020-05-25

Reply 19 of 60, by feipoa

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

ATI Mach64, Cirrus Logic CL-GD5434, Tseng ET4000AX, or Tseng ET4000/W32i are considered amongst the best ISA graphics cards. While the Trident 8900D does have speed near that of the top cards, I found the image quality to be much worse. This may be related to the specific resolution it is run at, but you could clearly see pixellated image when running DOOM and 3dbench.

Here is a brief comparison I ran on a slower 386 with DOOM as the benchmark.
download/file.php?id=21202&mode=view

Ultimate 486 Benchmark | Ultimate 686 Benchmark | Cyrix 5x86 Enhancements | 486 Overkill Graphics | Worlds Fastest 486