VOGONS


First post, by ReadySelectStart

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Hey everyone,

So over the last few years I've collected a number of graphics cards but I just cannot decide which to use for my Win98SE machine which is for 97-01 (essentially up until the release of XP). I want some DOS compatibility but I have a few other machines for that but it is mostly for the period mentioned with 3D titles.

The PC specs are:
Intel Pentium 3 800Mhz
128MB RAM
Aureal Vortex 2
Can't recall the motherboard, an AOpen something or other with a universal AGP slot.

Now I was using a Geforce MX440 but every so often Windows will boot to a blank display or if I try pressing "Settings" on the display properties that'll trigger a blank screen. I messed about with drivers and eventually gave up. I've now put in a Voodoo3 3000 card which I love for the Glide support but I feel this card is maybe a bit too limited for the upper end of the time period I'm recreating? I mean no 32-bit colour and 16MB of RAM may become a bottleneck.

My other options are in no particular order:
- ATi Rage 128 Pro
- Matrox Millenium G550
- NVIDIA 5200 (various variants)
- NVIDIA 5700 LE
- NVIDIA 6800 GT
- NVIDIA TNT2 (M64)
- S3 Trio3D
- S3 Trio64 V2/DX
- ATi Rage 128 AIW
- S3 Trio3D/2X
- NVIDIA Geforce 2 (experiences same issues as the MX440 mind you)
- NVIDIA 6600 LE
- NVIDIA 7600 GS
- NVIDIA Vanta (Is this a TNT?)
- NVIDIA MX460

On one had something like a 6600 or 6800 seems like a no brainer, lots of power. But I think compatibility may be an issue? I'm not sure how well the S3 cards stack up as never used an S3 card in my life. Same with Matrox. The ATI Rage 128 Pro seems decent but I've read ATi drivers aren't great in Win9x and they have issues with DOS games?

I want something fast but with good compatibility. Looking on Google there are really mixed messages so hoping you can all help out.

Reply 2 of 34, by ReadySelectStart

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Scoob wrote on 2021-07-10, 17:06:

Take a look Most stable and compatible win9x configuration, I'd say one of those FX that you have 😀

Even one of the 5200s? Some people say the 5200 is a great card for anything pre-XP but others say even for 00/01 it's too slow. Its confusing too as I know there is the Ultra with 128-bit memory bus but I'm sure mine will be 64-bit. Maybe I'll pop in the 5700. Hopefully it will be less fussy with drivers like my Geforce4 cards seem to be.

Interesting read that thread, also saw about the Voodoo being mentioned as slow compared to the GF2.

Reply 3 of 34, by Oetker

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I would say the Voodoo 3 suits that system, but that for early 2000s gaming you'll want to upgrade the CPU and definitely the RAM. As for the GPUs, the 5700 is the obvious choice. S3 cards are more appropriate for a 1997 build. The Rage 128 is underpowered for your build I'd say.

Reply 4 of 34, by Scoob

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I think you might be interested in this:

Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-07-09, 07:21:
Warlord wrote on 2021-07-09, 06:59:

Same can be said with FX series cards. Drivers are too new, and they are not as compatible as a real geforce 2 with old drivers. If If you want good compatibility FX are even too new.

The difference is, we have concrete examples of games which don't work correctly without Table Fog and Palleted Textures (e.g. Thief2 and Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire), complete with screenshots which clearly showcase the differences.

I have yet to see examples of games which don't work correctly on 45.23 drivers, which is the version that most FX cards can use. Not saying that it isn't true, just that we currently lack factual evidence to objectively verify those claims.

Reply 5 of 34, by ReadySelectStart

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Oetker wrote on 2021-07-10, 17:22:

I would say the Voodoo 3 suits that system, but that for early 2000s gaming you'll want to upgrade the CPU and definitely the RAM. As for the GPUs, the 5700 is the obvious choice. S3 cards are more appropriate for a 1997 build. The Rage 128 is underpowered for your build I'd say.

I can always up the RAM to 256 or 512. I stuck with 128 just because I know Win98SE can get fussy at the 512MB mark and few games require that much. But perhaps 256MB would be a nice sweet spot.

I'd like to get a Voodoo for my Mid-90s machine which has a 166mhz P1(non-MMX), an AWE32 and currently a Radeon 7000. But finding a PCI Voodoo for reasonable money is difficult. I think that machine would make more use of Glide, sort of 94-97

Reply 6 of 34, by ReadySelectStart

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Scoob wrote on 2021-07-10, 17:27:

I think you might be interested in this:

Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-07-09, 07:21:
Warlord wrote on 2021-07-09, 06:59:

Same can be said with FX series cards. Drivers are too new, and they are not as compatible as a real geforce 2 with old drivers. If If you want good compatibility FX are even too new.

The difference is, we have concrete examples of games which don't work correctly without Table Fog and Palleted Textures (e.g. Thief2 and Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire), complete with screenshots which clearly showcase the differences.

I have yet to see examples of games which don't work correctly on 45.23 drivers, which is the version that most FX cards can use. Not saying that it isn't true, just that we currently lack factual evidence to objectively verify those claims.

