VOGONS


First post, by AlessandroB

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This onboard card that have my 486DX4 is good for dos/win95? Or some other graphicard card can add some sort of acceleration… for Doom for example. I ha only one vlb slot, not PCI. tnks

Reply 1 of 18, by mkarcher

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Doom doesn't use hardware acceleration. Acceleration of 3D operation wasn't really used by maintream games until 3dfx came around. The earlier accelerators were only useful for 2D operations, especially filling areas, copying screen contents or drawing solid lines. For games of the 486 era, you need a card with fast write access to video memory.

The onboard 5430 sounds like it might be good enough for the task, I expect it to be significantly faster than the usual Cirrus 542x VLB cards.

Reply 2 of 18, by waterbeesje

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The 5430 is just fine, fast enough for dos and has windows acceleration. It's not the top notch but for a dx4 this is fine. If you really want anything notably faster on VLB, prepare to donate a kidney or something.

Stuck at 10MHz...

Reply 3 of 18, by Jo22

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AlessandroB wrote on 2022-01-02, 14:48:

This onboard card that have my 486DX4 is good for dos/win95? Or some other graphicard card can add some sort of acceleration… for Doom for example. I ha only one vlb slot, not PCI. tnks

Hi AlessandroB!

Personally, I think it depends on your focus.
If Win95 and and quick DOS graphics (VGA mode 13h and modeX; VBE 2) do interest you, then this card is fine.

If you're into early SuperVGA titles for DOS, then an ET-4000, Paradise or V7 VEGA (etc) might be a better fit.
- These cards also are old enough to emulate 1980s graphics standards, too.
Their mode utilities can reconfigure their card's silicon to emulate CGA
with support for different colour palettes and simulate Hercules graphics.

And forr demoscene stuff, the ET-4000AX is a good catch, I think.
The S3 was supported in at least one demo, as well.

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In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 4 of 18, by AlessandroB

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ok, I think that there are no cards that give big advantages, better this way, I have an extra slot free for other cards, this computer has only 3 slots, one occupied by an SbPro2.0, another by an Etherlink3 and remains one free ... what do you recommend as a card to fill the slot? Recommend something to install that I haven't thought about ...

tnks

Reply 5 of 18, by BitWrangler

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I have that question about my PC330 also. The onboard SVGA is "good enough", it's got onboard I/O and there's one VLB on the riser, what the heck else was there on VLB to be worth bothering with? i.e. big performance difference, not chicken feed percent or 5.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 6 of 18, by Eep386

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To be honest, a GD5430 would be right in that awkward area where it's not the fastest video card out there, yet trying to find a faster card simply wouldn't be worth the money, especially at today's eBay prices.

The 5430 isn't "slow" under DOS at least. Yeah yeah, the S3 Trio64+, Tseng ET4000/W32p and others are definitely faster but, lofty benchmark figures aside, the cost/performance of an upgrade is often far from compelling (unless you find a ridiculously good deal on the order of $5 USD or so). Now if this was just a random PCI video card you were looking at, I'd say keep looking for a halfway decent Trio64+ or the like; but if you already have it, you'll not buy *that* radically much more especially for a 486 system.

Life isn't long enough to re-enable every hidden option in every BIOS on every board... 🙁

Reply 7 of 18, by The Serpent Rider

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5430 is just an upgraded 5429 with PCI support. Performance is bottom tier, just like 5428/5429, especially GUI. I think it has slightly better RAMDAC, so it can utilise 2mb or memory (if you can upgrade it), unlike 542x with trash interlaced modes above 800x600.

Doom usually requires something better, due to Mode X shenanigans, but you can use FastDoom instead.

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Reply 8 of 18, by AlessandroB

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2022-01-03, 08:29:

5430 is just an upgraded 5429 with PCI support. Performance is bottom tier, just like 5428/5429, especially GUI. I think it has slightly better RAMDAC, so it can utilise 2mb or memory (if you can upgrade it), unlike 542x with trash interlaced modes above 800x600.

Doom usually requires something better, due to Mode X shenanigans, but you can use FastDoom instead.

What you mean sayng "Doom usually requires something better" better CPU, or better graphica VLB card?

Reply 9 of 18, by The Serpent Rider

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Better VLB. Although it may be just enough to play without dropping 35 fps limit on DX4.

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Reply 10 of 18, by MN_Moody

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The CL 5430 chipset actually runs Doom slower than the older 5429... but I don't know if it's worth spending significant money for an upgrade. If you are just running DOS games an S3 805 card, CL5429, Trident 9440/9440agi should be comfortably under $100 (some around $60) and give you 6-8 extra FPS in Doom if you do want to push that limit a bit. Most people who grew up in the 486 era and played Doom on their old rigs were not pushing anywhere near the 35 FPS limit of the engine, your experience with the CPU + GPU in that machine is probably as good or better than a majority of gamers at the time the game launched.

