VOGONS


First post, by tpowell.ca

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So, I've built a few fast 486 machines (up to 160MHz) and also built up a Win98/XP Pentium 4 3GHz w/HT machine for those later games.
Now, I also built two AMD K6-III+ machines from inspiration I got from PhilsComputerLab.

The K6-III+ is great as it is very flexible speedwise, but in actual fact, I can't find any software that runs better on it than the other two alternatives: a 486 and a fast Pentium 4.
What I found was that it was the opposite.

For older games, the 486 is just perfect and by altering the BUS speed, Turbo mode and caches, it is more vintage-game friendly.
For the newer games, I found that the P4 runs everything I threw at it just fine.

Are there any known computer games that require more than a 486 can afford but are speed sensitive such that a fast P4 could be an issue?

  • Merlin: MS-4144, AMD5x86-160, 32MB, 16GB CF, ZIP100, ESS688, GUS, S3 VirgeGX 2MB, HardMPU
    Newton: K6XV3+/66, AMD K6-III+500, 256MB, 32GB SSD, AWE32, GUS 16MB, Voodoo3-3k
    Einstein: P8P400, P4-3GHz HT, 1.5GB, Quadro4 980XGL, Live!

Reply 1 of 39, by shamino

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I don't know specific games to answer the speed question.

I think the K6-3+ is appealing for people who want to build the fastest system they can around an ISA sound setup while still being suitable for older speed sensitive games. At least in theory I think it would replace a 486, you probably wouldn't need both.

P4 systems generally don't support ISA sound cards, and P2/P3 systems aren't as flexible at slowing down. The VIA C3 is supposed to be good at throttling though.

Reply 2 of 39, by Deksor

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Final Fantasy 7 is speed sensitive, even a P2 400 is too fast. Grim Fandango can't be finished on a computer that's too fast due to some enigma you can't solve on newer computers.

Trying to identify old hardware ? Visit The retro web - Project's thread The Retro Web project - a stason.org/TH99 alternative

Reply 4 of 39, by tpowell.ca

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jheronimus wrote:

Take a look at this list.

😲 interesting. Thank you.
Also, Shamino raised a good point. ISA sound cards. However, some games I tried didn't work well on it like X-COM which would occasionally lock on soundcard init. Even with cache disabled and running at 2x mult. This never happened on my 486. Even at 160MHz.

I guess I'm just surprised at how slow a K6 overclocked to 550MHz really is.
I tried playing Jedi knight II Dark Forces and it is far from being a demanding game yet even with a Voodoo3 3000, it lagged at 1280x1024.

  • Merlin: MS-4144, AMD5x86-160, 32MB, 16GB CF, ZIP100, ESS688, GUS, S3 VirgeGX 2MB, HardMPU
    Newton: K6XV3+/66, AMD K6-III+500, 256MB, 32GB SSD, AWE32, GUS 16MB, Voodoo3-3k
    Einstein: P8P400, P4-3GHz HT, 1.5GB, Quadro4 980XGL, Live!

Reply 5 of 39, by canthearu

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Voodoo 3 is kinda marginal at 1280 x 1024. Try a lower resolution before blaming the CPU.

You would want to try a somewhat faster card if you want these high resolutions to work well.

Reply 6 of 39, by tpowell.ca

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canthearu wrote:

Voodoo 3 is kinda marginal at 1280 x 1024. Try a lower resolution before blaming the CPU.
You would want to try a somewhat faster card if you want these high resolutions to work well.

For later games sure, but Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II is a DX5 game. The voodoo3 should easily handle this at 1280x1024 without breaking a sweat.
And as for Return to Castle Wolfenstein, that game is borderline unplayable.

  • Merlin: MS-4144, AMD5x86-160, 32MB, 16GB CF, ZIP100, ESS688, GUS, S3 VirgeGX 2MB, HardMPU
    Newton: K6XV3+/66, AMD K6-III+500, 256MB, 32GB SSD, AWE32, GUS 16MB, Voodoo3-3k
    Einstein: P8P400, P4-3GHz HT, 1.5GB, Quadro4 980XGL, Live!

Reply 8 of 39, by tpowell.ca

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oerk wrote:

Even a fast overclocked K6-3+ is about equal to a P2-300, so I think that's about right. So, even for 1999 titles, it's far from optimal.

I just happen to like the platform 😀

Can't argue with that.
The coolness of having a machine that can be downclocked and overclocked in software, and runs cold (K6-III+) is definitely a good selling point.
Mine only uses 40W under load at the 120v input to the power supply, which is frankly shocking for a desktop PC.

  • Merlin: MS-4144, AMD5x86-160, 32MB, 16GB CF, ZIP100, ESS688, GUS, S3 VirgeGX 2MB, HardMPU
    Newton: K6XV3+/66, AMD K6-III+500, 256MB, 32GB SSD, AWE32, GUS 16MB, Voodoo3-3k
    Einstein: P8P400, P4-3GHz HT, 1.5GB, Quadro4 980XGL, Live!

Reply 9 of 39, by appiah4

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Super Socket 7 is good until end of 98 or so, then it just fails to impress. I find that K6-2 CPUs are a sweet spot for 1996-1998 3dfx era games, but once you get into heavy direct3d titles you really want to go with a Slot1/S370 Pentium III.

As for equivalence, the K6-3 is NOT slower than a PII-300, even the K6-2/500 is about as fast as a Pentium II 333, the K6-3 ought to be about as fast as later Pentium IIs, if not a match for even the earliest Pentium IIIs.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 10 of 39, by swaaye

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I'd love to see modern frame time benchmarks somehow run on K6-III+ versus PIII 450. I suspect that a PIII 450 will give you a considerably smoother experience. With 440BX you get much better memory performance, typically a better configured BIOS for various CPU & chipset features, and AGP that works properly.

