Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby Synaps3 » 2019-3-13 @ 18:47

swaaye wrote:Yeah I think G400 Max keeps scaling up to about a P3 1000.


On a Pentium III 1GHz? I can run a Radeon HD 4650 on a P3 1400 and maybe it's a little bottlenecked, but it is much faster than a G400. It will run a SSE2 hacked version of skyrim on medium settings. I think the G400 is much too slow to still be scaling up to the P3 1000.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby swaaye » 2019-3-13 @ 19:06

LunarG wrote: My board is the AOpen AX59 Pro. It's always seemed like a very solid board to me.

I think I used to build machines with that board at a company ages ago. It seemed solid indeed.


Synaps3 wrote:On a Pentium III 1GHz? I can run a Radeon HD 4650 on a P3 1400 and maybe it's a little bottlenecked, but it is much faster than a G400. It will run a SSE2 hacked version of skyrim on medium settings. I think the G400 is much too slow to still be scaling up to the P3 1000.

Like LunarG says, you get more out of it with lots of CPU power. Not that it's going to get super fast but you will see it switching places against Voodoo3 and TNT2 Ultra for example. Maybe being competitive with GeForce 256 SDR because G400 Max has much more memory bandwidth. If you put it in a K6 it will underperform compared to the other GPUs.

I'm sure there are scaling tests across varying CPUs out there somewhere. Maybe dig around here or the MURC forum.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2019-3-13 @ 20:06

Synaps3 wrote:Games? Half-Life 1, Quake 3, Arx Fatalis. With it barely handling quake, I think there is something wrong. I reduced the texture resolution and maybe getting about 15fps. The FPS(s) are just a guess, but it's slow enough to be unplayable.


The systems I played those games on back in the day were probably 2-5 times the speed of a K6-2 400Mhz. Arx Fatalis came out in 2002, when the Athlon XP was popular (3-4 times the clock speed and significantly higher IPC than the K6-2).

Also, in the late 90s the standards for frame rates were quite low... 20fps was considered playable to many because the cost of upgrading to something better was so high. Quake 3 and Half-Life will not be smooth on a K6-2 the way we're accustomed to games being today. They ran well on an Athlon 750Mhz for me back in the day but ran better on a 1.33Ghz Athlon Thunderbird. A K6-2 is closer to the minimum requirements for these games, meaning that it will be playable but not smooth. You may be getting higher frame rates than you think, but it just isn't high enough for it to be smooth. I think I first played those games (other than Arx) on a P2 400 + Voodoo 3 but moved to the above processors and a Geforce 2 GTS 32MB or Geforce 4 Ti 4400 eventually for significantly better performance.

I would recommend running the games with frame rate counters visible (try using Fraps for games that don't have commands to display frame rates).

If you're actually getting frame rates in the teens, it could be AGP compatibility related, or video card related. I'd try a different video card (nvidia TNT2 or better) since ATI cards didn't really have the best drivers at that time.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2019-3-14 @ 03:05

But again, I'd expect you to be totally CPU-bottlenecked with a K6-2 and a Radeon 7000

Actually ATI drivers are bottlenecking the CPU horribly. Overall, ATI cards are bad choise for socket 7.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby matze79 » 2019-3-14 @ 10:57

Yeah if you use the wrong driver its worse..
but thats same for nvidia..
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby leonardo » 2019-3-14 @ 11:46

Given that your system has a 400 MHz CPU which is known to have poor FPU performance (especially bad, if you intend to do 3D-gaming), I would say the best video card for a system such as this is one that 1) allows you to connect to a modern monitor with ease and 2) does not heat up considerably or use a lot of power. The TNT2/Voodoo3 seems like a good fit, but you'll be hard pressed to find one with a DVI-output so maybe a first/2nd gen GeForce with passive cooling or a Matrox G400 series.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby Garrett W » 2019-3-14 @ 12:42

As everyone has already said, go for 3Dfx cards if possible, you will get better performance out of the Voodoo3 on a system such as this as opposed to even something like a GF2 or GF4 MX. It all boils down to CPU overhead, even a K6-3+ at 600MHz is usually slower than a Pentium 2 400.
When it comes to 3D FPU-intensive games, the K6-2 400 is hardly any faster than an MMX 233. That 100MHz overclock won't really do you much good.

As for the games you mentioned wanting to play:

Half-Life is borderline unplayable for me on such a CPU. I've tried it a couple of times on my K6-3+ 550MHz and it really struggles once more than 2 enemies get on screen or you go outside. I'm talking 12-15FPS sort of performance.