I own a few higher end VLB video cards, but the major performance hair splitting among wallet warriors or forward thinking collectors over high resolution Windows benchmarks or later games with VESA support on socket 4/486 machines w/ VLB cards is mostly pushing the platform beyond economic practicality. If you're looking to just game and not spend a fortune tinkering for 1/10th of a frame in a Quake benchmark or constantly keeping Doom at 35 FPS it's actually harder to find a VLB card that won't do the job than the few lower performing examples that are not CPU/engine limited. For the money it costs to get into the high end 486 + VLB video card game you can buy a nice socket 7, slot 1 or 370 system with a Voodoo 3 card and a decent sound card that will do everything better and have a far broader range of game options.

https://dependency-injection.com/vlb-vga-group-test/

Reply 11 of 18, by BitWrangler

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Pretty much this....

Eep386 wrote on 2022-01-03, 05:14:

To be honest, a GD5430 would be right in that awkward area where it's not the fastest video card out there, yet trying to find a faster card simply wouldn't be worth the money, especially at today's eBay prices.

The 5430 isn't "slow" under DOS at least. Yeah yeah, the S3 Trio64+, Tseng ET4000/W32p and others are definitely faster but, lofty benchmark figures aside, the cost/performance of an upgrade is often far from compelling (unless you find a ridiculously good deal on the order of $5 USD or so). Now if this was just a random PCI video card you were looking at, I'd say keep looking for a halfway decent Trio64+ or the like; but if you already have it, you'll not buy *that* radically much more especially for a 486 system.

With a word that hardware geeks aren't just hyperbolic when they describe performance differences, they use hyperbole cubed...
1% slower = wrecked and buried
2% slower = completely destroyed
5% slower = totally annihilated and ground to dust
10% slower = nuked to the max, the worst of the worst, designer should be ashamed.
15% slower = absolutely abysmal, the designer should be hung drawn and quartered, his wife and children stoned to death and his parents sterilized if still living.
Slower than 15% even if such parts made up 90% of the shipped volume and therefore only 1 in ten parts actually falls in the above ranking = doesn't exist.

Therefore anything falling around 10-15% is bottom of the barrel scrapings, anything 2-10% is lower tier and 1% is "middle of the pack", the one in comparison is the holy favored son, the anointed one, even if it's only a single percent faster in DOOM and or Quake and sucktastic on everything else.

And this is while, in the real world, benchmarks exist because it's hard to spot a difference in performance of less than 20% by feel alone.

GD5430 given a decent implementation on local bus on a DX4-100, should be within 5% of anything else you can put in it. There are cards that will show a bigger lead on a DX5@160 and on a Pentium VLB system with overdrive CPU but that's not really an upgrade path vs spending the same money the one VLB card would cost on a basic Pentium PCI system with a plentiful on PCI cheap S3 card.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 12 of 18, by The Serpent Rider

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BitWrangler wrote:

With a word that hardware geeks aren't just hyperbolic when they describe performance differences

It depends. Negligible difference applies mostly to typical VGA mode. But 542x/5430/54M30 cards are not good with VESA or high res modes, which are playable on DX4 in some 2D games. GUI acceleration is also slow.
If you play only in mode 13h aka 320x200 256 colors - sure, it's a decent entry card, which came for free with PC. And I said before, FastDoom with VGA is noticeably better option for such card.

MN_Moody wrote:

Trident 9440/9440agi

Trident 9440 family of chips are quite well balanced cards for 486.

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Reply 13 of 18, by Intel486dx33

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Yes, I have a VLB 5429 in my 486 computer and it can play everything I have tried so far on my 486dx4–100
Computer. It can run all the DOS games designed before 1996 and 95% of DOS games.
Maybe more.
I am only running DOS 6.22 and Win3.11
I can even play Video CD Movies in 600x800 resolution with good play back.

Reply 14 of 18, by Eep386

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2022-01-04, 14:49:
BitWrangler wrote:

With a word that hardware geeks aren't just hyperbolic when they describe performance differences

It depends. Negligible difference applies mostly to typical VGA mode. But 542x/5430/54M30 cards are not good with VESA or high res modes, which are playable on DX4 in some 2D games. GUI acceleration is also slow.
If you play only in mode 13h aka 320x200 256 colors - sure, it's a decent entry card, which came for free with PC. And I said before, FastDoom with VGA is noticeably better option for such card.

Almost everything GUI-based generally ran better on a Pentium than on a 486 anyway, even one with a GUI accelerator. SimCity 2000 and Civilization II immediately come to mind. Both run pretty slowly on even a fast 486 with a very fast accelerator, but on a bargain-bin Pentium with cheap onboard video (typically S3 or Trident) they are considerably more pleasant to play.
I'd argue that, if top GUI efficiency is a driving concern, get a basic Socket 5/7 Pentium before you drop a lot of coin on trying to boost up a 486 with an esoteric video card.

