VOGONS


First post, by red_avatar

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Okay so, as you can see in my signature below, I've got several retro PC's for pretty much every 90's mini-era of games: DOS, Win 3.1, Windows 98 and early Windows XP. As a game collector, roughly two thirds of all my physical games fall within those years (1990-2002) but I've started noticing that a new "era" of games are starting to be finicky to run on modern PC's namely late Windows XP games (2003-2007). Think games such as Splinter Cell, Black & White 2, MGS 2, Neverwinter Nights 2, etc.

Because of this, I would like a dedicated Windows XP with maximum game compatibility. I was thinking of something along the line of:

CPU
My choice: Core2Duo E6600. Despite this being a multicore CPU which might cause some (minor) compatibility issues, I'd still go for this CPU since (a) I still have my own E6600 lying around and (b) the slightly older CPUs were far less efficient and capable.

Motherboard
Since I went with the C2D, the motherboard should have socket PLGA775. I don't have a working motherboard anymore for this socket so I'll have to do some ebay searching. Do any of you have any motherboard to recommend for this socket? It has to support the 7800 GTX (see below) which means it should ideally have PCI-e x16. I found this one on ebay for not too much money which would work I think: https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P5KPLAM/

Graphics card
My choice: 7800 or 7900 GTX. This was a tough one. I wanted a DirectX9 card because DX10 cards "emulated" DX9 causing some performance issues for DX9 games not to mention graphical glitches in some games. Because of this, I'd go for the 7800/7900 GTX. It's a very powerful card for that era and it should have the best compatibility. The 7800 GTX is easier to find, though so I'll probably go for that.

Sound card
My choice: Creative Audigy 2. Very easy choice: the last Windows XP card that was really good. The X-Fi I own as well but I hate that card with a passion because it was sold as a Vista compatible card despite having drivers and software written by 5 year olds which made me actually tear it out in anger after months of issues and replacing it with a Xonar card. I later found out that starting with the X-Fi, Creative had sacked its US-based programming team and moved it to Malaysia where they got inexperienced freshly-graduated programmers to work for them at low wages. The Audigy had rock solid drivers and software, though.

Memory
My choice: 2GB DDR2 would be ideal to avoid running into problems with 4GB limits. Plenty of memory to find for this, still.

So what do you think of this setup? Any comments? Any improvement to make? My budget is around €125 - I figure €25 for the RAM, €40 for the GPU, €40 for the motherboard and €20 for a new DVD drive. The rest I can make from spare parts.

Retro game fanatic.
IBM PS1 386SX25 - 4MB
IBM Aptiva 486SX33 - 8MB - 2GB CF - SB16
IBM PC350 P233MMX - 64MB - 32GB SSD - AWE64 - Voodoo2
PIII600 - 320MB - 480GB SSD - SB Live! - GF4 Ti 4200
i5-2500k - 3GB - SB Audigy 2 - HD 4870

Reply 1 of 19, by Ampera

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There are various problems with this attempt.

VOGONS was originally created as a site to help people get very old DOS games to run on new systems (At the time Windows XP and it's useless NTVDM) Thus the name, Very Old Games On New Systems.

XP is NOT a fun machine for DOS games. Your machine is probably fast enough to do DOSBox if you wanted.

If you are having problems with the 4GB limit, use a PAE compatible OS (Windows Server 2003 in specific versions comes to mind) PAE is supported by ALL 64-bit machines by default, meaning with the right OS, up to 64 GB of RAM is supported on 32-bit operating systems. This is also supported on Windows 2000 in specific versions, but Windows 2000, while the best (least shit) operating system Microsoft has ever made, does not support Steam in any real capacity, so that may be a hindrance.

You COULD dual boot into something like Windows 98SE with the right patches, which DOES have mostly perfect DOS support (Although PCI sound is default on later boards)

Besides DOS support being near impossible in most cases, it should run fine for most games you are looking to run, AFTER DOS did it's thing.

