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Trident Blade3D AGP: opinions?

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First post, by 386SX

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Hello,

after watching some reviews about these last Trident solutions I'm quite impressed, considering the low end low price target, how good they worked the ones released after the quite bad 9750 chip. Considering when we bought our brand new K6-2 350Mhz system it came with a S3 Trio3D 4MB AGP and with awful results, I wish it was sold with a card like the Blade3D that seems like running quite good most games and with acceptable fps. Also later chips even if maybe a bit too late compared to the competitors, didn't run bad.
Do you like those old video cards? Which are your opinions about those compared to the other low end card?

Thanks

Last edited by 386SX on 2022-01-13, 19:30. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 1 of 54, by Joseph_Joestar

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I had a stand-alone Trident Blade 3D back in 1999. I knew that it was a cheap, entry level card, but that was all I could afford at that point. Still, it allowed me to play 3D accelerated games on my own PC for the first time, and that felt truly incredible.

I remember running Quake 2 at 24+ FPS in 640x480 which felt quite playable for me at the time. It had some minor lighting issues, but they were either minimized or completely resolved by later driver updates. Older games such as Tomb Raider 2 and Forsaken worked well on the Blade 3D. I think I even played through Half-Life and Thief: The Dark Project on that card, though the frame rates weren't so great.

By the time Unreal Tournament '99 came out, I knew I needed something more powerful. I replaced it with an Nvidia Riva TNT2 in early 2000 and that felt like a huge upgrade. As I recall, my UT performance went from ~10 FPS to 30+ FPS and I could finally play online with my buddies. Good times.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 2 of 54, by 386SX

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Thanks. I remember back in those time I had that Trio3D which I could not play any DX6 games at all beside without textures or whatever.. I soon upgraded to a V3 2000 once it was released but considering its price I always regret that choice. There were so many vga out there that could have played much better for half the price maybe, like a supermarket nobrand Savage3D or the Blade3D or even SIS 6326. This last one I remember was installed in a friend's Pentium II 300Mhz and it ran very well those old games like Resident Evil 1 with some specific (maybe not even its own driver path) config and full accelerated rendering.
Not to mention my S3 had to run that with software rendering of course like most other games. I suppose some driver updates might have solved something but not much. Another friend had too a brand new Celeron 333Mhz and it had a Rage IIC AGP still better than my card.

Reply 3 of 54, by The Serpent Rider

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Mediocre for DOS and laughably buggy and/or slow for 3D. But I guess you could call Trident 9880 cards somewhat decent choice, compared to S3 attempts to milk Virge chip design for years.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 4 of 54, by 386SX

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I never read much about these Trident solutions and indeed like SiS they sort of survived those years with low end solutions but still real products (instead of modern times with cards like a GT730 or GT1030 sold for nosense prices..) for those who didn't want the fastest speed (most of the time on not so fast cpu/ram configs..).
From what I see it looks like the difference from the previous solution (I remember tested it much time ago) it looks like a big jump into a real low end still usable solution that at least really accelerated those games. Quake2 @ 24fps at 640x480 doesn't seems a bad result at all even if maybe I suppose it was released too late. I wonder if at that point the Savage3D already was available. But thinking back in those times the amount of 2D only cards or early PCI/AGP 2D/"3D" ones into old Pentium MMX or even newer Celeron or early Pentium II were a lot so something like the Blade3D (or like the SiS6326 I remember surprised me time ago for its compatibility I think in the PCI version) would have been more than acceptable. 😉

Reply 5 of 54, by RandomStranger

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I only have experience with the TVGA8900D, it's a serviceable DOS card, abundant and cheap with decent performance and compatibility.

I also have the infamous 3DImage 9750 I picked a couple of months ago, but I didn't have the time to extensively test it. It posts, works with WinXP and have decent image quality. It's supposed to be a horrible 3D gaming card.

I'd love to try a Balde3D 9880, but I have no luck finding one for a reasonable price.

sreq.png

Reply 6 of 54, by 386SX

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Yeah it seems like prices even for these mostly forgotten vga are high as most retro stuff just cause they are old. The AGP version with SGRAM I think should be the best to test. But I'd like to test also the later AGP cards they did. After all the good thing about those times was that each card performed very differently between them, mostly bad I know but they had something "unique" even if sometimes awfully built (like most low end cards of those times with low quality passive components, soldering, cheap PCB etc..).

Reply 7 of 54, by RandomStranger

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No, not the prices of the cards that are a problem. It's the international shipping. There are a couple for 20AUD. It's not cheap, but not unreasonable. But then there is the 30AUD shipping and some more for customs. And these cards never were particularly accessible in my country. Anything other than S3, ATI, Nvidia or 3DFX from the mid-to-late 90s is difficult to find locally. Sometimes there is the odd Kyro2, i740 and SiS 6326 comes up, but finding a Xabre, Blade3D or Permedia2 is very difficult.

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Reply 8 of 54, by 386SX

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I just bought a Blade3D AGP 8MB, usual cheap quality PCB but anyway I should receive it soon to test it against the Rage Pro Turbo/whatever and the Riva 128 /128 ZX... 😁

Early AGP cards are so interesting and bad at the same time.. 😁

The Pentium II 400Mhz seems like a good CPU to stay time correct.. I will post some results here considering I'm testing now the quite good while not perfect Rage Pro Turbo 8MB SGRAM.