If you look at f2bnp's benchmarks (Pentium II/III VS K6-III+) you can see some numbers for minimum framerates. With UT99, a K6-III+ 577 is down at PII 333 level.

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Reply 11 of 39, by tpowell.ca

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I agree with both of you appiah4 and swaaye.
In terms of performance in that period, the PIII really creams the K6-III on a performance/megahertz basis.
And I cannot deny that the 440BX chipset was a masterpiece. On my K6-III, I regularly reach down for the RESET button, but I fondly recall my PIII-500 running rock solid in DOS and Windows 98.

I guess I was hoping to stretch the usefulness of the K6-III beyond late era DOS games.

  • Merlin: MS-4144, AMD5x86-160, 32MB, 16GB CF, ZIP100, ESS688, GUS, S3 VirgeGX 2MB, HardMPU
    Newton: K6XV3+/66, AMD K6-III+500, 256MB, 32GB SSD, AWE32, GUS 16MB, Voodoo3-3k
    Einstein: P8P400, P4-3GHz HT, 1.5GB, Quadro4 980XGL, Live!

Reply 12 of 39, by infiniteclouds

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Deksor wrote:

Final Fantasy 7 is speed sensitive, even a P2 400 is too fast. Grim Fandango can't be finished on a computer that's too fast due to some enigma you can't solve on newer computers.

Really?? I only ever played it on PSX but it seems absurd think that our 1998 Dell (PII 450) wouldn't have run a game that came out THE SAME YEAR because it ran too fast. Are you sure there isn't something else causing issues for you with this game on your PII 400?

Reply 13 of 39, by F2bnp

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swaaye wrote:

I'd love to see modern frame time benchmarks somehow run on K6-III+ versus PIII 450. I suspect that a PIII 450 will give you a considerably smoother experience. With 440BX you get much better memory performance, typically a better configured BIOS for various CPU & chipset features, and AGP that works properly.

If you look at f2bnp's benchmarks (Pentium II/III VS K6-III+) you can see some numbers for minimum framerates. With UT99, a K6-III+ 577 is down at PII 333 level.

ut99-fs8.png

Yay, someone referenced the thread I'm most proud of 😊

I finally decided to swap that K6-III+ for a VIA C3 Nehemiah 1200 at 1500MHz and a 440BX board with an ATA66 Promise controller. I went from obscure to even more obscure, at 1500MHz (15x100) these C3 Nehemia chips run about as fast as a PIII 733 🤣 . It's certainly a nice upgrade over the K6-III+ though, I'd say it's just as compatible with older games.

Reply 14 of 39, by tpowell.ca

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F2bnp wrote:

I finally decided to swap that K6-III+ for a VIA C3 Nehemiah 1200 at 1500MHz and a 440BX board with an ATA66 Promise controller. I went from obscure to even more obscure, at 1500MHz (15x100) these C3 Nehemia chips run about as fast as a PIII 733 🤣 . It's certainly a nice upgrade over the K6-III+ though, I'd say it's just as compatible with older games.

Wait wait, what!?!?
Please tell us more!

  • Merlin: MS-4144, AMD5x86-160, 32MB, 16GB CF, ZIP100, ESS688, GUS, S3 VirgeGX 2MB, HardMPU
    Newton: K6XV3+/66, AMD K6-III+500, 256MB, 32GB SSD, AWE32, GUS 16MB, Voodoo3-3k
    Einstein: P8P400, P4-3GHz HT, 1.5GB, Quadro4 980XGL, Live!

Reply 15 of 39, by Unknown_K

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I don't think I have a single K6-3 build (outside of a laptop with K6-2+). I prefer P3, and Athlons on the high end of that era and P2 systems on the low end.

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Reply 16 of 39, by swaaye

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I have Winchip 2 which is an ancient product from that VIA team. I kinda wanted a VIA Nano at one point.

I think those C3 chips were somewhat popular for some commercial / industrial stuff because cheap and for that AES engine the last ones built in.

Reply 17 of 39, by KCompRoom2000

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On the subject of speed-sensitive games, the PC port of Spider-Man, the (admittedly horrible) PS1/N64 game from 2001, is speed-sensitive in some spots. If your PC is fast enough to run that game at >30 FPS, the "Scale the Girders" level will be impossible to complete, a workaround to this is using an FPS limiter of some sort (I used Fraps to record a 30FPS video of a speed-sensitive spot in order to fix the problem).

Other than that, it's hard for me to name any speed-sensitive games that a K6-III may be slow enough to play.

Reply 18 of 39, by Revolter

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shamino wrote:

P2/P3 systems aren't as flexible at slowing down

I find the late P2s and early P3s to actually be more flexible than the K6-III's due to their wonderful chipset throttling capabilities nobody seems to have heard about due to the lowering multipliers craze 😀

My P3 time machine can plow through the most speed-sensitive titles (Ultima VII, Battlezone 1980, Prophecy: The Viking Child, Bubble Ghost, Robocop 3...) with a hit of a hotkey, while still being able to run some games from 2004 😈

Last edited by Revolter on 2018-07-20, 04:41. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 19 of 39, by canthearu

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infiniteclouds wrote:
Deksor wrote:

Final Fantasy 7 is speed sensitive, even a P2 400 is too fast. Grim Fandango can't be finished on a computer that's too fast due to some enigma you can't solve on newer computers.

Really?? I only ever played it on PSX but it seems absurd think that our 1998 Dell (PII 450) wouldn't have run a game that came out THE SAME YEAR because it ran too fast. Are you sure there isn't something else causing issues for you with this game on your PII 400?

Mostly FFVII is fine, except for a couple of the mini-games that will run too quickly on a too fast computer. These are not a major part of the game though.