Warlord wrote on 2021-04-09, 05:15:
ragefury32 wrote on 2021-04-09, 04:06:
Second of all, there's only 1 entry for Chips and Technology (65554) and one for Neomagic, which is a Neomagic 256AV. That's a gen2 Neomagic GPU. There are 3 families from the PCI based NM2097/NM2160c (Gen 1), the AGP NM2200/2300 series (Gen 2), and the 2380 (Gen 3 with a very rudimentary 3D accelerator that they were late to the market in and caused Neomagic's exit from the marketplace). Not all of them behave the same, and not all of them have the same DOS compatibility problems. Hell, I have the Mario Shareware in the 240 and I don't think the slow scroll is an issue in that game. Prehistorik 2 the game itself (not the warez greetz banner, which I skip over anyways) runs just fine, and Commander Keen, well, I don't play that much of it to let it bother me. It's just not my genre.
Ok you are entitled to your opinions. I get that not all chips are the same. Perhaps the very 1st one the 128 not the worst and they progressively got worst becasue the direction of the company was not 2d acceleration it was GUI acceleration under windows. Gona himself said "I have tested NeoMagic MagicMedia256AV with DOS games and it has a poor compatibility, actually NeoMagic MagicMedia256AV one of the worst." It doesn't matter how much windows 2d GUI acceleration something has on paper or in a vacuum chamber if it sucks at DOS gaming since this thread is about the perfect retro laptop to play games on. You mention they died becasue of intel giving integrated video away for free, but Id like to add Intels 740 and later the integrated Video was actually good? compared to magic graph so its more than just giving it away for free.
Okay I don't mind opinions as long as its informed, but yours are just completely off your rocks.
First of all, this thread was not about the perfect DOS gaming laptop. It was about the perfect retro laptop for Keenmaster486, and as he himself put it, it doesn't exist. Somehow it turned into this focus on playing games, or rather, this ridiculously narrow focus where the machine can be both DirectX6 (with palettized 3D textures) AND DOS audio. And somehow it took away the focus on things like build quality, availability of parts, a good DOS environment where the drivers don't require a crapload of conventional memory, ability to work with modern tech like USB-PD, or easy access to an SD slot, access to service manuals, and stuff like that. All of that are much more important than "OH MY GOD I CAN PLAY WOLFENSTEIN 3D AT 400 FPS ZOMG 133t" as opposed to "oh cool, I can play TIE fighter off my laptop on the commuter train home".
Second of all, the i740 wasn't integrated. The i815G and 830MG started off Intel's integrated graphics using the carcass of the i740, which failed so badly in the marketplace it bought down Real3D. Was it actually good? Sure, if you have nothing else to compare it to at the same vintage. Or if you actually had a laptop back in 2000/2001, you would look for a Radeon Mobility M6, a Geforce 2Go (which was only found in big desktop replacements) or a SavageMX/IX. Compared to those alternatives? The i815Gs and 830MGs were just merely "meh" by the time it actually hit the market, and guess what, laptops that has the i815G integrated chipset had AC97 audio. So it's not even relevant/applicable for DOS.
Somehow you have this idea that it's a fair comparison between a 2D only chip (the Neomagic 128) designed in 1995 and included in machines released in 1996, and the i740, which started out as a joint venture between Intel, Chip and technology, and Real3D, which began design work in '96, Intel bought C&T out in '97, was released in early '98 to collective indifference, and then recycled in 2000 to be found in i815 and 830 chipset based Tualatin laptops, which by that time Neomagic already left the laptop GPU market after releasing the 128XD in 1997, the 256AV/ZX in '98 and the 256XL+ in '99. The same "free crappy chipset graphics" also killed off the business cases for Trident and S3. S3 got bought by Via and turned into their chipset graphics shop. Trident turned into a set top/LCD controller maker and died in 2011. Frankly, both GPU makers made better GPUs than Intel at that time and didn't deserve to die (The Savage 3/4 were solid/decent performers, the Savage 2000 was a good DX7 chip as long as you ignore the hype around its broken T&L unit, and the Trident Blade3D were good solid performers without the terrible image artifacts of the 3DImage series), but yet, both of them are no longer active. That had nothing to do with how good or bad the GPUs were. People didn't buy laptops at that time based on how good or bad they were at DOS - I certainly stopped giving a shit about DOS once WinNT4/2k came about. Hell, when I bought my Dell Latitude CPiD 266XT used back in 2002, I didn't even know that it ran DOS well (Crystal CS4237B audio), and my ex-girlfriend's CPiA 366XT (Neomagic AC97) would be terrible at it - We ran Windows 2000 and Linux on them. Those were the OS that we ran back then. Going back and using them as retro machines was something that was shoehorned later - that's why those Sony Vaio PCG-SRs were missing so many drivers in Windows 98. It was never shipped and supported for '98 even when new. It was either WinME or 2K.
Do you actually know what Gona's DOS compatibility charts test for and how relevant it is for most games out there? Most of the stuff on his list tests for non-standard VGA modes (like Mode X) and scrolling hacks, which are used in a bunch of early VGA games. Pinball fantasies? Sure. Flight Unlimited? Okay. But checking whether the Hybrid greetz banner on prehistorik 2 (which is a demo) runs correctly or not and using it to shit on an otherwise fine GPU based on that chart? Guess what? Even on GPUs that seemingly work fine on those tests, they still manage to run into display issues. Like this Trident Cyber 9288 on 2 of the games not on the list.
Trident 9388 and DOS games
Gona also said that he only tested a single laptop (out of all the GPUs on his list), and he was curious to see how it performs versus something like the Cyrix MediaGX, which is from the same vintage with the same set of power/silicon requirements - and that one probably performed even worse on Gona's tests. The MediaGX is also found in a bunch of Compaq laptops.
Sure, Keen uses Adaptive tile refresh and both Jazz Jackrabbit and Quake uses various instances of mode X, but how many people need compatibility with those games? Some of he other ones (like Prehistorik or Jurassic park) came from developers who were using Amiga hardware tricks to run it on PC hardware - which might or might not work. That "compatibility" list have no bearing on bog standard VGA/SVGA games like Wolf 3D (works fine despite what you said), Simcity 2000, TIE Fighter, Wing Commander Privateer, 4D Stunt Driving, X-Com or any the other mid-90s, 486-to-Pentium games that ran just fine on the MagicGraph 128XD. There are legit reasons to avoid having a Neomagic 256 series chip, like the fact that some of the laptop vendors will use its AC97 codec and drop the inclusion of an actual sound chip (Dell did that all the way from the CPiA until the CPxJ), but not all the vendors went into that direction. IBM didn't (Crystal Soundfusion) and neither did Panasonic or Sony with their Neomagic based designs (YMF744s on both).
So once again, what's this nonsense about Neomagic being terrible? It's an okay-to-mediocre chip, but then if you want something that was made in the 2 year period starting from early '97 to late '98 (Pentium MMX to early PIII Mobile) in a laptop, the majority will have a Neomagic - the other choice for machines at that time will likely be an ATi with its own set of issues - few machines of that vintage will be S3 (Aurora or Virge MX, which wasn't bad for DOS) or Trident based (3Dimage series are terrible in Direct3D. The Providias (rare-ish and found on Socket5/7 laptops) and the Blade3Ds are good (but often choked with not having enough VRAM or video bandwidth)). Unless you are just digging at rare edge cases, Neomagics are just fine for most 2D games, even in DOS.