Quake 3 is gonna be very slow as well, no matter what GPU you put in, because the CPU is holding it back. Minimum requirements for Q3 were an MMX 233 or K6-2 350, which could maybe net you an average of around 20FPS provided you tweaked everything. There were some 3DNow! DLLs floating around but they only improved performance by 2-3fps on my K6-III+ 550MHz, can't imagine they'll help here either.

Arx Fatalis came out in 2002 and required a PIII or Athlon at 500MHz I think, so a K6-2 has no business here at all. Again, K6-2 and even K6-3 is far inferior clock for clock versus PII/III and Athlon when it comes to games.

If you just want to have an overkill GPU in there just for fun though, more power to you. I keep that K6-III+ system and install various games it should have no business trying to run just for fun. Try Morrowind for example, that's an interesting experience :lol:
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby Standard Def Steve » 2019-3-14 @ 16:19

I use a GF4 Ti4400 with my K6-2 500Mhz system. Vast overkill, I know, but it's stable & the performance seems OK. I get 27.3 fps in Quake 3 @ 1024x768 with the settings all on high.
My P2-300 (w/ EDO memory) and Radeon 7000 PCI only gets 15 fps, so nVidia's driver really does seem to be easier on the CPU.

Still, a much slower V3-3500 paired with a Celeron-1400 gets 49 fps. :)
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2019-3-14 @ 22:47

Standard Def Steve wrote:I use a GF4 Ti4400 with my K6-2 500Mhz system. Vast overkill, I know, but it's stable & the performance seems OK. I get 27.3 fps in Quake 3 @ 1024x768 with the settings all on high.
My P2-300 (w/ EDO memory) and Radeon 7000 PCI only gets 15 fps, so nVidia's driver really does seem to be easier on the CPU.

Still, a much slower V3-3500 paired with a Celeron-1400 gets 49 fps. :)

This seems to pretty much sum up the situation here.

A K6-2 may be usable with an nvidia or 3dfx card in late 90s 3D games, but it is definitely not the best chip for the job.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby LunarG » 2019-3-16 @ 16:19

Just ran some Q3A timedemos on my K6-3+ 500MHz for fun. Voodoo 2 12MB running at 800x600 with all graphics settings at max (except 16bit textures, for obvious reasons). 31.2fps. Same settings on my G400 MAX gives me 33.4fps, despite the G400 MAX being a much more powerful graphics card. The CPU simply isn't fast enough to get more out of it. Upping the colourdepth to 32bit means a drop of about 10fps, so nope, no way, not playable. Not that I would play Q3A on this system anyway, but it was worth trying :D
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby LunarG » 2019-3-16 @ 16:26

swaaye wrote:
LunarG wrote: My board is the AOpen AX59 Pro. It's always seemed like a very solid board to me.

I think I used to build machines with that board at a company ages ago. It seemed solid indeed.


Synaps3 wrote:On a Pentium III 1GHz? I can run a Radeon HD 4650 on a P3 1400 and maybe it's a little bottlenecked, but it is much faster than a G400. It will run a SSE2 hacked version of skyrim on medium settings. I think the G400 is much too slow to still be scaling up to the P3 1000.

Like LunarG says, you get more out of it with lots of CPU power. Not that it's going to get super fast but you will see it switching places against Voodoo3 and TNT2 Ultra for example. Maybe being competitive with GeForce 256 SDR because G400 Max has much more memory bandwidth. If you put it in a K6 it will underperform compared to the other GPUs.

I'm sure there are scaling tests across varying CPUs out there somewhere. Maybe dig around here or the MURC forum.


In fact, the memory bandwidth of the G400 MAX was totally insane for its time. Running low colour depths and texture quality will actually put it head to head with its bigger brother, the Parhelia, at 640x480 in UT and Q3A on my Tualatin 1400MHz. We're talking like 140+fps. If you turn up the quality and resolution, the Parhelia will totally destroy the G400 of course, but still.
Either card gets desimated by my Radeon HD 3650 of course, but that's in a whole other league. But that will be bottlenecked by the Tualatin... And that's how it always goes. It's usually best to find a solution where neither CPU or graphics card is massively bottlenecking the performance.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2019-3-16 @ 20:10

In fact, the memory bandwidth of the G400 MAX was totally insane for its time

No, it doesn't.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby rasz_pl » 2019-3-16 @ 21:00

The Serpent Rider wrote:
In fact, the memory bandwidth of the G400 MAX was totally insane for its time

No, it doesn't.


it was, and so was GF 256, margins were quite substantial
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby havli » 2019-3-16 @ 21:22

LunarG wrote:1. In fact, the memory bandwidth of the G400 MAX was totally insane for its time.
2. Running low colour depths and texture quality will actually put it head to head with its bigger brother, the Parhelia, at 640x480 in UT and Q3A on my Tualatin 1400MHz. We're talking like 140+fps.