Hmm okay. Might be worth going for a 5000 series then. Probably the 5700, the only thing that puts me off it compared to the 5200s is it has a fan but that's not the end of the world. Maybe I'll try both and run some benchmarks as the drivers should work across both so won't take long to swap the cards over

Reply 7 of 34, by Joseph_Joestar

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ReadySelectStart wrote on 2021-07-10, 17:51:

Hmm okay. Might be worth going for a 5000 series then. Probably the 5700, the only thing that puts me off it compared to the 5200s is it has a fan but that's not the end of the world. Maybe I'll try both and run some benchmarks as the drivers should work across both so won't take long to swap the cards over

The 5200 can use 45.23 drivers, which is a known good version for Win9x. The 5700 requires slightly newer drivers.

I haven't personally tried any drivers higher than 45.23 on Win9x, so I can't comment on how well the 5700 will do. If you go here you can see which cards are compatible with those drivers.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 VirgeDX / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 8 of 34, by AlexZ

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ReadySelectStart wrote on 2021-07-10, 17:51:

Hmm okay. Might be worth going for a 5000 series then. Probably the 5700, the only thing that puts me off it compared to the 5200s is it has a fan but that's not the end of the world. Maybe I'll try both and run some benchmarks as the drivers should work across both so won't take long to swap the cards over

I would upgrade memory to 256MB or 384MB and use one of the FX cards. Geforce 6xxx and later are AGP 8x cards, need lower voltage and can't be physically plugged into 2x slot. The best cards for PIII have two slit AGP on graphics card and support dual 3.3V and 1.5V. They are also 8x but compatible with older AGP 2x boards. I use FX5600 in my PIII 600 rig. The best available card is FX5900 but I doubt it's worth it in these slow PIIIs and they are also quite expensive. NVIDIA 5700 LE may be slightly faster than 5200 but not by much. I would prefer 5200 as it is not a nerfed model.

Pentium III 600E, ECS P6BXT-A+, 384MB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 128MB, 80GB HDD, Yamaha SM718 ISA, 19" AOC 9GlrA
Athlon 64 3400+, MSI K8T Neo V, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT 256MB, 250GB HDD, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 9 of 34, by mothergoose729

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The FX cards are quite compatible with DOS and widows and offer the best performance. With that said, the difference between a 5200 or a 5700LE and a good mx 440, while it's there, isn't that much. A voodoo 3 should play anything you want at 60fps before 2000, and then it might only get 30fps with a few games at your cut off day.

Given that you are having trouble with nvidia carfds on your setup, you might be better off sticking with the voodoo card. As soon as you find a game you want to play that it is too slow for, that would be a better time to revisit your options.

Reply 10 of 34, by ReadySelectStart

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mothergoose729 wrote on 2021-07-10, 18:30:

The FX cards are quite compatible with DOS and widows and offer the best performance. With that said, the difference between a 5200 or a 5700LE and a good mx 440, while it's there, isn't that much. A voodoo 3 should play anything you want at 60fps before 2000, and then it might only get 30fps with a few games at your cut off day.

Given that you are having trouble with nvidia carfds on your setup, you might be better off sticking with the voodoo card. As soon as you find a game you want to play that it is too slow for, that would be a better time to revisit your options.

Even if my 5200's are the slower non-ultra variants?

As for the driver issue, I might spend time experimenting again with different driver versions or maybe a fresh Windows install. It's definitely driver related as Windows boots fine in safe mode and it happens on two cards. I tried two driver versions, 65.xx I think then dropped down to 45.xx as recommended by folk here but I might try variants around that one.

To be fair bar the 32-bit colour depth I am so far very happy with the Voodoo, I just want to be able to throw as many games from that time period at this rig and get maximum compatibility and performance

Reply 12 of 34, by ReadySelectStart

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Right I put in the 5700LE and driver 45.23 will not install for it. A quick Google and you can add it to the ini but people reported glitches and stability issues as the 5700 is very different to the rest of the series.

I tried driver 54.64 and Windows detects the card but 3D applications do not. 3DMark99 and 01 both say they cannot initialise a 3D accelerator. I thought perhaps the card needed DX9.0c rather than 8.1 that I had installed. Tried that but the issue remains.

Installed 61.76 hoping a slightly newer driver would have better support for the 5700 but the issues remains.

I tried what Phils Computer Lab did with a 5500 and tried installing it manually but selecting the 5200 but Windows throws a major wobbler.

I might try the MX460 card, I'm sure the performance of a 460 is fine for up to mid-01 with good 9x compatibility? Assuming I don't have further driver problems

Reply 13 of 34, by Joseph_Joestar

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ReadySelectStart wrote on 2021-07-12, 12:14:

I might try the MX460 card, I'm sure the performance of a 460 is fine for up to mid-01 with good 9x compatibility? Assuming I don't have further driver problems

The MX460 is a perfectly fine card for Win9x gaming. This includes most 2001 games, unless you want to play them at resolutions above 1280x1024 with AA and AF fully maxed out.

