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Best DOS video card?

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Reply 20 of 212, by keropi

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I don't understand why u all bother with "strange/exotic" 2D DOS vga's... all you need for every 2D game is a PCI S3 based card! it was so popular, that 99,9% games work excellent with it....
and with the free UNIVBE , u get accelerated vesa3.0 support too....

Reply 21 of 212, by ChrisR3tro

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Matrox and Tseng chipsets weren't that exotic to my knowledge. The ET6000 chipset for example (used by VideoLogic, Hercules among others) were best known for their speed and performance under DOS.

But you are certainly right, if you say that S3 graphics cards were very compatible.

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Reply 22 of 212, by eL_PuSHeR

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keropi wrote:

I don't understand why u all bother with "strange/exotic" 2D DOS vga's... all you need for every 2D game is a PCI S3 based card! it was so popular, that 99,9% games work excellent with it....
and with the free UNIVBE , u get accelerated vesa3.0 support too....

I disagree. S3 cards were nice but they came into play at later time. There were lots of VGAs around at the time S3 appeared. Cirrus Logic, Trident, Paradise, Tseng, etc...

On the other hand, I had troubles with a S3 ViRGE card I had with certain games, but the same could apply to every brand out there.

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Reply 23 of 212, by 5u3

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valnar wrote:

I had Riva128 back in the day and was totally turned off by it's very obvious blurry 2D. It really was the worst 2D quality (not speed, that was great) that I had ever seen.

Yeah, once I bought a TNT2 with exactly the same problem. It was unuseable for anything better than 640x480@60Hz. I returned it on the next day and exchanged it for a slightly more expensive TNT2, which was perfect. Probably depends on the manufacturer.

About the "strange/exotic" VGA cards: Back in the days users played tons of games for years with these cards and never noticed any fault. After all, it's just a minority of games which suffer from non-perfect VGA chips. People didn't have the knowledge to judge the finer technical details; many of my old pals played through the whole DOS era with a Trident 8900 and didn't complain 🤣
If you're building a retro-rig it's a bit different, since you want all the components to be as compatible and fast as possible, but it still depends what you want to do with it. For ancient EGA games and scene demos a Matrox is quite a nightmare, on the other hand it performs very well in Windows 3.11/9x 2D games and the VGA signal quality is not to be sneezed at.

Reply 24 of 212, by keropi

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I started the whole DOS playing thing with a 286/12 and a 512kb vga... back then, when they where new technology.
all that paradise/trident etc cards are good isa ones, and personally I think nothing beats a CirrusLogic 542x card for ISA. but since we are talking about PCI cards (I think we are, right ? ) there is no point having a pentium with ISA gfx.
I never had any probs with either a CL-GD5446 or S3 PCI vga....

Reply 25 of 212, by I4ko

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IMHO the best card for pure dos, on ISA systems is WD90C30 (wonderfull drivers - can turn the card to cga, herculer, mcga in full hardware mode) with at least 512KB (1MB is better) or later of the same series Western Digital/Paradise.
For dos games on PCI systems - some of ATI Wonder series cards are ok. For 3d games under dos, get a card with full-color header and a separate 3dfx card. I strongly object the cirrus logic cards.

Reply 26 of 212, by swaaye

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CL 542x is actually quite fast in DOS. I upgraded from a Trident 8900C to the Diamond Speedstar Pro (5426) and it was very noticeably faster. I could run TIE Fighter SVGA with that CL chip. The Trident couldn't handle it at all.

BTW, I'd always suggest using UniVBE with just about any DOS card. SDD7.0 Beta is out there and it will fix up just about any video card with better VESA support. Install it in Windows and then dig thru the folder in program files and find the DOS folder. UniVBE is in there. Copy that stuff elsewhere and then you can just uninstall SDD7 and load Univbe manually or in autoexec. I have a PPRO at home right now with a Creative Labs NV RIVA TNT PCI that gets improved VESA with this driver.

Reply 27 of 212, by RayeR

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5u3 wrote:
valnar wrote:

I had Riva128 back in the day and was totally turned off by it's very obvious blurry 2D. It really was the worst 2D quality (not speed, that was great) that I had ever seen.

Yes sure, image quality of nVidia cards depended on manufactures, the VGA chip itself is good. If you bought some noname or e.g. inno3d cheap shit then you got blurry image. I used Diamond Viper 550 - TNT, 16MB AGP and Viper 770 - TNT2, 16MB AGP and both had nice sharp image.
It supported VBE 3.0 so I can set higher refresh rates. V770 had nice 52 VESA modes. I ran a lot of DOS games, demos and SW on this cards without problems.