Reply 2 of 19, by red_avatar

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Ampera wrote:
There are various problems with this attempt. […]
Show full quote

There are various problems with this attempt.

VOGONS was originally created as a site to help people get very old DOS games to run on new systems (At the time Windows XP and it's useless NTVDM) Thus the name, Very Old Games On New Systems.

XP is NOT a fun machine for DOS games. Your machine is probably fast enough to do DOSBox if you wanted.

If you are having problems with the 4GB limit, use a PAE compatible OS (Windows Server 2003 in specific versions comes to mind) PAE is supported by ALL 64-bit machines by default, meaning with the right OS, up to 64 GB of RAM is supported on 32-bit operating systems. This is also supported on Windows 2000 in specific versions, but Windows 2000, while the best (least shit) operating system Microsoft has ever made, does not support Steam in any real capacity, so that may be a hindrance.

You COULD dual boot into something like Windows 98SE with the right patches, which DOES have mostly perfect DOS support (Although PCI sound is default on later boards)

Besides DOS support being near impossible in most cases, it should run fine for most games you are looking to run, AFTER DOS did it's thing.

Well for DOS I got other machines so I'm not worried about that - relatively speaking, this PC wouldn't be that old but it's old enough that I thought I'd post here 😉. And the idea is max compatibility for games so Windows XP is the only option - no 64bit, no Server Windows or Windows 2000 (I know some swear by Windows 2000 but compatibility is iffy, especially for later Windows XP games).

Retro game fanatic.
IBM PS1 386SX25 - 4MB
IBM Aptiva 486SX33 - 8MB - 2GB CF - SB16
IBM PC350 P233MMX - 64MB - 32GB SSD - AWE64 - Voodoo2
PIII600 - 320MB - 480GB SSD - SB Live! - GF4 Ti 4200
i5-2500k - 3GB - SB Audigy 2 - HD 4870

Reply 3 of 19, by GeorgeMan

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If you think about it, something with a Core i3 (sandy/ivy) / 4-8GB RAM / Nvidia GTX770-950 / SB Audigy2ZS with XP 32bit and 7 64bit, and you can run EVERYTHING PC-wise from 2000-2015+, emulate many many many systems like Nintendo NES/SNES/N64/Wii/DS/GB/GBC/GBA, SEGA Dreamcast/Master System, Sony PSone/PS2/PSP, DOS and whatever you want.

It's for me the ultimate system. Only this and a K6-III / 3dfx voodoo /SB16 ISA for native glide support plus the ability to slow it down to Pentium/486/386 levels for those speed sensitive games.

Retro1: Athlon XP 3200+ @Arctic cooler | ASUS A7V600 | Radeon 9800XXL 128MB | SB Audigy 2 ZS | 160GB IDE HDD | Win98SE & XP
Retro2: under construction with a PIII 933 or a Tualatin Celeron 1200 and a GF2 GTS 32MB

Reply 4 of 19, by Nipedley

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That's what I did. Core i5 2500 (sandybridge), GTX 960, Audigy 2 ZS with WinXP & Win7 dual boot. I expected to run into some driver problems with older games using the 960, but so far I haven't had any trouble at all.

I keep my Pentium MMX IBM Aptiva next to it for Win9x stuff, and between them they pretty much have it covered

Reply 5 of 19, by Ampera

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red_avatar wrote:
Ampera wrote:
There are various problems with this attempt. […]
Show full quote

There are various problems with this attempt.

VOGONS was originally created as a site to help people get very old DOS games to run on new systems (At the time Windows XP and it's useless NTVDM) Thus the name, Very Old Games On New Systems.

XP is NOT a fun machine for DOS games. Your machine is probably fast enough to do DOSBox if you wanted.