Reply 9 of 54, by weldum

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actually, my main k6-2 machine is a k6-2 550MHz with 128MB of PC100 ram (because of the l2/mobo cache) and the MVP4 chipset that has that 3dblade gpu integrated
ut99 with everything set to low, sound quality to low too and 512x384 runs at 24fps
pretty good considering that the platform is already a good bit limited

DT: RapidCAD 40MHz, K6-2 550MHz, Duron 950MHz, C2D E7300, A6 7400K, FX 6100, PG 5400, R3 1200, R5 3600
LT: P 133MHz, C 650MHz, P3 900MHz, C 353, A N270, A N455, P4 2.6GHz, PM 1.6GHz, C N2840
TC: Vortex86 366MHz, Eden 400MHz, C7 1GHz

Reply 10 of 54, by LubieCipy

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Blade3D is a very nice card. It seems to me that Savage3D is a bit better card in terms of performance especially in Quake 3, here Blade 3d kneels down. But on the other hand UT looks better and is faster in OpenGL mode. Card is stable and the image quality is very good, every game I checked looked great

Reply 11 of 54, by weldum

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LubieCipy wrote on 2022-01-09, 12:51:

But on the other hand UT looks better and is faster in OpenGL mode.

you shouldn't use opengl renderer in ut as it's in a beta state
i have both a motherboard with the mvp4 (and therefore the blade 3d) and a mother with the mvp3 (and a savage 3d)
the savage 3d scores pretty much the same as the trident blade 3d in standard direct3d mode, but the savage 3d supports MeTaL, which makes it excellent for this kind of hardware
it can run at 640x480x32 with everything set to max and gives around 32fps
higher resolutions are possible but the limited 8MB of memory makes it not very useful

pd: the savage 4 in metal scores the same but at 1024x768x32
the tnt2 m64 can be faster though if you use the right driver, like version 6 of forceware

DT: RapidCAD 40MHz, K6-2 550MHz, Duron 950MHz, C2D E7300, A6 7400K, FX 6100, PG 5400, R3 1200, R5 3600
LT: P 133MHz, C 650MHz, P3 900MHz, C 353, A N270, A N455, P4 2.6GHz, PM 1.6GHz, C N2840
TC: Vortex86 366MHz, Eden 400MHz, C7 1GHz

Reply 12 of 54, by LubieCipy

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So what if opengl is in beta state, it works much better with this card

I have a s370 motherboard with integrated Blad3D and at standard settings (I think details are set to high) in 640x480 result was average 24 fps and my Blade3D Turbo is getting aout 35 fps in OpenGL mode. In Direct3D IGP version scored 11 fps 😉 "Turbo AGP| hit 35 fps but it was not so stable as in OpenGL mode and looked far worse.

Savage3D is much faster than Blade3D in UT

Reply 13 of 54, by weldum

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weird, maybe is because of that, the processor in the s370 may be way better than the k6-2 in my mvp4 board, and That's what you're looking in open gl

DT: RapidCAD 40MHz, K6-2 550MHz, Duron 950MHz, C2D E7300, A6 7400K, FX 6100, PG 5400, R3 1200, R5 3600
LT: P 133MHz, C 650MHz, P3 900MHz, C 353, A N270, A N455, P4 2.6GHz, PM 1.6GHz, C N2840
TC: Vortex86 366MHz, Eden 400MHz, C7 1GHz

Reply 14 of 54, by 386SX

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I hope to receive the Blade 3D tomorrow in a usual cheap PCB version, the not Turbo one unfortunately that I didn't even know existed and it would have been interesting to find one but still not a common card even the basic version.

Reply 15 of 54, by weldum

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supposedly there are 2 versions
the trident blade 3d and the trident cyberblade i7
i have both and can see how they differ, the first works with 100mhz sdram but the second can go up to 133mhz
also the core frequency is tied to the fsb

DT: RapidCAD 40MHz, K6-2 550MHz, Duron 950MHz, C2D E7300, A6 7400K, FX 6100, PG 5400, R3 1200, R5 3600
LT: P 133MHz, C 650MHz, P3 900MHz, C 353, A N270, A N455, P4 2.6GHz, PM 1.6GHz, C N2840
TC: Vortex86 366MHz, Eden 400MHz, C7 1GHz

Reply 17 of 54, by weldum

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maybe the standalone version agp/pci is called like that, i have both on integrated graphics version and they use the same drivers, there's only a different name on device manager and the different performance

DT: RapidCAD 40MHz, K6-2 550MHz, Duron 950MHz, C2D E7300, A6 7400K, FX 6100, PG 5400, R3 1200, R5 3600
LT: P 133MHz, C 650MHz, P3 900MHz, C 353, A N270, A N455, P4 2.6GHz, PM 1.6GHz, C N2840
TC: Vortex86 366MHz, Eden 400MHz, C7 1GHz

Reply 19 of 54, by dionb

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These cards had some of the least problematic TV-out of any cards I tried. Trident got that right in their later PCI designs and carried it over onto the AGP designs. Not hugely interesting from a retro point of view where you're using VGA (or DVI/HDMI) anyway, but back then if you used a PC as entertainment system (and not as a high-end game box) this was a good selling point, particularly as early integrated VGA was not good at it.