Life isn't long enough to re-enable every hidden option in every BIOS on every board... 🙁

Reply 15 of 18, by Intel486dx33

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Eep386 wrote on 2022-01-04, 15:36:
The Serpent Rider wrote on 2022-01-04, 14:49:
BitWrangler wrote:

With a word that hardware geeks aren't just hyperbolic when they describe performance differences

It depends. Negligible difference applies mostly to typical VGA mode. But 542x/5430/54M30 cards are not good with VESA or high res modes, which are playable on DX4 in some 2D games. GUI acceleration is also slow.
If you play only in mode 13h aka 320x200 256 colors - sure, it's a decent entry card, which came for free with PC. And I said before, FastDoom with VGA is noticeably better option for such card.

Almost everything GUI-based generally ran better on a Pentium than on a 486 anyway, even one with a GUI accelerator. SimCity 2000 and Civilization II immediately come to mind. Both run pretty slowly on even a fast 486 with a very fast accelerator, but on a bargain-bin Pentium with cheap onboard video (typically S3 or Trident) they are considerably more pleasant to play.
I'd argue that, if top GUI efficiency is a driving concern, get a basic Socket 5/7 Pentium before you drop a lot of coin on trying to boost up a 486 with an esoteric video card.

Yes, a Pentium 75 thru 233mhz is a better CPU for playing DOS games and MP3 playback.
Better than a 486. But then it’s NOT a 486 CPU.

That 1st gen. Pentium CPU Destroyed the computer Market back in 1990’s
It was so Dominate Intel was the Jewel of Silicon Valley. The 1st gen. Pentium CPU put allot of computers out of business
Including the HP 9000, Sun Sparc, SGI RISC, etc…. The Intel Pentium, computers were inexpensive, upgradeable and easy to maintain.
Non-proprietary components.

This is why the IBM Open Architecture computer was so successful and the choice of businesses across the world.

But the CS-5430 is fast enough for a 486 DOS game playback.
The bottle neck will be the 486 CPU and NOT the Video card.

Reply 16 of 18, by Eep386

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2022-01-04, 15:51:

That 1st gen. Pentium CPU Destroyed the computer Market back in 1990’s
It was so Dominate Intel was the Jewel of Silicon Valley. The 1st gen. Pentium CPU put allot of computers out of business

When I was a lad growing up not too far from Puyallup, Washington, I fondly recall the most major strip malls in the area, having at least one computer store.
If anything the Pentium era made the mom-and-pop stores take off, as they offered an occasionally viable alternative to buying a supermarket PC back in those days. Shortly after the Pentium's proper mass-market entry (Socket 5 onward) came the Cyrix 6x86, which sold like wildfire from the mom-and-pops for a while.

The Pentium did, however, provide some badly-needed competition for the RISC systems in the professional space, which IMHO were relatively stagnant up until that point.

Intel486dx33 wrote:

But the CS-5430 is fast enough for a 486 DOS game playback.
The bottle neck will be the 486 CPU and NOT the Video card.

Agreed. The point I was making earlier, was if you're chasing percentage points on benchmarks or looking to play Civilization II or SimCity 2000 with an actually decent responsiveness, you'll get a lot better ROI on a Pentium upgrade (no, I am *not* talking about the Pentium Overdrive!) than you will trying to squeeze every last bit of juice out of a bus and ALU throughput-limited 486. Indeed, it's no longer a 486, but suppose for a moment that the 486 really isn't such an ideal CPU for playing Windows-era games in the first place.

But please don't get the idea that I knocking the 486... I love the damn processor, as my UMC U5S tower and multiple 486 motherboards and stuff in storage can handily attest. I've sunk so much money into building one that *would* hold its own on most DOS games of the era - using a single-clocked processor no less - and that's precisely why I say, if you want to chase percentage points on SVGA/GUI benchmarks, just get yourself a half decent Socket 5/7 Pentium, it'll far more readily provide instant gratification.

Life isn't long enough to re-enable every hidden option in every BIOS on every board... 🙁

Reply 17 of 18, by MN_Moody

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2022-01-04, 15:51:

But the CS-5430 is fast enough for a 486 DOS game playback.
The bottle neck will be the 486 CPU and NOT the Video card.

This is not entirely true, in the benchmark comparison I posted earlier (https://dependency-injection.com/vlb-vga-group-test/) where the author threw a pretty wide selection of VLB cards into an Alaris / Nexgen 5x86 - 90 machine with VLB, which should mostly leave the GPU as the bottleneck in DOS benchmark performance. The majority of cards did cluster within 1-2 FPS of the maximum framerate Doom supports which seems to play this assumption out, and helped identify the outliers at the other end of the scale that are self vs CPU limited performance-wise.

I'd suggest the OP grab a copy of Phil's DOS Benchmark Pack (https://www.philscomputerlab.com/dos-benchmark-pack.html) and report their results on the first 6 benchies plus A/B (Wolf and Doom) so we can assess how the setup is currently performing before doing anything else. If he's above 24 FPS in Doom I'd say not much is to be gained by upgrading anything, the money spent on a notably faster VLB video card would be better invested in a faster retro platform for later DOS/Windows games, IMHO.

Reply 18 of 18, by The Serpent Rider

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TL;DR - VLB is very impractical and pricey for upgrade. Get literally anything with PCI - even just another 486DX4 will do.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me