If you are having problems with the 4GB limit, use a PAE compatible OS (Windows Server 2003 in specific versions comes to mind) PAE is supported by ALL 64-bit machines by default, meaning with the right OS, up to 64 GB of RAM is supported on 32-bit operating systems. This is also supported on Windows 2000 in specific versions, but Windows 2000, while the best (least shit) operating system Microsoft has ever made, does not support Steam in any real capacity, so that may be a hindrance.

You COULD dual boot into something like Windows 98SE with the right patches, which DOES have mostly perfect DOS support (Although PCI sound is default on later boards)

Besides DOS support being near impossible in most cases, it should run fine for most games you are looking to run, AFTER DOS did it's thing.

Well for DOS I got other machines so I'm not worried about that - relatively speaking, this PC wouldn't be that old but it's old enough that I thought I'd post here 😉. And the idea is max compatibility for games so Windows XP is the only option - no 64bit, no Server Windows or Windows 2000 (I know some swear by Windows 2000 but compatibility is iffy, especially for later Windows XP games).

Server 2003 has full comparability with all Windows XP applications. There is little to no real difference between the two. As an example, I use Windows Server 2016 for my desktop PC because it has less fluff than Windows 10, and doesn't spy on you as much.

A 32-bit version of Windows Server 2003 R2 (I think Enterprise) supports 64GB of RAM on all 32-bit systems, and will give up to 3GB of RAM per process. It also supports multiple threads.

Reply 6 of 19, by GeorgeMan

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Many applications need hacks to install on server OS though.

Last edited by GeorgeMan on 2017-07-31, 11:56. Edited 1 time in total.

Retro1: Athlon XP 3200+ @Arctic cooler | ASUS A7V600 | Radeon 9800XXL 128MB | SB Audigy 2 ZS | 160GB IDE HDD | Win98SE & XP
Retro2: under construction with a PIII 933 or a Tualatin Celeron 1200 and a GF2 GTS 32MB

Reply 7 of 19, by DosFreak

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Been awhile since I've updated my compatibility list but from a quick glance:

2003:
Issues with installers not installing on 2003 (Use orca,uniextract or install on another system)
Have to manually install DirectMusic
Games with DEP issues (just disable DEP or exclude the game)
Need to install the Indeo codec (Can't remember if it was included in XP or not)
Handful of games not working. Likely video card/driver issues.

All of the above are pretty minor tho. XP and 2003 are pretty much the same for compatibility.

Both are EOL but if you look hard enough you can find current security updates for 2003.

DOSBox Compilation Guides
DosBox Feature Request Thread
PC Game Compatibility List
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Running DRM games offline

Reply 9 of 19, by red_avatar

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GeorgeMan wrote:

If you think about it, something with a Core i3 (sandy/ivy) / 4-8GB RAM / Nvidia GTX770-950 / SB Audigy2ZS with XP 32bit and 7 64bit, and you can run EVERYTHING PC-wise from 2000-2015+, emulate many many many systems like Nintendo NES/SNES/N64/Wii/DS/GB/GBC/GBA, SEGA Dreamcast/Master System, Sony PSone/PS2/PSP, DOS and whatever you want.

It's for me the ultimate system. Only this and a K6-III / 3dfx voodoo /SB16 ISA for native glide support plus the ability to slow it down to Pentium/486/386 levels for those speed sensitive games.

Well the thing is, I have a modern game PC which can do all the emulating but I don't want to dual boot off that because my drives are formatted in a way that Windows XP doesn't like. Last time I tried it, it totally fucked up my boot record and also did some weird stuff to one of the drives. On top of that, several of my parts don't have Windows XP drivers and SSD drives don't like Windows XP too much either.

