VOGONS


First post, by jefklak

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Hi guys,

I kind of rolled in building a 486 thanks to an old PC that was about to be chucked out. Phil and LGR helped me out and after buying a sound blaster I'm having a "blast" myself.

I realise I will never be able to run Duke3D - but I do am concerned with the performance. I'd like to run rise of the triad (ROTT) and I remember a 486 should be able to handle that. However, even the rotating apogee intro logo stutters like hell. Take a look for yourself in the first video here: https://brainbaking.com/post/2020/09/486-upgr … -sound-blaster/

Specs:

3d bench 1.0: 10.5 FPS on average. Wow.

I bought a DX266 but the difference is minimal.
I watched Phil's VLB card comparison and concluded that the VGA card is not that bad. I'm wondering what to upgrade here. The motherboard is very old, maybe it's that? Or maybe my CONFIG.SYS is misconfigured? I did play around with different types of extended memory enabled but no difference.

What is your advice on upgrading anything? I did a fresh DOS 6.22 install on a SD card.
Thanks a lot!

Reply 2 of 10, by SodaSuccubus

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Taking a look at the motherboard, I can tell you that the lack of CPU ZIF socket and 72 pin memory support makes me think this is an older,slow motherboard.

You can have the fastest 486, VLB video and memory. But it's all gonna mean crap if the board itself isn't up to par!

Try your same configuration in a later year Socket 3 Motherboard. That's where I'd start.

Reply 4 of 10, by jefklak

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jakethompson1 wrote on 2020-09-21, 19:40:

Could you post what's going on in the advanced cmos & advanced chipset screens in your bios configuration.

What "advanced" screen? 😁 It's an old CMOS BIOS (214X2002)
Sees memory ok. CPU internal cache enabled, external cache enabled, typematic rate setting left untouched (disabled). Gate A20 "fast". System BIOS/video BIOS shadow enabled, rest of shadowing disabled. Auto config cipset features enabled, memory remap enabled, cacheable BIOSes enabled, non-cacheable blocks disabled.
Edit: disabling/enabling random options and retrying does not help.

It's indeed an OLD mobo, and the non-ZIF socket gave me lots of trouble while trying out the DX2 because a pin was slightly bent.

Reply 5 of 10, by jakethompson1

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jefklak wrote on 2020-09-21, 20:09:
What "advanced" screen? :-D It's an old CMOS BIOS (214X2002) Sees memory ok. CPU internal cache enabled, external cache enabled, […]
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What "advanced" screen? 😁 It's an old CMOS BIOS (214X2002)
Sees memory ok. CPU internal cache enabled, external cache enabled, typematic rate setting left untouched (disabled). Gate A20 "fast". System BIOS/video BIOS shadow enabled, rest of shadowing disabled. Auto config cipset features enabled, memory remap enabled, cacheable BIOSes enabled, non-cacheable blocks disabled.
Edit: disabling/enabling random options and retrying does not help.

It's indeed an OLD mobo, and the non-ZIF socket gave me lots of trouble while trying out the DX2 because a pin was slightly bent.

Often times the autoconfiguration is cautious; if you disable it do additional options appear re: cache and RAM?
I also have a UMC 491F board. It has a bad implementation of write-back cache. You can read about some of my trials here: More 486 L2 cache troubles - timing sometimes so slow that cache isn't worth it?
If you get the part number off the individual chips on the SIMMs we can figure out what their speed is.
When you switched to a DX2 and lowered the bus speed to 33 MHz, I wonder if you also checked any jumpers related to VLB. If the VLB related jumpers are still set to > 33MHz it might be overly cautious and slowed down.

Reply 6 of 10, by chinny22

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maybe run a few benchmarks and you can see how good/bad your system is really running? You can find Phils 486 Benchmark suite and a few results here
Re: Phil's Ultimate VGA Benchmark Database Project

Duke3d isn't smooth but should be playable on a DX2/66, ROTT should only struggle on bigger maps. but our expectations have also improved over time, seeing the figures will show if its the system or our moden expectations that are at fault 😉

Reply 7 of 10, by jefklak

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Thanks chinny22, I already have Phils' dosbench tools installed. In fact, running the DOOM timelapse on LOW details (the tiny tiny resolution) even gives hickups and very bad frame rates when shooting. It looks like I'm running a 386 instead of a 486...

I tried fiddling with other memory managers, with RAM/NOEMS in EMM386, with SMARTDRV on/off/settings, ... but it does not seem to be a mem-related issue (although I'm not sure).

As said, SUPERSCAPE gives 10.4 FPS, the DOOM low demo gives 3234 gameticks in 4858 realtics, topbench gives a score of around 61-64 (around 930 usecs), matching it with the M326@20 in the DB, which is in fact a 386DX @ 20MHz!! While mine is a 486 @ 40 MHz. WTF.

Reply 9 of 10, by jefklak

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ViTi95 wrote on 2020-09-22, 10:15:

Try jumpering the turbo switch (JP14)

Holy shit. Can I really be that stupid? It was jumpered but the button wasn't pressed.
SUPERSCAPE reports 20+FPS and topbench jumps to 136. Wow, I feel like a complete idiot 😀 Thanks a lot!

I guess I'll try updating the mobo anyway, but now it's off the priority list. Thanks again guys!