Reply 29 of 212, by RayeR

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#9 made cool cards, I still have #9 Imagine 128 - first 128bit 2D accelerator. It has onboard separated Cirrus VGA chip (can be disabled by jumper) and big Imagine128 chip, 175MHz RAMDAC and 4MB VRAM. But supported only VBE 1.2 quite old card I think 1994

Reply 30 of 212, by swaaye

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Imagine 128 is horrible for DOS. That's what the Cirrus chip is used for and it is a absolute dog. Most of their cards use S3 chips though, and those usually are pretty decent for DOS compatibility, especially if you load the S3 VBE 2.0 TSR that's out there.

I had a Motion 771, which used a S3 Vision 968.
http://faqs.org/faqs/pc-hardware-faq/video/chipsets/

My avatar is of a #9 card. They would inscribe little Beatles quotes into the boards. I did have a Imagine 128 Series II a while back and I think it had "Yeah Yeah Yeah" inscribed on it.

Reply 31 of 212, by RayeR

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Yes Imagine was not much good for games but nice accelerated 3D Studio 4.0 and AutoCAD. Here's my photo: http://rayer.ic.cz/350d/Number%20Nine%20Imagi … e%20128-4MB.jpg
I used It quite short time, but it's nice piece of HW so i keep it in my collection. I also have S3 Vision 968 - SPEA Mercury P64V, nice card too. Then I used Matrox Millenium, S3 Virge DX and then become long nVidia era.

Reply 32 of 212, by eL_PuSHeR

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Offtopic: Don't you think this thread would belong to PC section? You are talking about hardware.

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Reply 33 of 212, by Cyberdyne

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I have one question, does Riva 128/TNT/TNT2 Windows 3.1 drivers work with Geforce 2 MX cards?

By the way, for me ATI graphics cards have been ignored by me. First there was Cirrus Logic 5429, then S3 Trio64 and Voodoo 2 and Voodoo 3. And then i had Geforce 2 MX 400 for years. And now i have Geforce 9600, and still happy about it.

I am aroused about any X86 motherboard that has full functional ISA slot. I think i have problem. Not really into that original (Turbo) XT,286,386 and CGA/EGA stuff. So just a DOS nut.

Reply 34 of 212, by leileilol

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Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:

I just wonder: have anyone tried Tseng Labs ET6000 for DOS games? Haven't tried those either, but I remember reading a November 1996 issue of Computer Gaming World (the article was about early 3D cards like Matrox Mystique and S3 Virge) that the ET6000 was still the fastest DOS VGA card around.

I've been told by a contract programmer that a PCI Riva TNT kicks a lot of DOS ass due to its memory. He suggests I should drop my Trio64s for one, and not an AGP one (?).

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Reply 35 of 212, by badmojo

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I got a Pentium 233MMX recently which came with an ARK Logic Legend PCI card in it (2mb, maybe 4?).

Anyway it's been great so far for 2d games in pure DOS (using UNIVBE gave it a nice boost).

Reply 36 of 212, by sliderider

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leileilol wrote:
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:

I just wonder: have anyone tried Tseng Labs ET6000 for DOS games? Haven't tried those either, but I remember reading a November 1996 issue of Computer Gaming World (the article was about early 3D cards like Matrox Mystique and S3 Virge) that the ET6000 was still the fastest DOS VGA card around.

I've been told by a contract programmer that a PCI Riva TNT kicks a lot of DOS ass due to its memory. He suggests I should drop my Trio64s for one, and not an AGP one (?).

The only thing I can see that might be bad about the AGP version of a video card that supports AGP textures is that sometimes collisions occur between the video card and the CPU when both try to access main memory at the same time. Either the video card or the CPU will go into a wait state until it is able to access main memory again and these collisions might cause a noticeable slowdown in games if they occur frequently. I know the 3DLabs Starfighter i740 PCI card has extra memory onboard to make up for the fact that it doesn't have main memory access like the AGP version does and it can be a lot faster than the AGP version in some cases because it avoids those collisions with the CPU.

Reply 37 of 212, by RayeR

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I think that DOS games don't use HW 3D accel on cards like nV-TNT so they use only a few MB for VESA LFB that is allocated in VGA hardware memory so no need to use extra memory via AGP...
So I think that 4-8MB VRAM is enough for DOS.

From Tseng I have only ET4000 but it is an ISA card so any high speed cannot be expected due to low ISA BW. ET6000 was 128bit 2D accel if I remember well so it should be fast. My fastest 2D card in DOS is Matrox Millenium 2064W PCI (it use WRAM) - good for AutoCAD and 3D studio.

Reply 38 of 212, by Menkau_ra

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I use GF 3 Ti200 AGP in my primary rig. Very fast for any DOS game, and so far didn't have any problems with it 😀
Before I was using ET6000 and ET6100 TV out. I have liked them a lot. Much faster then any S3 Virge boards.