Basically, it has to be a seperate PC and then it makes more sense to go with authentic hardware instead of going for more modern parts which cause compatibility issues AND cost more to procure. The only advantage is how easy the parts are to find but on the other hand, there's a certain fun in building a more retro PC from scratch as well 😉

Retro game fanatic.
IBM PS1 386SX25 - 4MB
IBM Aptiva 486SX33 - 8MB - 2GB CF - SB16
IBM PC350 P233MMX - 64MB - 32GB SSD - AWE64 - Voodoo2
PIII600 - 320MB - 480GB SSD - SB Live! - GF4 Ti 4200
i5-2500k - 3GB - SB Audigy 2 - HD 4870

Reply 10 of 19, by red_avatar

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DosFreak wrote:

Been awhile since I've updated my compatibility list but from a quick glance:
2003:
Issues with installers not installing on 2003 (Use orca,uniextract or install on another system)

Lord, this is an issue with 64 bit systems as well because many older Windows games used a 16 bit installer which, of course, doesn't work in a 64bit Windows. Getting to install these games was a downright pain in the ass! I ended up having to use a Virtual Machine running Windows XP with a tool that tracks system changes. I'd install the game in the VM, use the tool to collect any changes apart from installing files, and then mimic these changes (usually registry entries) on my actual Windows 7 machine. Sure took the fun out of playing those games 😒

But I don't see the use of Windows 2003 to be honest - part of the reason to go for Windows XP, is the vast online library of help if you run into problems and I don't want to keep guessing if a problem is caused by Windows 2003 or if it would also happen in Windows XP.

Retro game fanatic.
IBM PS1 386SX25 - 4MB
IBM Aptiva 486SX33 - 8MB - 2GB CF - SB16
IBM PC350 P233MMX - 64MB - 32GB SSD - AWE64 - Voodoo2
PIII600 - 320MB - 480GB SSD - SB Live! - GF4 Ti 4200
i5-2500k - 3GB - SB Audigy 2 - HD 4870

Reply 11 of 19, by chinny22

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Got a similar XP PC based on that motherboard,
Socket 775 XP Build, Old PC gets a new life

I've got a 2nd motherboard which if you want you can have for the price of shipping, just send me a PM if your interested.
The motherboard has been reliable, Only complaints is on board sound isn't anything special, and eventually I'd like a SLI system just for the sake of it which this doesn't have.
You do need to load the updated HDD controller drivers to install XP, but that's with anything this recent.

Also recommend Noctua CPU heatsinkif you don't have anything. I was sceptical but was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to obtain my free mounting kit for older socket.

If you check out my post, you'll see I'm actually using a X-Fi as well, card behaves better then a Audigy 2 ZS in Win98.
I'd put the hate down to most the hardware manufactures releasing some real crap drivers when Vista came out.

Reply 12 of 19, by Azarien

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red_avatar wrote:

My choice: 2GB DDR2 would be ideal to avoid running into problems with 4GB limits.

Keep in mind that 4 GB capped to 3.5 is still much more than 2.
And there are patches for XP+ that bring back PAE support. Not officially supported of course.

Reply 13 of 19, by shamino

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I like XP64 rather than XP32, but I suppose it's minor quirks might be about the same as 2003 (which I haven't used).
My newest PC (~2010 parts) has an XP32/64 dual boot, but I haven't run into any need for XP32. Obviously anything old enough to use a 16-bit installer would be a problem though.

My choice: 7800 or 7900 GTX. This was a tough one. I wanted a DirectX9 card because DX10 cards "emulated" DX9 causing some performance issues for DX9 games not to mention graphical glitches in some games.

I wasn't aware of this issue, but your choice implies an aggressive focus on the DX9 XP32 era. As such, maybe it won't care for any benefits of XP64, so perhaps XP32 is the most foolproof option.

SSD drives don't like Windows XP too much either.

You can use an SSD with XP but a little tweaking is advised. There's an AData "SSD Toolbox" utility that will let you manually run TRIM (it doesn't check the brand of your SSD). That utility also has a one-click feature to set some SSD friendly registry options, but I have no opinion on whether it's tweaks are good ones. I did my registry stuff manually.
You'd also want to align the partitions, but that's true with any modern hard disk.

Reply 14 of 19, by cyclone3d

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The 7900GTX is super easy to find.. at least here in the USA.

