VOGONS


First post, by Pajeroking

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Hi,
I have a Compaq Deskpro 4000, Pentium MMX 233, 64 Mb ram, S3 2mb, Win 98.
The PC has no AGP slot!
The S3 satisfies all my Dos gaming and low spec Windows games (Aoe 1, KAM, NFS 1 etc.).
However, I have some games that most probably won't run very smooth.
I would like to try the following games:
- NFS Porsche;
- Turok;
- Pharaoh;
- Populous the beginning;
- Roller Coaster Tycoon 1;
- Carmageddon 2;
- Dune 2000;
- Half Life ( not mandatory).
- Grand Prix 2. ~10 fps on Svga on S3 🙁
~~~~~~~~~
The most easiest way is to buy a Voodoo 1/2. But of course that is very rare and expensive. I did some research and acceptable alternatives are : Riva 128, Matrox G200 maybe even a S3 Savage 4.
The question is not which card is the best, but which one is available and has an acceptable price. That means I won't wait for a Vodoo, whichever card appears first and has an acceptable price, i will buy it.
Will any of these cards run the listed games on an acceptable fps ( 20-30) at an acceptable resolution ( Vga, not necessary Svga)?
Is that a good plan? Or can I go with a newer card non period corect that has PCI but is cheaper/more available?

Reply 1 of 40, by Cyberdyne

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Better get a TNT or a Geforce MX.

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 2 of 40, by cyclone3d

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There are also Geforce FX cards that are PCI (FX 5200 and FX 5500) as well as some Quadro PCI cards, the fastest being the Quadro FX 600. Good luck finding one of those Qaudro cards though.

I would probably second the Geforce 2 or 4 MX or even a Geforce 6200.

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Reply 3 of 40, by Oetker

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I agree with the poster above, get a basic nvidia card, as long as it's PCI. On such an old machine you'll want to use older drivers, see Oldest nVidia PCI driver for Riva TNT2 M64, so get something that works with relatively old drivers.

One issue you might run into is that while those games support D3D, when they were released most people would have been running them on a 3dfx card. So you still might run into compatibility issues.

Reply 4 of 40, by Oetker

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Note that in the thread I linked it's concluded that 3dfx cards have drivers that are much more optimized for slow hardware than nvidia, so a card that would be faster on a P3 might be slower on your machine. I have no idea how true that might or might not be for the Matrox or S3 cards you mention, but I do know that getting games to run well on them will be more of a hassle.

Reply 5 of 40, by The Serpent Rider

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Reply 6 of 40, by Garrett W

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Of the games you mentioned OP, only the following provide support for 3D acceleration:

NFS Porsche (Glide & D3D)
Turok (Glide & D3D)
Populous 3 (D3D)
Carmageddon 2 (Glide? & D3D)
Half-Life (oGL & D3D)

The rest of the games are 2D only and unless your display adapter is exceptionally slow (the S3 card is almost certainly just fine in that regard), they will run the same between video cards. They require a faster CPU in order to see any performance increase.

Of the above games, NFS Porsche, Carmageddon 2 and Half-Life are going to be very rough on your system no matter the video card. Turok should be alright, although it's not an amazing port to begin with. Populous 3 (The Beginning) should be alright with this CPU, but it's been a while since I've played it (thanks for the reminder, the Bullfrog corner on my shelf needs some attention!).

The best performance and compatibility option for your system would be either a Voodoo Banshee or a Voodoo2 (even the 8MB version would be alright for that MMX233). Barring that, I'd look into a PCI version of Riva TNT or TNT2/M64 using as old drivers as possible do avoid high CPU overhead. Avoid the Riva 128 as it has certain visual quirks that are not to the liking of a lot of people. You may also run into the 64bit SDRAM equipped Riva 128ZX which halves performance compared to the SGRAM variant. The Matrox G200 is also not exactly a speedy option, I'd say it's up for debate whether or not it's a great pairing for this CPU. Savage 4 for a decent price might actually be a good deal!

Reply 7 of 40, by matze79

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Best Card for this Time Period still is a 3Dfx V2/V3 or a Banshee.

And with such a Slow CPU i would not go for a TNT Card.
It really needs a Pentium 2.

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Reply 10 of 40, by matze79

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We had a Permedia 2 with 8Mbyte inside our trusty 166Mhz MMX back then.

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Reply 11 of 40, by bloodem

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A PCI Riva TNT/ Riva TNT2 M64 (in conjunction with VERY old nVIDIA drivers, like Detonator 2.xx), would be somewhat acceptable on a Pentium MMX 233.