1. Not really, it is just slightly better than TNT2 Ultra or Voodoo3 3500.
2. It is called CPU limitation... not some G400 magic. Tualatin 1400 is not exactly fast for Q3A, this game scales a lot with better CPUs and/or memory subsystem.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby LunarG » 2019-3-17 @ 00:28

havli wrote:
LunarG wrote:1. In fact, the memory bandwidth of the G400 MAX was totally insane for its time.
2. Running low colour depths and texture quality will actually put it head to head with its bigger brother, the Parhelia, at 640x480 in UT and Q3A on my Tualatin 1400MHz. We're talking like 140+fps.

1. Not really, it is just slightly better than TNT2 Ultra or Voodoo3 3500.
2. It is called CPU limitation... not some G400 magic. Tualatin 1400 is not exactly fast for Q3A, this game scales a lot with better CPUs and/or memory subsystem.

Of course it is nothing magical, but by the time the Tualatin came out, it was an old graphics card, and it does keep scaling noticably farther than my TNT2 Pro.
Sure, the memory bandwidth difference between the TNT2 Ultra and the G400 Max is only about 270MB/s or so, but despite that sounding like nothing today, it was quite a bit back then. Both are great cards though.
And of course "It is called CPU limitation". But the point is, most graphics cards aren't severely bottlenecked by the best CPUs that money can buy at the time when they are released, at least not significantly. The relative change in performance from year to year back in the late 90's to early 2000's was much greater then today for example. So the fact that graphics cards could actually keep "getting better" so to speak, for well over 2 years was impressive. That isn't the same as saying they would still be up to date two years later of course.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby havli » 2019-3-17 @ 09:44

Well, I don't consider 9.2% bandwidth advantage as anything special.

If you run G400 in Q3A at resolution as most people would back in the day (1024x768), then even with 1999 CPUs there will be hardly any limitation. At 1024x768x16 G400 MAX scores 61 fps and at 1024x768x32 it is 41 fps. Which is btw in both cases behind TNT2 Ultra. http://hw-museum.cz/article/2/benchmark ... edition-/7
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby LunarG » 2019-3-17 @ 17:49

havli wrote:Well, I don't consider 9.2% bandwidth advantage as anything special.

If you run G400 in Q3A at resolution as most people would back in the day (1024x768), then even with 1999 CPUs there will be hardly any limitation. At 1024x768x16 G400 MAX scores 61 fps and at 1024x768x32 it is 41 fps. Which is btw in both cases behind TNT2 Ultra. http://hw-museum.cz/article/2/benchmark ... edition-/7


That test you're linking too isn't using a 1999 CPU, but rather, as it says, an overclocked Athlon XP (which means at least 2001, putting it in the same era as my Tualatin).
It does appear that you have some personal dislike of Matrox cards, or the G400 specifically, which is fine. My point isn't trying to say that "OMFG WTFBBQ!!! THIS IS LIKE THE BEST GFX CARD IN HISTORY!!!!"
or anything like it. I'm simply pointing out that even contemporary graphics cards were severely bottlenecked on the K6-2 and 3 family of CPUs, to the point where it's easily losing 50%+ of the performance.
I can't find my old benchmarks I did, comparing K6-2, K6-3 and my P3 with various graphics cards, but it wasn't simply at low resolutions where you'd lose out on major fps. And this included losing out on significant performance even with a single Voodoo 2.

So, "modern" graphics card on a K6-2 or K6-3, doesn't make sense from a performance standpoint.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2019-3-17 @ 18:54

Let's be clear here: Matrox G400MAX has 5ns SGRAM clocked at 200mhz which is whopping* 17mhz better when compared to Voodoo 3 3500, also has 5ns memory btw. Heck, even some TNT2 Ultra had 5ns memory.

*Insert sarcasm

So, "modern" graphics card on a K6-2 or K6-3, doesn't make sense from a performance standpoint.

It does, if you want high resolution, although 3dfx will squeeze more frames per second from any Socket 7 CPU.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby Synaps3 » 2019-3-19 @ 12:25

I received the FX 5600 and installed it and. . .
Three beeps and nothing on the screen, so I think it isn't going to even boot.
The fans also slow down a lot. I think it must be drawing too much power.

I got an FX 5500 PCI coming. Philscomputerlab used it on this mobo so I think it should work fine.
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Re: Best "modern" GFX card and driver for K6 system

Postby dirkmirk » 2019-3-20 @ 02:07

Should be a good match for that system, even a low spec 5500 shouldnt be a problem as the memory on those cards can vary alot.
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