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_tr … 00+gtx&_sacat=0

I would do the 7900GTX over the 7800GTX any day.

Audigy 2 is a great choice for XP as well.

As for the motherboard I would look for something with a P45 chipset which was the best LGA775 chipset and something with more than 1 available PCI slot after you install the video card.

The dual core CPU will NOT cause any compatibility issues with any XP games or apps. A single core in XP is torture because everything has to run in a serial fashion. You will see much smoother gameplay and framerates with a multi-core CPU.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
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Reply 15 of 19, by Bobolaf

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I don't think I would go with a high end 7000 series card. I say this for 4 reasons.

Often people buy old cards to run in old systems or old games that have issues with newer parts. The 7000 is new enough to still have these issues. About the only plus on this card is you can hack the drivers to run on 98 but as your running XP that's no help.

Graphics moved very fast back then and even the high end 7000 are actually a very week. If your opting for these newer generation of cards your far better going for a newer generation of card.

They also use quite a bit of power considering how week they are. The 7800 and 7900 gtx are both twin slot with annoying fan. You could easy get a much cooler and quieter card.

The 7000 series is also getting old and coming from a generation of somewhat less durable cards. I have replaced plenty of caps on these cards. It's not the biggest issue as they can be fixed but I only bothered because there the last card with drivers for older OS like 98.

I would pick a much newer card for XP as things like DOS compatibility is not going to be an issue.

Reply 16 of 19, by GeorgeMan

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red_avatar wrote:

Graphics card
My choice: 7800 or 7900 GTX. This was a tough one. I wanted a DirectX9 card because DX10 cards "emulated" DX9 causing some performance issues for DX9 games not to mention graphical glitches in some games.

Can you give any specific example on this?
Because I'm well aware that there are issues with older games (eg dx 6 or 8 on a dx9 card), but I haven't run on ANY issue with a dx9 game on a dx10 or newer card under Windows XP.

Retro1: Athlon XP 3200+ @Arctic cooler | ASUS A7V600 | Radeon 9800XXL 128MB | SB Audigy 2 ZS | 160GB IDE HDD | Win98SE & XP
Retro2: under construction with a PIII 933 or a Tualatin Celeron 1200 and a GF2 GTS 32MB

Reply 17 of 19, by red_avatar

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GeorgeMan wrote:
red_avatar wrote:

Graphics card
My choice: 7800 or 7900 GTX. This was a tough one. I wanted a DirectX9 card because DX10 cards "emulated" DX9 causing some performance issues for DX9 games not to mention graphical glitches in some games.

Can you give any specific example on this?
Because I'm well aware that there are issues with older games (eg dx 6 or 8 on a dx9 card), but I haven't run on ANY issue with a dx9 game on a dx10 or newer card under Windows XP.

When I got my first DX10 card (8800GT), I bought it along with a Vista-ready system. I dual booted Windows XP and Vista for quite some time because Vista had terrible driver support for 64 bit back then (Creative were being dicks and refused to release Vista drivers for the Audigy 2 for example and Nvidia's 64 bit drivers were crap). My old system had a 6800GT inside running Windows XP as well. Out of interest, I used to run some benchmarks at the time, comparing the performance of the three situations:

DX10 card in XP
DX10 card in Vista
(older) DX9 card in XP

My expectations were great performance of DX10 card in XP, slightly worse performance in Vista and DX9 card to performance worse in XP due to being several years older. The results were as followed:

- DX10 card in Vista had compatibility problems with quite a few DX9 games leading to stuff like flickering shadows, performance hits for certain DX9 specific effects and some games really giving terrible fps as a result. Other games were a mess like Metal Gear Solid 2. Drivers for 64bit Win Vista were pretty bad which was part of the problem.

- DX10 card in XP performed OK but I didn't actually feel as if it was that much faster than my old card. Considering 99% of games released at the time were DX9 still, so this was a disappointment.

- DX9 card in XP actually performed very close to the DX10 card in XP on my new system which surprised me. Again, bad drivers were blamed when I mentioned this on forums.