I'm not sure if the 5200 would be faster than the MX460. Maybe if it's the 128-bit version? In any case, both the MX460 and the 5200 will work with 45.23 drivers.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 VirgeDX / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 14 of 34, by ReadySelectStart

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-07-12, 12:32:
ReadySelectStart wrote on 2021-07-12, 12:14:

I might try the MX460 card, I'm sure the performance of a 460 is fine for up to mid-01 with good 9x compatibility? Assuming I don't have further driver problems

The MX460 is a perfectly fine card for Win9x gaming. This includes most 2001 games, unless you want to play them at resolutions above 1280x1024 with AA and AF fully maxed out.

I'm not sure if the 5200 would be faster than the MX460. Maybe if it's the 128-bit version? In any case, both the MX460 and the 5200 will work with 45.23 drivers.

AA and AF upped would be nice but it's not a deal breaker. I might try and nab a 5500 soon so I can up AA/AF and make use of nGlide.

Until then I'll give the MX460 a go and see if drivers work better on it. If not I'll probably reinstall Windows from scratch

Thanks 😀

Reply 15 of 34, by BitWrangler

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Supposedly, nvidia drivers never uninstall cleanly whether you're upgrading or downgrading, causing various problems in "staying broken" as the version of a file that you wanted to replace is staying intact. Therefore it was usually recommended to run "detonator destroyer" between installations on 9x to make sure everything was cleaned out and your desired driver install was in fact your desired driver install and not some mishmash of the last few.

2017: Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. 2021: Still starting, heh, many setbacks. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 16 of 34, by ReadySelectStart

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BitWrangler wrote on 2021-07-12, 16:58:

Supposedly, nvidia drivers never uninstall cleanly whether you're upgrading or downgrading, causing various problems in "staying broken" as the version of a file that you wanted to replace is staying intact. Therefore it was usually recommended to run "detonator destroyer" between installations on 9x to make sure everything was cleaned out and your desired driver install was in fact your desired driver install and not some mishmash of the last few.

The 5700LE as above was a bust. After some research it seems this card doesn't play ball and is very much a card to avoid. At least the LE version.

I just got an FX5500 as recommended by Phils Computer Lab, I tried the 45.23 driver but not supported. I tried manually choosing the 5200 but it was unstable and games had graphical glitches everywhere.

I used the tool you recommended to remove all the drivers and I tried 54.64, installed and on the desktop the card shows with 32-bit colour etc. 3DMark01 again says it cannot initialise the card. I tried one game and it said no 3D card detected and another said 1mb VRAM is not sufficient (can't recall which game but it was quite a late game)

So similar issue I had with the 5700. I tried 61.76 and the issue remains.

I think I'll completely reinstall Windows98SE tomorrow otherwise I think this PC isn't happy with anything newer than GF4 and even then sometimes gets fussy. My Voodoo card might be the only card that works well albeit at 16-bit colour and a bit sluggish on games in the later period

Reply 17 of 34, by ReadySelectStart

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Managed to solve this issue.

Did some googling of the motherboard, QDI Advance 10T, found some people claim the AGP port is very dodgy without the chipset drivers installed. Found a link for the VIA 4-in-1 driver, installed it and boom! FX5500 worked right away. Currently on driver 61.76, had some graphical glitches in 3DMark99 (mostly in the FPS test) so might try and downgrade to 56.64 in case that is the reason. Benchmarks are as follows:

3DMark99 (had some serious graphical glitches): 4790 3D / 12043 CPU
3DMark2001: 4326
3DBench 1.0c: 306.1
Chris' 3D Benchmark(640x480): 138.9fps / 231.6 score
PC Player Benchmark (640x480): 31.1
Doom: 111.97fps
Quake timedemo (360x480): 58.7fps
Quake timedemo (640x480): 51.1fps

Reply 18 of 34, by SScorpio

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ReadySelectStart wrote on 2021-07-15, 21:51:

Currently on driver 61.76, had some graphical glitches in 3DMark99 (mostly in the FPS test) so might try and downgrade to 56.64 in case that is the reason. Benchmarks are as follows:

You can go all the way back to the 4X.XX drivers. You just need to modify two lines in the .inf. Do the search for the FX 5200 and copy the line call it FX 5500, change the PCI/Device ID to the FX 5500s On the FX 5200's line you will find the PCI/Device ID. Search for this in the file and you will find it on its own line that doesn't have a pretty name by it. Copy this line and change it to the FX 5500's ID.

My understanding is the FX 5500 is the same chip as the 5200, just clocked higher. So that means you can user older drivers which might be more compatible.

Reply 19 of 34, by ReadySelectStart

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Sorry to spam, just an update in case anyone stumbles upon this: 61.76 was the issue for the corruption and glitching in 3DMark99. 56.64 ran super smooth with no issues.

Scores now are:
3DMARK99: 4811 / 12087
3DMARK2001: 4353

I did occasionally hear the fan on the card ramp up and down so new thermal paste and general tlc is probably needed too.

In terms of using a driver such as 45.23, will this be stable especially with this card having 256MB of RAM rather than the 5200's 128MB?

When I did this hack on the 5700 either making it the 5200 or 5900, the system was unstable and there was corruption and glitches everywhere even on the desktop. Though the 5700LE apparently is an outlier in the line up and should be avoided it seems