eesz34 wrote on 2023-05-16, 16:46:
Are MediaGX motherboards of much interest to the retro community? I
In my opinion the mediaGX is interesting because it's essentially a fast 486 SoC - essentially a Cyrix 586 running anyware from 133 to 300MHz. My MediaGX system is built on an ECS P5GX-M, 266Mhz cyrix GXm, 64Mb of ram, 20GB HDD, an S3 VIrge, a Voodoo 2 and a Yamaha SW20-PC - it can do 486 things, it can do pentium things, and it can even do 386 thigs.
More importantly for some older hardware and older games, it runs at 30 or 33Mhz FSB, with some odd boards even being able to go down to 25mhz. I don't know if software like setmul supports the GXm, but there are ways around that. I installed my PC in a tiny mATX case and routed the multiplier selection pins to dip switches at the back of the case, so I can change the CPU speed without taking the cover off. My machine is also remarkably compatible with speed sensitive hardware like the Yamaha SW20-PC OPL4 card, witch I had trouble running on anything faster then a socket 5 pentium. It's also the only PC I own that can run odd games like Dyna Blaster, even at 266MHz. It also works with newer hardware - I was able to post the PC with a PCI voodoo 3 - a pointless exercise but a fun one. It can also play gl quake! and I mean enjoy playing quake, not watch a slideshow and get motion sickness. 3dfx descent, 3dfx carmaggedon, uprising, pandemonium, tomb raider, mechwarrior 2, duke3d run great on a fast mediagx. Starcraft and aoe1 also run ok.
The platform's biggest disadvantage in my opinion is the lack of L2 cache witch hurts performance. Not as much as on a "regular" 486, since the mediaGX runs SDRAM memory, but I'm sure the system would perform better with L2 cache. Another annoyance is the on-board video and sound. On board video is SLOW, especially in dos, and the on board sound is buggy and noisy. May be a driver or configuration issue on my part, but after messing with the PC for a couple of days I decided to disable on board sound and video and run PCI and ISA cards.