Thing is, you could say "get the newer drivers then" but it's exactly the inclusion of DX10 cards in the drivers that broke so many games, I recall. That's why I don't want a DX10 card - so I can stick to the pre-DX10 card support drivers and get the best compatibility for DX9. If I want DX10, I'll use my modern PC - I've yet to find many DX10 and later games that won't run on my modern system but I know many DX9 games with the problem (especially ones that rely on DirectDraw).

Retro game fanatic.
IBM PS1 386SX25 - 4MB
IBM Aptiva 486SX33 - 8MB - 2GB CF - SB16
IBM PC350 P233MMX - 64MB - 32GB SSD - AWE64 - Voodoo2
PIII600 - 320MB - 480GB SSD - SB Live! - GF4 Ti 4200
i5-2500k - 3GB - SB Audigy 2 - HD 4870

Reply 18 of 19, by matcarfer

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red_avatar wrote:
When I got my first DX10 card (8800GT), I bought it along with a Vista-ready system. I dual booted Windows XP and Vista for quit […]
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GeorgeMan wrote:
red_avatar wrote:

Graphics card
My choice: 7800 or 7900 GTX. This was a tough one. I wanted a DirectX9 card because DX10 cards "emulated" DX9 causing some performance issues for DX9 games not to mention graphical glitches in some games.

Can you give any specific example on this?
Because I'm well aware that there are issues with older games (eg dx 6 or 8 on a dx9 card), but I haven't run on ANY issue with a dx9 game on a dx10 or newer card under Windows XP.

When I got my first DX10 card (8800GT), I bought it along with a Vista-ready system. I dual booted Windows XP and Vista for quite some time because Vista had terrible driver support for 64 bit back then (Creative were being dicks and refused to release Vista drivers for the Audigy 2 for example and Nvidia's 64 bit drivers were crap). My old system had a 6800GT inside running Windows XP as well. Out of interest, I used to run some benchmarks at the time, comparing the performance of the three situations:

DX10 card in XP
DX10 card in Vista
(older) DX9 card in XP

My expectations were great performance of DX10 card in XP, slightly worse performance in Vista and DX9 card to performance worse in XP due to being several years older. The results were as followed:

- DX10 card in Vista had compatibility problems with quite a few DX9 games leading to stuff like flickering shadows, performance hits for certain DX9 specific effects and some games really giving terrible fps as a result. Other games were a mess like Metal Gear Solid 2. Drivers for 64bit Win Vista were pretty bad which was part of the problem.

- DX10 card in XP performed OK but I didn't actually feel as if it was that much faster than my old card. Considering 99% of games released at the time were DX9 still, so this was a disappointment.

- DX9 card in XP actually performed very close to the DX10 card in XP on my new system which surprised me. Again, bad drivers were blamed when I mentioned this on forums.

Thing is, you could say "get the newer drivers then" but it's exactly the inclusion of DX10 cards in the drivers that broke so many games, I recall. That's why I don't want a DX10 card - so I can stick to the pre-DX10 card support drivers and get the best compatibility for DX9. If I want DX10, I'll use my modern PC - I've yet to find many DX10 and later games that won't run on my modern system but I know many DX9 games with the problem (especially ones that rely on DirectDraw).

The only game you reported to behave wrong (MGS2) is known to have several problems on almost any newer videocard even on XP. Thankfully therre is an unnoficial patch going around that fixes everything including running the game in Win10.

Reply 19 of 19, by GeorgeMan

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Exactly that. So the problems were under Vista, not the DX10 cards to blame. 😉

Retro1: Athlon XP 3200+ @Arctic cooler | ASUS A7V600 | Radeon 9800XXL 128MB | SB Audigy 2 ZS | 160GB IDE HDD | Win98SE & XP
Retro2: under construction with a PIII 933 or a Tualatin Celeron 1200 and a GF2 GTS 32MB