I can’t say I have any experience with the Chips 65545, but I’ve extensively used a Chips 64300 VLB card. From what I’ve read, they seem to be similar; both are 32-bit cores and have 32-bit memory interfaces, but the 65545 appears to be a later generation card and clocked a smidgen higher. Speaking from my experience with the 64300, for whatever that’s worth, here’s the thing: this chipset is very much underrated in DOS. The Chips 64300 VLB cards match Tseng ET4000/W32Ps in DOS gaming, and in Windows, performance is in the upper echelon of 32-bit cards.
But—and this is the big catch—the Chips 64300 does not perform well in true color/24-bit modes. The Windows 95 driver is buggy and, while there’s apparently later drivers that can fix this, I have not tested them. That being said, I do not believe that would apply to the Chips 65545, as that’s a later generation chipset and built around the early Windows 95 era, as far as hardware goes.
I do have an ATI Graphics Ultra Pro in ISA. It is not faster than the Chips card. Not at all. It is a very competent ISA Windows accelerator and a very fast ISA card, but that’s the thing: it’s ISA. The bus clock is ~8MHz, compared to the 25-33-40MHz that the VLB card will be operating at, since VLB is a local bus. I just tested the two, and here’s some highlights:
Graphics Ultra Pro
3DBench 1.0C - 38.7 FPS
PC Player Mode 101 - 5.0 FPS
X-VESA Mode 101 - 3.9 MB/s
VidSpeed Mode 101 - 3.9MB/s 32-bit writes
Doom: ~21 FPS
3DBench 1.0C - 49.2 FPS
PC Player Mode 101 - 5.3 FPS
X-VESA Mode 101 - 31 MB/s
VidSpeed Mode 101 - 30 MB/s 32-bit writes
Doom: ~29 FPS
Granted, this is on a 486DX2-66 with 32MB of RAM and an APC Predator I Plus Motherboard featuring the Symphony Haydn II chipset. There’s definitely limitations, but I’d expect the ISA card would not be able to catch up, even on a faster system.
Even the fastest of ISA cards—the Mach64 VRAM, Cirrus GD5434, Tseng ET4000/W32i, and S3 805i/928—are all somewhat limited in terms of what they can do. They’re all pretty darn fast in Windows, but not great in DOS, especially compared to later cards. Compared to other ISA cards? They’re very, very capable. The Mach32 with 2MB of RAM should be up there, close to these cards, but not quite there.
Compared to a VLB card? They’re being left in the dust. The only place that they can really keep up is Windows, and even then, VLB cards with competent drivers are usually the way to go.
This is just my two cents, but I hope this helps!
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