Unfortunately, as others have pointed out... such a PC screams for a Voodoo card. 😀
You can forget about the GeForce FX 5200/5500 PCI. Not only would those be slow as hell on a Pentium MMX, but the cards I've tested (even though they are PCI), actually do not work on motherboards that lack an AGP slot. There might be some that do, but it's definitely a hit-and-miss.

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Reply 12 of 40, by The Serpent Rider

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actually do not work on motherboards that lack an AGP slot.

Yet again, lack of AGP has nothing to do with it.

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Reply 13 of 40, by maxtherabbit

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bloodem wrote on 2021-06-17, 17:45:

You can forget about the GeForce FX 5200/5500 PCI. Not only would those be slow as hell on a Pentium MMX, but the cards I've tested (even though they are PCI), actually do not work on motherboards that lack an AGP slot. There might be some that do, but it's definitely a hit-and-miss.

what?

It's worked fine in every PCI board I've tried it in. Slow for its time? Sure. But it's still faster than a voodoo2

Reply 14 of 40, by matze79

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Also would not recommend using a FX in a 233Mhz MMX Pentium .
The Driver is "Big"

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Reply 15 of 40, by Jasin Natael

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Voodoo 3 is best option. If you are patient and search using model numbers etc in ebay you can probably score one cheaply, both my AGP 3000 and my PCI 2000 I paid less than $30 for on eBay. The seller didn't know what they were.

Barring that a TnT2/Geforce MX is a solid choice and are cheap and plentiful, but even a Radeon 7200/9200 or something is going to quickly max out that Pentium, and they are cheap and easy to find too.
I've had issues with Savage IV cards myself but YMMV. But as mentioned driver overhead is a concern.

Whatever you get make sure it will POST on that board though, some Socket 7 boards can be picky especially OEM models.

Reply 16 of 40, by bloodem

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maxtherabbit wrote on 2021-06-17, 19:44:

what?

It's worked fine in every PCI board I've tried it in. Slow for its time? Sure. But it's still faster than a voodoo2

Not the cards I have… which is why I said that it’s a hit & miss.
Also, not sure what you mean by “faster than a Voodoo 2”. I think we all know that they are much faster than Voodoo 2 cards, but not on a Pentium MMX (which is the topic of discussion here). In fact, unless you play at very high resolutions, any GeForce FX will be slower than a Voodoo 2/Voodoo 3 in most games even on a SS7 motherboard with an AMD K6-3+

Jasin Natael wrote on 2021-06-17, 21:10:

Barring that a TnT2/Geforce MX is a solid choice and are cheap and plentiful, but even a Radeon 7200/9200 or something is going to quickly max out that Pentium, and they are cheap and easy to find too.

Well, it depends. They are cheap and plentiful in their standard AGP version. The PCI versions are much more rare, and unless you get lucky, not that cheap either. As we already know, the OP does not have an AGP slot.
Also, yes, they will max out a Pentium MMX, but because of driver overhead, the overall performance will be much slower than what you get with the Voodoo 3.

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Reply 17 of 40, by cyclone3d

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I scored most of my V2 and V3 cards in scrap lots. Got a V3-3500 without the cable for something like $20 because it was advertised as a TV tuner card.

It just takes time to find them and they generally pop up cheaper in places most people are not looking.

The scrap lots have gotten really really disappointing and super expensive in the last year or so though so good luck finding anything good in scrap lots in the USA for a good price.

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Reply 18 of 40, by dr.zeissler

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Small CPU => best Option 3dfx. A "small" Celeron 300A can drive a Voodoo3 to play most games in 1024x768.
If you are in "early" 3D Stuff with a "lowend CPU" then 3dfx is the choice to go for. Lot's and lot's of fine stuff.

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Reply 19 of 40, by Jasin Natael

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Jasin Natael wrote on 2021-06-17, 21:10:

Barring that a TnT2/Geforce MX is a solid choice and are cheap and plentiful, but even a Radeon 7200/9200 or something is going to quickly max out that Pentium, and they are cheap and easy to find too.

Well, it depends. They are cheap and plentiful in their standard AGP version. The PCI versions are much more rare, and unless you get lucky, not that cheap either. As we already know, the OP does not have an AGP slot.
Also, yes, they will max out a Pentium MMX, but because of driver overhead, the overall performance will be much slower than what you get with the Voodoo 3.
[/quote]

For sure. Driver overhead is a big concern as mentioned. Didn't think as much about them not being that easy to find in PCI, I work in IT and until fairly recently I happened across a lot of PCI cards, Rage Pro LT and TNT2 cards I've got a few of each, but that is a valid point.